Participating Classes and Colleges

Writing Across Curriculums and Cultures:
An Online Collaboration Among Swedish and American Students

Fall Semester 2003

Magnus Gustafsson, Chalmers Lindholmen University College, Gothenburg, Sweden
Donna Reiss, Tidewater Community College, Virginia, USA
Art Young, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA


Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, is a research intensive university where most graduate classes are conducted in English. Doctoral students across all engineering disciplines are offered a class in academic writing to prepare for writing research articles and dissertations in their fields. This seminar meets once a week, and the writing is geared towards their research articles and the genre awareness needed for their future careers as writers in a research intensive environment. As participants in global research, these graduate students must learn to communicate effectively in their fields and to communicate effectively in English, which is predictably not their first language.

Tidewater Community College in Southeastern Virginia, USA, is a large four-campus commuter college, and the students in our exchange are participating in a writing-intensive online learning community. Their Web-based humanities elective focuses on technology and society with an emphasis on technology and the arts. We began the semester with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and will end with new media arts such as digital dance and electronic poetry. Communication technologies are integral to this class, which “meets” several times a week on a discussion board where students write 500 or more words of informal discussion on class topics.

Clemson University is a land-grant university in South Carolina, USA, and the students in our exchange are senior English education majors enrolled in a required class, Composition for Teachers. They are studying theories of composing and best practices in the teaching of writing, including writing across the curriculum, and are writing themselves in a variety of genres: journals, letters, reports, e-mails, discussion boards, and critical essays. Our international online exchange is a key part of their portfolio and accompanying reflective analysis.

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D. Reiss and modified 25 October 2003 by D. Reiss