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Title:Multiple literacies in a multicultural setting: Contextualizing nontraditional students' appropriation of virtuality and reality
Author(s):Gruber, Sibylle
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hawisher, Gail E.
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Language and Literature
Education, Bilingual and Multicultural
Language, Rhetoric and Composition
Education, Technology of
Abstract:This study is an attempt to enact a research agenda that acknowledges the multiple, shifting, and sometimes contradictory positions that nontraditional and marginalized students--especially women--occupy in an academic setting. In particular, I look at the acquisition of academic discourse(s) in a basic writing class and at the strategies students bring to the task. I problematize research that takes an undifferentiated approach to gender discourse and to discourse strategies used by basic writers. Instead, I foreground the ambiguous and constructed nature of language and interactive reality online and face-to-face, using "virtual" heteroglossia to refer to the multiple voices present in a virtual environment as well as to the shifting perceptions of reality. To move from theoretical explorations to practical applications, I look at specific instances of meaning making with a synchronous and asynchronous electronic communication tool to show that the use of academic discourse has to be seen in the context of students' diverse backgrounds and their immersion in various discourse conventions that often challenge traditional academic expectations. Accordingly, in my chapters detailing these case-specific analyses, I write of how a Latina and an African American woman use their diverse backgrounds to enrich online discussions and to question issues related to race, gender, and educational practices. My examination of individual students' appropriation of the virtual contact zone reaffirms the need for reconceptualizing critical and feminist theories applied to classroom contexts. In connection with these observations, I argue for valuing multiple discourses in school settings and propose classroom practices that acknowledge the ambiguity and diversity in both online and face-to-face contexts. As my study shows, introducing computers into classrooms has implications beyond having to learn a new technology. Not only do we have to become familiar with the technology, but we also have to recognize the changed perceptions of reality and self created through the use of it.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Gruber, Sibylle
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712292
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712292

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