3.96 scholarly microcomputing, cont (40)

Sun, 4 Jun 89 19:31:11 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 96. Sunday, 4 Jun 1989.

Date: Sun, 4 Jun 89 17:15:58 EDT
From: unh!psc90!jdg@uunet.UU.NET (Dr. Joel Goldfield)

Scholarly microcomputing
Adding to Donald Spaeth's comments about word-processing, I'd like to
point out some useful research just published in _CHum_ (23:2, April 1989)
entitled: "Initial Effects of Word Processing on Writing Quality and Writing
Anxiety of Freshman Writers" (Milton Teichman & Marilyn Poris). The
experimental design looks solid. While T & P found that writing quality
did not significantly improve, it was certainly not harmed by use of wp.
Furthermore, students' attitude toward writing significantly improved, which
may, according to the researchers, significantly improve their writing
abilities over time. From my experience in teaching a translation course
every other year, I concur.

Regarding Charles Faulhaber's comment in the same "edition" of HUMANIST,
I agree that we sorely need more machine-readable texts for the same
reasons. In addition, we need more and better querying tools and
literary computing strategies. And the more these become known to our
as-yet-non-computing colleagues, the more likely it will be that they
will try them out. I just returned from a worthwhile conference organized
at the U. of Massachusetts/Amherst by Five Colleges, Inc., and found
a general consensus from other CALL R & D colleagues that non-threatening
forums (conferences, looking over a colleague's shoulder in an office,
departmental meetings, faculty computing centers, etc.) need to be
provided for said "ASNC" humanists to judge for themselves. But one of
the primary motivations must be that they have a problem to solve that
is best facilitated by some form of computing. --Joel D. Goldfield