On Inside Higher Ed, Steve Kolowich posted a summary of a Student Monitor survey on students’ campus computing habits. According to a fall survey, most students continue to use campus computers – at least occasionally – even though 95% own their own computers. Students also continue to use Microsoft Word more often than Google Docs or OpenOffice.
What does this news mean for teaching writing? Colleagues at Elon University and I studied the digital literacies of first-year students, and our findings suggest that entering students are overly confident about their ability to use the full range of tools in Microsoft Word. Most do not enter college knowing how to use Track Changes and Comments, for instance, two tools that can be helpful for collaborative writing and peer review.
Therefore if you are integrating digital peer review or expecting students to write collaboratively, consider taking a few minutes to introduce students to relevant digital tools.