Conferences at the Computer

Due to the technological nature of the Portfolio Project, consultants should be aware of variations in conference strategies that will occur as a result of the writer's employment of computer technology. This section has been compiled from a combination of Chapter 6 of "The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors" and M. C. Morgan's article entitled "Hand's Off: Ten Techniques for Tutoring on Word Processors."

Generally speaking, consultants should employ the same conference strategies in front of a computer that they would in any other conference situation. You will still need to avoid directive commentary in favor of facilitative methods, concern yourself with aiding in problems of content and organization before dealing with mechanical errors, and all other advice distributed throughout the Do's and Don'ts of Conferences. There are, however, a variety of new considerations that should be taken into account as a result of the on-line component of these projects and specifically, the use of work processors to compose these narratives.

One particular rule of thumb to follow when conducting a conference at a computer is to keep the writer in control of the computer text at all times. This will reinforce the nature of the writer/audience relationship that should exist between the consultant and the student. Also, there are a number of traditionally pencil and paper tasks that are made easier and more effective as a result of a word processor.

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