Syntheses of notations in
relevant Bedford Bibliography categories



The main argument in each of the articles is rather to write towards an audience or not. Both sides have their benefits as well as downfalls. Writing with a specific audience in mind makes the piece more clear and concise. On the other hand, some audiences may inhibit or intimidate the writer. Thus, Peter Elbow says ignoring the audience can overcome a block or lead to new thinking and knowledge. Whichever approach one takes, I think Douglas Park sums it up best: "'Audience' is difficult to define and to apply."



Revision is an integral part of the composing process. Studies done on the art of revising have provided articles that address the stylistic trends in different writing groups. It has been found that extensive revisers tend to locate certain points in early drafts and evaluate them on the development of certain ideas. Changes made to a text can be either formal or textual. These textual changes include microstructure changes, the changes to local content , and macrostructure changes, which affect the entire text. In the process of revision, beginning writers must address three issues: detection of problems within the text, diagnosis of the problems, and a selection of a strategy of revising. When comparing student writers to adult writers, it was found that students revise mainly by choosing better words and elimination repetition, while adult writers revise by accommodating an audience and by finding a certain form of argument.


Collaborative Learning

Articles on collaborative learning tend to outline the positive aspects of the learning tool. The discussion tends to center around the affects of collaborative learning on the individuals that participate rather than the product they develop. The element of community and cooperation is often boasted as the best product of learning in a group. Articles like to highlight the ability of the students to learn from one another rather than the traditional student-teacher relationship. It is said that this cooperation prepares students for the real world of learning in society. Several articles also re-evaluate the role of the teacher in the collaborative environment. Some state that the teacher must serve as a facilitator and guide and if this job is not performed well then the focus of a collaborative group is ruined. This idea supports the fact that teachers are still important in the collaborative process and yet other articles state that teachers are not needed at all to have a healthy collaborative group. This difference in opinion of the role of the teacher is basically prevalent in the difference of the topic of the collaboration. Articles that discuss writing in collaboration feel that a teacher is disposable and articles that discuss learning in groups still stress the need of the teacher. All in all, the outlook on collaborative learning is positive and determined as an important element in the classroom. Several articles point out the freedom of thought that is developed and the affect this freedom has on the participates of the group. This element of freedom of thought is embraced in education therefore making collaboration positive.


Computers and Composition

Composition and the art of writing have undergone evolutionary change with the accessibility of the computer. On of the foremost changes has been the way that writing is structured and presented to an audience going from the strictly linear format of books to the integrated and interactive medium of Hypertext. When reading a book a person is forced to follow the author’s train of thought from beginning to end distancing the reader from the creative process of the book, but, through the use of hypertext a reader becomes a part of the creating process choosing in what order, format and depth that reading will occur.

Some of the problems and issues that have arisen with this evolution are: limited software selection, control of the equipment in a classroom setting, the type of equipment available for a classroom, how literacy instruction is affected, and possible drawbacks through the highly publicized possibilities of collaborative writing uses. Collaboration does not automatically happen with the open forum of the Internet. Many people still need prompting and encouragement to utilize this medium to the fullness of its potential.

Another issue deals with the highly structured "corporatness" of the web structure, and how, instead of fuzzing lines of race, gender, or class, the structure that is in place furthers the ingraining of such divisions.

On the other hand, there is a sense of the opportunity for collaborative creativity, the possibility of fostering a stronger sense of community, and a shifting of focus from instruction to fun.

The era of computers and composition can be broken up into five micro-eras: 1979-1982 when personal computers were first used in writing instruction, 1983-85 when the greatest enthusiasm for computer use was evidenced, 1986-88 when the use of computers for composition became a field of study, 1989-91 revisionist critiques of computers, and 1992-94 where the impact of the Internet and other multimedia became a possibility in education.


Style, Grammar, Usage

This bibliography includes articles ranging with subjects from history of English Prose to how teaching grammar improves writing.

Different articles on style include the use of literary style to there being no “good” style because style is established by socially powerful groups prefer and how professionals begin essays with narratives while amateurs begin essays with their purpose.

For grammar, it discusses the use of modifiers, how students should learn grammar as part of their writing process, how grammar instruction improves writing and the doctrine of correctness.

Articles on usage are on the great variety of the English language, American differences from British English, the history of English prose and editing as a process of detection, diagnosis and rewriting.