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Power, language, and identity: Voices from an online course

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Computers and Composition Volume 19, Number 3, ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Distance learning, especially in computer-mediated environments, is the new trend in education. Universities fear that they will be left behind or even become extinct if they do not offer online courses ( Roblyer, 1999). Very little is known about effective pedagogy in online environments, much less the power, authority, and control relationships that occur when conversations are not face-to-face. The course described in this article is a bilingual education course in which participants were involved in extensive writing and publishing of their ideas on the Web. Through bulletin board postings, power relationships between majority and minority students became evident during the semester. Students described their struggles with living and working in a society that, in many cases, institutionalizes racism. Included in this article is a discussion of how the race factor is usually turned “off” ( Kolko, Nakamura, & Rodman, 2000) or is in its “default,” White mode ( Lockard, 2000) in online environments. Finally, the authors offer implications for interactions between instructors and students and student peers in online environments.


de Montes, L.E.S., Oran, S.M. & Willis, E.M. (2002). Power, language, and identity: Voices from an online course. Computers and Composition, 19(3), 251-271. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved August 14, 2020 from .

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