CUNY WriteSite CUNY WriteSite

Teachers and Tutors How This Site is Different

How The WriteSite is Different than Textbooks and Workbooks

WriteSite pages may at first seem identical to pages in a textbook or workbook with the addition of hypertext links.  This impression is highly misleading and it is a mistake to direct students to work with the WriteSite by reading from the screen (or from print outs) as if the WriteSite were a standard paper book that has been transferred into the web environment.

The WriteSite is not composed of static, display-type pages connected via hyperlinks as most OWLs (Online Writing Laboratories) are.  Instead, each page is dynamic and interactive. Students participate actively by responding to on-screen prompts and typing into text boxes.  They subsequently receive feedback on their responses and move on through a sequence.  Those who respond passively without typing into text boxes, on the other hand, are limited in their progress through the site.  Further, the hypertext environment allows users to move freely between sequences of prompts, participatory activity and feedback.

As users work their way through the WriteSite in response to prompts on the screen, they generally develop draft piece of writing that they can then print or save electronically.  Therefore, the time for printing or copying and pasting content from the WriteSite into a word processing file or email message comes at the end of a work sequence and documents what the student has done and learned.

Because of the dynamic, interactive nature of the WriteSite, it is very important that students have access to the site using a computer (PC or Mac) with an internet browser that meets certain minimal technical specifications: Internet Explorer 4.0 (or higher) or Netscape 4.0 (or higher), java-enabled, are both adequate.  Fortunately, most browsers currently on college campuses or on students' home computers meet these specifications.  The WriteSite contains a Browser Tester that users can employ to find out if their browser software is adequate.

Another way in which the WriteSite is different from a textbook is that it is updated incrementally on a continuous basis, rather than presented in a "new edition" every few years. For this reason, it is a good idea to review parts of the site that you are planning to assign to students even if you have used those same parts previously. Major additions to the WriteSite are announced in what's new on the opening page.



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