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navigation index Chapter 3:  Who Owns the Words in Electronic Texts?

In “Chapter 3,” Penrod explains how networked writing redefines notions of student authorship and composition pedagogy.  To highlight principle arguments from Penrod’s chapter, I have presented them in a Question and Answer (Q&A) format below--a succinct, common rhetorical strategy for emphasizing key points in an online format. 

Q:  To what extent are students “authors” of their e-texts, and why is student “authorship” pertinent?

A: Penrod asks, “[W]ho owns the words the writer uses?” (p. 73).  She states that “internetworked writing” is owned by the student, and consequently, copyrighted; such ownership causes difficulties for traditional writing assessment models that do not acknowledge the students’ work as “intellectual property” or “genuine” (pp. 69-70). With respect to recent cases involving the student ownership of writing, writing programs should seek legal counsel at their home institutions before integrating online components into their writing curriculums. For the most part, Penrod argues that traditional pedagogical practices of teacher ownership (or the co-opting) of their students’ texts prevent students from totally owning their own work.

Q:  What is “authentic” assessment, and how does this form of assessment impact student authorship and composition pedagogy?

A:  Penrod argues that “authentic assessment” involves student empowerment and egalitarianism as writers (85-86). Composition teachers can assign “external evaluations for e-texts” to make assessment more authentic (81).  However, the reconceptualized instructor as a “participant-developer” rather than as a “distanced”  evaluator may present problems for professors seeking tenure (though such a reconceptualization is impending according to Penrod) (83-84).