Tapped In Member Perspectives: Meet Danika Brown
Before coming to her current institution, the University of Texas, Pan American, Danika developed several online learning environments to support various writing courses. She helped design and develop "OldPuebloMOO" for the University of Arizona and also developed an online environment for professional writing courses that integrated what was called "Teamwave" at the time.
I am a professor of Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Texas, Pan American. Because I teach both writing and the teaching of writing, technology plays an integral role in my classrooms. My current institution does not have a diverse technological infrastructure (relying primarily on WebCT), and I found Tapped In as I investigated alternatives that I could use for writing courses. From the first time I logged in, I was hooked! Of all the polysynchronous internet environments I have used, I find Tapped In one of the most flexible yet remarkably easy to use. I like the fact that users can build their own environments and utilize the many tools, such as notes and whiteboards, but do not have to become familiar with awkward programming languages that object-oriented environments often require.
My upper-division "Composition Techniques" course is focused on writing pedagogy, primarily for teachers in training from a variety of majors. I have completely integrated Tapped In applications into this course. I provide files and resource folders for my students in my office. All students in this course become members of Tapped In and we meet online for class at least twice during the semester (more during summer). I require students in this course to attend at least one online workshop or event in order to teach them about continuous professional development and building a support network for that professional development. To my mind, that is the absolute strength of Tapped In more than just an online environment, Tapped In is a community of educators who are passionate, innovative, and unbelievably supportive of each other. When I engage my students in using Tapped In, I help them to understand not only tools for teaching, but what it means to be a professional teacher.
In the future, I plan to have my lower division students utilize Tapped In more to create resources based on their research and writing projects and to learn to utilize text-based communication strategies. I am forever grateful to have Tapped In available as such a rich resource for what I value in teaching.