I also realize that Martha, who dwells in this scary land of novice writers, probably could lend some wise thoughts (and wise-cracks) on this entire situation from an up-close and personal level! I may simply be a wide-eyed dreamer, with undue optimism. But I enjoyed this essay and the direction it went as it covered the possibilities for emerging student-researchers.The need for crap detection is definitely a must for these novice writers, but one cannot disregard the benefits of their immersion in computer resource gathering--started at an early age. I was amazed by the ease of finding resources and quickly learned to separate better, scholarly sources from B.S. sites. The speed with which things change in today's global society necessitate the careful use of online sources as well as the ability to differentiate the scholarly from the bullcrap. The essay goes on to explain that many of these composition instructors are graduate students or first-year professors themselves--trying to develop their style, lessons, and manner of advice for their students best research results. This means that Grad students liminal space is their threshold to a robust teaching experience; it also means that new college students liminal space is their threshold to attaining full potential as a college-level researcher. Because research often takes many detours, and other times seems to travel in a circular pattern, different leads will bring one on an interesting journey. Linial patterns of expected steps will not usually be the means to an end but instead one of many paths to a great beginning.
Reading this essay, I became very defensive about the misconception of first-year college students and their ability to research properly. Being a late-life, returning student myself, I had become somewhat adept at all manners of research as a source of survival. Four children over six years, a husband who assumed the homework was magically completed by elves, and minding the responsibilities of home, kids, work, and, of course, school-mom-volunteer who ran shows and various other functions, afforded a necessity for honing my research skills with whatever reliable tools were available. As an incoming freshman, I was trying to cross the threshold from mom to student-researcher, and was open to all possibilities that would enhance my work. Despite my age, I felt the pressure of transition to college-life and the urgency of perfecting college-level research tools. This article stressed the importance of using both the old proven resources (textbooks) but stressed the obvious fact--most students are more adept at online research than any other resources available!their threshold to a robust teaching experience just as new college students liminal space is their threshold to attaining the full potential of a college-level researcher. I have always felt the benefit of a textbook as a model for curriculum, but I know many of my younger peers do not benefit at all from the use of a textbook in the classroom. In order for instructors to reach their students, there needs to be a middle ground and a sense of acceptance when the use of online sources is involved. And they will be more involve--actually the norm--with each passing year. Because I hope to be one of those Grad-students, first-year professors soon, I want to fully grasp the importance of utilizing the best tools available to help freshman transition into college-level researchers. I believe they have the ability, most of the skills required, and should be treated with some level of respect for what they already know but should still be offered the other tools available, as an ends to the means of becoming the best they can be in the ever-changing land of research-writing.