Amy Thompson

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School



This thesis seeks to address problems prevalent in computer-aided, first-year composition classrooms and to offer strategies for composition instructors to remedy some of those problems. Administrative bodies push institutions to promote "technological literacy" without providing instructors with the means to do so. Many instructors do not address hypertext as a dynamic, non-linear textuality; instead, they teach reading and writing hypertext as they would a linear/frozen text. Instructors who do not structure Internet discourse around engaging students in critical thinking activities might unintentionally promote channel-surfing of the Internet, guided mainly by clever advertisers. Instructors can address these problems by engaging students in critical thinking activities within the hypertext environment--reading and writing hypertext, and engaging students in on-line activities that develop analytical skills. This thesis employs both primary and secondary research to find ways in which instructors can engage students in a digital environment. Primary research is based on activities and experiments (both in the traditional and digitized environments) conducted by my first-year composition classes, and secondary research focuses on studies of the effectiveness of different distance learning programs, MUDs and MOOs, and other interactive Internet programs designed for higher-learning institutions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

English language -- Rhetoric -- Study and teaching (Higher) Web sites -- Evaluation -- Study and teaching (Higher) Critical thinking Internet in education



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University