My "connecting activity" (using Facebook to facilitate writing feedback between two Composition I courses) would enhance Bass and Elmendorf's sections on "authentic audience." A key passage: "...students are developing their knowledge in contexts that centrally ask them to think of their audience as someone other than their professor...whether it is other students or some external audience" (2). As a long-time writing teacher, I've long emphasized -- with mixed success at best -- that effective writing needs to be as broadly accessible as possible. Thus, the author must provide the reader with necessary background information or context throughout the discussion. Although this seems like a straightforward concept to me, many students have struggled to make the cognitive and imaginative leap into their audience's mind. We all knew this was a fictional situation, and that I was the only person who'd read their work.
Web 2.0 technology might provide a more "authentic" context for writing, one which somewhat foregrounds its communicative -- rather than merely performative -- dimension. As Bass and Elmendorf write, such a context gives the "sense that something is at stake in sharing one's ideas other than getting a grade" (5). While this might be stated too optimistically (I doubt that most students ever lose sight of the grade as the primary motivating factor), sharing one's writing with an unknown peer does raise the "stakes" for one's writing. At the very least, students probably don't want to be embarrassed by attaching some unacceptably poor sample to their names. Here, peer pressure is the teacher's friend! In short, the creation of a "broader context beyond a private transaction between teacher and student" is a tailor-made pedagogical context for the kinds of activities we're piloting in Community 2.0.