This article explores the effects of computer-assisted writing environments on composition students, focusing on the effects of cooperative learning and conferencing software. I found that word processing alone has little effect on writing behavior; however, conferencing software seems to help create a more authentic writing environment than found in the traditional classroom or in one that uses word processing alone. This conferencing environment became a catalyst for a distinctive learning ecology that interrelated prosocial student behaviors, learner-centered teaching, and assessment. The conferencing class did more than help students to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills in interaction with others. It helped students identify and use varying learning styles of cooperative groups to successfully reach writing goals.
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