Elaboration — Students could show audience awareness by linking concepts potentially unfamiliar to their audience to sources of background information.
Corroboration — Rather than being tempted to plagiarize from other sources, students could foreground the ideas of other authors by linking to source material that supports their own ideas or providing links to complete sources when they quote excerpts.
— Students love pointing out when someone on the Internet is wrong
. They could highlight the exigence of their writing by pointing out the source with which they disagree. Not only does that give students an opportunity to connect their work with the world around them; it also shows how writing can be a response to a real situation, rather than an arbitrary in-class scenario.
Citation — Perhaps the most relevant use of hyperlinks in student writing comes from their Works Cited lists. Students prefer the convenience and simplicity of online sources, so why not encourage their responsible use by having students provide well-documented links to their original sources within their Works Cited lists? Even better, students could make the parenthetical citations within their documents link to the relevant entry in the Works Cited list, which itself could link to the external source.
Conversation — With a little extra collaboration, students could have their documents refer to one another’s writing, engaging other authors in direct conversation, using peers as sources for their discussions. This use requires that student work be accessible online, so it’s likely only to work within environments like Google Drive, but if students cite one another in their own writing, they would add credibility and purpose to one another’s texts.