As a teacher, I have a love/hate relationship with the internet. Plagiarism has become so much more common. Even with assignments like collages or visual/textual pieces, there’s still the lure of finding something on Flickr or through image searches to hand in as one’s own.

So the nature of assignments and assessments have changed. I rarely give/count homework because who knows if it’s a tutor or well-meaning parent/sibling who has put in most of the work. (One year, I had a parent hand in work repeatedly, claiming the student had written it.)

But, there are lots of positive things about the internet, too.

I am grateful for how there are more venues for budding student writers. Instead of me being the main audience and source of feedback for creative writing in class, I can point budding novelists to sites like Figment where teens and young adults around the world can write, revise, get feedback and support each other on their poetry and prose.

Those who are ready to self-publish can use distribution sites like Smashwords or Draft2Digital to put their books on the market.

I came across this story while reading Publishers Weekly a while back and it’s about one creative writing site where members have helped with selecting a romance manuscript for publication by a mainstream house.

There are also tons of fan fiction sites for niche writers, and all of these audiences and outlets make me optimistic that reading and writing for pleasure will stick around for a while yet.

Do you think this shift in power in the publishing world is a step in the right direction?