Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction: Principle 1

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OWI Principle 1: Online writing instruction should be universally inclusive and accessible.


Alexander, Jonathan, and William P. Banks. “Sexualities, Technologies, and the Teaching of Writing: A Critical Overview.” Computers and Composition, vol. 21, no. 3, Sept. 2004, pp. 273–93. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2004.05.005.

This introductory piece for the special edition of Computers and Composition on Sexuality, Technologies, and the Teaching of Writing provides a literature review of the scholarship on this topic and a call for additional research in this area. Alexander and Banks write that “both sexuality and technology studies are concerned with the intertwined issues of space and identity” (274). As such, this introduction makes a case for the need for research to address a variety of sexualities, including LGBTQ issues and heterosexuality alike. While primarily focused on technology-enhanced classrooms, Alexander and Banks make a case for also studying how sexuality intersects or impacts the online classroom as well as the face-to-face classroom. This article provides a history of the intersectional work on sexuality, technology, and the teaching of writing and is valuable for the online writing instructor or scholar researching how gender has or has not been addressed in the online writing classroom.

Keywords: sexuality, LGBTQ, gender, accessibility, intersectionality

OWI Principles: 1, 15

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 42 USCA Sec. 12101 et seq. 2008.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) defines the meaning of the terms “disability,” “major life activities,” and “auxiliary aids and services.”  These definitions pertain to the field of online writing instruction by giving instructors a better understanding of what these terms mean in a legal sense and serving as a springboard from which to begin a discussion of accessibility in an online environment.

Keywords: legislation, disability studies

OWI Principles: 1

Anderson, Bill. “Writing Power into Online Discussion.” Computers and Composition, vol. 23, no. 1, 2006, pp. 108-24. 10.1016/j.compcom.2005.12.007.

Anderson explores how power manifests in student discourse in distance learning environments. After establishing a theoretical framework that includes a literature review of research related to gender, race, and political space, Anderson considers both individual, group, and external elements that influence how students engage in asynchronous work. Myriad factors such as “demands from and interests in an instructor-learner relationship, an educational institution, a family, friends, a workplace, and community organizations” dictate how students engage in online writing spaces. He interviews twenty-five full-time students enrolled in a teacher-education course regarding their experiences engaging in online discussions and in online classes. Students identified power dynamics in the choices they made of whether or not to read class materials and whether to post initial discussion board posts and follow-up discussion posts or not. The primary constraints bearing upon students were time and technology issues.  Anderson urges awareness for these constraints and suggests that instructors can “ensure that interaction in online learning communities is enabling for the learning of all students, not just some” if they are attentive to power dynamics.

Keywords: agency, power, asynchronous interaction, discussion: English, interviews

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 15

Anderson-Inman, Lynne. “OWLs: Online Writing Labs.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 40, no. 8, 1997, 650–54.

Anderson-Inman traces what resources Online Writing Labs (OWLs) offered students and teachers in the late 1990’s. She creates a taxonomy for OWLs and categorizes them as providing “resource materials, online tutoring, and information gateways.” For each category, she lists examples of institutions that are utilizing each type and highlights what they offer students. Research material types provide students with sources for teachers, students, and tutors alike; they range from grammar handouts to handbooks for writers. Online tutoring types offer wider accessibility to students who can’t make it to campus; it can provide “synchronous” one-on-one tutor to student help or it can be used as a “grammar hotline” or email feedback service. Information gateway types serve as a means of guiding students to helpful resources that are housed outside of the OWL on the Internet and lead students to helpful grammatical or punctuation information. The author encourages these online mediums as a means of increasing access for online writing students to on-campus resources.

Key words: online writing labs, writing resources, tutoring: English,

OWI Principles: 1, 14, 15

Arduser, Lora et al. “The Need for Rules: Determining the Usability of Adding Audio to the MOO.” Computers and Composition, 28, 2011


Lora Arduser, Julie M. Davis, Robert Evans, Christine Hubbell, Deanna Mascle, Cheri Mullins, and Christopher J. Ryan describe how adding an audio component to a MOO impacts the user experience. Five students in the Online Technical Communication and Rhetoric Ph.D. program at Texas Tech University completed a series of tasks that simulated logging on to an online class and performing a series of tasks, such as pushing web pages to a display window, that could be completed using either audio or print instructions. The tests were designed to evaluate “whether a user solved problems with task completion by using text, audio, or a combination of the two and whether audio increased participation for some users” (61). Using a combination of think-aloud protocols, post-task questionnaires, and qualitative data on user participation, the researchers concluded that audio can improve the learning environment and increasing social connections. The article provides additional qualitative and quantitative data from the participants before concluding that several issues contributed to successful implementation of audio into online classes: 1) managing multiple channels of conversation, 2) learning and managing audio technology, 3) modeling behavior and instructor leadership, 4) the desire to relate, and 5) the establishment of rules. This article both demonstrates an effective protocol for usability testing and provides support for using audio and other multimodal means to connect with and engage students with online courses and online task completion.


Keywords: usability testing, synchronous interaction, qualitative research, quantitative research, multimedia, MOO


OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 15


Batson, Trent. “Computers and Research: ENFI Research.” Computers and Composition, vol. 10, no. 3, 1993, pp. 93-101.

Batson’s article describes the Electronic Network for Interaction (ENFI), a networked classroom that was perhaps the first of its kind at Galludet College in Washington, DC. in 1985. The ENFI changed how deaf students communicated in the classroom by allowing them to represent their thoughts textually, thus eliminating some of the need for hand-signing, which requires close proximity and visual contact. This article describes Batson’s study of ENFI-related writing through 1) situated evaluation, 2) close reading of two student essays, and 3) a standard Educational Testing Service (ETS) writing sample analysis.  He concludes the transfer of social talk to writing could require ENFI-taught writers to construct a different sense of audience. This article provides researchers with background into early technologies to enhance accessibility for hearing-disabled students.

Keywords: computer-mediated communication, networked classrooms

OWI Principles:  1

Bell, Diana C., and Mike T. Hubler. “The Virtual Writing Center: Developing Ethos.” The Writing Center Journal, vol. 21, no. 2, 2001, pp. 57-77.

Bell and Hubler argue that writing center listservs go beyond simple communication and become, themselves, a social medium. By analyzing writing center listserv postings for two consecutive semesters, they demonstrate how their own ethos was generated through postings. They found that new tutors seek to merge with returning tutors, which establishes what Maurice Charland calls a “people.” As community hierarchies are established through the validation or silencing of individual posts, some posts are isolated and others are valued. The article models how administrators can work to understand their own virtual communities and mitigate the negative impact of those virtual communities on interactions between tutors and writers.

Keywords: writing center, listservs, tutoring: English

OWI Principles: 1, 13 

Bennett, Michael, and Kathleen Walsh. “Desperately Seeking Diversity: Going Online to Achieve a Racially Balanced Classroom.” Computers and Composition, vol. 14, no. 2, 2007, pp. 217–27.

Bennett and Walsh describe a joint online discussion forum that linked Bennett’s Brooklyn-based, mostly African American, African American literature class with Walsh’s Bend, Oregon-based, mostly white African American literature class. Their article “explore[s] some of the possible uses of educational technology in creating multicultural networked classrooms” (218). After reviewing sources regarding cultural diversity in the classroom, the authors demonstrate how they designed their courses in order to allow for some joint discussions. They decided that a MOO would be too complex for the learners to master, so they set up an email list and asked students to answer four of six questions and share their answers via email. The article provides a description of the ways in which each set of students navigated through their preconceived notions of the other group. Bennett and Walsh end with recommendations of how they would improve the project to further “unravel. . . the ideological fabric of [cultural] divisions” (226).

Keywords: discussion: English, African American, literature, culturally responsive pedagogy, course and program design: English

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 11

Bjork, Olin, and John Pedro Schwartz. “Writing in the Wild: A Paradigm for Mobile Composition.” Going Wireless: A Critical Exploration of Wireless and Mobile Technologies for Composition Teachers and Researchers, edited by Amy C. Kimme Hea, Hampton Press, 2009, pp. 223-27.

Bjork and Schwartz suggest a pedagogical approach for teaching composition that requires instructors to meet students in the media in which they are already composing. Since most students use mobile technology and often conduct most of their research via the Internet, the authors “propose a paradigm for mobile composition in which students visit places of rhetorical activity (e.g., city parks, waiting rooms, shopping malls) and research, write, and (ideally) publish on location” so they can understand “the relationship between discourse and place. (224)”  In doing so, it can establish a connection between students and place, thus making them aware of social and cultural contexts if they write from within them. Ultimately, they urge composition instructors to “relocate composition in the field,” and offer examples of pedagogical strategies for doing so.  

Keywords: mobile technology, pedagogy: English, composition

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4

Blair, Kristine. “Course Management Tools as ‘Gated Communities’: Expanding the Potential of Distance Learning Spaces Through Multimodal Tools.” Focus on Distance Education Developments, edited by Edward P. Bailey, Nova Science Publishers, 2007, pp. 441-54.

Blair argues that to attend to multiple learning styles in distance learning courses, teachers must consider alternatives to course management systems that “privilege” text-based pedagogy.  She asserts that “over-reliance on course management systems as part of the ‘rhetoric’ of convenience” can stifle “the democratic potential of online learning,” and thus suggests how other digital modes such as video games, text messaging, or MP3 players, are more suited to learning processes and literacies in the digital age. In order to increase educational access, teachers must become familiar with different technologies and platforms to deploy in distance learning classrooms.  Teacher training, technological support, and access to tools can help motivate instructors to do so. Online faculty seeking to optimize collaboration and learning in their classrooms can find advice on seeking out alternatives to the LMS in order to create more democratic classrooms.

Keywords: literacy, learning styles, distance learning, pedagogy: English, course management systems, teaching with technology: English

OWI Principles: 1, 2

Blair, Kristine. “Teaching Multimodal Assignments in OWI Contexts.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 471-92.

Blair argues that as instructors as a whole look to transform their understanding of writing, they must not sacrifice the old mode of alphabetic writing for the new medium of multimodal writing but instead learn to encompass and enmesh both into a new synchronous medium. Although the whats and the hows of integrating multimodality into the online curriculum are important, Blair states that it is equally important to consider the whys of multimodal composing—creating multimodal text aligns the technology with the capability to communicate and function within a multitude of media, while also allowing students to utilize multimodal texts to explore the subject in a variety of ways that target different learning strategies and gives students a flexible choice when viewing assignments. Several of the OWI principles stress the ongoing need for instructors to communicate and interact with their students across mediums and to use digital tools in developing content for students to consume; no one text, regardless of medium, is accessible to all, and instructors should consider the ways that students can produce multiple versions of the content to allow learners to experiment with multiple modes to provide access to as many users as possible. Along with introducing and utilizing multimodal texts, instructors should question their own abilities, asking (1) what do they need to know to utilize and implement the multimodal technology and (2) how are they going to learn what they do not know already.

Keywords:  multimodal, accessibility, digital composing

OWI Principles:  1, 11

Blythe, Stuart. “Designing Online Courses: User-Centered Practices.” Computers and Composition, vol. 18, no. 4, 2001, pp. 329-46. Special Issue, Designing Online Courses: User-Centered Practices. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/S8755-4615(01)00066-4.

Blythe argues that online faculty must think like designers while acknowledging that faculty will not necessarily know the specifics of who they are teaching until after they have built a course. He points out that designers of web courses must understand the pedagogical, political, and ethical implications of their designs. He compares systems-centered and user-centered models for designing online courses, noting that these two models embody inherently different value systems. He argues that the user-centered model for course design is more appropriate for OWI because it more closely matches the values of teachers. Online faculty should consider using think-aloud protocols with test students in order to clarify and refine their online course design. He presents a number of strategies for implementing such user-centered design in OWI, including a version of design that is student-driven with the instructor acting as a guide as students create their own goal-oriented pathways through the online writing course. He concludes by calling for student input into online course design, regardless of the design model.

Keywords: course and program design: English, web design, usability testing, user-centered design

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 10

Boas, Isabella Villas. “Process Writing and the Internet: Blogs and Ning Networks in the Classroom.” English Teaching Forum, vol. 49, no. 2, 2011, pp. 26-33

Boas argues for an ESL/EFL writing pedagogy that centers on genre, process, and practices that are informed by social constuctivism. In doing so, she advocates for multimodal assignments that utilize the Internet for language learning purposes; as she notes, ESL/EFL students can use blogs and networking sites like Ning, which are helpful collaborative tools. She offers two examples of assignments teachers could adopt: 1) blogging argumentative essays and 2) composing an expository paragraph using Ning.  She outlines the steps for each assignment.

Keywords: ESL, EFL, multilingual writers, teaching with technology: English, blogs, networked classrooms, pedagogy: English

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11

Bourelle, Tiffany et al. “Assessing Learning in Redesigned Online First-Year Composition Courses” Digital Writing Assessment and Evaluation, edited by Heidi McKee and Danielle DeVoss. Computers and Composition Digital Press/Utah State Press, 2013.


Tiffany Bourelle, Sherry Rankins-Robertson, Andrew Bourelle, and Duane Roen describe a model of online course delivery that was developed in response to budget cuts at Arizona State University. The authors created the Writer’s Studio, a first-year writing curriculum focused on “post-process pedagogy, learner-centered pedagogy, multimodal instruction, and eportfolios that showcase[d] self-assessment in response to the course learning outcomes.” The Writer’s Studio utilizes coordinators (non-tenured, full-time faculty), instructors (part-time, contingent faculty), and instructional assistants (upper-level English majors and graduate assistants) to deliver pre-designed course content and both “facilitate instruction and provide feedback.”  All aspects of the course design and delivery were collaborative and learner-centered. Designers used the Quality MattersTM rubric to ensure effective course design, and learners were introduced to their courses and facilitators through video introductions. Classes used the WPA Outcomes Statement and the “Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing” to develop course learning outcomes, and instruction in the class was multimodal. The article provides examples of instructional videos, multimedia learning objects, and portfolio prompts and sample responses. Finally, the authors share their portfolio assessment scores and how they used those scores to revise and improve the Writer’s Studio. This article provides a sound, research-based and learner-centered model of how large-scale first-year writing courses and programs can use research-based and professional standards to respond to budget fluctuations while simultaneously remaining engaging and learner-centered.


Keywords: learner-centered, Quality MattersTM, collaboration, contingent faculty, multimodal, video: English, writing program administration, pre-designed courses, portfolios


OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15

Boynton, Linda. “When the Class Bell Stops Ringing: The Achievements and Challenges of Teaching Online First-Year Composition.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 29, no. 3, 2002, pp. 298-311.

Boynton provides a narrative account of the ways in which moving from face-to-face to online writing instruction hearkened back to her insecurities as a new teacher. She found herself surprised by the challenges of moving a writing class online. The article aligns her achievements and their corresponding challenges, including 1) the achievement of being pushed to learn new things coupled with the challenge of redefining previous roles and responsibilities, 2) the achievement of discussing what constitutes good teaching coupled with the undercurrent of “us vs. them” embedded in those discussions, 3) the achievement of partnering more closely with students coupled with the challenge of surrendering authority, 4) the achievement of increased teachable moments that come with the extended contact with online students coupled with the challenge of the increased time commitment that online writing instruction requires, and 5) the achievement of inviting an increased “spectrum” of students to participate coupled with the challenge that those students may not succeed in the online modality. Boyton concludes her article with a story of choosing to teach online one online class at a time and a call for all online instructors to be continually reflective in developing online pedagogies that keep students at the center of the online classroom.

Keywords: narrative, identity, reflection

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 10, 11


Brady, Laura. “Fault Lines in the Terrain of Distance Education.” Computers and Composition, special issue, Distance Education: Promises and Perils of Teaching and Learning Online, vol. 18, no. 4, 2001, pp. 347-58. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/S8755-4615(01)00067-6.

Brady defines the “two goals—enhancing learning and reducing the cost of instruction” as the “fault line” of distance education (348). She uses this metaphor to review crucial points along the fault line. At the “surface” are courses that move online and then back to face-to-face classrooms due to technology access problems, students’ answering “not applicable” when assessing the teachers’ roles in the online classroom, and retention issues. Deeper ideological issues are also at play, particularly the “fault line between educational ideals and educational realities” (353). In particular, distance education exposes and exacerbates the commodity of the course hour and how students access and instructors labor intersect with issues of access and the political realities of teaching and technology. Brady concludes with a call to be aware that those who have the greatest access to the technology necessary to take an online class are more than likely those who already possess the income and education to not need additional access to education. While this article was written at a time that technology was less ubiquitous, the political and power dynamics of this article are still at play in online classes and programs.

Keywords: retention, power, distance education, teaching with technology: English

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11

Braine, George. “A Study of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Writers on a Local Area Network (LAN) and in Traditional Classes.” Computers and Composition, vol. 18, no. 3, 2001, pp. 275-92. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/S8755-4615(01)00056-1.

Braine studies the use of local-area networks (LANs) and their effect on the motivation of EFL learners. He explains how the LANs operate and provides examples of LAN conversations in a writing class for Cantonese-speaking students enrolled in English writing at a university in Hong Kong. Braine finds that the “quantity of writing and degree of interaction” make LANs attractive (279). After a review of literature related to students writing in LAN-based and traditional writing classes, Braine sets up this a study of eighty-seven undergraduates enrolled in a course titled “Effective Communication in Writing” (280) to determine if LAN classes improved writing. Experimental classes used the LAN to discuss the readings, provide feedback and conduct peer review. Control classes completed these same activities face-to-face and orally. The experimental classes did not show more improvement than the control classes, and Braine discusses the qualities of the LAN that might have led to the results, including an increased amount of written text that could have been overwhelming for EFL learners. He concludes that while LANs may produce more writing, they might not produce better writing.

Keywords: networked classrooms, empirical study, EFL

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 15

Breuch, Lee-Ann. “Faculty Preparation for OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew. WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, 349-88.

Breuch argues that online writing faculty need to be equipped and trained to teach writing online.  Using distinct conceptual categories, this article calls for the 4-M Approach (migration, model, modality, and moral).  The four key elements are 1) migration of the course to an appropriate, usable online format; 2) model and conceptual design of the course; 3) modality and media use within a course; and 4) moral, or the need to create a sense of community within a course for increased student engagement.  Each of these training ideas is explained in its own section and contains sample training exercises to assist with each concept. Because accessibility is an overarching principle in online education, the accessibility of the online course must be considered at each step of the development and implementation of a course, including instructor training.

Keywords: accessibility, faculty development, multimodal, modeling, student engagement, course and program design: English

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7

Breuch, Lee-Ann Kastman. Virtual Peer Review: Teaching and Learning about Writing in Online Environments. SUNY P, 2004.

Kastman Breuch explores the question of what is gained and what is lost in moving writing instruction online through the concept of peer review. In doing so, she first investigates the definitions of peer review and virtual peer review, indicating that virtual peer review supports that philosophy that pedagogy must drive technology while also establishing virtual peer review as a “remediation” of traditional, face-to-face peer review (borrowing from Jay Bolter’s concept of remediation). Kastman Breuch then demonstrates how virtual peer review, rather than being better or worse than face-to-face peer review, is different but that those differences, primarily in terms of time, space, and interaction, can be seen as either challenges or benefits. Identifying these differences illuminates how “computer technology privileges written communication over oral communication”--or did so in 2004 and before (52). Because computer technology privileges print and the traditional peer review practice focuses on oral communication, Kastman Breuch argues that the tension between the two paradigms identifies virtual peer review as “abnormal discourse” (55). She identifies the ways in which the literature surrounding face-to-face peer review defines that review around oral discourse, and then argues that “virtual peer review does not rely on the distinctions of speech and writing that were so carefully built in terms of traditional peer review” (70). She coins this new way of thinking about virtual peer review in terms of a “literacy of involvement” that “includes actively reading, writing, and interacting in virtual environments” (79). She provides examples of types of virtual peer review to describe how the collaborative activity involves responding to writing, editing of texts, and the negotiation of shared writing tasks. In addition, technology challenges further complicate the virtual peer review. Finally, Kastman Breuch uses various scenarios for virtual peer review to demonstrate how the “goals we have for writing tasks drive our choices and uses of technology” (110). She identifies how peer review can serve a “transitional role” for instructors moving from face-to-face to computer mediated or online classrooms and how virtual peer review is key to evaluating student writing, in forming and sustaining online writing centers, in writing across the curriculum programs and in workplace writing classrooms. Indeed, many of her predictions have come to pass, while her challenge to consider technology in terms of goals to be accomplished is the bedrock for solid online writing course design.

Keywords: peer review, collaboration, online writing centers, computer-mediated communication, remediation, WAC, technical and professional writing, course and program design: English

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 13, 14

Brickman, Bette. “Designing and Teaching Online Composition.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 30, no. 4, 2003, pp. 358-64.

Brickman identifies one method of developing and implementing an online writing course for advanced EFL students. She explains her preparation for online instruction and provides an overview of her course design choices.  Based on her experiences, she encourages faculty to be aware of the difficulty involved with students who are just starting online courses and to make instructions and directions very clear. Faculty should also monitor the tone of e-mail messages, because of the lack of non-verbal cues make short messages appear abrupt to some students. Faculty who are new to distance education should be prepared to spend a considerable amount of time getting started and must account for problems with Internet connections and course-management systems. Nevertheless, Brickman states that with patience and institutional support, online courses can be effective.

Keywords: EFL, e-mail, course and program design: English, course-management systems

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10

Buckley, Joanne. “The Invisible Audience and the Disembodied Voice: Online Teaching and the Loss of Body Image. Computers and Composition, vol. 14, no. 2, 1997, pp. 179–87.

Buckley’s article begins with her history of teaching literature as a woman with cerebral palsy. Although she had taught in the classroom for fourteen years (at the time of this article) she states that her six years of teaching online classes have been “the most experimental, fruitful, and often the most intimate work I have done, mainly because I feel freed from the real--and perceived--constraints of my physical body” (179). Buckley provides a history of physical disabilities in the postsecondary classroom and then highlights her own negative experiences teaching in a face-to-face classroom. The article then details what she sees as the benefits of teaching online, particularly for writing and literature classes, in terms of how students and teachers benefit from the transmission of ideas in writing through computers. She concludes with a call for further research into both “students’ and teachers’ perceptions of themselves online” (186).

Keywords: literature, disability studies, accessibility, student perceptions

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 11

Burgstahler, Sheryl, and Rebecca Cory. Universal Design in Higher Education: From Principles to Practice, Harvard Educational P, 2008.

Burgstahler and Cory state that as greater numbers of students with disabilities attend postsecondary educational institutions, administrators have expressed increased interest in making their programs accessible to all students. This book provides both theoretical and practical guidance for schools as they work to turn this admirable goal into a reality, thereby making a crucial contribution to the growing body of literature on special education and universal design. Burgstahler and Cory look at the design of physical and technological environments at institutions of higher education, at issues pertaining to curriculum and instruction, and at the full array of student services. The book concludes with a thorough consideration of how to institutionalize universal design at higher education institutions. This text is provides necessary background and more administrative approach to online course and program design. It can provide a deeper understanding of how OWCs and programs can fit into larger institutional goals as well as share practical tips for classroom instruction.

Keywords: universal design, accessibility, assessment

OWI Principles: 1

Burgstahler, Sheryl A. “Opening Doors or Slamming Them Shut? Online Learning Practices and Students with Disabilities.” Social Inclusion, vol. 3, no. 6, 2015, pp.  69-79.

This article explores the question, “What online learning practices make social inclusion possible for individuals with disabilities?” Burgstahler answers this question with lessons learned from her own teaching experiences as well as those presented in research and practice literature. She also shares overall characteristics of distance learning programs that promote the social inclusion of students with disabilities in their courses. She points out how making courses welcoming to, accessible to, and usable by individuals with disabilities may promote the social inclusion of other students as well. She recommends further dissemination and future research regarding inclusive practices in online learning. This article summarizes many ways to making online courses accessible and is a starting place for instructors new to online learning who are interested in creating accessible online courses.

Keywords: accessibility, disabilities, universal design

OWI Principles: 1

CAST. Universal Design for Learning Guidelines Version 1.0. The National Center on Universal Design for Learning, 2008.


Based upon over 1,000 articles in “education, cognitive science, cognitive neuroscience, neuropsychology, and neuroscience,” CAST’s Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (UDL Guidelines) were designed to provide a clear, coherent representation of strategies for developing and supporting more accessible, inclusive educational environments. The guidelines are arranged into three categories or main principles: representation (providing multiple written, oral/auditory, and visual ways of perceiving and communicating information to optimize understanding); expression (providing options for accessing, navigating, and communicating information while providing noncognitive support in the form of assistance planning and managing goals, projects, and progress); and engagement (providing multiple ways to engage individuals and groups with material in a supportive environment where learning is scaffolded with frequent feedback and reflection) (2). The guidelines have extensive implications for designing accessible, inclusive online writing environments and facilitating instruction in those environments and represent a key document for the field.

Keywords: accessibility, student engagement, universal design

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4

CAST. Universal Design for Learning Guidelines Version 2.0. The National Center on Universal Design for Learning, 2011,


The second version of CAST’s Universal Design for Learning Guidelines (UDL Guidelines) maintain many key features of the first version, including being organized into three categories of educational strategies: 1) representation, 2) expression, and 3) engagement. More concise and expansive in focus, the second version was revised to be used in any learning environment, not just traditional educational environments, with an expanded focus on multiple disciplines. Additionally, the updated guidelines incorporate a goal for each category: 1) creating “[r]esourceful, knowledgeable learners” through diverse representation, 2) developing “[s]trategic, goal-directed learners” through options for action and expression, and 3) forming “[p]urposeful, motivated learners” through engagement-oriented strategies (2). The guidelines represent a key guiding document for designing accessible, inclusive online writing environments and facilitating instruction in those environments.

Keywords: accessibility, student engagement, universal design

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4

Cargile Cook, Kelli. “An Argument for Pedagogy-Driven Online Education.” Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 49-66.

Cargile Cook’s chapter provides a brief historical perspective of the assumptions behind two methods of online education: technology-driven education and pedagogy-driven education. The former method identifies how many delivery technologies for distance education have privileged an objectivist, delivery-driven method of education. While “pioneering” technical communication instructors identified the disconnections between the affordances of delivery-driven technology and effective teaching practices, migrating on-site teaching practices to online classes proved challenging. Cargile Cook identifies how technologies such as slate and chalk and paper and pencil impacted how teachers structured learning and concludes that looking at the differences in “mundane writing and teaching technologies” (58)  in periods of technological transition will help educators understand the shifts from onsite education to online education as well. The latter method, pedagogy-driven education, Cargile Cook presents as a five-step process for “promot[ing] a good fit between instructors’ values, learning theories, and technologies” (59). The five steps to this process are 1) define course goals and delivery methods; 2) define activities for goal achievement; 3) evaluate assessment opportunities for course goals; 4) choose instructional technologies that support the course’s pedagogical goals, activities, and assessment strategies; and 5) consider student needs in terms of goals, activities and technologies. The chapter concludes that the pedagogy-driven course will help faculty develop online classes that meet the same quality requirements as their on-site courses.  Cargile Cook provides a concrete method of developing online courses that integrate technology to serve writing instruction, not the other way around. The historical overview of writing technologies serves to remind faculty that technology has always been a present, if transparent, factor in writing instruction.

Keywords: teaching with technology: English, pedagogy: English, instructional design, course and program design: English

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4

Cargile Cook, Kelli. “Immersion in a Digital Pool: Training Prospective Online Instructors in Online Environments.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 16, no. 1, 2007, pp. 55-82.

Arguing that the online writing environment is optimal for teaching prospective online writing instructors how to develop and implement courses, Cargile Cook explores the necessary steps for online instructors to take before welcoming their first students to their online platform. Cargile Cook proposes that one of the best ways for new online instructors to gain experience running their own online course is by immersing themselves in a student-like experience: learning as a student within an online course which focuses on teaching how to utilize the course management systems in their full capacity while also providing instructors with the hands-on experience of a student gives them a unique and genuine perspective from a student's point of view.  In this way, instructors learn how to create an online course by experiencing one for themselves. This teaches instructors how to give their courses a fluid and expansive feel and to avoid creating a correspondence course, where individuals simply download written lectures, complete assignments, and wait for evaluations with little or no interaction with the instructor or their peers. Most importantly, a class archive can provide potential online instructors with a reference point as an accessible, tangible, and reproducible experience from which they can learn and later recreate and modify when they begin to teach online.

Keywords:  faculty development, instructional design

OWI Principles:   1, 3, 4

Cargile Cook, Kelli, and Keith Grant-Davie, editors. Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication. Baywood, 2012.

The chapters in this collection were solicited ten years after those for the editors’ previous collection, Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers. Given the changes in online education over this decade, this collection focuses on how online writing instruction has changed, what online instructors have learned, and how online programs are sustained. Chapters are organized into three sections: 1) Evolving Programs and Faculty, 2) Adapting to Changing Student Needs and Abilities, and 3) Reinventing Course Contents and Materials. This collection provides insights into innovative instructional strategies, encourages experimentation with and critical reflection on technologies, and suggests that online instructors’ classrooms will thrive with continued training, mentorship, and practice in these environments.

Keywords: course and program design: English, technical and professional writing, instructional design, faculty development, course evaluation, program evaluation: English, mentorship, online writing programs

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 15

Carpenter, Trudy, William L. Brown, and Randall C. Hickman. “Influences of Online Delivery on Developmental Writing Outcomes.” Journal of Developmental Education, vol. 28, no.1, Fall 2004, pp. 14-35.

In this piece, Carpenter, Brown and Hickman provide data on urban Midwest community college students who took developmental writing online. They studied 265 students enrolled in a developmental writing class using logistical regression analysis to study student retention and student success (controlling for self-selection of modality and instructor effect) to determine whether instructional delivery (face-to-face vs. online) had a significant impact on student outcomes. Their analysis showed that while online courses had higher withdrawal rates than face-to-face courses, those students who remained in online courses saw higher success rates. Students with lower Accuplacer scores withdrew from online courses in greater numbers, and students with higher Accuplacer scores withdrew from face-to-face courses in higher numbers. Student scores in reading also inversely correlated with student withdrawal rates in both modalities.  Carpenter, Brown, and Hickman suggest that something about the online delivery method leads to greater success if the students actually complete the online developmental writing course and do not withdraw. he authors conclude by providing a table listing their findings and offering suggestions for pedagogical improvements for the developmental writing course.

Keywords: developmental writing, student success, retention, two-year college, quantitative research

OWI Principles: 1, 4, 12, 15

Cason, Jacqueline and Patricia Jenkins. “Adapting Instructional Documents to an Online Course Environment.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie. Baywood Publishing, 2013, pp. 213-36.

Cason and Jenkins identify how online instructional materials need to include the types of cues and interrelationships that face-to-face instructors provide in physical classrooms as they hand out and discuss those materials. Creating and adapting instructional materials, what Cargile Cook (2005) defines as the presentational aspects of the online course, requires that instructors interrogate the inclusion of context and connectivity through a revised version of Pare and Smart’s concept of “genre,” or patterns of regularity across textual features, composing practices, reading practices, and social roles (216-217). The authors “interrogate” a general education course, English 213: Writing in the Social and Natural Sciences, using this model to demonstrate how each of the four features is evident in the three stages of moving course materials from face-to-face to online: 1) the replacement practice, 2) the sequential learning unit, and 3) the multimodal turn. The authors encourage faculty moving to or revising materials online to consider a similar heuristic for understanding their roles and presence in online assignments in order to work within and, when necessary, outside of the technologies imposed upon them by institutions, such as a standard learning management system (LMS). The chapter provides a means by which faculty seeking to develop or refine their online classes might do so effectively by designing learning materials using multimedia components that better integrate the presentational aspects of face-to-face courses into online spaces.

Keywords: course and program design: English, multimodal, genre, instructional design, course management system,

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 5, 11

Chan, Mei Yuit, and Ngee Thai Yap. “Encouraging Participation in Public Discourse through Online Writing in ESL Instruction.” The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies, vol. 16, no. 2, 2010, pp. 115-39.

Chan and Yap identify challenges to ESL students when instructors construct projects that involve socially-driven writing and engagement in civic awareness in online settings. In particular, the authors indicate two specific challenges that face ESL learners as they encounter public writing tasks in online classrooms: 1) ESL students must be familiar with English and comfortable writing in English, and 2) some ESL students are not comfortable communicating in the public sphere (119-120). The authors’ study “examined the extent to which the use of an online discussion board as part of a university ESL writing course requirement served to encourage ESL student towards participation in public discourse” (121). The online students (n=1400) were required to write at least 200 word discussion board posts over the course of a ten week online writing class. The students were then surveyed to “identify their perceptions on their English writing skills development, their confidence to write in public in English, the effect of audience on their writing, the value they place on participation in online discussion, and reasons for their intention to participate or not participate in future online discussions” (124). Survey results indicated that online ESL students appreciated the value of online forums, and the researchers concluded that online writing for ESL students was valuable and that “ESL writing instruction harness the benefits of public writing, and . . . contribute to the empowerment of students to enter into public discourse in the global community” (135). This research demonstrates the need for online writing faculty to engage ESL in online discussion activities in order to both build their English skills and their confidence in writing to real-world audiences.

Keywords: ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, surveys, agency

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11, 15


Chandler, Sally W. et al. “On the Bright Side of the Screen: Material-World Interactions Surrounding the Socialization of Outsiders to Digital Spaces.” Computers and Composition, vol. 24, no. 3, 2007, pp. 346-64. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2007.05.007.

Sally Chandler, Joshua Burnett and Jacklyn Lopez contribute to research that examines how “outsiders” resist Internet discourses shaped by a western perspective. Their ethnographic case study explores how those outside of discourse communities enter those communities. First, they provide a history of research on how individuals acclimated to new communities. They then investigate “how mindset differences affect teaching and learning when students and teachers are from different digital generations” (350).  The study extends strategies used by gamers to initiate an “outsider” named Sally, a digital immigrant, into the world of gaming. The authors provide concrete examples of the discourse that surrounded Sally’s acclimation to the gaming culture, suggesting that these strategies can be used by instructors to help students who are “cultural outsiders” engage in classrooms and writing centers. In particular, the authors recommend that online writing instructors and online peer tutors, “help students to seek out, create, and enhance effective support” by “emphasizing the importance of self-directed, peer-supported learning, validating learners’ needs to connect to learning practices they bring to the new community, acknowledging the difficulty and importance of making shifts in mindsets, and alerting students to the discomfort and frustration they may encounter” (362-363). This article provides a set of strategies for bridging the gaps between the language and learning strategies that novice writers use in online worlds and the language and learning strategies that will help them be successful in the online writing classroom.

Keywords: tutoring: English, gamification, online writing centers, ethnography

OWI Principles: 1, 11, 13, 14, 15

Chen, M.-H., et al. “Developing a Corpus-Based Paraphrase Tool to Improve EFL Learners’ Writing Skills.” Computer Assisted Language Learning, vol. 28, no. 1, 2015, pp. 22-40.

Because EFL learners do not have adequate resources for learning paraphrasing concepts, Chen et al. developed a program, PREFER, that offers a “corpus-based paraphrasing assistance.” In this article, they report the results of EFL learners’ experiences (n=55) with the tool.  The program utilizes “multi-word input” to generate “a list of paraphrases in English and Chinese” and produces examples of sentence variations students can model in their own writing. The authors claim that the program is effective after comparing students’ written performances against those who used the program and those who used an online dictionary or thesaurus.

Key words: EFL, quantitative research

OWI Principles: 1, 6, 15    

Choi, Jessie. “Online Peer Discourse in a Writing Classroom.” International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, vol. 26, no. 2, 2014, pp. 217-31,

Choi outlines a study that addressed three research questions: “1) What types of online discourse appeared in the peer review process of a writing classroom with Hong Kong ESL undergraduates? 2) What is the role of explicit instructions and training for producing quality online peer discourse? and 3) What are the important elements that facilitate the production of quality online peer discourse?” (220). Participants in the study (n=27) were students in a Bachelor of Education program in Early Childhood Education in Hong Kong. Students participated in a writing assignment on a Blackboard wiki and were then asked to peer-review the content of their peers’ drafts both before and after they received specific instruction in the peer review process. The researcher then did content analysis to analyze whether students “showed a greater awareness of making quality comments than they did prior to taking the training and instructions on peer review” (221). Results indicated that students benefited from explicit peer review training, from evaluating their peer reviews, and from careful organization of groups. This study helps both blended and online instructors understand how to better facilitate peer review groups who work collaboratively online.

Keywords: peer review, collaboration, ELL, ESL, multilingual Writers, qualitative research

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, 15

Clerehan, Rosemary. “Framing Writing Support Online for an International Student Population.” Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, vol. 1, no. 3, 2006, pp. 195-219.

Clerehan’s study investigated the issues that arise when students from other cultures (even from Western, English-speaking cultures) encounter post-secondary assignments from new cultures. The study investigates the efficacy of stand-alone online materials that support student writing in the disciplines. The objective of the research was to understand how incoming freshmen, many of whom were international students, responded to discipline-specific writing support materials posted online and “whether the theory (as embodied in the resource) correctly identified the students’ learning needs from the students’ perspectives” (201). Her results indicated that international students were “more likely to report the module elements as difficult or very difficult to understand than were the local students” (204). The survey indicated no significant difference on the helpfulness of the materials between local and international students. The motivation of local students to access and use the resources ranged from 59% to 67%, and the motivation of international students to use these resources was 92%. Clerehan concludes that “universities with diverse student cohorts who are concerned to internationalize their curricula and to improve their online teaching and support for student learning, research theoretically sound ways of doing so” (213). This research demonstrates that online writing faculty who teach international student populations review their materials to ensure that the writing suitable for diverse audiences.

Keywords: ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, course and program design: English

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 13, 15

Committee on Disability Issues in College Composition. Composing Access. Computers and Composition Digital Press, 2016,

This Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) committee researched and made recommendations for ways to make NCTE, CCCC, and the teaching of writing more accessible and inclusive for individuals who identify as having a disability. Their work ranges from increasing the accessibility of conferences to considering employment practices within the field to researching and making recommendations regarding writing instruction practices for students with disabilities. In conjunction with other CCCC committees, their work is leading the way toward re-envisioning writing instruction for individuals with disabilities.

Keywords: access, disability studies

OWI Principles: 1

Committee on Disability Issues in College Composition. A Policy on Disability in CCCC. Conference on College Composition and Communication, 2006,

This Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) policy statement advocates for full inclusion of individuals who identify as having a disability and for full inclusion of disability studies into the realm of composition studies, including its learning and instructional practices, scholarship, professional development, and employment practices. The policy 1) lays a foundation for taking practical action to improve access and inclusion immediately when possible through pedagogical changes and changes in conferences; 2) provides the groundwork for other committees, including the CCCC Committee on Disability Issues and the CCCC Committee for Effective Practices in Online Writing Instruction; and 3) provides a rationale for re-envisioning writing instruction for teachers and students with disabilities.

Keywords: access, disability studies

OWI Principles: 1

Condon, Conna, and Raul Valverde. “Increasing Critical Thinking in Web-Based Graduate Management Courses.” Journal of Information Technology Education: Research, vol. 13, 2014, pp. 177-91.

Condon and Valverde found that students who were participating in a graduate-level online accounting and operations management course were producing summaries of their assigned readings rather than composing critically engaged responses for discussion board posts. To understand this problem, faculty theorized that students may not have the same cultural writing processes that teachers expected, or that students who came from professional fields might not have been exposed to critical thinking strategies. To learn effective practices for encouraging critical thinking skills, researchers turned to the types of questions that were asked of students in their Discussion Questions (DQ) and surmised that they were not asking students to “exhibit analytical thinking.” Reframing the questions was not enough to elicit work that “included analysis or synthesis.” Thus researchers set out to answer whether “the DQ process from design through implementation and grading [could] be improved to increase the achievement of learning objectives and critical thinking in online class forum asynchronous?” (179) To do so, researchers compared a pilot course and original course in which they used mixed-methodologies (comparative case study, discussion question development, and writing quality development) to analyze responses to discussion questions. Condon and Valverde conclude that “ongoing content analysis could be used to identify whether any specific DQ was achieving the level of critical thinking intended for that DQ, as may vary by DQ type.” (188)

Keywords: discussion: WAC, graduate classes, empirical research, case study, mixed methods,

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11, 15

Crow, Kevin L. “Four Types of Disabilities: Their Impact on Online Learning.” TechTrends: Linking Research and Practice to Improve Learning, vol. 52, no. 1, 2008, pp. 51-55.

Crow identifies four major disability types: 1) visual, 2) hearing, 3) motor, and 4) cognitive impairments.  He illustrates the challenges that these disabilities present for learners in online environments. He suggests ways to make online learning accessible, including assistive technologies and universal design. After providing a list of accessibility resources, he suggests ways “to help make online learning more accessible to learners who have disabilities” (54).

Keywords: accessibility, universal design, disability studies

OWI Principles: 1

Dailey, Susan R. “Linking Technology to Pedagogy in an Online Writing Center.” Journal of the Legal Writing Institute, vol. 10, no. 1, 2004, pp. 181–206.  

Dailey explores the online writing lab (OWL) model for law schools and target groups of law students. She examines writing center pedagogy and the perception of the OWL model within that pedagogy. She then goes on to explain the possibilities of the OWL for law schools, offering specific features that enhance the writing center’s functionality. She analyzes the benefits of OWLs for three target groups: 1) the experienced writer, 2) the first-generation college student, and 3) the second-language (L2) law student. For experienced writers, Dailey argues that the OWL can provide information without insulting these writers’ established knowledge, instead supplementing it with resources to help them become better writers through professional samples. Because first-generation college students enter college, and subsequently law school, less prepared, their writing often suffers. The OWL model for these law students proves useful in techniques such as a error analysis and acknowledgment of unconscious grammar knowledge. L2 students’ law writing generally reflects a need for help in sentence and global level issues. Dailey posits that teaching contrastive pedagogical techniques will help these readers and that the OWL model is most beneficial because of the ability to hyperlink between multiple discourses simultaneously. Dailey sees the potential of OWL to offer real resources for the development of law students’ writing skills.

Keywords: online writing lab, ELL, ESL, multilingual writer, L2, WAC, WID

OWI Principles 1, 3, 13

de Montes, L. E. Sujo , et al. “Power, Language, and Identity: Voices from an Online Course.” Computers and Composition, vol. 19, no. 3, 2002, pp. 251-71.

L.E. Sujo de Montes, Sally M.Oran and Elizabeth M. Willis analyze the role of race in online class discussions. In particular, the authors “apply theoretical frames of constructivism, symbolic interactionism, and critical theory [to] reveal issues of power and racism in student communications” (252), in particular, student communications centered around a disagreement on a course bulletin board that demonstrated “differing views of power, ethnicity and identity between majority and minority students” (252). The authors used inductive qualitative data analysis to study twenty-five students in a foundations course for a master’s degree who all had ESL students. The article includes narratives from the three researchers and an overview of the events that lead to the three encounters and associated events that were included in the study. The researchers talked about how the classroom discourse helped to demonstrate how ethnic identity for the students was presented in empowering and in less-empowering ways. They conclude with a reminder for online writing instructors not to “turn a blind eye on race, ethnicity, and power [that] denies minority students the conversations and confrontations critical for ethnic identity development” (268).  The article ends with actions that will help constructivist teachers to use critical reflection to interrogate their own issues surrounding power, language, and identity.

Keywords: power, constructivism, qualitative research, ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, culturally responsive pedagogy, race, graduate education

OWI Principles: 1, 11, 15

DePew, Kevin Eric. “Social Media at Academia’s Periphery: Studying Multilingual Developmental Writers’ Facebook Composing Strategies.” Reading Matrix, vol. 11, no. 1, 2011, pp. 54-75,

As a follow-up study to DePew and Miller-Cochran (2009), DePew uses a similar research protocol to learn about the social media composing practices of multilingual students placed in developmental writing classes. DePew explains the complex linguistic capabilities most multilingual students develop when learning more than one language—capabilities ignored by many English speakers who expect near proficient syntactic written products. Moreover, because most writing instructors almost solely focus on language correctness, they overlook the rhetorical sophistication that many of their students already have. To demonstrate the advanced rhetorical strategies these developmental students have developed, DePew reports on three students giving a tour of their Facebook profiles. Like the advanced students in the DePew & Miller-Cochran research, DePew learns that these supposed developmental writers also mostly make deliberate decisions but also make a few decisions based on just trying to create a “cool” outcome. Also, like the previous study, audience is a key factor in the multimodal composing decisions these students make, such as whether to post a picture or not or whether to use Microsoft Word to spell check posts before posting them. DePew concludes that instructors should try to leverage this rhetorical sophistication by helping students transfer these strategies from their social media composing process. As with DePew and Miller-Cochran, this article can help OWI instructors design curricula that leverages the types of online writing that struggling students are familiar with as a way of helping these students see that they already know how to fulfill their audience’s expectations for several writing features.

Keywords: social media, multilingual writers, developmental writing, literacy, education

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 5, 11, 15

DePew, Kevin Eric. “Preparing for the Rhetoricity of OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 439-68.

DePew targets the complexity of Principle 2 of CCCC’s A Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices for OWI, “An online writing course should focus on writing not on technology orientation or teaching students how to use learning and other technologies.” While the second principle discourages writing programs and instructors from teaching technology for the sake of teaching technology, DePew argues that writing courses should be seen as applied rhetoric courses, and as such, instructor and students need to develop an understanding that the digital technologies they use to deliver communication and assignment responses are rhetorical—someone designed them to serve specific social functions. Framing this argument with Selber’s (2004) multiliteracies (i.e., functional literacy, critical literacy, rhetorical literacy), DePew contends that writers are best positioned to use the best available means of persuasion when they understand the influence the programmer’s software design choices has on the texts they compose. Preparing instructors and students to develop this meta-awareness is particularly important for OWI because of the arguments that that instructors and students inherently make to each other (e.g., “The material I am teaching is important” and “I am a good student”) are almost solely mediated through digital technologies; therefore, these lessons have real consequences as these stakeholders prepare to engage real and diverse audience (Principle 1). This chapter has an appendix that illustrates how the principles discussed in the chapters can be put into practice as assignments.

Keywords: accessibility, teaching with technology: English, web design, audience

OWI Principles: 1, 2

DePew, Kevin E., and Heather Lettner-Rust. “Mediating Power: Distance Learning, Classroom Epistemology and the Gaze.” Computers and Composition, vol. 26, no. 3, 2009, pp. 174-89. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2005.12.005.

DePew and Lettner-Rust argue that the interfaces that we use to mediate distance learning shape the power relationship between students and instructors. Using the works of Paulo Freire and Michel Foucault as a theoretical lens, they demonstrate that many interfaces are designed to support what Freire calls a “banking model of learning” by positioning the instructor as the only expert in this instructional situation. Some digital interfaces are designed to facilitate instructors’ dissemination of course content as text and video with little concern for the students’ contribution to the learning process. Additionally, certain interfaces can reveal personal information about students that might influence how instructors evaluate their work; this may be vexing for students marked by physical traits, such as their gender, race, ethnicity, and age. The authors initially examine the interfaces of the face-to-face classroom and the correspondence course and then study simulated classrooms and synchronous video classes. To illustrate each of these interface types, they closely study a writing center’s email tutorials, an instant messaging-based interaction between students, and a studio classroom that send live broadcasts to and receives them from students in remote locations. For the last interface, DePew and Lettner-Rust provide the perspective of both the instructor and the student.  The authors conclude that since the interfaces for online classrooms, like most software designs, are not neutral and support specific ideological positions, administrators and instructors of online writing courses need to interrogate the interfaces they choose for online writing instruction to determine whether the design helps or hinders their own pedagogical and thus ideological goals.

Keywords: critical pedagogy, gender, synchronous interaction, course and program design: English, email, online writing center, race,

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10

DePew, Kevin Eric, and Susan Kay Miller. “Studying L2 Writers’ Digital Writing: An Argument for Post-Critical Methods.” Computers and Composition, vol. 22, no. 3, 2005, pp. 259-78. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2005.05.001.

DePew and Miller describe the divergence and convergence of “digital writing studies (also known as computers and composition studies) and second language (L2) writing” (260). While scholars in either field might be confident in their own field, if asked “which computer-mediated writing technologies are most conducive for facilitating L2 writers’ academic literacy development, the available corpus of literature that addresses all aspects of this question decreases significantly” (260). The authors argue for a post-critical framework for the study of digital writing practices of L2 writers after first acknowledging the difficulties and benefits of applying that framework to “the interdisciplinarity of a digital/L2 inquiry” (263). Next, the article “place[s] post-critical methodologies into conversation with methodological trends of digital writing, L2 writing and their related disciplines” (269). Finally, the article ends with implications of post-critical research and a call for the use of this methodology to study the digital lives of L2 students. This article could be used to analyze, extend, or critique other studies of L2 learners in online writing instruction.

Keywords: ELL, ESL, multilingual writers, L2

OWI Principles: 1, 15

DePew, Kevin Eric, and Susan K. Miller-Cochran. “Social Networking in a Second Language: Engaging Multiple Literate Practices Through Identity Composition.” Inventing Identities in Second Language Writing, edited by Michelle Cox et al., National Council of Teachers of English, 2009, pp. 273-95.

DePew and Miller-Cochran seek to learn how social media writers, specifically those whom are multilingual writers, compose their identity in these spaces. To this end, the authors study three advanced multilingual students—from Thailand, India, and Belarus—who were using an array of social media—Facebook, hi5, Orkut, and Odnoklassniki. They asked them to give a virtual tour of their profile pages. From these three students, the authors learn that the students are often making deliberate decisions about how they use verbal language, images, and video to present themselves, yet they make some decisions because they think the outcome “will be cool.” The participants also described a conflicted relationship with their audiences in which they wanted to protect themselves from unwanted audiences (i.e., not all of these social media sites provided privacy setting for their users) but barely regulated what they wanted to post based upon their audience. Overall these students demonstrate advanced levels of rhetorical sophistication, similar to writing instructors’ expectations for academic prose. For DePew and Miller-Cochran these participants’ practices raise more questions about multilingual writers composing using social media, especially whether their social media composing practices reflect the same literacy practice for multilingual developmental writers. This chapter can help online writing instructors design strategies for helping multilingual students use backwards reaching transfer to connect familiar multimodal literacy practices with those they want students to use in their courses.

Keywords: ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, case study, audience, multimodal, literacy, social media, course and program design: English

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11, 15

De Rycker, Antoon, and Prema Ponnudurai. “The Effect of Online Reading on Argumentative Essay Writing Quality.” GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, vol. 11, no. 3, 2011, pp. 147-62,

De Rycker and Ponnudurai performed a quasi-experimental study with ESL students in Malaysia (n=45) to compare the students’ quality of argumentation when reading interactive texts presented on a screen or texts printed on paper. Students completed an argumentative essay after reading the texts, and that essay was scored using a modified version of Harrell’s rating scale. The researchers found that the modality of the text did not affect the length of the essays or the students’ abilities to present counter-arguments. However, more students who read the interactive online reading wrote thesis statements and overall arguments that were rated as “good” (156). The sample size limited the study, but this research sets the stage for additional, more robust studies of the effect of reading on a computer screen as opposed to reading a print text and how either of those modalities affect student writing ability in online and hybrid classes.

Keywords: ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, modality, qualitative research, reading, hybrid

OWI Principles: 1, 4, 13, 15

“Disabilities.” World Health Organization. World Health Organization, 2016.

The World Health Organization is another important resource to support arguments about accessibility and the numbers of people affected. The WHO definition of disability is also one that can be useful because it is much broader (along the lines of disability studies) than the US definition, which can be helpful depending on the type of argument you need to make. The site includes a variety of resources from statistical data to informational reports. Those studying OWI in regards to accessibility will find this useful to establish the parameters of disability in relation OWI.

Keywords: accessibility, disability studies

OWI Principles: 1

Dolmage, Jay. “Disability, Usability, Universal Design.” Rhetorically Rethinking Usability,  edited by Susan Miller Cochran and Rochelle L. Rodrigo, Hampton Press, 2009, pp. 167-90.

This essay rhetorically interrogates the relationship between usability and universal design (UD), arguing that disability has been variously incorporated or excised from definitions and uses of the concepts. Using the lens of disability studies, Dolmage attempts to problematize UD and usability and to critique each concept from the perspective of the other, establishing the ways that usability and universal design need one another.  Finally, Dolmage briefly outlines the ways that students themselves have demanded such inter-animation, and how their input shaped the arguments in this essay.  From this experience, Dolmage looks towards the future development of composition pedagogy that plans for difference through universal design and that gives critical voice to students’ different abilities and needs through usability.  He argues that involving students in the re-definition of pedagogy is a crucial project for the critical rhetorician.  For OWI, this essay offers a theoretical perspective that ends with a direct connection to pedagogy: that instructors need to ask students what is working or not working in their online classrooms. This recursive pedagogy is vital to inclusive learning spaces and can directly impact student learning.

Keywords: accessibility, universal design, disability studies, usability testing, pedagogy: English

OWI Principles: 1

Driscoll, Dana, et al. “Usability and User-Centered Theory for 21st Century OWLs.” Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices, edited by Pavel Zemliansky and Kirk St. Amant. Hershey, IGI Global, 2008, pp. 614-31.


Driscoll, Brizee, Salvo, and Sousa examine the theories of user-centered Online Writing Labs (OWL) and the research conducted on the usability of the Purdue OWL. They detail the history of the Purdue Writing Lab, the Purdue OWL Usability Project, and the implications of user-centered theory and usability research, primarily those involving collaboration with users to create an online literacy resource. In the study, two tests were conducted. In test one, the participants navigated the OWL and answered a survey, while in test two, participants responded to questions while using both the OWL website and a user-centered OWL prototype. Results suggest the prototype was more time efficient and participant responses to the prototype were positive. Researchers conclude that the necessity of usability research paired with participatory invention for the most effective user-centered website.

Keywords:  online writing labs, usability studies, user-centered design, qualitative research

OWI Principles: 1, 13, 15

Eaton, Angela. “Students in the Online Technical Communication Classroom.” Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 31-48.

Eaton analyzes the results from a survey of online students at six institutions (n=37) who answered questions regarding what they liked about online classrooms, what they disliked about online classrooms, and what advice they had for online faculty. Participants reported that they primarily liked that online classes fit their schedule and that they could participate in classes without commuting. The two most disliked qualities of online instruction were the lack of face-to-face interaction with classmates and with faculty. Online students in this survey recommended that faculty understand and respect the amount of time and demands required of students in online courses, be clear about how the course activities were beneficial to their learning, and create consistent deadlines so that online students could easily schedule their assignments in hectic schedules. In addition, online students recommended that faculty “be involved,” by providing feedback regularly and being personable in their written comments. Finally, students suggested that faculty choose technology that serves the course (and not the other way around), be careful with limiting the face-to-face meetings in hybrid courses, and to be aware of how programs are marketed to students to make sure that they meet student expectations of online courses in programs. Based on these comments, Eaton concludes that online programs can best market to and serve online technical communication students by determining if the program can be found in a web search on the first page of search results, using the “word of mouth” technique, and recruiting through professional organizations. Finally, the chapter concludes by recommending that marketing methods focus on selling the benefits of studying at a distance and working classes into busy schedules. The data provided in the student comments to faculty reinforces the need for careful course design around instructor-to-student and student-to-student interaction, an awareness of time constraints for online students, and the clear and intentional use of technology to serve the writing in online classes.

Keywords: student satisfaction, technical and professional writing, marketing, instructor presence, surveys, hybrid, course and program design: English

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 15

Ehmann, Christa, and Beth L. Hewett. “OWI Research Considerations.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 517-46.

Ehmann and Hewett address key issues of research into OWI by considering development of research questions, theoretical frameworks, methods, analytical approaches, and dissemination venues. After a literature review that supports the exigency for OWI research, they discuss the need for qualitative and quantitative research, and they provide an analysis of some methodological research approaches with emphasis on replicable, aggregable, and data-supported (RAD) research. Organizationally, they align their literature review and discussions of various research topics with the OWI Principles and offer a series of research questions that readers can develop into potentially useful projects. OWI Principle 1 regarding access and inclusivity is a primary concern as it is one of the least explored considerations of online literacy instruction. Among the topics they consider for research are online tutoring, automated writing evaluation (AWE), and massive open online courses (MOOCs). This chapter may be especially helpful to those seeking to develop core research projects in OWI.

Keywords: access, automated writing evaluation, MOOCs, qualitative research, quantitative research, research, online writing center

OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 15

Elder, Catherine, et al.  “Evaluating Rater Responses to an Online Training Program for L2 Writing Assessment.” Language Testing, vol. 24, no. 1, 2007, pp. 37-64.

Elder et al. discuss the methodology and findings of a study conducted to investigate rater reactions to an online evaluation program designed to decrease variability and enhance reliability of rater scores. Data was collected in three phases to compare rater perceptions and mark behavior before and after training: pre-training questionnaire, online rater training, and post-training questionnaire. Diagnostic English Language Needs Assessment (DELNA) writing samples were given to the study group—most of whom were ESL instructors—to rate the fluency, content, and form of the samples. Once samples were rated, participants answered a brief survey dealing with training. Participants then took online DELNA training and were then asked to re-rate previous writing samples and fill out a follow-up survey. The findings suggest individual variation in receptiveness to training input and its effectiveness. Researchers conclude with suggesting a refinement of the online training program as well as further research into the factors influencing rater responsiveness.

Keywords:  ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, L2, assessment, surveys, qualitative research, faculty development

OWI Principles:  1, 6, 7, 15

English, Joel. Plugged In: Succeeding as an Online Learner, Wadsworth, 2014.

English’s book is targeted to students, but instructors can benefit from its content as well. English makes the argument that though online courses are convenient, it does not mean they are easy. He provides students with a realistic picture of what to expect from an online course and the tools and skills sets the will need or need to develop in order to be successful. He argues that students need to be honest with themselves about their computer skills, motivation, priorities, responsibilities, and how much they can take on at one time. English gives four fundamentals—motivation, self-discipline, communication and commitment—as his tools to success and elaborates on each throughout the book. The main emphasis of this book is outlining the differences between face-to-face and online courses with the aim of bringing awareness to students and instructors alike.

Keywords: retention, student success, student preparation, time management

OWI Principles: 1, 4, 10

Ferganchick-Neufang, Julia K. “Harassment On-line: Considerations for Women & Webbed Pedagogy.” Kairos, vol. 2, no. 2, 1997,

Ferganchick-Neufang acknowledges the benefits of writing on the web to support student writing and to democratize the classroom, but she warns that we should not ignore problems that online instruction can create for women and people of color.  She focuses specifically on the issue of student-to-teacher harassment by first discussing a previous study on student-to-teacher harassment of women instructors in the traditional, face-to-face classroom. Despite being in positions of authority within the classroom, female instructors who responded to the survey for the study relayed incidents of sexual harassment and threats of violence from male students. The author warns that despite notions of computer-mediated instruction creating egalitarian spaces and discourses, the dangers female instructors can face in the traditional classroom are still present in online environments. She points to the exclusion of women in the fields of computer technology and virtual reality and discusses the real and perceived differences in computer expertise of men and women, which could hurt the ethos of a female instructor wanting to teach with computers. The author then points out that the opportunity for anonymity online may encourage the participation of some students to be aggressive or hostile. She provides the transcript from a MOO used in a class to demonstrate this point, noting that harassment through writing, like harassment that occurs over email or in virtual reality environments, is often ignored or brushed aside. This harassment is real, and female instructors should have administrative support when they are harassed in virtual environments. The article concludes with suggestions for addressing these concerns, including 1) not obscuring these difficulties by focusing too much on the positive possibilities of web pedagogy, 2) training students in netiquette, 3) creating disruptive behavior policies appropriate for web environments, and 4) opening up channels of communication regarding this issue. Though dated, this article provides an important perspective on issues and challenges that OWI instructors, particularly female instructors, might face.

Keywords: gender, race, surveys, qualitative research, email,

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 10, 11, 15

Fey, Marion H., and Michael J. Sisson. “Approaching the Information Superhighway: Internet Collaboration Among Future Writing Teachers.” Computers and Composition, vol. 13, no. 1, 1996, pp. 37–47.

Fey and Sisson detail the results of using computer-networked groups for future teachers of writing in order to both expose them to the technologies they would be using in their classrooms and to help them “experience the liberatory effects of collaborative pedagogy in long-distance, computer-mediated writing classes” (37). Sisson was a student in Fey’s class and provides a student’s perspective on the collaborative groups. Students initially met Fey for a face-to-face orientation and then collaborated primarily online. Sisson identifies technology difficulties experienced by various members of the group as well as the content that helped them to develop a close online community from their respective schools. Fey provides a final overview of how these online communities helped student teachers, particularly those in rural areas, to be more connected through the important transition from student to teacher, easing the sometimes difficult transition into the professional world.

Keywords: collaboration, community, faculty development, WAC

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 11, 15


Gibson, Keith, and Diane Martinez. “From Divide to Continuum: Rethinking Access in Online Education.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2013, pp. 197-212.

Online education relies heavily on technology to make online courses available to students who typically cannot attend face-to-face classes due to various reasons, including scheduling classes, cost, and distance. While online teachers experiment with new technologies to increase the availability of online learning, Gibson and Martinez suggest that using new, innovative technologies may result in online courses that are equally inaccessible to students as are some face-to-face classes. All online students do not have the same access to high-quality, fast Internet connections. While many online technologies are effective with low-speed Internet access, many pedagogical choices are better-suited for faster, higher-speed Internet connections.  Some student populations have access to the same technologies that a university may provide for the instructor, but not all students will have that same access. Gibson and Martinez propose that the digital divide has become a digital continuum where speed and mobility of online access are impacted by cost, availability, and age of user. These factors can affect digital teaching and learning negatively based upon the type of online access a student has. Accordingly, all pedagogical choices should be made with a diverse student population in mind, considering the digital continuum, focusing first and foremost on pedagogy and later on the best technologies to enact that pedagogy in accessible ways for all students.

Keywords: accessibility, teaching with technology: English, non-traditional students

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3

Goodfellow, Robin, and Mary R. Lea. “Supporting Writing for Assessment in Online Learning.” Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 30, no. 3, 2005, pp. 261-71.

This paper illustrates research conducted in the Open University’s MA, an Online and Distance Education Programme in the United Kingdom, one where distance students interact with a tutor who provides written assessment of their work. Goodfellow and Lea suggest that online discussion board interactions are commonly seen as representative pieces of student writing that are often used in assessment practices in terms of measuring student participation on the course; however, the authors argue that these writings should be viewed as written rhetorical practices in their own right and not just as indicators of social presence. When interviewing non-native and native speakers in the programme, the authors found that the non-native students perceived themselves as being at a disadvantage when participating in conference-type discussion boards because they took longer to respond than native speakers, and often, by the time they did post, the discussion had moved on. In addition, the students felt as though the tutors’ comments on their writing in these spaces did not take into consideration the complexities of joining the online forums as non-native speakers. To increase non-native speakers’ success in the programme, the authors designed “eWrite,” a repository of resources that attempted to provide the student view of writing issues by highlighting students’ personal accounts of working within an online course, orienting themselves to academic study, and learning “Anglo-American academic communication conventions” (268). The space allows for students and tutors to comment on the writing and the issues of social interaction raised within the documents in eWrite. The authors suggest that the new program helps raise both student and tutor awareness of “academic writing as social practice and the consequence of this raised awareness for the development of student writers and the diversity of the texts they produce” (268); the new software can also help make the needs of linguistically and culturally diverse students more explicit, which can ultimately aid in student production of written work, as well as within instructor assessment of the work these students produce in discussion boards.

Keywords: assessment, tutors: English, collaboration, discussion: English, feedback, student-to-student interaction, teaching with technology: English, ELL, ESL, multilingual writers

OWI Principles: 1, 6, 10, 11, 13

Griffin, June, and Deborah Minter. “The Rise of the Online Writing Classroom: Reflecting on the Material Conditions of College Composition Teaching.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 65, no.1, 2013, pp. 140-61.

Drawing on results of the 2012 survey of online instructors conducted by the CCCC Committee on Best Practices in Online Writing Instruction (OWI), Griffin and Minter address opportunities for student literacy learning and collaboration provided by emerging technologies. At the same time, they point to the challenges of access for many students, including those who are English language learners, economically disadvantaged, or physically disabled. For faculty, the OWI survey results emphasize the need for workload compensation, class size limits, and training in technological tools and online pedagogy. Griffin and Minter observe that the information available within online courses offers an opportunity for data comparisons across institutions that may lead to better assessment of online teaching quality.

Keywords: accessibility, faculty workload, course caps, faculty development, surveys, ELL, ESL, multilingual writers

OWI Principles: 1, 7, 11, 12

Harrington, Susanmarie, et al., editors. The Online Writing Classroom. Hampton Press, 2000.

This collection, edited by Susanmarie Harrington, Michael Day, and Becky Rickly, was published at a point where the “online writing classroom” primarily meant the networked or computer-mediated classroom. Harrington, Rickly, and Day bring together scholars who are working to view the lore of computerized and networked classrooms with “a more critical view” (3). The collection is divided into three parts: 1) Focus on Pedagogy, which “offer[s] a sense of the potentials and pitfalls of the online classroom by providing examples of pedagogical approaches and possible solutions” to problems with computerized and networked classrooms (15); 2) Focus on Community, which brings together chapters discussing successful pedagogies that build participatory community in computer-mediated courses; and 3) Focus on Administration, which focuses on the “behind the scenes” practices of departmental support, faculty preparation, and the material concerns of administering a writing program in computer classrooms. This collection rests on the line between the traditional, face-to-face classroom and the fully-online classroom and provides a rich historical context for how faculty and administrators navigated the move from face-to-face to online classrooms.

Keywords: pedagogy: English, faculty development, teaching with technology: English, community, writing program administration, online writing programs, assessment, networked classrooms, computer-mediated courses

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12

Harris, Muriel, and Michael Pemberton. “Online Writing Labs (OWLs): A Taxonomy of Options and Issues.” Computers and Composition, vol. 12, no. 2, 1995, pp. 145-59. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/8755-4615(95)90003-9.

Harris and Pemberton’s article provides a review of how writing centers in the mid 1990s implemented online tutoring. The article discusses how OWLs might transition from face-to-face to online, giving helpful advice for these writing center directors. The technologies used in the mid-1990s, including email, Gopher, World Wide Web (WWW), newsgroups, synchronous chat systems, and automated file retrieval (AFR) systems, provide the precursors to tools and technologies that are still in use for OWLs in the 21st century. Harris and Pemberton analyze how user access, network security, computer illiteracy, institutional missions, writing center goals, computing center priorities, and computer programmers’ attitudes all impact the success of online writing centers. Successful OWLs place pedagogical goals ahead of technology use, according to Harris and Pemberton. This article is important for anyone interested in studying the development of OWLs. Written by two of writing centers’ most esteemed scholars, this essay maps out the pros and cons of the various tools available for OWLs in the 1990s.

Keywords: online writing lab, writing centers, online resources, tutoring: English, synchronous interaction

OWI Principles: 1, 13

Hawisher, Gail E., and Cynthia L. Selfe, editors. Passions, Pedagogies, and 21st Century Technologies. Utah State UP, 1999.

Hawisher and Selfe compile one of the seminal collections dealing with technology use in the field of writing studies. The chapters in this collection investigate how “teaching and research are inherently social and political activities” (2) and that the collaborations that technologies promote among teachers and researchers encourage us to “share the important stories of teaching” and “reflect in critical ways on the work and profession that we share” (3). The collection is divided into four parts: 1) Refiguring Notions of Literacy in an Electronic World, 2) Revisiting Notions of Teaching and Access in an Electronic Age, 3) Ethical and Feminist Concerns in an Electronic World, and 4) Searching for Notions of our Postmodern Literate Selves in an Electronic World. This collection, while not explicitly about online writing instruction, brings together key players in the worlds of digital rhetoric and computer-mediated instruction to voice the concerns and promises that technology brought to the turn-of-the-21st-century writing studies world.

Keywords: collaboration, teaching with technology: English, literacy, accessibility, gender, identity, computer-mediated classrooms

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11

Hawisher, Gail E., and Cynthia Selfe. “Teaching Writing at a Distance: What’s Gender Got to Do With It?” Teaching Writing with Computers: An Introduction, edited by Pamela Takayoshi and Brian Huot, Houghton Mifflin, 2003, pp. 128-49.

Hawisher and Selfe discuss the roles of women as instructors and learners in a distance education setting. In doing so, they argue three premises. First, online environments have not succeeded in becoming the egalitarian spaces as many scholars in the field had hoped. Second, even making a claim that one can reduce gender differences in online courses to a single experience is not possible. Last, cultural and geographical contexts heavily influence how women experience online classes, both as students and as instructors. What can happen, Hawisher and Self argue, is that online classes can hope for creating classes that lead to the best possible learning environments for women. The article then addresses four elements: 1) statistics on and a working definition of distance education; 2) a review of research on distance education; 3) the views of five women who teach composition at a distance; and 4) the basics of a “feminist-informed pedagogy” for online and distance composition courses.

Keywords: gender, critical pedagogy, interviews, distance education

OWI Principles: 1, 4

Hewett, Beth L. “The Characteristics and Effects of Oral and Computer-Mediated Peer Group Talk on the Argumentative Writing Process.” Dissertation, Catholic U of America, 1998.

In her doctoral dissertation, Hewett describes a naturalistic study with functional and qualitative analyzes and retrospective interviews regarding whether and how students use computer-mediated communication (CMC) and oral peer response group commentary differently when they revise their drafts. Using and adapting Anne Ruggles Gere’s 1985 linguistic function taxonomy and an iteratively derived revision analysis adapted from Lester Faigley and Stephen Witte’s 1981 revision analysis taxonomy, this study reveals key differences between uses of peer group response in asynchronous, hybrid CMC and oral settings. The “oral talk was more contextually-focused on abstract, global idea development; the CMC talk was more focused on concrete writing issues and group management; and each environment seemed to generate qualitatively different talk regarding referential and phatic contact” (ii). Referential and phatic talk were qualitatively different between the oral and text-based modalities. Both the talk and the student revision had different qualities between the two modalities, “suggesting that the medium shapes not only talk, but revision itself” (iii). Student individual writing styles and challenges revealed that students with visual or auditory challenges might have experienced better access in particular learning environments. Hewett’s study suggests a need for understanding CMC-based peer response as both connected to and separate from oral-based peer response. It suggests need for additional research into text-based peer response groups and the writing that emerges from them, as well as for research into how students with various learning disorders may benefit from either the traditional or online setting or a combination of both.

Keywords: asynchronous interaction, computer-mediated communication, hybrid, orality, revision, peer review, collaboration, quantitative research, qualitative research, modality, accessibility

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 15

Hewett, Beth L. The Online Writing Conference: A Guide for Teachers and Tutors, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015.

In this book, formerly published by Heinemann Boynton/Cook in 2010, Hewett uses empirical research into online writing feedback and student revision to theorize that online writing students need especially clear and deliberate communication from their online instructors—both teachers and tutors. She calls this theory of OWI semantic integrity whereby the instructor is called on to consciously seek fidelity when communicating with students; in other words, the intention of the written message should be clearly delivered in language that helps students interpret the intention of the message. She also calls for instructors to intervene in the students’ writing in order to teach them what they can do in revision that might improve it. She provides a 4-step intervention plan of explaining 1) what the problem is, 2) why it is a problem, 3) how to address it (modeling revision using the student writing), and 4) to do something by working through next steps. Hewett expresses that online writing students may be served best when teachers and tutors use linguistically direct comments that inform students about their writing, direct their next steps in some manner, and elicit information through genuine questions (as opposed to rhetorical questions).  Her research indicates that students may not pay attention to linguistically indirect and conditional comments that suggest students might do something with their writing. She demonstrates how using indirection is inculcated into teachers and tutors through contemporary popular theory and practices and one-to-one tutoring where peer tutors are asked to consider themselves in Socratic positions with student writers.

Keywords: online conferencing, intervention, feedback, linguistically direct, linguistically indirect, semantic integrity, empirical research

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 13, 15

Hewett, Beth L. “Fully Online and Hybrid Writing Instruction.” A Guide to Composition Pedagogies, edited by H. Brooke Hessler et al., 2nd ed., Oxford UP, 2013, pp. 194-211.

In this article, Hewett provides a synopsis of OWI in both hybrid and fully online settings. Beginning with an historical view of literacy education, she considers early distance education and how OWI has caused specific concerns about quality, student learning, and empathetic interpersonal connection particularly. Hewett identifies six building blocks of OWI that, once defined for any institutional setting, can be moved about to form a unique OWI program or online writing course: (1) course setting, (2) pedagogical purpose, (3) digital modality, (4) medium, (5) student audience, and (6) technology availability. She purposefully addresses issues of technology last to demonstrate that despite its changeability, nearly any technology choices can be adapted to the online writing program or course purpose once the other five components are fully identified. She suggests some core resources that have been written with OWI’s earlier history in mind. Further, she considers issues of access, the need for more and better OWLs, and the development of financially compensated or otherwise rewarded training for teachers and tutors to be among the most critical concerns as OWI moves to the future.

Keywords: hybrid, literacy, distance education, pedagogy: English, modality, audience, accessibility, teaching with technology: English, online writing labs, tutoring: English

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14

Hewett, Beth L. Reading to Learn and Writing to Teach: Literacy Strategies for OWI, Bedford/St. Martins, 2015.

In this book, Hewett theorizes that the core literacy practice of reading is at the center of online writing instruction. In an online setting (whether hybrid or fully online, asynchronous or synchronous), much of the teaching and learning occurs through text, which must be read by students. When students are unskilled or weak readers, they may be less successful in online writing courses where their lesson content, primary readings, and teachers’ feedback and instructions typically are presented textually. Even when multimedia instructional tools are used for access or other reasons, reading is necessary for students to interpret teacher feedback to their writing and to then make use of such feedback in their revision. Teachers, too, face literacy issues in online writing courses as they must write content, instructions, and feedback for students using vocabulary and language that even less skilled readers can understand. Such writing differs dramatically from their typical scholarly writing. This book reviews the theory behind literacy challenges for the (new) nontraditional contemporary students whose reading habits are changing with digital technology. It provides specific literacy strategies for students (e.g., relearning such reading skills as metacognition, schema, inference, questioning, finding relevance, visualizing, analysis, and synthesis). It also provides writing strategies to help online writing instructors hone their writing to meet contemporary students’ literacy needs (e.g., using the 4-step intervention plan for feedback); such strategies include guidance for writing instructional text, providing readable feedback online, writing readable assignments, and offering thoughtful, tone-sensitive interpersonal communication.

Keywords: literacy, reading, multimedia, nontraditional student, intervention, feedback, assignment instructions, assignment design, assignment: English

OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15

Hewett, Beth L. “Grounding Principles of OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 33-92.

Hewett provides the theoretical background that supports the OWI Principles. She explicates each OWI Principle and addresses it within the context of the first principle regarding access and inclusivity. Each OWI Principle is presented in its full text along with the rationale the OWI Committee had originally provided for each principle. Hewett then offers a discussion that provides the committee’s historical research and discussions regarding the principle; its theoretical rationale; its connections to replicable, aggregable, and data-supported (RAD) research; and its general importance to those who study, research, and teach with OWI.

Keywords: accessibility, asynchronous interaction, hybrid, research, synchronous interaction, CCCC OWI Committee

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Hewett, Beth L., and Kevin Eric DePew, editors. Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015.

This book addresses the questions that OWI instructors and writing program, writing center, and other administrators should consider when developing viable OWI programs that have potentially effective practices. Each chapter corresponds to concerns raised in the 2013 A Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices published to the NCTE website by the CCCC Committee for Effective Practices in OWI. The five parts of this book address relevant issues for a principle-centered OWI: (1) An OWI Primer, (2) OWI Pedagogy and Administrative Decisions, (3) Practicing Inclusivity in OWI, (4) Faculty and Student Preparation for OWI, and (5) New Directions in OWI. Hewett and DePew emphasize a future academy where most writing courses will be taught or otherwise presented in some type of online setting, which makes it a core text for the next generation of composition theory and praxis and valuable for those who teach and/or tutor students writing in online settings.

Keywords: accessibility, inclusivity, praxis, research, theory, writing program administration, online writing programs, student preparation, faculty development, tutoring: English, online tutoring, writing centers, CCCC OWI Committee

OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Hewett, Beth L., and Kevin Eric DePew. “Introduction: A Research History of the CCCC OWI Committee.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 5-30.

Hewett and DePew outline the history of the CCCC Committee for Effective Practices in Online Writing Instruction (OWI) and its research. This historical background enables readers to understand the empirical quantitative and qualitative research that grounds the 2013 A Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices published to the NCTE website by the CCCC Committee for Effective Practices in OWI. They begin by defining the work of the OWI Committee per its charges from the CCCC Executive Committee upon its 2007 constitution and 2010 reconstitution, and it outlines the vocabulary that the committee has used in its discussions of OWI. They continue by explaining the committee’s general research methods that included 1) determining core research questions, 2) developing an annotated bibliography of the extant literature up until 2008, 3) conducting site visits and personal interviews, 4) developing and launching two national surveys, 5) analyzing and reporting on those surveys through a report of the contemporary state of OWI in both fully online and hybrid settings, 6) developing an expert/stakeholder’s group that could advise the committee, and 7) writing the OWI Principles. They describe the importance of understanding all of its work in the context of a new understanding of access and inclusivity. Finally, they end by outlining the rest of the book by sections and chapters. This unique book has the potential to serve OWI administrators, teachers, and tutors as they assist and teach students through online media.

Keywords: CCCC OWI Committee, faculty development, research, literature review, interviews, surveys, accessibility, inclusivity, writing program administration, online writing programs

OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Hewett, Beth L., and Robert Lynn. “Training ESOL Instructors and Tutors for Online Conferencing.” The Writing Instructor, Sept. 2007,

Using published literature to make the case that multilingual students need more support and intervention than may be common in contemporary tutoring practices, Hewett and Lynn argue that instructors who conduct one-to-one, online conferencing with multilingual students (ESOL) can experience particular challenges that require them to approach the students differently from what they would do with native English speakers. Particularly because online interactions have qualities of both talk and text, multilingual students may need different strategies that online instructors (both teachers and tutors) should receive in training. They suggest that training should be considered in terms of modality (asynchronicity and synchronicity) rather than one of selecting and using particular technologies. Hewett and Lynn offer example ESOL case studies to exemplify ten training points.  They additionally provide two ESOL examples in the appendixes. The ten strategies are 1) know how to give face, 2) sell yourself as an instructor, 3) make an art of clockwatching, 4) find out what the student wants, 5) learn how to talk to a particular student, 6) know what you’re talking about, 7) contexualize the conference, 8) use clear language, 9) proofread, and 10) teach by doing.

Keywords: ELL, ESL, multilingual writers, L2, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, tutor training, tutoring: english, instructor interaction, faculty development, teaching with technology: English

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 7, 14

Hewett, Beth L., and Scott Warnock. “The Future of OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 547-63.

Hewett and Warnock claim that the future of OWI is intimately connected to the future of composition “writ large.” They further argue that in the future, all composition will be taught in hybrid settings—if it is not already done so—and that there will be fewer distinctive features between OWI and onsite composition instruction. The term “OWI” may become something with meaning only to WPAs while what currently is considered hybrid and fully online OWI may just become “composition.” They define the potential for what they call “good OWI” by several features: 1) being a good teacher in any setting, 2) including both text-based and digital/multimedia-based compositions, 3) rethinking the nature of the students, 4) using technology thoughtfully for both alphabetic and digital text, 5) publishing the good teaching strategies that instructors have developed, 6) addressing core problems in writing research and assessment such that composition instructors and not outside bodies and companies determine the field’s future, and 7) being ethical and moral instructors fully aware of and responsive to issues of access and inclusion. Hewett and Warnock conclude by stating that “Good OWI should help the field of composition be better.”

Keywords: accessibility, assessment, literacy, research, composition, hybrid, multimedia, student preparation, research, inclusivity

OWI Principles: 1, 7, 9, 13

Hirvela, Alan. “Computer-Based Reading and Writing across the Curriculum: Two Case Studies of L2 Writers.” Computers and Composition, vol. 22, no. 3, 2005, pp. 337-56.

Hirvela’s study attempts to understand how, and to what extent, second language (L2) students use computers for writing across the disciplines. In particular, Hirvela studies how L2 students navigate screen-based literacy tasks as well as traditionally print-based literacy tasks. His case study of two undergraduate students draws from activity logs, personal interviews, course syllabi, and a final questionnaire as the primary means of obtaining a “testimony” about two L2 students’ computer use. In doing so, he hopes to answer two questions: 1) “What should be taught in ESL writing courses with respect to computer-based writing?” and “ “To what extent should faculty outside ESL writing courses be responsible for teaching students how to use the computer to perform literacy tasks assigned in their courses?” (338). The study concludes that L2 students used computers in complex ways in various settings, even in settings where the instructor did not explicitly teach students how to engage the computer to complete assignments. Hirvela concludes that both writing faculty and disciplinary faculty need to embed discourse-specific assignments that help L2 students navigate the particular constraints and affordances of screen-based writing tasks across the disciplines.

Keywords: L2, ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, literacy, WID, interviews, surveys, mixed methods, research, qualitative research

Principles: 1, 10

Houston, Lori. “Working With Learning Disabled Writers.” CompFAQs from CompPile,

Houston encourages instructors of composition to know their students and tailor their instruction strategies to meet individual needs. Assistive technologies like word processors can help students who have learning disabilities correct mechanical errors, while Inspiration Software can help visual organization to help with coherence and organization. Speech recognition software can help by capitalizing on students’ oral competence. Houston suggests that instructors provide explicit instruction on writing strategies to encourage self-regulation and to foster thinking processes. This source supplements those sources on OWI and accessibility by providing sound activities that can be implemented in any OWI class.

Keywords: assistive technology, disability studies, individualized instruction, accessibility, orality

OWI Principles: 1

Hoven, Debra, and Agnieszka Palalas. “(Re)Conceptualizing Design Approaches for Mobile Language Learning.” CALICO Journal, vol. 28, no. 3, 2011, pp. 699–720.

Although not about OWI, this study of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) in a hybrid English for Special Purposes (ESP) course addresses the theoretical grounds and operational models for developing online support programs. The development of resources intended to be accessed primarily from mobile devices outside onsite facilities is presented as a Design-Based Research (DBR) project, that is, as an iterative, evolving, and multi-disciplinary program for conceptualizing and improving educational technologies. The article focuses on an early stage in this research program wherein the authors determined that students volunteering to try the resources generally responded favorably to having access to downloadable instructional podcasts and videos at any time during their busy schedules. While these students also improved their scores on a standardized ESP test, this pilot study was not able to connect the improved performance directly to the use of the MALL tools.

Keywords: online support, mobile,  non-traditional students, English for special purposes

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 6, 11

Hsieh, Wen-Ming, and Hsien-Chin Liou. “A Case Study of Corpus-Informed Online Academic Writing for EFL Graduate Students.” CALICO Journal, vol. 26, no. 1, 2008, pp. 28-47.

The authors examine the effectiveness and reception of “research-informed online course materials for the explicit teaching of [research article] abstract writing for EFL graduate students in applied linguistics” (29). In particular, the online materials included a combination of 1) text-based “lessons” and 2) various “tasks” focusing on review and revision of academic discourse “moves” in published and peer (student) writing (41). The students also posted descriptions of their work on a discussion forum to engage with classmates about their learning. Most pertinent for OWI professionals, however, is the use of two online tools: 1) a collaborative online editor enabling the researchers to examine students’ completion of peer review and revision tasks and 2) an online concordancer used by students to initiate their own phrasal searches (recorded for the researchers to examine) within the corpus of published abstracts. Hsieh and Liou conclude that the effects of the online unit on their students’ abstracts were mixed (44), while they nonetheless emphasize the overall potential of the combined lessons and tools for assisting students in developing English for academic purposes through their “interactive” and “inductive” approaches (45).  Hsieh and Liou’s research questions are founded on a moves-based understanding of discourse with an academic community (29-30), while their design of online tools is founded on the idea that active experimentation and reflective interaction among students facilitates the kind of “metacognition” and “metadiscourse” (quoting Elbow) needed to master those moves (37-38). This source is helpful in understanding how EFL students write and conduct research in online spaces within the confines of disciplinary discourse.

Keywords: online tutoring, revision, collaboration, ESL, ELL, EFL, multilingual writers, L2, discussion: English, student engagement, community, reflection, research, peer review

OWI Principles: 1, 4, 6

Inman, James and Donna Sewell, editors. Taking Flight with OWLs: Examining Electronic Writing Center Work. Routledge, 2000.

Inman and Sewell collect a variety of essays that take various positions on the development of the Online Writing Lab, both theoretically and practically. These essays explore the development of an OWL, discussing the theoretical groundings and institutional needs required for a successful OWL. The research then explores the ways OWLs maintain and diverge from analog writing center pedagogy. Some researchers argue that OWLs diverge from writing center pedagogy, failing to create dialogic models for their students, and as such, encourage readers to reexamine OWL practices to greater reflect accepted pedagogy and theory. Other researchers, however, see OWLs as an opportunity to expand and adapt pedagogy to the need for students to be technologically proficient and skilled writers in a digital age. Both groups, however, believe that as technology changes, the role of the writing center within the university should continuously evolve, establishing itself as part of the learning community, especially in the technological age.

Keywords: online writing labs, writing center, theory, online tutoring, praxis, community

OWI Principles 1, 3, 13, 14, 15

Inman, James A., and Clinton Gardner, editors. OWL Construction and Maintenance Guide. International Writing Centers Association P, 2002, CD-ROM,

This guide discusses the many factors that must be addressed in OWL construction and maintenance. The guide explores the “Contemporary OWL” by providing histories of predominant OWLs as well as examining a variety of other OWLs, including those at smaller schools. This examination looks at OWLs’ effectiveness through their web interfaces and self-reported data. In the construction and maintenance sections, articles provide the reader with a guide to OWL development. The articles provide ideologies and approaches to consider when beginning or continuing the work of an OWL. These sections discuss data collection, institutional support, and training, among other topics. The guide offers many positions, so readers develop their own theoretical framework for the OWL based on scholarly engagements. Each section also includes a summative checklist that readers can use to plan and evaluate their OWLs. The guide concludes with an annotated bibliography for additional readings helpful for OWL construction and maintenance.

Keywords: online writing lab, online writing center, research, administration, assessment

OWI Principles 1, 13, 14

Izzo, Margaretha Vreeburg, et al. “The Faculty Perspective on Universal Design for Learning.” Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, vol. 21, no. 2, 2008, pp. 60-72.

This article presents the results of two studies on the applicability and use of universal design in higher education. In Study 1, the instructional climate for students with disabilities was assessed through a survey of 271 faculty members and teaching associates (TAs) and focus groups with 92 additional faculty members and TAs. Survey respondents ranked universal design for learning (UDL) as the most needed training topic. A web-based, self-paced professional development tool called FAME (Faculty and Administrator Modules in Higher Education) was developed, piloted, and revised in response to the training needs identified. In Study 2, a review of FAME by 98 faculty members and administrators supported the value of on-demand, multi-modal professional development in universal design. Ninety-two percent of respondents reported increased comfort in meeting the instructional needs of students with disabilities as a result of using this curriculum. The article recommends that faculty 1) create a classroom climate that fosters trust and respect, 2) use a variety of instructional methods, 3) identify the essential course content,  4) provide multiple means for students to access the essential course content, 5) integrate natural supports for learning, 5) stay current on new and promising instructional technologies, and 6) allow multiple methods of assessment. For OWIs, this research complements research within technical communication and composition on what it takes to create a successful online course for students with disabilities.  

Keywords: accessibility, universal design, disability studies, teaching with technology: English, faculty development, multimodal, research, instructional design, assessment, technical and professional communication, surveys, qualitative research

OWI Principles: 1, 7, 12, 15

Jacobs, Geert, et al. “A Multilanguage Online Writing Center for Professional Communication: Development and Testing.” Business Communication Quarterly, vol. 68, no. 1, 2005, pp. 8–22.

Geert Jacobs, Liesbeth Opdenacker, and Luuk Van Waes describe the Calliope Online Writing Center at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. The authors detail how Calliope is constructed around social-constructivist, problem-based learning that “combines learner-guided learning and system-guided learning” (9). Calliope allows users to follow a less-linear process in dealing with the inherently recursive nature of writing. In a preliminary assessment of student self-efficacy after using Calliope, Jacobs et al. found that Calliope was effective on twenty-six separate measures of self-efficacy on post tests. They also found that peer feedback in Calliope showed a “relation between the level of confidence and the quality of the feedback” (17) and that learners made more comments and felt more knowledgeable in those comments “(18). The authors indicate that they are encouraged by these preliminary assessments and will continue development of the project.

Keywords: feedback, teaching with technology: English, online writing center, constructivism, research

OWI Principles: 1, 13, 14, 15

Jarrett, Caroline, et al. “Designing for People Who Do Not Read Easily.” Rhetorical Accessability: At the Intersection of Technical Communication and Disability Studies, edited by Lisa Melancon, Baywood, 2013, pp. 39-66.

Jarrett, Redish, and Summers examine reasons why people may struggle with reading, including cognitive challenges, emotional challenges, and challenges that arise from the physical settings in which people read. The authors explore existing research from which their own knowledge has been shaped, and they offer specific suggestions to writers (in this case, quite applicable to online writing instructors) to help design texts that are more readable by a wide-ranging audience. Some of these suggestions include providing a sense of the structure of a text with a title and headings, chunking information in short sections, using plain language, designing to achieve visual clarity, and providing navigation guidance. Ultimately, all readers are individuals and will have unique challenges, and something that helps one reader may not help others. To investigate these reading challenges, the authors have developed the Design to Read project, in which researchers who have conducted investigations into reading difficulties through experimental studies at universities, exploratory studies within or beyond universities, formative evaluations, or case studies of individuals with specific disabilities are welcome to submit their findings.

Keywords: reading, accessibility, communication, instructional design, assignment design, assignment: English, research, case studies

OWI Principles: 1, 3

Johnson, Genevieve Marie. “Synchronous and Asynchronous Text-based CMC in Educational Contexts: A Review of Recent Literature.” TechTrends, vol. 50, no.4, 2006, pp. 46-53.

Johnson reviews the educational research on synchronous and asynchronous text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC) for their relative pedagogical strengths and weaknesses. She weighs the pros and cons of each in relation to online discussions, student achievement and satisfaction, and instructional viability. Johnson offers recommendations for using the best of both modalities, because studies indicate that a selective combination of both leads to higher student satisfaction and mastery of course materials. Johnson further claims that strategic combination of both approaches will more likely insure that educators will meet the needs of students with individual differences in cognition and personality.

Keywords: synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, computer-mediated communication, research, discussion: English, student satisfaction

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 11

Jones, Rodney H., et al. “Interactional Dynamics in On-Line and Face-to-Face Peer-Tutoring Sessions for Second Language Writers.” Journal of Second Language Writing, vol. 15, no. 1, 2006, pp. 1-23.

Rodney Jones, Angel Garralda, Davis C.S. Li, and Graham Lock examine two types of peer-tutoring and compare online tutoring interactions with face-to-face tutoring interactions. Using Halliday’s functional-semantic view of dialogue, the logs of online tutoring sessions were coded and compared with those from face-to-face interactions. The results showed that online tutoring fostered greater participation on the part of the student being tutored, while face-to-face interaction tended to result in hierarchical structures of communication controlled predominantly by the tutor.

Keywords: online tutoring, qualitative research, tutor training, online writing centers

OWI Principles: 1, 13, 14, 15

Kargozari, Hamid R., and Hamed Ghaemi. “Web-based Writing Instruction and Enhancing EFL Learners’ Writing Quality.” Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, vol. 12, no. 3, 2011, pp. 36-45. Education Research Complete,

This study questions the role of technology on students’ writing skills. Specifically, the authors ask whether technology incorporated in traditional face-to-face courses significantly improves the writing skills of EFL learners. The authors compared student test results from two classes that used the same textbook and assignments. However, the experimental class provided students with a supplemental website where students could interact and discuss concepts via asynchronous forums. The instructor also aided students in the technological component of the course, offering extra credit to students if they used the online course platform to communicate and create written assignments. Students in both classes took an essay test at the end of the course, and based on holistic scoring, the authors determined that the experimental class outperformed the traditional class. As such, the authors suggest using web-based instruction to improve the writing skills of EFL learners and assert that EFL trainers should be trained to use online instructional tools to effectively teach EFL students, providing sample training materials.

Keywords: EFL, ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, online tutors, asynchronous interaction, empirical research, quantitative research, teaching with technology: English

OWI Principles: 1, 7, 14, 15

Kear, Karen L. Online and Social Networking Communities: A Best Practice Guide for Educators, Routledge, 2010.

Kear’s guidebook provides a useful starting point for teachers and administrators new to online learning, providing basic definitions and discussions of associated teaching and learning theories and relevant computer-mediated communication and educational technologies. As the title suggests and the introductory chapter explains, the book primarily focuses on using communication technologies to build online learning communities, drawing on social constructivist approaches to learning. To support this discussion, numerous case studies are examined to illustrate the use of specific technologies for educational purposes, each presented in the course of explaining fundamental learning principles, practical instructional approaches, and potential challenge for online learning. Throughout the book, the benefits of online learning—including flexibility, convenience, and social connectivity—are reconciled with issues such as information overload, depersonalization, and interaction from a distance. While not explicitly about OWI this guide addresses a connection between the learning theories prevalent in OWI and how to build and support interaction in online writing classes.

Keywords: community, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, learning theories, non-traditional students, writing program administration, theory, social constructivism, computer-mediated communication

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11

Krause, Kerri-Lee. “Supporting First-Year Writing Development Online.” JGE: The Journal of General Education, vol. 55, no. 3-4, 2006, 201–20.

Focusing on first-year students in an entry-level behavioral science course, Krause studies their perceptions of their own writing skills as well as their evaluations of an online writing support program comprised of interactive tutorials. The survey on the program’s usefulness showed that the oldest demographic group (over 24 years) valued the online resource significantly more than younger groups, although the online program itself was generally perceived to help improve skills and reduce anxiety about writing. Even so, the participants generally “rejected the option of replacing face-to-face classes with an online resource such as the one under investigation” (215). Krause emphasizes the value of the results for understanding student perspectives of online tutorial resources, acknowledging problems with the study’s validity for positing how the tool may have actually altered students’ perception of their own writing (219). Although the opening justification for the study addresses community building, the conclusions noted above suggest such an online support program was viewed as contradistinctive to the “social interaction” characterizing face-to-face sessions (213). Academic socialization is discussed in the context of access based on the study’s analysis of the online program’s support of students reflecting different ages and routes to higher education. In this respect, the study shows how a flexible and simple self-paced tutorial system can provide non-traditional students a means to address concerns and anxieties about writing as they deem necessary—hence the discussion of “just-in-time” online learning (208). Finally, while the article briefly mentions relevant literacy studies, it is not clear how relevant composition pedagogy was integrated into the online tools.   

Keywords: non-traditional students, WAC, WID, online support, community, accessibility, composition pedagogy, students success

OWI Principles: 1, 6, 11, 13, 15

Kynard, Carmen. “‘Wanted: Some Black Long Distance [Writers]’: Blackboard Flava-Flavin and Other Afrodigital Experiences in the Classroom.” Computers and Composition, vol. 24, no. 3, 2007, pp. 329-45.

Kynard examines the digital communication of students of African descent in a predominantly black college in order to understand how the students construct their identities. Students “revocabularize” the academic setting to reconstruct knowledge about writing and about themselves. Kynard uses the metaphor of Flava Flav’s role in Public enemy to “bring light to the ways in which rhetorical practices of signifying constitute a culture/digitally unique type of spontaneous presence” (331). Kynard concludes with a discussion of his own vocabulary in the classroom and an analysis that places the students in reference to the work of John Oliver Killens. This article provides one of the most in-depth analyses of how students of African descent construct identity in Blackboard discussion boards and how online writing instructors might create spaces for empowering all writers.

Keywords: race, identity, rhetoric, culture, culturally responsive pedagogy, Blackboard, discussion: English, discussion boards

OWI Principle: 1, 11

Lang, Susan. “Replicating and Extending Dialogic Aspects of the Graduate Seminar in Distance Education.”  Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2005, pp. 157-75.

Lang’s chapter outlines the rationale for and a method of facilitating synchronous online discussions as part of a graduate seminar. First, the chapter provides an overview of Von Krogh et al.’s four principles of good conversations: encouraging active (and balanced) participation, establishing conversational etiquette, editing conversations appropriately, and fostering innovative language. Then, it argues that asynchronous activities cannot replace the synchronous element of a graduate course because students need to participate in these elements of good conversations just as they would in a face-to-face class. The bulk of the chapter provides an extended case study of how synchronous class discussion is “an integral part” of the Texas Tech master’s degree in Technical Communication. This particular case study uses MOOs and addresses elements of faculty and student preparation, technical benefits and difficulties, and conversation dynamics in both main forums and back channels. This chapter provides a thorough description of the benefits and limitations of using synchronous discussion in graduate classes and serves a valuable introduction for faculty seeking to implement successful synchronous discussion in online graduate classes.

Keywords: graduate classes, graduate students, synchronous interaction, MOO, discussion: English, graduate programs, student preparation, instructor interaction, student-to-student interaction

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11

Lewiecki-Wilson, Cynthia, and Brenda Jo Brueggemann, editors. Disability and the Teaching of Writing: A Critical Sourcebook, Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008.

As a collection of new and re-printed essays, this book is essential for understanding the wide range of issues associated with disability and writing instruction. While offering practical advice for the face-to-face classroom, some of the book’s advice can be modified for an online environment. However, the strength of this text is that it introduces those new to disability to key ideas and concepts that are necessary to teaching and learning. Sections in the book include disability awareness in teacher training, perspectives from teachers with disabilities, and resources for teaching disability concepts in the classroom. The last section on resources for teaching is the longest and includes subsections on re-designing the writing classroom, analyzing language and representation, using disability concepts, and entering cultural debates. The last section has the most practical application to teaching online as much of the information in this section can be re-purposed to an online environment.

Keywords: disability studies, accessibility, faculty development

OWI Principles: 1, 7

Lima, Jr., Ronaldo. “Practical Writing – An Online Interactive Writing Experience.” The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, vol. 14, no. 3, 2010,

This article provides a brief, focused practicum piece on the core assignments of a six-week online ESL course on “Practical Writing.” Lima primarily emphasizes how the assignments integrated various online platforms to facilitate student interactivity throughout the writing process. The assignments also placed special emphasis on the advantages of ready publication and dissemination within online environments for the “post-writing” stage, which allows the student to see the purpose for the writing process. Within in the article, multiple pre-writing, drafting, review, and revision activities are described for helping students develop a personal introduction, a summary, a letter to the editor, job search materials, and a travel narrative. Integrated within the Moodle LMS, the course’s activities use discussion forums, multiple blog platforms, chat, and e-mail, drawing also on sites such as LinkedIn and Wordle. The article’s central discussion of online platforms to teach students the writing process addresses the advantages of online environments and adapting onsite composition theories to these environments. Lima also refers to the teacher’s role in directing the online activities within an accelerated, non-traditional format.

Keywords: ESL, EFL, ELL, L2, multilingual writers, writing process, revision, course management systems, composition theory, student-to-student interaction

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 6

Marshak, Laura, et al. “Exploring Barriers to College Student Use of Disability Services.” Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, vol. 22, no. 3, 2010, pp. 151-65.

Federal legislation requires most colleges and universities to provide equal access and reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. However, many students do not fully avail themselves of college disability services and accommodations. As a result, Office of Disability Services (ODS) personnel should understand the reasons for this as they attempt to best assist students with disabilities at their institutions. In this qualitative study, 16 college students with disabilities at a medium-sized state university were interviewed. Five major thematic categories emerged from the data analysis, which were identified as reasons why some students might not seek out or more fully utilize disability services and accommodations in postsecondary education: 1) identity issues, 2) desires to avoid negative social reactions, 3) insufficient knowledge, 4) perceived quality and usefulness of services, and 5) negative experiences with faculty. The authors provide suggestions to help ODS personnel eliminate institutional barriers and to help students overcome personal barriers. This article supports faculty seeking to reach out to their online students who may have a disability to connect them with services available through their institutions.

Keywords: disability services, accessibility, identity

OWI Principles: 1

Martinez, Diane, and Leslie Olsen. “Online Writing Labs.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 183-210.

Martinez and Olsen offer a comprehensive overview of OWL services, offering advice on accessibility infrastructure, function and pedagogy of services, and the essentialness of tutor training. This article emphasizes the idea that OWI must be supported by corresponding OWL services, concluding that all services and resources must be accessible to all students to insure inclusivity and that all services should be provided by highly qualified and well-trained online tutors who understand the specifics of online tutoring services. Faculty training is another key component of success for OWL services and support. This article supports OWI by insisting that OWI be accompanied by online support services.

Keywords: online writing lab, accessibility, inclusive, tutor training, synchronous interaction, tutor training, online tutoring, online resources

OWI Principle:  1, 7, 13, 14

McKee, Heidi A. “‘Always a Shadow of Hope’: Heteronormative Binaries in an Online Discussion of Sexuality and Sexual Orientation.” Computers and Composition, vol. 21, no. 3, Sept. 2004, pp. 315-40. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2004.05.002.

McKee’s article is based on working with face-to-face writing students who were asked to participate for an extended period of time in the Intercollegiate E-Democracy Project, an online discussion that covered a range of topics, including sexuality. The article first chronicles the literature regarding online discussions of homosexuality and then shifts to the need for her research that “situate[s] analyses of online discourse within the multiple perspectives of the participants who sent and received the messages” (320). She works with eleven students who provided the substance of their discussions and participated in interviews. She concludes that “heteronormative binaries can provide important catalysts for movement in students’ thinking about complex issues and that online spaces in particular are valuable forums for students to articulate and then complicate their understandings of issues relating to sexuality and sexual orientation” (318). Her article ends with an overview of some practical strategies for encouraging discourse around sexuality in online discussion boards. Her research and her conclusions would apply to blended courses that involve asynchronous discussion boards and demonstrate helpful, practical ways of setting up these discussions around sensitive topics such as gender and sexuality.

Keywords: gender, discussion: English, asynchronous interaction, research, accessibility, computer-mediated communication

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11

Meloncon, Lisa, and Heidi Harris. “Preparing Students for OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 411-38.

Trying to fill the void in understanding the issue of student preparation and success in online writing classes, Meloncon and Harris gather literature across fields and specific to OWI to provide a current portrait of what we know about student preparation for online courses. They then provide recommendations for preparing students for online writing classes at the institutional level and instructor level. Institutionally, the authors propose the following recommendations: 1) create orientation modules, 2) use existing data to identify student preparation for online writing classes, 3) cap class sizes, 4) provide training and paid support for faculty, and 5) increase support structures for students. Orientation modules should be created to help students understand what resources may be available as well as specific technology-related orientations to ensure students are prepared to use the technologies they will need to succeed in class. Also, existing data should be leveraged to help understand their student population and learning needs better. Class sizes should be “capped responsibly” with a recommendation of 20 students per course.  Finally, institutions should provide and fund training for OWI teachers and more support structures for students. Instructors need to incorporate accessible elements into the design of their courses, build community within the courses, and prepare students for the online experiences of their writing courses. The authors give examples of how instructors can achieve these recommendations. The chapter  includes an appendix, “Student Preparation Checklist,” that instructors can modify and easily add to their online courses to help better prepare students for their online writing experiences.

Keywords: student perception, student preparation, orientation, community, pedagogy: English, online resources, course and program design: English, accessibility, class caps

OWI Principles: 1, 4, 9, 10, 11, 13

Mick, Connie Snyder, and Geoffrey Middlebrook. “Asynchronous and Synchronous Modalities.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 129-48.

Mick and Middlebrook provide an overview of the two means of interacting with students in online writing course, synchronous and asynchronous, with the latter currently being the prevailing modality. After a discussion of the technologies available in each modality, the authors examine three dimensions that shape which modality might offer better pedagogical solutions in the end: inclusivity and accessibility, technical viability and IT support, and pedagogical rationale. Mick and Middlebrook conclude that while the asynchronous modality is more widely employed, some pedagogical goals are often better met with current synchronous tools. They observe that future technologies will make available additional tools that may lead to wider use of synchronous technologies in online writing instruction. The authors close with a reminder that both asynchronous and synchronous tools must be chosen based on a consideration of student access first and pedagogical rationale as a close second.

Keywords: asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, accessibility, technical support, pedagogy: English, course and program design: English,

OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 13

Miller-Cochran, Susan, K. “Multilingual Writers and OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 291-308.

Miller-Cochran describes the linguistically diverse culture of online writing courses and shows how the CCCC Position Statement of Principles and Examples of Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI) should be interpreted to facilitate the inclusivity and success of all students, including multilingual students. She specifically uses the CCCC Statement on Second Language Writing and Writers to clarify and customize each OWI principle with pedagogical approaches and accommodations recommended for multilingual learners. She explains that multilingual writers have unique educational backgrounds and cultural understandings that make their specific needs difficult to identify. She also explains that multilingual students have varied experiences with technology, so competency with the specific technologies chosen for the course cannot be expected. Inclusivity thus depends on instructors overcoming their assumptions about online students being linguistically homogeneous and technologically competent. She argues writing instruction must be designed and delivered with the understanding that diversity is ever present, as are the challenges associated with teaching academic writing to students in the process of learning English as another language. She makes the case that instructors need to be prepared and appropriately trained to teach writing to linguistically diverse students. Referring multilingual writers to external resources such as writing centers is one option. However, Miller-Cochran also emphasizes that options, accommodations, and effective pedagogical practices for linguistically diverse students must be part of the instructional design.

Keywords: inclusivity, accessibility, ELL, ESL, L2, multilingual writers, course and program design: English, online writing centers, writing centers,

OWI Principles: 1, 13


Minter, Deborah. “Administrative Decisions for OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 211-26.

Minter argues that WPAs must make smart and ethical decisions for online writing instruction in their programs and should look to the CCCC Position Statement of Principles and Examples of Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI) for direction. Factors that WPAs should consider include class size and student preparation. Class size is pertinent for the same reasons class size matters for onsite courses; however, Minter references current OWI research that argues reading for both teachers and students in online writing courses can increase significantly with each new student, as both students and teachers read more for each student actively participating in the course. Student preparation for online learning is also a crucial consideration. WPAs should advocate for ethical support and professional development for online writing instructors, which extends to student preparation for online learning. Student orientations to online writing courses and comparable support, such as online writing consultation and access to library faculty, are crucial to student success. Minter closes with a brief discussion of the need for WPAs to advocate for financial support of online writing instruction and financial incentives for teaching online courses.

Keywords: writing program administration, course caps, reading, faculty workload, online resources, online writing programs, faculty satisfaction, student preparation, orientations,

OWI Principles 1, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13

Miyazoe, Terumi, and Terry Anderson. “Anonymity in Blended Learning: Who Would You Like to Be?” Educational Technology and Society, vol. 14, no. 2, 2011, pp. 175-87.

Miyazoe and Anderson study the effect of anonymity in discussion forums and blogs in blended classrooms. In particular, the researchers asked three questions: “1) What are the participatory behaviors of students in face-to-face (with real names) and online (with pseudonyms) in blended course designs? 2) How did the students perceive and evaluate the different online writing tools using pseudonyms? and 3) What are the students’ learning outcomes?” (177). The study included sixty-three students taking English for Academic Purposes in a blended format. Students’ identities were concealed from both the other students and the instructor. The study used five data sources: 1) pre-/post-course English proficiency tests, 2) a paper-based survey regarding the students pseudonyms and online writing experiences, 3) semi-structured interviews on the course experience and pseudonym usage, 4) students’ writings on the LMS, and 5) attendance records of the students and teacher’s notes on class management (178). The researchers concluded that using pseudonyms in blended or hybrid courses were useful in increasing participation in classes, particularly among female students, and that “anonymity can be a crucial factor in increasing the amount of content and effort expended by EFL students” (184). This research helps faculty to better understand methods of encouraging EFL and gendered participation in online, hybrid, and blended classrooms.

Keywords: ELL, ESL, multilingual writers, discussion: English, hybrid, gender, identity, discussion boards, blogs, discussion: English, course management systems, faculty workload, student engagement

OWI Principles: 1, 11

Mongillo, Geraldine, and Hilary Wilder. “An Examination of At-Risk College Freshmen’s Expository Literacy Skills Using Interactive Online Writing Activities.” Journal of College Reading and Learning, vol. 42, no. 2, 2012, pp. 27-50.

Mongillo and Wilder’s study focused on at-risk college freshmens’ ability to read and write descriptive text using game-like, online expository writing activities. The research explored online expository literacy tasks that required the at-risk students to read and write descriptive text for the purpose of having peers guess an object or subject. The findings suggest that these online activities improved at-risk students’ expository literacy skills in the categories of description of prominent features and word choice. When writing in an online environment, writers should not only select appropriate words but also know their audience. By reading their peers’ responses to their own writing, participants were exposed to diverse and varying viewpoints, which may have helped them to better understand their audience and their own writing. Mongillo and Wilder note that at-risk readers often disengage when presented with expository text, yet the authors know that many of them are proficient users of technology, utilizing the Internet for information when necessary. The researchers used Blackboard to facilitate their game-like activity, and the participants reported that the LMS was easy to use. However, not all students have access to computers, and as some participants reported, the platform is not always reliable. The authors’ research concluded that future research is needed to determine if the activities used in this study can serve as a lens to examine students’ reading and writing behaviors and strategies.

Keywords: at-risk students, gamification, audience, student engagement, Blackboard, course management system, reading, literacy, grammar & style

OWI Principles:  1, 3, 4, 11, 15

Moody, Suzan. “OWLs and ESL Students.” Kairos, vol. 1, no. 1, Spring 1996,

Moody’s hypertext catalogues the 8 OWLs that provided services for ESL students as of Fall 1995. She divides the services into three categories: 1) OWLs that provide online tutoring through synchronous online environments (such as MOOs), 2)OWLs that provide asynchronous tutoring through email, and 3) OWLs that consist of list-servs that provide information about learning English. While this hypertext is dated and not all of the hyperlinks work, it provides scholars seeking to research the history of OWLs a basic list of ESL OWLs available in the 1990s.

Keywords: ELL, ESL, multilingual writers, hypertext, online writing lab, MOO, email, listservs, online tutoring

OWI principles: 1, 13

OWI Principle: 3, 4, 10

National Federation of the Blind. NFB, 2016,

The National Federal of the Blind provides access to resources, products, and publications for individuals who are visually impaired in some capacity. The “Parents and Teachers” section specifically links to resources that may be helpful for supporting visually impaired individuals within home and educational environments. In the “I Want to Learn About…” sub-section, users will find a “Technology” area with technology access guides and information about the Kurzweil-National Federation of the Blind Reader. Another key area of the website is the “Resources” area, which includes “Resources for Learning” that link to other programs and tools, including NFB-Newsline, a newspaper source for individuals who are blind.

Keywords: accessibility, online resources, technology

OWI Principles: 1

Nielsen, Danielle. “Universal Design in First-Year Composition—Why Do We Need It, How Can We Do It?” The CEA Forum, vol. 42, no. 2, 2013,

Nielsen tells readers how to integrate universal design for learning principles into the first-year composition course. Her first suggestion centers on the design of her course. She chose a textbook that was accessible electronically and uploaded supplemental texts in Word or scannable PDFs. She also shows assignments in class and reads them (which could be achieved in the online environment by recording), a process she also does for handouts and announcements. These same materials are then posted electronically. Nielsen also emphasizes the importance of communication with students in a variety of mediums. She redesigned her assignments to allow for student choice, particularly choice in the mediums in which they can create their assignments. Nielsen also acknowledges several critiques of UDL such as arguments against digitization and the additional time it takes to implement these suggestions.

Keywords: accessibility, universal design, assignment: English, course and program design: English

OWI Principles: 1

Oswal, Sushil. “Accessible ePortfolios for Visually-Impaired Users: Interfaces, Design, & Infrastructures.” ePortfolio Performance Support Systems: Constructing, Presenting, and Assessing Portfolios, edited by Katherine Wills and Rich Rice, Parlor P, 2013, pp. 133-52.

Oswal offers guidance on making ePortfolios accessible by first explaining that accessibility should also include usability. He points out that many sites, particularly educational spaces, may be accessible by legal definitions, but they are not usable for those with disabilities, particularly visual impairments. Oswal shifts the conversations on ePortfolios by explaining the importance of ePortfolios for those with disabilities and arguing that writing studies lack the pedagogical tools to help students with disabilities create portfolios. Oswal offers a user test of the portfolio option in the Canvas Portfolio tool, and the results indicate that the problems with this tool can be solved with greater attention to accessible design criteria as advocated by Section 508 and the web accessibility guidelines. Oswal ends his chapter with recommendations including an emphasis on accessible content generation through multimodal assignments and how to incorporate different activities for their development of those assignments.

Keywords: accessibility, legislation, portfolios, ethics, disability studies, multimodal, assignments: English, Canvas LMS, course management systems, usability studies

OWI Principles: 1

Oswal, Sushil. “Physical and Learning Disabilities in OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 253-90.

Oswal asserts that online courses do not include accessibility for all types of disabled students. In addition, large amounts of money are allocated into tools not properly representing the growing disabled minority group. In the current generation, technology continuously advances. Oswal further explains current technological advancements which are not delivered to online classrooms to benefit disabled students. The lack of proper accessibility in online classrooms is an issue to disabled students who strive for personal success in higher education. For disabled students, obtaining literacy skills can be difficult in online classes that are not accessible or do not design for accessibility using modern technology. Oswal argues for equal educational opportunities for each student rather than focusing on possible beneficial online technologies for disabled students. OWI Principle #1 states that “online writing instruction should be universally inclusive and accessible.” Oswal expresses the importance of understanding OWI Principle #1 and further considering disability and accessibility conceptually. He also provides examples of negative attitudes concerning disability. Nondisabled persons expect the same level of function from disabled students. However, LMS designs today do not include appropriate accessibility for disabled listeners and learners. A key component to effective education is creating more-than-desirable accessibility through improved LMS designs. Oswal concludes by calling for data gathering as an ongoing process for all OWI administrators and instructors in the near future until a threshold of understanding about inclusive pedagogies for OWI is found. Gathering data and improving upon advancing technologies will help online courses to be more modern and create equal educational opportunities for all students in online classrooms.

Keywords:  accessibility, course and program design: English, instruction technology, research, inclusivity, student success, student preparation, technology, teaching with technology: English, disability studies

OWI Principles:  1

Oswal, Sushil K., and Lisa Meloncon. “Paying Attention to Accessibility and Disability in Technical and Professional Communication Online Course Design.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication, vol. 28, no. 3, 2014, pp. 271-300.

Roughly 1 out of 10 students in online classrooms have some form of disability, and now that a growing number of technical and professional communication (TPC) courses and programs are offered online, scholars need to adequately address accessibility in online course design. Calling on the field to pay attention to this issue, the authors report the results of a national survey of online writing instructors. They use Selfe’s landmark essay as a way to theoretically frame the results, which indicate that instructors do not understand the need of making their courses accessible and have little guidance at their institutions regarding where to start. The authors offer several suggestions on ways to help instructors make their courses more accessible. Suggestions include instructors’ need to be more proactive in embracing accessibility, use multiple means of representation of course materials, carefully select online tools, and build capacity for accessible design within writing programs.

Keywords: disability studies, inclusivity, accessibility, course and program design: English, online writing programs, technical and professional writing, faculty development, surveys

OWI Principle: 1, 15

Oswal, Sushil, and Beth Hewett. “Accessibility Challenges for Visually Impaired Students and Their Online Writing Instructors.” Rhetorical Accessability: At the Intersection of Technical Communication and Disability Studies, edited by Lisa Meloncon, Baywood, 2013, pp. 135-56.

Stating that access in online teaching most often refers to throwing a wide net to reach students in geographically distributed locations or requesting that disabled students contact the professor in the first week of class, Oswal and Hewett frame accessibility in online writing instruction in terms of the core issues that arise for people with disabilities, using visual impairment as the core example. The authors use results of the 2011 State of the Art of OWI report developed by the CCCC Committee for Effective Practices in OWI to demonstrate that those who teach writing of any kind in online settings are underprepared to consider access issues and, in some cases, express a lack of interest in them. They relate problems inherent to defining access adequately as one source of the problem. Oswal and Hewett extend the extant literature on access and OWI by providing a series of adaptive technologies for OWI that include textbook and technological choices (i.e., modality, course management systems, multimodal text accessibility, visual aspects of formatting, resources beyond the OWI classroom, and online conferencing). They conclude with an appendix offering tools for improving accessibility of electronic materials for the blind that provides a place for interested educators to begin their search.

Keywords: accessibility, disability studies, assistive technology, multimodal, visually impaired users

OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 13, 15

Park, Chanho, and Sookyung Cho. “The Effects of Korean Learners’ Online Experiences on their English Writing.” The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 13, no. 3, 2014, pp. 202-09,

Park and Cho look at how online writing experiences impact the self-efficacy, attitudes, and performance of English-as-a-foreign-language, or EFL, learners.  The study focuses on students working in a computer-mediated writing classroom (CMC) environment.  The narrower EFL context that this article addresses was relatively understudied as compared to more general research that has indicated a positive correlation between the extent of students’ computer experiences and their performance in a course.  Park and Cho studied a group of thirty-two Korean university EFL learners, some who wrote online frequently and others who did not.  The authors looked specifically at the degree to which students in the study group used online peer feedback in revision.  As Park and Cho note, “All participants had completed a basic writing course as a prerequisite, and as English majors or minors, their English proficiency levels were generally high” (203).  Results show that the fifteen students in the study group who wrote online on a regular basis had more positive attitudes towards computer-mediated environments and were relatively more likely to incorporate feedback into revisions than were the seventeen students within the study group who were not frequent (or “regular”) online writers.  The article concludes that when new technology is introduced, additional support for those not familiar with the technology should be provided.

Keywords: EFL, ESL, ELL, L2, computer-mediated classroom, revision, peer review, research, feedback, qualitative research, online resources, student preparation

OWI Principles: 1, 4, 10

Rangin, Hadi, et al. A Comparison of Learning Management System Accessibility, University of Illinois Disability Resources and Educational Services, 2013,

This paper is useful in understanding the accessibility limitations of the most common learning/content management systems. This team of researchers compared Blackboard, Desire2Learn, Moodle, and Sakai. They focused on functional tasks rather than testing specific page tools. The authors tested the login, forms, navigation, personalization and customization, help and documentation, common student facing modules/tools, and authoring tools and content creation. This report provides an overview of the findings in these categories, and it does not provide an evaluative judgement of any of the systems. In other words, this report is a user test that provides informational results only, which can be helpful to instructors who may have the choice of selecting content management systems. This report could also be helpful to argue against using a CMS since most experience major accessibility problems.

Keywords: content management systems, accessibility, usability testing

OWI Principle: 1

Rao, Kavita, and Adam Tanners. “Curb Cuts in Cyberspace: Universal Instructional Design for Online Courses.” Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, vol. 24, no. 3, 2011, pp. 211-29.

Rao and Tanners advocate for online courses that incorporate universal design for learning and universal instructional design principles, which increase accommodation for students with disabilities. They report on the findings of student feedback of a graduate level course that followed these design principles. Rao and Tanners provide a useful mapping exercise in which instructors can map their course elements to the different principles for effective online course design. These mapping instruments are easily adaptable to any OWC and provide a useful and easy-to-follow way to help instructors match their course content to principles of universal design for learning. Students who took the course designed according to these principles were highly satisfied and reported positive feedback on many of the features.

Keywords: universal design, accessibility, feedback, course and program design: English

OWI Principles: 1

Reilly, Colleen, and Joseph John Williams. “The Price of Free Software: Labor, Ethics, and Context in Distance Education.” Computers and Composition, vol. 23, no. 1, 2006, pp. 68-90.

Reilly and Williams investigated whether open-source software choices were influenced by instructors’ institutional pressures and structures. They concluded that “due to time constraints, inadequate technical expertise, and institutional mandates, both proactive and implied, many instructors select commercial courseware—such as Blackboard and WebCT—when teaching their distance-learning courses.” (69). Even though open-source software more closely aligns with the liberatory and participatory nature of many university and college writing courses and programs, the time and knowledge constraints on online writing instructors can dissuade them from using open-source software. In a survey distributed to the WPA-L and TechRhet listservs, participants identified ease of use as the primary motivating factor in selecting course systems for online classes. Also at issue are the tension between philosophies that encourage the sharing of knowledge and the concerns that institutions and others might monetize the software and content produced by instructors using open-source tools. The authors review three open-source course management systems in terms of their viability for use by online writing instructors: Drupal, Plone, and Sakai (75). They concluded that the most viable course management system was Drupal. They also reviewed Blackboard and WebCT and concluded that these proprietary systems could be rigid and complicate the idea of open sharing so important to writing pedagogy. They conclude with case studies of four educators who use course management systems and identified a “disconnect between the professed support for open-source applications and the extent of their use for delivering writing courses in a distance-learning format” (88). This study raises crucial questions about who controls the environment of the online writing class and how the increasingly contingent nature of faculty positions might prevent instructors from fully implementing innovative and open-source technologies.

Keywords: accessibility, open-source software, teaching with technology: English, surveys, research, Blackboard, course management systems, academic labor,

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 5, 6, 12, 15

Reiss, Donna, and Art Young. “WAC Wired: Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum.” WAC for the New Millennium: Strategies for Continuing Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Programs, editors Susan H. McLeod, Eric Miraglia, Margot Soven, and Christopher Thaiss, WAC Clearinghouse, 2011, pp. 52-85,

Reiss and Young start their article by coining the term ECAC—or “Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum”—as “another approach to literacy, communication, collaboration, and community outreach for educational programs and institutions” (53). They provide a history of departments across the curriculum that are actively using computers and digital spaces to supplement and enhance their writing and communication instruction. They do so with three goals in mind: “1) an increase in information technology to support the activities of WAC/CAC programs, 2) an increase in alliances between instructional technology programs and WAC/CAC programs, and 3) additional emphasis on communication-intensive uses of technology, or ECAC, among teachers and institutions that emphasize active learning and the development of communication competence in all their students” (56). The history that the authors detail spans four decades from keyboarding classes in the 1970s to the fully-online classes of the 2000s. In particular, they focus on classes, instructors, and programs that use digital technologies to improve the writing-to-learn focus of classes across the curriculum. Reiss and Young also briefly recount the background of online collaboration and teaching and learning centers that have a focus on ECAC. They end with a section that predicts increased use of e-portfolios, an increase in the use of computer technologies to teach and to learn, and warnings about the possibility of unequal access to high powered computers and networks and challenges to faculty seeking tenure and promotion and job security as they teach in digital spaces. This article provides an important historical perspective on work in WAC and WID disciplines and identifies challenges and opportunities that may or may not have come to pass as writing and communication classes in the disciplines move fully online.

Keywords: WAC, WID, collaboration, faculty development, writing-to-learn, portfolios, instructional technology

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 6, 14

Rendahl, Merry, and Lee-Ann Kastman Breuch. “Toward a Complexity of Online Learning: Learners in Online First-Year Writing.” Computers and Composition, vol. 30, no. 4, Dec. 2013, pp. 297-314. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2013.10.002.

Rendahl and Kastman Breuch used a mixed-methods approach to answer the question, “What do students in an online first-year writing course perceive as good study habits, and what helps them succeed?” (298).  They used a case study research design to observe two sections of an online first-year writing (OFYW) course. They also used a student survey, statistics from the course management system, information from online discussions, online peer review session notes, and interviews with both students in the OFYW class and interviews with both instructors teaching the classes and students in the classes. They analyze this data through social cognitive theory, in particular the theories of Albert Bandura, in order to understand the complex dynamics of student choices and motivation in OFYW classes. Rendahl and Kastman Breuch found that, “Students ranked interactions with course content as a more frequent and more typical activity than interaction with the instructor, which was subsequently ranked as more frequent and more typical than interactions with other students” (306). Students who rated themselves highly on use of study time did not necessarily receive better scores than individuals who rated themselves moderately on those scales. Course structure was a significant external factor in students’ satisfaction with the course. Students who logged into the course early were more likely to successfully complete the course. The authors end the article by calling for researchers to revisit the place of participation in the online classroom and to further explore social cognitive learning theories for what they can tell us about student behavior in the online classroom. This study is useful for researchers attempting to identify internal and external student motivations in OFYW classes and provides a model study that could be replicated with different first-year-student populations.

Keywords: first-year writing, mixed methods, research, course management system, student preparation, case study, surveys, qualitative research, instructor interaction, student-to-student interaction, student engagement

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11, 15


Rodrigo, Rochelle. “OWI on the Go.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 493-516.

Rodrigo discusses the pedagogy, faculty requirements, and institutional support necessary for successful online writing instruction (OWI). She begins the chapter by describing the changes in technology use inside, as well as outside, the classroom. Rodrigo cites data to indicate that instructors often neglect to recognize newer mobile technologies in their consideration of OWI. She also asserts that successful OWI pedagogy, while not focusing on technology as the course content, uses the technology in its instruction. Instructors should orientate their students to the format, but they should also use the online format to create an online learning environment in which students do not simply consume instruction but also create and edit their own material. Instructors then should work to address the concerns that arise through OWI with campus instructional technology to build more accessible courses, especially for writing content. Additionally, the institution should offer and encourage its faculty to become knowledgeable of online course design and offer professional development opportunities.

Keywords: accessibility, pedagogy: English, mobile technology, digital literacy, student engagement, instructional technology, faculty development

OWI Principles 1, 2, 3

Rose, David H., et al., editors. The Universally Designed Classroom: Accessible Curriculum and Digital Technologies, Harvard Education P, 2005.

Through research gathered through the National Center on Accessing the General Curriculum (NCAC) at the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST), this book explores the relationship between the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) and No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and ways Universal Design for Learning (UDL) might increase educational opportunities for students of all abilities.  Educational reform in the early twenty-first century facilitated progress in general education curriculum based on core educational assumption that students are either disabled or not disabled. The authors propose ways UDL might close gaps in standards of expectation and evaluation governed by IDEA and NCLB as they show ways UDL might provide appropriate education for students of varied abilities. They provide examples of thematic curriculum design enhanced for accessibility following best practices and offer methods of providing differentiated instruction in a UDL framework.

Keywords: accessibility, disability studies, universal design, differentiated instruction

OWI Principle: 1

Rubens, Philip, and Sherry Southard. “‘Students’ Technological Difficulties in Using Web-Based Learning Environments.”  Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2005, pp. 193-205.

Rubens and Southard identify how they planned the initial online courses around research on web design and interaction through freeware and shareware, distribution lists, and Instant Messenger (AIM) and ICQ chat rooms for an online Certificate in Professional Communication and an online master’s degree in English, Technical, and Professional Communication. They provided training opportunities for students new to the technologies of the courses. In spite of this preparation, they found students still had difficulties navigating and participating in online courses. A study of email messages, threaded discussions, and summaries of phone and face-to-face interactions with students indicated that students required additional support to use discussion software, understand commands in browsers, and access course materials in various browsers. This study concludes with a list of ways in which faculty and programs can prepare their classes and their students for using technologies necessary to be successful in online settings.

Keywords: instructional technology, technical support, graduate programs, graduate students, student preparation, email, discussion: English, discussion boards

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 15

Sánchez, Fernando. “Creating Accessible Spaces for ESL Students Online.” WPA: Writing Program Administration, vol. 37, no. 1, 2013, pp. 161-85.

Sánchez’s study examines the accessibility of OWL websites for international students. The study sample consisted of eight universities with 6,000 or more international students. Sanchez then tested each university website for accessibility based on four factors: 1) intercultural needs, 2) writing resource needs, 3) plagiarism needs, and 4) readability. Intercultural needs involved the website’s clarity of purpose in explaining the goals and purpose of the writing center, and writing resource needs involved the OWL’s ability to provide resources readily. Plagiarism needs were defined as how well ESL students could understand and avoid plagiarism, and readability involved how easily the website could be read and understood by ESL students. Sánchez then searched for each OWL through the university’s homepage and continued his search for each category through the use of keywords and phrases. In order to test readability, Sánchez copied and pasted student expectation pages into a Microsoft Word document and used the Readability Statistics function. While he found that every website contained intercultural needs criteria, only three websites contained writing resource needs. Some of these failures were indicative of a more systemic problem of the failure to assist ESL students. Plagiarism was widely addressed, but only one website explained cultural differences regarding borrowing work. Every website scored as readable, although some scored more difficult to read than others. Sánchez recommends that websites be more tailored to the needs of ESL students, including resources that go beyond grammar, as well as improving the readability of these sites.

Keywords: ESL, ELL, EFL, multilingual writers, accessibility, writing center, online resources, online writing centers, online writing labs, accessibility, plagiarism, research, usability testing, culturally responsive pedagogy

OWI Principles 1, 3, 15

Savenye, Wilhelmina C., et al. “So You Are Going to Be an Online Writing Instructor: Issues in Designing, Developing, and Delivering an Online Course.” Computers and Composition vol. 18, no. 4, 2001, pp. 371-85. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/S8755-4615(01)00069-X.

Wilhelmina Savenye, Zane Olina, and Mary Niemczyk present guidelines for the design, development, and delivery of online writing courses as well as recommendations about how to best support students and teachers associated with such courses. Drawing from the field of instructional design, they recommend a three-step process for online course design. First, instructors analyze the context, learners, and goals of the course. Second, they use that analysis to guide the creation of the online instructional materials. Lastly, they engage in formative evaluations to make improvements to the design. The authors subdivide and discuss each of these steps, synthesizing relevant instructional design principles and applying them to online writing instruction. They also direct the reader to additional research and resources for each step. At the end of the article, the authors discuss ways that students need extra support in online courses—not only in accessing and learning to use new hardware and software but also in taking on a more active role in their learning. Additionally, they argue that instructors, too, need access to and training for new technologies as well as help transitioning to “their new roles as online facilitators, mentors, and guides” (381), and they make suggestions for how such training might best be implemented.

Keywords: instructional design, course and program design: English, faculty development, accessibility, student engagement

OWI principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10

Schelly, Catherine, et al. “Student Perceptions of Faculty Implementation of Universal Design for Learning.” Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, vol. 24, no. 1, 2011, pp. 17-30.

The anecdotal benefits of implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) at postsecondary institutions are well documented. The literature suggests that UDL offers students with disabilities enhanced opportunities for engagement, expression, and academic performance. Responding to the call by educators for empirical evidence of UDL’s beneficial effects on student learning, performance, persistence, and ultimately retention, the researchers used focus groups and surveys to measure changes and/or improvements in instruction as perceived by students following UDL instructor training and subsequent course delivery modifications. Students reported statistically-significant increases in faculty UDL use after training. Even though this study was conducted using psychology classes, the findings suggest that OWIs can benefit from professional development in the principles of UDL because that training resulted in significant increases of UDL principles in online course development.

Keywords: faculty development, universal design, learning outcomes, empirical research, WID

OWI Principles: 1, 7, 15

Schneider, Suzanne P., and Clark G. Germann. “Technical Communication on the Web: A Profile of Learners and Learning Environments.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 1, 1999, pp. 37-48.

Schneider and Germann describe the results of their demographics study of students taking online courses at University of Colorado at Denver (CU-Denver) and Metropolitan State College of Denver (MSCD) and discuss how online learning may support adult learning practices. The authors examined three demographic areas of students enrolled in online courses: age, sex, and ethnicity. Their results demonstrated that students enrolled in online courses were on average older than students enrolled in face-to-face courses. At MSCD there was no significant enrollment difference between men and women, and at CU-Denver, a slightly higher percentage of women were taking online courses. The authors compare this finding to statistical data of general Internet usage of men and women. This data demonstrated that although a higher percentage of men than women used the Internet, this statistic does not seem to impact women’s enrollment in online courses. Therefore, Internet use does not seem to be a barrier for women to enroll in online education. All of the ethnicity data from their study comes from MSCD, and the data demonstrated that significantly more White-Caucasian students enrolled in online courses than non-white students. The authors conclude from their demographic data that providing equal access to online education is an important and continuing issue. The authors then consider how the five characteristics of a learning environment best suited for adults presented by Kolb, Rubin, and Oswald could be met through online education. They discuss notions of reciprocity, experienced-based learning, personal application, and learning that is individualized and self-directed as well as that which integrates learning and living. The authors conclude with a discussion of the importance of an interactive learning environment and discuss how writing technologies, such as email, threaded discussions, and synchronous chat can support teacher-to-student and student-to-student interaction.

Keywords: nontraditional learners, adult learners, accessibility, technical and professional writing, gender, race, research, empirical research

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11, 15

Seale, Jane, and Martyn Cooper. “E-learning and Accessibility: An Exploration of the Potential Role of Generic Pedagogical Tools.” Computers and Education, vol. 54, no. 4, 2010, pp. 1107-16.

This article presents and evaluates the quality of specific accessibility tools. The authors discuss limitations of accessibility tools which could benefit from further development based on pedagogical principles rooted in mainstream learning theory and tool design. They suggest that analyzing the potential effectiveness of accessibility tools by “blending” accessibility tools with more general pedagogical approaches can lead to developing more accessible e-learning for disabled learners. The authors highlight teacher and learner agency, encouraging readers to pay close attention to accessibility in online writing principles. In addition, they stress teaching and learning strategies that address specific learning theories and pedagogies and foster institutional support of teachers and learners for better online writing instruction praxis.

Keywords: accessibility, agency, blended, disability studies, praxis

OWI Principles 1, 3, 4, 10

Selfe, Cynthia L. Technology and Literacy in the Twenty-First Century: The Importance of Paying Attention. Southern Illinois UP, 1999.

Selfe’s seminal book, as Hugh Burns writes in the introduction, “transforms our [then] current limited discussions about technological literacy into more fully informed debates acknowledging the complex relationships between technology, literacy, education, power, economic conditions, and political goals” (xxii). In doing so, Selfe takes on three different facets of the conversation about technology and literacy: 1) the challenges of the new literacy agenda, 2) the social investment in the new literacy agenda, and 3) the responsibility of literacy educators to plan for action and change. This book coined the term “paying attention” in terms of technology use and is a primer for anyone working with literacy and technology. This collection, written at the turn of the 21st century, raises questions that permeate online writing instruction, and while the collection is not explicitly about online writing instruction, Selfe identifies the key elements that will echo through the field.

Keywords: literacy, technology

OWI Principles:  1, 2, 10, 13

Severino, Carol, et al. “Comparison of Online Feedback Requests by Non-Native English-Speaking and Native English-Speaking Writers.” The Writing Center Journal, vol. 29., no. 1, 2009, pp. 106-29.

The authors conduct an empirical study of the types of feedback requests made by Non-Native English Speakers (NNES) in comparison with those made by their Native English Speaker (NES) counterparts. The study used feedback requests from the online tutoring program at the University of Iowa writing center and were categorized based on the type of request, ranging from “satisfy assignment or task” and “development” to “style and syntax” and “grammar and punctuation” (116). The study asked whether NNES writers were more likely to submit requests for certain types of feedback, and if so, what kind. The results prove that NNES writers do submit more requests for grammar and punctuation help, but they are almost equally as likely as NES writers to submit requests for help in other areas of concern, including higher-order skills.

Keywords: empirical research, ESL, ELL, EFL, L2, multilingual writers, grammar & syntax, online tutoring

OWI Principle 1, 13, 15

Shih, Ru-Chu. “Can Web 2.0 Technology Assist College Students in Learning English Writing? Integrating ‘Facebook’ and Peer Assessment with Blended Learning.” Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 27, no. 5, 2011, pp. 829-45.

This article presents the findings of a study examining a writing course for first-year students at a technical university in Taiwan that used Facebook, peer assessment, and classroom instruction in a blended learning environment. For this course, students were required to post their writing assignments to Facebook, respond to each other’s writing via Facebook’s comment function, and then respond to each other’s feedback. For the study, twenty-three students were divided into three groups based on their National College Entrance Exam scores. Shih used both quantitative and qualitative methods to ascertain the perspective of students and the instructor about the class and changes in students writing as a result of the class.  Results of a pre- and post-test demonstrated improvement for all students, but particularly those who were in the lowest scoring group. Content analysis showed that those in the highest scoring group commented the most, most likely due to their higher competency with English. Shih found that many students used emoticons or the “like” button within Facebook to accompany their comments. Results of a survey given to students revealed moderate to high satisfaction with aspects of the course. Interviews with students corroborated these findings; students seemed to appreciate the opportunity to communicate with and receive feedback from their peers on Facebook. The instructor’s reflection suggested that a blended learning model relying on online peer assessment may actually require more time and effort for instructors. Shih concludes that the study supports the effectiveness of this course model and calls for future research with a larger sample of students.

Keywords: blended, social media, assessment, peer review, community, research, empirical research, ESL, EFL, ELL, L2, multilingual writers, accessibility, faculty workload, time management

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 8, 11, 12, 15

Shute, Valerie, and Diego Zapata-Rivera. “Adaptive Technologies.” ETS Research Report Series, vol. 2007, no. 1, pp. i-34, 2007. Wiley Online Library, DOI: 10.1002/j.2333-8504.2007.tb02047.x.

The paper presents adaptive technology research that can connect to form a more comprehensive systems approach to teaching and learning. Accordingly, adaptive systems can create flexible environments for learners with varied abilities and backgrounds as well as disabilities and interests. The paper demonstrates how to organize adaptive technologies, presents key challenges and systemic problems, and suggests the benefits of adaptive systems for learners who may or may not be disabled. The paper includes discussions surrounding inclusive and accessible education, how an adaptive systems approach can envelop a diverse range of learners’ needs, ways in which specific pedagogical and theoretical approaches can be connected to be made relevant, and how an adaptive approach can embrace alternative theories.

Keywords: adaptive technology, disability studies, accessibility, inclusivity

OWI Principles 1, 3, 4, 6

Sidler, Michelle, et al. Computers in the Composition Classroom: A Critical Sourcebook, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008.

Michelle Sidler, Richard Morris, and Elizabeth Overman Smith bring together research surrounding the use of computers in the composition classroom. The book is divided into six sections: 1) the earliest theoretical frameworks for the field of computers and writing; 2) literacy and access; 3) writers and identity; 4) writers and composing; 5) institutional programs; and 6) upcoming “New-Media” multimedia composition writing and pedagogies. The text, available free to educators through the publisher, is a potentially valuable collection that will assist with program development and teacher training regarding OWI.

Keywords: literacy, accessibility, multimedia

OWI Principles:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14

Slatin, John M. “The Imagination Gap: Making Web-Based Instructional Resources Accessible to Students and Colleagues with Disabilities.” Currents in Electronic Literacy, vol. 6, 2002,

Slatin offers some of the earliest advice in the field in what he calls “AccessFirst Design,” which is a way to approach the technical challenge of making “web-based instructional resources’ accessible to students with disabilities. For Slatin, meeting the technical challenges of accessibility is both a legal and ethical obligation. While some of his advice does not hold up through time, what is important about Slatin’s work is his emphasis on access first and his concept of focusing not on what students may not be able to do, but rather focusing on what they can do and how to match your pedagogy to that. Slatin offers the idea that students and instructors should do more to imagine disability. He encourages instructors to imagine using the web from the perspective of those with disabilities from going mouseless for a week to a week without images. This exercise raises awareness about creating and posting accessible information in our online courses.

Keywords: disability studies, accessibility, course and program design: English, legislation

OWI Principles: 1

Snart, Jason. Hybrid Learning: The Perils and Promise of Blending Online and Face-to-Face Instruction in Higher Education, Praeger, 2010.

This book offers a thoroughly researched and critical exploration into hybrid teaching and learning. While not a “how-to” book for online and hybrid teaching and learning, readers looking for ways to create and/or improve their online or hybrid classes can find a plethora of ideas for classroom application through the thought-provoking discussions about the historical, political, financial, technological, and pedagogical aspects of online and hybrid classes. Snart provides an insightful and critical examination into the most controversial issues facing higher education that many administrators think will be solved by online classes, such as increasing enrollment, retention, and completion rates, and increasing profit.  The book is divided into seven chapters that address challenges in higher education; reasons for increased interest in hybrid classes; cultural motivations; profiles of hybrid classes, programs, and student experience; the use of technology to build community and increase collaboration; and speculation about the future of hybrid delivery.  

Key words: hybrid, blended, computer-mediated classrooms, educational technology, pedagogy: English, culture, online writing programs, collaboration, teaching with technology: English

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Snart, Jason. “Hybrid and Fully Online OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, Parlor P, 2015, pp. 93-127.

Beginning with definitions of “fully online” and “hybrid” courses, this chapter explores the similarities and differences between these two types of instruction. According to Snart, “hybrid describes an environment where traditional, face-to-face instruction is combined with either distance-based or onsite computer-mediated settings” (95), whereas a fully online course has no face-to-face or onsite components to it (95). He also notes that these terms carry different definitions from one institution to the next depending on many factors, such as administrative perspective and the needs of different student bodies. For instance, a fully online course may have a requirement that students take tests onsite, and hybrid courses are not always split 50:50 between onsite and online class time. Another important consideration when defining these two types of instruction is that one is not a variant or deviation from another; they are both separate and unique delivery methods that do have some overlap but also have specific and defining characteristics of their own. For instance, when migrating material from a traditional face-to-face setting to a hybrid environment, some instructors believe that at least half of their classroom instruction should be replaced or simply put online. Snart explains that teaching strategies do not always function equally in both settings; instructors should choose which activities work best in face-to-face classes and which activities would work better online. Furthermore, issues associated with access, pedagogy, organization, presence, and community take different shapes depending on the type of instruction and the ratio of time spent online vs. face-to-face or onsite. Instructors should consider what they do well in each setting and capitalize on those strengths when building online and hybrid classes. Additionally, technology should not lead course design; online and hybrid courses should be objective-based where teaching is grounded in pedagogy first and foremost so that the design enables students to best meet course goals and objectives.

Keywords: blended, hybrid, instructional design, modality student success, faculty development, time management, faculty workload, course and program design: English, pedagogy: English, learning outcomes

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13

Snart, Jason. "Video Welcome Announcements in the LMS."OWI Open Resource, Conference on College Composition and Communication, 2013,

This website includes Snart’s “Welcome” video for a new online course where he provides students with information about the course, such as course content, the pace of the course, due dates, and how much time is required for class work. Along with the video, the website includes text in which Snart explains his reasons for using videos for online classes. He believes that even in online classes, students need to feel a connection to the instructor, and the videos help provide that connection. He also explains how he embedded this online video into Blackboard. This website not only has an example of a“Welcome” video Snart uses for an online class but also gives insight into the purpose of the video and how instructors might create these videos for their classes.

Key words: orientation, student success, pedagogy: English, video: English

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10

So, Lee, and Chung Hyun Lee. “A Case Study on the Effects of an L2 Writing Instructional Model for Blended Learning in Higher Education.” Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 12, no. 4, 2013, pp. 1-10,

L2 students in traditional onsite classes face many challenges in improving their writing, particularly those associated with time and guided practice. In response to these challenges, So and Lee designed a blended instructional model grounded in writing process theory that enabled students to interact with each other and each other’s drafts online. Doing so gave students more time to write and more opportunities to have their work reviewed by their peers and teacher before submitting the final draft and reflection. The instructional model mapped the five main stages of the writing process—prewriting, drafting, revising, revising and polishing, and reviewing—onto a blended model that started and ended in the onsite classroom. Students interacted with each other in both the onsite and online environments through the initial brainstorming session, two rounds of peer review, and the final assessment and reflection activities. Student learning was measured by language proficiency tests administered at the beginning, middle, and end stages of the semester. All of the participants’ writing improved, which So and Lee attribute to “the abundant opportunities to produce multiple drafts, the giving and receiving of feedback, and the explicit practicing of discrete writing components through guided writing exercises” (9). This study would be useful to OWI instructors, especially those who teach blended classes, as an example of how to sequence and support the stages of the writing process across multiple learning modalities.

Keywords: blended, L2, ELL, ESL, EFL, multilingual writers, writing process, interactivity, peer review, revision, empirical research, quantitative research, modality

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7, 11, 15

St. Amant, Kirk. “Distance Education in a Global Age: A Perspective for Internationalizing Online Learning Communities.” ACM SIGGROUP Bulletin, special issue on Online Learning Communities, vol. 25, no. 1, 2004, pp. 12-19. ACM Digital Library,

St. Amant identifies ways in which online writing instructors can design online writing courses with a global audience in mind. St. Amant outlines the special challenges faced by instructors who are building online learning communities of international learners. He provides strategies for instructors in terms of the language and rhetoric in their online classes; the interfaces and visual design of their online classes; and the culture, technology and information access in online classes. Finally, he provides resources for online writing instructors seeking to know more about designing classes for international students. This article provides key ideas for educators wishing to create more inclusive, accessible classrooms for international learners.

Keywords: accessibility, culture, communication, global, audience, rhetoric, visual design, course and program design: English, inclusivity

OWI Principles: 1, 10, 13


St. Amant, Kirk. “Online Education in an Age of Globalization: Foundational Perspectives and Practices for Technical Communication Instructors and Trainers.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 16, no. 1, 2007, pp. 13-30.

St. Amant highlights the conditions for opportunities to offer online courses in technical communication to students across the globe and discusses the pedagogical implications that need to be considered when designing a course that will be effective for international students. St. Amant points to several trends that create opportunities to make courses available to international students, including increased Internet access around the world, deregulation of global education, increased interest and acceptance of online education, and international interest in technical communication coupled with a dearth of technical communication experts or scholars in non-Western countries. He suggests that these conditions highlight that the time is right for institutions to bring online technical communication education to the international marketplace. However, St. Amant argues that opening courses to international students is not enough; courses must be designed specifically with a diverse international audience in mind, and instructors must receive training on how international factors affect the effectiveness of their courses. St. Amant offers four areas to consider when designing a course for international students: access, design, scheduling, and language. In terms of access, factors such as telecommunication infrastructure, power-electric infrastructure, and bandwidth capabilities will impact students’ ability to access online content. The author offers several strategies for instructors to consider in addressing this issue including allowing the use of alternative media like phones or fax, distributing course materials in hard copy form prior to the start of a course, designing course pages to download quickly and be easily printed, and limiting the number of online activities required. In terms of design, the author points out that different cultures have different associations with design features such as images and colors; therefore, he suggests limiting the use of images, or at least including text that provide context with images. St. Amant then discusses scheduling, highlighting that because students will be in diverse time zones, details such as including time zone designation on due dates and avoiding using terms like “yesterday” or “tomorrow” which may be relative to a specific time zone, can make a difference in avoiding confusion. Finally, St. Amant argues that because online communication is often done through writing, written language proficiency is crucial to students’ success. Asking students to share their background so an instructor can anticipate language challenges, offering a weekly glossary of terms for all students, or providing a link to a dictionary are important steps to help students avoid the obstacle of language related struggles. St. Amant points out that while these suggestions might seems simple, they are crucial for designing a course where international students can be successful. This article expands on St. Amant’s previous article “Distance Education in a Global Age: A Perspective for Internationalizing Online Learning Communities.”

Keywords: technical and professional writing, globalization, global, course and program design: English, accessibility, best practices

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 13

St. Amant, Kirk, and Rich Rice. “Online Writing in Global Contexts: Rethinking the Nature of Connections and Communication in the Age of International Online Media.” Computers and Composition, vol. 38, no. B, 2015, pp. v-x.

St.Amant and Rice note online media require writing instructors to re-think the notion of audience as a topic now inherently global in nature.  They also explain how current metaphors used to conceptualize and discuss this context often prevent instructors and students from understanding the complexities that can affect composing practices in international cyberspace.  St.Amant and Rice go on to argue the key to negotiating such factors involves identifying those areas – or friction points – that can affect how online compositions are accessed, read, considered, and used.  Some of these factors are connected to aspects of technology, others to geopolitics, and still others to cultural differences in rhetorical preferences and expectations.  Identifying such friction points, for St.Amant and Rice, is a matter of approaching online writing in international contexts as a three-part process they refer to as the “3Cs.”  The first of these Cs – contacting – focuses on how individuals use online media to access audiences in other cultures.  The second C – conveying – looks at the rhetorical strategies writers use to present ideas in ways that grab and hold the attention of readers from other cultures.  The third C – connecting – casts the writing process as one that should foster international dialogue by teaching students to compose in ways that encourage international readers to respond in writing to engage in broader discussions of a topic.  St.Amant and Rice conclude by noting the 3Cs approach can help instructors and students identify and address friction points in a way that can lead to more successful methods for teaching writing online in international contexts.

Keywords: course and program design: English, student engagement, student satisfaction, accessibility, interaction

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 14

St.Amant, Kirk, and Filipp Sapienza. Culture, Communication, and Cyberspace: Rethinking Technical Communication for International Online Environments.  Baywoood 2011.

This edited collection examines how aspects of culture and language affect online interactions at a time when the Internet was becoming increasingly international in scope as more nations and regions of the world were gaining online access.  Central to the entries in the collection is the issue of online education and the implications culture and language have for how conventional approaches to teaching writing in online education should (or need to) adapt to and evolve in relation  to this new global environment.  Within this context, chapters examine aspects such as how culture affects perceptions and uses of information systems, how cultural aspects influence attitudes toward online education, and how linguistic factors shape approaches individuals can use to engage in online educational settings.  In so doing, the overall volume bridges gaps between the research done in computer-mediated communication and in intercultural communication through a focus on educational practices associated with writing and communication.

Keywords: technical and professional writing, instructional design, student satisfaction, accessibility, interaction

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 14

Starke‐Meyerring, Doreen, and Linda S. Clemens. "Theoretical and Practical Considerations for Virtual Learning Environments in Technical Communication: An Annotated Bibliography." Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 2, 1999, pp. 125-41.

This article provides an annotated bibliography of sources related to virtual learning environments for technical communication. Starke-Meyerring and Clemens note that they chose sources that related to praxis, including sources published on the Internet and aimed for a middle ground between theory and practice. They arrange sources according to the steps technical communicators take when entering the field: overviews, designs, implementation, and evaluation. Their annotations provide a summary of the sources and an evaluation of their usefulness for those in the field of technical communication who are also interested in online learning.

Keywords: technical and professional communication, virtual classroom, praxis, literature review

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7, 13, 15

Stine, Linda. “The Best of Both Worlds: Teaching Basic Writers in Class and Online.” Journal of Basic Writing, vol. 23, no. 2, 2004, pp. 49-69.

Stine identifies several problematic issues related to computers and word processing in basic writing pedagogy, noting that agreement on whether or not online instruction is appropriate for basic writers is even more difficult than the discussion about basic technologies in writing instruction. The author reviews her hybrid course by first raising some of the problems associated with teaching basic writers online, including accessibility issues, technology issues, and issues related to the homogenizing culture of online classes. Stein then turns to pedagogical concerns with online basic writing questions, in particular whether online courses provide enough contextual cues (and a discussion of whether those cues are inherently positive or negative) and challenges related to poor reading skills and self-motivation for online basic writers.  Stein identifies several benefits of online education for basic writers. Stine claims that shy or unheard students might find their voice in online discussions, the “real” nature of online writing that lend an automatic “ethos” to the online instructor, and the fact that many basic writing students might only be able to access online courses due to limitations of time and distance. Faculty can also use the affordances of digital technology to provide adult learners with additional resources. She states that, “Online courses, at least those that are well designed, force students to play an active role in the learning experience—posing questions, voicing opinions, engaging in discussions, spending as much time as necessary on weak areas, and self-testing their knowledge when and as appropriate” (57-58). After pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of online classes for basic writers, Stine concludes that  flexible approach based on student and instructor strengths and available institutional resources is the best method for reaching these writers.

Keywords: hybrid, developmental writing, reading, time management, identity, accessibility, adult learners, assessment

OWI Principles:  1, 3, 4, 11, 13

Stine, Linda. "Teaching Basic Writing in a Web-Enhanced Environment." Journal of Basic Writing, vol. 29, no. 1, 2010, pp. 33-55.

Through a review of literature in basic and online writing instruction and her own experience as a veteran hybrid teacher, Stine urges those who teach developing writers to play a more active role in shaping the online education debate. Stine asks three main questions: 1) How does online learning change the teaching role? 2) What kinds of assignments are appropriate to this medium? and 3) What tools/methods can be used to encourage student self-reflection? As she evaluates the benefits of online writing instruction, Stine adopts a cautionary tone, arguing that the common challenges online writing teachers face are often amplified in the basic writing class since many developing writers lack confidence not only in their writing but also in their technological skills. These challenges, however, are countered by the rewards that innovative uses of technology can bring, such as expanding one’s “teaching arsenal” and developing closer relationships with students through more frequent and extended feedback. Stine closes by reiterating her conviction “that a hybrid course provides a better learning experience for the adult basic writers I teach than either a pure distance or face-to-face option would” (50). Her careful analysis of the different strategies needed when teaching basic writing online is valuable for instructors in all OWI formats.

Keywords: basic writing, developmental writing, hybrid, blended, literature review, assignment: English, technical support, instructor interaction

OWI Principle: 1, 2, 3, 4

Theofanos, Mary Frances, and Janice Redish. “Helping Low-vision and Other Users with Web Sites That Meet Their Needs: Is One Site for All Feasible?” Technical Communication, vol. 52, no. 1, 2005, pp. 9-20.

As a second part to a research study focused specifically on understanding the needs of low vision users, Theofanos and Redish share the findings of watching ten users interact with different web sites. An important finding from their work is that low vision users do not want a “special site” specific to their needs. Rather, they want the same site that full vision users have to be more accessible. The problems with many sites is that low- vision users are easily lost, are mouse dependent, and have problems staying online for long periods of time. In addition, the scroll bar is often not visible with the text, text can be lost when magnified, and customization options are limited. To mitigate some of these problems, the authors recommend adding color to the navigation column, using relative sizes for text, avoid using graphic images for textual elements, and using sans serif fonts. These same recommendations align with aspects of instructional design and online learning and can be easily implemented in online writing instruction.

Keywords: web design, accessibility, visually impaired users

OWI Principles: 1

Thiel, Teresa. Report on Online Tutoring Services. University of Missouri-St. Louis, 2010,

Theil analyzes and evaluates two online, commercial tutoring services, NetTutor and Smarthinking, for undergraduate-level courses and recommends that the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) adopt NetTutor to provide online tutoring services for online courses. In evaluating the two services, Theil measured the quality and efficacy of tutoring, the ease of access and integration with the university’s LMS (Blackboard), the breadth of subjects offered, satisfaction of current users, and value. Ultimately, NetTutor was deemed the best because its quality of tutoring was slightly higher than Smarthinking, possibly because its tutors work from a central location with resources and supervision. Of particular interest to OWI instructors are the reasons that Theil recommends commercial alternatives to in-house writing centers: cost effectiveness and quality. Based on a recent comparison of tutoring quality between the USML Writing Lab and Smarthinking, the English department is “reconsidering whether” offering in-house online tutoring “is a good idea” (19). Theil notes that providing quality in-house online tutoring services “would require a dedicated staff to find, train, and monitor the tutors,” thereby increasing costs (19). She believes that the USML Writing Lab should continue offering onsite services and be supplemented with NetTutor to meet the needs of different student populations.

Keywords: online tutoring, tutor training, accessibility, online writing centers, administration

OWI Principles: 1, 6, 13, 14

Thrush, Emily A., and Susan L. Popham. “Teaching Technical Communication to a Global Online Student Audience.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie. Baywood, 2013, pp. 113-31.

As online programs increase, so will the numbers of students from around the world who choose to take technical and professional writing programs online. Beginning with a premise that international student participation benefits both international and US students, Thrush and Popham identify challenges involved with working with international students in online writing classes. One challenge includes a wide variety in the forms of English and formal writing international students bring from diverse cultures. In addition, writing genres common to technical communication classes may not translate to or have meaning in various cultures. Online classes can adjust to these challenges by shifting away from genre-based teaching practices and toward more context-specific practices, such as analyzing the audiences and cultural expectations for a document. Online faculty can also adjust to the various assumptions about the instructor-student relationship international students hold and understand how conversational patterns for international students may differ. The authors conclude by recommending Coyle’s Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) model as a means for understanding content, context, cognition, and culture in online writing classes. They also encourage that online faculty become more aware of how language is acquired. This chapter begins a discussion on how to fully integrate and address international students in online classrooms, providing one potential framework on which online writing faculty can research and build.

Keywords: global, ESL, ELL, EFL, multilingual writers, technical and professional writing, cultures, genres,

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4


Tillery, Denise, and Ed Nagelhout. “Theoretically Grounded, Practically Enacted, and Well Behind the Cutting Edge: Writing Course Development Within the Constraints of a Campus-Wide Course Management System.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2013, pp. 25-44.

This chapter outlines a strategy for delivering a business writing course at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) centered around a standardized course template in WebCampus (Blackboard) that allows faculty to select from a variety of course assignments within a predetermined assignment sequence. Tillery and Nagelhout describe a delivery-focused approach to the course that allows for consistent learning outcomes, assignments, and assessments among face-to-face, hybrid, and online sections of the course. The assignments and template reflect the nature of writing as a “complex, reflective, social activity” (29). The template includes not only student-directed units that the population of primarily part-time and graduate student instructors can utilize immediately, but it also includes a number of faculty resources that help instructors efficiently provide feedback and follow the guideline of spending no more than ten hours per week on an individual course. Data from random students in each course are gathered via Excel spreadsheets each term to allow administrators to discuss elements of the course that are and are not effective and modify the course accordingly. While the design and implementation of the course are effective, the constraints of the LMS that facilitate the standardized design put the program well behind the curve of “cutting edge” technology use. This chapter demonstrates the balance between standardization and innovation and provides a model of one program that has implemented a standardized course structure and attempted to compensate for the shortcomings of an LMS.

Keywords: course and program design: English, business writing, assessment, Blackboard, course management system, online resources, administration, faculty workload, predesigned courses, time management, graduate teaching assistants, adjuncts, contingent faculty,

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 12

United States, Census Bureau. Disability, 2011,

The Census Bureau collects data on disability primarily through the American Community Survey (ACS) and the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). The definitions of disability are not always alike, so be careful when making comparisons across surveys. Generally, the SIPP estimates of disability prevalence are broader and encompass a greater number of activities on which disability status is assessed. The ACS has a more narrow definition but is capable of producing estimates for states, counties, and metropolitan areas. Because the ACS has replaced the decennial long-form as the source for small area statistics, there is no disability data in the 2010 Census. In addition to these recent data sources, the Census Bureau has also produced disability estimates from the 2000 Census and the Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC). Other Federal agencies also collect and report disability statistics. These disability statistics are helpful for those needing information in order to make arguments about the need for accessibility in online writing courses.

Keywords: accessibility, disability studiese

OWI Principles: 1

United States, Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics (NCES 2015-011), table 311.10, 2013,

Much like the other national or international resources, this reference provides data on the number of students with disabilities in the US. This data is valuable for making local arguments about the need to pay attention to students with disabilities. The numbers for 2011-2012 report that 11.1 percent of students have disabilities, which is a slight increase from the 10.9 percent in the prior national statistics release. In other words, OWI are more likely to have students with disabilities in their online courses than not.

Keywords: accessibility, disability studies

OWI Principles: 1

Vincelette, Elizabeth. “Video Capture for Grading: Multimodal Feedback and the Millennial Student.” Enhancing Instruction with Visual Media: Utilizing Video and Lecture Capture, edited by Ellen G. Smyth and John X. Volker, IGI Global, 2013, pp. 107-27, doi: 10.4018/978-1-46666-3962-1.ch008.

Vincelette discusses a pilot study that incorporates what she calls “screencast assessment” for providing multimodal feedback on student writing assignments through Jing and (107). Because of the ubiquity of multimodal objects in the lives of “digital natives,” she infers that “screencast assessment fits into students’ daily experiences with technology, uses familiar interfaces, and can provide more effective feedback to students about their writing than can text-based feedback alone” (108). The article addresses the following research questions: “1) To what degree is screencast assessment more beneficial than traditional text-based feedback?, 2) How do students perceive the effectiveness of screencast assessment?, and 3) To what degree does screencast assessment help students improve writing?” (109). While Vincelette acknowledges that the small sample size (9 out of 18 students in the class) does not allow for the conclusions to be generalized, she found that her grounded theory approach to student surveys using corpus analysis revealed that “students feel responsibility for their writing and recognize that grading is part of a process involving both students and instructors” (113). Students seemed to most value the combination of video and the teacher’s voice, understanding that faculty were more involved in their grading and their classes and had taken extra time to do the recordings, which mattered to students in this study. Vincelette concludes with recommendations for how to effectively set up and complete screencast assessment and calls for additional studies with larger student populations and a consideration of how screencasting works for students with a variety of disabilities. This article provides a research methodology for studying the effectiveness of screencasting to provide student feedback and also a set of concrete guidelines for those instructors seeking to begin using screencasting for student assessment in their online and hybrid courses.

Keywords: accessibility, assessment: English, feedback, video: English, disability studies, research, grounded theory, instructor interaction, screencast, qualitative research

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 15

Vincelette, Elizabeth, and Timothy Bostic. “Show and Tell: Student and Instructor Perceptions of Screencast Assessment.” Assessing Writing, vol. 18, no. 4, Oct. 2013, pp. 257-77. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.asw.2013.08.001.

Vincelette and Bostic study the use of screencast feedback in order to develop a method of feedback that meet the goals of reducing faculty grading load, inserting the instructor as a presence with vocal tone and inflection in commenting, and providing more usable feedback to students who might not be motivated to read written feedback. Their study seeks to answer three questions: “1) From their perspective, do students find multimodal assessment using screen capturing technology more effective than traditional written feedback, and do they feel more engaged with their writing feedback? 2) From the instructors’ perspectives, do they believe that their students’ written works improved due to the use of a multimodal assessment method? and 3) Do instructors using screen-capturing as a method of providing feedback on writing believe that the time it takes to learn the technology is worthwhile?” (261). The study participants included thirty-nine students enrolled in one of two entry level composition courses at a university. Instructors in the courses used Jing to screencast feedback that was shared via email or in portfolios. Students were then surveyed about their experiences with the screencast feedback, and their instructors were interviewed about their experiences providing feedback. The results showed that students felt the feedback was more effective, and they felt that they made more substantive revisions after receiving screencast feedback. Instructors felt that screencasts were beneficial and that “the level of engagement reported by the students is seen by the instructors as an increase in the communication rapport between instructors and students” (265). While faculty reported that student revision was “mixed,” they also indicated that providing screencast feedback required that they be more positive and give more detailed comments on student papers once they established sound workflows with the technology. Vincelette and Bostic conclude that additional studies with more students are warranted and that instructors implementing screencast feedback pay attention to the length of the feedback and their own comfort levels with using screencast technology. This article is an important contribution to the research on alternatives to written feedback in online classes and helps instructors better understand effective feedback and the limitations of multimodal feedback on student writing.

Keywords: assessment: English, feedback, multimodality, research, revision, screencast, faculty workload, student engagement, instructor interaction, qualitative research

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 15

Walker, Kristin. “Activity Theory and the Online Technical Communication Course: Assessing Quality in Undergraduate Instruction.”  Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2005, pp. 207-18.

Walker assesses her online classes through the lens of activity theory in order to understand online classes as complex activity systems and to address potential complications and adapt to those complications in three specific areas: instruction, peer interaction, and researching. Paying attention to student messages about their difficulties with using various tools in the class can highlight cultural differences in how students interpret online classes as well as the assumptions that faculty make about how students will interact with technologies. In addition to student messages, faculty can consider how physical learning environments might help or hinder student participation and how student preparation for and cultural histories with learning might impact how they interact with and use technologies to complete assignments, particularly complex assignments, such as videotaping research interviews. Students in online discussion spaces may need additional prompting or attention, and students conducting research online might benefit from interactions with other students in similar activity systems. This chapter provides one example of how applying activity theory and thinking of the online class as a complex system can assist faculty in predicting challenges for online students and designing classes that might mitigate those challenges.

Keywords: assessment: English, course and program design: English, collaboration, teaching with technology: English, student-to-student interaction, research writing, student engagement, assignment: English, discussion: English, discussion boards

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 10, 11

Walters, Shannon. “Toward an Accessible Pedagogy: Dis/ability, Multimodality, and Universal Design in the Technical Communication Classroom.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 19, no. 4, 2010, pp. 427-54.

Walters argues for the need for research in usability to counter what she sees as a limiting focus on disability-specific needs. Walter writes that, “Extending these recent broader inquiries is crucial because impairment-specific efforts may limit students and teachers to consider specific disabilities and specific solutions instead of encouraging more comprehensive understandings of disability and ability as contingent bodily states affected by time, space, and a range of fluid contexts” (429). She argues that the technical writing classroom setting is ideal to analyze the effectiveness of different pedagogical approaches to disability and accessibility. Walters uses a teacher-researcher methodology and disability studies methodology to analyze both her subjective observations and those of the students as well. The study of disability included both the practical, assignment driven work of a typical classroom as well as discussions of broader concepts from disability studies. Walter both details the sequence of activities and discussions in the course and reflects on students’ work and reactions to disability studies in the class. Walter concludes that “through integrating multimodal and [universal design] approaches to dis/ability in the classroom, technical communication teachers can contribute to the ongoing conversation in disability studies about impairment and the social experience of disability” 450). Walter’s work can help to train instructors in online writing classrooms who need to create accessible materials for teaching through the practical exercises that she used successfully with her own students.

Keywords: usability testing, disability studies, accessibility, pedagogy: English, multimodal, universal design

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 15

Warnock, Scott. “Responding to Student Writing with Audio-Visual Feedback.” Writing and the iGeneration: Composition in the Computer-Mediated Classroom, edited by Terry Carter and Maria A. Clayton, Fountainhead P, 2008, pp. 201-27.

In this chapter from a book designed to help new and experienced teachers incorporate technology into their teaching of writing, Warnock first provides a review of the history of teachers’ use of audio to respond to student writing and then describes his step-by-step process of providing audiovisual (AV) response to student writers in his own courses using Camtasia software. He concludes this description by saying, “The conversation I need to have with students about their writing is facilitated at least as well by AV feedback as with written comments” (210). In an appendix, he discusses a brief study in his own classes in which he asked students on anonymous course evaluations if they preferred written feedback, face-to-face conferences, or AV comments for their drafts. Students said the face-to-face conferences were best but preferred AV feedback over written commentary. While this study is not exclusive to OWI, the technological method of response fits well with efforts to teach writing using digital technology.

Keywords: feedback, video: English, audio, screencasting

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 15

Warnock, Scott. Teaching Writing Online: How and Why. National Council of Teachers of English, 2009.

In this book, Warnock describes not just how to teach an online (and hybrid) writing course but why such teaching is good for students and teachers. This practical text, written mainly for teachers moving into teaching writing in online settings, focuses on how OWI might help teachers re-think college writing courses for the fundamental reason that online such courses take place primarily through and with students' written communications. A primary idea driving the book is “migrating” to online writing instruction, with Warnock insisting that instructors “focus on what [they] do well in the classroom, [they] will find the move to online teaching less difficult – and more enjoyable” (xiv). Several of the book’s chapters are designed to help new online teachers with general concerns, such as choosing technologies, managing time wisely, and making core pedagogy decisions. The heart of the book describes specific teaching approaches and strategies, such as organizing course materials, creating reasonable course pacing, managing message board conversations, conducting peer reviews, responding to students, and running collaborative assignments. This pedagogically-centered book ends with Warnock discussing how teaching writing with technology is, at its base, a “personality-driven endeavor.” The book is framed by 41 guidelines for OWI and includes a resource chapter and appendix with sample teaching materials.

Keywords: pedagogy: English, discussion boards, faculty development, course and program design: English, navigation, collaboration, teaching with technology: English

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13

Warnock, Scott. “Streaming Media for Writing Instruction: Drexel’s Streaming Media Server and Novel Approaches to Course Lessons and Assessment.”  Streaming Media in Higher Education, edited by Charles Wankel and J. Sibley Law, IGI Global, 2011, pp. 218-36.

In this chapter, in a book about various ways streaming media is being used in college instruction, Warnock discusses DragonDrop, a streaming media system to help Drexel University faculty use various types of media in their teaching and convert a wide variety of file types. Warnock’s chapter focuses on how DragonDrop simplifies the use of video applications specifically for writing instruction practices, such as assessing  and responding to student writing, modeling the writing process for students, creating activity-oriented workshops, and conducting course lessons and introducing course materials. Warnock says that Drexel’s system solves core issues, including creating and distributing files and ensuring that students can access that material, so teachers can focus on creative teaching uses of technology.

Keywords: video: English, audio, feedback, process, modeling, screencasting, technology, assessment: English, technical support

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 4, 11

Web Accessibility Initiative. WC3, 24 Sept 2015,

The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) is one of four domains of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and operates with the mission of making the web more accessible for people with disabilities. To pursue this commitment, the WAI’s website serves as a comprehensive resource on web accessibility, including technical information that covers every angle of creating an accessible website, finding the right information can be cumbersome for someone new to accessibility. Each standard is accompanied with several techniques for implementation, as well as methods to use to determine if a standard is not met within a webpage.  Another useful portion of the site is the “Evaluating Accessibility” section. This resource provides those new to accessibility in online instruction tools to begin making courses more universally accessible.

Keywords: accessibility, web design,

OWI Principles: 1


Wichadee, Saovap. “Improving Students’ Summary Writing Ability Through Collaboration: A Comparison Between Online Wiki Group and Conventional Face-to-face Group.” Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 12, no. 3, July 2013, pp. 107-16.

Wichadee investigates the differences between the summary writing skills of L2 learners who participated in “wiki-based collaboration” and those who collaborated face-to-face. The researcher also compared the students’ writing abilities with their satisfaction with the online or face-to-face methods. In doing so, Wichadee addressed the following questions: 1) To what extent did the students improve their English summary writing ability after learning through collaboration? 2) Is there a difference in students' writing ability between those using wiki-based collaboration and those using conventional face-to-face collaboration after the intervention? 3) Is there a difference in satisfaction of students learning via wiki-based collaboration as compared to those learning via face-to-face collaboration? 4) What are students’ attitudes towards learning through wiki in terms of its advantages and disadvantages? and 5) Is there a difference between wiki-based group and face-to-face group in terms of summary writing accuracy of the final product?” (109). Forty students in two sections of Fundamental English I at Bangkok University completed writing summary tests, and questionnaires gauged their writing performance and their perception of their experience. Both groups improved their summary writing skills, and while the gains from the wiki-based collaborative group were higher, the results were not statistically significant. The improvement in the summary writing was attributed not to the modality but rather to the experience of working collaboratively and sharing writing with classmates. Students in the wiki-based groups identified more advantages than drawbacks, and students recognized in surveys that the teacher would be more likely to evaluate individual effort in the wiki-based groups, which motivated their performance. In addition, the face-to-face group was found to do more direct copying from the passage than the wiki-based group. This article is valuable to researchers and instructors who are investigating the differences in online learning communities versus face-to-face learning communities in term of writing performance.

Keywords: wikis, writing process, collaboration, ELL, ESL, L2, multilingual writers, surveys, research, quantitative research, plagiarism

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, 15


Wichadee, Saovapa. “Peer Feedback on Facebook: The Use of Social Networking Websites to Develop Writing Ability of Undergraduate Student.” Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, vol. 14, no. 4,  Oct. 2013, pp. 260-70.

Wichadee explored how using Facebook to provide comments on student papers affected the quality of that feedback. The study had five primary goals: “to explore the nature of feedback that students receive on their writings, to find out the extent the peer feedback in Facebook improve students’ writing ability, to examine the extent to which peers' comments are incorporated into their subsequent revisions, to study students’ attitude towards peer feedback activity to study students’ attitude towards the use of Facebook for peer feedback” (262-263). Thirty first-year students enrolled in a Fundamental English course wrote two pieces of at least 100 words and then posted their work to Facebook for peer review. Students were then interviewed about their attitudes about using Facebook for peer review and the types of feedback were coded. The study showed that students were more likely to comment on content rather than grammar and language use. They also significantly improved their writing. However, students were more likely to have incorporated the grammatical recommendations rather than the content recommendations from the peer review (although content recommendations were close behind the grammatical ones). The students found their peer comments to be useful and did not experience difficulties using Facebook to provide feedback. The study is useful as a means of identifying alternatives to the LMS when completing peer review of short documents in online classes.

Keywords: peer review, social media, first-year writing, interviews, qualitative research, research, grammar & style, feedback, course management system

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, 15

Wilferth, Joe, and Charles Hart. “Designing in the Dark: Toward Informed Technical Design for the Visually Impaired.” Computers and Composition Online, Spring 2005,

Wilferth and Charles provide a basic overview of web accessibility for the visually impaired using a technical communication web design course as their example. The key for online writing instructors of all kinds is a general awareness of design and accessibility issues that can be applied to OWC even if it is delivered in a content/learning management system (such as Blackboard).  While they do not reference some of the improved web accessibility features (see the Web Accessibility Initiative listing for updated information), they remind readers that good design moves beyond compliance. Wilferth and Charles admit they are not providing “ground breaking scholarship” but instead a general awareness of issues of how to design learning resources for blind users.

Keywords: accessibility, visually impaired users, web design, usability testing, course management system, Blackboard

OWI Principles: 1

Wyatt, Christopher. “Accessible Writing Spaces: Designing Virtual Spaces That Accommodate Difference.” Making Space: Writing Instruction, Infrastructure, and Multiliteracies, edited by James Purdy and Danielle Nicole DeVoss, Michigan Publishing/U of Michigan Library, 2013,

Wyatt proposes a framework for inclusive design of virtual composition classrooms. He asserts that online class spaces need to move from simply accommodation (a term he finds problematic) to being inclusive. His framework considers inclusion during each step of course development, incorporates technical with both a pedagogical and inclusive rationale, adapts constructivist pedagogies to create a community of inquiry, embraces the experiences of all students, guides students towards appreciation for each exercise and assignment and complies with local, state, and federal regulations. He provides strategies for  implementing his framework, although the work is vague and includes few practical examples.

Keywords: inclusive, accessibility, course and program design: English, constructivism, legislation

OWI Principles: 1

Xu, Di, and Shanna Smith Jaggars. Adaptability to Online Learning:

Differences across Types of Students and Academic Subject Areas, CCRC Working Paper No. 54. Community College Research Center at Columbia University, 2013,


In this study of over 40,000 students enrolled in over 500,000 first-semester courses at two-year institutions across the state of Washington, Xu and Jaggars analyze grades and persistence rates as a measure of student ability to “adapt to the online environment” (Abstract). When compared with average persistence and grades of students in face-to-face classes, online students were found to have lower adaptability overall, and students who otherwise performed better academically were more likely to enroll in online classes, suggesting that adaptation to online environments may be more difficult than previously acknowledged. When looking at age, ethnicity, gender, and previous academic performance, the authors found younger students, black students, males, and lower performing students had a more difficult time adapting either due to lower persistence rates or grades. When comparing adaptability across disciplines, English and social sciences courses fared the worst, an outcome the authors suggest may be due to peer effects from having a number of other classmates who fit criteria for having lower adaptability in an online environment (21–22).  The authors present recommendations for reducing these adaptability problems, including better managing online course availability and enrollment, integrating more components of online instruction into face-to-face environments, using early alert systems for faster identification of students who are struggling, and “improving the quality of all online courses” through “substantial new investments in course design, faculty professional development, learner and instructor support, and systematic course evaluations” (26).

Keywords: adaptability, gender, research, retention, race, hybrid, faculty development, student success, technical support, evaluations, design

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 15

Yergeau, Melanie, et al. “Multimodality in Motion: Disability and Kairotic Spaces.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 18, no. 1, 2013,

This multimodal webtext gives space to each writer to provide a different perspective about why and how disability studies can be used as a lens for re-envisioning composition studies in a more inclusive, accessible way. As the authors note, “Universal design is a process, a means rather than an end,” a sentiment carried through the text and its many voices as they advocate for an “ethics of accessibility” (Sec. “Access statement” and “Over there: Disability studies and composition”). By exposing the pervasive ableism within composition and academia in general, the authors make a case for an accessibility ethics that requires attention and commitment to non-normative experiences and the academic infrastructures (including online writing classes) that need to be overhauled—not merely retrofitted—to be inclusive.

Keywords: accessibility, disability studies, inclusion, multimodality, universal design

OWI Principles: 1

Zdenek, Sean. “Accessible Podcasting: College Students on the Margins in the New Media Classroom.” Computers and Composition Online, Fall 2009,

This article investigates strategies and approaches to make academic podcasting more inclusive and accessible, calling for producers of new media content to pay attention to normative or “ableist” assumptions about students. It shares research from Apple iTunes, the Open Courseware movement, Duke University’s experiment with iPods, and intersections of disability and new media. In particular, the author suggests that academia must move beyond the questions of whether students with disability can or should be accommodated. Teachers must question hidden ideologies that much new media technology conveys as they limit and shape teaching philosophies and approaches to creating and sharing content. If not, some students have an inherent educational advantage over others. New media writing pedagogies and learning environments must be accessible for a “universal user” type rather than creating inferior substitutes for primary education.

Keywords: accessibility, disability, podcasting, usability testing

OWI Principles 1, 2, 4