Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction: Principle 4

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OWI Principle 4: Appropriate onsite composition theories, pedagogies, and strategies should be migrated and adapted to the online instructional environment.


Adams, Heather Brook, and Patricia Jenkins. “Applying Rhetorical Genre Studies to a Stand-Alone Online Professional Writing Course.” Composition Forum, vol. 31, Spring 2015,

Adams and Jenkins provide an overview of their program and recount the events of using Rhetorical Genre Studies in a semester of their online professional writing course. They explain how they use Rhetorical Genre Studies to add a lens for investigating concepts of genre set, genre system, and activity system within their online course. They argue that their approach to Rhetorical Genre Studies and the way they’ve designed their courses helps students understand transfer and develop genre awareness that they can apply to possible workplace situations and circumstances by framing professional writing as “problem solving.”  They adapted the Rhetorical Genre Studies methods developed by Anthony Paré and Graham Smart for their course, and they ground their discussion in genre theory, focusing on Charles Bazerman’s discussion of genre sets, genre systems, and activity systems. They identify three reasons why their problem-solving approach to professional writing is beneficial to online professional writing courses: (1) the course design allows for awareness and can work with diversified student interests and degrees, (2) it allows students to understand genre as flexible and how the work they do in their lives and profession can be framed through genre awareness, and (3) the approach allows students to understand inter-subjectivity and think about how this might look in a professional setting.

Keywords: genre, technical and professional writing, course and program design: English, student engagement

OWI Principles:  3, 4

Alvarez, Ibis, Anna Espasa, and Teresa Guasch. “The Value of Feedback in Improving Collaborative Writing Assignments in an Online Learning Environment.” Studies in Higher Education, vol. 37, no. 4, 2012, pp. 387-400.

Alvarez et al. discuss a study with feedback during a collaborative writing assignment. They find that when teachers ask questions and give suggestions in their feedback instead of making corrections, students respond positively and generate significant changes in the texts they are working on, revising for content and in consideration of the instructor’s feedback. The authors aim to assess both student reactions to instructor feedback and the effects of types of feedback on how students revise their texts. They ground their approach to feedback on the literature of Raymond Kulhavy and William Stock and argue that the feedback given on this collaborative writing assignment meets two conditions that facilitate the learning process: correction and elaboration. Their study shows the importance of student participation in the assessment process. They argue that feedback design as an interactive and communicative process promotes student involvement in the learning process in collaborative writing assignments.

Keywords: collaboration, assessment: English, feedback, student engagement

OWI Principles: 4, 5, 11

Anson, Chris M. “Distant Voices: Teaching Writing in a Culture of Technology.” College English, vol.  61, no. 3, 1999, pp. 261–80.

Anson discusses two ways that “teaching and responding to student writing are pressured by rapidly developing technologies:” 1) “virtual” interaction replacing face-to-face contact in classrooms and 2) the evolution of distance education (at this time, mostly through tele-education) (263). The author investigates the first topic by providing a brief background on how various programs in the 1980s and 1990s used computer-networks to expand writing classrooms and how doing so challenged more traditional notions of “physical and textual spaces” (264). The article proceeds through an overview of how interaction, assignment responses, and other communication are changing due to advancements in educational technology, using a “futuristic” hypothetical example of a student (Jennifer) who navigates the new kind of classroom, one that has, for the most part, come to pass with the increasing advent of new technology. Anson then traces the history of correspondence courses and how new technologies are transforming those classes into “distance education” courses which are more dynamic and robust. The article concludes with a list of questions that those engaged in writing studies should discuss in order to ensure that writing instructors and administrators are using technology in the service of students and the faculty who teach them..

Keywords: distance learning, interaction, correspondence courses, course and program design: English

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 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

Barber, John F. “Effective Teaching in the Online Classroom: Thoughts and Recommendations.” The Online Writing Classroom, edited by Susanmarie Harrington et al., Cresskill, 2000, pp. 243–64.

Barber argues that the online writing classroom offers a new opportunity for learning centered around collaboration, but online writing teachers moving from a face-to-face classroom to an online classroom will need “planning, preparation and practice different or more extensive than what is required in the traditional classroom” (245). Basing his conclusions on an ethnographic study of 17 online students in a doctoral seminar that investigated the implementation of computer technology in the classroom. Because interaction is primarily through writing, miscommunication can occur when writers reply without carefully considering the other person’s position. As communication continues, the online writing course becomes Bakhtinian “heteroglossia” (250), which can lead to a sense of detachment from other learners. Added to these challenges are the perception that learning is lost in the online space, participation may not be consistent, and learning paradigms shift as silent students seem to not be present.  Barber concludes that while these tensions and challenges exist, the online writing classroom is beneficial in making online faculty rethink their pedagogy, challenging them to plan ahead, requiring them to have alternative plans, and allows them to provide hands-on training in writing instruction for graduate students. Barber challenges faculty to model effective participation, to provide channels in which to work productively in collaborative settings, and to allow students enough time to engage fully in the class. This chapter identifies the key benefits of online writing classrooms and provides a set of working recommendations for writing faculty considering or undergoing the shift from face-to-face to online teaching.

Keywords: collaboration, ethnography, pedagogy: English, student engagement

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 15

Barrett, Edward. “Collaboration in the Electronic Classroom.” Technology Review, vol. 96, no. 2, 1993, pp. 50-55.

Barrett describes MIT’s first distributed network (The Networked Educational Online System or NEOS), a system that allows students to exchange drafts outside of class and is a precursor of more contemporary blended or hybrid classrooms. Barrett indicates that the goal of NEDS was “to support the complex private and social activities that make up the learning process” (51). The article describes the interface of the tool, which does not provide visual cues to help students understand which comments are made by the teacher, thus, providing a more egalitarian response experience. The students become “active agents” in responding to their peers’ writing, and “thus develop a greater awareness of audience and personal voice” (53). Advantages of the system included student satisfaction with the interactive capabilities of NEOS. Barrett concludes with a vision of online classes that has, for the most part, come to pass in the years since NEOS was developed. This article provides a historical view of early efforts at hybrid and blended classes and is valuable to anyone studying the history of computer-mediated peer review.

Keywords: networked classrooms, peer-review, student engagement

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Bastian, Heather, and Fauchald, Sally K. “Confronting the Challenges of Blended Graduate Education with a WEC Project.” Across the Disciplines, vol. 11, no. 3, July 2014,

Bastian and Fauchald identify the challenges faced when a nursing program in a rural area of Minnesota moved from fully face-to-face to a blended program (some courses face-to-face and others online). As the program grew and attracted more adult learners, Bastian (the composition and rhetoric specialist on her campus) worked with Fauchald to train nursing faculty to implement a Writing-Enriched Curriculum (WEC) by “engaging in a three-phase, recursive process in which they create, implement, and assess a writing plan with the assistance of a composition and rhetoric specialist.” Faculty were encouraged to scaffold writing assignments, create group activities that encouraged students to write for real audiences, and incorporate peer review. The article outlines how Bastian and Fauchald evaluated the projects and “demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary collaborations between professional program faculty and composition and rhetoric experts.” This article models a successful collaboration between writing specialists and faculty in the disciplines and encourages WAC and WID programs to work with writing specialists to improve writing strategies for their online courses.

Keywords: WAC, WID, hybrid courses, scaffolding, collaboration

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 11

Bell, Lisa. “Preserving the Rhetorical Nature of Tutoring When Going Online.” The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors, edited by Christina Murphy and Steve Sherwood, 2nd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011, pp. 351-58.

In this chapter, Bell recounts her experience as a new writing center coordinator who navigates and reframes an existing but not functional OWL. She narrates her experience, beginning with returning to the foundational principles of writing center theory espoused by Stephen North, Mary Dossin, and Joan Hawthorne. She then reviews the current state of the OWL, which consisted primarily of email submissions. Without the face-to-face interaction and meaning making involved in the traditional writing center, Bell felt that some of the tried-and-true methods of tutoring would be difficult to implement in an OWL. In particular, she found that the conversational nature of tutoring, so crucial to the experience of shared meaning-making, was lost when questions were added to a student’s paper and the tutor received no reply. Because synchronous online tutoring sessions take more time to complete, tutors found themselves getting straight to the point of the writing, which took away relationship-building that was the heart of the face-to-face tutoring sessions. Bell also found out that tutors in OWLs needed different types of training than their face-to-face colleagues. She concludes by calling for more research into what makes OWLs effective, research that others have done since this chapter was first published. This article provides those chronicling the shift from face-to-face to online writing centers a snapshot of a single center at a point of transition, a valuable narrative in the longer history of understanding OWLs.

Keywords:  writing center, online writing lab, synchronous interaction, tutoring: English

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 13, 14

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, Leslie. “Teaching Composition Online: No Longer the Second-Best Choice.” Kairos, vol. 8, no. 2, 2005,

Using Bakhtin’s Speech Genres theory, Blair dissects the nature of the relationships between students and instructors in the classroom.  Her notion is that the student understands the instructor as the audience of the written or constructed work in the course, and that such work is to receive a grade or judgment. Therefore, communication between the student and instructor is limited because of the power relationship between them. However, students may utilize online discussion opportunities to build community among themselves, even as the instructor is still a part of the audience. Students’ experience or awareness of audience as they write their comments and responses in the online classroom forums seem to ebb and flow as they organically create knowledge together throughout the group discussions. This experience is important to the development of critical thinking and ideas.  Students can develop and submit their ideas without immediate interruption and overrule and also read and reread communication as necessary to understand and respond.  This experience is also very different from the ways the students write for formal assignments, where the instructor is typically perceived as the audience. Blair concludes that because students in online writing courses are forced to communicate largely in writing throughout the course, their academic writing is strengthened more than students who get the “benefit” of oral communication in face-to-face classrooms. Leveraging online technologies with research in distance education can be empowering for students and teachers in writing classes, both in online and face-to-face classes.

Keywords: discussion: English, audience, community, collaboration

OWI Principles: 3, 4

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

Borgman, Jessie. “Clarity in an Online Course as an Extension of Onsite Practice.” OWI Open Resource, Conference on College Composition and Communication,

Borgman argues that face-to-face course practices can be applied successfully to the online classroom, grounding her argument in OWI Principle 4. She uses examples from her own courses to illustrate basic adaptable concepts, such as clarity in design, using modules to break up information, color coding, having information readily available in the course syllabus and using a welcome video to show how strategies that are used in the face-to-face classroom can migrate to the online classroom with a few adjustments. This resource provides online writing instructors clear directions for arranging their course and utilizing resources they already have.

Keywords: clarity, course and program design: English, modules, video: English

OWI Principles: 4

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


Bourelle, Tiffany, Andrew Bourelle, and Sherry Rankins-Robertson. “Employing a Multiliteracies Pedagogy through Multimodal Composition: Preparing Twenty-first Century Writers.” Computers and Composition Online, Fall 2013.


In this webtext, the authors argue for preparing 21st century writers by challenging them to create multimodal rhetorical texts, using the scholarship of the New London Group to argue that teachers “consider not only how technology can have a significant impact on students’ understanding of rhetorical concepts, but also how technology can impact curriculum design as well.” The remainder of the article demonstrates their English 105 classroom where they use multimodal composition and multimodal content to shape a classroom around Picciano’s “Blending with a Purpose” model of online course design. Their curriculum description includes an overview of the content, student interaction, critical questioning, collaboration, synthesis, and reflection in their class. Their assessment of the course includes anecdotal student feedback about the courses, and their conclusion identifies steps that instructors can take to begin incorporating multimodality into their classes. This article describes the same course structure the authors developed for Arizona State University (see Bourelle et al. 2013 for a more thorough discussion of this online class).


Keywords: multimodal, writing program administration, learning management systems, video: English, collaboration, student-to-student interaction, student engagement, assessment


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

Bourelle, Tiffany, et al. “Teaching with Instructional Assistants: Enhancing Student Learning in Online Classes.” Computers and Composition, vol. 37, Sept. 2015, pp. 90-103. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2015.06.007.

This article describes a pilot program undertaken at Arizona State University wherein undergraduate peer mentors, called “instructional assistants (IAs),” were incorporated into online first-year composition courses in order to “enhance students’ experiences and reduce instructors’ workload” (91) despite a rising student-to-teacher ratio. The authors describe the hiring and the ongoing training of the IAs, which included an orientation, a “portfolio workshop,” bi-weekly meetings with the course instructor, and an in-service practicum. IAs were each assigned a cohort of up to 15 students to work with under the supervision of a first-year composition instructor who had up to 96 total students in a “mega-section” of the course, and IA responsibilities included facilitating online discussions, responding to student drafts, and managing students’ peer reviewing of each other’s work. The authors conclude by discussing the success and subsequent growth of the program, suggesting that other institutions consider a similar program for its pedagogical advantages rather than its money-saving benefits. They additionally question the potential ethical issue of using unpaid undergraduate interns and recommend that care be taken to ensure such an internship is pedagogically sound and beneficial to the interns’ future careers. This article is important because it offers an alternate model for effectively managing enrollment caps.

Keywords: internships, mentoring, teacher training, teaching assistants, workshop, course caps

OWI principles: 3, 4, 9, 10, 15

Bowie, Jennifer. “Beyond the Universal: The Universe of Users Approach to User-Centered Design.” Rhetorically Rethinking Usability: Theories, Practices, and Methodologies, edited by Susan Miller-Cochran and Rochelle L. Rodrigo. Hampton Press, 2009, pp. 135-63.

Bowie analyzes user-centered design methods versus system-centered design methods and the problems that occur in current applications of these elements. The concept of a user-centered design method stems from the attempt to pull away from a system-centered design process due to the idea that individuals contain unique, defining characteristics that are ignored. The system-centered way of design is problematic since it disregards and inhibits certain users by not taking into account characteristics such as sex, race, and ethnicity. The technology is male-oriented and results in sexist, racist issues; the desired user methods of women do not seem to be incorporated. Due to the differentiating opinions of women, there should be differentiation in technology and user-centered design methods. Studies reflect that gender generates different opinions and different genders initiate different ways to use products. When a single, universalized user is created, it is less user-centered because it does not acknowledge key differences. Traditional application of the user-centered design method is problematic in the way that it focuses on superficial differences instead of the universe of actual users. Although differences are taken into consideration, the dissimilarities are still categorized into a few sections, and the universal user is described as being representative and generalized rather characterized into “the user.” The article describes how examining differences, considering personal bias, creating various models, remembering and involving future users, and making results representative of all users are crucial to incorporating ideas of the user-centered design method. It is necessary to understand the users by examining their differences in order to improve user-centered methods of design.

Keywords:  user-centered design, gender, technology, race

OWI Principles:  4

Boyd, Patricia Webb. “Analyzing Students’ Perceptions of Their Learning in Online and Hybrid First-Year Composition Courses.” Computers and Composition, vol. 25, no. 2, 2008, pp. 224-43. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2008.01.002.

Boyd discusses a study of online and hybrid first-year composition courses and student perceptions of how much they learned in each format. As a way to promote learner-centered education (LCE) in online and hybrid formats, Boyd developed a survey that studies students’ perceptions of their interactions with their peers, their instructor, and the technology, and the impact of each of these on what the students learned in the course. This survey was completed by 179 students in nineteen sections of hybrid and online first-year composition courses. The survey found that instructors must be intentional about online course design, and they should explain the purpose of assignments and how these connect to the learning objectives for the course. Such intentionality promotes LCE in online and hybrid environments. Additionally, instructors valued the interactions between students, but data suggests that while students liked interaction with peers, the instructor feedback was most important to them. Boyd suggests that instructor-to-student interactions promote LCE over student-to-student interactions, but both are vital to student success in the online/hybrid writing class. Additionally, by building a community of learners through online discussion, students become the immediate audience and support one another as co-constructors of knowledge.

Keywords: student perceptions, first-year composition, hybrid, interaction, student-to-student interaction, surveys

OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

Boyd, Patricia Webb. “Online Discussion Boards as Identity Workspaces: Building Professional Identities in Online Writing Classes.” Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, no. 4, Dec. 2013,

Boyd argues that online business writing classes should focus on professional writing practices as opposed to learning to write professionally, emphasizing critical identity production and reflection. The article compares two academic writing assignments: 1) Writers and Identity to Professional Writing and 2) Personal Brand. The goal is to get students to engage in online discussion board interactions as they produce a document for a social network. Boyd presents the idea of identity workspaces focused on social defenses, sentient communities, and rites of passage. These dynamic spaces enable students to develop as professionals through their writing. Boyd asserts that the two assignments under discussion teach students how to professionalize themselves by reflecting on the creation of their own professional identities and learning how professionals write as well as how they create themselves as professionals. Students’ awareness of themselves as professionals through online discussion is a unique way of building community as a learning tool and a pre-professional training tool. These online identity workspaces support the co-creation of knowledge among this professional learning community in online business classes.

Keywords: business writing, technical and professional writing, identity, learning communities

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

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.

Boyton 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. “Enhancing Online Collaboration: Virtual Peer Review in the Writing Classroom.” Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 141-56.

Breuch identifies the ways in which face-to-face peer review is both the same as and differs from online peer review. Commonalities include the assumptions that writing is a social act and that writing is a process. The differences in peer review involve space, time, and interaction. Asynchronous technologies for peer review require that students participate in peer review at both different locations and different times, and this fact affects how the students interact in both positive and negative ways. Breuch provides concrete steps to help facilitate peer review for brainstorming, providing reader response, and addressing strengths and weaknesses in the writing. This perspective on peer review demonstrates how similarities and differences in peer review between face-to-face and online environments can lead to equal or more productive experience and calls for additional research to deal with accessibility.

Keywords: tutoring: English, writing process, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 14

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

Brunk-Chavez, Beth, and Shawn J. Miller. “Decentered, Disconnected, and Digitized: The Importance of Shared Space.” Kairos, vol. 1, no. 2, 2006,

This pilot study supports the creation of a shared space in which students can create common or shared experiences for collaborative learning in an online setting. Students and instructors from three hybrid courses and three face-to-face courses responded to beginning- and end-of-course surveys.  While the findings are not generalizable, they suggest it is important to consciously design spaces that support true collaborative learning or learning that happens when knowledge is co-created simultaneously by participants and the teacher.  The tools of online learning and the course design must be critically examined to determine if true collaborative learning is taking place within a course.  Some technological tools may appear to be collaborative such as an online discussion board.  However, the way a tool is utilized determines if it is really forming a collaborative experience.  OWI benefits from careful examinations of the intersection of rhetorical online practices and the implementation of specific online tools.

Keywords: collaboration, course and program design: English, pedagogy: English, surveys

OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

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: Global Questions, Local Answers. Baywood, 2005.

This edited collection, published at a time when technical communication programs were shifting from using online technologies to putting classes fully online, is a primer for faculty to understand how to create and plan online courses. The volume is organized around four questions: 1) “How do we create and sustain online programs and courses?”;  2) “How do we create interactive, pedagogically sound online courses and classroom communities?”; 3) “How should we monitor and assess the quality of online courses and programs?”; and 4) “How is online education challenging our assumptions?” This collection provides a look at the challenges of building, facilitating, and assessing online courses and is helpful for anyone wishing to reflect on and/or research the history of online writing classes and programs in technical writing but also across the disciplines.

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

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12, 15

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

Carter, Joyce Locke, and Rebecca Rickly. “Mind the Gap(s): Modeling Space in Online Education.” Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 123-39.

Carter and Rickly identify a variety of gaps in online education and theorizes that identifying and addressing these gaps can help instructors to build stronger online writing classrooms. Gaps in online education include physical gaps (the space between the physical learners in the class), virtual gaps (the spaces between representations of physical learning elements in a class), and cognitive gaps (involving learning styles, personality styles, gender, preparation and aptitude). The chapter makes comparisons between these gaps and Festinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance and Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and demonstrates how different classroom configurations support at-risk learners in online classrooms. Finally, the chapter provides concrete guidelines for preparation, communication, and context that will assist online writing instructors as they develop and facilitate courses that “mind the gaps.” This theory of online course construction and management provides a lens through which instructors might consider their online classrooms and assist them in designing classes that prepare students not only for the virtual academy but also for the world beyond that academy.

Keywords: course and program design: English, at-risk students, instructional design

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 11, 12

Carter, Lorraine M., and Ellen Rukholm. “A Study of Critical Thinking, Teacher–Student Interaction, and Discipline-Specific Writing in an Online Educational Setting for Registered Nurses.” The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, vol. 39, no. 3, 2008, pp. 133-38.

In their qualitative study, Carter and Rukholm analyze student writing activity in an online course for evidence of critical thinking. Their findings suggest that high levels of critical thinking by nurse learners can be developed in an online setting. They looked at two bulletin board posts, using John’s Model of Structured Reflection (1995) to identify four different kinds of thinking: 1) aesthetic, 2) personal, 3) ethical, and 4) empirical.  They also examine student-teacher interactions and discipline-specific writing. They offer no comparison to onsite instruction and no argument that online is better or different, only that online instruction can be successful in teaching critical thinking.

Keywords: WID, discussion: WAC qualitative research
OWI Principles: 4, 11, 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

Charles, Cristie Cowles. “Why We Need More Assessment of Online Composition Courses: A Brief History.” Kairos, vol. 7, no. 3, 2002,

Charles believes the problems with online composition courses have arisen because a thorough evaluation of their effectiveness has not been done. Large-scale distance learning programs often are based upon a corporate model that places the student as the consumer that excludes faculty input and control over curriculum. In contrast to the corporate model, Charles explores the development of online courses through individual instructor design. She suggests these online courses are more student-centered. However, instructor-developed courses are not often formally assessed. Charles sites the American Federation of Teachers’ 2001 proposal to provide “basic standards that will ensure a quality distance course.” Among some of the top recommendations were 1) that faculty control the curriculum, 2) that faculty are trained to teach online, 3) that students are prepared for distance learning, 4) that class size is determined by best practices in the field, 5) that assessment of student learning should be similar to what is done in face-to-face courses, and 6) that the courses should cover the same content. She suggests these proposals should be areas of evaluation for online composition courses in addition to assessing student writing.

Keywords: assessment, distance learning, evaluation, faculty development, student preparation

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Charlton, Claire. “Just A Click Away: Online Writing Labs at Universities Offer Free Help With Grammar, Style, Editing and Other Issues.” The Writer, vol. 119, no. 9, 2006, pp. 40-41.

Charlton offers a review of several OWLs and discusses how they can help online writers. Most of what she mentions are repositories; one is a game. She describes OWLs as “electronic version of your favorite grammar or stylebook.” In her reviews, she presents sites for different challenges like invention, technical writing, grammar, editing, and creative writing.

Keywords: online writing labs, gamification

OWI Principles: 4, 13

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

Cody, Jim. “Asynchronous Online Discussion Forums: Going Vibrantly Beyond the Shadow of the Syllabus.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 30, no. 3, 2003, pp. 268-76.

Cody studies how “online discussion forums uniquely contribute to the teaching and learning of community college students” (269). He first describes his research writing class, and then provides an overview of the LMS, WebCT. Cody sees a number of benefits in the online discussion forums in his class, including 1) the ability of the discussion forums to continue and build on the excitement of face-to-face class discussions and 2) the opportunity to bring “guest lecturers” into class for asynchronous discussions. The article ends with encouragement to use the tools available at an instructor’s home institution and to consider the possibilities of expanding class expertise in “many, sometimes unexpected, directions” (276). This article demonstrates one way that LMSs were used at the turn of the 21st century as writing instructors hybridized face-to-face courses.

Keywords: discussion: English, course management systems

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Comer, Denise K., et al. “Writing to Learn and Learning to Write Across the Disciplines: Peer-to-Peer Writing in Introductory-Level MOOCs.” International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, vol. 15, no. 5, 2014, pp. 26-82.

Comer et al. describe how peer-to-peer interactions enhance understanding, linking course learning objectives to positively contribute to students’ learning. They developed a coding protocol to best interpret peer feedback and discussion threads, including posts and comments, and concluded that 1) online discussion board forums intentionally linked to course content contribute positively to learning gains and 2) feedback on peers’ writing can meaningfully focus on higher order concerns across multiple disciplines. This research specifically targeted peer-to-peer interactions as adding value and increasing learning in the online environment where the concept of “community” is challenged.

Keywords: MOOCs, WAC, empirical research, quantitative research, discussion: English, peer review, student-to-student interaction

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

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

Cox, Stephanie, et al. “Promoting Teacher Presence: Strategies for Effective and Efficient Feedback to Student Writing Online.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 42, no. 4, 2015, pp. 376-91.

In this essay, Cox et al. argue that online teachers of writing courses must consciously choose particular feedback methods that remedy an inherent drawback—namely the lack of teacher presence—of an asynchronous learning environment that in traditional face-to-face courses prevents evaluation from being perceived as harsh, impersonal, or dismissive. They examine how instructors can achieve a social, cognitive, and teaching presence in their online courses by considering the tenets of the Community of Inquiry (COI) model. They argue that online instructors must consider the purpose of feedback, the effects of different delivery methods, and how these relate to teacher workload and satisfaction. The authors thoroughly examine feedback methods for both informal and formal writing, including how each method fosters a sense of teacher presence in online courses. Drawing upon their collective experience, they discuss the benefits and drawbacks of individual feedback, generalized group feedback, and no feedback for informal writing, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of using rubrics, in-text comments, holistic end comments, synchronous conferences, and audio responses as feedback methods for formal writing. The authors conclude that feedback that communicates to their students not only their subject expertise but also their teacher presence is one of the most effective tools in creating a successful learning environment at the disposal of instructors of online writing courses.

Keywords:  feedback, instructor interaction, community of inquiry, assessment

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 12

Crump, Eric. “At Home in the MUD: Writing Centers Learn to Wallow.” The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors, edited by Christina Murphy and Steve Sherwood, 2nd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003, pp. 242-55.

Crump explores the opportunities offered to writing centers through online learning communities, which he calls multi-user dimensions (MUD). The article begins with an explanation of the operation of these online spaces. He continues by analyzing two of his own online communications with students in three “glances.” The first glance sees MUDs as a divergence from the oral boundaries of the writing. The second glance sees MUDs as a translation of writing center practices to an online arena, with little to no change. The third glance challenges the hierarchical model of the writing center. He posits that MUDs offer the chance to break down the barrier between student and consultant and create a community in which equal communication and sharing of ideas is encouraged.

Keywords: MUD, writing centers, community

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 13, 14

Cunningham, Jennifer M. “Mechanizing People and Pedagogy: Establishing Social Presence in the Online Classroom.” Online Learning, vol. 19, no. 3, 2015, pp. 34-47.

Cunningham applies the Community of Inquiry (COI) framework as a lens for understanding the perceived effectiveness of using avatars in an online classroom to create social presence. Voki—free, online, customizable avatars—were investigated as one potential means for establishing social presence. Students in seven sections of a prerequisite composition class at a community college were surveyed. Out of 140 students, forty completed a questionnaire that included three open-ended questions asking about their overall experience relative to social presence as well whether social presence was established using Voki specifically. Analyzing the open-ended question responses using content analysis informed by grounded theory, results suggested that Voki avatars had little effect on creating social presence. Receiving instructor emails and feedback as well as direct interpersonal communication with peers (i.e., a group project and peer workshops) was found to establish the most social presence. Adding to previous COI research, this research suggests three specific practices that best establish social presence: (1) an active instructor presence, (2) interactivity among students, and (3) the timeliness or immediacy of both.

Keywords: community of inquiry, instructor presence, qualitative research, feedback, email, student-to-student interaction

OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

Davis, Dan. “The Paperless Classroom: E-Filing and E-Valuating Students’ Work in English Composition.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 30, no. 2, 2002, pp. 162-76.

Davis describes how he implemented a paperless classroom conducted with a course management system (CMS) in a hybrid setting that uses technology-enhanced in-class activities as well as technology out of class in the form of email, online quizzes, e-conferences, and synchronous chat. While he acknowledges that technology can be a “diversionary tactic employed by frustrated teachers” (164) that gets in the way of learning, Davis reports on a business communication course for working adult professionals wherein technology made possible “an efficient and concise method for storing and evaluating papers and communicating with students” (163). While Davis does not argue that digital responses to student writing necessarily leads to better writing, he indicates that this medium allows for a clearer and more orderly space in which to respond, and that the students thereby benefit. This article is a useful historical document that outlines the concerns and benefits of the transition from fully face-to-face to hybrid classes partially hosted in an CMS.

Keywords: course management system, hybrid, email, synchronous interaction

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 11

Davis, Evan, and Sarah Hardy. “Teaching Writing in the Space of Blackboard.” Computers and Composition Online, Spring 2003,

Davis and Hardy use Blackboard 1.5 to discuss shifts from the space of the physical classroom to the “space” of the virtual classroom, applying the theories of Michel Foucault, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Michel de Certeau to the then new virtual discussion boards and applications of the digital classroom. The webtext first provides an overview of the literal space of Blackboard 1.5. It then uses Foucault’s concept of the panopticon to illuminate how in the “contained space of the course management system . . . the disciplining of the student occurs,” thus altering the power dynamics in the classroom. Bakhtin’s concept of dialogue manifests in several ways in Blackboard, both in ways that restrain speech and in ways that encourage dialogue and remove hierarchies. The authors apply de Certeau’s concepts of “strategies” and “tactics” for navigating physical space to the virtual space of Blackboard, saying “If we understand Blackboard as a space that is comparable to a city, then what we are looking for is not a map of that city so much as a story of how a student moves through it.” In conclusion, the authors provide a list of thirteen ways that faculty can fully use this LMS to support students in developing community, engaging discussion, and fighting the binaries of power that Blackboard imposes. This web text, while written about a very early version of Blackboard, is still useful for the instructor who seeks to push the boundaries of the LMS and more fully incorporate democratic students encounters.

Keywords: course management system, discussion: English, Blackboard, power
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 11

Davis, Marjorie T. "Applying Technical Communication Theory to the Design of Online Education." Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 15-29.

Davis contends that principles of technical communication in general can inform the design of online programs in particular. She identifies seven key principles of technical communication that directly inform online program development: 1) analyzing audiences (or program stakeholders), 2) analyzing purposes (creating mission statements), 3) developing and testing a prototype, 4) evaluating and selecting technological tools, 5) collaborating with partners, 6) marketing an online program and 7) managing an online program. Davis provides an overview of how each of these steps worked in relation to the online program she helped to develop at Mercer University and concludes that technical communicators are uniquely prepared to develop and lead online programs given their unique set of abilities and experience.  This source provides a method of designing, implementing, and marketing online programs that will assist those considering online programs at their institutions.

Keywords: technical and professional writing, writing, online writing programs, program evaluation: English, marketing

OWI Principles: 4, 7, 12

DePew, Kevin Eric. “Composing Identity in Online Instructional Contexts.” Handbook of Research on Computer Mediated Communication, edited by Sigrid Kelsey and Kirk St. Amant, IGI Global, 2008, pp. 207-19.

DePew questions how online instructional situations shape the strategies instructors use to present themselves to their students, especially the ways that they try to establish credibility and their investment in their students’ success. After examining both the exaggerated promises and sobering realities of online identity composition, the author proposes a rhetorical approach to the identity composing process. To support this approach, DePew describes the situations of two courses in which the respective instructors used the available technologies’ affordances to create relatively favorable instructional situations. DePew concludes the emerging trend of online instruction may be an opportunity to rethink the traditional paradigms of education—such as one instructor to one classroom—and consider how the technologies’ affordances can support teaching models that best support students’ learning.

Keywords: instructor interaction

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 10, 11

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 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

DePew, Kevin E., et. al. “Getting Past Our Assumptions About Web 2.0 and Community Building: How to Design Research-Based Literacy Pedagogy.” Emerging Pedagogies in the Networked Knowledge Society: Practices Integrating Social Media and Globalization, edited by Marohang Limbu and Binod Gurung, IGI Global, 2013, pp. 120-43.

DePew et al. interrogate the general promises certain vendors make that their technological applications or pedagogical designs will create community among students, especially in online writing instruction courses. Because the outcomes for achieving community are rarely defined, the authors question whether community can actually be created in online classrooms and, if so, how instructors can leverage a technology’s affordances to achieve their articulated outcomes for community. The authors theoretically reflect upon a “Community Analysis” assignment in which students are given the opportunity to create community by reading and responding to each other’s blog entries on the textual research they are doing. At the end of the research blog assignment students use the course readings on community to argue in the “Community Analysis” whether the students in the course had become a community or not. The authors learned that many of the students in the class felt a sense of community, but the blog assignment did little to facilitate it. Of the twelve students in the class, only seven of them commented on the blogs or commented on others’ comments ten times or more for the five blog entries. Over half of the total blog comments or responses to others’ comments were written in the last week of the blog assignment presumably in anticipation of “Community Analysis” assignment. This led many of the pre-service and in-service students to conclude that comment posts should be required after each blog entry was posted. While this requirement raises a question as to whether the students can truly be a community if they are compelled to interact with each other, the substantive interaction among those posts suggest that instructional motivations can be the catalyst students need to truly engage each other. Although the students did not feel a sense of community from the blog assignment and the blog’s affordances, many described feeling a sense of community resulting from how they used the affordances of other technologies in the class, such as the chat function on the synchronous video meeting application or the audio editing application that a group of students were piloting. The authors conclude that a deliberate approach to design online writing curriculum might entail collecting and studying data from how students are interacting in one’s class.

Keywords: community, blog, course management systems, qualitative research, discussion: English, synchronous interaction, course and program design: English, audio

OWI Principles:  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

Dutkiewicz, Keri, et al. “Creativity and Consistency in Online Courses: Finding the Appropriate Balance.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2013, pp. 45-72.

Dutkiewicz provides the results of survey research that captured student and faculty perceptions of a predesigned course (PDC) at Davenport University (DU) in Michigan. DU implemented a PDC structure to help improve quality and ensure alignment in the 50% of courses delivered online, including sections of professional writing on an accelerated, 7-week schedule. The PDCs were designed and maintained in-house and were taught in Blackboard. Course administrators solicited feedback from faculty and revised the PDCs regularly after testing practices in pilot courses. The survey research indicated that instructors using the PDCs appreciated that the courses allowed them additional time for interaction, with approximately a quarter of survey participants (about 50% of instructors) indicating that they would be willing to invest more time in customizing courses in exchange for the ability to be more flexible in course design. Student respondents indicated that individual guidance and help from instructors and links to outside resources were most beneficial in improving their learning. The authors scheduled Live Classroom synchronous sessions with instructors teaching the PDCs to share survey results and to address concerns and issues highlighted by the survey. The study concludes that faculty engagement and input in PDC course construction is important and that communication regarding the PDC can help strengthen the instructional design and course facilitation process. This chapter gives a research-based approach to understanding faculty satisfaction with the design and teaching of online courses as well as providing a model for implementing and assessing online courses.

Keywords: assessment, pre-designed courses, Blackboard, course management system, surveys, course and program design: English, qualitative research, faculty satisfaction

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, 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 Powers, Christa, and Beth Hewett. “Building Online Training for Virtual Workplaces.” Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices, edited by Pavel Zemliansky and Kirk St. Amant, Idea Group, 2007, pp. 257-71.

Ehmann Powers and Hewett address online and global workplace writing concerns for by outlining strategies for designing and implementing appropriate employee  document strategies and solutions for employers who design and implement online professional development and training programs for their employees. When employees work online and at a distance, not only are their everyday communications conducted online, but the authors theorize that the training also should occur in that setting, which focuses the training to the environment in which the work occurs rather than on the fiscal and practical concerns of bringing employees together in one geographical space. The authors ground their recommendations in common educational principles that have been used in a variety of fields. They offer a rationale for the training, a theoretical and practical framework, and a model for scalable and efficient training activities.  work provides (1) a rationale for leveraging the Internet for human adaptive training,  (2) a theoretical framework for practice, and (3) a model for deploying scalable and efficient training activities. The rationale and recommendations offered can inform OWI practices to include teaching and learning activities for students, and training and on-going professional development for instructors.

Keywords: technical and professional writing, faculty development, professional development: English, business writing

OWI Principles: 4, 6, 7

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

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

Faigley, Lester. “Subverting the Electronic Workbook: Teaching Writing Using Networked Computers.” The Writing Teacher as Researcher, edited by Donald A. Daiker and Max Morenberg, Boynton, 1990, pp. 290-311.

Faigley provides an overview of an early networked classroom (1988) as one of the first versions of  an online discussion board used in a computer-mediated classroom. The students discussed a literary work the class, and the article provides a transcript of that discussion to demonstrate how discussion boards challenge the teacher’s control in an online setting. The transcript demonstrates that, unlike in traditional face-to-face discussions, instructors become students, or at least equal participants, in the online discussion board. He argues that student anonymity regarding gender is greater in the online discussion board and that closure does not need to be as artificial as it can be in the traditional face-to-face discussion. Faigley’s work addresses some of the early benefits and difficulties of implementing networked discussion boards, and while some of the data is only anecdotal, provides an early perspective on how discussion boards will challenge faculty authority in the online classroom.

Keywords: networked classrooms, discussions: English, gender

OWI Principles:  3, 4, 11

Fleckenstein, Kristie S. “Faceless Students, Virtual Places: Emergence and Communal Accountability in Online Classrooms.” Computers and Composition, vol. 22, no. 2, 2005, pp. 149-76. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2005.02.003.

Fleckenstein highlights through concrete examples the difficulty of maintaining “communal accountability,” defined as “the reciprocal commitment among individuals to act in ways that promote the evolution and health of their interconnections online as is typical in face-to-face classrooms,” in online first-year composition classrooms (150). She argues that a complex-systems approach will allow for a language that honors both the sophistication of interactions in the online classroom as well as the individual activities that “comes into existence through . . . transactivity” or the transformative interaction that causes each element to change and become part of a larger entity (154). She outlines the challenges, including attendance for small group meetings, and describes in detail how the complex-systems approach gives us a new language and clearer understanding of the dynamics of place in online classes, one that goes beyond the initial attraction that students have to be able to be both in their homes and in their classes at the same time. Fleckenstein recommends that instructors in online courses should 1) “increas[ing] students’ opportunities to share language by offering multiple environments with multiple ways to link to each other,” 2) “reconfigure the online classroom is to open multiple chat windows,” and 3) “institute at the beginning of a semester a stop word, such as “stop,” that any student can use when the discussion careens out of control” (167). Overall, Fleckenstein calls for online instructors to be more cognizant of the ways that actions they take influence the ecology of the class, both positively and negatively.

Keywords: community, collaboration, first-year composition, discussion: English

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Ford, Michele. “Preparing Students for Assessment in the On-Line Class.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning, vol. 2002, issue 91, Fall 2002, pp. 77–82.

Ford suggests the need to explain to students what standards will be used for classroom assessment in online courses. Because online students might struggle to understand course concepts and assessments, Ford suggests using email and web postings for communicating assessment expectations. In addition, Ford provides suggestions for creating a sound syllabus, clear and robust rubrics, and a student-centered environment. This article reminder online faculty that redundancy is in online classes is essential to enhance student understanding and provides a brief overview of sound online course design that has been expanded by other scholars.

Keywords: assessment, feedback, course and program design: English, email

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Gillam, Ken, and Shannon R. Wooden. “Re-embodying Online Composition: Ecologies of Writing in Unreal Time and Space.” Computers and Composition, vol. 30, no. 1, Mar. 2013, pp.  24-36. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2012.11.001.

Gillam and Wooden draw on Marilyn Cooper’s ecological theories of composition to describing a multi-step assignment approach to online first-year composition pedagogy. They acknowledge that, compared to face-to-face collaborative interaction, it can be difficult for students to develop and express online personalities. They illustrate how to make peer groups central to online learning through using discussion boards and e-mail to work through a carefully scaffolded sequence of assignments to move students through several layers of ecological interaction: from individual considerations, to inclusion in their small group through email, to larger considerations involving the whole class through discussion boards..

Keywords: first-year composition, course and program design: English, collaboration, discussion: English, scaffolding, email

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Gillette, David. “Pedagogy, Architecture, and the Virtual Classroom.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 1, 1999, pp. 21-36.

Gillette discusses the pedagogical shifts from a traditional instructor role to those of course designer, technical support, and online teacher when transitioning to an online learning environment. He details the technology that one must familiarize oneself with in course design, maintenance, and communication, such as computer literacy, web design and graphics software, and browser and email functionality. By using the physical spaces and architecture of the university—lecture halls, workshops, student lounges, research centers—as a metaphor, Gillette explores the virtual space that must be created to best accommodate students’ educational experience and navigation in a student-centered course. He concludes that despite the challenges an instructor will face with the shifting roles of design and instruction in an online platform, the entire interaction with the course and materials becomes the student’s educational exploration. While dated, this article is helpful for faculty who are considering a conceptual framework as they move from face-to-face to online instruction.

Keywords:  course and program design: English, teaching with technology: English, navigation

OWI Principles: 3, 4

Gouge, Catherine. “Conversation at a Crucial Moment: Hybrid Courses and the Future of Writing Programs.” College English, vol. 71, no. 4, 2009, pp. 338-62.

In this article, Gouge argues for the need to pay attention to the strong possibility that technology will increasingly pervade the teaching and learning of writing. She offers hybrid courses as the locus for this attention. The author emphasizes her belief that if compositionists do not take the initiative to open debates on the pros and cons of hybrid writing courses, others in administrative power positions will simply tell them what to do. Gouge elaborates on the fact that, because hybrid courses require more cross-institutional support than on-site courses, WPAs and their supporters need to discuss the challenges of hybrid courses on the departmental and programmatic level so they can have stronger voices at the college and university levels. In laying out her claims, Gouge covers the pros and cons of hybrid writing courses and offers several model hybrid programs from across the country. The author focuses on Texas Tech University’s ICON hybrid writing instruction program to highlight issues surrounding the objectivity/subjectivity debate in college writing assessment.         

Keywords: hybrid, assessment, writing program administration, course and program design: English    

OWI Principles: 4, 5, 12

Grady, Helen M., and Marjorie T. Davis. “Teaching Well Online with Instructional and Procedural Scaffolding.” Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 101-22.

Grady and Davis assert that strategic instructional design plays an integral role in developing a virtual learning space to foster a collaborative learning environment. A scaffolded approach to teaching and learning develops a collaborative learning space. In online classes, Grady and Davis argue, scaffolding “involves four major types of structure and cues: verbal, visual, textual, and procedural” (104). When teaching online, additional challenges exist in using these cues, making intentional course design even more critical. The majority of the chapter explores their instructional design model, which they refer to as “scaffolding for interactive online learning environments” (104). Key aspects of this design include 1) analysis of learners and tasks, 2) consideration of instructional strategy as it pertains to the online domain, 3) assessment and evaluation of student work, and 4) consideration of how scaffolding can enhance a sense of community.

Keywords: course and program design: English, instructional design, collaboration, scaffolding, community

OWI Principles: 3, 4

Guanwardena, Charlotte N., and Frank J. Zittle. “Social Presence as a Predictor of Satisfaction Within a Computer-Mediated Conferencing Environment.” American Journal of Distance Education, vol. 11, no. 3, 1997, pp. 8-26.

Gunawardena and Zittle argue that social presence is a “strong predictor” of student satisfaction in a distance education setting. To determine this, the authors conducted a study to determine how social presence affects student satisfaction within a computer conference environment. According to Gunawardena and Zittle, many studies have examined the influence of social presence in face-to-face classes, but few studies explore this influence in the online domain. Fifty graduate students from five universities participated in this 1993 study that was based on an inter-university computer conference that offered a forum for graduate students to discuss their experiences with distance education. They completed a questionnaire to assess their opinions towards computer-mediated communication (CMC), the conference, and theoretical factors perceived to impact CMC. This study is relevant to OWI instructors because it establishes the significance of instructors using varied methods to communicate and teach online students to enhance the social presence of the course. Essentially, online faculty need to adapt to the online domain by developing communication skills that are best-suited for online teaching, which vary from the skills that are known to work face-to-face.

Keywords: instructor interaction, graduate students, computer-mediated communication, distance education,

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Guglielmo, Letizi. “Feminist Online Writing Courses: Civic Rhetoric, Community Action, and Student Success.” Computers and Composition Online, Spring 2009,

This article discusses the impact of feminist course design on the development of community, the decentering of the virtual classroom, and student success and retention in online first-year writing courses. Guglielmo first examines the scholarship regarding technology in the traditional classroom and the loss of social aspects in online learning environments when shifting from a teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered classroom. She then defines feminist teaching and learning spaces through several pedagogical sources. Her study involved two sections of online writing and research where each section was asked to introduce themselves, discuss and provide netiquette in forum, and answer a set of questions throughout the course of the semester. Guglielmo concludes that students felt involved in shaping the course and felt they were responsible for their learning. The article concludes with future considerations in expanding opportunities for student collaboration and participation, while fostering co-teaching among students in online courses.

Keywords: student engagement, gender, community, retention, first-year composition, pedagogy: English, collaboration

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Hailey, David E., et al. “Online Education Horror Stories Worthy of Halloween: A Short List of Problems and Solutions in Online Instruction.” Computers and Composition, special issue Distance Education: Promises and Perils of Teaching and Learning Online, vol. 18, no. 4, 2001, pp. 387-97. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/S8755-4615(01)00070-6.

David Hailey, Keith Grant-Davie, and Christine A. Hult address the potential “volatility” of the online classroom as instructors who are not prepared fully for teaching online are hijacked by students whose online attacks can threaten the instructors’ careers. Using concrete examples from online classrooms, the authors problem issues, such as inappropriate behavior, inappropriate collaborations, unteachable moments, and inappropriate channels for complaint, can subvert learning in the online classroom (388-391). The article describes why “flame wars” can derail an online discussion as “the combined effects of not having to look the audience in the eye, yet being able to compose and deliver an informal message to them within minutes or even seconds, may explain people’s tendency to suspend politeness and flame each other in online discussions” (393). Hailey et al. conclude the article with suggestions for instructors (including frequent email communication with students who are struggling and frequent presence in online discussion forums and other interactive areas of the class) and administrators dealing with issues of hostility in online classes.

Keywords: student perceptions, faculty satisfaction, discussion: English, email

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Handayani, Nani Sri. “Emerging Roles In Scripted Online Collaborative Writing In Higher Education Context.” Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 67, Dec. 2012, 370-79. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.11.340.

Handayani’s study investigates students’ competencies in completing collaborative written assignments following what he calls a “script,” which is defined as “a series of instructions prescribing how students should form groups, how they should interact and collaborate, and how they should solve [a] problem” (371). The researcher used a multiple case study design with eighteen students in an Introduction to the Learning Sciences class at the University of Sydney. Data was collected from recorded face-to-face group sessions, from online discussion spaces, and from in-depth semi-structured interviews with the participants. The results indicated that while each group included members who evolved into particular group roles, the script was interpreted differently than what the researcher had intended. The three groups had varying levels of participation, which led Handayani to conclude that due to the variation in group work among the members, “it may be necessary to increase the role of the teacher during collaboration or to structure collaboration more strictly” (378). This research reinforces the need for faculty participation in hybrid or blended group projects and provides research into how blended groups operate when provided a specific plan of action for a group project.

Keywords: collaboration, discussion: English, case study, qualitative research, interviews, instructor interaction, hybrid, mixed methods

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

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, Heidi Skurat, et al. “Translation, Transformation, and ‘Taking it Back’: Moving Between Face-to-Face and Online Writing in the Disciplines.” The WAC Journal, vol. 25, 2014, pp. 106-26.

Heidi Harris, Tawnya Lubbes, Nancy Knowles and Jacob Harris describe a workshop conducted at Eastern Oregon University where the attendees were both face-to-face instructors making the shift to the online environment and experienced online instructors seeking to improve their writing intensive courses in a variety of disciplines. Based on discussions within the workshop, the authors present three stages of moving between online and face-to-face classes: 1) the translation stage where instructors attempt to move face-to-face pedagogy into the online classroom with little change in pedagogy; 2) the transformation stage, in which instructors, through trial-and-error, attempt to translate the pedagogy more appropriately for the online classroom; and 3) the “taking it back” stage, where instructors convert practices within the online class to deliver in face-to-face classes. The authors suggest that promoting effective writing instruction online poses three main challenges, including “promoting student engagement and interaction, helping students navigate the overwhelming amount of reading and writing in the online classroom, and scaffolding and sequencing course activities to help online students complete longer writing assignments effectively” (110). In response to these challenges, the authors offer suggestions that closely align with the OWI Principles. Harris et al. describe the instructors’ challenges and successes as they moved through the three transition stages of teaching online; the article offers theoretical and practical approaches for teaching online and can be used by administrators and instructors alike when promoting training for online teaching

Keywords: teacher training, curriculum development, instructional design, pedagogy: English, WAC, discussion: WAC, collaboration, scaffolding, student engagement, student-to-student interaction, instructor interaction

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7

Harris, Leslie D., and  Cynthia A. Wambeam. “The Internet-Based Composition Classroom: A Study in Pedagogy.” Computers and Composition, vol. 13, no. 3, 1996, pp. 353–71.

Harris and Wambeam describe an early version of an online course in which students connected students synchronously through a MOO and asynchronously through an email list. The article is a report on the design and pilot study of an online environment that connected first-year composition classes in Pennsylvania and Wyoming. Through this connection, Harris and Wambeam support the critical thinking and persuasive skills that are a part of the classrooms built around social constructionism. The article builds a body of theory on building playful communities in writing courses and then moves to a description of the pilot study, a mixed methods study of students’ internet journals and MOO meetings along with a pre-and post-test and questionnaires in order to measure whether “students improved as writers, but also whether computer-mediated discussions contributed to or helped foster their improvement” (360). Their results were that the experimental internet-based classroom was more effective in improving student writing. Harris and Wambeam conclude with an invitation for others to participate in similar classrooms to encourage active participation in writing classrooms.

Keywords: MOO, community, discussion: English, synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, mixed methods, qualitative research, first-year composition, social constructionism

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 15

Hawisher, Gail E. “Electronic Meetings of the Minds: Research, Electronic Conferences, and Composition Studies.” Re-imagining Computers and Composition: Teaching and Research in the Virtual Age, edited by Gail E. Hawisher and Paul LeBlanc. Boynton/Cook, 1992, 81-101.

Hawisher surveys what was at the time a small body of research on the electronic conference or “computer-mediated communication” (synchronous and asynchronous) in the composition class. Previewing many preoccupations of the research that has since emerged on online writing instruction, Hawisher points to the potential benefits of electronic conferences—including emphasis on writing, expanded ideas of audience, sense of community, high level of involvement, equitable participation, and decentering of authority—as well drawbacks—including flaming, communication anxiety, sensory overload, and replication of problems in traditional classrooms. In reviewing the research on electronic writing classes, Hawisher emphasizes the connection between the kinds of communication foregrounded by electronic writing pedagogy and compositionists’ increasing emphasis on social theories of writing.

Keywords: computer-mediated communication, synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, audience, community, student engagement, pedagogy: English, social constructionism

OWI principles: 3, 4, 11

Hawisher, Gail, and Michael A. Pemberton. “Writing Across the Curriculum Encounters Asynchronous Learning Networks.” Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum, edited by Donna Reiss et al., National Council of Teachers of English, 1998, pp. 17-39.

Hawisher and Pemberton recount their exploration of Asynchronous Learning Networks (ALNs) within three different courses in a WAC program, as well as for the purposes of conducting online writing workshops. The project was funded by a Sloan Foundation grant to study the use of such networks for “‘on or near campus’ learning” (18) and not primarily for online-only learning. The authors were particularly interested in examining what might happen when ALNs and WAC courses  come together. Brief examinations of ALN exchanges were used to show successes and shortcomings in assignment design and learner engagement as manifested in students’ electronic interactions. The authors concluded that ALN assignment designers should take into account already-recognized effective practices for WAC coursework, referencing Fulwiler. Moreover, Hawisher and Pemberton emphasize the importance of making students “accountable” for participation in order to ensure engagement in the online activities (36).

Keywords: asynchronous interaction, WAC, asynchronous learning networks, writing-to-learn, writing centers, student engagement

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Hawisher, Gail E., and Cynthia L. Selfe. “The Rhetoric of Technology and the Electronic Writing Class.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 42, no. 1, 1991, pp. 55-65.

Hawisher and Selfe explore their notion of the “rhetoric of technology.” The authors claim that, circa late 1980s, the rhetoric of technology in composition publications and presentations was all about uncritical enthusiasm aimed at persuading fellow compositionists of the value of teaching with technology. Hawisher and Selfe compare this idealist rhetoric to what they actually observed firsthand in computer-linked classrooms and during online conferences across the country. The authors conclude with cautionary warnings regarding the use of technology as yet another potential means of gate-keeping and authority-hoarding by well-meaning instructors of writing. They advise continuing scrutiny and critical inquiry so that practitioners can improve the teaching and learning of writing with technology, online or onsite.

Keywords: rhetoric of technology, computer-mediated classrooms, literature review, networked classrooms, teaching with technology: English

OWI Principles: 4, 12

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. “Theoretical Underpinnings of Online Writing Labs (OWLs).” The Owl Construction and Maintenance Guide, edited by James A. Inman and Clinton Gardner, International Writing Center Association Press, 2002, CD-ROM,

Hewett analyzes online writing labs (OWLs) both theoretically and practically, considering them not only natural outgrowths of the traditional onsite writing center but also sites of often misunderstood or unconsidered theoretical constructs, some of which do not fit the online model. Theoretically, she finds that OWLs tend to align with current-traditional, neo-classical, neo-Platonic (expressivist), and social constructivist positions. Practically, she finds that OWLs connect to the same theories: static learning materials can be connected to current-traditional thinking, for example, but this connection does not imply a negative utility for student learning even though contemporary scholars typically reject current-traditional thinking. Hewett finds theoretical complexity in both asynchronous and synchronous online tutorials and their resonance with the previous theories; she does not judge one as better than the other but sees each as a way of teaching students what they need to learn. She also considers OWLs through their utility as sites that support student and teacher publication, professional development, community outreach and support, writing across the curriculum (WAC), and inclusive learning support. Finally, Hewett provides offers her a vision of the OWL's as having a necessary place within a writing program in the same way that onsite, traditional writing centers have such a place, as critical to the writing program as a whole.

Keywords: current-traditional rhetoric, expressivism, neo-classical, online writing labs, social constructionism, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, faculty development, writing centers

OWI Principles 3, 4, 13, 14

Hewett, Beth L. “Asynchronous Online Instructional Commentary: A Study of Student Revision.” Readerly/Writerly Texts: Essays in Literary, Composition, and Pedagogical Theory, vol. 11, no. 1, 2004, pp. 47-67.

Hewett describes an empirical, practice-based study of asynchronous OWI undertaken to learn whether and how students apply commentary to their revision. The post-secondary developmental and first-year English students in the study received one-to-one asynchronous commentary from Smarthinking online instructors, called e-structors. The e-structor feedback was coded by breaking it down to idea units that revealed linguistically direct comments that inform, direct, and elicit and linguistically indirect comments that suggest. The students’ original and revised drafts were coded for revision changes according to Lester Faigley and Stephen Witte’s 1981 subtypes of revision changes. The study revealed that “the students 1) made approximately 40% of their revision changes in response to online instructional comments, 2) changed their writing more often at the surface formal and meaning altering levels from those comments, 3) revised in generally correct ways that had moderate to low rhetorical force, and 4) may have developed experientially from OWI.” This study addresses the fact that writing feedback provided in text-based, asynchronous online settings can lead to useful revision changes. However, it also reveals that students are more likely to use linguistically direct instructor feedback than linguistically indirect feedback, suggesting that knowledge of and training in writing such types of feedback is necessary.

Keywords: asynchronous interaction, feedback, revision, empirical research, developmental writing, first-year composition, grammar & style, quantitative research

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7, 15

Hewett, Beth L. “Synchronous Online Conference-Based Instruction: A Study of Whiteboard Interactions and Student Writing.” Computers and Composition, vol. 23, no. 1, 2006, pp. 4-31. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2005.12.004.

Hewett reports on describes a small-scale, empirical study of synchronous conference-based OWI using an electronic whiteboard, where the tutorials were conducted by Smarthinking, Inc. tutors using their electronic whiteboard. She analyzed the talk of students and tutors involved in each tutorial using a previously tested linguistic analysis tool. Participant talk indicates that the interactions were focused on developing writing ideas and content and oriented to the task at hand as opposed to being oriented toward social exchange. However, despite the educationally transactional nature of the interactions, many interactions consisted of detailed dialogue in primarily declarative language. Nearly half of the talk was oriented toward communicative needs such as achieving interpersonal connections, facilitating the interaction, and communicating about the whiteboard's workspace. Most of the traceable writing and revision changes were meaning-preserving from the students’ original ideas and of minimal insignificant to moderate rhetorical force in terms of argument development. Hewett ends with suggestions for tutor training, preparing students for whiteboard use, and further research. The study suggests potential best practices for online instructor training, a need for student preparation to use whiteboard platforms, and ideas for future research into synchronous, text-based conferences.

Keywords: revision, empirical research, tutoring: English, synchronous interaction, revision, quantitative research

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7, 10, 13, 14, 15

Hewett, Beth L. “Generating New Theory for Online Writing Instruction.” Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 6, no. 2, 2001,

In an article containing what may be the first published use of the term OWI, Hewett includes “computer-mediated communication (CMC) for classroom and writing/peer group situations, computer-based literary study, as well as individualized writing instruction such as that found in online writing lab (OWL) tutorials” under this term. This webtext specifically considers online writing labs and online writing courses (also known as CMC at that time) as examples of online settings where practice-based research is necessary for finding best practices in OWI. She outlines how the theories that ground OWI and OWLs particularly stem from the current-traditional, expressivist, neo-classical, and social constructivist constructs. Further, she provides examples and explications of tutorials from both asynchronous and synchronous (whiteboard-based) environments as tutored through Smarthinking, Inc. Finally, Hewett provides examples of tutor-to-tutor discussion threads that both demonstrate the educational principles of association and reveal self-reflective discussions.

Keywords: online tutoring, research, empirical research, online writing labs, theory, expressivism, constructivist, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, tutoring: English, reflection, discussion: English

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7, 12, 13, 14, 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 Christa Ehmann Powers. “How Do You Ground Your Training: Sharing the Principles and Processes of Preparing Educators for Online Writing Instruction.” Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 10, no. 1, 2005,

In this webtext, Hewett and Ehmann Powers contend argue that, like students, educators need acculturative and supportive training in online writing instruction (OWI). In particular, they need time and space for supportive professional development and mentoring. The authors review the available literature surrounding online training and professional development, and they discuss the five training principles first articulated in Preparing Educators for Online Writing Instruction: Principles and Processes--(1) investigation, (2) immersion, (3) individualization, (4) association, and (5) reflection--breaking them down to constituent parts and offering example scenarios. Their dual focus is on practical strategies of implementing the five principles and offering untapped areas of research into the strategies. They end the webtext with a call for program administrators and online instructors to dialogue more fully about their experiences and join together “to articulate, define, and theorize online training processes for both writing instructors and other educators.”

Keywords: writing program administration, faculty development, research

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15

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

Hruby, Alison, et al. “(BEG)ging the Question: Using Online Tools to Support Writing Feedback.” Kentucky English Bulletin, vol. 63, no. 2, 2014, pp. 30-36.

Hruby et al. explore the usefulness of feedback on student writing and encourage the use of a writing workshop approach within a composition course. They enhance the argument for writing workshops by arguing for the use of technology to help create a community of writers. Specifically, they examine the use of Blackboard, Edmodo, and Google+ as technological options to connect students and to provide safe places to support a writing workshop pedagogy, helping students to move beyond surface-level commentary on each other’s writing. Ultimately, with appropriate planning and support, technology can be used to enhance the writing workshop, helping students to improve their writing and their role within a community of writers. This article is not entirely focused on OWI, as some activities seem to be an extension of face-to-face classes. However, this helps to demonstrate that activities grounded in face-to-face pedagogy can be migrated to OWI with appropriate revision for the online domain.

Keywords: writing workshop, community, feedback, peer review, collaboration, Blackboard, technology, teaching with technology: English,

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 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

Imig, Stephanie. “Innovative Writing Instruction: Writing Rewired--Teaching Writing in an Online Setting.” English Journal, vol. 99, no. 3, 2010, pp. 80-83.

Stephanie Imig argues that teaching writing online is similar to f2f writing instruction, and writing instructors must rely on their knowledge of composition pedagogy in the online domain. The main challenge for Imig when teaching online is the ability to insert herself into her students’ writing processes and to offer feedback and advice as writing took place. To become more directly involved with students as they wrote, Imig developed an activity that she describes in detail within the article. Through this discussion, Imig establishes that success in any writing-based activity, whether f2f or online, can result when students feel a personal connection to the project, when students are encouraged to experiment and be creative with the project, and when they are given models to explore prior to creating their own texts. These guidelines ground many composition pedagogies, and no matter the modality of the writing class, Imig encourages writing instructors to rely on these guidelines.

Keywords: pedagogy: English, feedback, modeling, instructor interaction, student engagement, composition, modality

OWI Principles: 2, 4

Johnson, E. Janet, and Karen Card. “The Effects of Instructor and Student Immediacy Behaviors in Writing Improvement and Course Satisfaction in a Web-based Undergraduate Course.” MountainRise, vol. 4, no. 2, 2008, pp. 2-21, index.php/MtnRise/article/view/81.

This study suggests that “temporal immediacy,” defined as timely instructor and student response to emails and other interactions, can contribute to student success in the online classroom. Temporal immediacy can also include helpful feedback between instructors and peers combined with consistent guidelines. The authors advocate for dialogue between instructors and students that is reciprocal, cooperative, engaging, and supportive. In this study, the authors reviewed instructor-to-student and peer-to-peer interaction, finding that instructors’ use of immediacy had a direct impact on students’ motivation to learn. In turn, the students in the course modeled the behavior of the instructors when interacting with their peers in discussion boards and with their instructors when writing emails. The authors argue that temporal immediacy is even more important in the online classroom where the face-to-face element is removed.

Keywords: communication, collaboration, pedagogy: English, discussion: English, instructor interaction, student-to-student interaction, modeling, discussion boards, email

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Johnson-Eilola, Johndan, and Stuart A. Selber. “The Changing Shapes of Writing: Rhetoric, New Media, and Composition.” Going Wireless: A Critical Exploration of Wireless and Mobile Technologies for Composition Teachers and Researchers, edited by Amy C. Kimme Hea, Hampton, 2009, pp. 15-34.

Johnson-Eilola and Selber argue that instead of viewing students’ use of instant messaging or texting technologies as a distraction in the classroom, instructors can instead use various forms of new media to teach students to view communication rhetorically. They emphasize the benefit of project-based, rather than genre-based, pedagogy. The authors present a framework of context, change, content, and tools that students can use to analyze various communication situations and select the appropriate communication technologies. While the chapter’s focus and two extended scenarios assume a face-to-face classroom setting, the “C3T” framework Johnson-Eilola and Selber advocate is a useful one for helping students approach online writing projects and consider writing technologies.

Keywords: mobile, genre, technology in teaching: English

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4

Jones, Dan. “Expanding the Scaffolding of the Online Undergraduate Technical Communication Course.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2013, pp. 237-56.

Building on chapters from the Cargile Cook and Grant-Davie 2005 collection, Online Education, Jones introduces three additional considerations for scaffolding in the online technical communication classroom: using a folder system in lieu of learning modules, using consistent evaluation rubrics to assess student work, and building instructor ethos through use of technology. These methods demonstrate online best practices and are concrete and easily implemented means to help students understand how to navigate and perform effectively in online classes.

Keywords: scaffolding, rubrics, instructor interaction, course and program design: English, navigation

OWI Principles: 3, 4

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

Kimme Hea, Amy C., editor. Going Wireless: A Critical Exploration of Wireless and Mobile Technologies for Composition Teachers and Researchers. Hampton, 2009.

The essays in the book Going Wireless are built on the premise that because of the proliferation of mobile technologies within the lives of teachers and students, composition and rhetoric teachers and scholars’ roles will evolve as they take on the role of technology teachers in addition to teaching rhetoric and composition. These teachers and scholars are not only in a unique position to be critical users of this technology, but they can also help students to become critical of how they use technology within an increasingly technologically-infused society. The book is divided into five sections, each focusing on a different aspect of wireless and mobile technology as it connects to teaching and learning. Section 1 explores how mobile and wireless devices change our perspectives of teaching and also our conceptions of what it means to compose. Section 2 considers how wireless and mobile technologies change the roles of teachers and students. Section 3 examines how wireless and mobile devices have been adopted through specific programs and initiatives into educational institutions. Section 4 focuses on how the mobility of these technologies provides potentials and limitations for composition pedagogy. Section 5 explores specific mobile devices and their impact on various domains. As students increasingly access online classes through mobile technologies, these issues will become increasingly relevant in OWI.

Keywords: mobile technology, pedagogy: English, composition, critical pedagogy, administration, faculty interaction, student-to-student interaction

OWI Principles: 2, 4

Kittle, Peter, and Troy Hicks. “Transforming the Group Paper with Collaborative Online Writing.” Pedagogy: Critical Approaches to Teaching Literature, Language, Composition, and Culture, vol. 9, no. 3, 2009, pp. 525-39.

The article offers practical suggestions for taking advantage of online communication platforms to coordinate collaboration for group projects, a genre of coursework Kittle and Hicks acknowledge as historically problematic. They ground their suggestions on a “new literacies” approach, considering especially the impact of new technologies on “ethos” development in collaborative environments. Invoking “remix culture” and acknowledging recognized variations in collaborative models, they “contend that these technologies can make the process more streamlined, transparent, and ultimately collaborative than [traditional] group writing” (528-529). They then discuss synchronous and asynchronous class activities using Google Docs and various wiki platforms, that fostered interactivity throughout the writing process rather than just at the end as a last-minute compiling of contributors’ work. The four in-practice examples show how technology and collaboration can enhance scholarship in online writing classes.

Keywords: collaboration, literacy, technology, wikis, synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, wikis, interaction

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 11

Kramer, Robert, and Stephen Bernhardt. "Moving Instruction to the Web: Writing as Multi-tasking." Technical Communication Quarterly, special issue, Redefining the Technical Communication Service Course, vol. 8, no. 3, 1999, pp. 319–36.

Kramer and Bernhardt describe implementation of a web-based case study project in two face-to-face sections of a technical and scientific communication course. In a computer classroom setting, students worked individually with multiple linked documents in order to analyze the rhetorical situation of the case study and to design a visual solution that they communicated in a business memo. Students were surveyed about their technological and rhetorical expertise before beginning the project and were then observed by the researchers while completing the project. Few students reported having worked with visual information before, and many students who reported comfort with “multitasking” or moving between multiple open applications on the computer desktop were observed experiencing difficulty with these technological skills. In post-project reflection, the two instructors emphasized the benefit of teaching students to integrate visuals and text. The authors conclude that using web-based instruction can teach students technological and design skills at the same time they address rhetorical problems.

Keywords: technical and professional writing, technology, teaching with technology: English, research, case study, qualitative research, surveys, visual literacy, rhetoric

OWI principles: 3, 4, 15

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

Laurinen, Leena I., and Miika J. Marttunen. “Written Arguments and Collaborative Speech Acts in Practising the Argumentative Power of Language through Chat Debates.” Computers and Composition, vol. 24, no. 3, 2007, pp. 230-46.

Laurinen and Marttunen study argumentative student writing using student debates in an online chat forum. They examine both collaborative and non-collaborative writing by organizing chat responses into seven categories based on Baker’s “rainbow method”: 1) explore and deepen, 2) argumentation, 3) opinions, 4) task management, 5) interaction management, 6) social relations, and 7) outside activity (234). The authors find that a majority of speech acts in the debates can not be classified as argumentation. However, they note that many students engage in collaborative speech acts in the chat forum and desire to emotionally validate their classmates’ responses. The authors argue that chat debate forums can be useful to students as they use chat archives to reflect on their writing. The authors conclude that “the discourse used in schools should utilise and provide students with access to all the forms of language that have utility in knowledge work both for today and for the future” (244). This article is relevant to OWI because it considers one modality for teaching argumentation and demonstrates a method of using the online writing classroom as an archive of speech practices for students to analyze their own argumentation practices.

Keywords: collaboration, debate, chat, modality, argument: English

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

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

Lo, Hao-Chang. “Design of Online Report Writing Based on Constructive and Cooperative Learning for a Course on Traditional General Physics Experiments.” Journal of Educational Technology and Society, vol. 16, no. 1, 2013, pp. 380-91.

This article reports on a study of wiki-based online report writing in physics experiments. The study focuses on fifty-eight undergraduates working in randomly-assigned groups of 2-3 individuals. The multi-method, quantitative and qualitative study collected data including questionnaires, interviews, online discussions, and student writing and instructor assessment of student writing. Study results indicated that students communicated more extensively with each other, students working online received higher scores than those writing in more traditional ways, and students and instructors responded favorably to the teaching and learning experience afforded by the wiki. The author concludes with recommendations for using computer-mediated communication through wikis to improve the social and cognitive teaching and learning experiences of both students and instructors of physics and a call for researchers to conduct similar studies. This article discusses how to apply appropriate pedagogical strategies to an online class and how to develop successful online communities for student success.

Keywords: wikis, WAC, WID, research, qualitative research, quantitative research, interviews, surveys, discussion: English, assessment, student-to-student interaction, computer-mediated communication, community

OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

Mabrito, Mark. “Facilitating Interactivity in an Online Business Writing Course.” Business Communication Quarterly, vol. 64, no. 3, 2001, pp. 81-86.

Mabrito points to the importance of moving away from a presentation only style of online education to a collaborative online classroom.  Asynchronous discussion boards and synchronous virtual meeting spaces to create interactivity between students and content. Mabrito encourages student sharing of early writing drafts and a shared bibliography.  The class uses both ICQ and a shared web page URL for these tasks in an era before wide-scale use of packaged LMS products. Mabrito’s methods support the ongoing need for students to learn effective collaborative writing skills and the collaborative writing process because students will need these skills in the workplace.

Keywords: business writing, technical and professional writing, discussion board, interactivity, collaboration, discussion: English, writing process, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, course management systems

OWI Principle 4, 11

Maid, Barry and Barbara J. D’Angelo. “What Do You Do When the Ground Beneath Your Feet Shifts?” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2013, pp. 11-24.

Maid and D’Angelo describe a model for an upper-division, technical communication course offered online through the Multimedia Writing and Technical Communication (MWTC) program at Arizona State University. The course was a response to two exigencies: 1) budget constraints at the university that pushed more classes online quickly and 2) concerns from stakeholders regarding the quality and pedagogy of the service course. As a result of these factors, the authors described online course design centered on the concept of “Online 2G,” or an online course with a set of standardized outcomes and modules that could be customized by a wide range of part-time faculty. This chapter explores four concepts related to the move from more fluid to more standardized courses, including 1) issues related to changing administrative roles and university restructuring, 2) the ability for faculty to have both a consistent, assessable structure and some flexibility in choosing course content, 3) constraints with the Blackboard LMS, and 4) the need for (and the limitations surrounding) online communities consisting of faculty and students at a distance. The chapter ends with recommendations for structuring online courses and programs that are both consistent and flexible and the call to hire a diverse, experienced faculty to teach and interact in these programs.

Keywords: course and program design: English, curriculum, technical and professional writing, online writing programs, administration, writing program administration, Blackboard, course management systems, pre-designed courses, community

OWI Principles: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12

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

McVey, Mary. “Writing in an Online Environment: Student Views of ‘Inked’ Feedback.” International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, vol. 20, no. 1, 2008, pp. 39-50.

The purpose of this study was to identify helpful feedback forms in an online class.  This study of fifty-seven students in a sixteen-week fully online course used student surveys to identify effective feedback methods.  The instructor utilized a handwriting tool on a digital tablet to mark student papers in a format that resembled traditional ink on paper feedback. She also utilized a feedback form, which contained live links to additional learning resources. Using the tablet feature, the instructor could write directly on the electronic version of the student paper, allowing her feedback to resemble feedback given in a traditional face-to-face setting. Students reported that the feedback was highly personalize and clear, allowing them to apply their learning to future assignments.  OWI studies in feedback may benefit from the continued study of the intersection of personalized feedback on student writing, student engagement, and student learning success.

keywords: feedback, research, surveys, qualitative research, student engagement, student success, instructor interaction, assessment

OWI Principle:  3, 4, 15

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


Meloncon, Lisa, and Lora Arduser. “Communities of Practice Approach: A New Model for Online Course Development and Sustainability.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2013, pp. 73–90.

Meloncon and Arduser illustrate how the concept of a Community of Practice (CoP) supports technical writing faculty in the process of designing, assessing, and modifying online courses. While in-house faculty professional development opportunities tend to focus on how to use an LMS or how to convert face-to-face lectures and instruction to multimedia components, the authors needed training opportunities for more technologically advanced faculty who were interested in examples of successful student engagement in online classes. The CoP model allowed instructors who had a shared domain and identity to organize both formally and informally to share resources and participate in ongoing discussions of their practice. The article provides specific recommendations for establishing and sustaining a CoP, encouraging those interested to invite different levels of participation, open dialogues about teaching and learning, and to focus on the value of the CoP. This article provides a structure for faculty who might feel isolated in departments or programs without a strong online pedagogy focus and also provides a means of supplementing what may be insufficient institutional faculty development training.

Keywords: faculty development, course and program design: English, instructional design, community of practice, community online resources, multimedia

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 7, 11

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, Susan. “How Near and Yet How Far? Theorizing Distance Teaching.” Computers and Composition, special issue, Distance Education: Promises and Perils of Teaching and Learning Online, vol. 18, no. 4, 2001, pp. 321-28.

Miller provides a perspective on the dawn of what writing studies now knows to be the fully-online, for-profit school. In light of these new educational endeavors, Miller argues that “Composition Studies needs a theorized preparation for shifts in pedagogy that distance courses make visible” (322). She brings theories from Derrida and Baudrillard to show how distance learning asks us to question the roles of the student and instructor learning and teaching outside of a shared space. The article summarizes many of the key concerns of faculty and scholars wary about the ability to establish ethos and promote deep learning when removed in time and space from their students. After outlining her concerns, she closes by noting that the teacher in these online spaces “is at best an innovative facilitator of serious student purposes” and will require the field of composition studies to refashion our purposes and “refocus our views of writing pedagogy” (327). This article establishes several ongoing concerns with online writing instruction and sets the stage for the OWI Principles and Example Effective Practices and other works that seek to establish new and best practices for online writing instruction.

Keywords: pedagogy: English, asynchronous interaction, composition, best practices

OWI Principles: 3, 4

Miller-Cochran, Susan K., and Rochelle L. Rodrigo. “Determining Effective Distance Learning Designs through Usability Testing.” Computers and Composition, special issue, Distance Learning: Evolving Perspectives, vol. 23, no. 1, 2006, pp. 91-107.

Miller-Cochran and Rodrigo present the results of the usability testing they conducted to assess the design of their online first-year composition courses at a large community college in the Southwest. They sought to answer the following questions: 1) “How well can students navigate and perform tasks in the course? 2)  What should be revised in the course to make it more usable for students? 3)  What aspects of the course design were helpful to students and why? 4) What can teachers learn about the strengths and weaknesses of their own course design through conducting usability testing, and how can they use the results to revise their courses? 5) What methodological options do teachers have for conducting usability testing and what should they consider as they design their own tests? 6) What overall guidelines for online course design can be developed to address patterns revealed through conducting usability testing?” (93). Using a heuristic evaluation method and a think-aloud protocol, they asked students to complete a series of course tasks. They divided their results into three categories: 1) “course-specific results,” 2) “guidelines for conducting usability testing,” and 3) “guidelines for designing online courses” (98). They conclude that the study highlighted the need for them to re-think the clarity of their online and face-to-face courses. Their tests offer a model for conducting usability testing of online writing classes to anticipate and alleviate design problems, and their analysis provides an understanding of approaches for course design in online writing courses. The former offers an indication of how to design the tests, gather the data, interpret the results, and implement their findings. The latter are guidelines developed after examining a number of writing classes and applying design principles from usability engineering.

Keywords: usability testing, first-year composition, course and program design: English, modeling, research, qualitative research, instructional design

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 15

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

Moore, Noreen S., and Michelle L. Filling. “iFeedback: Using Video Technology for Improving Student Writing.” Journal of College Literacy and Learning, vol. 38, 2012, pp. 3-14.

Moore and Filling study the relationship between student engagement and instructor use of video feedback on writing assignments. Video feedback is beneficial in humanizing the instructor, providing a record of the instructor’s reactions to the writing, and allowing for more feedback provided more quickly than written comments. The researchers study addressed the following questions: “1) What characterizes the comments college students receive from instructors using video feedback? 2) What types of revisions do college students make after viewing video feedback? 3) How do college writers perceive video feedback?” (6). The participants were forty-five college students in a children’s literature and an English composition course. The instructors and peer tutors provided video feedback using iMovie, BBVista, and Quick Time Player and then asked students to revise their drafts and reflect on their revisions. After the students submitted final drafts, they were surveyed and interviewed. Using constant comparative analysis, the researchers concluded that students perceived the feedback as “better” than written feedback and that students revised at a global level. Students indicated that they listened to the feedback multiple times and continued to revise their work beyond the final draft for the portfolio. The implications of this study point to a need for additional studies on the efficacy of video feedback and an understanding of why revision improved after students received video feedback.

Keywords: feedback, revision, video, student engagement, instructor interaction, technology, teaching with technology: English, composition, tutoring, portfolios, research, surveys, interviews, qualitative research

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 15


Morton-Standish, Leisa. “Using Online Media to Write Extended Persuasive Text.” The Reader Teacher, vol. 67, no. 6, 2014, pp. 419-29.

Given the increased demand by the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (CCSS-ELA) for students to produce persuasive writing at all levels, Morton-Standish purports using the already familiar online environments to create and publish persuasive texts. Using students’ new literacies in digital technologies can create engaging, persuasive text within a multimodal environment. Morton-Standish explains how teachers can use online sources to create student ownership, do online research to support arguments, write for real-world audiences, and write collaboratively. Giving specific assignment examples and listing specific CCSS-ELA standards which will be met using these methods, this article explains specifically how digital technology empowers educators and student writing, enabling students to write extended persuasive digital texts. This article is useful to OWI by discussing the possibility of digital media instruction to teach K-12 Common Core writing concepts.

Keywords: literacy, Common Core, argument: English, multimodal, audiences, collaboration, English Language Arts

OWI Principle:  3, 4, 11

Murugaiah, Puvaneswary, and Siew Ming Thang. “Development of Interactive and Reflective Learning among Malaysian Online Distant Learners: An ESL Instructor’s Experience.” International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, vol. 11, no. 3, 2010, pp. 21-41. ERIC, ISSN: 1492-3831.

Murugaiah and Thang study how interactive and socially-constructed approaches to online writing instruction helped distance learners in English proficiency courses at a university in Malaysia. Murugaiah and Thang conducted action research focused on Salmon’s five-stage model for online activity development: 1) access and motivation, 2) socialization, 3) information exchange, 4) knowledge construction, and 5) individual development. The study outlines how the instructor implemented each stage of Salmon’s model and demonstrates how the instructor facilitated the students’ self-directed learning. The authors found that, while the instructor at times found it difficult to maintain a focus on student-engagement, the students who “actively participated in the given task appeared to have learnt [sic] to reflect and managed to apply it in improving their writing skills in English” (36). While they acknowledge that the study is limited and not widely generalizable, it does demonstrate that students gained valuable cognitive skills and an increased awareness of their own learning.

Keywords:  collaboration, student engagement, social constructionism, ELL, ESL, L2, multilingual writers, EFL, reflection

OWI Principles:  3, 4, 10, 11

Nahachewsky, James, and Angela Ward. “Contrapuntual Writing: Student Discourse in an Online Literature Class.” English Teaching: Practice and Critique, vol. 6, no. 1, 2007, pp. 50-68.

Using a medieval Latin-based word normally used to describe music, Nahachewsky and Ward discuss student voices and critical literacy practices in an asynchronous online course that allowed for close reading of student text. By analyzing the asynchronous texts, the researchers found student discourse challenged the modernist idea of single authorship, linear text structure, and single purpose texts that only transmit ideas. Online discourse in this class created multi-layered texts that were both reflexive and recursive as students negotiated identity and learning through the ongoing flow of interactive discussions. The data shows that these World Literature students were able to construct and restructure meanings of texts and their world by viewing their writing in relationship to the writings of others about the same texts and topics. The researchers were surprised, however, when students did not challenge the course content or try to introduce new types of writing beyond the usual expository and reflective genres.

Keywords: literacy, asynchronous interaction, identity, discussion: English, literature, genre

OWI Principle: 3, 4, 10

O’Sullivan, Mary F. “Worlds Within Which We Teach: Issues for Designing World Wide Web Course Material.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 1, 1999, pp. 61-72.

O’Sullivan outlines the shift from “self-taught Web site [sic] writers” creating courses online to the emergence of “course-in-a-box” software (61). In 1999, she identifies around twelve software packages for distance learning, and her study focuses on “how that software influences the creation of an online course” (62). In evaluating these products, she asks four questions: “What does the software produce or what pedagogy does it support? Is the resulting Web site static or active? How is the page created and what skills does it take to employ? How much control does the instructor have over the result, aesthetically and also mechanically?” (65). Her review of a variety of types of is later called Learning Management Systems (LMSs) provides valuable insight into the evolution of these products. She concludes that “Useful instruction using computer technology begins with thoughtful and appropriate use of that technology by instructors not only to support, but also to extend, their traditional pedagogies” (69). This article is a valuable historical overview of early LMS efforts and provides a catalogue of these products for researchers interested in the history of online writing instruction.

Keywords: course and program design: English, technology, course management systems, pedagogy: English, distance education, web design

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4

Olson-Horswill, Laurie. “Online Writing Groups.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 30, no. 2, 2002, pp. 188-97.

Olson-Horswill argues that, if used well, “discussion forum technology connects online students in interactive, real-life writing groups,” with results that “can be even more interactive and personal than in a traditional classroom” (188). The article uses case methodology to study a freshman composition course. The course used the process model of reading, discussion, writing, writing groups, and writing workshops. Olson-Horswill concluded that once trust was established, online groups showed similar traits of face-to-face groups. In addition, because these groups were not bound by the space and time of the classroom nor governed by body language or facial expressions, they were even more connected through the genuine expression of their thoughts in writing. Olson-Horswill details the methods she uses in designing and facilitating the course and identifies student work that exemplifies the concepts she emphasizes in her online writing course.

Keywords: community, collaboration, discussion: english, discussion boards, case study, research, writing process, reading, qualitative research

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 15

Opdenacker, Liesbeth, and Luuk Van Waes. “Implementing an Open Process Approach to a Multilingual Online Writing Center: The Case of Calliope.” Computers and Composition, vol. 24, no. 3, 2007, pp. 247-65. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2007.05.003.

Opdenacker and Van Waes describe a multilingual online writing center called Calliope. They begin the article with a demonstration of why European online writing centers differ from American online writing centers while noting that there is a diverse range of OWCs across Europe as well. The authors describe how they “developed a new theoretical framework, based on a constructivist pedagogical approach, aimed at supporting both different learning profiles and writing processes” (248). Calliope is fully embedded into third year Strategic Business and Management Communication courses, blended courses where students both meet face-to-face and complete writing activities online through the online writing center. Students use three different tools in completing reflexive and reflective writing assignments based on case studies: 1) a feedback editor, which is “a Web-based application that supports giving and receiving feedback on written products in different stages of the writing process” (252); 2) Escribamos, which is “a Web-based application developed to support collaborative writing activities” (254); and 3) a portfolio tool in Blackboard that links to the OWC (256). In addition to integrating these three tools, the OWC allows different learner types as identified by Kolb to create their own pathways through the learning module to cover the three components of each unit: theory, practice, and a case study (257). Opdenacker and Van Waes end the article by briefly discussing how they designed Calliope and conclude with the next steps they are taking in the project. This article provides an alternative version of the traditional, American OWL that integrates specific writing instruction into courses across the disciplines.

Keywords: ELL, ESL, multilingual writers, online writing labs, hybrid, feedback, Blackboard, portfolio, course management systems, business writing, technical and professional writing, collaboration, modules, WID, WAC

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

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

Palmquist, Michael E. “Network-Supported Interaction in Two Writing Classrooms.” Computers and Composition, vol. 10, no. 4, 1993, pp.  25-57.

Palmquist recounts an early empirical study of two asynchronous, computer-mediated composition classes to better understand the nature of the talk occurring in the online environment. He indicates that computer classrooms offer researchers an important tool for learning how student writers in peer groups address each other’s writing. The research, designed to answer whether and how networks have the ability to impact classroom content, he analyzes the conversations that students have in two classes. One is an information class where students independently researched topics of their own choices; the other is the argument class where students shared both a topic and a knowledge base. Palmquist’s findings suggest that students’ online discussions in the argument class revealed a stronger group cohesion and deeper critical skills, indicating that subject matter affects critical commentary in online peer groups.

Keywords: asynchronous interaction, computer-mediated classrooms, peer review, feedback, community, collaboration, networked classrooms

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11


Palmquist, Michael, et al. “Contrasts: Teaching and Learning About Writing in Traditional and Computer Classrooms.” Computers in the Composition Classroom: A Critical Sourcebook, edited by Michelle Sidler et al., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008, pp. 251-70.

Michael Palmquist, Kate Kiefer, James Hartvingsen, and Barbara Goodlew recount two empirical studies (the “Transitions Study” and the “New Teachers Study”) designed to assist educators as they cross boundaries between teaching in traditional and online settings. These studies, which compared classroom settings and student behaviors/attitudes over time, led to seven themes. First, differences in classroom settings impacted daily planning. Also, teachers adopted more “take charge” roles in the traditional setting and more decentralized roles in online settings. Palmquist et al. found that computer classroom students talked more often with teachers and that students used computer classrooms as a worksite, whereas traditional classroom students resisted writing activities. Teachers were able to transfer more successful activities from computer to traditional settings, and even when they believed in the pedagogical benefits, teachers who were less familiar with technology resisted using it. Finally, students in the two settings differed in their attitudes about writing, writing performance, previous writing instruction, and interaction.

Keywords: empirical research, research, instructor interaction, networked classrooms, computer-mediated instruction, pedagogy: English, student engagement, technology, teaching with technology: English

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7, 11

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

Peterson, Patricia Webb. “The Debate About Online Learning: Key Issues for Writing Teachers.” Computers and Composition, vol. 18, no. 4, 2001, pp. 359-70.

Peterson argues that, because the first-year composition course is so ubiquitous, writing teachers need to be more present in discussions about online writing courses. At the time of publication, Peterson notes that “most of the books and articles written about distance learning come from fields other than composition” (360). With this in mind, she attempts to create a map of the primary issues in online writing instruction that need further discussion. She first notes the tendency to “unbundle” course creation from delivery, and she outlines the history of the debate between online writing instruction as corporate training vs. online writing instruction as a humanistic endeavor. Next she focuses on concern about “what gets taught and how that content is consumed” (364). She cautions that online writing instructors should take a critical view of how technology is used in the service of learning. Finally, Peterson asks “How is student learning changed, bettered, or damaged by distance-learning courses?” (365). The debate between those who say that distance learning will be beneficial and those who find it harmful is outlined. She encourages in all three areas for the debate to go beyond the good/bad dichotomies so that we instead address a “complexity of the issues” (368) surrounding online distance education courses.

Keywords: composition, first-year composition, course and program design: English, teaching with technology: English, distance education

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Pittenger, Amy L., and Becky Olson-Kellogg. “Leveraging Learning Technologies for Collaborative Writing in an Online Pharmacotherapy Course.” Distance Education, vol. 33, no. 1, 2012, pp. 61-80.

Pittenger and Olson-Kellogg investigated a graduate-level nursing course to understand how online writing could help faculty understand how graduate students “collaboratively create written communications appropriate for different audiences, namely, for the students in this project, patients, and other members of the health-care team” and demonstrate content mastery (63-64). Fifty participants in the study were assigned complex problems that combined physical therapy situations with pharmacotherapy issues. The researchers asked the following questions: “1) To what extent does collaborative writing within a wiki effectively facilitate learning? 2) Is it feasible to use a completed hypertext document to demonstrate content mastery and health professional competency? and 3) How does working within a group, addressing interprofessional as well as a patient audience, impact professional identity development?” (68). Participants completed an entrance survey and course evaluation and participated in focus groups after the projects were completed. Pittenger and Olson-Kellogg found that students were initially reluctant to work in groups, but they found the experience to be valuable after the project was over. The respondents indicated that “the complexity of the learning format allowed them to take on the role of a physical therapist in addressing the entire patient, both in designing physical therapy recommendations within a pharmacotherapy context, but also communicating with multiple audiences as the physical therapist” (73) through activities that helped them develop their professional identities. This study is important for those interested in writing to learn across the disciplines and for reinforcing the importance of writing across the curriculum as programs outside writing studies seek to expand their online offerings.

Keywords: WAC, collaboration, graduate students, wikis, WID, surveys, evaluation, qualitative research

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 15

Qiu, Mingzhu, et al. “Online Class Size, Note Reading, Note Writing and Collaborative Discourse.” International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, vol. 7, no. 3, 2012, pp. 423-42.

Mingshu Qiu, Jim Hewitt, and Claire Brett studied the “relationship between class size and note reading loads, note writing locas, and collaborative discussions in online graduate-level courses” (424). Because student participation and interaction are crucial to a successful online course, students can experience information overload in large online classes. Their researchers used a mixed-methods approach which demonstrated a positive correlation between class size and the number of notes that students read. However, “when the number of notes that students were meant to read increased beyond a certain point, the percentage of notes they actually read declined, mainly because of information overload” (429). Some students, when faced with more notes to write, chose to write more notes with more simple language. When asked about the instructor’s notes in discussions, students indicated that when instructors did not write enough notes, the students considered them “absent” (432). The researchers concluded that the ideal class size for online graduate classes was between 13 and 15 students; fewer students would lead to slow class discussions, and more students lead to information overload for both students and instructors. This study is important in demonstrating the correlation between class size and student performance in online classes.

Keywords: graduate classes, course caps, collaboration, discussion: English, reading, student engagement, student-to-student interaction, instructor interaction, research, mixed methods, qualitative research

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 9, 11, 12, 15

Rankins-Robertson, Sherry et al. “Multimodal Instruction: Pedagogy and Practice for Enhancing Multimodal Composition Online.” Kairos 2014, vol. 19, no. 1,


Sherry Rankins-Robertson, Tiffany Bourelle, Andrew Bourelle, and David Fisher argue for using multimodality in online courses to “design online writing courses with digital tools to deliver instructional content and facilitate feedback.” This webtext not only lays out the argument for multimodality but mirrors the content through the design of the text, which looks like what a student using Writer’s Studio might encounter when accessing and navigating through a class that implements multimodal elements. Each section of the webtext demonstrates how the course is designed while simultaneously describing what elements would go in each section of the course and how those elements supported student learning. The webtext provides a sample assignment sequence and student response to that assignment to demonstrate how a multimodal sequence in the online class works. Finally, the authors discuss the challenges and constraints of both encouraging students to create multimodal projects and providing multimodal feedback to those students (samples of multimodal feedback is included as well). Instructors implementing multimodal course assignments and learning objects are encouraged to keep assignments simple, to use popular media, and to plan assignments so that they can be reused. This article provides a thorough theoretical and practical description of how multimodal assignments can work effectively in the online classroom with a clear description of the challenges of implementing these assignments.


Keywords: multimodal, learning management systems, video: English, collaboration, student-to-student interaction, student engagement


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

Reilly, Colleen, and Barbara L’Eplattenier. “Redefining Collaboration through the Creation of World Wide Web Sites.” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, vol. 39, no. 4, 1996, pp. 215-33.

The authors establish the benefits and challenges of small-group, task-based collaborative environments as both a part of everyday workplaces and as a teaching strategy with an emphasis on “workplace writing roles and practices” (2). While scenario-based projects, such a consulting tasks, can replicate some of the complexities of collaborative writing in the workplace, whole class project scenarios can more adequately replicate the full range of workplace complexity. In addition, the discourse community borrowed from the actual workplace and transferred to the Web adds another layer of complexity. The article describes the project, conducted at Purdue University in Fall 1995, and provides student feedback on how the project challenged them to think rhetorically for multiple audiences. The project described in the article and the time period in which it was conducted provide insight into how course projects implemented during the early days of the Internet integrated new technology into professional writing pedagogy.

Keywords: technical and professional writing, collaboration, pedagogy: English, business writing

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 11

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

Remley, Dirk. “Writing in Web-based Disciplinary Courses: New Media, New Disciplinary Composing Expectations.” Computers and Composition, vol. 32, June 2014, pp. 1-18. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2014.04.002.

Remley’s article surveys writing instructors who teach writing intensive courses (WIC) across the disciplines to ascertain the differences in assignments and modalities required in face-to-face WIC courses and web-based WIC courses. In addition, Remley sought to understand faculty perceptions of where they think students should learn digital literacy skills and what, if any, professional development resources were available to faculty in WIC classes who sought to implement multimodal assignments. He designed two surveys that elicited feedback from faculty who taught WIC classes and non-WIC classes in each modality. He concluded that faculty who taught web-based WIC classes were more likely to incorporate multimodal assignments in their classes. Fewer web-based WIC instructors indicated assigning the research paper. Only some of the classes mentioned grading for digital literacy skills in their assignments. Disciplines with greater numbers of online offerings were more likely to require multimodal assignments, but only about half of faculty across disciplines assumed that students would come to their classes with digital literacy skills. Overall, over 80% of respondents thought that first-year writing students should be learning some slide-show-related literacy skills. Remley concludes that a factor in the differences between web-based and face-to-face digital literacy expectations may be related to class size in that those programs which offered online classes had larger online classes, and therefore did not require as much writing from students. He also concludes that faculty from across the disciplines need knowledge and professional development to help students develop digital literacy skills across the curriculum. This article helps researchers understand the similarities and differences in the types of assignments required in online WAC and WID courses and to help support faculty in developing multimodal assignments and assessments in these courses.

Keywords: multimodal, faculty development, WID, WAC, research, surveys, qualitative research, course caps

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 12,

Rendahl, Merry, A. “It’s Not The Matrix: Thinking about Online Writing Instruction.” The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association