Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction: Principle 10

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OWI Principle 10: Students should be prepared by the institution and their teachers for the unique technological and pedagogical components of OWI.

 

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

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, wac.colostate.edu/atd/rural/bastian_fauchald.cfm.

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

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

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. http://ccdigitalpress.org/dwae/12_bourelle.html

 

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. http://www2.bgsu.edu/departments/english/cconline/bourelle/cc_intro.html

 

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

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

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

Bozarth, Jane, Diane Chapman, and Laura LaMonica. “Preparing for Distance Learning: Designing an Online Student Orientation.” Journal of Educational Technology and Society, vol.  7, no. 1, 2004, pp. 87-106.

Bozarth, Chapman, and LaMonica describe their experience developing a one-credit-hour online orientation for students new to online learning. They discuss the differences between student and instructor expectation of what is needed in such an orientation based on feedback from an online questionnaire, which was developed to elicit feedback from both students and instructors about their perceptions of online learning. A focus group with online instructors identified key issues that they felt were prohibitive for students new to online learning. The authors identified instructor concerns as conflicting with student concerns. Where instructors focused on technology skills training, students pinpointed issues such as time management, realistic expectations, and communication. While students admitted they need preparation, they did not see a need for an orientation course. The authors suggest there is a need for an online orientation course for students new to the online environment, and suggest that there is a need for instructor training as well. The article outlines the differences between student and instructor expectations of what this orientation should contain.

Keywords: orientation, survey, faculty development, time management

OWI Principles: 10, 15

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

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

Carlson, David A., and Eileen Apperson-Williams. “The Anxieties of Distance: Online Tutors Reflect.” The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors, edited by Christina Murphy and Steve Sherwood, 2nd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, pp. 285-94.

Carlson and Apperson-Williams studied how online tutors negotiated the sterile territory of online tutoring sessions without the face-to-face contact and rapport building that on-campus tutoring provides. The authors review various methods of online tutoring, including email and chat features, and conclude that “tutors must readjust their conceptions of how to develop interpersonal relationships when tutoring online” (286-287). Interviews with online writing tutors revealed some of the anxiety that online writing tutors face when interacting with online students, including worries about appropriating student writing and building relationships with students. However, the interviews also highlighted what tutors see as beneficial in online tutoring--the ability to alleviate concerns about prejudice and focus on the student writing and the student’s approach to the text. The authors conclude that, as students become more familiar with online tutoring, their anxieties will lessen. This article demonstrates some of the basic concerns of transitioning tutors from face-to-face to online tutoring.

Keywords: tutoring: English, online writing center, email, interviews

OWI Principles: 10, 13, 14, 15

Choi, Jessie. “Online Peer Discourse in a Writing Classroom.” International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, vol. 26, no. 2, 2014, pp. 217-31, isetl.org/ijtlhe/pdf/IJTLHE26(2).pdf.

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

 

Cooper, George, et al. “Protocols and Process in Online Tutoring.” The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors, edited by Christina Murphy and Steve Sherwood, 2nd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003, pp. 255-66.

Cooper, Bui, and Riker question whether moving tutoring from face-to-face to online platforms hinders the foundations of writing center practice, namely the relationship between the tutor and the student. They conclude that, “Though principles of face-to-face tutoring [student control, interpersonal communication, and dialogue about writing] do not transfer completely to online tutoring, we can still retain a sense of collaboration and humanity in the online forum” (310). In particular, they recommend 1) setting an appropriate tone in the introductory remarks to a student, 2) establishing a dialogic relationship with the student through questions, 3) limiting remarks on grammar and punctuation, and 4) providing a summative comment in order to close the session. While these methods will not completely mitigate frustration with online tutoring nor replicate fully the face-to-face dynamics of on-campus tutoring, gathering student feedback about online tutoring sessions will help tutors to adjust their methods to reach online students. This chapter establishes some basic guidelines of good practice in online tutoring for those individuals struggling to move from face-to-face to online modalities.

Keywords: tutoring: English, feedback, tutor training, asynchronous interaction

OWI Principles: 10, 13, 14

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, www2.bgsu.edu/departments/english/cconline/DavisHardy/.

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

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

Eaton, Angela. “Students in the Online Technical Communication Classroom: The Next Decade.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2013, 133-58.

Eaton replicates and expands her 2002 study on online graduate student experiences and preferences (the results of which were published in the first edition of Online Education). While the number of students taking the second survey increased by 311% (2002, n=37 from six universities, 2010, n=152 from twelve universities), the answers to survey questions regarding students lifestyles and choices for selecting online classes remained largely the same. The bulk of features that were most disliked by students in 2010 were the perception that an online program was not as rigorous as a face-to-face program and a variety of options related to interaction with and feedback from faculty, in addition to technical problems. Advice to faculty most frequently involved recommendations for more (and more clear) communication, a consideration of the workload required in completing online assignments, and having backup plans for when technology does not work. Eaton notes that the bulk of the recommendations could easily be applied to face-to-face classes as well. Online students indicated that they selected an online program over a local program roughly 50% of the time, and students were most likely to have heard about online programs through Web searches and by visiting the programs’ Web sites. Eaton concludes with a call for further research into student experiences in online writing programs, particularly as those programs are rapidly expanding. These studies are valuable because they follow similar populations over a particular time period and correlate with information in the literature about best practices for teaching online.

Keywords: surveys, student perception, graduate students, program evaluation: English, quantitative research, marketing

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 10, 11, 15

Ekahitanond, Visara. “Students’ Perception and Behavior of Academic Integrity: A Case Study of a Writing Forum Activity.” Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, vol. 15, no. 4, 2014, pp. 150-61. DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals, doi:10.17718/tojde.55218.

This article researches students’ behavior and perception of academic integrity in an online discussion forum. Ekahitanond expresses concern about the authenticity of student responses in online learning environments and how instructors can adjust teaching methods to better address this concern. After participating in a written discussion forum, students were given an initial questionnaire to measure their perception of academic integrity and record their experience violating this policy. An interview was further conducted to investigate the reasons for dishonesty. Findings suggest that students do not have a clear understanding of academic misconduct, leading them to acts of plagiarism or collusion. Ekahitanond concludes that instructors should clearly inform students of the rules for good writing and what explicitly constitutes academic integrity. While not explicitly about OWI, this article demonstrates the need to be explicit when addressing academic integrity when creating and facilitating online writing courses.

Keywords: plagiarism, student perceptions, surveys

OWI Principles:  10, 11, 15

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

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

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

OWI Principles: 1, 4, 10

Ferganchick-Neufang, Julia K. “Harassment On-line: Considerations for Women & Webbed Pedagogy.” Kairos, vol. 2, no. 2, 1997, kairos.technorhetoric.net/2.2/binder2.html?coverweb/julia/honline.html.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gos, Michael W. “Nontraditional Student Access to OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 309-46.

Gos discusses providing increased access and support to non-traditional students, positing that the online classroom can be a positive space for hard-to-reach audiences, including non-traditional, working-class, older students and remote students (rural, urban, military, and incarcerated students). The author first examines where such students can access computers and digital tools before turning focus to the digital divide and how instructors can narrow this gap. Non-traditional students often have limited access to computers or the Internet, and some lack the skills and time needed to succeed in an online writing course. Still others may feel anxious using newer digital technology. When access is available, lower-income students may not have the resources to buy computers that house the up-to-date technologies that OWI may require. Students who have limited access to resources or have to negotiate time restrictions can find participating in discussion boards or writing assignments difficult. Because asynchronous OWI courses often require that students do much of the writing on their own time, limited access to digital tools and the Internet can hinder the non-traditional student who might view the online class as being writing and time intensive. Gos suggests that instructors provide resources students can easily download with narrow bandwidth and create files that can be opened directly in the Learning Management System (LMS). Because access and technology skills may be limited, instructors and institutions should prepare students for the “unique and technological and pedagogical components of OWI” by creating both text and video guides, including short face-to-face course orientations. Overall, Gos suggests that instructors can help non-traditional students succeed in OWI classes by creating resources that cater to various learning styles and accessibility issues as well as guiding them toward university resources such as OWLs, 24/7 computer assistance, libraries, and counseling services.

Keywords: non-traditional students,  pedagogy: English, accessibility, teaching with technology: English, course management systems, student preparation, online writing labs, student success

OWI Principles: 2, 10, 13

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

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. 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. 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

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

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

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

Principles: 1, 10

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

Mechenbier, Mahli. “Contingent Faculty and OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 227-49.

This chapter examines the challenges facing contingent faculty as a growing number of online courses—specifically online writing courses—are taught by adjunct instructors. Mechenbier details how the lack of training and communication for online writing instructors negatively affects the student learning experience, decreases retention of quality professors, and impacts the institution’s writing program over time. She goes on to describe the implications of limited access to university resources and the lack of community between part-time faculty and the institution. The remainder of the chapter discusses the poor compensation of contingent faculty and touches on issues regarding intellectual property and ownership of class materials. Mechenbier concludes with recommendations that serve to improve the relationship between adjunct faculty and the writing program administrators, leading to improved online writing instruction.

Keywords:  contingent faculty, adjunct, administration, faculty development, intellectual property, community, faculty workload, faculty satisfaction

OWI Principles:  3, 5, 7, 8, 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miller-Cochran, Susan K., 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, www.tojet.net/articles/v13i3/13319.pdf.

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

Passig, David, and Gali Schwartz. “Collaborative Writing: Online Versus Frontal.” International Journal on E-Learning, vol. 6, no. 3, 2007, pp. 395-412.

Passig and Schwartz hypothesize that synchronous collaborative writing that is facilitated with technology, rather than occurring in the fully face-to-face (what they call “frontal”) mode, can produce higher quality writing.  Their study looked at a collaborative online document generated synchronously by graduate students and compared it to writing produced by similar students who also worked collaboratively but face-to-face. To evaluate written documents, the authors used the Cognitive Level and Quality Writing Assessment instrument, or CLAQWA. The technology used to facilitate the synchronous collaboration was called GROOVE.  According to the authors, the GROOVE platform “generates a shared space which serves as a private online work environment to which colleagues are invited to share information. The shared space enables all the online participants […]to process and edit text in an interactive, synchronic way” (398).  The authors found that despite some of the technical challenges presented by users having to install GROOVE on home machines, the student group that worked synchronously online produced what the authors describe as “a paper of a higher quality” (395) compared to the collaborative group that worked face-to-face, thus challenging what the authors express as the belief by others that technology is unlikely to improve student writing.

Keywords: synchronous interaction, collaboration, technology, quantitative research, teaching with technology: English

OWI Principles: 3, 10, 15

Rankins-Robertson, Sherry et al. “Multimodal Instruction: Pedagogy and Practice for Enhancing Multimodal Composition Online.” Kairos 2014, vol. 19, no. 1, http://kairos.technorhetoric.net/19.1/praxis/robertson-et-al/

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OWI Principles 1, 3, 4, 10

Selber, Stuart. Multiliteracies for a Digital Age. Southern Illinois UP, 2004.

Selber’s seminal work offers a framework to structure writing classes and assignments that move students through three levels of multiliteracy: functional, critical, and rhetorical literacy. He argues that writing students and writing instructors should be a part of conversations about the technology that we use in classrooms, particularly in the design and implementation of that technology. The book argues that in order to be a literate user of technology in the 21st century, users must understand, question, and produce technology, including applications and software. Selber’s approach to the literacies that students need is aimed at addressing “one-way literacy models as a foundation for computer initiatives,”  wherein “many teachers of writing and communication simply transfer wholesale to the screen their existing assumptions, goals, and practices”(23). This book provides a framework for including digital literacies into online courses to help students become more functional users of computers and more critical and rhetorically savvy consumers and producers of digital text and applications.

Keywords: digital literacy, teaching with technology: English, critical pedagogy, rhetoric, course and program design: English

OWI Principles:  3, 4, 10, 11

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

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

Keywords: literacy, technology

OWI Principles:  1, 2, 10, 13

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

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

Keywords: literacy, accessibility, multimedia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snart, Jason. "Video Welcome Announcements in the LMS."OWI Open Resource, Conference on College Composition and Communication, 2013, www.ncte.org/cccc/owi-open-resource/video-welcome-lms.

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

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

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

St. Amant, Kirk. “Distance Education in a Global Age: A Perspective for Internationalizing Online Learning Communities.” ACM SIGGROUP Bulletin, special issue on Online Learning Communities, vol. 25, no. 1, 2004, pp. 12-19. ACM Digital Library, dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1067702.

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

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

OWI Principles: 1, 10, 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stella, Julia, and Michael Corry. “Teaching Writing in Online Distance Education: Supporting Student Success.” Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, vol. 16, no. 2, 2013, www.westga.edu/~distance/ojdla/summer162/stella_corry162.html.

Intervention is described as a counseling action that an instructor may use to support a student who struggles to work productively in an online writing course. Research about online students reveals that different types of students perform differently in online classes; essentially, some students need more support than others to be successful. Interventions may increase retention of course material and graduation rates at institutions as well as increase student and teacher satisfaction within the course. Stella and Corry state that equal access to education opportunities and successes is one of Sloan's five pillars of online success, and it is a major concern for educators nationwide. Students who struggle with online learning must have access to support and opportunities to develop the skills necessary to be successful in online classes. Researchers attribute student success in online courses to a wide variety of characteristics and circumstances such as academic subject, student personality traits, and student/instructor experience.  However, even students with variables in their favor occasionally struggle in online writing instruction courses, and the instructor is challenged to intervene and facilitate success. Learning to write efficiently and effectively is a crucial skill in the 21st century workplace, and the dramatic increase in online learning options means online writing courses have grown in popularity.  Overall, Stella and Corry’s research concludes that intervention is a powerful and crucial element of program structure and can be used to lessen transactional distance so that struggling students might find success in online writing courses.

Keywords: intervention, retention, student success, faculty satisfaction, online resources,

OWI Principles:  3, 4, 10, 11

Stewart-McCoy, Michelle. ‘“Beautifying the Beast’: Customising Online Instruction in a Writing Course for Jamaican Tertiary-level Students.” SiSAL Journal, vol. 4, no. 3, 2013, pp. 157-74.

This article details the first two phases of a 4-phase research project that seeks to develop guidelines for the design of a customized online academic writing course in Jamaican tertiary schools. The project’s intention is to generate interest in online courses, maintain student engagement, and encourage self-directed learning. Stewart-McCoy describes the present challenges for the model, including students’ poor writing skills and discomfort with online courses. She then describes how she used “Design Based Research” (DBR) to develop address two research questions: “1) What are the learning characteristics and needs of students pursuing academic writing courses? and 2) What components are deemed relevant to spark students’ interest, ensure active participation and encourage self-direction in an online academic writing module?” (161-162). The researcher gathered information from “two content writing experts, one multimedia specialist, six academic writing lecturers and fifty-four academic writing students” through surveys and interviews (162). Based on an analysis of the students’ learning preferences, Stewart-McCoy designed an online class and provided a mockup of the course layout.  The final two phases, including a pilot course and two additional cycles of the course, were briefly detailed.

Keywords: student engagement, research, qualitative research, surveys, interviews, course and program design: English

OWI Principles:  3, 4, 10, 11, 15

Stillman-Webb, Natalie. “‘Keeping it Real’: Contextualizing Intellectual Property and Privacy in the Online 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. 289-302.

In this chapter, Stillman-Webb notes the benefits of client-based or service-learning projects as opportunities for students in the technical communication course to compose for real-world audiences. However, when taught online, intellectual property issues can come into play, as digital communication can increase potential distribution of information. Stillman-Webb points out the need for instructors to understand the differences between conceptions of copyright in an educational setting and in the workplace, as well as attend to privacy concerns—particularly within healthcare organizations—that come with electronic transmission. The author argues for an approach to intellectual property that foregrounds ethics in helping students think critically about writing choices and textual sharing practices. Although this chapter focuses on the online technical communication course, the recommendations for instructors are applicable to any online writing course that involves community-engaged learning or project-based pedagogy.

Keywords: service learning, technical and professional writing, intellectual property, copyright

OWI principles: 3, 4, 10

Taffs, Kathryn H., and Julienne I. Holt. “Investigating Student Use and Value of e-Learning Resources to Develop Academic Writing within the Discipline of Environmental Science.” Journal of Geography in Higher Education, vol. 37, no. 4, 2013, pp. 500-14.

This article studies the value, quality, and effectiveness of e-learning resources to improve learning skills, specifically focusing on the discipline-specific skills required to complete an academic writing assignment in environmental sciences. Taffs details the background and methodology of the study, including the specific online resources that were developed to effectively address previously identified barriers to learning. Through the analysis of usage statistics and student questionnaires, Taffs argues that e-learning resources can be both useful and highly effective in the learning process as long as the resources are assignment-specific and are embedded directly into the curriculum.  The final conclusions of the study serve as a guide to future resource development to support flexible and engaged learning.

Keywords: WID, research, online resources, surveys, quantitative research

OWI Principles:  3, 4, 10, 11, 13, 15

Takayoshi, Pamela, and Brian Huot, editors. Teaching Writing with Computers: An Introduction. Houghton Mifflin, 2003.

Takayoshi and Huot edit a collection of chapters that center around the practical skills related to teaching with computers, including teaching writing online. Although they value the relevancy of earlier compiled scholarship, they present technological and theoretical discussions of online writing classrooms circa 2003. This work is broken into sections that address 1) writing technologies for composition pedagogies; 2) learning to teach with technology; 3) teaching beyond physical boundaries (or, distance learning); 4) teaching and learning new media; and 5) assigning and assessing student writing. Takayoshi and Huot argue that “a notion of pedagogical practice grounded in the theory, reflection, and inquiry that drive our practices is an important component of this volume” (5). This collection is an early primer on the basic tools needed for instructors for new instructors in OWI settings.

Keywords: teaching with technology: English, pedagogy: English, composition, assessment, reflection

OWI Principles:  3, 4, 6, 10

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

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

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

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

Townsend, Jane S., and Allan Nail. "Response, Relationship, and Revision: Learning to Teach Writing in Asynchronous Contexts." Journal of Literacy and Technology, vol. 12, no. 3, 2011, pp. 51-85.

In this article, Townsend and Nail present the findings of a study of a writing mentorship program between pre-service teachers and high school students as part of the Online Writing Partnership. This article draws on a larger study examining this program, with the current study focusing on interviewing both the graduate student and high school student participants and analyzing artifacts from the experience, including high school students’ papers with feedback and the email correspondence between the partners. Townsend and Nail categorized the type of feedback offered by the graduate students and found that the majority were editing suggestions, despite the graduate students’ belief that they were helping students revise. Townsend and Nail suggest that even the graduate students do not fully understand or embrace the concept of revision. They suggest that these views are likely influenced by these pre-service teachers’ own experiences in the classroom. The other major theme from the study was the nature of online mentoring relationships. Many of the graduate students expressed a frustration with the lack of social presence in their online relationships. All communication was asynchronous, and many graduate participants reported feeling disconnected from their high school student partner. Despite this challenge, Townsend and Nail argue that experiences like the Online Writing Partnership are important for pre-service teachers, perhaps because of the discomfort, which provides an opportunity for growth and an opportunity to reflect on the function and form of effective feedback. From the results of the study, changes have been made to the Online Writing Partnership program to provide more opportunities for collaborative interactions and face-to-face meetings. The authors report that ongoing research is continuing on the program to assess this new blended learning model. The findings of this study on online mentoring demonstrates the importance of a sense of presence, relationship, and community in online learning.

Keywords: revision, mentoring, graduate students, email, feedback, teacher training, instructor interaction, asynchronous interaction, collaboration, blended, community

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

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

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

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

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

Wang, Jen-Hang, et al. “Effects of a Mixed-Mode Peer Response on Student Response Behavior and Writing Performance.” Journal of Educational Computing Research, vol. 51, no. 2, 2014, pp. 233-56.

Harry Wang, Shih-Hsun Hsu, Sherry Chen, and Tak-Wai Chan research the effects of computer-mediated peer review to answer four questions: “1) How did students in the experimental group perform differently from students in the control group in terms of writing quality and written expression? 2) How did high-ability students in the experimental group and those in the control group perform differently in terms of writing quality and written expression? 3) How did low-ability students in the experimental group and those in the control group perform differently in terms of writing quality and written expression? and 4) How did high- and low-ability students in the experimental group perform differently in peer response behavior?” (238). The study investigated the peer-review and writing practices of 54 third-graders in Taiwan who took a pre- and post-test to assess their writing abilities before and after the experiment. The researchers found no significant difference in prior writing ability between the two groups of students. Students who were initially high-performing in both groups did better on the post-tests than low-performing students. Overall, students who were in the e-Peer Response (EPR) group performed better than those students in the teacher-centered writing. They attribute these findings to the fact that the EPR group had a “more convenient online writing environment,” that the EPR group had a “complete writing practice with opportunities for revision,” and that the EPR “provided a sharable mechanism so that students could exchange drafts and share meanings with each other” (248-249). The findings in this study, though from an elementary classroom, might shed light on issues related to the advantages of implementing online peer review in the college classroom.

Keywords: peer review, ESL, ELL, elementary students, EFL, L2, multilingual writers, empirical research, quantitative research

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 11, 13, 15

Warnock, Scott. “And Then There Were Two: The Growing Pains of an Online Writing Course Faculty Training Initiative.” Proceedings of the Distance Learning Administration (DLA) 2007 Conference, St. Simons Island GA, 26 June 2007.

Warnock provides an account of the attrition associated with a new online faculty training initiative at Drexel University in 2004. He outlines the challenges that Drexel faced when the university decided to put 20% of its first year writing courses online in Fall 2004. That decision meant that at least 20 instructors would need online training to teach those courses; however, as the summer program progressed, the program lost instructors quickly. By the end of the fall term, only one instructor was still enrolled in the online training program. Challenges of establishing the online training program included lack of institutional backing, offering too many courses online at one time with a technologically unprepared faculty, emphasizing technology over pedagogy in previous training, and providing no course-specific instruction. Differences in opinion over the emphasis of the training course resulted in additional challenges. Some instructors wanted a course template created for them while others wanted to learn all of the tools and capabilities of the learning management system. In addition, the university failed to advertise the online courses, and enrollment for Fall 2004 was low. A 44% drop rate in online courses occurred due to students’ misunderstanding about the work and self-motivation needed for success in online classes. Despite the hurdles, the training program was restored in subsequent semesters as more teachers experimented with and found success in hybrid classes.

Keywords: first-year writing, hybrid, faculty development, teaching with technology: English,  online writing programs, writing program administration

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12

Warnock, Scott. “Studies Comparing Outcomes among Onsite, Hybrid, and Fully-Online Writing Courses.” WPA-CompPile Research Bibliographies, no. 21, 2013, comppile.org/wpa/bibliographies/Bib21/Warnock.pdf.

In this bibliography, Warnock both responds to and challenges the drive for research comparing onsite, online, and hybrid writing courses. Warnock begins by pointing out that questions about the efficacy of online writing instruction invariably position hybrid and online writing courses against the “‘gold standard’ of the onsite class experience,” an assumption that “is—to say the least—flawed” (1). Assessment of onsite writing courses is notoriously difficult, due in no small part to methodologically-questionable assessment measures and the absence of “widely-accepted criteria as to what clearly constitutes success in writing courses” across institutions (2). Nevertheless, a robust collection of studies comparing onsite and online courses have been published, which Warnock examines closely. Among the themes that emerge from this analysis are that there is no significant difference between online, onsite, and hybrid courses and that instructor-student and student-student interactivity seems correlated “to student satisfaction and perhaps course success”(3).  This bibliography is an indispensible resource for OWI instructors and administrators alike.

Keywords: assessment: English, learning outcomes, hybrid, online writing programs, literature review, administration, writing program administration, student-to-student interaction, instructor interaction, student success

OWI Principles: 7, 10, 11, 15

Warnock, Scott, et al. “Early Participation in Asynchronous Writing Environments and Course Success.” The Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, vol. 16, no. 1, Jan. 2012, pp. 35-48.

This study investigates if early participation on course message boards is connected with success in online and hybrid courses. The authors investigated twelve first-year writing classes, eight hybrid and four fully online, and found that first posters on course message boards had better grades than the class final average in every course, and later posters tended to have lower grades than the course average. The research team also correlated course performance with average length of posts, finding earlier posts to be longer. This study was conducted in two phases, with the researchers initially investigating six courses and then engaging in a more robust analysis with an additional six courses. The results help support the connection between student volition and success in classes that rely heavily on asynchronous writing environments.

Keywords: hybrid, first-year writing, discussion boards, research, quantitative research, student engagement, asynchronous interaction

OWI Principles: 4, 10, 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wolfe, Joanna, and Jo Ann Griffin. “Comparing Technologies for Online Writing Conferences: Effects of Medium on Conversation.” The Writing Center Journal, vol. 32, no. 2, 2012, pp. 60-92.

This article details the methodology and results of a small-scale study that measured the effect medium has in writing conferences. Wolfe claims that although many writing and teaching professionals assume in-person consultation is ideal, online conferencing can be pedagogically equivalent to face-to-face sessions. In addition to face-to-face conferences, two forms of online writing instruction were studied that incorporated synchronous audio and screen-sharing technology. The differences between all three mediums are discussed, with emphasis on the computer-based conferencing styles. Wolfe concludes with recommendations for utilizing online conferences and guidance for future research.

Keywords: research, online tutoring, synchronous interaction, audio, screencasting

OWI Principles:  3, 4, 10, 11, 15

Yang, Yu-Fen. “Preparing Language Teachers for Blended Teaching of Summary Writing.” Computer Assisted Language Learning, vol. 27, no. 3, 2014, pp. 185-206.

This study examines how language teachers perceive and address the problems L2 students encounter in summary writing. Using theories of blended learning and social constructivism as a guide, six experienced language teachers scaffolded the summary writing process into three stages in which students were rotated through three roles: outliners, summarizers, and peer editors. The teachers used an online learning system (CLCS), developed by Yang, which promoted student-student and student-teacher interaction throughout the summary writing process. The data analyzed included the interactions recorded in the CLCS, interviews with teachers, and student scores on a standardized English proficiency test taken three times over the course of the semester. The results demonstrate that student learning was greatly improved due primarily to the shift in the roles of both teachers and students. Teachers “shifted from dominators to facilitators” by scaffolding the assignment, “monitor[ing] students’ learning progress through the” CLCS, and continuously “revis[ing] their curriculum design in order to meet their students’ needs” (198, 200). Meanwhile, students “shifted from passive to active learners, as they became self-regulated” and interacted with each other more frequently (198). This study is valuable to OWI practice because it articulates many of the challenges that students face in writing effective academic summaries, and it addresses challenges teachers have when transitioning to blended and online formats. Of particular note is Yang’s concluding claim that “new teaching approaches are crucial in blended language courses,” particularly those that promote greater student-student and student-teacher interaction” (203).

Keywords: peer review, student-student interaction, scaffolding, blended, L2, ELL, ESL, multilingual writers, social constructivism, instructor interaction, course management systems, research, mixed methods, qualitative research, quantitative research,

OWI Principles: 3, 10, 11, 15

Yohon, Teresa, and Don Zimmerman. “Strategies for Online Critiquing of Student Assignments.” Journal of Business and Technical Communication, vol. 18, no. 2, 2004, pp. 220-32.

Yohon and Zimmerman discuss the advantages of reading and commenting on student writing using a variety of electronic tools, including the track changes, comment, and autocorrect functions. They offer specific suggestions for this electronic critique, including how to prepare students to take advantage of these tools. They also suggest setting specific policies and boundaries for this type of commenting to avoid some common pitfalls, including the need to ease students into receiving this type of commentary.  This article seems outdated given the widespread use of these features since 2004, but for those instructors across the disciplines just learning how to effectively give embedded writing feedback, this article provides a clear how-to of how to effectively begin providing feedback.

Keywords: feedback, revision

OWI Principles:  3, 4, 10, 11, 13

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