Abbas, Zainab Ibrahim. “Blended Learning and Student Satisfaction: An Investigation into an EAP Writing Course.” Advances in Language and Literary Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, 2018, pp. 102–05.
Abbas describes a study conducted on Iraq’s first blended learning courses, which were planned to introduce this as a new method of instruction for EAP (English for Academic Purposes) classes. Abbas notes that student satisfaction was considered a major factor in the study because the new form of instruction would only continue to attract students if the first ones who took it reported good outcomes. The article begins with a definition of blended learning and a description of how it relates to traditional instruction. Abbas then turns to describing the EAP classes initiated in 2015. These six-week courses had the same instructor, used the same materials, and targeted students who were working and had limited schedules. Evaluators worked from Moore and Kearsley (1996)’s model in which satisfaction stems from interactions between “learner-content, learner-instructor, and learner-learner” (103) to design a survey assessing student satisfaction. Survey findings would be used to determine what “could be adjusted for the future” (103) to attract more students. Survey results reported high levels of satisfaction even as students often compared the blended learning approach to fully face-to-face instruction and found blended learning less effective. However, some of this might be due to the lingering novelty and uncertainly of blended learning in Iraqi higher education, and the survey did find that “learner-centered” instruction from the pilot teacher was an important factor in high satisfaction rates.
Keywords: hybrid, interaction, English for Academic Purposes (EAP), pilot study, assessment, student satisfaction
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 15
Almjeld, Jen. “Getting ‘Girly’ Online: The Case for Gendering Online Spaces.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 87–105.
Almjeld posits that, considering data which reflects men are more confident and experienced with computers and women are hesitant to use free software tools “in favor of school-sanctioned course management sites” (88), females may not be as participatory in MOOCs as male students. Additionally, female faculty may decline to design and instruct MOOCs because of fear of technology and the lack of opportunities to make personal connections—versus the interactive face-to-face classroom—in MOOCs. Universities should be cognizant of traditional gender hierarchies and “adop[t] . . . feminist pedagogical principles . . . to . . . make space for marginalized voices” (92). One undergraduate course (92% female) and one graduate course (78% female)—neither being MOOCs—were used as examples to demonstrate how intentionally gendering online courses may create inviting, conversational, supportive, and communicative spaces. Almjeld recommends that in order for MOOCs to be more gender inclusive, instructors should make reflection a habit, build communities within online communities, encourage feedback and evaluation, put identity in conversation with course content, offer online tools and tips, and create space for difference. MOOCs should be a digital space which is welcoming for all audiences; instructors should integrate available tools to mitigate the gender limitations of these learning spaces.
Keywords: gender, feminist theory, MOOCs, technology
OWI Principles: 1, 11
Anson, Chris M. “’She Really Took the Time’: Students’ Opinions of Screen-Capture Response to Their Writing in Online Courses.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 21–45.
Anson describes students’ feelings regarding screen-capture responses to final course essays using three dimensions: cognitive, affective, and linguistic. Students received traditional, written feedback on one paper and recorded screen-capture feedback on a second paper. Using a 14-item survey and subsequent interviews, Anson used two nonparametric measures to ensure differences in written and screen-capture feedback and equality of populations. Students reported that hearing the instructor’s voice on the screen-capture was more positive and encouraging, and they indicated that they preferred the screen-capture feedback to the written feedback. This study, although small and gender-biased, indicates that students might find screen-capture feedback more effective in learning and improving their writing processes.
Keywords: screencast, feedback, student satisfaction, student perceptions, empirical research, qualitative research, quantitative research
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 15
Arthritis Foundation. AF, 2019, arthritis.org.
The Arthritis Foundation provides access to resources, products, and publications for individuals who are afflicted with arthritis. The “Living with Arthritis” section specifically links to resources that may be helpful for supporting individuals with arthritis within home and educational environments. In the “Tools and Resources ” sub-section, users will find a “Exercise and Fitness Tools” and “Daily Living Tools and Resources” areas with information about apps and other technology resources. Another key area of the website is the “Get Involved” area, which includes information about the “Live Yes! Arthritis Network” which can provide individuals with connections to others who are also living with this disease.
Keywords: accessibility, disability studies, online resources, technology
OWI Principles: 1
Arzt, Judy, Kristine E. Barnett, and Jessyka Scoppetta. “Online Tutoring: A Symbiotic Relationship with Writing Across the Curriculum Initiatives.” Across the Disciplines, vol. 6, 2009, pp. 1-15.
Arzt et al. discuss a new program piloted at the small liberal arts school of Saint Joseph College, where they combined online tutoring with more traditional writing center approaches to better support student writing for Writing In the Discipline (WID) and Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) courses. The authors maintain that “Although WAC, WID, writing centers, and writing fellows form a natural nexus, the value of technology in this mix is not firmly established” (1). They piloted the addition of online tutoring within this portfolio of services. The article provides a section describing the history of technology in American college writing centers before describing Saint Joseph College’s program and the high demands it meets. Arzt et al. then report that a survey circulated after their program’s inception (n=101) found that 79% of respondents were very satisfied and 97% would use hybrid writing center services again (7). They found that recruiting experienced students as writing center fellows is beneficial, learning how to tutor online did not take significantly more time than learning to tutor in person, and tutoring was best managed through simple technologies like email. The authors also note that faculty reported better outcomes among supported assignments, and that overall “online tutoring is a natural outgrowth of the face-to-face rapport tutors develop with students” (10)
Keywords: writing center, tutoring, hybrid, online tutoring, WID, WAC, interdisciplinary, rapport, support services
OWI Principles: 4, 11, 14
Ashton, Scott, and Randall S. Davies. “Using Scaffolded Rubrics to Improve Peer Assessment in a MOOC Writing Course.” Distance Education, vol 36, no. 3, 2015, pp. 312–34.
In this piece for Distance Education, Ashton and Davies argue that “providing guidance in the peer assessment process of a MOOC can improve evaluative outcomes, enabling students to successfully distinguish novice from advanced performances.” (329). As such, this study makes a case for more purposeful use of peer response in online writing instruction, especially when it comes to student ratings of and feedback to their peers. While primarily focused on the success of this pedagogical tactic in a creative writing MOOC, Ashton and Davies acknowledge the wider need for research on the use of guided rubrics in OWCs more broadly. This article provides a variety of student examples of usage of the various peer response protocols and is valuable for OWI.
Keywords: accessibility, MOOCs, rubrics
OWI Principles: 1, 4
Attention Deficit Disorder Association. ADDA, 2018, add.org.
The National Attention Deficit Disorder Association provides access to resources, products, and publications for individuals who have been diagnosed or are the parent or caregiver of someone who has been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The “ADHD Answers” section specifically links to resources that may be helpful for supporting adult students who have been newly diagnosed or haven’t yet been diagnosed as ADD/ADHD. In the “Support Groups & Workshops” sub-section under the “Resources” tab, users can find information about virtual support groups and workshops, but you have to be a member to access that part of the site. Another key area of the website is the “Workplace” sub-section under the “How We Help” tab, which offers some statistics regarding adults with ADD/ADHD in the workplace and provides support in navigating any issues regarding their disability.
Keywords: accessibility, disabilities, online resources, technology
OWI Principles: 1
Austin, Traci L., Lucia S. Sigmar, Gurinder B. Mehta, and Jennifer L. Shirk. “Impact of Web-assisted Instruction on Student Writing Outcomes in Business Communication.” Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, vol. 20, 2018, pp. 1–11.
Austin et al. studied the impact of McGraw-Hill’s ConnectTM LearnSmartAchieve adaptive learning tool on business students’ basic grammar and mechanics skills. The researchers analyzed 85 persuasive student texts from students who did not use LearnSmartAchieve with 87 student texts from those using the web-assisted instruction. They found the number of basic, sentence-level errors were cut in half for the students who used the McGraw-Hill product, including significant reductions in sentence fragments, run-on sentences, non-capitalization of proper nouns, misspelled words and comma errors. This study suggests that students’ editing skills might benefit from adaptive learning technologies, although the researchers did acknowledge significant limitations of the study. This research adds to the conversation about the place of adaptive learning publisher materials in online and face-to-face writing classrooms.
Keywords: adaptive technology, grammar & style
OWI Principles: 6, 15
Autism Society of America. ASA, 2016, autism-society.org.
The Autism Society of America provides access to resources, products, and publications for individuals who have been diagnosed or are the parent or caregiver of someone who has been identified as being on the autism spectrum. The “What is Autism” section provides useful information about the disorder, including the causes and diagnosis, as well as how Asperger’s Syndrome is now included on the spectrum. In the “Intervention and Therapy Options” sub-section under the “Living with Autism” tab, users will find a “Nonmedical Interventions” area which mentions the use of assistive technology and technology-aided instruction and innovation as possible interventions for individuals on the autism spectrum. Another key area of the website is the “Public Policy” area, which includes links to advocacy resources, the Ignite Newsletter and social media accounts.
Keywords: accessibility, disabilities, online resources, technology
OWI Principles: 1
Babb, Jacob. “Reshaping Institutional Mission: OWI and Writing Program Administration.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 202–15.
Babb argues that Writing Program Administrators are uniquely positioned as knowledgeable practitioners to lead important change for OWI practices within their university, and they can lead broader institutional change by connecting online learning to the school’s current mission statements. Using the institutional mission as a backdrop and a starting point for reflection and conversation, WPA’s can improve student learning, contingent faculty working conditions, and online training and technology gaps. As online learning continues to be a driving force within higher education, Babb points to the university mission as a place for conversation, growth, and change. He points out that even the mission itself may need to adapt and change to better reflect and accommodate the education needs and experience brought about by online learning.
Keywords: faculty development, writing program administration, online education, contingent faculty
OWI Principles: 3, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15
Balfour, Stephen. “Assessing Writing in MOOCs: Automated Essay Scoring and Calibrated Peer ReviewTM.” Research and Practice in Assessment, vol. 8, Summer 2013, pp. 40–48.
Balfour analyzes and responds to the decisions by both Harvard and Stanford to utilize Automated Essay Scoring (AES) technologies in their Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC). To cover this topic, Balfour reviews the existing research, reviews the benefits, assesses the limitations, and develops a table that offers a framework for comparing these forms of assessment of student writing. This article explains both AES and CPR technologies and methodologies in detail as well as student and researcher responses to them. After careful reviews of literature and responses, Balfour shows that AES has proved to be accurate and a legitimate way for scoring and providing effective feedback to students for over ten years. However, despite this success, there is still no indication that any of these scoring systems can effectively assess or evaluate creative work or original research writing.
Keywords: MOOCs, automated writing evaluation, online writing
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 6, 15
Bartoletta, Joseph, Tiffany Bourelle, and Julianne Newmark. “Revising the Online Classroom: Usability Testing for Training Online Technical Communication Instructors.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 287–99.
In this study, Bartoletta et al. explore the benefits of incorporating usability testing into online technical and professional communication (TPC) teacher training. The authors set up a “medium-tech” case study using both sophisticated usability testing software and in room observations to test students’ ability to navigate TPC courses. In their findings, the authors argue that usability testing has a positive impact on both instructors and students. However, they caution against implementing usability testing as a form of teacher assessment and advocate for a balance between focusing on usability and allowing instructors the freedom to design their own courses.
Keywords: writing program administration, professional development, faculty development, technical and professional writing, usability testing
OWI Principles 1, 3, 5, 7
Bay, Jennifer. “Training Technical and Professional Communication Educators for Online Internship Courses.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 329–43.
This article explores training options for technical and professional communication (TPC) instructors teaching online internship courses. Citing an increase in full time and online internship opportunities for students, Bay argues for the creation of more online internship courses to accomodate distance and working students’ professional needs. Bay acknowledges the difficulty in training instructors to teach online TPC courses, and uses her graduate pilot course as a model for ways program administrators can train graduate teaching assistants and other instructors to teach online. The course uses an experiential learning approach where, “trainers are setting an example by how they teach” (p. 334). While Bay’s course was designed as a graduate seminar, she also explores ways her course could be adapted for different institutions and instructors.
Keywords: experiential, internships, faculty development, service learning, professional development: Writing
OWI Principles: 3, 5, 6, 7
Beavers, Melvin. “Preparing Part-time Contingent Faculty to Teach First-Year Writing Online: Examining Writing Program Administrator Approaches.” Dissertation, University of Arkansas – Little Rock, 2019.
Beavers uses an explanatory mixed-methods approach to examine how WPAs provide professional development and support for contingent faculty in online writing classes. Using survey and interview research, Beavers found that WPAs use an “administrative rhetorical mindset” in professionalizing contingent faculty. The administrative rhetorical mindset includes creating an inclusive, supportive community for contingent faculty, offering contingent faculty feedback for their online classes, informing contingent faculty of regional conferences, and being attuned to the multiple roles that they serve in their departments. Time and money were the greatest barriers to providing professional development for online contingent faculty, and WPAs showed resilience in finding new ways to meet online contingent faculty professional development needs. This study reinforces the need for additional support for online contingent faculty given the increasing role that they play in online first-year writing.
Keywords: contingent faculty, writing program administration, mixed methods, research
OWI Principles: 1, 7, 8, 15
Bjork, Colin. “Integrating Usability Testing with Rhetoric in Online Writing Instruction.” Computers and Composition, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 4–13.
Bjork argues for user experience (UX) testing in OWI that is informed by an understanding of digital rhetoric. Acknowledging the potential for UX to improve learning management systems, the article cautions against an implementation of UX principles which treats students like consumers in a neoliberal education economy. As Bjork writes, “UX methods without digital rhetoric risks eliding the social, cultural, political, and ideological stakes of partaking in an online writing course” (p. 7). The article describes how an ecological understanding of technologies in digital rhetoric supplements UX methods, and it ends with a list of heuristics for UX testing informed by both UX and digital rhetoric theory.
Keywords: usability testing, user-centered design, digital rhetoric, course management systems
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 7, 15
Blair, Kristine. “MOOC Mania? Bridging the Gap Between the Rhetoric and Reality of Online Learning.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, 2016, Utah State University Press, pp. 167–79.
Blair argues for “conversations among university administrators and writing faculty to ensure we’re not integrating online learning technologies for their own sake, but rather because they provide a range of learning opportunities with institutional structures that support and reward faculty for their innovation and labor” (168). As such, this chapter makes a case for more engaged and purposeful consideration of MOOCs on the part of OWI and those who teach OWCs so we have a voice in the conversation. While primarily focused on the explosion of MOOC offerings in general, Blair explains that a larger issue exists in student motivation issues, whether the course is a MOOC or a traditional OWC. This article provides multiple successful examples of university—MOOC partnerships that are still in use today and is valuable for OWI.
Keywords: accessibility, MOOCs, course design
OWI Principles: 1, 6, 12
Blancato, Michael, and Chad Iwertz. “‘Are the Instructors Going to Teach Us Anything?’: Conceptualizing Student and Teacher Roles in the ‘Rhetorical Composing’ MOOC.” Computers & Composition, vol. 42, 2016, pp. 47–58.
Blancato and Iwertz discuss managing student expectations in a massive open online course (MOOC) at The Ohio State University. While the instructors assumed the course would follow a connectivist massive open online course (cMOOC) environment where students learn from each other, the authors found that participants expected an expert-instructor-lead or extended massive open online course (xMOOC) learning environment. Through their investigation of the courses message boards, Blancato and Iwertz found the cMOOC and xMOOC dichotomy insufficient to describe the type of learning participants and instructors engaged in. They point to the way participants critiqued each other through peer review as well as the work put in by instructors to oversee and design the course. In the end, the authors advocate for an understanding of MOOCs which breaks the xMOOC and cMOOC binary and acknowledges the various roles participants can take and the way instructors can also learn from participants.
Keywords: MOOCs, peer review, community, xMOOC, cMOOC, student perceptions
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 5, 6
Blevins, Brenta. “Developing Inclusive and Accessible Online Writing Instruction: Supporting OWI Principle 1.” WPA: Writing Program Administration, vol. 40, no. 3, 2017, pp. 94–99.
In this review for WPA: Writing Program Administration, Blevins reviews Coombs’ Making Online Teaching Accessible: Inclusive Course Design for Students with Disabilities. She identifies that Coombs’ “helpfully identifies early what accessibility is and why it matters” and notes that Making Online Teaching Accessible “resides at the intersection of two writing instruction-focused conversations: OWI and disability” (95). As such, this review makes a case for online writing instructors to make their courses accessible and to read Coombs’ book if they require assistance in doing so. While primarily focused on providing a brief introduction to the main points of the book, Blevins does spend a full paragraph just on universal design and a full paragraph on accessible course content. This article provides a useful review of Coombs’ work and is valuable for OWI.
Keywords: accessibility, disability studies
OWI Principles: 1
Borgman, Jessie. "The Online Writing Program Administrator (OWPA): “Maintaining a Brand in the Age of MOOCs." Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 188–201.
This chapter explores issues specific writing program administration considering the huge influx of online writing courses across the country. The author argues that a pedagogical shift has occurred that requires a change in administering writing programs: teaching online is different than teaching face-to-face. Considering this influx and pedagogical shift, the author argues that in the age of MOOCs, focusing on faculty support and the development and maintenance of online writing courses (OWCs) becomes imperative. In order for online writing instructors to focus on what they do best (teaching), they need to be led by someone with online writing instruction (OWI) experience who is trained and qualified to lead a writing program that includes OWCs. The author argues for the development of a new WPA role, an Online Writing Program Administrator (OWPA), in order to distinguish a brand (a concept from Keith Rhodes, 2010) of OWI, which is distinctly different than the instruction and content offered by MOOCs.
Keywords: writing program administration, MOOCs, faculty development, course design
OWI Principles: 7, 8, 9, 14
Borgman, Jessie. "Dissipating Hesitation: Why Online Instructors Fear Multimodal Assignments." Multimodality: Theories, Pedagogies and Practices, edited by Santosh Khadka and J.C. Lee, Utah State University Press, 2018, pp. 43–66.
This chapter examines why online instructors often hesitate to use multimodal assignments in the OWC and why online instructors debate whether the use of multimodal assignments is worth the extra challenges brought on by online settings. It outlines the additional uncertainties of using multimodal assignments in the online writing classroom and the benefits the technology of online courses yields to multimodal assignments. Scholarship on multimodality in online writing classrooms focuses mostly on the logistics (Blair 2016, Minter 2016). This chapter instead addresses the fear instructors have about using multimodal assignments. Borgman also discusses the value of using multimodal assignments in an online setting and assesses the cost value of using multimodal assignments in a virtual setting, focusing on the challenges versus rewards. Finally, the chapter offers suggestions for how online writing instructors (OWIs) can squelch their fears and begin incorporating at least one multimodal assignment per semester with success.
Keywords: multimodal, assignments, faculty satisfaction, affective
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 13
Borgman, Jessie. “Creating a User-Centered Experience in Online Courses Through Content Strategy.” Content Strategy in Technical Communication, edited by Giuseppe Getto, Jack Labriola, and Sheryl Ruszkiewicz, 2019, Routledge, pp. 154–70.
Borgman discusses how content strategy can be applied to online course settings and why content strategy should be used for online course/degree design and delivery. The chapter argues that utilizing content strategy allows institutions/instructors/designers to ensure they are meeting their users’ (students) needs. The author offers strategies for developing, delivering, and maintaining effective online educational content utilizing content strategy.
Keywords: content management, course design, user-experience design, course content, usability Testing
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4
Borgman, Jessie, and Jason Dockter. "Minimizing the Distance in Online Writing Courses Through Student Engagement." Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 44, no. 2, 2016, pp. 213–22.
In this review essay, the authors use three texts (Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction and “A Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI)”) to demonstrate the theoretical framework for the use of media tools, the benefits of using media tools within online courses, and, to a lesser degree, specific practical suggestions for what online teachers can do to incorporate such tools into their pedagogy.
Keywords: accessibility, technology, multimedia
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4
Borgman, Jessie, and Jason Dockter. “Considerations of Access and Design in the Online Writing Classroom.” Computers and Composition, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 94–105.
Borgman and Docker argue that writing programs have an opportunity to create a new playing field in their online composition courses that conceives of students and content differently than does a typical iteration of an online course (a course that traditionally migrates materials and practices from a f2f context and reimagines them for an online setting). This article emphasizes how readers can use user-centered design in their online courses to accommodate students with varying learning styles. The authors offer an understanding of the significance of user-centered design for maintaining student enrollments,promoting learning and avoiding attrition. They show that specific moves made by the instructor will have very real repercussions on whether a course, or even elements of a course, is accessible by all.
Keywords: accessibility, user-centered design, course design, usability testing
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4
Borgman, Jessie, and Casey McArdle Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors. Fort Collins, CO, WAC Clearinghouse, 2019.
In 2015, Borgman and McArdle created The Online Writing Instruction Community (www.owicommunity.org) and with it, developed the PARS approach to online writing instruction (Personal, Accessible, Responsive, & Strategic. The authors argue that if online writing instructors and administrators design, instruct and administer their online writing courses using the PARS approach, they will be successful in online writing instruction. The premise of their text is that online writing instruction is grounded in user experience User Experience (UX) principles and practices because when instructors and students are parts of an online writing course, they are part of a user experience. Online writing instructors and administrators should use the PARS approach to online writing instruction and pay close attention to how they architect these experiences for their students.
Keywords: user-centered design, PARS, design: Writing
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4
Borgman, Jessie, and Christine I. McClure. “The Ultimate Balancing Act: Contingent Online Teaching and PhD Coursework.” Forum: Issues About Part-Time & Contingent Faculty in College Composition and Communication, vol. 23, no. 1, September 2019, pp. A3–A8.
Borgman and McClure described the heavy teaching loads they balance with being PhD students (Borgman online and McClure on-campus). They identified challenges for online contingent faculty: the demanding workload of teaching personalized classes with multimodal content, the lack of professional development, the disconnection from other departmental faculty, and the toll on personal health. However, getting their PhDs gave them the opportunity to examine their work/life balance and make adjustments and gives them the confidence they need to make the next step in their careers.
Keywords: contingent faculty, graduate education
OWI Principles: 7, 8
Bourelle, Tiffany. “Adapting Service-Learning into the Online Technical Communication Classroom: A Framework and Model.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 42, 2014, pp. 247-64.
Bourelle discusses how service learning is implemented into a pilot technical communication course at Arizona State University. She links course outcomes to the pedagogical values of service learning and describes the curriculum and potential for what she calls “service e-learning.” Bourelle argues that online writing classes are a natural fit for service learning projects because they encourage student-centered pedagogies and require students to be self-regulated learners interacting with others. Service e-learning can meet the course objectives of developing civic responsibility, applying skills to authentic workplace situations, peer learning, and nonlinear learning. She provides a model of how to structure service e-learning in an online technical writing course and demonstrates how students in the pilot courses met the course objectives. Students in the course wanted more time with the directors of their service learning projects, which posed a challenge given the time constraints faced by most directors. The author ends with reflections on how she changed the course based on student evaluations.
Keywords: service learning, technical and professional writing, culture, reflection
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 11
Bourelle, Tiffany. “Service e-Learning in the Online Technical Communication Classroom: Keeping our Pedagogies Relevant in an Age of Austerity.” The New Normal: Pressures on Technical Communication Programs in the Age of Austerity, edited by Denise Tillery and Ed Nagelhout, Routledge, 2016, pp. 107–24.
Bourelle argues that service e-learning projects in online courses help students learn new technologies and engages them in civic learning focused on technological literacy. The author demonstrates how service e-learning projects were implemented at Arizona State University, including a discussion of how to provide real-world experiences and assignments that help students meet course outcomes through structured discussions, collaborative projects and reflection. Bourelle identifies how service e-learning can be incorporated in a variety of course platforms and how institutions facing budget cuts can support service e-learning. She concludes her article by challenging instructors to implement and reflect on service e-learning in the classroom.
Keywords: service learning, professional and technical communication, peer learning, technology, culture
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 4, 11
Bourelle, Tiffany. “Preparing Graduate Students to Teach Online: Theoretical and Pedagogical Practices.” WPA: Writing Program Administration, vol. 40, no. 1, 2016, pp. 90–113
Bourelle describes the eComp program at the University of New Mexico, which prepares TAs who already have experience in the face-to-face classroom for online instruction. The article demonstrates how the program’s pedagogy course aligns with Hewett and Ehmann’s five principles of OWI training and the CCCC Principles and Example Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction. The training includes engaging the TAs in research on programmatic praxis, training them immersively in the online teaching environment, mentoring TAs individually to address their specific needs, creating communities that encourage authentic interaction, and encouraging metacognitive reflection. The article includes a detailed description of how the program works as well as a syllabus from the course. This article provides a follow up to Bourelle and Bourelle (2015), which introduces the eComp program and provides an example of how previous theories and practices for effective online instruction can be put into practice to both train TAs and ensure programmatic alignment and consistency.
Keywords: graduate education, professional development: Writing, writing program administration
OWI Principles: 4, 7, 14, 15
Bourelle, Tiffany, Angela Clark-Oates, and Andrew Bourelle. “Designing Online Writing Classes to Promote Multimodal Literacies.” Communication Design Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 1, April 2017, pp. 80–88.
Bourelle, Clark-Oates, and Bourelle draw upon their experience with course design to propose five practices both new and experienced instructors can consider adopting in their online writing classes as a means of promoting multimodal literacy. Multimodal literacy is in increasing demand beyond the classroom. Therefore, teaching multimodal literacy should become even more of a priority than before. The article notes a similar dearth of information on teaching multimodal literacy the academic side, as there is little scholarship on teaching multimodal composition in online formats (80). The authors’ five recommendations to address these shortcomings are as follows: 1) incorporate multimodal assignments and the appropriate scaffolding, 2) use multimodal instructional tools, 3) provide multimodal feedback, 4) encourage technological literacy through media labs, and 5) make students’ reflections on their own work into “a significant part” of the learning process (80). Bourelle, Clark-Oates, and Bourelle also maintain that course design is inherently rhetorical, and instructors should be considering how and whether their online classes reflect multimodality themselves. The article then provides an overview of multimodal literacy, its importance, and the fields where it tends to be prioritized and taught before going into each of these five recommendations in more detail. The authors suggest possible obstacles and how to overcome them as well as strategies, tools, and outcomes that online instructors should consider. The article concludes by revisiting Scott Warnock (2009)’s idea that it is possible to migrate classes online rather than transforming them to be taught online and the authors here suggest that their five principles are one way of thinking about how to do so.
Keywords: multimodal, digital literacy, technological literacy, course design, rhetoric, instruction
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 13
Bourelle, Tiffany, and Andrew Bourelle. “eComp at the University of New Mexico: Emphasizing Twenty-first Century Literacies in an Online Composition Program.” Composition Forum, vol. 32, Fall 2015, compositionforum.com/issue/32/new-mexico.php.
Bourelle and Bourelle describe the eComp program at the University of New Mexico. This program began as a pilot in Spring 2013 with the goal of preparing online writing instructors, particularly graduate TAs, to teach multimodal compositions online and to interact with students in meaningful ways. The article provides the institutional context of the eComp program, a description of the program, and the curriculum and course design in the eComp classes, which include both first-year writing courses and sophomore-level technical writing service courses. Results of a pilot portfolio assessment of the eComp program showed that outcomes were similar for face-to-face and online students except for the criterion of multimodality where online students scored significantly higher. The eComp students, however, struggled with outcomes related to discourse communities and the value of different languages. The article concludes with a description of how Bourelle and Bourelle used the data to modify the eComp program, the program outcomes, a pilot syllabus, and a link to training materials. Bourelle’s 2017 article follows up on this article to describe the program’s evolution, and both articles are valuable resources for online programs seeking to improve retention and online instruction through professional development.
Keywords: professional development, program evaluation: English, pilot studies, writing program administration
OWI Principles: 1, 7, 10, 12, 15
Bourelle, Tiffany, Andy Bourelle, Stephanie Spong, Anna V. Knutson, Emilie Howland-Davis, and Natalie Kubasek. “Reflections in Online Writing Instruction: Pathways to Professional Development.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 20, no. 1, 2015, kairos.technorhetoric.net/20.1/index.html.
In this webtext, Bourelle and colleagues argue for more online-based pedagogical training within academia, especially for graduate students. They provide information on their digital first-year writing program, Electronic Composition (eComp), for undergraduate and graduate students. eComp “encourages undergraduate composition students to develop twenty-first century literacies in a fully online environment” while including graduate students as instructors. Graduate students wishing to teach online through eComp must either work as an Instructional Assistant (IA) or take a multimodal and online pedagogies seminar. Working with experienced online instructors, IAs learn how to give students feedback, facilitate discussions, and answer student questions, in addition to forming close relationships with their team-teachers during their first semester. In the multimodal and online pedagogies seminar, graduate students read theoretical texts behind multimodal composition and online theory and course development; draft assignments, rubrics, lecture videos, lessons plans, and facilitate discussions; and complete a digital literacy narrative and electronic teaching portfolio, establishing their own teaching philosophy based on theories of multimodal composition. By the end of the course, graduate students have an online course ready to teach. In this webtext, which resembles a public transportation system map, readers can choose different pathways to read through an online pedagogy literature review; reflections from the professor, veteran graduate students, and novice graduate students in eComp; an overview of the offered pedagogy seminar; future directions; and, of course, appendices.
Keywords: graduate teaching assistant, professional development, first-year composition, digital literacy, multimodal
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13
Bourelle, Andy, Tiffany Bourelle, Anna V. Knutson, and Stephanie Spong. “Sites of Multimodal Literacy: Comparing Student Learning in Online and Face-to-Face Environments.” Computers and Composition, vol. 39, 2016, pp. 55–70.
Bourelle et al. used a mixed-methods approach to compare student learning of multimodal literacies between online and face-to-face first-year composition courses with nearly identical curriculum. They used quantitative data in the form of portfolio assessment while bringing in excerpts of student work as qualitative data to provide a more robust analysis of their findings. The data revealed that online students scored higher overall on multimodality in the portfolio assessment. The authors suggest that this result is due to the additional support online students receive from course-embedded tutors, as well as to the archival structure of the LMS, which allows students to easily access and review their course work, including class discussions. Bourelle et al. point to the need for further research to support the benefits of embedded tutors in face-to-face courses. They also recommend that face-to-face courses incorporate more practices used in online courses through expanded use of the LMS to house discussions and technological resources.
Keywords: multimodal literacy, first-year composition, pedagogy, multimodal, student success, course management system
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 13, 14
Bourelle, Tiffany, and Beth L. Hewett. “Training Instructors to Teach Multimodal Composition in OWI Courses.” Handbook of Writing and Composition in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monske and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 348–69.
Bourelle and Hewett argue that because multimodal composition has predominantly been taught in traditional face-to-face courses, there is a need for more intentional multimodal pedagogy in online courses. They argue that teachers need training in four skill sets: developing and scaffolding multimodal assignments, creating multimodal instructional tools, incorporating technology labs within the curriculum, and adopting and adapting a multimodal ePortfolio to showcase student learning. For each skill, they offer insights into how trainees might acquire the skill set, discuss what practices trainers can use to promote learning, and explore how this teacher training benefits students. Bourelle and Hewett also recommend ways trainers can overcome limitations, such as their own lack of familiarity with technologies and lack of time or resources to conduct trainings. Finally, they argue that trainers must emphasize the non-traditional student population trainees will encounter and encourage trainees to reconsider how they use digital tools like discussion boards in online courses.
Keywords: writing program administration, professional development, multimodal, digital literacy, faculty development
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 12
Boyd, Patricia Webb. “Creating and Reflecting on Professional Identities in Online Business Writing Courses.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 85–102.
Boyd notes that while identity is key to effective writing, identity construction is an often overlooked part of business writing classes. She argues that the online writing classroom can encourage students to see themselves as “professionals who are learning, not as students learning about professionals” (86). Using Petriglieri and Insead’s “identity workspaces” make identity the central part of her online business classes, Boyd analyzes those classes, aligning the concepts of identity workspaces (e.g., social defenses and sentient communities) with the assignments students completed. These assignments ask students to enact professional identities in order to professionalize themselves and use the online writing course’s archival nature to prompt student reflection on their professionalization process. Boyd encourages online business writing instructors to construct classes that help the transition from student to professional.
Keywords: business writing, identity, reflection, assignment: Writing
OWI Principles: 3, 4
Brown, Kara Mae. “Criticism or Community? Breaking the Binary Thinking in Online Writing Classes.” The Proceedings of the Annual Computers and Writing Conference: Volume 1, edited by Cheryl E. Ball, Chen Chen, Kristopher Purzycki, and Lydia Wilkes, 2018, The WAC Clearinghouse, pp. 48-57.
These conference proceedings respond to OWI Principle #4, exploring strategies for migrating onsite peer review pedagogy to the online writing classroom. She specifically focuses on the differences between anonymous and non-anonymous peer review. The literature indicates that anonymity enhances students’ willingness to offer constructive criticism, but it also limits the development of a sense of community. Brown applies these ideas to an analysis of her own online writing courses, questioning the assumption that anonymous peer review necessarily creates better feedback and hinders community development. She surveyed students enrolled in two sections of an online advanced interdisciplinary writing course (n=28) about their experiences with three different peer review workshops. In general, she found that students preferred to receive reviews from non-anonymous peers because they appreciated the opportunity for further communication with the reviewer. However, students seemed to prefer anonymous peer review for the third workshop, which was associated with the most difficult writing task, which may indicate a relationship between task difficulty and anonymity in peer review. She also found that students were more likely to want to be identified as reviewers in the second assignment than in the first, which may suggest that anonymous peer review could be a stepping stone towards non-anonymous peer review.
Keywords: peer review, surveys, student perceptions, student satisfaction, OWI
OWI Principles: 4, 11
Brown, Maury E., and Daniel L. Hocutt. “Pervasive Pedagogy: Collaborative Cloud-Based Composition Using Google Drive.” Integration of Cloud Technologies in Digitally Networked Classrooms and Learning Communities, edited by Binod Gurung and Marohang Limbu, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 98–119.
The authors report on their use of Google Apps for Education and Google Drive for student composition and collaboration in face-to-face, first-year composition classes at two different institutions. The use of cloud composing allowed the two instructors flexibility in setting up online student folders in Google Drive or encouraging students to set up their own online folders. It also allowed for student interaction outside the classroom space and meeting times, as well as co-construction and peer review of texts that may not easily be accomplished using the discussion board of an LMS. In a survey, the majority of students reported that their experience with Google Drive was “better than expected” or “somewhat better than expected.” Students also found peer review more useful than in their past experiences, while instructors appreciated access to document revision history, including changes made to student texts in response to peer feedback. While cloud composing applications are easily accessible and free, institutional concerns about privacy have limited their use. The authors argue for continued development of pedagogical practices for the use of cloud-based composing tools.
Keywords: Google Suite, collaboration, peer review, revision
OWI Principles: 3, 5, 11
Browning, Ella R., and Lauren E. Cagle. “Teaching a ‘Critical Accessibility Case Study’: Developing Disability Studies Curricula for the Technical Communication Classroom.” Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, vol. 47, no. 4, 2017, pp. 440–63.
In this essay for the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, Browning and Cagle argue that “utilizing “critical accessibility case study” (CACS) for curriculum development prompts students to critically assess technical communication by interrogating written and visual texts from a real-life case study through the critical lens of disability studies.” (455). As such, this study makes a case for technical communication faculty to integrate disability studies into their curricula in order to support their teaching of other key concepts in their field. While primarily focused on the specifics related to the implementation of the NTC Evacuation CACS, Ashton and Davies argue more broadly that the use of case studies in technical communication courses is important as they can provide authentic communication situations. This article provides both pedagogical and theoretical knowledge regarding technical communication pedagogy and is valuable for OWI.
Keywords: accessibility, case study, technical and professional communication
OWI Principles: 1
Buchenot, Andy. “Revising the Defaults: Online FYC Courses as Sites of Heterogeneous Disciplinary Work.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 67–81.
In this chapter, Buchenot encourages instructors and students in online first-year writing courses to “embrace the unique disciplinary positioning of online FYC courses in order to promote student agency” (68). Instructional technologies, such as the course LMS, can push students in particular directions, and Buchenot provides a series of assignments and student responses to these assignments to examine the social and material constructions that the LMS presents. The author’s critique of his own vaguely-worded writing assignment and his assumptions about student motivation and curiosity provide a model of how online writing instructors can reflect on their own course design materials to better meet learner needs.
Keywords: course management systems, student engagement, assignment design, reflection
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 11
Budiman, Rahmat. “Factors Related to Students’ Drop Out of a Distance Language Learning Program.” Journal of Curriculum and Teaching, vol. 7, no. 2, 2018, pp. 12–19.
Budiman researches why online English writing classes at an open university in Indonesia have high drop-out rates. Budiman sampled a cohort of students and interviewed those students at four stages as they completed multiple levels of writing courses. Students identified a lack of basic English skills, outside responsibilities, and lack of support from the university as the primary factors in dropping out of the English writing classes. Students who were in courses without direct interaction or in courses where they did not interact also felt isolated and were more likely to drop the courses. The author uses the data from the interview research to develop a theoretical framework to explain why students drop out of courses and identifies points in the student’s recruitment and educational journey where interventions will help students feel connected to their coursework and choose to stay in the program. This article provides a model of how to retain students in online writing courses who most need intervention to be retained, which is a key concern of programs seeking to recruit and retain online students.
Keywords: retention, student perception, interviews, student preparation, ESL/ELL/L2 learners
OWI Principles: 1, 10, 11, 13, 15
Butler, Janine. “Integral Captions and Subtitles: Designing a Space for Embodied Rhetorics and Visual Access.” Rhetoric Review, vol.37, no. 3, 2018, pp. 286–99.
Butler argues for “the value of Deaf Space and embodied rhetorics [which] is a Deaf Gain for instructors and scholars who redesign access to academic spaces so that hearing and d/Deaf audiences can interpret the embodied rhetorics of multimodal compositions” (297). As such, this essay makes a case for the Five Criteria for Identifying Integral Captions, which Butler details in her article. While primarily focused on why integral captions should be more widespread, the author also provides information for faculty who might not have much experience with captioning. This article provides much needed information about d/Deaf individuals and captioning in particular and is valuable for OWI.
Keywords: accessibility, closed captions, rhetoric
OWI Principles: 1
Carbone, Nick. “Past to the Future: Computers and Community in the First-Year Writing Classroom.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 3–20.
Carbone gives a brief history of the discussion around computers and composition, including an overview of results from two Bedford/St. Martins surveys (2005 & 2010) that demonstrate that digital technologies are increasingly integral to writing instruction in general. He argues that those new to online writing instruction should “recall and revalue the earlier work in the field of computers and composition—especially the work that provided a theoretical grounding for good practices in online networks, and the role of online community in fostering writing process pedagogies” (7). In particular, he addresses how online writing spaces can create community for writers that make students the center of discussions, provide low-stakes assignments as a means for students to enter the academic discourse community of the classroom, and makes discussions a place to counter plagiarism. In closing, he recommends that faculty be cautious of their use of technologies in order to not overburden students or themselves in the online classroom. This chapter connects the history of computers and writing with online writing instruction to demonstrate how computer-mediated writing is a natural extension of early work on learning community.
Keywords: community, discussion boards, plagiarism, student engagement
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 10, 11
Carmicheal, Felicita Arzu. Online Writing Instruction in the Posthuman Humanities: Why We Need Theories of Place in the Online Writing Classroom. Dissertation: New Mexico State University, 2018.
In her 2018 dissertation for her PhD in rhetoric and professional communication, Carmichael draws from theories of place as a way of complicating “how the field understands and practices online writing instruction” (vi). She is particularly interested in how online instruction is still tied to setting and thus materiality, though it often renders these features invisible when discussing students’ learning experiences. In five chapters, Carmichael covers online writing instruction through the “posthuman humanities,” theories of place and the online classroom vs an online class, rhetorical awareness of online interfaces, dwelling and affect as considerations of space, and the move from theory to practice. Carmichael addresses instructor anxieties about online writing instruction, provides a comprehensive literature review, defines place-making and situates it within OWI practices, discusses the influence of posthumanist thought, and theorizes “the online writing classroom” versus the online class. Finally, although she maintains up front that her work is “not meant to be a ‘how to’ teach online guide’” but instead about “developing approaches to thinking about online writing instruction” (vi), Carmichael does close her dissertation with some sample assignments before presenting the conclusion and implications of her work.
Keywords: humanities, posthumanism, affective, place, interface,
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10
Chambers, Mary-Lynn. “A Rhetorical Mandate: A Look at Multi-Ethnic/Multimodal Online Pedagogy.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 75–89.
Chambers explores how online pedagogy, content delivery practices, and content management systems (CMS) such as Blackboard reflect a field-independent development context that prioritizes standard English (SE) in ways that do not serve minority students. Chambers goes on to distinguish between “field-independent students,” who are more competitive and achievement-oriented, and then “field-dependent” students whose learning is bolstered by environmental cues. The former, she contends, excel in the typical American model of online classes more easily than the latter, but students from many minority populations are field-dependent learners who would benefit from different models of online instruction. Chambers examines some common general needs of Asian-American, Native American, Mexican-American, and African-American student populations, and recommends different strategies that instructors could use to better serve their needs. To this end, Chamber advocates for instructors to increase the multimodality of their online classes, decrease dependence on static SE content delivery, and increase cooperative learning opportunities through options such as screen captures, recorded lectures, accessible materials, and assignments with multiple fulfillment options.
Keywords: pedagogy, accessibility, course management systems, multimodal, Standard Edited English, student success, at-risk students
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 13
Chung, Liang-Yi. “Distant Voices: Computer-Mediated Communication in English Writing Instruction.” 3rd IEEE International Conference on Ubi-Media Computing, 2010, pp. 323–28, ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/5544436.
Chung observes how technology-mediated communication, which is a necessary part of teaching online, can change students’ literary practices. Pointing out that the Internet today puts English in a global context, Chung argues that connections between instructor and students are especially vital because “distance education is seen to be both personally and geographically distant” (323, original emphasis). Chung then offers a literature review that reinforces the importance of communication, connection, and interaction, particularly in writing classes where both the language and the subject matter are new content for students. Chung then turns to a study surveying two asynchronous English comp classes he taught, where he focused on three areas: communication with instructor, unsolicited individual comments, and course evaluation comments. Although he reports that “it is not possible to establish a causal relationship between communication and grade” (325), Chung does note several important findings. He stresses that institutions must train and support faculty in best practices for communicating with students, particularly via institutional means such as email, because even if students don’t use the methods provided, simply knowing that such options are available will make students more confident. Chung also recommends keeping an eye on individual, unsolicited communications to notice patterns in class needs and address common issues proactively.
Keywords: literacy, communication, student success, ESL/ELL/L2
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 10, 11, 13
Clark-Oates, Angela, Andrew Bourelle, Tiffany Bourelle, Sherry Rankins-Robertson, and Duane Roen. “Innovating with Technology in First-Year Composition: Developing and Evolving Online Writing Programs.” Beyond the Frontier: Innovations in First-Year Composition Volume II, edited by Jill Dahlman and Tammy Winner, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018, 198–211.
Writing programs must be situated within the institutional context they serve for the greatest effectiveness. To create a quality program the efforts must be an ongoing evolution of research and responses in order to adapt to the changing needs of students and the university context. These authors trace their own experiences building programs. First, they discuss in detail their time as the team who built the original deployment of Arizona State’s University’s (ASU) Writer’s Studio, ASU’s online version of first-year composition. Second, these authors trace their continued WPA work in alternative contexts as they continued to build and expand online writing programs. Clark-Oates explains her process of revising,evolving, and expanding ASU’s Writer’s Studio as it needed to change to the ever-growing student population. Bourelle and Bourelle discuss their experience in building a new online composition program at the University of New Mexico. While they drew from their experiences and knowledge of ASU’s program, they specifically adapted their new programs to the current contexts and needs. The authors emphasize while there is much to learn here from their program building experiences, the primary message is that these each WPA program must remain in motion and adaptable to the ever changing needs of students and the university context.
Keywords: writing program administration, first-year composition, writing studio
OWI: 3, 4, 6, 7, 13, 15
Cleary, Yvonne, Rich Rice, Pavel Zemlianski, Kirk St. Amant, and Jessie C. Borgman. “Perspectives on Teaching Online in Global Contexts: Ideas, Insights, and Projections.” Research in Online Literacy Education, vol. 2, no. 1, 2019.
Cleary, Rice, Zemliansky, and St. Amant – all educators from research institutions around the world – discuss increasing global access to online education on this panel moderated by Borgman. The four presenters note that both student interest and the market itself are growing, so higher education institutions and instructors alike should be aware that teaching online comes with certain challenges. Borgman requests that presenters consider questions in five broad areas – the potential, challenges, developments, strategies, and future projections of online education – and the article recounts presenters’ answers with the aim of providing a foundation for future educators to build from. When asked to discuss the potential of global online education, panelists cite multicultural exposure (Cleary), students’ interaction with one another (Zemliansky), increased communication competency (Rice), and direct practice of writing (St. Amant). Regarding the challenges of global online education, panelists discuss logistical issues and differing expectations for teaching approaches (Zemliansky), asynchronous collaboration and differing cultural expectations (Rice), the necessity of negotiating university infrastructures (St. Amant), and the need for adequate institutional support (Cleary). Similarly, panelists suggest that the development of global online education would include acknowledging that expertise and needs differ by country (Rice), that student access to materials changes depending on different governments’ policies (St. Amant), that higher education is competing with other virtual learning platforms (Cleary), and that the gig economy and growing access to mobile devices and internet are changing how students work and learn (Zemliansky). Regarding strategies for global online education, panelists recommend prioritizing accessibility and support for students (St. Amant), recognizing the need for institutional resources and training (Cleary), and addressing differing cultural perspectives on what constitutes learning (Zemliansky and Rice). The panel ends with Borgman asking participants to offer future projections for global online education, to which St. Amant claims that education is at a high point but that we must remain aware of new challenges in order to best serve students.
Keywords: global, accessibility, culturally responsive pedagogy, mobile
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 13, 14
Colby, Richard. “A Typology of MOOCS.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 1–16.
Considering the affordances and constraints of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Colby discusses MOOC models by analyzing three composition MOOCs (i.e., Georgia Tech, The Ohio State University, and Duke University) before offering a new model. Careful not to over-generalize, Colby finds that the three composition MOOCs, overall, are similar in terms of direct instruction, writing, and peer review/grading. Discussing constraints according to the MOOC acronym, Colby explains that the idea of a “massive” course results in pedagogical restrictions related to many-to-many models, “open” creates additional issues because many students who enroll are not “traditional,” and “online course” is limiting in relation to cognitive biases associated with not meeting or knowing students. Colby discusses different types of MOOCs (e.g., xMOOC, cMOOC, and POOC) to point out that none are like the three composition MOOCs. Offering a new label for composition MOOCs, Colby argues that an iMOOC blends instruction with practice, focusing on interactive feedback by incorporating evaluated and open comments that encourages active and accountable (i.e., not anonymous) participation. Colby also explains one other type of MOOC—a MOOD or Massive Open Online Domain—citing the Purdue Online Writing Lab and Writing Commons site as examples. Although these resources might also be considered an Online Education Resource (OER), Colby points out that they are more, given that the OWL includes video content and responsive tutors and Writing Commons invites and includes submissions among their content. Colby calls for the next iteration of MOOCs to include more social channels and visual aspects like interactive videos.
Keywords: MOOCs, feedback, iMOOC, OER, interaction
OWI Principles: 3, 6, 11
Crawley, Kristy Liles. "Learning in Practice: Increasing the Number of Hybrid Course Offerings in Community Colleges." Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 43, no. 2, 2015, pp. 141–55.
Crawley calls for community colleges to offer more hybrid learning courses as a means of fulfilling four critical purposes: “to improve oral communication skills, build community among learners, cater to the needs of diverse learners, and prepare students to enter the workforce” (141). The online learning portion of hybrid courses, Crawley contends, can complement or supplement course material delivered in person while also imparting key skills. Collaboration tools, for example, help demonstrate that writing is a process while also fostering communication and collaborative practices. Asynchronous online spaces create a “student-centered classroom” (142) where learners are not competing for time, attention, or the chance to speak, and in writing classes specifically, can focus on developing their own voices and providing commentary to peers while the instructor acts as a facilitator rather than an authority figure. Hybrid courses can also meet diverse learner needs, including tech-savviness, lack of information literacy, and differing skills levels in writing and research. Crawley concludes with her hopes that hybrid courses can help community colleges increase retention rates, close gaps in completion rates for core classes, and foster an otherwise missing sense of community among community college students.
Keywords: community college, community of inquiry, hybrid, asynchronous, technological literacy, retention
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 13
Davila, Bethany, Tiffany Bourelle, Andrew Bourelle, and Anna V. Knutson. “Linguistic Diversity in Online Writing Classes.” WPA: Writing Program Administration, vol. 41, no. 1, 2017, pp. 60–81.
Davila et al. call for more research-based scholarship on enacting best practices for language diversity in online writing instruction. After a brief introduction to the NCTE’s 1974 “Students’ Right to Their Own Language” (SRTOL), the authors discuss how this statement has engendered controversy about how to enact its recommendations for serving multilingual student writers; they also name several successive statements that voice similar concerns. The authors then describe how the University of New Mexico, as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), has piloted a “language-focused online curriculum” (61) to help increase students’ awareness of two under-recognized student learning outcomes (SLOs): one regarding language diversity and one regarding discourse communities. Following a literature review that advocates a translingual approach to first-year writing, Davila et al. describe UNM’s eComp pilot program, discuss the language-focused second version of the program, relate their findings, and consider the implications for other writing programs seeking to support linguistic diversity in online classes. Their recommendations include more language-focused readings, more discussion of linguistic diversity during the course, additional training for instructors, and new assignments that ask students to analyze different dialects and registers alongside standard English (SE).
Keywords: best practices, research, diversity, multilingual, ESL/ELL/L2, learning outcomes
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 14, 15
D’Angelo, Barbara, and Barry Maid. “Virtual Classroom, Virtual Library: Library Services for an Online Writing Laboratory.” Reference and User Services Quarterly, vol. 39, no. 3, 2000, pp. 278–83.
D’Angelo and Maid describe the use of multi-user domain object-oriented (MOO) environment to connect the library with the online writing lab (OWL) at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. This article, written at the beginning of work connecting the library with online student services, demonstrates how universities could better provide library and writing lab services to distance students. The authors encountered several problems with the method, including technical difficulties, problems in the distance between the library and the instructors, and limited access to database materials given the configuration of the university database system. This article provides background and history into early experiments with synchronous online student support services.
Keywords: online writing lab, synchronous interaction, MOO
OWI Principles: 1, 13
Denton, Kathryn. “Beyond the Lore: A Case for Asynchronous Online Tutoring Research.” The Writing Center Journal, vol. 38, no. 2, 2017, pp. 176–203.
Denton advocates for evidence-based research to replace writing center scholarship’s reliance on lore when it comes to asynchronous online tutoring. In this article, she reports on the results of a mixed methods study that tested three lore-based criticisms of asynchronous tutoring: (1) that tutors are forced to do most of the work, making nondirective tutoring difficult, (2) that asynchronous tutors focus on the text more so than on the writer, and (3) that asynchronous tutoring is not beneficial to students. Over a six-month period, Denton collected post-session reflections from tutors and follow-up surveys from students, which she analyzed alongside the tutoring “artifacts” (the student’s initial submission message, the paper with the tutor’s comments, and the tutor’s comments in their response to the student). Her findings indicate that the lore-based critiques of asynchronous online tutoring were not reflected in the data: (1) the tutor’s labor was intensive, but not more so than a face-to-face session, (2) the tutors focused on the student as a writer not just a text, and worked to give personalized responses, and (3) the students indicated that the tutoring interactions were beneficial. This article ultimately positions the study of asynchronous online tutoring as an example of why evidence-based research is important for writing center scholarship.
Keywords: writing center, lore, surveys, asynchronous, online tutoring, mixed methods
OWI Principles: 14, 15
Derosiers, Patricia, W. Jay Gabbard, and Emily Funk. “Best Practices for Teaching Effective Social Writing Skills Online.” The Online Journal of Distance Education and e-Learning, vol. 3, no. 4, 2015, pp. 10–20.
Derosiers et. al. collect research on effective practices for teaching online writing in general and focus in particular on methods that apply to online writing courses for graduate students in the human services professions, particularly social work. Social work graduate students are usually non-traditional working practitioners who might feel their documentation and writing practices are adequate, although research shows that one-third to one-half of entering MSW students did not have adequate writing skills for graduate-level work. The authors review online writing instruction research addressing administrative strategies, curriculum strategies, and instructional strategies. They conclude that developing graduate students’ writing skills in social work will require not only direct instruction but also systematic interventions and programmatic strategies to help students overcome writing barriers. This article applies principles and best practices of online writing instruction to writing in the disciplines, expanding the ability to connect help instructors and programs in other disciplines prepare writers for the world of work.
Keywords: WAC, WID, best practices, writing-intensive courses
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 10
DeVoss, Danielle, Dawn Hayden, Cynthia L. Selfe, and Richard J. Selfe, Jr. “Distance Education: Political and Professional Agency for Adjunct and Part-Time Faculty, and GTAs.” Moving a Mountain: Transforming the Role of Contingent Faculty in Composition Studies and Higher Education, edited by Eileen Schell and Patricia Stock, National Council of Teachers of English, 2001, pp. 261–286.
At a time when part-time and adjunct faculty made up only 50% of faculty in two-year colleges and were 43% of the English Studies workforce, DeVoss et al. used the experience of one adjunct faculty member, Dawn Hayden, to illustrate the problems with the then current distance education practices. They build a case for “attending critically to the development of, training for, and institutionalization of distance-education curricula” (264). They acknowledge that, at the turn of the 21st century, English Studies could not simply say “no” to implementing technology in writing classrooms. They note the relationships between the development of distance education programs and the exploitation of part-time and adjunct employees and the access issues faced by poor and minority students. The authors call for English studies professionals to make distance education a means of changing the power relations between tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty by including contingent faculty in the conversations about distance education in English studies. They conclude with recommendations for individual instructors, departments and institutions, and the field of English studies, urging them to pay attention to the effects of distance education on all of the stakeholders involved.
Keywords: adjunct, graduate teaching assistants, distance learning, faculty workload, professional development, writing program administration
OWI Principles: 1, 7, 8, 12
Di Desidero, Linda. “Facework and the Negotiation of Identity in Online Class Discussions.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 127–57.
Identity is an essential component of human communication, and Di Desidero argues that in online classes, where participants must interaction with each other, students must establish a presence (or facework) to maintain their personal identities and go on to develop scholarly identities. She analyzes discussion board interactions in a discipline-based writing course in communication studies to identify facework strategies students employ in their online discourse. This qualitative analysis studies identity development in three stages: personal identity, academic identity, and scholar-professional identity. Using examples from student writing, Di Desidero demonstrates how students develop identity in these three areas and concludes that online writing instructors can facilitate student identity creation to increase student agency and control in the online classroom.
Keywords: identity, writing-intensive courses, WID, student-to-student interaction, agency, discussion boards
OWI Principles: 10, 11, 15
Dockter, Jason. “Improve Access with a Course Orientation.” Online Literacies Open Resource, Global Society of Online Literacy Educators, 2015, https://www.glosole.org/improve-access-with-a-course-orientation.html
This open resource is a praxis piece, offering both advice on how to create an orientation for an online course and an argument for the creation of such a beginning to an online course. The author demonstrates the components of an online orientation video used to help students gain familiarity with the online course, hoping to help students transition more successfully to the online domain. The explanation of how to create an online course orientation focuses on the components of an example orientation and discussion of how to develop it with specific pieces of technology. This source is not OWI-specific, in that it generally could be utilized by any online course; however, the author specifically notes that this piece aligns with the OWI Principles.
Keywords: orientation, student success, accessibility, communication, course management system
OWI Principles: 1, 10, 11
Dockter, Jason. “The Problem of Teaching Presence in Transactional Theories of Distance Education.” Computers and Composition, vol. 40, 2016, pp. 73–86.
This article explores the challenges that online teachers face in establishing a teaching persona -- one that is accurate of who they really are. While many online teachers believe that they create and control their teaching presence, drawing on transactional distance theory and relational distance theory, this paper argues that such an assumption can result in increased distance between teacher and students. This increased distance makes it more difficult for online students to accurately sense who their teacher is. Problematically, this sense of who the teacher is can be a powerful element to helping online students succeed within the course. To help students to perceive more clearly who the teacher of the course is, the article recommends frequent and varied communication between teacher and students, the utilization of multimodal communication methods to provide differing opportunities for students to make meaning, for teachers to share who they are with students, and proactively encouraging the formation of relationships between course participants through course design. This paper covers the following main points: the importance of students’ perception of the teacher, often referred to as ‘teacher presence’ in online classes; how problems of teaching presence can negatively affect students and their chances for success within a course; problems associated with the term ‘teaching presence’ itself, through the lenses of reader response theory, transactional distance theory, and relational distance theory; and the need for a richer conception of what online teaching presence is and how it is developed within an online course.
Keywords: instructor presence, multimodal, identity, course design: Writing
OWI Principles: 3, 5, 11
Dockter, Jason, and Jessie Borgman. “Beyond the Hesitation: Incorporating Mobile Learning into the Online Writing Classroom.” Mobile Technologies in the Writing Classroom: Resources for Teachers, edited by Claire Lutkewitte, NCTE, 2016, pp. 148–63.
Dockter and Borgman argue that as mobile technologies are the primary composing and researching tools of today, they should be incorporated into composition classes particularly online classes. Incorporating alternate composing strategies, like the assignments described in this chapter, into the OWC allows students to critically reflect upon the use of mobile technologies in our culture and their function as composing tools students will use in their educational journey and beyond. With practice and reflection on how such composing tools can be used for writing, students gain experience with “writing on the go” -- collecting information and raw material that can be used to communicate with immediately, in the moment. This chapter examines the importance of including mobile technologies into instructional methods and assignments within an OWI course. Specifically, two assignments are incorporated into the chapter, offering two ways mobile technologies can be integrated into an OWI course. Mobile technologies continue to gain prominence as instructional tools and as students go-to choice for accessing internet-based materials, including online courses. OWI students have and will continue to use their mobile devices to access online courses and to complete online coursework, the online domain is the ideal place to integrate mobile technology into first-year writing courses.
Keywords: mobile, accessibility, multimodality; instructional technology
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3
Eller, Ryan, Bude Su, and Karen Wisdom. “A Comparison Study of a [sic] Face-to-Face and Online Writing Courses.” 38th Annual Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology: Volume 1, AECT, 2015, pp. 67–77.
Eller et al. conducted data using pre-surveys, mid-semester interviews, and post-surveys to understand student readiness, attitudes, and perceived ability in online and face-to-face writing courses for computer science majors at a public west coast university. The Intrinsic Motivation Survey was the basis for the surveys, and the interview data was coded for commonly used words and phrases. The surveys found that online students enjoyed writing outside of school more and perceived little choice in their online assignments. However, both online and face-to-face groups reported that the courses were effective. Online students were more nervous academic writers, but they were more confident in both their academic writing and their ability to learn more subjects in the online modality. The interviews (n=10) demonstrated that online students found pacing, access to further resources, and the ability to review material benefits of online learning. Face-to-face students reported that feedback, the immediacy of the professor their learning style, perceptions of the coursework, and relationships were motivating factors in selecting face-to-face courses. The authors conclude that online writing instructors should provide additional support and be more available through multiple means of communication for online students, especially those new to the online modality.
Keywords: WID, student perceptions, student satisfaction, surveys, interviews, empirical research
OWI Principles: 10, 13, 15
Ellis, H. Mark. “Free to Speak, Safe to Claim: The Importance of Writing in Online Sociology Courses in Transforming Disposition” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 103–125.
Sociology programs effect “dispositional change” in students, encouraging them to explore outside of their experiences and develop new perspectives toward the world. Ellis argues that this dispositional change is more effective when taught through writing in online courses because personal identities can be shared and protected and discussion of sensitive or controversial materials is more easily facilitated. Writing in online classes slows down verbal thinking, gives students more time to construct thoughtful answers, and allows them to articulate opposing points of view about social issues. He examines discussion postings from an online sociology course where students write collaborative research papers about controversial social issues. The author analyzes student discussion at each phase of the research process (brainstorming; shaping the research question; research, analysis and discussion; drafting and editing; and reflection and evaluation) and concludes that students can explore and reflect more thoroughly through writing in online courses. Instructors can monitor students’ dispositional change through collaborative assignments that engage students throughout the learning process.
Keywords: WID, student engagement, discussion boards, collaboration, reflection
OWI Principles: 1, 11, 15
Ene, Estela, and Thomas Upton. “Learner Uptake of Teacher Electronic Feedback in ESL Composition.” System, vol. 46, 2014, pp. 80–95, doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2014.07.011.
Ene and Upton investigated second language students’ use of electronic feedback to revise their writing. The researchers observed 12 second language writers at a Midwestern US university, examining drafts and final essays written in two consecutive English for academic purposes courses. The found that most instructors used the “review” function in Microsoft Word to compose feedback as marginal comments on student texts; instructor e-feedback concentrated on content and organization more than on grammar; and 96% of the e-feedback was corrective, with only 4% including praise or encouragement. Student uptake—or revisions students made based on instructor feedback—was 62%, and it was higher in the first course than the second. This study points to the utility of instructor feedback on student drafts in online writing courses.
Keywords: ESL/ELL/L2, English for Academic Purposes, feedback, revision, student engagement
OWI Principles: 3
Ene, Estela, and Thomas Upton. “Synchronous and Asynchronous Teacher Electronic Feedback and Learner Uptake in ESL Composition.” Journal of Second Language Writing, vol. 41, 2018, pp. 1–13, doi.org/10.1016/j.jslw.2018.05.005.
In this study, Ene and Upton build upon their earlier research on the effectiveness of e-feedback in second language writing courses. They examined instructor feedback on multiple drafts of essays by 64 second language writers, including asynchronous textual comments as well as synchronous, text-based online chats between students and instructors. Students were then surveyed and instructors interviewed about their perceptions of the two different forms of e-feedback. Instructors tended to focus more on higher order writing concerns such as content and organization in the synchronous chat feedback than in the asynchronous draft feedback. Students attended to both forms of instructor feedback, with only 11% of instructor comments on drafts or in chats unaddressed in the subsequent drafts. Perhaps because chats averaged only 15 minutes, they produced significantly less overall instructor feedback than the written comments in the margins of drafts; however, the proportion of student uptake (revision) based on the two modalities of was similar. This research suggests that both asynchronous comments on drafts and synchronous chat sessions can provide effective feedback to guide student revision, and that combining the two can be an effective model for providing formative writing feedback online.
Keywords: second language learners, synchronous, asynchronous, feedback, revision, ESL/ELL/L2, student engagement
OWI Principles: 3
Epilepsy Foundation of America. EFA, 2018, www.epilepsyfoundation.org.
The Epilepsy Foundation of America provides access to resources, products, and publications for individuals who have been diagnosed or are the parent or caregiver of someone who has been diagnosed with epilepsy. The “For Parents and Caregivers” section specifically links to resources that may be helpful for supporting individuals with epilepsy within home and educational environments. In the “Treating Seizures and Epilepsy” sub-section under the “Learn” tab, users will find a “Devices” area with information about neuromodulation, or the use of a device to deliver small electric currents to the brain to stop a seizure. Another key area of the website is the “Legal Help” area under the Living with Epilepsy tab, which includes “Disability Resources” that link to other programs and tools, including information about Auxiliary Aids and Services for Postsecondary Students with Disabilities.
Keywords: accessibility, disability, resources, technology
OWI Principles: 1
Ericsson, Katherine. “Thinking Outside ‘the Box’: Going Outside the CMS to Create Successful Online Team Projects.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 121–45.
Ericsson argues that the incorporating technologies from outside a CMS or LMS to provide shared workspace for student group projects. She argues that students need a wider context for learning that is more aligned with the realities they will find in their future careers. Ericsson uses her own online course as a case study in which students use a team built Google Sites, created outside the CMSs to achieve fully online, successful group projects. In this case study, the instructor serves as a facilitator who monitors student transcripts and online activity in order to offer just in time encouragement to groups when they need it. The study concludes by emphasizing that the students successfully completed a fully online group project and that students actually liked doing the work.
Keywords: collaboration, case study, course management site, Google Suite
OWI: 3, 5, 11, 15
Espasa, Anna, Teresa Guasch, and Ibis M. Alvarez. “Analysis of Feedback Processes in Online Group Interaction: A Methodological Model. Digital Education Review, vol. 23, 2013, pp. 59-73.
Espasa et al. developed a methodological model for analyzing online group interaction in the feedback process for a psychology bachelor’s degree program. The model includes three dimensions: students’ participation, the nature of students’ learning, and the quality of student performance on written tasks. The researchers analyzed student interactions in an online discussion board to identify their cognitive, affective, and metacognitive activities. Students were divided into random groups in four experimental feedback conditions: corrective, epistemic, suggestive, and epistemic + suggestive (68). Students in the corrective feedback condition included no cognitive learning activities in relation to feedback and few metacognitive and/or affective activities. Students in the suggestive feedback conditions participated in all three types of learning. This article provides a model to research how students receive, understand, and use feedback and demonstrates how studies into student reception of feedback can be conducted.
Keywords: writing process, feedback, interaction, asynchronous, empirical research, cognitive, affective, metacognitive, collaboration, discussion
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 15
Evans, Theresa M. “Managing the OWI User Experience by Managing Student Expectations.” Online Literacies Open Resource, Global Society of Online Literacy Educators, 2019, www.glosole.org/managing-owc-user-experience-evans.html.
Evans demonstrates how helping students understand the parameters of the course and the course platform and technologies can help them make sound decisions about enrolling for online writing courses. Examples of student preparation include notifying students of any synchronous interaction and the increased workload of online classes. Online instructors should also work to build rapport with online students and reduce anxiety in those students through regular, positive interaction. Evans provides an example of her three-pronged approach to managing student expectations: managing her own expectations, using pre-emptive communication strategies prior to the start of courses, and setting the course tone on day one to develop rapport and support online students. Evans encourages programs teaching online writing classes to develop excitement among faculty through teaching communities and among students through building rapport and accessibility for students.
Keywords: student satisfaction, student success, student workload, rapport, instructor interaction
OWI Principles: 1, 10
Finlay, William, Christy Desmet, and Lorraine Evans. “Is it the Technology or the Teacher? A Comparison of Online and Traditional English Composition Classes.” Journal of Educational Computing Research, vol. 31, no. 2, 2004, pp. 163–80.
Findlay et al. studied the assumption that there is no significant difference in either student satisfaction or educational outcomes between online and face-to-face writing courses. They studied undergraduate students at a large public university in the Southeast in both online (synchronous) and face-to-face classes. They considered student satisfaction with the class, how much students felt the class improved their critical thinking skills, and how easily they could participate in classroom discussion. The research used student surveys (face-to-face n=95, online n=27, response rate=78%), focus groups with students, interviews with faculty teaching the courses, observations of the online writing courses, and interviews with students and faculty from another college whose classes were online asynchronous. Controlling for the effects of instructor behavior, they used regression analysis to conclude that four variables are significant for student satisfaction: being in an online class, instructor innovation, student autonomy, and clear indicators of success. Online classes did not significantly increase students critical thinking skills, but being in an online class, instructor interaction with students, and clear indicators of success were significant factors predicting student participation in class discussion. The qualitative data showed that online classes are successful when teachers effectively used technology to interact, modifying their instruction to take advantage of technology. While they acknowledge that their study is far from ideal, they call for additional research studies using more ideal conditions to determine what, if any, differences in student performance exist online or face-to-face.
Keywords: face-to-face, student satisfaction, student perception, instructor interaction, synchronous interaction, surveys, focus groups, interviews, empirical research
OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15
Fortune, Mary F., Bethany Shifflett, and Robert E. Sibley. “A Comparison of Online (High Tech) and Traditional (High Touch) Learning in Business Communication Courses in Silicon Valley.” Journal of Education for Business, vol. 81, no. 4, 2006, pp. 210–14.
Fortune et al. compared students’ perceptions of the value of face-to-face interaction and perceived learning in online and face-to-face classes. Face-to-face interaction was defined as “instructional methods that use immediacy behaviors (e.g., feedback, communication) to reduce social distance and alleviate information overload)” (211). The researchers used the results of open-ended survey questions with two on-campus classes (n=50) an online class (n=25) to develop the High Touch versus High Tech (HTHT) survey instrument which consists of 51 questions about learning environment, face-to-face communication, technical skills, and demographic questions. Students in online classes (n=90, 90% response rate) and on-campus classes (n=98, 98% response rate) completed the survey. Using factor analysis, the authors determined that students perceived their learning as similar across modalities. They found that more independent students selected online courses, and that simulating interaction through humor, personal experiences, addressing students by name, and providing feedback in real time (or through online instant messages) were sufficient to replace face-to-face interaction.
Keywords: face-to-face, instructor interaction, student satisfaction, business writing, empirical research, feedback, rapport
OWI Principles: 11, 15
Francis, Kimberly, Jodie Salter, Lucia Constanzo, Serge Desmarais, Meagan Troop, and Rosheeka Parahoo. “Scribe Hero: An Online Teaching and Learning Approach for the Development of Writing Skills in the Undergraduate Classroom.” Online Learning Journal, vol. 23, no. 2, June 2019, pp. 217–34.
Francis et al. studied student perceptions of and performance in a series of accessible modules (Scribe Hero) designed to develop undergraduate writing across disciplines. The modules used simulations of music industry communication presenting paraprofessional scenarios through video instruction. Games and learning interactions were used to reinforce content, and students were provided a workbook to complete while watching the videos. Instructors could provide feedback in a number of ways, including awarding a badge or providing written feedback. The students completed pre- and post-quizzes that assessed their knowledge of the content in the modules. They also completed user experience surveys, which were analyzed using emergent thematic coding. All course quiz scores improved pre- to post-test when controlling for confounding variables. Analysis of 232 survey responses showed that students found the instructional games and videos enjoyable and the content of the modules was moderately easy to neither easy nor hard. Students found the experience improved their writing skills both in the short and long-term. The students wanted more feedback and the ability to control their progress through the game as well as improved graphics, sound, and immersive elements. The authors conclude that an effective online learning experience has three key components: competency-based elements, compatible and user-friendly technology, and the applicability of taught skills.
Keywords: gamification, modules, surveys, empirical research, quantitative, qualitative, student satisfaction, student success, feedback
OWI Principles: 1, 6, 15
Friend, Chris, Sean Michael Morris, and Jesse Stommel. “Writing at Scale: Composition MOOCs and Digital Writing Communities.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 180–95.
Friend et al. posit that digital writing is new and not yet defined as a practice, and it needs its own pedagogy, form, and space. They believe the only way to discover and define digital writing is to build a writing community and put digital writing into action. They held a month long MOOC titled Digital Writing month in which they created an online writing community loosely affiliated by a WordPress blog, Twitter hashtag, and a Disqus forum. The goal was to write 50,000 words in that month in any form, including video, comic-strips, or other media and nontraditional forms. After this experiment, they list three tenets of digital writing: digital writing is networked, collaborative, and defiant. It is networked because it relies on the web, which changes and repositions the information and how it is experienced. It is collaborative because the notions of authorship are blurred. It is defiant because it defies definition with ever emerging technologies.
Keywords: digital composition, MOOCs, collaboration, composition, folksonomy, Twitter, WordPress, blogs
OWI: 2, 4, 6, 15
Girardi, Tamara. “Lost in Cyberspace: Addressing Issues of Student Engagement in the Online Classroom Community.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 59–74.
Girardi explains the importance of building an online community for students in online classrooms to promote student engagement and learning experiences. Instructors must be flexible and reflective to improve their online engagement with students. Girardi explains her experiences building community and engagement throughout several forms of media: phone chats, synchronous chats, discussion forums, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and email check-ins with the students. Another benefit of insisting on ways to engage students is that the engagement helps bridge the gap between student expectations and actual online course experiences.
Keywords: social media, student engagement, student success, retention, communication, student-instructor interaction
OWI: 2, 3, 10, 11, 15
Gonzalez, Lara, and Isabel Baca. “Developing Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Online Technical Communication Programs: Emerging Frameworks at University of Texas at El Paso.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 273–86.
In an effort to develop and maintain culturally inclusive online environments, Gonzalez and Baca explain their process of assessing and improving multiple literacies and diversity within their two existing online writing programs: a bilingual professional writing certificate and a technical and professional writing certificate. To help build better learning outcomes, they assessed community needs and expectations using interviews and surveys with local businesses and nonprofits, and they used data from student surveys generated in previous course sections. In their conclusion, Bonzalez and Baca determine that programs should highlight language diversity and move beyond a single course in cultural diversity. A focus on diversity should be part of general faculty training to support the growing reality of diversity within everyday workforce and culture. Diversity should be seen as an asset and strength, and widespread focus on professional training and course work focus can help. Furthermore, building community partnerships enhances student and faculty focus on cultural and linguistic diversity in online and technical communication.
Keywords: diversity, technical and professional communication, bilingual, surveys
OWI: 1, 3, 7, 15
Gray, Mary. “Something Gained: The Role of Online Studios in a Hybrid First-Year Writing Course.” The Writing Studio Sampler: Stories About Change, Mark Sutton and Sally Chandler, editors. University Press of Colorado, 2018, pp. 185-206.
Gray describes an initiative at the University of Houston that created hybrid first-year writing classes integrating an online writing studio into a traditional classroom. The writing studio was located in the Blackboard discussion board where small groups of students working on the same assignment shared feedback, developed ideas, and responded to works-in-progress. The writing studio facilitators were supervised by writing center staff. Students completed a voluntary survey at the conclusion of the writing studio’s pilot year (n=122 in fall, and n=106 in spring). Students reported increased confidence in their writing and viewed the writing studio as “a place to interact with an authentic audience and receive constructive feedback” (196). Students responses to open-ended survey questions indicated that students created multiple drafts, stayed on task through writing assignments, and increased their confidence in writing. Facilitators were seen as overwhelmingly positive and helpful, and identified the greatest challenges as access to computers and the internet and their own procrastination. Gray recommends that those implementing the writing studio model in online and hybrid courses create clear, consistent, and reliable requirements for writing students and have contingency plans for students with limited computer access or proficiency.
Keywords: writing studio, hybrid, surveys, student perception, writing center, Blackboard, discussion boards, accessibility
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 10, 11, 13, 15
Greer, Michael, and Heidi Skurat Harris. “User-centered Design as a Foundation for Online Writing Instruction.” Computers and Composition, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 14–24.
With the proliferation of Web 2.0 technology and applications, online students expect their online courses to have a similar usable experience. Greer and Skurat Harris propose that user-centered and student-centered design models are essential for successful online writing instruction experiences. This study traces intentional changes in an online graduate certificate program and design over multiple course offerings as Greer and Skurat Harris revise approaches and methodologies to incorporate more effective student-centered design models based on OWI principles. They conclude that UX or user-centered design benefits online writing instruction and has uses for professional development because it focuses the conversation on student learning.
Keywords: user-centered design, usability, course design: Writing, graduate classes
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 5, 15
Grigoryan, Anna. “Audiovisual Commentary as a Way to Reduce Transactional Distance and Increase Teaching Presence in Online Writing Instruction: Student Perceptions and Preferences.” Journal of Response to Writing, vol. 3, no. 1, 2017, pp. 83–128.
Grigoryan’s research explains student preferences for and perceptions of the use of audiovisual feedback in online writing instruction feedback. Using a quasi-experimental design, Grigoryan studied six sections of an online composition course. Three sections used text-only feedback, and three sections used both text-based and audiovisual feedback forms. The audiovisual feedback included a five-minute screencast of the student’s paper in addition to the traditional text-based margin comments. The study indicated that audiovisual feedback may help with student revision practices. The teacher can explain in more detail with the audiovisual model. Students also had the perception of the teacher’s increased engagement and social presence within the course when using audiovisual feedback. This finding could lead to greater student satisfaction in online courses.
Keywords: feedback, multimodal, research, student perceptions, student satisfaction
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 15
Grigoryan, Anna. “Feedback 2.0 in Online Writing Instruction: Combining Audio-Visual and Text-Based Commentary to Enhance Student Revision and Writing Competency.” Journal of Computing in Higher Education vol. 29, no. 3, 2017, pp. 451–76.
In an effort to enhance student revision and writing competency, Grigoryan compares audiovisual feedback and text-based only feedback in the online writing classroom. Using a quasi-experimental design, the study compares results from six different composition courses. Three courses utilize text-only feedback and three courses use both audiovisual and text-based feedback on a key writing assignment in the course. Grigorian concludes that adding the audiovisual feedback component improves student audience awareness and sense of purpose, while those with text-only feedback seem to make more surface level changes to their writing.
Keywords: feedback, multimodal, research
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 13, 15
Grover, Stephen David. “Preparing Graduate Teaching Assistants to Teach Writing Online: A National Assessment of Research and Practice.” Dissertation, Texas Tech University, 2017.
Grover assesses the current state of Online Writing Instruction (OWI) for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) to determine if the field of OWI is making progress towards its goal of preparation and training. Grover uses a mixed-method design, reviewing literature, surveying current Writing Program Administrators to assess current GTA training programs, and then analyzing the two results. Grover concludes that there is not a great deal of literature specific to OWI GTA preparation and more research is needed here as well as additional voices in the field of OWI. Further, Grover’s program analysis indicates that GTA’s are teaching a good majority of the existing online writing program courses and are often not adequately trained or assessed at all. Finally, Grover calls on WPA’s to expand GTA preparation and intentionally research OWI to better determine the ways to do this preparatory work.
Keywords: writing program administration, graduate teaching assistants, research, faculty development, mixed methods
OWI Principles: 4, 7, 8, 15
Grover, Stephen David, Kelli Cargile Cook, Heidi Skurat Harris, and Kevin Eric DePew. “Immersion, Reflection, Failure: Teaching Graduate Students to Teach Writing Online.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 242–55.
Grover et al. review how three different universities respond to the challenge of teaching graduate students how to be effective online writing teachers. One program teaches a single graduate course in OWI; one institution offers an online writing instruction certificate, and one university offers technical communication degrees, which offer courses, teaching experience, and the opportunity to be mentored. After reviewing these three approaches to training online graduate students as OWI instructors, three common principles stand out as imperative components to effective practice and training. First, students should be immersed in an online environment while preparing to teach online. Second, students must have overt opportunities to reflect on their practices to become full practitioners in OWI. Third, mentors who have successfully turned failures of planning and/or technology into successful teaching moments are essential to the future success of the OWI students. While there is no one single way to train graduate students in online writing instruction, these principles strengthen any training effort.
Keywords: professional development, graduate students, pedagogy, reflection, faculty development, mixed methods, research, graduate teaching assistants, mentoring
OWI Principles: 3, 7, 13
Guasch, Teresa, Anna Espasa, and Montserrat Martinez-Melo. “The Art of Questioning in Online Learning Environments: The Potentialities of Feedback in Writing.” Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 44, no. 1, 2019, pp. 111–23.
Guasch et al. conducted a follow-up study to the Alvarez, Espinasa, and Guasch 2011 study and the Espasa, Guasch, and Alvarez 2013 study on students’ cognitive, metacognitive, and affective activity after receiving feedback on collaborative writing activities. They conducted a quasi-experimental study that divided students into groups receiving corrective, epistemic, suggestive, or epistemic + suggestive feedback on collaborative writing assignments. The researchers collected student messages and drafts and analyzed them using a multi-method integrated strategy. They measured both the presence and intensity of each type of activity. Students receiving corrective feedback engaged in a significantly lower amount of cognitive and metacognitive activities and a significantly higher number of affective activities. Students receiving epistemic + suggestive feedback produced the opposite results, showing a significant increase in metacognitive planning activities. Significant differences were less evident for groups receiving only epistemic or only suggestive feedback. Students who mostly engaged in affective activities received lower marks on their final assignments. Guasch et al. recommend using epistemic and suggestive feedback, including questioning, requiring critical explanations, and asking for clarification as a means to situate students as active agents in their learning and writing.
Keywords: mixed methods, quantitative, feedback, cognitive, affective, metacognitive, empirical research
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 15
Haber, Natalie, and Tiffany N. Mitchell. “Using Formative Summative Assessment to Evaluate Library Instruction in a First Year Writing Course.” Journal of Library and Information Services in Distance Education, vol. 11, no. 3–4, 2017, pp. 300–13.
Haber and Mitchell report the results of embedding library instruction into online composition courses and assessing the learning from that instruction. The authors applied the Association of College and Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy (2015) to assess information literacy instruction on an annotated bibliography assignment, particularly the frames of information has value, research as inquiry, and searching as strategic exploration. Library instruction covered two weeks with students watching an instructional video and completing a worksheet in the first week and participating in a discussion board with a librarian in the second week. YouTube analytics showed that students watched approximately 46 percent of the instructional video. Graded worksheets demonstrated that students correctly identified scholarly sources, although they were unclear about the path they took to reach the source. Students engaged in the librarian question-and-answer discussion, and a summative assessment of student performance on the final annotated bibliographies demonstrated that students’ retention of skills weakened by the end of the semester. The authors used the assessments to modify the library instruction to include interactive content and quizzes to the video in hopes that the librarian Q & A could focus on more advanced research strategies.
Keywords: information literacy, first-year composition, formative assessment, summative assessment, video: Writing, multimodal
OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15
Hallman Martini, Rebecca. Listening to Stories about Writing (Centers): Sites of Innovation in (Online) Writing Instruction. Dissertation: University of Houston, 2016.
Hallman Martini’s dissertation uses a critical ethnographic approach to study a hybrid/online studio partnership with the Department of English and a face-to-face, small group partnership with the Electrical Power Engineering Technology department. Using observations, interviews, focus groups, and informal conversations, Hallman Martini identifies the University of Houston Writing Center (UHWC) as a “site for innovative writing instruction while simultaneously critiquing business-model approaches to the teaching of writing” (iv). She uses her data to counter the writing center grand narrative of writing center work as “tutoring students” through case studies of two collaborative partnerships. She concludes that local stories can provide the peripheral visions of writing center work called for by Grutsch McKinney and that the partnership approach to writing instruction has advantages over the tutorial model. She cautions against transferring traditional face-to-face pedagogies to online spaces by encouraging online and hybrid instructors to disrupt those practices and innovate writing center practice in online and hybrid classes.
Keywords: writing center, ethnography, WID, hybrid, tutoring: English
OWI Principles: 4, 14, 15
Hallman Martini, Rebecca and Beth L. Hewett. “Teaching Tutors Not to Tutor Themselves: Personality in Online Writing Sessions.” Research in Online Literacy Education, 2018, vol. 1, no. 1.
Hallman Martini and Hewett study the importance of understanding the personality-types of online writing tutors as a means of improving the quality and experience of the online writing conference. Hallman Martini and Hewett surveyed WCenter and WPA listserv members via a Google Form asking background and demographic questions and also asked the same folks to take and self-report the results of the JTT personality type survey. They found that many online writing instructors and tutors share common personality types. This further emphasizes the need that all tutors be intentionally trained to work with other personality types. They claim professional development for all tutors should include taking a Jungian-based personality test. Understanding the diversity of personality types and traits and reflecting on the communication preferences and styles of those types can enhance the online writing conference.
Keywords: online tutoring, online writing center, literacy, personality, identity, professional development
OWI: 1, 3, 4, 7, 13, 14, 15
Hallman Martini, Rebecca and Travis Webster. “What Online Writing Spaces Afford Us in the Age of Campus Carry, ‘Wall-Building,’ and Orlando’s Pulse Tragedy.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 278–93.
Speaking from personal experiences and specific contexts, Hallman Martini and Webster emphasize the imperativeness of crafting online spaces in which students and faculty can discuss personal and important topics. Countering the idea that the online writing space should be void of all politics, tragedy, or personal experiences, the authors instead utilize technology such as personal journals and wikis in their courses to foster meaningful, personal learning. The authors write alongside their students encouraging voice and exploration, insisting we can create “brave” spaces that connect human experiences.
Keywords: journal, wiki, identity
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 5, 10, 12
Hewett, Beth. “Reading, Writing, and Digital Composition: Reintegrating Constituent Literacies in Online Settings.” Communication Design Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 4, 2016, pp. 20–35.
In this editorial, Hewett recommends that communication design specialists understand writing, reading, and digital (or multimodal) composition as interconnected aspects of their work, particularly in online contexts. Hewett argues that while writing is viewed as a core literacy, reading and multimodal composition are not often included as such. She suggests that the segmentation of these areas is akin to the subfields that have emerged in writing studies, and especially that of online writing. Hewett suggests they offer a means for design professionals to understand how the online context changes composing practices and how recent graduates have been prepared to approach design in online settings. However, she also recommends the reintegration of writing, reading, and design composition. Hewett cites examples of how these areas have been reintegrated in writing studies, and suggests that this reintegration will better prepare novice designers for the work projects and environments they will encounter after college. She concludes by inviting communication design professionals to contribute the Global Society of Online Literacy as a way to create better cohesion between academic and professional approaches to communication design.
Keywords: technical and professional communication, multimodal, literacy, course design: Writing
OWI Principles: 3, 10, 11
Hewett, Beth, and Tiffany Bourelle. “Online Teaching and Learning in Technical Communication: Continuing the Conversation.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 217–22.
In this introduction to a special issue of TCQ, Hewett and Bourelle revisit a 2007 special issue of TCQ focused on professional preparation and development for instructors in the field of technical communication. They argue that as the number of online degree programs grow, administrators and educators require ongoing professional development in online education. Drawing on 2011 survey results which indicated online instructors received insufficient preparation for online teaching, the editors note the need for more substantive preparation for online teaching that addresses pedagogical strategies rather than use of technology. While acknowledging that there has been a substantial growth in scholarship on professional development for online educators, Hewett and Bourelle argue there continues to be a need for research that introduces “current issues and cutting-edge effective—or ‘best’—practices” (219). The special issue supports those in the field of technical and professional communication to understand training and development principles, learn about instructional strategies and experiences, and gain insight into the administrative work related to online programs.
Keywords: writing program administration, professional development, faculty development, technical and professional writing
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 7
Hewett, Beth, and Rebecca Hallman Martini. “Educating Online Writing Instructors Using the Jungian Personality Types.” Computers and Composition, vol. 47, 2018, pp. 34–58.
Hewett and Hallman Martini investigated whether Jungian personality types can identify training and professional development needs and wants for online writing instructors. They used a mixed-methods study including a nationwide survey of online writing teachers and tutors and writing program and center administrators. The survey used Likert Scale and open-ended questions to gauge the participants’ teaching in the context of Jungian typology as well as their perceptions of professional development offered versus needed. The study also asked survey participants to complete a free, online Jungian Typology Test (JTT) based on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and self-report the results. The study found a higher prevalence of introverted types among online writing instructors than in the wider population, which Hewett and Hallman Martini concluded was likely due to the heavy literacy load associated with OWI, and that introversion versus extroversion may account for whether the instructor generally enjoys teaching in the online environment. Nevertheless, the authors concluded that both introverted and extroverted online writing instructors would benefit from training in how and when to use synchronous meetings and other media to develop presence, establish relationships and help students at their points of need.
Keywords: personality, identity, professional development, writing centers, writing program administrators tutors
OWI Principles: 1, 7, 12, 14, 15
Hewett, Beth, and Scott Warnock. “Writing MOOEEs? Reconsidering MOOCs in Light of the OWI Principles.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth A. Monske and Kristine Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 17–38.
Hewett and Warnock differentiate online writing instruction (OWI) from more general online instruction, explaining that online writing courses (OWCs) are not content-driven (i.e., are skill-focused) and always require writing (i.e., writing itself is the focus). Using the OWI Principles as a framework, they argue against the use of MOOCs to teach writing, and, instead, for a MOOEE or massive open online educational experience (removing the expectation of a “course”). Problematizing the acronym, Hewett and Warnock point out that while the “m” in MOOC stands for “massive,” it implies inclusion and access while denying contact with an instructor. Likewise, the “o” signifies “open” (or “free”), yet it does not account for unreliable or unavailable internet access. Hewett and Warnock point out that writing MOOCs are too large for any instructor to provide individual or even small-group feedback and too unwieldy to ensure every student participates in and receives quality peer review. Instead, they suggest MOOEEs grounded in OWI Principles as a non-credit-bearing means of providing less intimate and less direct instruction for individuals wishing to learn how to write more effectively. By grounding MOOEEs in OWI Principles, technologies would be selected according to student access, students would be clustered into smaller groups, and collaborative learning would be included more.
Keywords: OWI Principles, MOOCs, MOOEE, accessibility, student success
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 6, 7, 11
Hill, Valerie. “Digital Citizens as Writers: New Literacies and New Responsibilities.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 56–74.
Individuals are accountable for ensuring they are digitally literate by developing an awareness of how they integrate information, especially in MOOCs (which are often in a lecture format with little to no writing feedback from the instructor). Students in a MOOC have the burden of ensuring they are exercising good “digital citizenship” skills in using multimedia ethically, especially in peer-review of other classmates (p. 59). Therefore, a significant amount of responsibility is placed on the learner. Learners must be brought together in the digital classroom space through tools such as wikis, video games, and virtual worlds. If information literacy can be incorporated into MOOCs and used sensibly by students, then students who write, reflect, and assess will benefit as responsible learners.
Keywords: MOOCs, digital literacy, multimedia, ethics, peer review, wikis, gamification
OWI Principles: 4, 13
Hillard, Lyra, and Mary Stewart. “Time Well Spent: Creating a Community of Inquiry in Blended First-Year Writing Courses.” Internet and Higher Education, vol. 41, 2019, pp. 11–24.
Building on the work of Owston and York (2018), Hilliard and Stewart compare “medium blend” (33% online) and “high blend” (50% online) writing courses. They delivered the Community of Inquiry Survey to students enrolled in 17 sections of a first-year writing course at a large R1 university on the east coast, receiving 229 responses (71% response rate). Quantitative analysis of survey results (Mann-Whitney tests to compare groups) indicate that students in high blend sections were more likely to perceive their courses as communities of inquiry, especially in terms of teaching presence. The authors also observed the online activities assigned in the 17 courses and found that high blend courses were more likely to include activities that required student-student and student-instructor interaction. The authors ultimately argue for increasing the amount of time students spend engaging with each other through interactive online activities.
Keywords: community of inquiry, hybrid, first-year composition, collaboration, surveys, research, quantitative, instructor interaction
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 15
Howard, Laura. “A (Critical) Distance: Contingent Labor, MOOCs, and Teaching Online.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 232–53.
Howard explains the working conditions of contingent online instructors and their connection to the globalized and corporatized nature of American higher education. She reframes the MOOC as a potential site for finding new opportunities change to online instruction pedagogies and faculty working conditions. MOOCs disrupt current pedagogical practices by connecting learners in networks where knowledge is formed in spaces such as peer review groups. This emphasis on connected learning fundamentally changes the role of the instructor, creating the possibility for new types of courses and learning. Finally, Howard calls readers to embrace these technologies and spaces with creativity as one way to begin to change the reality of the contingent online worker.
Keywords: MOOCs, contingent faculty, globalization
OWI: 2, 8, 10, 11, 12, 15
Holloway, Kimberly M. “Communicating with Adult Learners in the Online Writing Lab: A Call for Specialized Tutor Training for Adult Learners.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 146–63.
Holloway argues that we should “more deliberately train tutors to work with adult learners, to be aware of what they expect from a session, and to determine the best ways to work with them” (147). As such, this chapter makes a case for the creation of specialized training for any tutors who work with nontraditional students who use the OWL. While primarily focused on training for undergraduate tutors, Holloway also discusses implications of nontraditional students on college campuses and potential communication problems that could arise in OWLs.
Keywords: accessibility, online writing center, tutors, non-traditional students
OWI Principles: 1, 13, 13
Hubbard, Danica. “Using a Blog Throughout a Research Writing Course.” Online Literacies Open Resource, Global Society of Online Educators, 2016, www.glosole.org/using-a-blog-throughout-a-research-writing-course.html.
Hubbard describes a method for implementing blogs in a research writing course with the goal of helping students organize their research, reflect on that research, and foster a sense of community in the online writing classroom. Blog posts allow students to incorporate multimedia, and Hubbard provides prompts to guide student research. The author provides instructions for setting up blogs, creating a classroom community in blogs, and provides examples of student posts from previous research blogs.
Keywords: blogs, community of inquiry, research writing, reflection
OWI Principles: 3, 11
Hutchinson, Allison. “Writing Support for an Online Technical Writing Course: A Feasibility Study.” IEEE International Professional Communication Conference, 2018, pp. 18–24, DOI: 10.1109/ProComm.2018.00011.
Hutchinson’s dissertation research studies how the fields of technical communication and writing center overlap, namely in collaborative pedagogy and attention to multiliteracies, and suggests ways in which the writing center at Virginia Tech can support curricular goals of the department’s technical writing program. Hutchinson’s study proposes to add two services not currently offered by Virginia Tech’s writing center: (1) discipline-specific (specialist) tutoring; and (2) online tutoring. She integrated technical writing methodologies of user experience (UX) and service design into writing center research and conducted interviews and surveys with past students, asking what resources they needed while taking the course. She concludes that because 73% of the technical writing courses offered at Virginia Tech are online, technical writing instructors and students have needs that an online interactive space, such as an online writing lab, can meet.
Keywords: technical and professional writing, writing center, tutoring, WAC, online tutoring, online writing lab, user-centered design
OWI Principles: 1, 13
Jackson, Phoebe. “The Reading-Writing Connection: Engaging the Literary Text Online.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 161–77.
Jackson argues that while reading takes precedence over writing in face-to-face literature classes, online literature classes place writing on equal footing, allowing reading and writing to be dialogic and broaden the practice of literary study. Thus, both reading and writing help students challenge meaning and interpretation while providing a record of student’s creation and re-creation of meaning. Jackson analyzes a student’s discussion board posts about Kate Chopin’s The Awakening to demonstrate how this student’s interpretations changed as that student read, wrote, and reflected about the novel. The student shapes a more nuanced view on the main character, and her posts demonstrated the active meaning making possible through online literary study.
Keywords: literature, discussion boards, interpretation, assignment: Literature
OWI Principles: 3, 11
Jackson, Phoebe, and Christopher Weaver. Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices. Myers Education Press, 2018.
The authors in this collection reflect on the ways in which “writing helps to shape online instruction and how online instruction helps to shape the writing process” (xii). Engaging instructors across the disciplines, the editors ask authors to identify ways that writing online engages students with coursework and helps instructors achieve academic goals across the curriculum. The collection includes three sections: Technology and the Writing Practice, Negotiating Identity Online, and Learning Academic Discourse Online. The collection focuses in particular on how writing is a collaborative, process-based act and how teacher-student and student-student interactions are shaped by writing. This collection is a vital resources as the principles of online writing instruction are disseminated to other disciplines and demonstrates the ability for the tenets of sound online writing instruction to engage students and help instructors meet disciplinary goals.
Keywords: WAC, WID, collaboration, discussion: WAC, identity, academic discourse, instructor-to-student interaction, student-to-student interaction
OWI Principles: 4, 10, 11, 15
Jenkins, Patricia. “Arguing for Proactivity: Talking Points for Owning Accessibility in Online Writing Instruction.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 106–22.
Jenkins argues that online courses should be completely accessible to all learners at the launch of the course, and instructors should play an active role in ensuring this happens. Jenkins insists that those who teach OWI need to be proactive in creating a culture of inclusivity and accessibility. She advocates that either a Writing Program Administrator or a designated Accessibility Coordinator should work to bridge gaps in instructor knowledge and work with administrators to change the culture and expectations of online courses. She argues a clear obligation for accessible education courses for all.
Keywords: accessibility, writing program administration
OWI: 1, 7, 13, 14, 15
Johnson, Rowan Farrington. Student Attitudes Toward Blended and Online Courses: A Comparison of Students in Traditional Classroom Writing Environments and Students in Blended Writing Environments. Dissertation: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 2013.
Johnson’s dissertation uses a mixed-methods approach comparing blended and face-to-face university freshmen to understand student attitudes toward blended and online classes based on their previous experience in each modality. The researcher surveyed students (n=214) and found that students across modalities valued interaction with their peers and instructors and feared that the blended and online classrooms would lack interaction. Students who had previous blended learning experiences were significantly more likely to prefer that modality, even though they also reported less interaction in blended classrooms. While students in blended classrooms were more likely to be willing to take online courses, only one third of respondents in qualitative questions indicated that they would definitely take fully-online courses. This study supports previous research on student preference by modality and can help those programs deciding whether they should move from blended to online modalities.
Keywords: blended, hybrid, surveys, mixed methods, qualitative, quantitative, student perception, student engagement, student-student interaction, student-instructor interaction
OWI Principles: 11, 15
Justice, Christopher. “Hybrid Spaces and Writing Places: Ecoliteracy, Ecocomposition, and the Ecological Self.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 219–37.
Justice examines how “disciplinary discourses often converge with electronic places to form unique textual ecosystems” (220), especially in the online writing or writing-in-the-disciplines classroom. He administered a upper-level general education course that used a hybrid delivery system to deliver an advanced WID curriculum tailored to each discipline’s needs. Instructors posted feedback publically, and students were encouraged to read feedback not only on their writing but on the writing of other students as well. The hybrid format showcased instructors’ writing as well as their teaching and encouraged students to see the world as a text to analyze written and visual composition. The hybrid format also allowed students to create records of their collaboration, their development of discourse communities, and how genres and medium impact textual production. He advocates for more focus on students’ ecological literacy to help them solve the challenges they will face in their professional careers.
Keywords: eco-literacy, hybrid, WID, writing in the disciplines, metacognition
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11
Kim, Loel. “Online Technologies for Teaching Writing: Students React to Teacher Response in Voice and Written Modalities.” Research in the Teaching of English, vol. 38, no.3, 2004, pp. 304–37.
This study examines first-year composition students' (n=39) reactions to written versus audio feedback. The authors specifically question how students perceive written versus online spoken response, as well as what qualities students attribute to the teacher who delivered the response. Each instructor (n=4) was given two texts that the authors had seeded with five low-level and five high-level writing problems, and were asked to provide written response to one text and audio response to the other. Subsequently, the student participants (n=39)--first-year college students who had previously taken the same first-year composition course as the authors of the seeded texts--were each given one teacher’s response to two different texts, a written response to one text and an audio response to the other. The students read or listened to the feedback and completed a questionnaire, as well as a post-session interview. The findings indicate that the students preferences for modality were evenly divided—46% preferred audio, 41% preferred written, and 13% were unsure. However, when modality preference was considered alongside the teacher identity, Kim found that students who received Teacher 1’s feedback were more likely to prefer written feedback, while students who received Teacher 3’s feedback were more likely to prefer audio. Kim additionally found that 80% of student participants did not realize that the same teacher provided the written and audio feedback that they reviewed. The authors conclude that the teacher may be more important than the modality when it comes to student feedback preferences, but it is also the case that modality influences the ways that students perceive and construct their teachers' identities.
Keywords: feedback, multimodal, audio: Writing, experimental study, first-year composition, student preferences
OWI Principles: 3, 15
Kinloch, Valerie, and Stephanie Imig. “Innovative Writing Instruction: Writing Rewired: Teaching Writing in Online Settings.” The English Journal, vol. 99, no. 3, 2010, pp. 80–83.
Editor Kinloch shares a column by Imig in which she details her experiences teaching writing online for Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), a virtual K-12 public charter school. Imig argues that virtual education faces the same challenges of traditional brick-and-mortar education, such as insufficient student writing and lack of engagement, and requires application of the same strategies; Imig says the “recipe for successful student writing” in any environment includes “plenty of background, writing done over time, modeling, opportunities for personal connections, creativity, peer sharing, success for students with a range of skills, and authentic presentation/publication” (80). Discussing the pros and cons of ORCA’s evidence-based curriculum, Imig argues that the lack of time for revision is a problem in any course. She describes implementing a writing workshop format, using the LMS whiteboard during a synchronous meeting on a poetry lesson, that allowed her to collaboratively write with students, comment immediately, and ultimately build a virtual writing community to affect student writing.
Keywords: collaboration, course management system, K-12
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 11
Kwak, Subeom. “Approaches Reflected in Academic Writing MOOCs.” International Review of Research in Online and Distributed Learning, vol. 18, no. 3, 2017, pp. 138–55.
Kwak’s research looks at the difference between writing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and traditional, face-to-face teaching of writing with the aim of answering how MOOC instructors teach writing. Using five approaches identified by previous research (writing as a skill, creative writing, writing as a process, writing as a social practice, and writing in a socio-cultural context), Kwak evaluated six “academic” writing MOOCs. The six MOOCs, identified in the study by pseudonyms, were evaluated based on data from video lectures, syllabi, assignments, and related materials. The study found that five of the six MOOCs still focused on teaching and learning textual structures and relied on traditional methods for teaching writing as a skill. In the majority of the MOOCs, the focus was on grammar and linguistic correctness, with only one MOOC approaching writing as a process.
Keywords: MOOCs, writing process, current traditional rhetoric
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4
Laflen, Angela. “Taking the Temperature of the (Virtual) Room: Emotion in the Online Writing Class.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 106–20.
Laflen argues for “a framework that allows instructors to identify and analyze students’ expressions of ‘emotional commitment’ in their online writing” (106). As such, this chapter makes a case for heightened online instructor awareness of online student emotional atmosphere. While primarily focused on communication via discussion forums, Laflen’s framework could also be useful for gauging the emotional investment of online students based on their writing submissions. This article provides a useful framework for online instructors to use to gauge emotional commitment in the OWC.
Keywords: accessibility, affective, framework
OWI Principles: 1
Larsen, Kristine. “Getting Down to Earth: Scientific Inquiry and Online Writing for Non-Science Students.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 179–94.
Larsen argues that writing in online science courses encourages students to interact with each other and understand that science education involves scientific inquiry and skepticism, not just memorized facts. Using astronomy courses, she demonstrates that the dialogue necessary in online courses more closely represents how science is actually done than in face-to-face lecture classes. Students are encouraged to seek answers and argue positions in a supportive environment. The written record produced in online classes allows students to reflect on their opinions during the discussion and understand how their scientific opinions (and the opinions of others) changed over the course of the term. The author encourages science instructors to create discussions about scientific principles that help students understand how to write “scientifically” by asking questions, demonstrating their own understanding, and using evidence to modify that understanding.
Keywords: WAC, WID, science writing, community, metacognition
OWI Principles: 4, 11
Li, Mimi, and Jinrong Li. “Online Peer Review Using Turnitin in First-Year Writing Classes.” Computers and Composition, vol. 46, 2017, pp. 21–38.
Li and Li studied students’ use of multiple Turnitin features for peer review on two writing assignments in two first-year writing classes, one for mainstream students and one for ESL students (n=26. The aim of their study was to learn about the types of feedback offered by students in the online setting and how students perceived online peer review. Students had no prior experience with using Turnitin for peer review, so a brief training was provided. Then, the students used the Turnitin features (PeerMark questions, Commenting Tools, and Composition Marks) in a double-blind, one-hour in-class peer review sessions on the two assignments common to both classes (a summary and response paper and an argumentative paper). Li and Li then analyzed the archived peer reviews and had students complete a post-task questionnaire comprised of Likert Scale and short answer questions intended to gauge student perceptions of the experience. Li and Li found that while both mainstream and ESL students provided predominantly revision-oriented feedback, the majority of comments focused on local rather than global issues (with the one exception of ESL students’ comments on the argumentative paper). They also found that though the students had a generally positive attitude toward using Turnitin for peer review, many noted the need for more specific training on the tool as well as on effective feedback. Li and Li concluded that the Turnitin features could be used for meaningful, critical online peer review, with appropriate training and modeling.
Keywords: peer review, first-year composition, ESL/ELL/L2, feedback, plagiarism
OWI Principles: 2, 10, 15
Li, Ruth. “A Conscious Craft: An Approach to Teaching Collaborative, Computer-mediated Composition.” Online Literacies Open Resource, Global Society of Online Literacy Educators, 2018, www.glosole.org/a-conscious-craft-an-approach-to-teaching-collaborative-computer-mediated-composition.html.
Li describes an approach to collaborative writing in a face-to-face class using Google Apps. Google Docs allows for multiple students to write simultaneously on the same document and tracks individual writing histories through the version history feature. Instructors can also monitor the progress of several writing groups while the groups are writing, providing instant feedback where necessary. Li ends with directions for implementing a collaborative assignment to write a screenplay, including daily notes and instructions for students at each step. She notes that genre matters as students collaborate, and projects such as screenplays with multiple components might lend themselves better to this method.
Keywords: Google Suite, collaboration, face-to-face, feedback, synchronous interaction, one-to-one classrooms, student-student interaction
OWI Principles: 4, 11
Licastro, Amanda. “The Problem of Multimodality: What Data-Driven Research Can Tell Us About Online Writing Practices.” Communication Design Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 4, 2016, pp. 55–73.
Licastro studies how ePortfolios hosted in WordPress can demonstrate student preparation for composing in online spaces, the characteristics of students online writing, how assignment design shapes student work, and whether characteristics of student writing are similar across disciplines (particularly in the humanities and STEM fields). Using a multivariate, quasi-experimental methodology, Licastro surveyed students (n=150) and analyzed class materials and student portfolios. Students surveyed indicated that even though they were exposed to digital technologies in high school, they struggled with digital literacy at the college level, and less than half of the students were familiar with blogging platforms. The author then compares materials from two sections of humanities seminars and two sections of a science-based seminar class. She analyzes the sections for low- and high-stakes assignments use of mode and media. While the mode of writing was similar across courses, the use of media varied widely, illustrating a disconnect between student literacy skills and their willingness to use these skills without specific direction. Licastro ends with pedagogical applications based on her findings and prompts instructors who want students to use multimedia and folksonomic elements to explicitly require and practice them across the curriculum.
Keywords: blogs, portfolios, WAC, quasi-experimental methodology, mixed methods, student preparation, multimodal, multimedia
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 4, 10, 15
Litherland Baker, Nicki, and Elisabeth H. Buck. “Conducting Programmatic Assessments of Online Writing Instruction: CCCC’s OWI Principles in Practice.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 385–405.
Baker and Buck describe their programmatic study of how fully online and hybrid writing courses were being implemented at their institution, the perceptions of students and instructors toward those courses, and what recommendations could be made based on the CCCC’s OWI Principles. Using those Principles to develop questions, the authors conducted surveys and interviews across two semesters of fully online and hybrid first-year writing courses. Results from the fall semester revealed that of the 52 respondents, 32 were satisfied with their learning, 27 with peer feedback, 40 with instructor feedback, and 36 with the course overall. Twenty-three percent of students did not pass (compared with 12% in the face-to-face course equivalent). Results from the spring semester revealed that of the 16 respondents, 10 were satisfied with their learning, 9 with peer feedback, 11 with instructor feedback, and 10 with the course overall. Twenty-nine percent of students did not pass (compared with 13% in the face-to-face course equivalent). Ultimately, the researchers concluded that their institution needed to develop mentoring between experienced OWI instructors and new OWI instructors, determine students’ proficiency with the LMS, monitor drop rates, ensure students know the type of course they’re enrolling in, expand the number of hybrid course offered, and encourage instructors to stay up to date and offer student assistance.
Keywords: hybrid, OWI Principles, mentoring, course management system retention, student satisfaction, feedback, student-student interaction, student-instructor interaction
OWI Principles: 7, 10, 15
Litterio, Lisa M. “Uncovering Student Perceptions of a First-Year Online Writing Course.” Computers and Composition, vol. 47, 2018, pp. 1–13.
Litterio studied student perceptions of the WPA Outcomes and of focusing content on visual rhetoric, technology, and social media in a pilot online first-year writing course. In her limited study, she surveyed her students at mid-semester and at the end of the semester, asking Likert Scale and open-ended questions using language closely tied to the WPA outcomes. She found that the majority of students believed they did meet WPA outcomes, that their writing did improve, and that they enjoyed content curated to relate to the online learning environment. She concluded, however, that more research is needed into content delivery, face-to-face versus online learning experience, and institutional technological support.
Keywords: writing program administration, WPA Outcomes, first-year composition,
OWI Principles: 3, 7, 10, 11, 15
Lutkewitte, Claire, ed. Mobile Technologies and the Writing Classroom. NCTE, 2016.
This edited collection provides practical applications that allow online and face-to-face writing instructors implement pedagogy that takes advantage of the affordances of mobile technologies. With increased mobile usage and surging campus mobile initiatives, Lutkewitte and the collection’s authors focus on how faculty can write for and help students compose with mobile technologies. Chapters in the collection cover mobile composition kits, mobile technology analysis, composing audio essays, designing and rhetorically analyzing apps, mobile social games, mobile in collaborative online courses, video capture, geolocation and writing, digital curation, and mobile digital literacy narratives. Two articles in the collection (Dockter and Borgman, McArdle) are annotated in this bibliography. Lutkewitte’s collection, although not specifically targeted to online writing classrooms, provides excellent models of how instructors can begin thinking about composing and instructing using tools accessible to students where they are.
Keywords: mobile, audio:Writing, video: writing, mobile apps, digital composing, digital literacy, geolocation, collaboration, Google Suite, gamification, digital curation
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 15
Marshall, Leni. “Shifting into Digital Writing without Stripping Your Gears: Driver’s Ed for Teaching Writing Online.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 37–55.
Marshall “considers the educational value of training writing instructors and students in the technical and pedagogical possibilities of online classes, demonstrating the consequences that instructors’ engagements in constructive learning experiences have on instructors’ and students’ classroom experiences” (38). As such, this chapter makes a case for purposeful integration of the five pillars of online teaching. While primarily focused on why both online instructors and students need training before attempting an OWC, Marshall also includes some worthwhile examples of professional development for faculty in particular.
Keywords: professional development, faculty development, instructor presence
OWI Principles: 7, 12
Martinez, Diane, Mahli Xuan Mechenbier, Beth Hewett, Lisa Meloncon, and Heidi Skurat Harris. “A Report on a U.S.-Based National Survey of Students in Online Writing Courses.” Research in Online Literacy Education vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 35–82, 2019.
Martinez et al. report on a survey asking students how they are prepared for online writing courses, how they access online writing courses, and what they find least and most helpful in online writing courses. In partnership with Macmillian, the survey was piloted in June 2017 and distributed in September 2017. The analysis includes partial survey responses (n=569), with the bulk of complete survey responses weighted toward technical and professional communication classes (n=231). Participants were mostly traditional (59%), female (67%), and are juniors or seniors (59%). Students most frequently accessed their online writing courses from home and on laptops, desktops, and mobile phones. Only 28% of online students were offered or knew about an orientation to the online class. Students were divided on the usefulness of discussion boards and assigned readings, with many students finding videos and slide presentations helpful. Instructor feedback was seen as very helpful by a majority of students, as was giving feedback to and getting feedback from peers. Overall, students noted a disconnect between the intended pedagogical application of tools and how they were perceived and used and were not sure how the work in OWCs helped them improve their writing. The article by Skurat Harris et al. (annotated in this bibliography) in the same collection provides a response to this survey data and extends the conversation to include how these results can be used to improve online course design by implementing a purposeful-pedagogy driven design in online writing classrooms.
Keywords: survey, discussion boards, assignments, student perceptions, screencast, video, mobile, accessibility, instructional design
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 15
McArdle, Casey. “Mobile Learning Just Keeps on Running: Renegotiating Online Collaborative Spaces for Writing Students.” Mobile Technologies and the Writing Classroom, edited by Claire Lutkewitte, NCTE, 2016, pp. 117–32.
McArdle reports on the results of several small activities outside the classroom to engage students with campus communities and to share their communities with the class. Based on theories of m-learning, the overall assignment sequence focused on technological literacies, and the individual activities asked students to upload photo artifacts that connected them to community, search for campus activities using Twitter hashtags, and collect images and sound to explain McArdle’s class to students not taking it. Students concluded the assignment by making a video that remixed their previous written description of their technological literacies to explore how technology has influenced them. The author hopes that through assignments like these, students will be encouraged to think critically and rhetorically about their technology practice while meeting the course goals of composing in multiple media.
Keywords: mobile, technological literacy, assignment design, assignment instructions, Google Suite, accessibility, m-learning, collaboration, digital composing
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 10, 11
McCabe, Rachel. “Walking with Berger.” Directed by Dr. Justin Hodgson and Rachel McCabe, edited by Rachel McCabe and Ryan Juszkiewicz. Research in Online Literacy Education, vol 1, no. 1, 2018, roleolor.org/mccabe-walking-with-berger.html.
In this video project, based on John Berger’s Ways of Seeing, two people (a man and a woman) walk separately in the same area, with voiceovers representing their internal monologues. The aim of the project is to show how men and women experience the world differently based upon how they are observed by others. In the accompanying commentary, the author explains how the project allowed her to think about the kinds of communication possible through gazes and glances and the conversations that take place online versus in the classroom.
Keywords: communication, visual rhetoric, multimodal, video: Writing
OWI Principles: 1
McCool, Lynn Beth. Humanizing Advanced Communication Online Writing Instruction: Developing Social Presence to Communicate, Collaborate, and Connect. Dissertation, Iowa State University, 2016.
McCool’s doctoral research into online writing instruction identified a primary concern of dehumanization due to transactional distance (geographical, psychological and emotional distance that occurs when students learn online) and a lack of research into online writing instruction specific to courses beyond first-year writing. Thus, McCool’s dissertation set out to answer how might social presence (which, along with cognitive presence and teaching presence, make up the Community of Inquiry Framework) be used to reduce transactional distance and support collaboration and connection in the advanced communication course. Her study relied upon voluntary survey responses of instructors and students, as well as student reflections, in six advanced communication courses offered at Iowa State University. Instructors were asked questions related to technology use as well as perceptions about communication in the online course; students were asked questions related to technology use as well as perceptions about communication, social presence, and team collaboration. McCool’s research found that while a majority of instructors preferred to use the LMS to communicate with students, all instructors (100%) believed students preferred to use some other tool outside of the LMS to communicate with fellow students and the instructor. Instructor belief was confirmed when a majority of students indicated a preference to communicate with each other and the instructor outside of the LMS. Further, while all instructors indicated comfort when communicating online, only 20% believed they were able to establish community in the online classroom; by stark contrast, though, nearly 80% of students indicated they felt a sense of community. Finally, while all instructors believe collaboration is crucial, only 20% believed they fostered collaboration among students in the online environment; a significantly higher percentage of students indicated collaboration occurred, which may suggest student-motivated instigations of collaboration. McCool found that students generally accept a certain level of transactional distance in exchange for the flexibility of online learning. Further, McCool found that offering lower-stakes collaborative assignments earlier in the course would allow instructors and students to adapt to the environment more effectively.
Keywords: collaboration, social presence, communication, Community of Inquiry, course management system, collaboration, surveys, student-student interaction, student-instructor interaction
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 11, 15
McEachern, Robert W. “Challenging Evaluation: The Complexity of Grading Writing in Hybrid MOOCs.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 370–84.
McEachern documented his experience teaching a hybrid MOOC. Defined as an on-ground course offered by a college or university that embeds all or part of an MOOC managed by an outside provider, hybrid MOOCs are sometimes referred to as blended MOOCs, wrapped courses, or distributed flips. Before sharing his own experience, McEachern noted the known positives and negatives of hybrid MOOCS. These courses allow students access to content from highly-respected scholars, diverse perspectives from worldwide participants, and more activities to reinforce learning. Conversely, though, hybrid MOOCs don’t always sync up with the timing or content of on-ground courses and may present difficulties with technology, lack of interaction, or distinct learning styles. McEachern decided to find a MOOC to embed in his writing for the web class, a course that satisfied his institution’s general education requirement and WAC program and could be used as an elective in its professional writing program. Due to timing and content, he decided to embed the E-Learning and Digital Cultures MOOC (EDCMOOC) taught by University of Edinburgh faculty and offered through Coursera. His students were required, for the most part, to complete the weekly content and assignments of the MOOC, comment in any of the discussion tools of the MOOC, and repost those comments in his course’s Blackboard (for convenience). McEachern found that the biggest difficulty in teaching the hybrid MOOC had to do with grading. Assignments in the MOOC were graded on a pass/fail basis by students acting as peer reviewers using rubrics created by the University of Edinburgh faculty. McEachern did not feel comfortable, as instructor of record for the on-ground course, using student peer reviews as the basis for grades. Thus, he developed a grading scheme that accounted for the weekly work completed in the MOOC but not the pass/fail peer reviews, instead using those only for potentially helpful feedback. Even with the difficulties associated with selecting an MOOC and potential grading inconsistencies, McEachern said hybrid MOOCs are worth it; he did note, though, that about half of his students said they’d eliminate the MOOC in an end-of-semester survey.
Keywords: MOOCs, hybrid, content, grading, peer review, Coursera, Blackboard
OWI Principles: 1, 5, 6, 9
Mechenbier, Mahli, and Scott Warnock. "Evaluating/Observing Contingent Online Writing Teachers and a Proposal for a Collaborative Method of 'Reading' Online Writing Courses." Forum: Issues About Part-Time & Contingent Faculty in College Composition and Communication, vol. 23, no. 1, September 2019, pp. A8–A17.
Applying Peter Elbow’s theory of how writing teachers respond to writing, Mechenbier and Warnock argue that departments should reframe their approach to administering online teaching evaluations because, too often, OWCs are assessed by ranking faculty members who lack experience in online pedagogy. The article briefly describes long-standing issues with course evaluations in general and online course evaluations specifically. These concerns include issues of who will conduct course evaluations, how evaluations will be conducted, when they will be conducted, and how they will count. The authors recommend a collaborative feedback approach which involves a team of evaluators possessing varying and diverse expertise: a faculty member with online teaching experience, an instructional designer, a faculty member with subject-matter expertise, and an educational technologist. Challenges may exist regarding implementing this solution when hierarchy in university politics is taken into account; however, in order to systematize the online evaluation process and to provide accurate assessments of online instructors, WPCs should weigh the observers’ expertise—and these evaluators may not all have faculty rank—to welcome collaborative interdisciplinary feedback.
Key words: evaluation, assessment, contingent faculty
OWI Principles: 7, 12
Mehlenbacher, Brad, Carolyn R. Miller, David Covington, and Jamie S. Larsen. “Active and Interactive Learning Online: A Comparison of Web-based and Conventional Writing Classes.” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, vol. 43, no. 2, 2000, pp. 166–84.
Mehlenbacher et al studied student performance in two web-based sections of a technical writing course compared to the conventional counterpart. The authors defined “web-based” as a course using web-based instructional materials, Internet tools, and requiring students to submit work electronically; conversely, they defined “conventional” as a course that holds regular face-to-face meetings and de-emphasizes the role of online materials. (The authors intentionally chose “conventional” rather than “traditional,” noting that “traditional” tends to indicate lecture-based rather than strategies that incorporate active learning). The authors developed a course website prototype, piloted it in two sections a course that satisfied the general education requirement (Communication for Engineering and Technology), and assessed student performance compared to students in a conventional, 3-day/week on-campus course. The study surveyed students pre- and post-course on content, computer anxiety, writing apprehension, and learning styles. The study also collected teacher process logs of problems and solutions during the web-based course as well as email archives. The authors conducted focus groups early and late in the semester and videotaped several conventional sessions. The authors found a negative correlation between GPA and prior content knowledge and that reflective, global learners seemed to learn better than active, sequential learners in the web-based course. Ultimately, the authors concluded that there was no significant difference in final grades for students in the web-based versus conventional course and that more research is needed on how interactive learning environments correlate to learning styles.
Keywords: active learning, learning styles, computer-mediated classrooms, surveys
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 15
Meloncon, Lisa. “Contingent Faculty, Online Writing Instruction, and Professional Development in Technical Communication.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 256–72.
Meloncon studied contingent faculty and how they are prepared for online teaching in technical and professional communication (TPC) programs. Using the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) definition of “contingent faculty,” which includes full-time non-tenured track (FT-NTT) and part-time instructors (Meloncon excluded graduate students from her research). She surveyed 346 contingent faculty and conducted three case studies. The survey had a 26% response rate, with respondents being mostly white, female, FT-NTT who had taught for at least four years. Results indicated that while 57% had autonomy over online course design, 39% reported only partial autonomy while 4% had none. Nearly half, 48%, of respondents reported not knowing who had ownership, themselves or the institutions, of their online content. Further, while 62% of contingent faculty had taken a formal course training them to teach online, 14% paid for such training themselves. The three contingent faculty interviewed for case studies, identified by pseudonyms, confirmed Meloncon’s findings that there is a lack of professional development and training to improve teaching practices, indicating that even when training is provided, it is on the LMS and not pedagogical. Meloncon recommended a three-step approach for TPC program administrators to improve professional development for contingent faculty teaching online: (1) conduct “landscape readings” of resources and materials available related to technological, spatial, legal, managerial, pedagogical, and institutional aspects of teaching; (2) create a Community of Practice (CoP), a group of those concerned with learning how to do something better aligned with program outcomes; then (3) implement model of professional development. Meloncon used a pedagogical model as an example, as professional development should be pedagogically-driven rather than technologically-driven.
Keywords: contingent faculty, course design, professional development, course management system, community of practice, faculty development
OWI Principles: 5, 7, 12, 15
Miley, Michelle. “Writing Studios As Countermonument: Reflexive Moments From Online Writing Studios In Writing Center Partnerships.” The Writing Studio Sampler: Stories about Change, edited by Mark Sutton and Sally Chandler, University Press of Colorado, 2019, pg. 167–83.
Miley uses Paul Butler’s metaphor of “countermonument” to describe online writing studios as places of resistance to the corporatization and fossilization of programs in universities. The researcher drew on archived online writing studio conversations, email conversations outside the studio space, facilitator reflections and interviews with instructors and facilitators to show how online studios in a College of Technology helped rethink her motivations and methods for teaching writing in the disciplines. The online studios were beneficial because students communicated in writing through the whole process and were able to review answers to their questions in the discussion boards and encouraging them to build agency as they described their discipline’s conventions to facilitators. They benefited instructors who were calcified in their pedagogies and provided a place to resist stagnation, increase innovation, and assess the risks of those activities.
Keywords: writing studio, interviews, power, innovation, WID
OWI Principles: 4, 11, 12, 15
National Association of the Deaf. National Association of the Deaf, 2019, nad.org.
The National Association of the Deaf provides access to resources, products, and publications for individuals who have been diagnosed or are the parent or caregiver of someone who has been diagnosed as deaf or hard of hearing. The “Education Advocates” sub-section under the “Parents” tab provides information about how to gain access to free and appropriate education at the state level for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals, something which is still difficult to obtain. In the “Technology” area in the “ “Resources” drop-down menu, there is a multitude of information about the variety of technology that is now available to make multimedia accessible to individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, as required under the “21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act,” which is the first subsection here. The rest of the information in the “Resources” area is very useful, too, such as “How To File A Complaint” and “Employment and Vocational Rehabilitation,” though a lot of these resources vary state by state.
Keywords: accessibility, disabilities, resources, technology
OWI Principles: 1
National Center for Learning Disabilities. National Center for Learning Disabilities, 2019, ncld.org.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities provides access to resources, products, and publications for individuals who have been diagnosed or are the parent or caregiver of someone who has been diagnosed with a learning disability. The “Programs” tab links to a variety of other sites that may be helpful for supporting individuals with learning disabilities within home and educational environments. The “Parents” box in the middle of the main page sends you to another site (“Understood”), which has an “Assistive Technology” sub-section under the “School & Learning” tab where users can find information such as “who pays for assistive technology” in K-12 schools and “assistive technology that’s built into mobile devices.” Another key area of the website is the “Advocacy” area, which includes “Policy Updates and Resources” that link to a number of other news pieces and reports related to learning disabilities.
Keywords: accessibility, disabilities, resources, technology
OWI Principles: 1
Nielsen, Danielle. “Can Every Body Read What’s Posted? Accessibility in the Online Classroom.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 90–105.
Nielsen argues that “though an online class may look and act differently than a face-to-face course, diverse student populations can succeed in an online environment” (91). As such, this chapter makes a case for accessibility in online courses, and Nielsen pulls on universal design for learning and Sheryl Burgstahler as resources to focus on students with visual impairments, auditory impairments, cognitive disabilities, and students who have disabilities related to fine motor skills. This article also provides some specific pointers on how to achieve accessibility in online classrooms.
Keywords: accessibility, universal design
OWI Principles: 1
Nobles, Susanne, and Laura Paganucci. “Do Digital Writing Tools Deliver? Student Perceptions of Writing Quality Using Digital Tools and Online Writing Environments.” Computers and Composition, vol. 38, part A, 2015, pp. 16–31.
This study investigates whether high school freshmen English students positively perceive digital tools and online writing environments (e.g., blogs, Google Sites, and wikis) as able to foster better writing when compared to traditional handwritten composing (e.g., pen and paper). Nobles and Paganucci administered a survey to one class of eighteen freshman English students, analyzing quantitative survey data as well as qualitative, open-ended questions. Working with an online mentor, students completed assignments such as reflections on poetry read for class, composing their own poetry, and creating a multimodal video related to poetry. Upon completion of the four-week hybrid poetry section, students completed the survey. The authors used a paired t-test to interpret any significant differences between students’ perceptions of quality of writing and audience, and open-ended responses were analyzed for recurring phrases. Survey responses indicate that 94.4% of the students strongly agree or agree that they use “more interesting vocabulary and varied sentence structure” when composing digitally, and the majority of students strongly agree that digital tools and composing online develop better writing skills. Further, 94.4% of students strongly agree or agree that receiving peer feedback is better in an online setting and the majority also believe that composing and publishing online creates more opportunities for audience awareness and, thus, better writing. The open-ended analysis reveals two themes: students perceive that digital tools and online composing help them become better writers and promotes revision. Overall, although a small sample size, this study finds that students perceive that their writing, feedback, and sense of audience improves when composing online using digital tools.
Keywords: digital composing, K-12, feedback, audience, blogs, peer review
OWI Principles: 3, 4
Noroozi, Omid, Javad Hatami, Arash Bayat, Stan van Ginkel, Harm J. A. Biemans, and Martin Mulder. “Students’ Online Argumentative Peer Feedback, Essay Writing, and Content Learning: Does Gender Matter?” Interactive Learning Environments, 2018, DOI: 10.1080/10494820.2018.1543200.
Noroozi et al. study differences in argumentative feedback and essay writing between male and female writers in online settings. The researchers conducted pre- and post-tests in a biotechnology studies course where students completed a module that asked them to write an argument about GMOs, respond to the arguments of others, and then revise their original writing (n=189). The authors found that female and male students significantly differed in mean quality scores of their argumentative feedback, with female students providing higher quality feedback. Female and male students did not differ in mean quality scores for their essay, and both female and male students scores improved significantly from pre- to post-test. The knowledge of students regarding the topic of discussion improved for female and male students alike. They conclude that females and males do engage in argumentative peer feedback differently but that there is no difference between the groups in writing improvement.
Keywords: gender, modules, peer review, feedback, argument: English, student-to-student interaction, student success
OWI Principles: 4, 15
Odom, Stephanie, and Leslie Lindsey. “Hacking the Lecture: Transgressive Praxis and Presence Using Online Video.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2016, pp. 331–47.
In this book chapter, Odom and Lindsey describe a case study involving the use of “presence lectures” in an online freshman composition course. As a part of an institutional program to stay connected to students over the summer by offering general education courses online, faculty were asked to create online courses that satisfy certain standard requirements. One requirement was that the course have a specific number of video lectures, so faculty for the online composition course identified two types of video lectures: (1) traditional content-delivery, teacher-centered lectures; and (2) “presence lectures” to provide the close level of engagement (emotional labor) needed between teacher and student. Examples of “presence lectures” included video recordings where the instructor acknowledged student anxiety, explained assignment prompts and preemptively addressed concerns, and used a whiteboard app to model writing. Unfortunately, no students completed official course evaluations, but the teacher perceived not as many questions about assignments, a better understanding based on quality of student writing, and higher-than-average grades than there would have been without the “presence lectures.”
Keywords: lectures, content, video: Writing, multimodal
OWI Principles: 1, 9, 11, 13
Opel, Dawn S., and Jacqueline Rhodes. “Beyond Student as User: Rhetoric, Multimodality, and User-Centered Design.” Computers and Composition, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 71–81.
Proposing a heuristic, the authors offer a pedagogical approach to user-centered design (UCD) through a rhetorical, multimodal, and ethical lens that emphasizes play, flexibility, and critical reflection. Opel and Rhodes ask readers to think beyond teachers-as-designers wherein students become consumers, instead arguing for a “theory + play” approach, creating opportunities for discussion and critical thinking. Ultimately, the authors provide the following heuristic for UCD in composition classrooms: learn rhetorical theories (beyond public and private) related to identity markers like gender and race, consider how “industry rhetoric” (beyond accessibility and usability) shapes affordances and constraints related to civic engagement, problematize the rhetorical triangle, question the necessity of digital technology in the shaping of societal conditions, interrogate the parameters of an assignment in light of an investigation of power dynamics, participate in ethical actions and decisions related to industry rhetoric (e.g., copyright as it relates to open source tools), and imagine without fear of failure. Overall, this heuristic is applicable when designing composition classes, whether online, hybrid, or face-to-face.
Keywords: user-centered design, user experience, rhetoric, multimodal, ethics
OWI Principles: 3, 6, 11
Oswal, Sushil. “MOOCs in the Global Context.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2016, pp. 39–55.
Considering both an international and national (i.e., U.S.) view of MOOCs, Oswal critiques the assumption that MOOCs provide global benefits, asking 1) What assumptions about literacy and learning inform MOOC discourse about mass education and 2) What are underlying political, cultural, and economic motives behind MOOCs? Examining two of four composition MOOCs funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (The Ohio State University and Georgia Tech), Oswal recounts shortcomings experienced by the writing instructors who created and taught the courses—namely that the courses lacked interaction or “connectivism” and served more as a repository of information. Finding MOOCs, in general, to be rather “Americentric” with low completions rates, Oswal questions the value of offering certificates to international students who pay a fee to enroll. Most MOOCs are also Americentric in that they are hosted through U.S. companies like Coursera and Udacity, which has implications related to intellectual property and privacy rights, considering that international students might have less access to legal protections. Further, Oswal suggests that international students might see MOOCs as a way into a country’s specific educational system, not realizing that these courses likely will not serve that purpose. Oswal calls for more diverse, international faculty with foreign course offerings beyond language classes as well as transparency with regard to student demographics (i.e., most students are educated, employed men) as well as the merits and shortcomings of MOOCs with regard to educational standards and political agendas as they relate to Western economy.
Keywords: MOOCs, international students, globalism, Coursera, course management system
OWI Principles: 1, 6
Oswal, Sushil and Lisa Meloncon. “Saying No to the Checklist: Shifting from an Ideology of Normalcy to an Ideology of Inclusion in Online Writing Instruction.” WPA: Writing Program Administration, vol. 40, no. 3, 2017, pp. 61–77.
Oswal and Meloncon argue for “moving away from checklists, which promote an ideology of normalcy, and toward participatory curriculum design affords programs a way to think of OWC design in terms of an ideology of inclusion” (73). As such, this essay makes a case for ways of thinking about access as participatory instead of characteristics on a checklist for building access. While primarily written in response to sources such as the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework, Quality Matters Rubric (QM) rubric, and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), Oswal and Meloncon caution that these sources can only take online writing instructors so far. This article provides an essential insight into participatory design of OWCs.
Keywords: accessibility, inclusion, universal design, Quality Matters
OWI Principles: 1
Overstreet, Matthew. “Principled/Digital Composition’s ‘Ethics of Attunement’ and the Writing MOOC.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2016, pp. 75–86.
Applying the theory of ethics of attunement to writing pedagogy, Overstreet argues that writing teachers must fully involve students and cultivate their writing, which is an intellectual, affective, and ethical process. As a result, instructors are unable to teach effectively in a MOOC due to lack of student-teacher interaction and the student-to-teacher ratio. The ethics of teaching writing include student participation and receiving feedback from classmates. MOOCs often lack substantial human engagement; these courses focus on interaction with material in a streamlined digital setting. Overstreet considers whether MOOCs can meet the purpose of writing courses and fulfill requirements of higher-order thinking in a university environment where both economic and budgetary concerns and greater access to learning are central to administrators and instructors.
Keywords: MOOCs, ethics, pedagogy, affective
OWI Principles: 4, 11
Pang, Loren, and Chen Chwen Jen. “Inclusive Dyslexia-Friendly Collaborative Online Learning Environment: Malaysia Case Study.” Education and Information Technologies, vol. 23, no. 3, 2018, pp. 1023–42.
Pang and Jen provide valuable information about the “usage of text chat, forum and video conferencing for group discussion in online learning” (1039). As such, this study makes a case for computer-mediated communication (CMC) in OWCs. While primarily focused on students with dyslexia, Pang and Jen also conclude that CMC is valuable for online students without dyslexia as well. This article provides three recommendations regarding CMC (text chat, forum, or video conferencing) and is valuable for OWI.
Keywords: accessibility, computer-mediated communication, disability, mulitmodal, video: Writing
OWI Principles: 1
Parker, Anne, and Amanda Goldrick-Jones. “A Code of Ethics as a Collaborative Learning Tool: Comparing a Face-to-Face Engineering Team and Multidisciplinary Online Teams.” Writing in Knowledge Societies, edited by Doreen Starke-Meyerring et al., Parlor Press, 2011, pp. 299–320.
Parker and Goldrick-Jones investigate student motivations to write effectively and ethically in collaborative projects, both face-to-face and online. The authors argue that a written code of ethics created and approved by group members can provide a “location of encounter” to help students understand the challenges of professional communities. The multidisciplinary teams in the online classrooms all contributed to the code of ethics but did not fully follow that code. Face-to-face engineering teams revised their code of ethics throughout their project to acknowledge the need for respect, compromise, and participation through implementing status checks. Problems with the code of ethics for the online teams reflected the need for the assignment to be more successfully scaffolded into coursework and for teams to collaboratively draft the document to improve shared engagement and cooperative decision making. The authors see the face-to-face code of ethics as demonstrating the importance of community and commitment and urges technical writing instructors to use the code of ethics assignment to help students form professional communities in the classroom.
Keywords: community, collaboration, ethics, technical and professional writing
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11
Petrosino, Krista L. “Developmental Writing and MOOCs: Reconsidering Access, Remediation, and Development in Large-Scale Online Writing Instruction.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2016. pp. 153–68.
Petrosino surveys existing research and her own experiences teaching an MOOC in the context of access for developmental writers and other at-risk student populations. The rise of MOOCs is tied heavily to the concept of access, the physical and technological ability to access the online learning environment and course materials. However, their very nature complicates what we know works for development and remediation pedagogy (e.g., small class sizes, individual attention, etc.). Further, MOOCs generally allow for students to learn independently from day one, though most students usually develop this ability over the course of the semester. Ultimately, Petrosino recommends the collective MOOC for this student population; a collective MOOC allows for knowledge construction by participants rather than a one-on-one training scenario.
Keywords: MOOCs, developmental writing, accessibility, at-risk students
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4
Prince, Sarah, Rachel Willard, Ellen Zamarripa, and Matt Sharkey-Smith. "Peripheral (Re)Visions: Moving Online Writing Centers from Margin to Center." WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship, vol. 42, no. 5-6, 2018, p. 10-17.
Prince et al. describes an online writing tutoring (OWT) listserv which was developed after the authors received feedback from an October 2015 SIG at the IWCA. They also partnered with the Global Society of Online Literacy Educators (GSOLE), which is an IWCA affiliate, to ensure that GSOLE fully supported OWT. They point to the CCCC’s Principles and Effective Practices statement to argue that online students need online support equaling their on-campus counterparts in order to navigate the complex world of online literacy study. They critique the dearth of publications on OWT-specific practices, and outline the current publications that can serve as a strong foundation for the development of concrete best practices for OWT. Prince et al. encourage online writing tutors to join GSOLE’s IWCA affiliate and to present at regional and national IWCA conferences to shift OWT from the margins to the center of writing center and writing studies discourse.
Keywords: online tutoring, CCCC Principles Statement, listserv, writing centers
OWI Principles: 13, 14
Pritchard, Ruie Jane, and Donna Morrow. “Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Peer Review of Writing.” Computers and Composition, vol. 46, 2017, pp. 87–103.
Conducting a qualitative study, Pritchard and Morrow compare face-to-face and online peer review. Guided by two overarching research questions—1) Do the benefits of using face-to-face peer writing groups compare to online peer response groups? 2) What are the strengths and limitations within each mode?—the authors studied sixteen K-12 teachers of varying grade levels and content areas who were enrolled in a month-long graduate course that met every day during the summer. Teachers were randomly assigned to four-person writing groups where they participated in both face-to-face and online peer review. Additional research methods included email interviews, survey of technology competence, transcriptions of digital recordings, online postings, participant evaluations, pre- and post-tests, and a post-course survey. After meeting their peer group members face-to-face, the teachers participated in an online peer review, providing asynchronous feedback to drafts of a Writing Autobiography assignment. For the second peer review, participants shared a Childhood Memory draft, providing synchronous feedback face-to-face while the sessions were digitally recorded. Survey responses indicated that participants felt that the most important peer review rules to keep were: 1) do not apologize, 2) provide positive comments first, 3) do not interrupt, and 4) provide copies of drafts. In line with survey responses, observations of online groups also demonstrated that feedback was positive first with the latter part of the same feedback post being more critical. Contrary to survey responses, in all f2f groups and occasionally online, participants tended to apologize and would interrupt one another. Survey results also demonstrated that, while the percentages of participants who preferred face-to-face groups were greater than those who preferred online, a number of participants indicated comfort with either environment. Overall, this study finds that while the face-to-face environment provided practice in delivering feedback orally, the online environment provided opportunities for more writing and more time to consider responses. Although this study did not provide a fully online experience such as asynchronous peer tutoring, the experience mimics a hybrid course and could afford instructors unfamiliar with online teaching a means of entrance.
Keywords: peer review, face-to-face, feedback, survey, interviews, synchronous, collaboration
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11
Proulx, Emily. Meeting Student, Instructor, and Institutional Expectations in Online Writing Courses. Dissertation: University of Central Florida, 2017.
Proulx’s dissertation studies areas of agreement and disagreement about online writing course creation and implementation among online students and faculty members. She interviewed three instructors of varying rank and four students (all seniors or graduate students) enrolled in online writing courses. Proulx provides a context for institutional online faculty professional development, and then, using a constructivist grounded theory approach, Proulx analyzes interview transcripts to show gaps between student and instructor perceptions in three areas: transparency, access, and professional development. She ends her dissertation by calling for instructors to be more aware of the current literature around online writing instruction to adapt face-to-face assignments to better meet the needs of online students.
Keywords: dissertation, student perceptions, instructor perceptions, assignment design, professional development, transparency, accessibility
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 15
Quezada, Teresa, Beth Brunk-Chavez, and Evelyn Posey. “Connecting Writing Studies with Online Programs: UTEP’s Graduate Technical and Professional Writing Certificate Program.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2016, pp. 123–36.
This chapter describes the development of an online Technical and Professional Writing Certificate Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. The authors discuss the rationale for online delivery, the curriculum development process (including securing an institutional grant), and their collaboration with institutional stakeholders to establish program logistics. The authors then analyze the program design alongside the OWI Principles and Effective Practices, detailing the program’s alignment with the principles and emphasizing the relevance of principles related to inclusivity and accessibility, course and program design, and course caps. The chapter concludes with enrollment information and the results of student feedback surveys from the program’s first three years (2013-2016), which suggest that the program is positively perceived.
Keywords: graduate certificate, program design, OWI principles, technical and professional writing, surveys
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15
Racine, Sam, Denise Dilworth, and Lee-Ann M. Kastman Breuch. “Getting to Know Audiences in Cyberspace: A Usability Approach to Designing Skill Centers for Online Writing Centers.” The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association, vol. 33, no. 2, 2000, pp. 58–78.
Racine, Dilworth, and Kastman Breuch conducted usability research related to the University of Minnesota Online Writing Center’s (OWC) Skills Center in order to determine whether materials housed there address their audiences' needs and whether users find what they are looking for when they visit the site. Their pilot study included students and instructors from several sections of a required course for all students in the particular college where rhetoric resides. Implementing surveys and focus groups, the authors gathered general information for eight weeks, administered student surveys to three classes (about 60 students) during the last two weeks, and surveyed six instructors near the end of the course during the next semester. Then the authors conducted focus groups where they negotiated the perspectives of students and administrators with teachers to determine a preliminary web design for the Skills Center. Survey results indicated that students worry most about grammar and then organization and are challenged most by time constraints/management followed by understanding teacher expectations. Teachers indicated that they believe their students worry most about grammar and mechanics, grades, and meeting teacher expectations but that teachers themselves worry most about rhetorical analysis, genres, grammar, and organization. During focus groups, the authors maintain that they improved teachers' understanding of students' concerns by clarifying misconceptions, such as the disconnect between student needs and teacher expectations. Overall, the researchers concluded that the OWC Skills Center ought to include flexible databases and responsive interfaces.
Keywords: online writing center, usability, faculty expectations, surveys, focus groups, student perceptions
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 13, 14, 15
Rearden, Daniel. “Blended and Asynchronous Course Effectiveness in First-Year Composition: A Case Study.” Teacher-Scholar: The Journal of the State Comprehensive University, vol. 7, 2016, pp. 15–40.
Rearden assesses three asynchronous online and three blended first-year composition courses at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Fall 2013 to determine if these classes were effective and desirable. He provides a profile of first-year composition courses at Missouri S & T, which focuses on reading and critical thinking development. Student reading proficiency test scores were analogous in the blended and face-to-face sections and untested in the online courses. Using student surveys, instructor interviews and course grade distributions, Rearden identified benefits and challenges of blended and online courses using a shared curriculum. Students responded that they did not often voluntarily correspond with the instructors in online classes and indicated that they had difficulty navigating Blackboard. Online students had higher rates of As and Bs as well as Ds and Fs with significantly lower percentages of Cs. Reading diagnostic post-tests scores were slightly higher in the blended group compared to face-to-face control groups. He concludes that his data does not support arguments for online delivery enhancing instruction. In particular, lack of instructor-student engagement and the need for students to be self-motivated in online classes proved problematic.
Keywords: student perceptions, first-year composition, hybrid, face-to-face, reading, case study, student-instructor interaction
OWI Principles: 1, 6, 10, 13, 15
Richards, Sharolyn. Modernizing Composition with an Online Photography-Themed Course. Dissertation: Utah State University, 2018.
Richards argues that first-year composition students should learn to compose with images as well as text to understand how images and print work together. She describes how a photography-themed online composition course both helps students understand the relationship between images and text and meets the WPA Outcomes. Richards first demonstrates how the themed course meets the WPA Outcomes and then provides a syllabus outline and modules for the course.
Keywords: multimedia, multimodal, first-year composition, syllabus, modules, WPA Outcomes
OWI Principles: 1, 4
Robertson, Liane. “Teaching for Transfer Online: Insights From an Adapted Curricular Model.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 195–218.
This article reports the results of a study on a technical writing course designed using a teaching for transfer model. The study argues that the increased agency of students in online writing classes allows a better uptake of the TFT conceptual framework that is essential for transferring writing knowledge and practice to new situations. The researcher interviewed nine students in a 16-week course with the specific goal of helping students develop conceptual frameworks for writing that transfer from the writing classroom to other writing situations. The study showed that students who took more agency for their learning in online classrooms demonstrated a clearer understanding of key terms from the course and a more developed conceptual framework. Robertson attributes some of this difference to the role that reflection plays in the online writing classroom, citing metacognition as essential for transfer and encouraging instructors to engage students and develop their agency through clear writing goals and deliberate reflection.
Keywords: transfer, technical and professional writing, reflection, agency
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 15
Rodrigo, Rochelle, and Cristina D. Ramírez. “Balancing Institutional Demands with Effective Practice: A Lesson in Curricular and Professional Development.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 314–28.
Ramírez (the Professional and Technical Writing course director) and Rodrigo (the director of Online Writing Instruction at the University of Arizona) developed a four-course certificate program in professional and technical writing and argue for implementing a master course or template for online courses. After providing context and critiques from scholars not in favor of master courses, the authors explain that the UA Online Program requires that such courses undergo a Quality Matters peer-review process and that the majority of their instructors are graduate students who lack experience and are not trained as technical and professional communication scholars. The participatory design research method and the backwards design instructional design method culminate in sharing good practices and ideas related to design and/or learning. New online instructors indicated that they appreciated the course template because it afforded them time to communicate, monitor, and assess their class of nineteen students. The authors argue that using a master course should be an immersive and applied experience and that, by implementing the template, new online instructors are able to be professionalized and prepared more quickly, meeting departmental needs while learning about online instruction in ways more sustainable than a one-time workshop.
Keywords: template, professional development, faculty development, Quality Matters
OWI Principles: 7, 9, 12, 15
Romberger, Julia and Rochelle Rodrigo. “Frugal Realities: Hacker Pedagogy and Scrappy Students in an Online Program.” The New Normal: Pressures on Technical Communication Programs in the Age of Austerity, edited by Denise Tillery and Ed Nagelhout, Routledge, 2016, pp. 89–106.
Romberger and Rodrigo illustrate how the “hacker mentality” not only helps the growing number of students in online and computer-mediated classrooms adapt rhetorically to workplace situations, it also is a response to fiscal austerity in colleges and universities. They define “hacker pedagogy” as a means of “developing strong reflective practices that can be adapted to various contexts” by experimenting with technologies and processes, collaborating on process and production, abstracting from one technology to the next and thinking of their learning within larger systems (92). The scrappy students produced by a hacker pedagogy will be prepared to insert technological agency into projects and identify, articulate, and adapt to a variety of rhetorical situations. The authors describe a hacker pedagogy and provide example assignments to illustrate how hacker pedagogy is implemented in their classrooms.
Keywords: pedagogy, technical and professional writing, assignment design, technology
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 4, 13
Ruefman, Daniel. “Return to Your Source: Aesthetic Experience in Online Writing Instruction.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 3–16.
Ruefman argues that “inaccessible web-based courses can be revitalized by taking into account the single most important variable in learning – the human element” (15). As such, this chapter makes a case for purposeful instructional design through fostering an aesthetic learning experience. While primarily focused on the problem with inaccessible web-based courses, Ruefman also offers strategies for addressing the inaccessibility in these courses. This chapter provides a great overview of the shortcomings of traditional web-based courses versus what it means to actually design an online course with students in mind.
Keywords: accessibility, instructional design, user-centered design
OWI Principles: 1
Ruefman, Daniel, and Abigail G. Scheg, editors. Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction. Utah State University Press, 2016.
In this book, Ruefman and Scheg examines the teaching strategies used by effective online writing instructors. As such, this text is broken into three sections: Course Conceptualization and Support, Fostering Student Engagement, and MOOCs, with chapters devoted to each topic. Focused on how the authors of each chapter leveraged their individual practices, the editors frame the collection as a worthwhile set of tools for any emerging or established online writing instructor. This resource provides examples of effective digital teaching contexts and genres of digital text.
Keywords: accessibility, engagement, MOOCs, support, course management system, student engagement, faculty development, professional development, multimedia
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14
Sackey, Donnie Johnson, Minh-Tam Nguyen, and Jeffery T. Grabill. “Constructing Learning Spaces: What We Can Learn from Studies of Informal Learning Online.” Computers and Composition, vol. 35, 2015, pp. 112–24.
Operating on the premise that as more students take online classes, fewer will enroll in physical classes and that MOOCs might be the future of online education, the authors situate their research among informal learning environments, namely social media usage in museums, in order to investigate two overarching questions: 1) What conditions are necessary for learning to occur in online spaces? 2) What are the best practices associated with effective online learning? Using the Facilitation Project, a research study designed to investigate facilitation styles, authors identified and tested techniques in two museum environments that they believed helped construct an environment in which learning could occur. The first site, Science Buzz, is a website for exploring science content at the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) and is considered an excellent platform for exploring current science. The second (Experimonth) created by the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science (MLS) is social software that distributes a month-long set of activities. Using discourse analysis, the authors categorized the rhetorical work of facilitation within Science Buzz and Experimonth, looking for indicators of learning. Overall, they argue that 1) the rhetorical work of facilitation and sharing is what makes digital environments learning spaces, 2) facilitation can be identified, taught, and learned, and 3) constructing learning environments within formal/academic learning programs from informal/non-academic learning projects might be possible.
Keywords: discourse analysis, facilitation, social media, mobile apps, MOOCs
OWI Principles: 3, 6, 11
Salisbury, Lauren E. “Just a Tool: Instructors’ Attitudes and Use of Course Management Systems for Online Writing Instruction.” Computers and Composition, vol. 48, 2018, pp. 1–17.
Calling for a standardization of online learning education (OLE) terms, Salibury begins by explaining her use of course management system (CMS) over learning management system (LMS). Using interviews and observations to describe instructors’ teaching practices in face-to-face classrooms when compared to online classes, Salisbury investigates how instructors “reconcile, complicate, or adapt” CMSs to better understand instructors’ connections between teaching styles in face-to-face classes when compared to the ways they use CMCs. Participants included full-time and part-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants. At this university, only eight sections out of fifty-four composition courses were fully online (one course was hybrid). Among interviewees, 20% taught online-only or hybrid and 34% of those who participated in observations of their CMSs also taught at least one online or hybrid course. Salisbury found a disconnect between instructors’ f2f classrooms and their CMS usage, using Blackboard as an administrative tool rather than as a tool to facilitate interaction. This research also found that instructors use CMS tools they believe are efficient (e.g., Grade Center and SafeAssign) but choose not to adopt other tools or tools they cannot learn quickly. Further, this research found that deeper learning, though possible, was not achieved via CMSs and that instructors tend not to view CMSs as important for teaching and learning. Salisbury concludes by pointing out that this study also reinforces the idea that instructors need to be trained on best practices related to online writing instruction (OWI).
Keywords: course management systems, Blackboard, interviews
OWI Principles: 3, 7, 15
Sapp, David Alan, and James Simon. “Comparing Grades in Online and Face-to-Face Writing Courses: Interpersonal Accountability and Institutional Commitment.” Computers and Composition, vol. 22, 2005, 471–89.
Sapp and Simon examine the relationship of assessment to retention by comparing grades in online and face-to-face composition and business writing courses and by surveying online students. They identify a “thrive or dive” mentality in online writing classes where students are more likely to receive either high grades or very low (or incomplete) grades compared to face-to-face classes. One reason for this was that high performing students tended to complete online classes while low-performing students dropped out. The researchers identify persistent myths about online courses and recommend that instructors in online courses orient students to classes, build in real-time interactions, build community, provide positive feedback, and maintain sensitivity to diversity to limit online students’ feelings of isolation.
Keywords: grading, face-to-face, retention, community, diversity, surveys
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 10, 11, 13, 15
Seward, Dan E. “Conversation Starters: Orchestrated Asynchronous Discussion to Build Academic Community among First-Year Writers.” Online Literacy Open Resource, Global Society of Online Literacy Educators, 2017, www.glosole.org/conversation-starters-orchestrating-asynchronous-discussion-to-build-academic-community-among-first-year-writers.html.
This open resource uses the metaphor of an orchestra to conceptualize and encourage student-to-student interaction in online writing courses. Seward describes how he prepares the class and how he facilitates (or orchestrates) asynchronous discussions. These orchestrated discussions can provide guidance and structure, introduce students to new literacy practices, and encourage reflection and collaboration. Seward describes how to design discussions around the orchestral metaphor and provides both video and written instructions 0f how to implement these discussions in online courses.
Keywords: discussion boards, student engagement, instructor interaction, asynchronous
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11
Seward, Dan E. “Orchestrated Online Conversation: Designing Asynchronous Discussion Boards for Interactive, Incremental, and Communal Literacy Development in First-Year College Writing.” Research in Online Literacy Education, vol.1, no. 1, 2018.
In this article, Seward models a literacy studies-focused approach to discussion board research in online composition classrooms. He draws from past research which explores writing classrooms as a community of inquiry (COI). However, Seward tries to shift the focus of this research from “participation and discussion management” to “implementing particular approaches for teaching composition.” Using a musical metaphor, he creates an outline for course discussions where students progress through movements and the instructor acts as a “performance modeler and reflective practitioner.” Seward grounds these discussions in literacy studies and tries to give students opportunities to explore affinity groups regardless of their socioeconomic background or academic plans. A description of how he implements this method of literacy development appears in the open resource “Conversation Starters: Orchestrated Asynchronous Discussion to Build Academic Community among First-year Writers” (annotated in this bibliography).
Keywords: community of inquiry, discourse, literacy, discussion board, reflection, modeling
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 6
Shultz Colby, Rebekah. “Using Online Writing Communities to Teach Writing MOOCs.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 317–30.
Shultz Colby discusses her study of the types of questions asked and types of feedback given on an online writing forum to determine ways to deal with the impossible task of giving specific writing feedback in an MOOC. Colby qualitatively coded 102 questions asked during the course of one year on an online writing forum (Technical Writing World). She coded the types of questions asked, finding that most asked specific questions related to design, writing, software usage, specific genres, style guides, and documentation practices. She also coded the types of feedback or responses, finding that the replies either provided specific answers in the post of the reply or by linking to a specific answer or asked the original poster to research the issue for more information. Colby indicated that the questions and responses evidenced inherent awareness of audience and purpose in the writing community. She determined three pedagogical approaches that could be applied in an MOOC: (1) direct students to one or more existing online forums for specific writing advice; (2) task students with conducting their own qualitative studies of one or more online writing forums; or (3) design the MOOC itself to operate as an online writing forum, allowing mini-forums for more specific aspects of writing.
Keywords: MOOCs, feedback, discussion board, qualitative
OWI Principles: 3, 5, 11, 15
Skurat Harris, Heidi, and Michael Greer. “Over, Under, or Through: Design Strategies to Supplement the LMS and Enhance Interaction in Online Writing Courses.” Communication Design Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 4, 2017, pp. 46–54.
Skurat Harris and Greer argue that online writing instruction is a process of design that is often constrained by institutionally mandated LMS platforms. Drawing on Blythe’s (2001) distinction between systems-centered and user-centered approaches to design, they propose a user-centered approach to online course design. This approach is anchored in three design principles: backward design; chunky, multimodal content; and student choice. The article begins with a literature review of recent scholarship in digital design and its relationship to student agency and power. The literature review develops the central claim that LMS technologies create spaces that shape and often restrict student learning. The article then moves into a discussion of design principles intended to help online writing instructions more beyond--or over, under, or through--their LMS platforms in order to design sound online writing courses. Skurat Harris and Greer conclude that “implementing the concept of learner-focused design requires instructors to push against the walled space of dominant LMS platforms” using design principles adapted from, in many cases, commercial user-experience design. The article points to a need for additional research in user-experience design and argues for a merging of user-centered design principles with OWI practices.
Keywords: user-centered design, course management systems, course design and program design: English, agency
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 10, 11
Skurat Harris, Heidi, and George H. Jensen. “The Future of Independent Online Writing Programs: The Department of Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.” Weathering the Storm: Independent Writing Programs in the Age of Fiscal Austerity, edited by Richard Matzen and Matthew Abraham, Utah State University Press, 2019, pp. 118–27.
Skurat Harris and Jensen describe the evolution of online writing programs at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock as the department forged new territory (1994-2008) and developed online programs (2008-2016) and how the program will respond to new fiscal and institutional challenges beyond 2016. As one of the first stand-alone writing programs in the country, the Department of Rhetoric and Writing at UA Little Rock developed a BA and MA in professional and technical writing, moving these programs online in 2016 and adding a Graduate Certificate in Online Writing Instruction to meet the needs of its population of primarily non-traditional, working students. The authors lay out how the department’s focus on a nodes/network based program in the online programs can improve accessibility by incorporating more experiential and multidisciplinary learning that will sustain the department through fiscal austerity.
Keywords: technical and professional writing, online writing programs, experiential, multidisciplinary, writing program administration
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 11, 13
Skurat Harris, Heidi, Dani Nier-Weber, and Jessie Borgman. “When the Distance is not Distant: Using Minimalist Design to Maximize Interaction in Online Writing Courses and Improve Faculty Professional Development.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 17–36.
Skurat Harris, Nier-Weber, and Borgman argue that “using minimalist design, modeling best practices, and focusing on interaction in [their] online classrooms has not only bridged the distance between content and course delivery in [their] own classes, it has bridged the distance between [them] as they teach in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas” (32-33). As such, this chapter makes a case for “less is more” philosophy in online courses so that instruction can focus more deeply on a narrow range of topics and/or assignments. While primarily focused on application of the Conference on College Composition and Communication Committee for Best Practices in Online Writing Instruction and the Online Learning Consortium Five Pillars for Online Instruction, Skurat Harris, Nier-Weber, and Borgman also overview minimalist design as it applies to OWCs. The authors provide a convincing argument that less is definitely more in the online writing classroom.
Keywords: accessibility, course design: Writing, faculty development, professional development, OWI Principles
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 7
Skurat Harris, Heidi, Lisa Meloncon, Beth Hewett, Mahli Xuan Mechenbier, and Diane Martinez. “A Call for Purposeful Pedagogy-Driven Course Design in Online Writing Instruction.” Research in Online Writing Instruction, vol. 2, no. 1, 2019, pp. 83–128.
Following up on Martinez et al.’s article on a survey of U.S. based online writing students, Skurat Harris et al. call for online writing instructors to implement a purposeful-pedagogy driven course design (PPDD). This design “creates environments where each reading, activity, assignment, and assessment correlates with the course learning outcomes.” The authors first analyze the qualitative data from the student surveys to identify what types of instruction students found most and least helpful in online writing courses. Students more often found instructor and peer feedback helpful in improving their writing and were more likely to indicate that discussion boards and multimedia materials were less helpful in improving their writing. Based on this data, Skurat et al. describe the methodology for the PPDD classroom, including examples of assignments from PPDD classrooms. They conclude with guidelines for supporting instructors efforts to create effective OWI classes, including a focus on how labor issues impact pedagogy, increased emphasis on pedagogy over technology, additional professional development opportunities, and additional research to include in-depth studies of student experience in online writing classes.
Keywords: survey, qualitative research, instructional design, pedagogy, course and program design: English, student perceptions, technical and professional writing, professional development, contingent faculty
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 13, 15
Simpson, Shelah. Student Perceptions of Online Writing Center Designs for Fully Online Programs. Dissertation: Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 2017.
Simpson’s dissertation studies student perceptions of and experiences with both institutional and commercial writing tutoring services. This study used a multiple case-study design, including surveys of fully-online students (n=550) and two rounds of email interviews with 13 of the survey respondents using a framework focused on convenience, connectedness, and contribution to academic progress. Over half of the participants indicated they had not used either service (n=281) because they weren’t aware that they existed or didn’t have the need or time to seek assistance. Students who did use the online writing center or the commercial services indicated that academic progress was a priority over either convenience or connectedness, and they preferred asynchronous reviews of full drafts, even if those reviews meant increased wait times. Simpson also studied student preferences for asynchronous tutoring by academic goal and student perceptions of asynchronous methods for both services. The author details her student interviews and analyzes those using in-case and cross-case synthesis. She concludes that OWCs need to be aware of the time required to use asynchronous and synchronous services, writing center directors should prioritize asynchronous over synchronous tutoring and market OWCs intentionally, and that online tutors should provide encouraging, directive feedback during tutoring sessions.
Keywords: writing center, qualitative research, quantitative research, surveys, interviews, case studies, online tutoring, synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, student perception, student satisfaction
OWI Principles: 1, 13, 14, 15
Spore, Melissa Ann. “OWLs in Flight: Online Writing Labs for Distance Learning.” Proceedings IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, 2001, pp. 137–38.
Spore identifies the, at the time, under-utilized and under-studied support system in distance education—the online writing lab, which has the potential to quickly and easily assist distance OWI students. Spore maintains that there is a legitimate need for online writing lab tutor-based support, and that the OWL can provide benefits beyond the face-to-face medium if educators can overcome the risks. Instructors interested in distance resources and support for students will appreciate this description of a potentially helpful, low-cost tool.
Keywords: online writing centers, tutoring
OWI Principles: 3, 10, 11, 13, 14
St. Amant, Kirk. “Of Friction Points and Infrastructures: Rethinking the Dynamics of Offering Online Education in Technical Communication in Global Contexts.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, 223–41.
This entry presents a framework for researching the dynamics of online education in global contexts. Using a review of the literature across different fields (education, cross-cultural communication, public policy, information technology, and technical communication), the entry argues that two different infrastructures affect how different cultures around the world access and interact in online educational contexts. These two infrastructures are hard infrastructures (i.e., physical creations that affect the flow of items in the real word) and soft infrastructures (i.e., unwritten social norms that affect exchanges). Each encompasses variables that affect how individuals in different parts of the world and/or from different cultures perceive and respond to online exchanges. The entry notes that an understanding of the variables within each infrastructure can help educators create online educational experiences that better address the educational needs and expectations of globally distributed students. The entry also provides examples of how researchers and teachers can apply these ideas and use such variables to create a more effective online learning experience for globally distributed students.
Keywords: culture, international, research, pedagogy, globalization,
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 10
St. Amant, Kirk. “Contextualizing Cyber Composition for Cultures: A Usability-Based Approach to Composing Online for International Audiences.” Computers and Composition, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 82–93.
This entry argues effective online education involves creating “usable” materials and experiences (i.e., things students in online classes can readily, easily, and effectively use to achieve the learning objectives they have for a class). As these factors are based on cultural norms and experiences, addressing usability in online learning involves understanding the expectations of different cultures. This entry uses a review of the literature in usability, online education, and cross-cultural communication to present a usability-based approach for researching the online educational expectations of different cultural groups. The entry also explains how educators can apply the results of such research to create course materials and educational experiences that better meet the usability expectations of different cultural groups. In presenting this approach, the entry notes that continual work in this area is needed. It also encourages readers to undertake such usability-based research and share their results so educators can gain a better understanding of cultural factors affecting online learning in global contexts.
Keywords: usability testing, culture, research, international
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 10
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, Part B, 2015, pp. v-x.
In this special issue introduction, the editors present a framework for identifying areas where online writing can break down in global contexts. Referred to as “friction points,” these situations often occur in one of three areas: contacting (being able to use online media to access an audience and share one’s online compositions with others), conveying (being able to use online media to share digital texts in a way an audience can understand and act upon), and connecting (being able to use online writing practices to create interactive communities that engage in greater discussions of ideas
referred to these as the “3Cs” of writing in global online contexts). Through an applied literature review, the editors reveal how these three areas are comprised of factors that can greatly hinder online writing practices within international settings. They also provide suggestions for how writing educators can use this 3Cs framework to better research friction points and identify strategies for addressing them. The editors then explain how each entry in the special issue examines a particular 3Cs area in terms of responding to a particular friction point. They conclude the entry with a call to action and encourage writing instructors both to explore friction points found in the 3Cs areas and to share findings in order to improve our understanding of these online writing dynamics.
Keywords: culture, globalization, international, audience
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 10
Stella, Julie, and Michael Corry. “Intervention in Online Writing Instruction: An Action-theoretical Perspective.” Computers and Composition, vol. 40, 2016, pp. 164–74.
OWI is uniquely situated to support student success by researching and deploying interventions based on action-theoretical models of student engagement research because they emphasize agentic actions. Stella and Corry explain Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and its connection to studies on student engagement. In SDT, student action is central to their motivation and engagement. Furthermore, online education regularly traces student action within a course, such as turning in assignments, to determine levels of engagement. However, even with these studies, Stella and Corry, suggest that students are often disengaged before these actions are tracked. Since the level of agency and dialogue between instructor and student are high in OWI courses, OWI courses can be sites of first response to less engaged students. Stella and Corry go on to list possible interventions, such as highly engaged asynchronous discussion board activities and student outreach, and they further connect ideas of learning to learn and metacognitive tasks. This articles supports OWI as a site of action and intervention, which can foster greater student success in an online environment. By utilizing these methods, it pushes past traditional theories that say online learners must already be highly motivated and independent learners before they undertake an online course, and it paves the way for all students to be successful online students through appropriate interventions.
Keywords: student engagement, student success
OWI: 1, 3, 4, 11, 12
Stevens, Carol, Barbara D’Angelo, Nathalie Rennell, Diann Muzyka, Virginia Pannabecker, and Barry Maid. “Implementing a Writing Course in an Online RN-BSN Program.” Nurse Educator, vol. 39, no. 1, 2014, pp. 17–21.
Stevens et al. recount a collaborative project between their technical writing and nursing faculty to help online nursing students encounter a major-specific writing course earlier in their education. After describing the development and features of their course, they describe the collaborative nature and benefits of such a project. They argue for the importance of writing skills for nurses and one potential solution to benefit online students. Implications from this work include general application for those attempting collaborative, interdisciplinary projects, though it is clearly geared towards nursing.
Keywords: WAC, WID, collaboration technical and professional writing
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10
Stewart, Jennifer. “Introduction Discussion Board Forums in Online Writing Courses are Essential: No, Really, They Are.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 294–316.
Stewart described a mixed-methods study of an online first-year composition class to extrapolate findings related to student engagement in online courses, including MOOCs. Stewart observed the class in the teaching assistant role in Blackboard, giving her access to all discussion boards, emails, and assignments. She used activity theory to analyze the introduction discussion board postings and conducted interviews with the instructor and several students. She found that student interaction remained consistent throughout the course, though the discussion board interaction evolved from mere agreeability to higher-order content as the semester progressed. She concluded that the instructor’s attention to modeling behavior of interaction influenced how the students ultimately interacted with one another.
Keywords: MOOCs, discussion board, student-student interaction, instructor-student interaction, mixed methods, student engagement, Blackboard
OWI Principles: 6, 11
Stewart, Mary K. "The Community of Inquiry Survey: An Assessment Instrument for Online Writing Courses." Computers and Composition, vol. 52, 2019, pp. 37–52.
Stewart validates a modified version of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) Survey (Arbaugh et al., 2008) for the context of writing studies. She delivered the survey to four sections of second-year composition at a four-year institution in the Mid-Atlantic (n=32; 32% response rate). Analysis of internal consistency confirms that the survey items reliably measure the three constructs of the CoI Framework, and multiple regression analysis additionally confirmed that the relationship between the presences is consistent with the theoretical assumptions of the Framework. The highest percentage of variance was explained when the model included cognitive presence as the dependent variable, and both teaching presence and social presence were significant predictors. While these findings indicate that the modified CoI Survey is a valid assessment instrument for the context of online writing courses, analysis of the mean ratings of individual survey items indicates that students in this study rated items directly associated with collaborative learning lower than items associated with the students’ individual experiences with the course. Consequently, while CoI may be a useful framework for understanding student perceptions of online writing courses, there may also be an opportunity for writing instructors to further emphasize collaboration and student-student interaction. Stewart ultimately calls for additional research on the value of the CoI Survey for informing course design and assessment practices in writing studies.
Keywords: community of inquiry, first-year composition, assessment: Writing; surveys, research, collaboration, student-student interaction, course design: Writing, student satisfaction
OWI Principles: 3, 7, 11, 15
Stewart, Mary K. “Communities of Inquiry: A Heuristic for Designing and Assessing Interactive Learning in Technology-Mediated FYC.” Computers and Composition, vol. 45, 2017, pp. 67–84.
Stewart recommends that composition scholars and instructors adopt the Community of Inquiry (CoI) Framework as a heuristic for designing and assessing interactive learning activities. She describes the theoretical relationship between the framework and composition theory, and then employs the framework to qualitatively analyze one online first-year composition student’s experience with three interactive activities: asynchronous discussion, synchronous co-authoring in a Google document, and synchronous webinar chat. She found that the student had a positive experience in the asynchronous discussion forum, but had negative experiences in the synchronous Google document and synchronous webinar. These findings indicate that interactive learning is possible in asynchronous activities and that synchronous activities do not necessarily facilitate interactive learning. Stewart concludes that the technology that mediates interaction has an important influence on how students interact, but it is not the case that interactive learning is only possible in one environment or another. She further argues that writing instructors can employ the CoI Framework as a heuristic for designing activities that make it likely for students to engage in interactive learning. In the language of CoI, regardless of the learning environment, interactive learning requires a combination of social, teaching, and cognitive presence. The article closes with a step-by-step guide for applying the CoI Framework to activity design.
Keywords: community of inquiry, first-year composition, asynchronous, discussion boards, synchronous, instructional design, qualitative, research
OWI Principles: 3, 11, 15
Stewart, Mary K. “Community Building and Collaborative Learning in OWI: A Case Study of Principle 11.” Research in Online Literacy Instruction, vol. 1, no. 1, 2018.
Stewart directly engages with Principle 11 in this case study of an online first-year composition course. She differentiates between student satisfaction and collaborative learning as goals of community, and argues for increased attention to collaborative learning in conversations about Principle 11. She then employs the Community of Inquiry Framework to examine the extent to which students engaged in collaborative learning in an online research writing course at a four-year university in the Mid Atlantic. The case study in this article is drawn from a larger study that included a survey of students in four sections of an online writing course, observations of ten students, and interviews with five students. The data in this article focuses on one course section, including observations of three students and interviews with two of those students. Stewart and a graduate student coded the observation files according to the CoI coding scheme (three categories of teaching presence, three categories of social presence, four categories of cognitive presence), with acceptable inter-rater reliability (Kappa = 0.58-0.77). Stewart reports on the coding frequencies and presents interview data to explain and contextualize the coded observation data. The findings indicate that students experienced a sense of community with their peers and instructor, such that they felt engaged in and satisfied with the course. However, the students did not indicate that peer interaction facilitated their learning, and there was little evidence of knowledge co-construction in the data. In the language of CoI, the course in this study facilitated a strong teaching and social presence in support of student satisfaction, but did not facilitate the social-cognitive and teaching-social-cognitive presence required for collaborative learning. The article concludes with recommended revisions to the Principle 11 effective practices.
Keywords: first-year composition, community of inquiry, collaboration, interviews, research, qualitative, student satisfaction, student-student interaction, student-instructor interaction
OWI Principles: 11, 15
Stewart, Mary K., Jenae Cohn, and Carl Whithaus. “Collaborative Course Design and Communities of Practice: Strategies for Adaptable Course Shells in Hybrid and Online Writing Instruction.” Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning eJournal, vol. 9, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1–20.
Stewart, Cohn, and Whithaus advocate for a community of practice approach to course design and instruction. They describe their experience with developing hybrid and online first-year composition courses at a large public university on the west coast of the United States, which included departmentally-sanctioned teaching journals during the first two years of the program implementation. The article analyzes those journals to trace the community of practice that emerged among the course instructors, and to describe the complicated relationship between instructor agency and shared curriculum. The authors conclude with a call for collaboration among instructors, instructional designers, and writing program administrators during course design, and for the deliberate facilitation of a community of practice among instructors during course implementation.
Keywords: hybrid, first-year composition, communities of practice, agency, templates, writing program administration, instructional design
OWI Principles: 5, 7, 11, 12
Stewart-McCoy, Michelle. “Beautifying the Beast: Customizing Online Instruction in a Writing Course for Jamaican Tertiary-Level Students.” Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, vol. 4, no. 3, 2013, pp. 157–74.
Stewart-McCoy describes the design and development of a customized online writing course at a Jamaican government-owned institution of higher education which offers technical and professional education courses and training. Given a mandate to offer academic writing courses online at this institution, Stewart-McCoy designed a customized online academic writing course with the purpose of addressing the challenges Jamaican tertiary-level students experience with writing courses and with online courses. Using design-based research (DBR), including planning, action, and reflection, Stewart-McCoy examined students’ teaching mode preferences and learning styles (phase 1) and considered students’ academic writing needs via a questionnaire and instructor interviews (phase 2). Since this article was published before the course was implemented (phase 3), no data is presented related to the effectiveness of the course (phase 4).
Keywords: international, course design: Writing, reflection, surveys, academic writing
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 6, 11, 12, 15
Straub, Carrie, and Eleazar Vasquez III. “Effects of Synchronous Online Writing Instruction for Students with Learning Disabilities.” Journal of Special Education Technology, vol. 30, no. 4, 2015, pp. 213–22.
Straub and Vasquez address the difficulties and possible benefits of using synchronous online technology to teach K-12 students with disabilities. This study investigates how four students with learning disabilities, ranging from grades 6 to 10, were assisted by collaborative learning software (including Adobe Connect and Google Docs) to improve a variety of composition outcomes. This work informs educators concerned about the potential for students with learning disabilities to succeed in online settings and shares a qualitative example of one approach.
Keywords: synchronous, disability studies, K-12
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 10, 13, 14, 15
Tai, Hung-Cheng, Wen-Chuan Lin, and Shu Chin Yang. “Exploring the Effects of Peer Review and Teachers’ Corrective Feedback on EFL Students’ Online Writing Performance.” Journal of Educational Computing Research, vol. 53, no. 2, 2015, pp. 284–309.
Tai, Lin, and Yang investigate a question in EFL composition/OWI research—are teacher feedback or peer review pedagogical approaches more effective in online EFL settings? Comparing two test groups of Taiwan EFL students, one with a teacher-feedback-only regimen and one with a combined teacher-led-feedback/peer-review strategy, they found that the latter yielded greater results in content, organization, grammar, mechanics, and style. While this study mostly applies to online EFL instruction, there are insights into English pedagogy and benefits of peer-review in general.
Keywords: peer review, feedback, ESL/ELL/L2, collaboration
OWI Principles: 3, 10, 11, 13, 15
Tham, Jason Chew Kit. “Audience, User, Producer: MOOCs as Activity Systems.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2016, pp. 254–77.
The author examines MOOCs (massive online open courses) as socio-rhetorical activity systems, using activity theory to analyze the roles of the different populations interacting in the course. Tham begins by discussing historical shifts in rhetoricians’ views of audience to a more participatory, active role. He then uses an authoethnographic approach to discuss tasks of teachers and learners in a Coursera MOOC on Marketing. The author draws on a previous study by Kizilcec, Piech, & Schneider (2013) to identify different roles in the course activity system of the MOOC: these include the engaged learner, auditing learner, sampling learner, course provider, and course instructor. The author advocates for writing instructors teaching in MOOCs to prioritize user needs, and makes recommendations for designing MOOCs for usability: collect data early, keep participants informed, allow personalization, and allow iterative development.
Keywords: MOOCs, usability testing, audience, activity theory, autoethnography, Coursera, course design: Writing
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 6
Thonus, Terese, and Beth L. Hewett. “Follow this PATH: Conceptual Metaphors in Writing Center Online Consultations.” Metaphor and the Social World, vol. 6, no. 1, 2016, pp. 52–78.
Thonus and Hewett discuss the role of metaphors in teaching new concepts. In their study, they analyze graduate-student consultants’ use of conceptual metaphors in an online writing center. Half of a group of graduate consultants was trained in strategic metaphor use and then encouraged to 1) introduce metaphors into their consultations, 2) be consistent with their use of metaphors, 3) attend to metaphors used by writers, 4) reuse metaphors employed by writers. The researchers then compared the consultants’ instruction before and after the metaphor training, and compared the instruction of the metaphor-trained consultants and the untrained consultants. The consultants then evaluated 51 papers submitted to the online writing center. It was found that the trained instructors employed a greater number of coherent metaphors—such as discussing a text as an object, or describing progress through a text like travel—than they had before training. They also used more conceptual metaphors than did the untrained instructors. Thonus and Hewett note the importance of metacognitive language in online tutoring and point to a need to study student writers’ responses to consultants’ metaphors.
Keywords: writing center, metaphors, metacognition, tutor training
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 14
Topacio, Katrina Ninfa M. “Exploring the Use of Online Educational Platform in Teaching Writing Among ESL Students.” Journal of Language and Linguistics Studies, vol. 14, no.1, 2018, pp. 86–101.
Using a quasi-experimental approach and focus groups, Topacio investigates the effectiveness of Learning Management Software (LMS) to improve first-year ESL Electrical Engineering majors’ ability to write argumentative essays. Participants were divided into an experimental and control group, with the experimental group being tasked with completing ten online lessons and the control group being given those same lessons with an instructor in a traditional classroom. Overall, Topacio found no significant difference in writing performance between the experimental and control groups, though a test of significance found that the control group significantly improved their post-essay scores in relation to content (i.e., grammar and mechanics, organization, and tone, style and word choice). Focus group interviews suggested that, while students found communicating in the LMS produced less anxiety when they expressed opinions or received criticism, students still preferred face-to-face teacher lectures rather than autonomous learning. Topacio concludes with a call for teaching students autonomous learning skills.
Keywords: ESL/ELL/L2, quasi-experimental, course management system, focus groups, WID
OWI Principles: 4, 10, 15
Tseptsura, Mariya. “Bringing Cross-Cultural Composition into the Online FY Writing Course: Focus on Language and Identity.” Research in Online Literacy Education, vol. 1, no. 1, 2018,
Tseptsura addresses diversity in the online classroom by building an experimental cross-culture English composition course. The goal of this course was to simultaneously address the specific needs of L2 students in an online space and improve linguistic diversity understanding in L1 students. Tseptsura outlines a case-study in which she explains how she redesigned her course to foreground language diversity issues. Each of the three main assignments overtly addresses language issues. Most L2 students have a tutor that allows the student to process writing in their own language. Tseptsura draws on her TESOL background to give feedback to students and aid the course design. She concluded that L1 students showed some resistance to the assignments at first but ultimately came to appreciate language diversity and dialects. She also found that L2 students were able to use their L1 as an asset in the course instead of a deficiency. Tseptusura emphasized that cross-cultural composition can humanize the online writing classroom by focusing on multiple literacy experiences.