The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction: Principle 1

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


Return to The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction


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


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

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

Keywords: sexuality, LGBTQ, gender, accessibility, intersectionality
OWI Principles: 1, 15 

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

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

Keywords: legislation, disability studies
OWI Principles: 1

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

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

Keywords: agency, power, asynchronous interaction, discussion: English, interviews
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 15

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

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

Keywords: online writing labs, writing resources, tutoring: English,
OWI Principles: 1, 14, 15

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,


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

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,


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


Autism Society of America. ASA, 2016,


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


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


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

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

Keywords: computer-mediated communication, networked classrooms
OWI Principles:  1

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


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

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

Keywords: writing center, listservs, tutoring: English
OWI Principles: 13, 1

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

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

Keywords: discussion: English, African American, literature, culturally responsive pedagogy, course and program design: English
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 11

Bjork, 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


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

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

Keywords: mobile technology, pedagogy: English, composition
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4

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

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

Keywords: literacy, learning styles, distance learning, pedagogy: English, course management systems, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principles: 1, 2 

Blair, Kristine. “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


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

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

Keywords:  multimodal, accessibility, digital composing
OWI Principles:  1, 11

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

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

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

Keywords: course and program design: English, web design, usability testing, user-centered design
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 10

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

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

Keywords: ESL, EFL, multilingual writers, teaching with technology: English, blogs, networked classrooms, pedagogy: English
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11

Borgman, Jessie. “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. "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, 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 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 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 ( 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 


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, 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, 


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

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

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

Keywords: narrative, identity, reflection
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 10, 11

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

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

Keywords: retention, power, distance education, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11

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

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

Keywords: networked classrooms, empirical study, EFL
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 15

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

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

Keywords: accessibility, faculty development, multimodal, modeling, student engagement, course and program design: English
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7 

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

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

Keywords: peer review, collaboration, online writing centers, computer-mediated communication, remediation, WAC, technical and professional writing, course and program design: English
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 13, 14

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

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

Keywords: EFL, e-mail, course and program design: English, course-management systems
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10

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


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

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

Keywords: literature, disability studies, accessibility, student perceptions
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 11 

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


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

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

Keywords: universal design, accessibility, assessment
OWI Principles: 1

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

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

Keywords: accessibility, disabilities, universal design
OWI Principles: 1

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


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


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

Keywords: accessibility, student engagement, universal design
dOWI Principles: 1, 3, 4

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


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

Keywords: accessibility, student engagement, universal design
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4

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

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

Keywords: teaching with technology: English, pedagogy: English, instructional design, course and program design: English
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4

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

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

Keywords:  faculty development, instructional design
OWI Principles:   1, 3, 4

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

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

Keywords: course and program design: English, technical and professional writing, instructional design, faculty development, course evaluation, program evaluation: English, mentorship, online writing programs
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 15

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

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

Keywords: developmental writing, student success, retention, two-year college, quantitative research
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 12, 15

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

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

Keywords: course and program design: English, multimodal, genre, instructional design, course management system
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 5, 11

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


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

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

Keywords: ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, surveys, agency
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11, 15

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

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

Keywords: tutoring: English, gamification, online writing centers, ethnography
OWI Principles: 1, 11, 13, 14, 15

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

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

Keywords: EFL, quantitative research
OWI Principles: 1, 6, 15    

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

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

Keywords: peer review, collaboration, ELL, ESL, multilingual Writers, qualitative research
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 10, 11, 15

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


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

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

Keywords: ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, course and program design: English
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 13, 15

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

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

Keywords: access, disability studies
OWI Principles: 1

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

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

Keywords: access, disability studies
OWI Principles: 1

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

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

Keywords: discussion: WAC, graduate classes, empirical research, case study, mixed methods
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11, 15

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


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

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

Keywords: accessibility, universal design, disability studies
OWI Principles: 1

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

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

Keywords: online writing lab, ELL, ESL, multilingual writer, L2, WAC, WID
OWI Principles 1, 3, 13

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


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


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

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

Keywords: power, constructivism, qualitative research, ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, culturally responsive pedagogy, race, graduate education
OWI Principles: 1, 11, 15

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

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

Keywords: social media, multilingual writers, developmental writing, literacy, education
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 5, 11, 15

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

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

Keywords: accessibility, teaching with technology: English, web design, audience
OWI Principles: 1, 2

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

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

Keywords: critical pedagogy, gender, synchronous interaction, course and program design: English, email, online writing center, race
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10

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

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

Keywords: ELL, ESL, multilingual writers, L2
OWI Principles: 1, 15

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

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

Keywords: ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, case study, audience, multimodal, literacy, social media, course and program design: English
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11, 15

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

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

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

Keywords: ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, modality, qualitative research, reading, hybrid
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 13, 15

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


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

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

Keywords: accessibility, disability studies
OWI Principles: 1

Dockter, Jason. “Improve Access with a Course Orientation.” Online Literacies Open Resource, Global Society of Online Literacy Educators, 2015,

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, 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. 14863.


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 


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

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

Keywords: accessibility, universal design, disability studies, usability testing, pedagogy: English
OWI Principles: 1

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

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

Keywords:  online writing labs, usability studies, user-centered design, qualitative research
OWI Principles: 1, 13, 15

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

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

Keywords: student satisfaction, technical and professional writing, marketing, instructor presence, surveys, hybrid, course and program design: English
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 11, 15

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

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

Keywords: access, automated writing evaluation, MOOCs, qualitative research, quantitative research, research, online writing center
OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 15

Elder, Catherine, Gary Barkhuizen, Ute Knoch, and Janet Van Randow.  “Evaluating Rater Responses to an Online Training Program for L2 Writing Assessment.” Language Testing, vol. 24, no. 1, 2007, pp. 37-64.

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

Keywords:  ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, L2, assessment, surveys, qualitative research, faculty development
OWI Principles:  1, 6, 7, 15

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.