The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction: Principle 2

Document created by Heidi Skurat Harris on Oct 22, 2019Last modified by Cari Goldfine on Oct 23, 2019
Version 2Show Document
  • View in full screen mode

OWI Principle 2: An online writing course should focus on writing and not on technology orientation or teaching students how to use learning and other technologies.


Return to The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction


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

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

Keywords: distance learning, interaction, correspondence courses, course and program design: English
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15

Bender, Tisha. Discussion-Based Online Teaching to Enhance Student Learning: Theory, Practice and Assessment.  2nd ed., Stylus Publishing, 2003.  

Bender focuses on the theory and practice of using discussions in online classrooms to enhance student learning. Her book is divided into three sections: (1) theory, (2) practical applications, and (3) assessment. In each section, she frames the discussion around online pedagogy and how using discussions can affect teaching and student development. The second edition includes more discussion about the implications of social media and the opportunities for enhanced online classroom discussion that these venues bring to instructors. Her argument centers on switching the conversation from the technical aspects of online learning to the human aspects of online learning, focusing specifically on how students learn and communicate in online class discussions. After finishing her book, instructors will become better facilitators of online classroom discussions and possess more awareness of what they are doing in their online classrooms and take time to be thoughtful about what the digital age means for both students and instructors.

Keywords: discussion: English, assessment, pedagogy: English, teaching with technology: English, social media
OWI Principles: 2, 11

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 L., and Elizabeth A. Monske. “Cui Bono?: Revisiting the Promises and Perils of Online Learning.” Computers and Composition, vol. 20, no. 4, 2003, pp. 441-53. 20th Anniversary Special Issue, Part 1. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2003.08.016.

Blair and Monske ask the question “Who benefits?” from the technologies of teaching and learning. Their article reviews fifteen years of discussions surrounding distance education. They begin with the early promises of asynchronous networks and computer-networked classrooms, most of which promised to empower student writers. The field of writing studies then shifted as scholars found that “the egalitarianism narrative was replaced with more specific questions related to agency, identity politics, and the theoretical and practical rejection of predictions for blanket empowerment of all students in electronic environments” (445). As online courses became more commercialized, the narratives shifted to ones of economy based on assumptions about the ease of online classes and the demand on instructors to be continuously present. These new demands on online instructors highlighted problems with hiring, promotion and tenure processes. Blair and Monske end with a call for continued attention to the question of who benefits, cautioning that we “must continue to address equally the needs of students and instructors, questioning the extent to which current rhetorics of distance education (stressing access, convenience, and immediacy) empowers one group and potentially disenfranchises another” (449). This article provides a comprehensive history of the narratives surrounding distance learning and online writing instruction up until the early 21st century.

Keywords: teaching with technology: English, agency, faculty workload, adjunct
OWI Principles: 2, 5, 7, 8

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. "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. "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 


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, Angela Clark-Oates, and Andrew Bourelle. “Designing Online Writing Classes to Promote Multimodal Literacies.” Communication Design Quarterly, vol. 5, no. 1, April 2017, pp. 80–88.


Bourelle, Clark-Oates, and Bourelle draw upon their experience with course design to propose five practices both new and experienced instructors can consider adopting in their online writing classes as a means of promoting multimodal literacy. Multimodal literacy is in increasing demand beyond the classroom. Therefore, teaching multimodal literacy should become even more of a priority than before. The article notes a similar dearth of information on teaching multimodal literacy the academic side, as there is little scholarship on teaching multimodal composition in online formats (80). The authors’ five recommendations to address these shortcomings are as follows: 1) incorporate multimodal assignments and the appropriate scaffolding, 2) use multimodal instructional tools, 3) provide multimodal feedback, 4) encourage technological literacy through media labs, and 5) make students’ reflections on their own work into “a significant part” of the learning process (80). Bourelle, Clark-Oates, and Bourelle also maintain that course design is inherently rhetorical, and instructors should be considering how and whether their online classes reflect multimodality themselves. The article then provides an overview of multimodal literacy, its importance, and the fields where it tends to be prioritized and taught before going into each of these five recommendations in more detail. The authors suggest possible obstacles and how to overcome them as well as strategies, tools, and outcomes that online instructors should consider. The article concludes by revisiting Scott Warnock (2009)’s idea that it is possible to migrate classes online rather than transforming them to be taught online and the authors here suggest that their five principles are one way of thinking about how to do so.


Keywords: multimodal, digital literacy, technological literacy, course design, rhetoric, instruction

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 13


Bourelle, Andy, Tiffany Bourelle, Anna V. Knutson, and Stephanie Spong. “Sites of Multimodal Literacy: Comparing Student Learning in Online and Face-to-Face Environments.” Computers and Composition, vol. 39, 2016, pp. 55–70.


Bourelle et al. used a mixed-methods approach to compare student learning of multimodal literacies between online and face-to-face first-year composition courses with nearly identical curriculum.  They used quantitative data in the form of portfolio assessment while bringing in excerpts of student work as qualitative data to provide a more robust analysis of their findings. The data revealed that online students scored higher overall on multimodality in the portfolio assessment. The authors suggest that this result is due to the additional support online students receive from course-embedded tutors, as well as to the archival structure of the LMS, which allows students to easily access and review their course work, including class discussions. Bourelle et al. point to the need for further research to support the benefits of embedded tutors in face-to-face courses. They also recommend that face-to-face courses incorporate more practices used in online courses through expanded use of the LMS to house discussions and technological resources. 


Keywords: multimodal literacy, first-year composition, pedagogy, multimodal, student success, course management system

OWI Principles:  2, 3, 13, 14


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

Buchenot, Andy. “Revising the Defaults: Online FYC Courses as Sites of Heterogeneous Disciplinary Work.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 67–81.


In this chapter, Buchenot encourages instructors and students in online first-year writing courses to “embrace the unique disciplinary positioning of online FYC courses in order to promote student agency” (68). Instructional technologies, such as the course LMS, can push students in particular directions, and Buchenot provides a series of assignments and student responses to these assignments to examine the social and material constructions that the LMS presents. The author’s critique of his own vaguely-worded writing assignment and his assumptions about student motivation and curiosity provide a model of how online writing instructors can reflect on their own course design materials to better meet learner needs. 


Keywords: course management systems, student engagement, assignment design, reflection

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 11


Carbone, Nick. “Past to the Future: Computers and Community in the First-Year Writing Classroom.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 3–20.


Carbone gives a brief history of the discussion around computers and composition, including an overview of results from two Bedford/St. Martins surveys (2005 & 2010) that demonstrate that digital technologies are increasingly integral to writing instruction in general. He argues that those new to online writing instruction should “recall and revalue the earlier work in the field of computers and composition—especially the work that provided a theoretical grounding for good practices in online networks, and the role of online community in fostering writing process pedagogies” (7). In particular, he addresses how online writing spaces can create community for writers that make students the center of discussions, provide low-stakes assignments as a means for students to enter the academic discourse community of the classroom, and makes discussions a place to counter plagiarism. In closing, he recommends that faculty be cautious of their use of technologies in order to not overburden students or themselves in the online classroom. This chapter connects the history of computers and writing with online writing instruction to demonstrate how computer-mediated writing is a natural extension of early work on learning community. 


Keywords: community, discussion boards, plagiarism, student engagement

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 10, 11


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, and Keith Grant-Davie, editors. Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers. Baywood, 2005. 

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

Keywords: course and program design: English, technical and professional writing, instructional design, faculty development, course evaluation, program evaluation: English, online writing programs
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12, 15

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

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

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

Castek, Jill, and Beach, Richard. “Using Apps to Support Disciplinary Literacy and Science Learning.” Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, vol. 56, no. 7, 2013, pp. 554-64. 

This article showcases apps that enhance online learning for students. Castek and Beach discuss technological features of each app in terms of affordances, which they define as literacy practices that help students navigate the course learning goals. They review a variety of affordances embedded in a specific list of apps and explain how these support learning. Groups of apps are evaluated in terms of three literacy practices: 1) collaboration, 2) multimodality, and 3) shared productivity. The authors affirm that innovative uses of apps can support learning and that when exploited, the affordances provided by apps can help to build conceptual understanding of scientific topics. Castek and Beach argue that online learning provides unique support in terms of apps that specifically connect students to course content.

Keywords: WAC, literacy, apps, mobile technology
OWI Principles: 2, 13

Chung, Liang-Yi. “Distant Voices: Computer-Mediated Communication in English Writing Instruction.” 3rd IEEE International Conference on Ubi-Media Computing, 2010, pp. 323–28,


Chung observes how technology-mediated communication, which is a necessary part of teaching online, can change students’ literary practices. Pointing out that the Internet today puts English in a global context, Chung argues that connections between instructor and students are especially vital because “distance education is seen to be both personally and geographically distant” (323, original emphasis). Chung then offers a literature review that reinforces the importance of communication, connection, and interaction, particularly in writing classes where both the language and the subject matter are new content for students. Chung then turns to a study surveying two asynchronous English comp classes he taught, where he focused on three areas: communication with instructor, unsolicited individual comments, and course evaluation comments. Although he reports that “it is not possible to establish a causal relationship between communication and grade” (325), Chung does note several important findings. He stresses that institutions must train and support faculty in best practices for communicating with students, particularly via institutional means such as email, because even if students don’t use the methods provided, simply knowing that such options are available will make students more confident. Chung also recommends keeping an eye on individual, unsolicited communications to notice patterns in class needs and address common issues proactively.


Keywords: literacy, communication, student success, ESL/ELL/L2

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 10, 11, 13


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

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

Keywords: instructor interaction
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 10, 11

DePew, Kevin 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

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 


Driscoll, Margaret, and John E. Reid, Jr. “Web-Based Training: An Overview of Training Tools for the Technical Writing Industry.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 1, 1999, pp. 73-86.

This article, written in the very dawn of online teaching, outlines four types of “web-based” training centered around the concepts of synchronous vs. asynchronous learning and individual vs. group learning. Driscoll and Reid call these four types of training Web/Computer-Based Training, Web/Electronic Performance Support Systems, Web/Virtual Asynchronous Classrooms, and Web/Virtual Synchronous Classrooms (75-76). The authors then review the benefits and limitations of each type of web-based training in terms of their use of hypertext and hypermedia, their components, their authoring program, and whether there is a need to invest in third-party hardware, software, or skills development (78). This article establishes the early terms and contexts for online and web-based learning and is valuable to researchers who study the history of terms in online teaching and learning as well as online technical communication and writing programs considering what types of online learning are most beneficial for their programs.

Keywords: synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, course management systems
OWI Principles: 2, 3

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

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

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

Keywords: surveys, student perception, graduate students, program evaluation: English, quantitative research, marketing
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 10, 11, 15

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

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

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

Keywords: collaboration, community, faculty development, WAC
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 11, 15

Friend, Chris, Sean Michael Morris, and Jesse Stommel. “Writing at Scale: Composition MOOCs and Digital Writing Communities.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 180–95.


Friend et al. posit that digital writing is new and not yet defined as a practice, and it needs its own pedagogy, form, and space. They believe the only way to discover and define digital writing is to build a writing community and put digital writing into action.  They held a month long MOOC titled Digital Writing month in which they created an online writing community loosely affiliated by a WordPress blog, Twitter hashtag, and a Disqus forum. The goal was to write 50,000 words in that month in any form, including video, comic-strips, or other media and nontraditional forms. After this experiment, they list three tenets of digital writing: digital writing is networked, collaborative, and defiant.  It is networked because it relies on the web, which changes and repositions the information and how it is experienced. It is collaborative because the notions of authorship are blurred. It is defiant because it defies definition with ever emerging technologies.


Keywords: digital composition, MOOCs, collaboration, composition, folksonomy, Twitter, WordPress, blogs

OWI: 2, 4, 6, 15


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

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

Keywords: accessibility, teaching with technology: English, non-traditional students
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3

Girardi, Tamara. “Lost in Cyberspace: Addressing Issues of Student Engagement in the Online Classroom Community.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 59–74.


Girardi explains the importance of building an online community for students in online classrooms to promote student engagement and learning experiences. Instructors must be flexible and reflective to improve their online engagement with students.  Girardi explains her experiences building community and engagement throught several forms of media: phone chats, synchronous chats, discussion forums, social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and email check-ins with the students. Another benefit of insisting on ways to engage students is that the engagement helps bridge the gap between student expectations and actual online course experiences.


Keywords: social media, student engagement, student success, retention, communication, student-instructor interaction

OWI:  2, 3, 10, 11, 15


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

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

Keywords: non-traditional students,  pedagogy: English, accessibility, teaching with technology: English, course management systems, student preparation, online writing labs, student success
OWI Principles: 2, 10, 13

Gray, Mary. “Something Gained: The Role of Online Studios in a Hybrid First-Year Writing Course.” The Writing Studio Sampler: Stories About Change, Mark Sutton and Sally Chandler, editors. University Press of Colorado, 2018, pp. 185-206. 


Gray describes an initiative at the University of Houston that created hybrid first-year writing classes integrating an online writing studio into a traditional classroom. The writing studio was located in the Blackboard discussion board where small groups of students working on the same assignment shared feedback, developed ideas, and responded to works-in-progress. The writing studio facilitators were supervised by writing center staff. Students completed a voluntary survey at the conclusion of the writing studio’s pilot year (n=122 in fall, and n=106 in spring). Students reported increased confidence in their writing and viewed the writing studio as “a place to interact with an authentic audience and receive constructive feedback” (196). Students responses to open-ended survey questions indicated that students created multiple drafts, stayed on task through writing assignments, and increased their confidence in writing. Facilitators were seen as overwhelmingly positive and helpful, and identified the greatest challenges as access to computers and the internet and their own procrastination. Gray recommends that those implementing the writing studio model in online and hybrid courses create clear, consistent, and reliable requirements for writing students and have contingency plans for students with limited computer access or proficiency. 


Keywords: writing studio, hybrid, surveys, student perception, writing center, Blackboard, discussion boards, accessibility

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 10, 11, 13, 15


Greer, Michael, and Heidi Skurat Harris. “User-centered Design as a Foundation for Online Writing Instruction.” Computers and Composition, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 14–24.


With the proliferation of Web 2.0 technology and applications, online students expect their online courses to have a similar usable experience. Greer and Skurat Harris propose that user-centered and student-centered design models are essential for successful online writing instruction experiences.  This study traces intentional changes in an online graduate certificate program and design over multiple course offerings as Greer and Skurat Harris revise approaches and methodologies to incorporate more effective student-centered design models based on OWI principles. They conclude that UX or user-centered design benefits online writing instruction and has uses for professional development because it focuses the conversation on student learning.


Keywords: user-centered design, usability, course design: Writing, graduate classes

OWI: 2, 3, 4, 5, 15


Grigoryan, Anna. “Audiovisual Commentary as a Way to Reduce Transactional Distance and Increase Teaching Presence in Online Writing Instruction: Student Perceptions and Preferences.” Journal of Response to Writing, vol. 3, no. 1, 2017, pp. 83–128. 


Grigoryan’s research explains student preferences for and perceptions of the use of audiovisual feedback in online writing instruction feedback.  Using a quasi-experimental design, Grigoryan studied six sections of an online composition course. Three sections used text-only feedback, and three sections used both text-based and audiovisual feedback forms. The audiovisual feedback included a five-minute screencast of the student’s paper in addition to the traditional text-based margin comments.  The study indicated that audiovisual feedback may help with student revision practices. The teacher can explain in more detail with the audiovisual model. Students also had the perception of the teacher’s increased engagement and social presence within the course when using audiovisual feedback. This finding could lead to greater student satisfaction in online courses.


Keywords: feedback, multimodal, research, student perceptions, student satisfaction

OWI: 2, 3, 4, 15


Hallman Martini, Rebecca and Travis Webster. “What Online Writing Spaces Afford Us in the Age of Campus Carry, ‘Wall-Building,’ and Orlando’s Pulse Tragedy.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 278–93. 


Speaking from personal experiences and specific contexts, Hallman Martini and Webster emphasize the imperativeness of crafting online spaces in which students and faculty can discuss personal and important topics.  Countering the idea that the online writing space should be void of all politics, tragedy, or personal experiences, the authors instead utilize technology such as personal journals and wikis in their courses to foster meaningful, personal learning.  The authors write alongside their students encouraging voice and exploration, insisting we can create “brave” spaces that connect human experiences.


Keywords: journal, wiki, identity

OWI Principles:  2, 3, 5, 10, 12


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

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

Keywords: pedagogy: English, faculty development, teaching with technology: English, community, writing program administration, online writing programs, assessment, networked classrooms, computer-mediated courses
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12

Hawisher, Gail E., and Paul LeBlanc. Re-Imagining Computers and Composition: Teaching and Research in the Virtual Age, Boynton/Cook, 1992. 

Hawisher and LeBlanc produce one of the first collections devoted to teaching writing with computers. It was compiled before the Internet age, so there is nothing specifically relating to OWI as we now conceive it, but the second section, titled “Looking Beyond Horizons: Teaching Writing on Networks,” provides interesting perspectives from some of the scholars considering the possibility of using technology to teach writing at a distance. Hugh Burns’ chapter on “Multimedia, Multinetworked Classrooms” is an especially interesting description of his first experience teaching students via network. This is an excellent text for reminding us of some of the expectations and apprehensions of OWI.

Keywords: multimedia, networked classrooms, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principles: 2

Hewett, Beth, and Tiffany Bourelle. “Online Teaching and Learning in Technical Communication: Continuing the Conversation.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 217–22.


In this introduction to a special issue of TCQ, Hewett and Bourelle revisit a 2007 special issue of TCQ focused on professional preparation and development for instructors in the field of technical communication. They argue that as the number of online degree programs grow, administrators and educators require ongoing professional development in online education. Drawing on 2011 survey results which indicated online instructors received insufficient preparation for online teaching, the editors note the need for more substantive preparation for online teaching that addresses pedagogical strategies rather than use of technology. While acknowledging that there has been a substantial growth in scholarship on professional development for online educators, Hewett and Bourelle argue there continues to be a need for research that introduces “current issues and cutting-edge effective—or ‘best’—practices” (219). The special issue supports those in the field of technical and professional communication to understand training and development principles, learn about instructional strategies and experiences, and gain insight into the administrative work related to online programs.


Keywords: writing program administration, professional development, faculty development, technical and professional writing

OWI Principles:  2, 3, 4, 7


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

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

Keywords: online conferencing, intervention, feedback, linguistically direct, linguistically indirect, semantic integrity, empirical research
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 13, 15

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

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

Keywords: hybrid, literacy, distance education, pedagogy: English, modality, audience, accessibility, teaching with technology: English, online writing labs, tutoring: English
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14

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

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

Keywords: literacy, reading, multimedia, nontraditional student, intervention, feedback, assignment instructions, assignment design, assignment: English
OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 13, 15

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

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

Keywords: accessibility, asynchronous interaction, hybrid, research, synchronous interaction, CCCC OWI Committee
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Hewett, Beth L. “How Do You Feel? — Attitudes about Tutoring Online.” Praxis: A Writing Center Journal, edited by Sue Mendelsohn and Eliana Schonberg, Feb. 2004,

This article addresses issues that prospective online tutors should consider when preparing to tutor in online settings. Before making a decision, Hewett suggests that tutors determine their attitudes and comfort levels with technology. Although tutors need not be technology experts, the higher their skill levels with simple things like word processing tools, the better they can coach students in ways to change their writing. Hewett also asks tutors to consider their confidence in their abilities to work through a technological problem and their willingness to be uncomfortable while they learn. She also addresses the tutor’s attitudes about the relative values of working with technology for educational purposes. Specifically, Hewett asks prospective online tutors to consider whether they are skeptical about how well students can learn when tutored online, whether they think online tutoring is inferior to face-to-face tutoring, and whether they are open to new possibilities for what students can learn in online settings as opposed to traditional writing centers.

Keywords: technology, online tutoring, identity, tutoring: English
OWI Principles: 2, 13, 14

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

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

Keywords: accessibility, inclusivity, praxis, research, theory, writing program administration, online writing programs, student preparation, faculty development, tutoring: English, online tutoring, writing centers, CCCC OWI Committee
OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

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

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

Keywords: CCCC OWI Committee, faculty development, research, literature review, interviews, surveys, accessibility, inclusivity, writing program administration, online writing programs
OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

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

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

Keywords: ELL, ESL, multilingual writers, L2, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, tutor training, tutoring: english, instructor interaction, faculty development, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 7, 14

Howard, Laura. “A (Critical) Distance: Contingent Labor, MOOCs, and Teaching Online.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 232–53.


Howard explains the working conditions of contingent online instructors and their connection to the globalized and corporatized nature of American higher education.  She reframes the MOOC as a potential site for finding new opportunities change to online instruction pedagogies and faculty working conditions. MOOCs disrupt current pedagogical practices by connecting learners in networks where knowledge is formed in spaces such as peer review groups.  This emphasis on connected learning fundamentally changes the role of the instructor, creating the possibility for new types of courses and learning. Finally, Howard calls readers to embrace these technologies and spaces with creativity as one way to begin to change the reality of the contingent online worker. 


Keywords: MOOCs, contingent faculty, globalization

OWI: 2,  8, 10, 11, 12, 15


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

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

Keywords: writing workshop, community, feedback, peer review, collaboration, Blackboard, technology, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 11 

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

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

Keywords: pedagogy: English, feedback, modeling, instructor interaction, student engagement, composition, modality
OWI Principles: 2, 4

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

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

Keywords: mobile, genre, technology in teaching: English
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4

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

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

Keywords: mobile technology, pedagogy: English, composition, critical pedagogy, administration, faculty interaction, student-to-student interaction
OWI Principles: 2, 4

Kinloch, Valerie, and Stephanie Imig. “Innovative Writing Instruction: Writing Rewired: Teaching Writing in Online Settings.” The English Journal, vol. 99, no. 3, 2010, pp. 80–83.


Editor Kinloch shares a column by Imig in which she details her experiences teaching writing online for Oregon Connections Academy (ORCA), a virtual K-12 public charter school. Imig argues that virtual education faces the same challenges of traditional brick-and-mortar education, such as insufficient student writing and lack of engagement, and requires application of the same strategies; Imig says the “recipe for successful student writing” in any environment includes “plenty of background, writing done over time, modeling, opportunities for personal connections, creativity, peer sharing, success for students with a range of skills, and authentic presentation/publication” (80). Discussing the pros and cons of ORCA’s evidence-based curriculum, Imig argues that the lack of time for revision is a problem in any course. She describes implementing a writing workshop format, using the LMS whiteboard during a synchronous meeting on a poetry lesson, that allowed her to collaboratively write with students, comment immediately, and ultimately build a virtual writing community to affect student writing. 


Keywords: collaboration, course management system, K-12

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 11


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

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

Keywords: collaboration, literacy, technology, wikis, synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, wikis, interaction
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 11

Kwak, Subeom. “Approaches Reflected in Academic Writing MOOCs.” International Review of Research in Online and Distributed Learning, vol. 18, no. 3, 2017, pp. 138–55.


Kwak’s research looks at the difference between writing Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and traditional, face-to-face teaching of writing with the aim of answering how MOOC instructors teach writing. Using five approaches identified by previous research (writing as a skill, creative writing, writing as a process, writing as a social practice, and writing in a socio-cultural context), Kwak evaluated six “academic” writing MOOCs. The six MOOCs, identified in the study by pseudonyms, were evaluated based on data from video lectures, syllabi, assignments, and related materials. The study found that five of the six MOOCs still focused on teaching and learning textual structures and relied on traditional methods for teaching writing as a skill. In the majority of the MOOCs, the focus was on grammar and linguistic correctness, with only one MOOC approaching writing as a process.


Keywords: MOOCs, writing process, current traditional rhetoric

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4


Li, Mimi, and Jinrong Li. “Online Peer Review Using Turnitin in First-Year Writing Classes.” Computers and Composition, vol. 46, 2017, pp. 21–38.


Li and Li studied students’ use of multiple Turnitin features for peer review on two writing assignments in two first-year writing classes, one for mainstream students and one for ESL students (n=26. The aim of their study was to learn about the types of feedback offered by students in the online setting and how students perceived online peer review. Students had no prior experience with using Turnitin for peer review, so a brief training was provided. Then, the students used the Turnitin features (PeerMark questions, Commenting Tools, and Composition Marks) in a double-blind, one-hour in-class peer review sessions on the two assignments common to both classes (a summary and response paper and an argumentative paper). Li and Li then analyzed the archived peer reviews and had students complete a post-task questionnaire comprised of Likert Scale and short answer questions intended to gauge student perceptions of the experience. Li and Li found that while both mainstream and ESL students provided predominantly revision-oriented feedback, the majority of comments focused on local rather than global issues (with the one exception of ESL students’ comments on the argumentative paper). They also found that though the students had a generally positive attitude toward using Turnitin for peer review, many noted the need for more specific training on the tool as well as on effective feedback. Li and Li concluded that the Turnitin features could be used for meaningful, critical online peer review, with appropriate training and modeling.


Keywords: peer review, first-year composition, ESL/ELL/L2, feedback, plagiarism

OWI Principles: 2, 10, 15


Licastro, Amanda. “The Problem of Multimodality: What Data-Driven Research Can Tell Us About Online Writing Practices.” Communication Design Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 4, 2016, pp.  55–73.


Licastro studies how ePortfolios hosted in WordPress can demonstrate student preparation for composing in online spaces, the characteristics of students online writing, how assignment design shapes student work, and whether characteristics of student writing are similar across disciplines (particularly in the humanities and STEM fields). Using a multivariate, quasi-experimental methodology, Licastro surveyed students (n=150) and analyzed class materials and student portfolios. Students surveyed indicated that even though they were exposed to digital technologies in high school, they struggled with digital literacy at the college level, and less than half of the students were familiar with blogging platforms. The author then compares materials from two sections of humanities seminars and two sections of a science-based seminar class. She analyzes the sections for low- and high-stakes assignments use of mode and media. While the mode of writing was similar across courses, the use of media varied widely, illustrating a disconnect between student literacy skills and their willingness to use these skills without specific direction. Licastro ends with pedagogical applications based on her findings and prompts instructors who want students to use multimedia and folksonomic elements to explicitly require and practice them across the curriculum. 


Keywords: blogs, portfolios, WAC, quasi-experimental methodology, mixed methods, student preparation, multimodal, multimedia

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 4, 10, 15 


Lutkewitte, Claire, ed. Mobile Technologies and the Writing Classroom. NCTE, 2016.


This edited collection provides practical applications that allow online and face-to-face writing instructors implement pedagogy that takes advantage of the affordances of mobile technologies. With increased mobile usage and surging campus mobile initiatives, Lutkewitte and the collection’s authors focus on how faculty can write for and help students compose with mobile technologies. Chapters in the collection cover mobile composition kits, mobile technology analysis, composing audio essays, designing and rhetorically analyzing apps, mobile social games, mobile in collaborative online courses, video capture, geolocation and writing, digital curation, and mobile digital literacy narratives. Two articles in the collection (Dockter and Borgman, McArdle) are annotated in this bibliography. Lutkewitte’s collection, although not specifically targeted to online writing classrooms, provides excellent models of how instructors can begin thinking about composing and instructing using tools accessible to students where they  are.


Keywords: mobile, audio:Writing, video: writing, mobile apps, digital composing, digital literacy, geolocation, collaboration, Google Suite, gamification, digital curation

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 15


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

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

Keywords: course and program design: English, curriculum, technical and professional writing, online writing programs, administration, writing program administration, Blackboard, course management systems, pre-designed courses, community
OWI Principles: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 12

Martinez, Diane, Mahli Xuan Mechenbier, Beth Hewett, Lisa Meloncon, and Heidi Skurat Harris. “A Report on a U.S.-Based National Survey of Students in Online Writing Courses.” Research in Online Literacy Education vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 35–82, 2019. 


Martinez et al. report on a survey asking students how they are prepared for online writing courses, how they access online writing courses, and what they find least and most helpful in online writing courses. In partnership with Macmillian, the survey was piloted in June 2017 and distributed in September 2017. The analysis includes partial survey responses (n=569), with the bulk of complete survey responses weighted toward technical and professional communication classes (n=231). Participants were mostly traditional (59%), female (67%), and are juniors or seniors (59%). Students most frequently accessed their online writing courses from home and on laptops, desktops, and mobile phones. Only 28% of online students were offered or knew about an orientation to the online class. Students were divided on the usefulness of discussion boards and assigned readings, with many students finding videos and slide presentations helpful. Instructor feedback was seen as very helpful by a majority of students, as was giving feedback to and getting feedback from peers. Overall, students noted a disconnect between the intended pedagogical application of tools and how they were perceived and used and were not sure how the work in OWCs helped them improve their writing. The article by Skurat Harris et al. (annotated in this bibliography) in the same collection provides a response to this survey data and extends the conversation to include how these results can be used to improve online course design by implementing a purposeful-pedagogy driven design in online writing classrooms. 


Keywords: survey, discussion boards, assignments, student perceptions, screencast, video, mobile, accessibility, instructional design

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 15


McArdle, Casey. “Mobile Learning Just Keeps on Running: Renegotiating Online Collaborative Spaces for Writing Students.” Mobile Technologies and the Writing Classroom, edited by Claire Lutkewitte, NCTE,  2016, pp. 117–32.


McArdle reports on the results of several small activities outside the classroom to engage students with campus communities and to share their communities with the class. Based on theories of m-learning, the overall assignment sequence focused on technological literacies, and the individual activities asked students to upload photo artifacts that connected them to community, search for campus activities using Twitter hashtags, and collect images and sound to explain McArdle’s class to students not taking it. Students concluded the assignment by making a video that remixed their previous written description of their technological literacies to explore how technology has influenced them. The author hopes that through assignments like these, students will be encouraged to think critically and rhetorically about their technology practice while meeting the course goals of composing in multiple media. 


Keywords: mobile, technological literacy, assignment design, assignment instructions, Google Suite, accessibility, m-learning, collaboration, digital composing

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 10, 11


Mehlenbacher, Brad, Carolyn R. Miller, David Covington, and Jamie S. Larsen. “Active and Interactive Learning Online: A Comparison of Web-based and Conventional Writing Classes.” IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, vol. 43, no. 2, 2000, pp. 166–84. 


Mehlenbacher et al studied student performance in two web-based sections of a technical writing course compared to the conventional counterpart. The authors defined “web-based” as a course using web-based instructional materials, Internet tools, and requiring students to submit work electronically; conversely, they defined “conventional” as a course that holds regular face-to-face meetings and de-emphasizes the role of online materials. (The authors intentionally chose “conventional” rather than “traditional,” noting that “traditional” tends to indicate lecture-based rather than strategies that incorporate active learning). The authors developed a course website prototype, piloted it in two sections a course that satisfied the general education requirement (Communication for Engineering and Technology), and assessed student performance compared to students in a conventional, 3-day/week on-campus course. The study surveyed students pre- and post-course on content, computer anxiety, writing apprehension, and learning styles. The study also collected teacher process logs of problems and solutions during the web-based course as well as email archives. The authors conducted focus groups early and late in the semester and videotaped several conventional sessions. The authors found a negative correlation between GPA and prior content knowledge and that reflective, global learners seemed to learn better than active, sequential learners in the web-based course. Ultimately, the authors concluded that there was no significant difference in final grades for students in the web-based versus conventional course and that more research is needed on how interactive learning environments correlate to learning styles.


Keywords: active learning, learning styles, computer-mediated classrooms, surveys

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 15




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

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

Keywords: asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, accessibility, technical support, pedagogy: English, course and program design: English
OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 13

Moberg, Eric. “The College Writing Center: Best Practices, Best Technologies." ERIC, 7 Mar. 2010,

Moberg describes the key attributes that make writing centers successful, whether they are on-ground or online. The article highlights the importance of having a mission of lifelong learning; the necessity of well-trained tutors, organized services, and clearly defined leadership; and the benefits of technology. Moberg describes on-ground and online tutoring as fundamentally the same, the latter emerging to grant students greater access to services. Student-centered tutoring methods such as collaboration and modeling support adult, college-level learners. In the discussion about technology and in the section on Online Writing Labs that follows, Moberg explains how technology has improved the student learning experience with greater access to scholarly sources, making research easier and encouraging writing as a process. Tutors can also work with students at a distance using online tutoring rooms such as Adobe Connect. Institutions benefit by having fewer overhead expenses as tutors work from home. Even with these benefits, Moberg’s main point is clear. Technology is not more important than the quality of instruction.

Keywords: writing center, online tutoring, educational technology, best practices, technology, teaching with technology: English, student success, online resources, research writing
OWI Principles: 2, 13, 14

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

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

Keywords: course and program design: English, technology, course management systems, pedagogy: English, distance education, web design
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4

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

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

Keywords: accessibility, disability studies, assistive technology, multimodal, visually impaired users
OWI Principles 1, 2, 3, 4, 13, 15

Quezada, Teresa, Beth Brunk-Chavez, and Evelyn Posey. “Connecting Writing Studies with Online Programs: UTEP’s Graduate Technical and Professional Writing Certificate Program.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2016, pp. 123–36.


This chapter describes the development of an online Technical and Professional Writing Certificate Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. The authors discuss the rationale for online delivery, the curriculum development process (including securing an institutional grant), and their collaboration with institutional stakeholders to establish program logistics. The authors then analyze the program design alongside the OWI Principles and Effective Practices, detailing the program’s alignment with the principles and emphasizing the relevance of principles related to inclusivity and accessibility, course and program design, and course caps. The chapter concludes with enrollment information and the results of student feedback surveys from the program’s first three years (2013-2016), which suggest that the program is positively perceived.


Keywords: graduate certificate, program design, OWI principles, technical and professional writing, surveys

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15


Ragan, Tillman J., and Patricia R. White. “What We Have Here Is a Failure to Communicate: The Criticality of Writing in Online Instruction.” Computers and Composition, vol. 18, no. 4, 2001, pp. 399-409. 

Ragan and White stress a need for new writing skills to meet the learner in the online environment, and they offer some specific, practical examples that are developed primarily for email communication. They explain that the speed of online communication leads to the possibility for miscommunication between teachers and their students. They suggest using their two “Golden Triangles of Online Communication” as a model for communication. The first Golden Triangle focuses on the learner, the context, and the task. The second Golden Triangle encourages online instructors to ask these questions: “(a) What is this about?; (b) Why should I care?; and (c) What am I supposed to do?” (399). The authors conclude with an emphasis on clarity in written communication for online courses and online correspondence with students.

Keywords: email, communication
OWI Principle:  2, 3

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

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

Keywords: technical and professional writing, collaboration, pedagogy: English, business writing
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 11

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

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

Keywords: accessibility, open-source software, teaching with technology: English, surveys, research, Blackboard, course management systems, academic labor
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 5, 6, 12, 15

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

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

Keywords: multimodal, faculty development, WID, WAC, research, surveys, qualitative research, course caps
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 7, 9, 12, 

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

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

Keywords: accessibility, pedagogy: English, mobile technology, digital literacy, student engagement, instructional technology, faculty development
OWI Principles 1, 2, 3

Romberger, Julia and Rochelle Rodrigo. “Frugal Realities: Hacker Pedagogy and Scrappy Students in an Online Program.” The New Normal: Pressures on Technical Communication Programs in the Age of Austerity, edited by Denise Tillery and Ed Nagelhout, Routledge, 2016, pp. 89–106.


Romberger and Rodrigo illustrate how the “hacker mentality” not only helps the growing number of students in online and computer-mediated classrooms adapt rhetorically to workplace situations, it also is a response to fiscal austerity in colleges and universities. They define “hacker pedagogy” as a means of “developing strong reflective practices that can be adapted to various contexts” by experimenting with technologies and processes, collaborating on process and production, abstracting from one technology to the next and thinking of their learning within larger systems (92). The scrappy students produced by a hacker pedagogy will be prepared to insert technological agency into projects and identify, articulate, and adapt to a variety of rhetorical situations. The authors describe a hacker pedagogy and provide example assignments to illustrate how hacker pedagogy is implemented in their classrooms. 


Keywords: pedagogy, technical and professional writing, assignment design, technology

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 4, 13


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

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

Keywords: instructional technology, technical support, graduate programs, graduate students, student preparation, email, discussion: English, discussion boards
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 15

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

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

Keywords: instructional design, course and program design: English, faculty development, accessibility, student engagement
OWI principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10

Scopes, Lesley, and Bryan Carter. “Cybergogy, Second Life, and Online Technical Communication Instruction.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2013, pp. 179-95.

This chapter describes how Second Life and other online virtual worlds, in addition to gaming, serve a number of purposes. One of these purposes is in the technical writing classroom as students practice social knowledge construction in these worlds which help them to engage in problem solving for shared common goals. The authors describe how experiential writing and writing for machinima (or films produced using characters in virtual environments) can be used to meet the learning outcomes in technical writing classes. This chapter provides a potential synchronous classroom environment to increase creativity in online writing classes.

Keywords: virtual classroom, synchronous interaction, gamification, technical and professional writing
OWI Principles: 2, 6, 11

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

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

Keywords: literacy, technology
OWI Principles:  1, 2, 10, 13

Seward, Dan E. “Orchestrated Online Conversation: Designing Asynchronous Discussion Boards for Interactive, Incremental, and Communal Literacy Development in First-Year College Writing. Research in Online Literacy Education, vol.1, no. 1, 2018.


In this article, Seward models a literacy studies-focused approach to discussion board research in online composition classrooms. He draws from past research which explores writing classrooms as a community of inquiry (COI). However, Seward tries to shift the focus of this research from “participation and discussion management” to “implementing particular approaches for teaching composition.” Using a musical metaphor, he creates an outline for course discussions where students progress through movements and the instructor acts as a “performance modeler and reflective practitioner.” Seward grounds these discussions in literacy studies and tries to give students opportunities to explore affinity groups regardless of their socioeconomic background or academic plans. A description of how he implements this method of literacy development appears in the open resource “Conversation Starters: Orchestrated Asynchronous Discussion to Build Academic Community among First-year Writers” (annotated in this bibliography). 


Keywords: community of inquiry, discourse, literacy,  discussion board, reflection, modeling

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 6


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

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

Keywords: literacy, accessibility, multimedia
OWI Principles:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14

Skurat Harris, Heidi, Lisa Meloncon, Beth Hewett, Mahli Xuan Mechenbier, and Diane Martinez. “A Call for Purposeful Pedagogy-Driven Course Design in Online Writing Instruction.” Research in Online Writing Instruction, vol. 2, no. 1, 2019, pp. 83–128.


Following up on Martinez et al.’s article on a survey of U.S. based online writing students, Skurat Harris et al. call for online writing instructors to implement a purposeful-pedagogy driven course design (PPDD). This design “creates environments where each reading, activity, assignment, and assessment correlates with the course learning outcomes.” The authors first analyze the qualitative data from the student surveys to identify what types of instruction students found most and least helpful in online writing courses. Students more often found instructor and peer feedback helpful in improving their writing and were more likely to indicate that discussion boards and multimedia materials were less helpful in improving their writing. Based on this data, Skurat et al. describe the methodology for the PPDD classroom, including examples of assignments from PPDD classrooms. They conclude with guidelines for supporting instructors efforts to create effective OWI classes, including a focus on how labor issues impact pedagogy, increased emphasis on pedagogy over technology, additional professional development opportunities, and additional research to include in-depth studies of student experience in online writing classes. 


Keywords: survey, qualitative research, instructional design, pedagogy, course and program design: English, student perceptions, technical and professional writing, professional development, contingent faculty

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 13, 15


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

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

Key words: hybrid, blended, computer-mediated classrooms, educational technology, pedagogy: English, culture, online writing programs, collaboration, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

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

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

Keywords: blended, hybrid, instructional design, modality student success, faculty development, time management, faculty workload, course and program design: English, pedagogy: English, learning outcomes
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13

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

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

Key words: orientation, student success, pedagogy: English, video: English
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 10

St. Amant, Kirk. “Contextualizing Cyber Composition for Cultures: A Usability-Based Approach to Composing Online for International Audiences.” Computers and Composition, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 82–93.


This entry argues effective online education involves creating “usable” materials and experiences (i.e., things students in online classes can readily, easily, and effectively use to achieve the learning objectives they have for a class).  As these factors are based on cultural norms and experiences, addressing usability in online learning involves understanding the expectations of different cultures. This entry uses a review of the literature in usability, online education, and cross-cultural communication to present a usability-based approach for researching the online educational expectations of different cultural groups.  The entry also explains how educators can apply the results of such research to create course materials and educational experiences that better meet the usability expectations of different cultural groups. In presenting this approach, the entry notes that continual work in this area is needed. It also encourages readers to undertake such usability-based research and share their results so educators can gain a better understanding of cultural factors affecting online learning in global contexts.


Keywords: usability testing, culture, research, international

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 10


St. Amant, Kirk. “Of Friction Points and Infrastructures: Rethinking the Dynamics of Offering Online Education in Technical Communication in Global Contexts.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, 223–41.


This entry presents a framework for researching the dynamics of online education in global contexts.  Using a review of the literature across different fields (education, cross-cultural communication, public policy, information technology, and technical communication), the entry argues that two different infrastructures affect how different cultures around the world access and interact in online educational contexts.  These two infrastructures are hard infrastructures (i.e., physical creations that affect the flow of items in the real word) and soft infrastructures (i.e., unwritten social norms that affect exchanges). Each encompasses variables that affect how individuals in different parts of the world and/or from different cultures perceive and respond to online exchanges.  The entry notes that an understanding of the variables within each infrastructure can help educators create online educational experiences that better address the educational needs and expectations of globally distributed students. The entry also provides examples of how researchers and teachers can apply these ideas and use such variables to create a more effective online learning experience for globally distributed students.


Keywords: culture, international, research, pedagogy, globalization

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 10


St. Amant, Kirk and Rich Rice. “Online Writing in Global Contexts: Rethinking the Nature of Connections and Communication in the Age of International Online Media,” Computers and Composition, vol. 38, Part B, 2015, pp. v-x.


In this special issue introduction, the editors present a framework for identifying areas where online writing can break down in global contexts.  Referred to as “friction points,” these situations often occur in one of three areas: contacting (being able to use online media to access an audience and share one’s online compositions with others), conveying (being able to use online media to share digital texts in a way an audience can understand and act upon), and connecting (being able to use online writing practices to create interactive communities that engage in greater discussions of ideas

referred to these as the “3Cs” of writing in global online contexts).  Through an applied literature review, the editors reveal how these three areas are comprised of factors that can greatly hinder online writing practices within international settings.  They also provide suggestions for how writing educators can use this 3Cs framework to better research friction points and identify strategies for addressing them. The editors then explain how each entry in the special issue examines a particular 3Cs area in terms of responding to a particular friction point.  They conclude the entry with a call to action and encourage writing instructors both to explore friction points found in the 3Cs areas and to share findings in order to improve our understanding of these online writing dynamics. 

Keywords: culture, globalization, international, audience

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 10


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

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

Keywords: course and program design: English, student engagement, student satisfaction, accessibility, interaction
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 14

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

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

Keywords: technical and professional writing, instructional design, student satisfaction, accessibility, interaction
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 14

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

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

Keywords: basic writing, developmental writing, hybrid, blended, literature review, assignment: English, technical support, instructor interaction
OWI Principle: 1, 2, 3, 4

Tesdell, Lee S. “Innovation in the Distributed Technical Communication Classroom.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie. Baywood, 2013, pp. 257-69. 

This chapter argues that distributed learning, such as that occurring across time and space in online classrooms, is an opportunity to develop innovative learning strategies. Tesdell defines distributed learning as “centered in the participants and their learning goals” and demonstrates how he uses technology in online classes to “provide cross-cultural collaborations, drawing on distributed online resources...and decentering pedagogy from instructor to students” (258). In this distributed setting, students must negotiate and share opportunities for their learning, including everything to taking over and leading synchronous meetings, finding times to meet together online, and finding and sharing resources outside of a traditional textbook. While distributed, synchronous learning has challenges, such as technical or other disruptions, Tesdell shows that complexity and complications that require faculty and students to be innovative can spawn creative work as well.

Keywords: synchronous interaction, video: English, distributed learning, collaboration, technical support
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 11, 13

Tham, Jason Chew Kit. “Audience, User, Producer: MOOCs as Activity Systems.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2016, pp. 254–77.


The author examines MOOCs (massive online open courses) as socio-rhetorical activity systems, using activity theory to analyze the roles of the different populations interacting in the course. Tham begins by discussing historical shifts in rhetoricians’ views of audience to a more participatory, active role. He then uses an authoethnographic approach to discuss tasks of teachers and learners in a Coursera MOOC on Marketing. The author draws on a previous study by Kizilcec, Piech, & Schneider (2013) to identify different roles in the course activity system of the MOOC: these include the engaged learner, auditing learner, sampling learner, course provider, and course instructor. The author advocates for writing instructors teaching in MOOCs to prioritize user needs, and makes recommendations for designing MOOCs for usability: collect data early, keep participants informed, allow personalization, and allow iterative development.


Keywords: MOOCs, usability testing, audience, activity theory, autoethnography, Coursera, course design: Writing

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 6


Thrush, Emily A., and Necie Elizabeth Young. “Hither, Thither, and Yon: Process in Putting Courses on the Web.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 1, 1999, pp. 49-59.

Thrush and Young outline their experience with developing “Web-based” undergraduate and graduate courses, including some of the legal issues they faced in developing those classes. They not only put their classes online but also supported other faculty members with developing their course for Web-based delivery. The activities they found best suited to be offered on the Web were ones that “a) incorporated materials available on the Web, b) focused on the Web itself as a medium of communication, or c) made out-of-class assignments more interactive” (51). They provide examples of the types of activities that lent themselves to Web-based courses. The article also addresses technology selection and assessment of the Web-based courses. In creating these courses, Thrush and Young identify how the Family Educational Right to Privacy Act (FERPA) complicated their Web-based classes and identify successes and pitfalls of their explorations into online classes. This article identifies some challenges with early online writing instruction and serves as an important document for researchers investigating the history of online writing instruction.

Keywords: course and program design: English, graduate courses, privacy, interaction
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4

Tucker, Virginia. “From Gamers to Grammarians: How Online Gaming is Changing the Nature of Digital Discourse in the Classroom.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2013, pp. 159-78. 

Tucker applies the four categories of communication in online synchronous classroom environments first identified by Kirkpatrick (2005)—greeting, work, self-conscious, and irrelevant—to three recorded sessions of virtual classroom data from predominately freshmen who were new to the media of the virtual classroom in 2009. Of the fifty-five students participating in the virtual classrooms, 93% self-identified as online gamers. All three classes showed a marked increase in work-related discussion (between 62% and 81% of the interactions compared to Kirkpatrick’s 41%), even though all three sections focused on slightly different facets of the same discussion regarding workplace writing. Tucker then reviews reasons why these students spent more productive time in virtual class discussion than students in the previous study. She concludes that, perhaps, their experience communicating in online games, which are considered “crucial conversations” (166), more closely mirror the rhetorical environments of the virtual classroom. Both the simulation and stimulation of online games might “engage participants in knowledge making [and] prepare them for the challenge of academic discourse” (168). By means of comparison, Tucker points to the control of language conventions in online gaming communities and compares that to the control of language practices she finds familiar in online academic discussions. She concludes that, contrary to popular belief that online discourse harms students academically, “the growing popularity of multiplayer online gaming suggests that future generations of students will be increasingly capable of participating in a community of thinkers that utilizes the virtual spaces for knowledge-making activities” (176). This study demonstrates the importance of paying attention to students’ literacy activities outside of the online writing classroom as students from those communities increasingly transition into online classroom spaces. 

Keywords: online gaming, synchronous interaction, social constructionism, first-year writers, technical and professional writing, research, virtual classroom, surveys, qualitative research, digital literacy
OWI Principles: 2, 4, 11

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

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

Keywords: first-year writing, hybrid, faculty development, teaching with technology: English,  online writing programs, writing program administration
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 12

Warnock, Scott. “Online Writing Instruction and the Disappearing Educational Interface.” Rhetorics and Technologies: 20th Penn State Conference on Rhetoric and Composition, Penn State University, Collegeville, PA, July 2007. 

In this conference talk, Warnock explores how digital technology might help in re-thinking students’ experience with what he calls “the interface of writing education.” Offering education as a type of interface, he points out that users/students regularly use technology to navigate the educational interface, and this may be a good thing for writing instruction because introducing layers of technological infrastructure may not complicate students’ learning but instead place it within more comfortable and familiar contexts. He then draws on several student writing samples to demonstrate that students may write “better” on message boards. In the samples, he compares message board posts to formal papers written by the same student about similar topics; using a rudimentary coding methodology, he concludes that the online environment, which involves students working in increasingly “natural” ways through the reading and writing they engage in with digital devices, may provide a “striking opportunity” for writing instruction.

Keywords: interface, discussion boards, reading, digital literacy
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 5, 15

Warnock, Scott. “The Low-Stakes, Risk-Friendly Message Board Text.” Teaching with Student Texts: Essays Toward an Informed Practice, edited by Joseph Harris et al., Utah State UP, 2010, pp. 96-107.

In this chapter in a book about helping teachers work with student texts, Warnock describes how to use message boards to facilitate students’ creation and dissemination of texts in their courses. Warnock provides a brief rationale behind using message boards, including that they are usually low-stakes, open, multi-audience, semiformal, conversational, and topic-focused while also opening opportunities for students to create text/writing and helping develop an overall peer-review-based course approach. He then describes message board assignments and practices, often including sample prompt language. The chapter closes with Warnock discussing how message boards are an ideal way of matching writing pedagogy with technology. He states that “Many concepts and practices we associate with good writing pedagogy are given new potential with the use of message-board texts” (106). He also recommends that in terms of grading, teachers “not be the bottleneck in the system” (105) and for faculty not to over-evaluate each post.

Keywords: discussion board, asynchronous interaction, community, peer review, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4

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

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

Keywords: pedagogy: English, discussion boards, faculty development, course and program design: English, navigation, collaboration, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13

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

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

Keywords: video: English, audio, feedback, process, modeling, screencasting, technology, assessment: English, technical support
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 4, 11

Warnock, Scott. “Interrogating Online Writing Instruction.” Learning and Teaching Writing Online: Strategies for Success, Studies in Writing, vol. 29, series editor Gert Rijlaarsdam and volume editors Mary Deane and Teresa Guasch, Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2015, pp. 178-87.

In the final chapter of an international edited collection about OWI, Warnock “enquires into the future” of OWI (176), using as a frame the collaborative creation of the CCCC “A Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices for OWI.” The chapter explores several key OWI areas: teachers migrating practices online, low-stakes writing as an inherent aspect of teaching writing online, responding to students’ texts, and new assessment opportunities. At the end of the chapter, Warnock introduces the idea of the “fractal” nature of writing instruction, or how “the smallest components of our teaching interactions resemble structurally our broadest interactions,” in challenging “writing developers” to explore what exactly it is we do as and “why online is a great place to learn how to write” (183).

Keywords: feedback, assessment: English, online writing programs, course and program design: English
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 7

Warnock, Scott. “Teaching the OWI Course.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp.  151-82.

This extensive chapter covers five of the OWI principles (Principles 2–6) presented in A Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices for OWI. Warnock seeks to address the question of how to teach writing online successfully.  He analyzes how the principles and corresponding effective practices tackle obstacles and the challenges teachers encounter, specifically in an online environment. Each principle is thoroughly discussed, including examples of how to implement possible best practices into online teaching. Warnock summarizes the chapter by emphasizing that first and foremost, online writing course are writing courses, and teachers need to remain focused on the course goals and objectives. Although teachers should develop strategies to utilize new technologies, they should also adapt their own best practices from onsite teaching and maintain core teaching principles in online writing courses. The responsibility of institutions and writing programs with regard to flexibility in course content and faculty training is also addressed.

Keywords: learning outcomes, teaching with technology: English, best practices, pedagogy: English, online writing programs
OWI Principles:  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Warnock, Scott, and Diana Gasiewski. Writing Together: Ten Weeks Teaching and Studenting in an Online Writing Course. NCTE, 2018.


This book narrates the experience of an asynchronous OWC through the dual perspective of the teacher, Warnock, and a first-year writing student in that course, Gasiewski. Both teacher and student describe in their own voices strategies, activities, approaches, thoughts, and responses as they move week by week through the experience of teaching and taking an OWC. This narrative approach to describing the teaching of an OWC includes specific course materials—such as plans for each week of the term, assignments, and discussion board prompts—and teaching strategies. Each chapter covers a week of the course and is themed along a major category or topic of OWI, such as “Breaking the Ice in an Online Writing Course,” “Discussions,” and “Reading and the Literacy Load.” Each chapter also contains a “Behind the Screens” sidebar that provides a mini annotated bibliography of further readings about that chapter’s main topic. Writing Together is a how-to guide for teaching an OWC, but the book also, through the “studenting” experience expressed in the title, shows OWI instructors how students perceive OWCs and navigate through them—and how they manage their lives in the context of distance education.


Keywords: asynchronous, collaboration, discussion boards, writing process, icebreakers, portfolios, reading, reflection, revision

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 15


Weaver, Christopher. “Shifting Again: Electronic Writing and Recorded Speech 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. 47–66.


Weaver addresses how speech in the online writing class allows instructors to “exploit the exploratory, dialogic quality of writing” and how speech reconfigures the relationship between speaking and writing through multimedia use in online writing workshop courses. In addition to solving some of the practical problems of the face-to-face writing workshop, the spatial and temporal nature of discussion boards allowed students to return to and reflect on the material that is generated. In addition, Weaver’s experiences with recording and editing mini-lectures allowed him to understand how audio text was a performance to be edited, and asking students to respond to the recorded text “emphasized the interplay between writing and speaking” (55). He took this interplay and created student video projects where students collaborated on video and print projects, using each mode to inform the other. He concludes that video creation foregrounds the editing process in a way that writing does not. Students more comfortable with viewing videos than with consuming text also allows them to connect the concept of “audience” in video with the audience in writing. Weaver encourages online writing instructors to incorporate a sense of play with multimedia projects to reinforce the nature of writing as process and product. 


Keywords: multimodal, multimedia, expressivism, composing processes, teaching with technology: English

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 10


Yagelski, Robert P., and Sarah Powley. “Virtual Connections and Real Boundaries: Teaching Writing and Preparing Writing Teachers on the Internet. Computers and Composition, vol. 13, 1996, pp. 25–36.

Yagelski and Powley detail the struggles they encountered when they tried to use electronic means to connect their writing classes for secondary-school teachers. They provide a background of their collaboration, which was to be a collaboration that exchanged student texts via email between a college composition class at a high school and an advanced composition class at a university. Both teachers hoped that the collaboration would help secondary students improve their writing and secondary-school teachers in training to be able to practice giving commentary on real student texts. The article describes the technological, instructional, and theoretical boundaries that stifled their collaboration. And while, in the end, they found the collaboration useful, they note that “our inability to use computer technology to facilitate the intended discourse between the high school and university classes gave rise to . . . complex questions about the purposes of writing instruction in high schools and universities” (31). After detailing the questions that arose from the collaboration, they conclude that using computer technologies to link classes open the path for a variety of discussions regarding a disconnect between secondary and post-secondary writing classrooms. While this article is not explicit about OWI, the issues raised in this article inform professional work between colleges and high schools who seek to implement computer-mediated activities through online platforms.

Keywords: teacher training, collaboration email, composition, teaching with technology: English, technical support, discussion: English, computer-mediated communication
OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 11

Yang, Shih-Hsien, Hsiu-Ting Hung, and Hui-Chin Yeh. “How Student Teachers’ Online Commentaries Scaffold Student Writing.” IEEE 16th International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, 2016, pp. 531–32.


Yang, Hung, and Yeh discuss how scaffolding and supplementary online writing instruction can be beneficial to English as a Second Language (ESL) students in first-year writing courses. The authors note that ESL students often face additional language acquisition challenges and may require more time and feedback during advanced writing courses – needs that may be difficult for instructors to meet in composition classes with many students. Peer review can meet some of these needs, but ESL students may distrust their peers’ skills or grasp of English as opposed to their instructors’. Yan, Hung, and Yeh present scaffolding and student teachers’ feedback as an alternative model. The authors designed and observed a virtual practicum in which master’s students worked with undergraduate students throughout a first-year writing course. The student teachers provided scaffolded instruction on grammar corrections, textual development, and paper viewpoint. The authors report that all participants found the exercise valuable, especially within the online context that let them work at their own paces.


Keywords: scaffolding, ESL/ELL/L2, communities of inquiry, computer-mediated instruction, community of inquiry, practicum, peer review, faculty development

OWI Principles: 2, 11, 13, 14


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

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

Keywords: accessibility, disability, podcasting, usability testing
OWI Principles 1, 2, 4