The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction: Principle 5

Document created by Heidi Skurat Harris on Oct 22, 2019Last modified by Cari Goldfine on Oct 23, 2019
Version 3Show Document
  • View in full screen mode

OWI Principle 5: Online writing teachers should retain reasonable control over their own content and/or techniques for conveying, teaching, and assessing their students’ writing in their OWCs.


Return to The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction


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

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

Keywords: collaboration, assessment: English, feedback, student engagement
OWI Principles: 4, 5, 11

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

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

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

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

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

Keywords: collaboration, ethnography, pedagogy: English, student engagement
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 15

Bartoletta, Joseph, Tiffany Bourelle, and Julianne Newmark. “Revising the Online Classroom: Usability Testing for Training Online Technical Communication Instructors.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 287–99.


In this study, Bartoletta et al. explore the benefits of incorporating usability testing into online technical and professional communication (TPC) teacher training. The authors set up a “medium-tech” case study using both sophisticated usability testing software and in room observations to test students’ ability to navigate TPC courses. In their findings, the authors argue that usability testing has a positive impact on both instructors and students. However, they caution against implementing usability testing as a form of teacher assessment and advocate for a balance between focusing on usability and allowing instructors the freedom to design their own courses.


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

OWI Principles 1, 3, 5, 7


Bay, Jennifer. “Training Technical and Professional Communication Educators for Online Internship Courses.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 329–43.


This article explores training options for technical and professional communication (TPC) instructors teaching online internship courses. Citing an increase in fulltime and online internship opportunities for students, Bay argues for the creation of more online internship courses which can accomodate distance and working students’ professional needs. Bay acknowledges the difficulty in training instructors to teach online TPC courses, and uses her graduate pilot course as a model for ways program administrators can train graduate teaching assistants and other instructors to teach online. The course uses an experiential learning approach where, “trainers are setting an example by how they teach” (p. 334). While Bay’s course was designed as a graduate seminar, she also explores ways her course could be adapted for different institutions and instructors. 


Keywords: experiential, internships, faculty development, service learning, professional development: Writing
OWI Principles: 3, 5, 6, 7

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

Blancato, Michael, and Chad Iwertz. “‘Are the Instructors Going to Teach Us Anything?’: Conceptualizing Student and Teacher Roles in the ‘Rhetorical Composing’ MOOC.” Computers & Composition, vol. 42, 2016, pp. 47–58. 


Blancato and Iwertz discuss managing student expectations in a massive open online course (MOOC) at The Ohio State University. While the instructors assumed the course would follow a connectivist massive open online course (cMOOC) environment where students learn from each other, the authors found that participants expected an expert-instructor-lead or extended massive open online course (xMOOC) learning environment. Through their investigation of the courses message boards, Blancato and Iwertz found the cMOOC and xMOOC dichotomy insufficient to describe the type of learning participants and instructors engaged in. They point to the way participants critiqued each other through peer review as well as the work put in by instructors to oversee and design the course. In the end, the authors advocate for an understanding of MOOCs which breaks the xMOOC and cMOOC binary and acknowledges the various roles participants can take and the way instructors can also learn from participants. 


Keywords: MOOCs, peer review, community, xMOOC, cMOOC, student perceptions 

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 5, 6


Bourelle, Tiffany, Andy Bourelle, Stephanie Spong, Anna V. Knutson,  Emilie Howland-Davis, and Natalie Kubasek. “Reflections in Online Writing Instruction: Pathways to Professional Development.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 20, no. 1, 2015,


In this webtext, Bourelle and colleagues argue for more online-based pedagogical training within academia, especially for graduate students. They provide information on their digital first-year writing program, Electronic Composition (eComp), for undergraduate and graduate students. eComp “encourages undergraduate composition students to develop twenty-first century literacies in a fully online environment” while including graduate students as instructors. Graduate students wishing to teach online through eComp must either work as an Instructional Assistant (IA) or take a multimodal and online pedagogies seminar. Working with experienced online instructors, IAs learn how to give students feedback, facilitate discussions, and answer student questions, in addition to forming close relationships with their team-teachers during their first semester. In the multimodal and online pedagogies seminar, graduate students read theoretical texts behind multimodal composition and online theory and course development; draft assignments, rubrics, lecture videos, lessons plans, and facilitate discussions; and complete a digital literacy narrative and electronic teaching portfolio, establishing their own teaching philosophy based on theories of multimodal composition. By the end of the course, graduate students have an online course ready to teach. In this webtext, which resembles a public transportation system map, readers can choose different pathways to read through an online pedagogy literature review; reflections from the professor, veteran graduate students, and novice graduate students in eComp; an overview of the offered pedagogy seminar; future directions; and, of course, appendices.


Keywords: graduate teaching assistant, professional development, first-year composition, digital literacy, multimodal

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 13


Brooks, Kevin, et al. “Remediation, Genre, and Motivation: Key Concepts for Teaching with Weblogs.” Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs, edited by Laura Gurak, et al.,  U of Minnesota P, 2004,

In an ongoing effort to motivate students by utilizing technology, Brooks et al. study weblogs or “blogs” as serious educational tools. By using familiar forms of writing such as journals, research notes, and notecards in an the electronic form of a blog, the authors sought to create a transformative learning experience for students.  These three instructors studied 165 students over two semesters in various writing courses. Students were given an initial survey and an exit survey to gauge results. Findings indicated students overwhelming liked using the blog as a personal journal as a form of social, expressive communication. This is likely because it is the most familiar form of writing to students.  Findings also suggested that using blogs as research notebook works well if the blog functions as part of a shared community space to. The use of weblogs in general seemed to motivate the students to write for class and further engaged in their course. The focus on student motivation and technology use for the production of education texts is valuable to OWI studies.

Keywords: blog, survey, research, community
OWI Principles:  3, 5, 15

Brown, Maury E., and Daniel L. Hocutt. “Pervasive Pedagogy: Collaborative Cloud-Based Composition Using Google Drive.” Integration of Cloud Technologies in Digitally Networked Classrooms and Learning Communities, edited by Binod Gurung and Marohang Limbu, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 98–119. 


The authors report on their use of Google Apps for Education and Google Drive for student composition and collaboration in face-to-face, first-year composition classes at two different institutions. The use of cloud composing allowed the two instructors flexibility in setting up online student folders in Google Drive or encouraging students to set up their own online folders. It also allowed for student interaction outside the classroom space and meeting times, as well as co-construction and peer review of texts that may not easily be accomplished using the discussion board of an LMS. In a survey, the majority of students reported that their experience with Google Drive was “better than expected” or “somewhat better than expected.” Students also found peer review more useful than in their past experiences, while instructors appreciated access to document revision history, including changes made to student texts in response to peer feedback. While cloud composing applications are easily accessible and free, institutional concerns about privacy have limited their use. The authors argue for continued development of pedagogical practices for the use of cloud-based composing tools.


Keywords: Google Suite, collaboration, peer review, revision 

OWI Principles: 3, 5, 11


Cargile Cook, Kelli, and Keith Grant-Davie. “Online Course and Instructor Evaluations.”  Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 229-44. 

Cargile Cook and Grant-Davie identify guidelines for effective online instruction based on the 1999 Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs though the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) and connects those to Chickering and Gamson’s principles of effective education in order to establish how various individuals (including students, the instructors themselves, administrators, and outside peers) can effectively evaluate online courses. They provide guidelines for developing evaluations for students, peers, administrators and instructor self-evaluation. They conclude with a call for research on online course evaluation and consideration of the difference between “adequate” and “best” practices in online education. The chapter is useful for online faculty and administrators who are charged with developing a variety of online assessments and for considering how to research online course assessment.

Keywords: assessment, course evaluation
OWI Principles: 5, 7, 12

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

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

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

Keywords: course and program design: English, at-risk students, instructional design
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 11, 12

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

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

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

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

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

Keywords: assessment, distance learning, evaluation, faculty development, student preparation
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Coppola, Nancy W. “Changing Roles for Online Teachers of Technical Communication.”  Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 89-99.

Coppola reviews literature establishing a variety of roles for online technical communication teachers. Cognitive roles involve constructing environments for students to learn and master content knowledge. Affective roles focus on developing environments that foster and sustain communication. Managerial roles involve designing environments where tasks can be planned and completed effectively. Coppola argues that for face-to-face writing instructors moving to online classes, understanding the similarities and differences in these roles will help them to manage that transition. This work provides an overview of different teaching perspectives regarding online classes and adds to the conversation surrounding how faculty can manage their personae in the classroom in order to build effective online classes.

Keywords: technical and professional writing, instructional design, collaboration, instructor interaction
OWI Principles: 5, 11, 12

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, et al. “Designing Efficiencies: The Parallel Narratives of Distance Education and Composition Studies.” Computers and Composition, vol. 23, no. 1, 2006, pp. 49–67. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2005.12.005.

Kevin DePew, Teddi Fishman, Bridget Fahey Ruetenik and Julia Romberger consider “the parallel historical narratives” of distance-education (DE) and Current-Traditional Rhetoric (CTR) in order to highlight the “trend toward mechanization” in order to bring greater “efficiency” to the teaching of writing (50). The article begins with a brief history of DE classes, paying close attention to the promises of efficiency embedded in the language surrounding DE. The authors then point to similar language in the narrative of CTR, in particularly how the “priority [is] placed on data and material information gathering set forth in an objective report” (52). As composition classes were prepared for distance delivery, even after social-epistemic pedagogies became more prevalent, instructors found themselves falling back on ideologies of CTR as they moved face-to-face classes online. The article demonstrates through examples how the goals of efficiency and scale touted by administrators clash with faculty’s desire for small, interactive, writing-intensive classes. Institutions must be mindful of the balance between cost-effectiveness and sound pedagogy when creating online writing classes, in particular to resist the separation of content and delivery and the desire to create courses as “packages” separate from instruction. The authors end with a call for practitioners to familiarize themselves with the histories of sub-disciplines within composition studies that drive current ideologies of efficiency and to research student and instructor experience to shape more effective DE pedagogies.

Keywords: constructivism, current traditional rhetoric, instructional design, course and program design: English, course caps, faculty development, online writing programs
OWI Principles: 5, 7, 8, 12

Dockter, Jason. “The Problem of Teaching Presence in Transactional Theories of Distance Education.” Computers and Composition, vol. 40, 2016, pp. 73–86. 


This article explores the challenges that online teachers face in establishing a teaching persona -- one that is accurate of who they really are. While many online teachers believe that they create and control their teaching presence, drawing on transactional distance theory and relational distance theory, this paper argues that such an assumption can result in increased distance between teacher and students. This increased distance makes it more difficult for online students to accurately sense who their teacher is. Problematically, this sense of who the teacher is can be a powerful element to helping online students succeed within the course. To help students to perceive more clearly who the teacher of the course is, the article recommends frequent and varied communication between teacher and students, the utilization of multimodal communication methods to provide differing opportunities for students to make meaning, for teachers to share who they are with students, and proactively encouraging the formation of relationships between course participants through course design. This paper covers the following main points: the importance of students’ perception of the teacher, often referred to as ‘teacher presence’ in online classes; how problems of teaching presence can negatively affect students and their chances for success within a course; problems associated with the term ‘teaching presence’ itself, through the lenses of reader response theory, transactional distance theory, and relational distance theory; and the need for a richer conception of what online teaching presence is and how it is developed within an online course.


Keywords: instructor presence, multimodal, identity, course design: Writing

OWI Principles: 3, 5, 11


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

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

Keywords: assessment, pre-designed courses, Blackboard, course management system, surveys, course and program design: English, qualitative research, faculty satisfaction
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 6, 12, 15

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

Ericsson, Katherine. “Thinking Outside ‘the Box’: Going Outside the CMS to Create Successful Online Team Projects.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 121–45.


Ericsson argues that the incorporating technologies from outside a CMS or LMS to provide shared workspace for student group projects.  She argues that students need a wider context for learning that is more aligned with the realities they will find in their future careers. Ericsson uses her own online course as a case study in which students use a team built Google Sites, created outside the CMSs to achieve fully online, successful group projects.  In this case study, the instructor serves as a facilitator who monitors student transcripts and online activity in order to offer just in time encouragement to groups when they need it. The study concludes by emphasizing that the students successfully completed a fully online group project and that students actually liked doing the work.


Keywords: collaboration, case study, course management site, Google Suite

OWI: 3, 5, 11, 15


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

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

Keywords: hybrid, assessment, writing program administration, course and program design: English
OWI Principles: 4, 5, 12

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jaramillo-Santoy, Janie, and Gina Cano-Monreal. “Training Faculty for Online Instruction: Applying Technical Communication Theory to the Design of a Mentoring Program.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2013, pp. 91–112.

Expanding on Marjorie Davis’s 2005 argument regarding technical communicators as ideal online program designers, Jaramillo-Santoy and Cano-Monreal’s program Mentor2Mentor (M2M) utilizes faculty online teaching skills to help faculty new to online teaching become proficient. The chapter describes the development of M2M through an analysis of collaborative relationships at the institution, articulates the mission statement, analyzes the needs of the target audiences, and provides a model of assessing the mentee’s needs regarding both knowledge of online pedagogy and knowledge of tools for course design and/or delivery. Working with both the Quality Matters guidelines and an internal document created by the college’s Distance Learning Committee, the authors designed a program that fast-tracks the mentee through Neuhauser’s Online Course Design Maturity model. Then, the mentor works with the mentee to design a prototype course. Once the prototype has been approved, the mentor supports the mentee in the design and delivery of the course during the first term the course is delivered. Finally, the cycle is assessed through feedback from both the mentor and the mentee, and the institution provides appropriate compensation, certification, and recognition for both mentors and mentees. This chapter highlights a development, delivery, and assessment cycle for a one-to-one faculty professional development model that negotiates the needs of individuals, the requirements of sound online pedagogy, and the institutional limitations placed on online writing faculty.

Keywords: faculty development, mentoring, online writing programs, assessment, Quality Matters, instructional design, pedagogy: English, faculty satisfaction
OWI Principles: 3, 5, 7, 8, 12

Lang, Susan. “Who Owns the Course? Online Composition Courses in an Era of Changing Intellectual Property Policies. Computers and Composition, vol. 15, no. 2, 1998, pp. 215–28. 

Lang points out that discussions about copyright for online composition classrooms had, up until 1998, been very limited. In particular, she addresses three questions: 1) “Who has historically and contractually controlled course materials created by faculty members? 2) Who owns course materials developed for particular courses? Why should the transition to networked computing environments change the nature of ‘course materials ownership’? And 3) Are there substantive differences between materials created for a traditional composition course and an online course?” (216). Lang provides an overview of then current copyright law in regards to copyright for instructor-developed course materials. She concludes that, because of the increasing numbers of composition programs who are taking decisions about curriculum development away from instructors and other part-time faculty, as instructional materials move online, composition faculty and universities have different view of what constitutes “currency” in regard to the materials produced by professionals (226). By tying the question about online course copyright to larger issues of intellectual property at the postsecondary level, the article concludes that how “faculty” is defined at the university will determine, in large part, who owns the curriculum for online classes.

Keywords: legislation, copyright, networked classrooms, intellectual property, curriculum, composition pedagogy, online writing programs, writing program administration, faculty workload, faculty satisfaction
OWI Principles: 5, 12

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

McEachern, Robert W. “Challenging Evaluation: The Complexity of Grading Writing in Hybrid MOOCs.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 370–84. 


McEachern documented his experience teaching a hybrid MOOC. Defined as an on-ground course offered by a college or university that embeds all or part of an MOOC managed by an outside provider, hybrid MOOCs are sometimes referred to as blended MOOCs, wrapped courses, or distributed flips. Before sharing his own experience, McEachern noted the known positives and negatives of hybrid MOOCS. These courses allow students access to content from highly-respected scholars, diverse perspectives from worldwide participants, and more activities to reinforce learning. Conversely, though, hybrid MOOCs don’t always sync up with the timing or content of on-ground courses and may present difficulties with technology, lack of interaction, or distinct learning styles. McEachern decided to find a MOOC to embed in his writing for the web class, a course that satisfied his institution’s general education requirement and WAC program and could be used as an elective in its professional writing program. Due to timing and content, he decided to embed the E-Learning and Digital Cultures MOOC (EDCMOOC) taught by University of Edinburgh faculty and offered through Coursera. His students were required, for the most part, to complete the weekly content and assignments of the MOOC, comment in any of the discussion tools of the MOOC, and repost those comments in his course’s Blackboard (for convenience). McEachern found that the biggest difficulty in teaching the hybrid MOOC had to do with grading. Assignments in the MOOC were graded on a pass/fail basis by students acting as peer reviewers using rubrics created by the University of Edinburgh faculty. McEachern did not feel comfortable, as instructor of record for the on-ground course, using student peer reviews as the basis for grades. Thus, he developed a grading scheme that accounted for the weekly work completed in the MOOC but not the pass/fail peer reviews, instead using those only for potentially helpful feedback. Even with the difficulties associated with selecting an MOOC and potential grading inconsistencies, McEachern said hybrid MOOCs are worth it; he did note, though, that about half of his students said they’d eliminate the MOOC in an end-of-semester survey.


Keywords: MOOCs, hybrid, content, grading, peer review, Coursera, Blackboard

OWI Principles: 1, 5, 6, 9


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

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

Keywords:  contingent faculty, adjunct, administration, faculty development, intellectual property, community, faculty workload, faculty satisfaction
OWI Principles:  3, 5, 7, 8, 10

Meloncon, Lisa. “Contingent Faculty, Online Writing Instruction, and Professional Development in Technical Communication.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 256–72.


Meloncon studied contingent faculty and how they are prepared for online teaching in technical and professional communication (TPC) programs. Using the American Association of University Professors’ (AAUP) definition of “contingent faculty,” which includes full-time non-tenured track (FT-NTT) and part-time instructors (Meloncon excluded graduate students from her research). She surveyed 346 contingent faculty and conducted three case studies. The survey had a 26% response rate, with respondents being mostly white, female, FT-NTT who had taught for at least four years. Results indicated that while 57% had autonomy over online course design, 39% reported only partial autonomy while 4% had none. Nearly half, 48%, of respondents reported not knowing who had ownership, themselves or the institutions, of their online content. Further, while 62% of contingent faculty had taken a formal course training them to teach online, 14% paid for such training themselves. The three contingent faculty interviewed for case studies, identified by pseudonyms, confirmed Meloncon’s findings that there is a lack of professional development and training to improve teaching practices, indicating that even when training is provided, it is on the LMS and not pedagogical. Meloncon recommended a three-step approach for TPC program administrators to improve professional development for contingent faculty teaching online: (1) conduct “landscape readings” of resources and materials available related to technological, spatial, legal, managerial, pedagogical, and institutional aspects of teaching; (2) create a Community of Practice (CoP), a group of those concerned with learning how to do something better aligned with program outcomes; then (3) implement model of professional development. Meloncon used a pedagogical model as an example, as professional development should be pedagogically-driven rather than technologically-driven.


Keywords: contingent faculty, course design, professional development, course management system, community of practice, faculty development

OWI Principles: 5, 7, 12, 15


Meloncon, Lisa. “Exploring Electronic Landscapes: Technical Communication, Online Learning, and Instructor Preparedness.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 16, no. 1, 2007, pp. 31-53. 

This article addresses the need for preparation strategies for teachers of technical communication and explores teachers’ readiness and self-selection processes. Using landscape theory from cultural geography, the author develops a framework for instructors to use to determine if they are ready and willing to teach online. This framework is grounded in cross-sectional reading practice developed by geographers, but it is updated so that the concept of “reading a landscape” can be used in different types of settings. For the purposes of online writing instruction, the framework includes five “landscapes”: personal, pedagogical, technological, managerial, and institutional.  Each landscape is accompanied by a starter set of questions so the instructor can reflect on their preparedness and readiness to teach online at their specific institutions. In addition to being a valuable tool for teachers new to online teaching, this framework is also an excellent tool to routinely determine the current “landscape” of online teaching resources on campus.

Keywords: faculty development, technical and professional writing, pedagogy: English, teaching with technology: English, faculty satisfaction, administration, writing program administration, online writing programs

OWI Principles: 5, 7, 12

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

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

Keywords: faculty development, course and program design: English, instructional design, community of practice, community online resources, multimedia
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5, 7, 11

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


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

Rude, Carolyn. “Strategic Planning for Online Education: Sustaining Students, Faculty, and Programs.”  Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2005, pp. 67-85. 

Rude establishes considerations for programs seeking to develop online programs, using Texas Tech’s graduate program in technical communication (started Fall 1997) as a model. First, local circumstances were taken into account. Next, Texas Tech developed a sustainable, quality program that worked within university and system guidelines for delivering graduate programs. Finally, Rude provides an overview of how Texas Tech’s program uses synchronous delivery to enable student-to-student interaction and to fulfill the need for content delivery. Synchronous communication has been highly rated by both faculty and students in the program. This program provides a model for other programs seeking to move their graduate programs fully online by demonstrating how synchronous classes can function as the core of a successful program.

Keywords: synchronous interaction, graduate programs, course and program design: English, student-to-student interaction, online writing programs
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5

Ruefman, Daniel, and Abigail G. Scheg, editors. Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction. Utah State University Press, 2016.


In this book, Ruefman and Scheg examines the teaching strategies used by effective online writing instructors. As such, this text is broken into three sections: Course Conceptualization and Support, Fostering Student Engagement, and MOOCs, with chapters devoted to each topic. Focused on how the authors of each chapter leveraged their individual practices, the editors frame the collection as a worthwhile set of tools for any emerging or established online writing instructor. This resource provides examples of effective digital teaching contexts and genres of digital text.


Keywords: accessibility, engagement, MOOCs, support, course management system, student engagement, faculty development, professional development, multimedia

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14


Shultz Colby, Rebekah. “Using Online Writing Communities to Teach Writing MOOCs.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 317–30.


Shultz Colby discusses her study of the types of questions asked and types of feedback given on an online writing forum to determine ways to deal with the impossible task of giving specific writing feedback in an MOOC. Colby qualitatively coded 102 questions asked during the course of one year on an online writing forum (Technical Writing World). She coded the types of questions asked, finding that most asked specific questions related to design, writing, software usage, specific genres, style guides, and documentation practices. She also coded the types of feedback or responses, finding that the replies either provided specific answers in the post of the reply or by linking to a specific answer or asked the original poster to research the issue for more information. Colby indicated that the questions and responses evidenced inherent awareness of audience and purpose in the writing community. She determined three pedagogical approaches that could be applied in an MOOC: (1) direct students to one or more existing online forums for specific writing advice; (2) task students with conducting their own qualitative studies of one or more online writing forums; or (3) design the MOOC itself to operate as an online writing forum, allowing mini-forums for more specific aspects of writing.


Keywords: MOOCs, feedback, discussion board, qualitative

OWI Principles: 3, 5, 11, 15


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stewart, Mary K., Jenae Cohn, and Carl Whithaus. “Collaborative Course Design and Communities of Practice: Strategies for Adaptable Course Shells in Hybrid and Online Writing Instruction.” Transformative Dialogues: Teaching and Learning eJournal, vol.  9, no. 1, 2016, pp. 1–20.


Stewart, Cohn, and Whithaus advocate for a community of practice approach to course design and instruction. They describe their experience with developing hybrid and online first-year composition courses at a large public university on the west coast of the United States, which included departmentally-sanctioned teaching journals during the first two years of the program implementation. The article analyzes those journals to trace the community of practice that emerged among the course instructors, and to describe the complicated relationship between instructor agency and shared curriculum. The authors conclude with a call for collaboration among instructors, instructional designers, and writing program administrators during course design, and for the deliberate facilitation of a community of practice among instructors during course implementation.


Keywords: hybrid, first-year composition, communities of practice, agency, templates, writing program administration, instructional design

OWI Principles: 5, 7, 11, 12


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. “Responding to Student Writing with Audio-Visual Feedback.” Writing and the iGeneration: Composition in the Computer-Mediated Classroom, edited by Terry Carter and Maria A. Clayton, Fountainhead P, 2008, pp. 201-27.

In this chapter from a book designed to help new and experienced teachers incorporate technology into their teaching of writing, Warnock first provides a review of the history of teachers’ use of audio to respond to student writing and then describes his step-by-step process of providing audiovisual (AV) response to student writers in his own courses using Camtasia software. He concludes this description by saying, “The conversation I need to have with students about their writing is facilitated at least as well by AV feedback as with written comments” (210). In an appendix, he discusses a brief study in his own classes in which he asked students on anonymous course evaluations if they preferred written feedback, face-to-face conferences, or AV comments for their drafts. Students said the face-to-face conferences were best but preferred AV feedback over written commentary. While this study is not exclusive to OWI, the technological method of response fits well with efforts to teach writing using digital technology.

Keywords: feedback, video: English, audio, screencasting
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 15

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. “Frequent Low-Stakes Grading: Assessment for Communication, Confidence.” Online Classroom, vol. 12, no. 3, March 2012, pp. 5, 7. 

This article describes what Warnock calls FLS, or Frequent Low-Stakes, grading approaches in online instruction. Arguing that our students grow up in a “culture of assessment” (e.g., restaurant ratings, video games metrics) that is often contradicted by the frequent, high-stakes evaluations they encounter in school, Warnock says FLS grading has several advantages, including that it creates dialogue, builds confidence, and increases motivation in students. and he focuses on two particular methods: informal writing and quizzing. Of using writing in this way online, he says, “The technological environment of online learning is a major asset in using short, informal writing.” The core idea of FLS grading is to provide students with many small, low-stakes grades, and the grades then become a means of communication: “…a stream of FLS grades allows students to know where they stand so they can better reach their goals in our courses.”

Keywords: assessment: English, student engagement, student satisfaction, student success
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 5

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


Yang, Shih-Hsien. “Conceptualizing Effective Feedback Practice through an Online Community of Inquiry.” Computers & Education, vol. 94, 2016, pp. 162–77. 


Drawing from Garrison, Anderson, and Archer’s (2000) Community of Inquiry framework, Yang evaluates 14 prospective teachers’ (PT) teaching, cognitive, and social presences in this process-oriented qualitative study. Each of the 14 PTs were asked to provide micro and macro-level feedback on two anonymously assigned student essays three times over the course of a semester. While doing so, the 14 PTs were asked to engage with one another in a virtual learning space. The PTs worked “collaboratively, as well as individually, to continuously evaluate and improve their feedback practice,” (162). Yang then evaluated how the PTs engaged in collective evaluation of student essays and written feedback on those essays as it pertained to the three presences. Evaluation occurred through an online participatory system where PTs co-constructed knowledge, explored related issues, engaged in discussion, and collectively generated solutions. Yang found that the PTs experienced challenges in providing macro-level feedback pertaining to their teaching presence. However, they were intensively engaged in providing feedback to one another and generating pedagogical knowledge. The author suggests that teacher preparation programs should create opportunities for PTs to engage in real-life practice through the affordances of different technologies.


Keywords: community of inquiry, synchronous, discussion boards, international, community, feedback

OWI Principles: 4, 5, 11, 15