The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction: Principle 6

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 6: Alternative, self-paced, or experimental OWI models should be subject to the same principles of pedagogical soundness, teacher/designer preparation, and oversight detailed in this document.


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

Austin, Traci L., Lucia S. Sigmar, Gurinder B. Mehta, and Jennifer L. Shirk. “Impact of Web-assisted Instruction on Student Writing Outcomes in Business Communication.” Journal of Instructional Pedagogies, vol. 20, 2018, pp. 1–11.


Austin et al. studied the impact of McGraw-Hill’s ConnectTM LearnSmartAchieve adaptive learning tool on business students’ basic grammar and mechanics skills. The researchers analyzed 85 persuasive student texts from students who did not use LearnSmartAchieve with 87 student texts from those using the web-assisted instruction. They found the number of basic, sentence-level errors were cut in half for the students who used the McGraw-Hill product, including significant reductions in sentence fragments, run-on sentences, non-capitalization of proper nouns, misspelled words and comma errors. This study suggests that students’ editing skills might benefit from adaptive learning technologies, although the researchers did acknowledge significant limitations of the study. This research adds to the conversation about the place of adaptive learning publisher materials in online and face-to-face writing classrooms.


Keywords: adaptive technology, grammar & style 

OWI Principles: 6, 15


Balfour, Stephen. “Assessing Writing in MOOCs: Automated Essay Scoring and Calibrated Peer ReviewTM.” Research and Practice in Assessment, vol. 8, Summer 2013, pp. 40–48.


Balfour analyzes and responds to the decisions by both Harvard and Stanford to utilize Automated Essay Scoring (AES) technologies in their Massive Online Open Courses (MOOC). To cover this topic, Balfour reviews the existing research, reviews the benefits, assesses the  limitations, and develops a table that offers a framework for comparing these forms of assessment of student writing. This article explains both AES and CPR technologies and methodologies in detail as well as student and researcher responses to them. After careful reviews of literature and responses, Balfour shows that AES has proved to be accurate and a legitimate way for scoring and providing effective feedback to students for over ten years.  However, despite this success, there is still no indication that any of these scoring systems can effectively assess or evaluate creative work or original research writing. 


Keywords: MOOCs, automated writing evaluation, online writing

OWI: 3, 4, 6, 15


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. “MOOC Mania? Bridging the Gap Between the Rhetoric and Reality of Online Learning.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, 2016, Utah State University Press, pp. 167–79.


Blair argues for “conversations among university administrators and writing faculty to ensure we’re not integrating online learning technologies for their own sake, but rather because they provide a range of learning opportunities with institutional structures that support and reward faculty for their innovation and labor” (168). As such, this chapter makes a case for more engaged and purposeful consideration of MOOCs on the part of OWI and those who teach OWCs so we have a voice in the conversation. While primarily focused on the explosion of MOOC offerings in general, Blair explains that a larger issue exists in student motivation issues, whether the course is a MOOC or a traditional OWC. This article provides multiple successful examples of university—MOOC partnerships that are still in use today and is valuable for OWI.


Keywords: accessibility, MOOCs, course design

OWI Principles: 1, 6, 12


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


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


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

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 5, 6


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


Bourelle, Tiffany, and Beth L. Hewett. “Training Instructors to Teach Multimodal Composition in OWI Courses.” Handbook of Writing and Composition in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monske and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 348–69.


Bourelle and Hewett argue that because multimodal composition has predominantly been taught in traditional face-to-face courses, there is a need for more intentional multimodal pedagogy in online courses.  They argue that teachers need training in four skill sets: developing and scaffolding multimodal assignments, creating multimodal instructional tools, incorporating technology labs within the curriculum, and adopting and adapting a multimodal ePortfolio to showcase student learning. For each skill, they offer insights into how trainees might acquire the skill set, discuss what practices trainers can use to promote learning, and explore how this teacher training benefits students. Bourelle and Hewett also recommend ways trainers can overcome limitations, such as their own lack of familiarity with technologies and lack of time or resources to conduct trainings. Finally, they argue that trainers must emphasize the non-traditional student population trainees will encounter and encourage trainees to reconsider how they use digital tools like discussion boards in online courses. 

Keywords: writing program administration, professional development, multimodal, digital literacy, faculty development

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 6, 7, 10, 12


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

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

Chen, Mei-Hua, S.-T. Huangb, J.S. Chang & H.-C. Liou. “Developing a Corpus-Based Paraphrase Tool to Improve EFL Learners’ Writing Skills.” Computer Assisted Language Learning, vol. 28, no. 1, 2015, pp. 22-40. 

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

Key words: EFL, quantitative research
OWI Principles: 1, 6, 15

Clark-Oates, Angela, Andrew Bourelle, Tiffany Bourelle, Sherry Rankins-Robertson, and Duane Roen. “Innovating with Technology in First-Year Composition: Developing and Evolving Online Writing Programs.” Beyond the Frontier: Innovations in First-Year Composition Volume II, edited by Jill Dahlman and Tammy Winner, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018, 198–211.


Writing programs must be situated within the institutional context they serve for the greatest effectiveness. To create a quality program the efforts must be an ongoing evolution of research and responses in order to adapt to the changing needs of students and the university context.  These authors trace their own experiences building programs. First, they discuss in detail their time as the team who built the original deployment of Arizona State’s University’s (ASU) Writer’s Studio, ASU’s online version of first-year composition. Second, these authors trace their continued WPA work in alternative contexts as they continued to build and expand online writing programs.  Clark-Oates explains her process of revising,evolving, and expanding ASU’s Writer’s Studio as it needed to change to the ever-growing student population. Bourelle and Bourelle discuss their experience in building a new online composition program at the University of New Mexico. While they drew from their experiences and knowledge of ASU’s program, they specifically adapted their new programs to the current contexts and needs.  The authors emphasize while there is much to learn here from their program building experiences, the primary message is that these each WPA program must remain in motion and adaptable to the ever changing needs of students and the university context.


Keywords: writing program administration, first-year composition, writing studio

OWI: 3, 4, 6, 7, 13, 15


Colby, Richard. “A Typology of MOOCS.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 1–16.


Considering the affordances and constraints of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), Colby discusses MOOC models by analyzing three composition MOOCs (i.e., Georgia Tech, The Ohio State University, and Duke University) before offering a new model. Careful not to over-generalize, Colby finds that the three composition MOOCs, overall, are similar in terms of direct instruction, writing, and peer review/grading. Discussing constraints according to the MOOC acronym, Colby explains that the idea of a “massive” course results in pedagogical restrictions related to many-to-many models, “open” creates additional issues because many students who enroll are not “traditional,” and “online course” is limiting in relation to cognitive biases associated with not meeting or knowing students. Colby discusses different types of MOOCs (e.g., xMOOC, cMOOC, and POOC) to point out that none are like the three composition MOOCs. Offering a new label for composition MOOCs, Colby argues that an iMOOC blends instruction with practice, focusing on interactive feedback by incorporating evaluated and open comments that encourages active and accountable (i.e., not anonymous) participation. Colby also explains one other type of MOOC—a MOOD or Massive Open Online Domain—citing the Purdue Online Writing Lab and Writing Commons site as examples. Although these resources might also be considered an Online Education Resource (OER), Colby points out that they are more, given that the OWL includes video content and responsive tutors and Writing Commons invites and includes submissions among their content. Colby calls for the next iteration of MOOCs to include more social channels and visual aspects like interactive videos.


Keywords: MOOCs, feedback, iMOOC, OER, interaction

OWI Principles: 3, 6, 11


Comer, Denise K., et al. “Writing to Learn and Learning to Write Across the Disciplines: Peer-to-Peer Writing in Introductory-Level MOOCs.” International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, vol. 15, no. 5, 2014, pp. 26-82. 

Comer et al. describe how peer-to-peer interactions enhance understanding, linking course learning objectives to positively contribute to students’ learning. They developed a coding protocol to best interpret peer feedback and discussion threads, including posts and comments, and concluded that 1) online discussion board forums intentionally linked to course content contribute positively to learning gains and 2) feedback on peers’ writing can meaningfully focus on higher order concerns across multiple disciplines. This research specifically targeted peer-to-peer interactions as adding value and increasing learning in the online environment where the concept of “community” is challenged.

Keywords: MOOCs, WAC, empirical research, quantitative research, discussion: English, peer review, student-to-student interaction
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 6, 11, 15

Cotos, Elena. “Potential of Automated Writing Evaluation Feedback.” CALICO Journal, vol.  28, no. 2, 2011, pp. 420-59. 

Cotos investigated the impact of automated writing evaluation (AWE) on student scores on standardized tests, teachers’ impressions of AWE, student impressions of AWE, impact on student writing, and student behavior as they use AWE applications—most notably, the Intelligent Academic Discourse Evaluator (IADE) program. Through the use of AWE, students’ writing performance improved notably through comparisons of their first and final essay drafts. Students also reported higher satisfaction rates with the instantaneous feedback provided through the use of AWE as compared to the time-delayed feedback provided by individual instructors. Using Likert-scale, yes/no, and open-ended survey questions that focused on tailoring computer automated responses to the individual, the study concluded that automated feedback stimulates computer-learner interaction which leads to better learning and retention of the information presented.

Keywords: automated writing evaluation, feedback, assessment
OWI Principles: 3, 6, 15

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 Powers, Christa, and Beth Hewett. “Building Online Training for Virtual Workplaces.” Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices, edited by Pavel Zemliansky and Kirk St. Amant, Idea Group, 2007, pp. 257-71.

Ehmann Powers and Hewett address online and global workplace writing concerns for by outlining strategies for designing and implementing appropriate employee  document strategies and solutions for employers who design and implement online professional development and training programs for their employees. When employees work online and at a distance, not only are their everyday communications conducted online, but the authors theorize that the training also should occur in that setting, which focuses the training to the environment in which the work occurs rather than on the fiscal and practical concerns of bringing employees together in one geographical space. The authors ground their recommendations in common educational principles that have been used in a variety of fields. They offer a rationale for the training, a theoretical and practical framework, and a model for scalable and efficient training activities.  work provides (1) a rationale for leveraging the Internet for human adaptive training, (2) a theoretical framework for practice, and (3) a model for deploying scalable and efficient training activities. The rationale and recommendations offered can inform OWI practices to include teaching and learning activities for students, and training and on-going professional development for instructors.

Keywords: technical and professional writing, faculty development, professional development: English, business writing
OWI Principles: 4, 6, 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Francis, Kimberly, Jodie Salter, Lucia Constanzo, Serge Desmarais, Meagan Troop, and Rosheeka Parahoo. “Scribe Hero: An Online Teaching and Learning Approach for the Development of Writing Skills in the Undergraduate Classroom.” Online Learning Journal, vol. 23, no. 2, June 2019, pp. 217–34. 


Francis et al. studied student perceptions of and performance in a series of accessible modules (Scribe Hero) designed to develop undergraduate writing across disciplines. The modules used simulations of music industry communication presenting paraprofessional scenarios through video instruction. Games and learning interactions were used to reinforce content, and students were provided a workbook to complete while watching the videos. Instructors could provide feedback in a number of ways, including awarding a badge or providing written feedback. The students completed pre- and post-quizzes that assessed their knowledge of the content in the modules. They also completed user experience surveys, which were analyzed using emergent thematic coding. All course quiz scores improved pre- to post-test when controlling for confounding variables. Analysis of 232 survey responses showed that students found the instructional games and videos enjoyable and the content of the modules was moderately easy to neither easy nor hard. Students found the experience improved their writing skills both in the short and long-term. The students wanted more feedback and the ability to control their progress through the game as well as improved graphics, sound, and immersive elements. The authors conclude that an effective online learning experience has three key components: competency-based elements, compatible and user-friendly technology, and the applicability of taught skills. 


Keywords: gamification, modules, surveys, empirical research, quantitative, qualitative, student satisfaction, student success, feedback

OWI Principles: 1, 6, 15


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


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


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

OWI: 2, 4, 6, 15

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

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

Keywords: assessment, tutors: English, collaboration, discussion: English, feedback, student-to-student interaction, teaching with technology: English, ELL, ESL, multilingual writers
OWI Principles: 1, 6, 10, 11, 13

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, and Scott Warnock. “Writing MOOEEs? Reconsidering MOOCs in Light of the OWI Principles.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth A. Monske and Kristine Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 17–38.


Hewett and Warnock differentiate online writing instruction (OWI) from more general online instruction, explaining that online writing courses (OWCs) are not content-driven (i.e., are skill-focused) and always require writing (i.e., writing itself is the focus). Using the OWI Principles as a framework, they argue against the use of MOOCs to teach writing, and, instead, for a MOOEE or massive open online educational experience (removing the expectation of a “course”). Problematizing the acronym, Hewett and Warnock point out that while the “m” in MOOC stands for “massive,” it implies inclusion and access while denying contact with an instructor. Likewise, the “o” signifies “open” (or “free”), yet it does not account for unreliable or unavailable internet access. Hewett and Warnock point out that writing MOOCs are too large for any instructor to provide individual or even small-group feedback and too unwieldy to ensure every student participates in and receives quality peer review. Instead, they suggest MOOEEs grounded in OWI Principles as a non-credit-bearing means of providing less intimate and less direct instruction for individuals wishing to learn how to write more effectively. By grounding MOOEEs in OWI Principles, technologies would be selected according to student access, students would be clustered into smaller groups, and collaborative learning would be included more.


Keywords: OWI Principles, MOOCs, MOOEE, accessibility, student success

OWI Principles: All of them (especially: 1, 4, 6, 7, 11)

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

Hewett, Beth L., and Christa Ehmann Powers. “Online Teaching and Learning: Preparation, Development, and Organizational Communication.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 16, no. 1, 2007, pp. 1-11. 

Hewett and Ehmann Powers introduce this special issue on the need for training and professional development opportunities for online instructors at all levels of OWI and particularly for the technical writing field. They argue that there is a relative dearth of scholarly and practical articles written for training and professional development, possibly stemming from a lack of a shared vocabulary for such needs. The special issue itself addresses the need for considering the global setting, self-selection for educators and professionals, and the need for immersion and self-reflection in online instructional settings. This three articles in this issue address training, development, and organizational communication: 1) Kirk St. Amant’s “Online Education in an Age of Globalization: Foundational Perspectives and Practices for Technical Communication Instructors and Trainers,”2) Lisa Meloncon’s “Exploring Electronic Landscapes: Technical Communication, Online Learning, and Instructor Preparedness,” and 3) Kelli Cargile Cook’s “Immersion in a Digital Pool: Training Prospective Online Instructors in Online Environments.” Together, these authors provide perspectives on preparing educators for a global educational setting, self-selecting for teaching in online environments, and, in keeping with the principles of immersion and reflection, using course archives as “constructive hypertext” for training and development.

Keywords: technical and professional writing, faculty development, global, reflection, faculty satisfaction
OWI Principles: 6, 7

Hoven, Debra, and Agnieszka Palalas. “(Re)Conceptualizing Design Approaches for Mobile Language Learning.” CALICO Journal, vol. 28, no. 3, 2011, pp. 699–720. 

Although not about OWI, this study of Mobile-Assisted Language Learning (MALL) in a hybrid English for Special Purposes (ESP) course addresses the theoretical grounds and operational models for developing online support programs. The development of resources intended to be accessed primarily from mobile devices outside onsite facilities is presented as a Design-Based Research (DBR) project, that is, as an iterative, evolving, and multi-disciplinary program for conceptualizing and improving educational technologies. The article focuses on an early stage in this research program wherein the authors determined that students volunteering to try the resources generally responded favorably to having access to downloadable instructional podcasts and videos at any time during their busy schedules. While these students also improved their scores on a standardized ESP test, this pilot study was not able to connect the improved performance directly to the use of the MALL tools.

Keywords: online support, mobile,  non-traditional students, English for special purposes
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 6, 11

Hsieh, Wen-Ming, and Hsien-Chin Liou. “A Case Study of Corpus-Informed Online Academic Writing for EFL Graduate Students.” CALICO Journal, vol. 26, no. 1, 2008, pp. 28-47. 

The authors examine the effectiveness and reception of “research-informed online course materials for the explicit teaching of [research article] abstract writing for EFL graduate students in applied linguistics” (29). In particular, the online materials included a combination of 1) text-based “lessons” and 2) various “tasks” focusing on review and revision of academic discourse “moves” in published and peer (student) writing (41). The students also posted descriptions of their work on a discussion forum to engage with classmates about their learning. Most pertinent for OWI professionals, however, is the use of two online tools: 1) a collaborative online editor enabling the researchers to examine students’ completion of peer review and revision tasks and 2) an online concordancer used by students to initiate their own phrasal searches (recorded for the researchers to examine) within the corpus of published abstracts. Hsieh and Liou conclude that the effects of the online unit on their students’ abstracts were mixed (44), while they nonetheless emphasize the overall potential of the combined lessons and tools for assisting students in developing English for academic purposes through their “interactive” and “inductive” approaches (45).  Hsieh and Liou’s research questions are founded on a moves-based understanding of discourse with an academic community (29-30), while their design of online tools is founded on the idea that active experimentation and reflective interaction among students facilitates the kind of “metacognition” and “metadiscourse” (quoting Elbow) needed to master those moves (37-38). This source is helpful in understanding how EFL students write and conduct research in online spaces within the confines of disciplinary discourse. 

Keywords: online tutoring, revision, collaboration, ESL, ELL, EFL, multilingual writers, L2, discussion: English, student engagement, community, reflection, research, peer review
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 6

Krause, Kerri-Lee. “Supporting First-Year Writing Development Online.” JGE: The Journal of General Education, vol. 55, no. 3-4, 2006, 201–20. 

Focusing on first-year students in an entry-level behavioral science course, Krause studies their perceptions of their own writing skills as well as their evaluations of an online writing support program comprised of interactive tutorials. The survey on the program’s usefulness showed that the oldest demographic group (over 24 years) valued the online resource significantly more than younger groups, although the online program itself was generally perceived to help improve skills and reduce anxiety about writing. Even so, the participants generally “rejected the option of replacing face-to-face classes with an online resource such as the one under investigation” (215). Krause emphasizes the value of the results for understanding student perspectives of online tutorial resources, acknowledging problems with the study’s validity for positing how the tool may have actually altered students’ perception of their own writing (219). Although the opening justification for the study addresses community building, the conclusions noted above suggest such an online support program was viewed as contradistinctive to the “social interaction” characterizing face-to-face sessions (213). Academic socialization is discussed in the context of access based on the study’s analysis of the online program’s support of students reflecting different ages and routes to higher education. In this respect, the study shows how a flexible and simple self-paced tutorial system can provide non-traditional students a means to address concerns and anxieties about writing as they deem necessary—hence the discussion of “just-in-time” online learning (208). Finally, while the article briefly mentions relevant literacy studies, it is not clear how relevant composition pedagogy was integrated into the online tools.   

Keywords: non-traditional students, WAC, WID, online support, community, accessibility, composition pedagogy, students success
OWI Principles: 1, 6, 11, 13, 15

Lima, Jr., Ronaldo. “Practical Writing – An Online Interactive Writing Experience.” The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, vol. 14, no. 3, 2010,

This article provides a brief, focused practicum piece on the core assignments of a six-week online ESL course on “Practical Writing.” Lima primarily emphasizes how the assignments integrated various online platforms to facilitate student interactivity throughout the writing process. The assignments also placed special emphasis on the advantages of ready publication and dissemination within online environments for the “post-writing” stage, which allows the student to see the purpose for the writing process. Within in the article, multiple pre-writing, drafting, review, and revision activities are described for helping students develop a personal introduction, a summary, a letter to the editor, job search materials, and a travel narrative. Integrated within the Moodle LMS, the course’s activities use discussion forums, multiple blog platforms, chat, and e-mail, drawing also on sites such as LinkedIn and Wordle. The article’s central discussion of online platforms to teach students the writing process addresses the advantages of online environments and adapting onsite composition theories to these environments. Lima also refers to the teacher’s role in directing the online activities within an accelerated, non-traditional format.

Keywords: ESL, EFL, ELL, L2, multilingual writers, writing process, revision, course management systems, composition theory, student-to-student interaction
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 6

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

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


Moore, Scott D., et al. “Leveraging Technology to Alleviate Student Bottlenecks: The Self-Paced Online Tutorial—Writing (SPOT).” The Journal of Continuing Higher Education, vol. 62, no. 1, 2014, pp. 50-55. 

The authors begin by discussing general faculty perspectives of online learning. While many faculty and institutions find the value of the accessibility and economic advantage of the digital classroom, others find it problematic because it challenges faculty authority and freedom. However, the authors offer the Fresno State University SPOT Program as an example of effective OWI, especially in relieving course bottlenecks by allowing students to prepare for the Upper Division Writing Exam (UDWE). The SPOT Program helps students develop eight habits of effective writers based on research from composition researchers: curiosity, openness, engagement, creativity, persistence, responsibility, and metacognition. Students enrolled in SPOT complete a writer’s inventory adapted from Oregon State University’s “writer’s personal profile.” Based on the results of the profile, students created two goals that guided feedback from the writing mentor and peers. The authors claim that the SPOT Program is sustainable because it has an established curriculum, an assessable portfolio for each student, mandatory training for all writing mentors, and maintains consistency through the use of portfolios as future training and teaching material. The authors evaluate SPOT’s success as anecdotally successful in that all students completing the program, approximately 50 percent, passed the UDWE.

Keywords: online writing center, faculty satisfaction, composition, student engagement, reflection, surveys, curriculum, course and program design: English, mentoring, faculty development, tutor training, portfolios
OWI Principle 3, 6, 7

Opdenacker, Liesbeth, and Luuk Van Waes. “Implementing an Open Process Approach to a Multilingual Online Writing Center: The Case of Calliope.” Computers and Composition, vol. 24, no. 3, 2007, pp. 247-65. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2007.05.003. 

Opdenacker and Van Waes describe a multilingual online writing center called Calliope. They begin the article with a demonstration of why European online writing centers differ from American online writing centers while noting that there is a diverse range of OWCs across Europe as well. The authors describe how they “developed a new theoretical framework, based on a constructivist pedagogical approach, aimed at supporting both different learning profiles and writing processes” (248). Calliope is fully embedded into third year Strategic Business and Management Communication courses, blended courses where students both meet face-to-face and complete writing activities online through the online writing center. Students use three different tools in completing reflexive and reflective writing assignments based on case studies: 1) a feedback editor, which is “a Web-based application that supports giving and receiving feedback on written products in different stages of the writing process” (252); 2) Escribamos, which is “a Web-based application developed to support collaborative writing activities” (254); and 3) a portfolio tool in Blackboard that links to the OWC (256). In addition to integrating these three tools, the OWC allows different learner types as identified by Kolb to create their own pathways through the learning module to cover the three components of each unit: theory, practice, and a case study (257). Opdenacker and Van Waes end the article by briefly discussing how they designed Calliope and conclude with the next steps they are taking in the project. This article provides an alternative version of the traditional, American OWL that integrates specific writing instruction into courses across the disciplines.

Keywords: ELL, ESL, multilingual writers, online writing labs, hybrid, feedback, Blackboard, portfolio, course management systems, business writing, technical and professional writing, collaboration, modules, WID, WAC
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 6, 10, 11

Opel, Dawn S., and Rhodes, Jacqueline. “Beyond Student as User: Rhetoric, Multimodality, and User-Centered Design.” Computers and Composition, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 71–81. 


Proposing a heuristic, the authors offer a pedagogical approach to user-centered design (UCD) through a rhetorical, multimodal, and ethical lens that emphasizes play, flexibility, and critical reflection. Opel and Rhodes ask readers to think beyond teachers-as-designers wherein students become consumers, instead arguing for a “theory + play” approach, creating opportunities for discussion and critical thinking. Ultimately, the authors provide the following heuristic for UCD in composition classrooms: learn rhetorical theories (beyond public and private) related to identity markers like gender and race, consider how “industry rhetoric” (beyond accessibility and usability) shapes affordances and constraints related to civic engagement, problematize the rhetorical triangle, question the necessity of digital technology in the shaping of societal conditions, interrogate the parameters of an assignment in light of an investigation of power dynamics, participate in ethical actions and decisions related to industry rhetoric (e.g., copyright as it relates to open source tools), and imagine without fear of failure. Overall, this heuristic is applicable when designing composition classes, whether online, hybrid, or face-to-face.


Keywords: user-centered design, user experience, rhetoric, multimodal, ethics

OWI Principles: 3, 6, 11


Oswal, Sushil. “MOOCs in the Global Context.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2016, pp. 39–55.


Considering both an international and national (i.e., U.S.) view of MOOCs, Oswal critiques the assumption that MOOCs provide global benefits, asking 1) What assumptions about literacy and learning inform MOOC discourse about mass education and 2) What are underlying political, cultural, and economic motives behind MOOCs? Examining two of four composition MOOCs funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (The Ohio State University and Georgia Tech), Oswal recounts shortcomings experienced by the writing instructors who created and taught the courses—namely that the courses lacked interaction or “connectivism” and served more as a repository of information. Finding MOOCs, in general, to be rather “Americentric” with low completions rates, Oswal questions the value of offering certificates to international students who pay a fee to enroll. Most MOOCs are also Americentric in that they are hosted through U.S. companies like Coursera and Udacity, which has implications related to intellectual property and privacy rights, considering that international students might have less access to legal protections. Further, Oswal suggests that international students might see MOOCs as a way into a country’s specific educational system, not realizing that these courses likely will not serve that purpose. Oswal calls for more diverse, international faculty with foreign course offerings beyond language classes as well as transparency with regard to student demographics (i.e., most students are educated, employed men) as well as the merits and shortcomings of MOOCs with regard to educational standards and political agendas as they relate to Western economy.


Keywords: MOOCs, international students, globalism, Coursera, course management system

OWI Principles: 1, 6


Porter, James. “Framing Questions about MOOCs and Writing Courses.” Invasion of the MOOCs: The Promise and Perils of Massive Open Online Courses,edited by Steven D. Krause and Charles Lowe, Parlor P, 2014, pp. 14-28. 

Porter addresses the question of whether writing can be taught in a MOOC in the affirmative. He separates the differences between the MOOCs themselves, which he says can be “a valuable addition to the toolbox of methods that writing teachers use to help writers” (14) and the hype around MOOCs. Instead of addressing whether MOOCs can teach writing, he instead addresses the question of whether MOOCs can teach writing as well as traditional composition courses. In addressing this larger question, he considers two other questions: “1) Is the MOOC a course—or is it more like courseware? and 2) What are we comparing MOOCs to?” (15). To answer the first question, he concludes that, while a writing course is composed of many elements, the course itself is the interaction of elements and the “surprises” that occur as the elements interact (21). In answering the second question, he defers to the SUNY Council of Writing’s Resolution on Massive Open Online Courses and the Teaching of Writing, which states that “Completion of the Writing requirement should always involve close work with a faculty member who can provide students mentorship, careful assessment and a genuine sense of a human audience” (25). He concludes by calling for more research to be able to definitively assess MOOCs and the possibility of their replacing the first-year composition course. This article is beneficial in asking pertinent questions about what we consider to be the first-year writing experience and how we handle scalability in online courses. 

Keywords: MOOCs, first-year composition, audience
OWI Principles: 6

Rearden, Daniel. “Blended and Asynchronous Course Effectiveness in First-Year Composition: A Case Study.” Teacher-Scholar: The Journal of the State Comprehensive University, vol. 7, 2016, pp. 15–40.


Rearden assesses three asynchronous online and three blended first-year composition courses at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Fall 2013 to determine if these classes were effective and desirable. He provides a profile of first-year composition courses at Missouri S & T, which focuses on reading and critical thinking development. Student reading proficiency test scores were analogous in the blended and face-to-face sections and untested in the online courses. Using student surveys, instructor interviews and course grade distributions, Rearden identified benefits and challenges of blended and online courses using a shared curriculum. Students responded that they did not often voluntarily correspond with the instructors in online classes and indicated that they had difficulty navigating Blackboard. Online students had higher rates of As and Bs as well as Ds and Fs with significantly lower percentages of Cs. Reading diagnostic post-tests scores were slightly higher in the blended group compared to face-to-face control groups. He concludes that his data does not support arguments for online delivery enhancing instruction. In particular, lack of instructor-student engagement and the need for students to be self-motivated in online classes proved problematic. 


Keywords: student perceptions, first-year composition, hybrid, face-to-face, reading, case study, student-instructor interaction

OWI Principles: 1, 6, 10, 13, 15


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

Reiss, Donna, and Art Young. “WAC Wired: Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum.” WAC for the New Millennium: Strategies for Continuing Writing-Across-the-Curriculum Programs, editors Susan H. McLeod, Eric Miraglia, Margot Soven, and Christopher Thaiss, WAC Clearinghouse, 2011, pp. 52-85, 

Reiss and Young start their article by coining the term ECAC—or “Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum”—as “another approach to literacy, communication, collaboration, and community outreach for educational programs and institutions” (53). They provide a history of departments across the curriculum that are actively using computers and digital spaces to supplement and enhance their writing and communication instruction. They do so with three goals in mind: “1) an increase in information technology to support the activities of WAC/CAC programs, 2) an increase in alliances between instructional technology programs and WAC/CAC programs, and 3) additional emphasis on communication-intensive uses of technology, or ECAC, among teachers and institutions that emphasize active learning and the development of communication competence in all their students” (56). The history that the authors detail spans four decades from keyboarding classes in the 1970s to the fully-online classes of the 2000s. In particular, they focus on classes, instructors, and programs that use digital technologies to improve the writing-to-learn focus of classes across the curriculum. Reiss and Young also briefly recount the background of online collaboration and teaching and learning centers that have a focus on ECAC. They end with a section that predicts increased use of e-portfolios, an increase in the use of computer technologies to teach and to learn, and warnings about the possibility of unequal access to high powered computers and networks and challenges to faculty seeking tenure and promotion and job security as they teach in digital spaces. This article provides an important historical perspective on work in WAC and WID disciplines and identifies challenges and opportunities that may or may not have come to pass as writing and communication classes in the disciplines move fully online.

Keywords: WAC, WID, collaboration, faculty development, writing-to-learn, portfolios, instructional technology
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 6, 14

Rice, Jeff. “What I Learned in MOOC.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 64, no. 4, 2013, pp. 695-703. 

Less concerned with MOOC courses taking over higher education or inadequate peer feedback or grades with a large format course, Jeff Rice points to a different issue in online course pedagogy. This analysis and reflection of his experience with an early Coursera course offers an in-depth perspective on interaction with online course content.  Reflecting on his own lack of desire to engage in the written aspects of the course, Jeff Rice suggests that the static, non social nature of the course design created no space in which to engage in knowledge creation. In his words, there was no “emotional occasion” with which to engage with the course (702). The format, structure, and design of the separate course element simply did not create a desire for him to respond.  For OWI, considering the pedagogical implication of creating technological spaces for student engagement within different course formats is worthy of ongoing study.

Keywords: MOOCs, feedback, peer review, reflection, Coursera, student engagement, pedagogy: English, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principle 6

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


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


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

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


Sackey, Donnie Johnson, Minh-Tam Nguyen, and Jeffery T. Grabill. “Constructing Learning Spaces: What We Can Learn from Studies of Informal Learning Online.” Computers and Composition, vol. 35, 2015, pp. 112–24.


Operating on the premise that as more students take online classes, fewer will enroll in physical classes and that MOOCs might be the future of online education, the authors situate their research among informal learning environments, namely social media usage in museums, in order to investigate two overarching questions:  1) What conditions are necessary for learning to occur in online spaces? 2) What are the best practices associated with effective online learning? Using the Facilitation Project, a research study designed to investigate facilitation styles, authors identified and tested techniques in two museum environments that they believed helped construct an environment in which learning could occur. The first site, Science Buzz, is a website for exploring science content at the Science Museum of Minnesota (SMM) and is considered an excellent platform for exploring current science. The second (Experimonth) created by the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science (MLS) is social software that distributes a month-long set of activities. Using discourse analysis, the authors categorized the rhetorical work of facilitation within Science Buzz and Experimonth, looking for indicators of learning. Overall, they argue that 1) the rhetorical work of facilitation and sharing is what makes digital environments learning spaces, 2) facilitation can be identified, taught, and learned, and 3) constructing learning environments within formal/academic learning programs from informal/non-academic learning projects might be possible.


Keywords: discourse analysis, facilitation, social media, mobile apps, MOOCs

OWI Principles: 3, 6, 11


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

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


Shute, Valerie, and Diego Zapata-Rivera. “Adaptive Technologies.” ETS Research Report Series, vol. 2007, no. 1, pp. i-34, 2007. Wiley Online Library, DOI: 10.1002/j.2333-8504.2007.tb02047.x.

The paper presents adaptive technology research that can connect to form a more comprehensive systems approach to teaching and learning. Accordingly, adaptive systems can create flexible environments for learners with varied abilities and backgrounds as well as disabilities and interests. The paper demonstrates how to organize adaptive technologies, presents key challenges and systemic problems, and suggests the benefits of adaptive systems for learners who may or may not be disabled. The paper includes discussions surrounding inclusive and accessible education, how an adaptive systems approach can envelop a diverse range of learners’ needs, ways in which specific pedagogical and theoretical approaches can be connected to be made relevant, and how an adaptive approach can embrace alternative theories. 

Keywords: adaptive technology, disability studies, accessibility, inclusivity
OWI Principles 1, 3, 4, 6

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, Jennifer. “Introduction Discussion Board Forums in Online Writing Courses are Essential: No, Really, They Are.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 294–316.


Stewart described a mixed-methods study of an online first-year composition class to extrapolate findings related to student engagement in online courses, including MOOCs. Stewart observed the class in the teaching assistant role in Blackboard, giving her access to all discussion boards, emails, and assignments. She used activity theory to analyze the introduction discussion board postings and conducted interviews with the instructor and several students. She found that student interaction remained consistent throughout the course, though the discussion board interaction evolved from mere agreeability to higher-order content as the semester progressed. She concluded that the instructor’s attention to modeling behavior of interaction influenced how the students ultimately interacted with one another.


Keywords: MOOCs, discussion board, student-student interaction, instructor-student interaction, mixed methods, student engagement, Blackboard

OWI Principles: 6, 11


Stewart-McCoy, Michelle. “Beautifying the Beast: Customizing Online Instruction in a Writing Course for Jamaican Tertiary-Level Students.” Studies in Self-Access Learning Journal, vol. 4, no. 3, 2013, pp. 157–74.


Stewart-McCoy describes the design and development of a customized online writing course at a Jamaican government-owned institution of higher education which offers technical and professional education courses and training. Given a mandate to offer academic writing courses online at this institution, Stewart-McCoy designed a customized online academic writing course with the purpose of addressing the challenges Jamaican tertiary-level students experience with writing courses and with online courses. Using design-based research (DBR), including planning, action, and reflection, Stewart-McCoy examined students’ teaching mode preferences and learning styles (phase 1) and considered students’ academic writing needs via a questionnaire and instructor interviews (phase 2). Since this article was published before the course was implemented (phase 3), no data is presented related to the effectiveness of the course (phase 4).


Keywords: international, course design: Writing, reflection, surveys, academic writing

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 6, 11, 12, 15


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

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

Keywords: teaching with technology: English, pedagogy: English, composition, assessment, reflection
OWI Principles:  3, 4, 6, 10

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


Thiel, Teresa. Report on Online Tutoring Services. University of Missouri-St. Louis, 2010,


Theil analyzes and evaluates two online, commercial tutoring services, NetTutor and Smarthinking, for undergraduate-level courses and recommends that the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL) adopt NetTutor to provide online tutoring services for online courses. In evaluating the two services, Theil measured the quality and efficacy of tutoring, the ease of access and integration with the university’s LMS (Blackboard), the breadth of subjects offered, satisfaction of current users, and value. Ultimately, NetTutor was deemed the best because its quality of tutoring was slightly higher than Smarthinking, possibly because its tutors work from a central location with resources and supervision. Of particular interest to OWI instructors are the reasons that Theil recommends commercial alternatives to in-house writing centers: cost effectiveness and quality. Based on a recent comparison of tutoring quality between the USML Writing Lab and Smarthinking, the English department is “reconsidering whether” offering in-house online tutoring “is a good idea” (19). Theil notes that providing quality in-house online tutoring services “would require a dedicated staff to find, train, and monitor the tutors,” thereby increasing costs (19). She believes that the USML Writing Lab should continue offering onsite services and be supplemented with NetTutor to meet the needs of different student populations.

Keywords: online tutoring, tutor training, accessibility, online writing centers, administration
OWI Principles: 1, 6, 13, 14

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. “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

Wooten, Courtney Adam. “The Mediation of Literacy Education and Correspondence Composition Courses at UNC–Chapel Hill, 1912–1924.” Composition Studies, vol. 41, no. 2, 2013, pp. 40-57.

In this essay, Wooten situates contemporary debates about online learning into the historical context of distance education to demonstrate how institutional values shape offsite courses and mediate literacy learning. Wooten grounds her analysis in two types of mediation theory: 1) mediation as institutional sponsorship and 2) “mediation as communication in context” (44). Wooten begins with institutional sponsorship, analyzing the roots and growth of composition correspondence courses at UNC-Chapel Hill in the 1910s and 1920s. The motivation for these courses is familiar: UNC wanted to meet increased student demand while boosting its image as an innovative public institution. Its correspondence courses could not, however, be true equivalents to the onsite courses, as distance students had no access to campus resources and immediate instruction. Wooten latches onto this issue of immediacy, arguing that “the correlation between correspondence courses and online courses seen through their lack of interactivity, especially in MOOCs,” claiming that in online courses, “the mediation of literacies is not as direct and personal, even with the use of synchronous technologies” (51-52). Wooten’s historical analysis and criticisms of online writing instruction that is driven by institutional needs, as opposed to pedagogical affordances, could help OWI instructors and WPAs analyze how their own courses are mediated at the institutional instructional level.

Keywords: distance education, MOOCs, interactivity, synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, writing program administrators, literacy
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 6, 11

William Price, David, Saul Carliner, Patrick Devey, and Nidia Cerna. “Implementing an Online Undergraduate Course in Educational Writing.” IEEE International Professional Communication 2013 Conference, 2013, pp. 1–4.


This study includes four interviews with faculty and staff involved in creating an elective online writing course for undergraduates and examines the design and implementation of a course in educational writing. Specifically, the authors interviewed the professor, instructional designer who designed and implemented the course, the chief learning officer, and a teaching assistant—noting the limitation that no students were included among their interviewees. The purpose of creating this 3-credit, 13-week course was to enhance undergraduate course offerings, and this particular course consisted of eight modules that included lecture videos, PDF texts, online exercises, four graded writing assignments, and one in-person final written exam. During the time of data collection, the course included 483 students over nine semesters. The course had lower enrollment than other online courses and higher dropout rates, ostensibly because the requirements and writing involved more work than students anticipated. Comparing these findings to redesigned online writing classes at Texas Tech University, The University of Minnesota, and The University of Texas at El Paso, the authors found that the elective online writing course paralleled the other three courses in that it was comprised of a large number of on-campus students, high dropout rates, and included regular communication between students and teaching assistants. Unlike the other online courses, this elective course did not include peer-review and the authors concluded that the sample is limited and that future research could focus on student attitudes and experiences with teaching assistants.


Keywords: communication, WAC, interviews

OWI Principles: 3, 6, 10, 15


Writing in Digital Environments Research Center Collective. “Why Teach Digital Writing?” Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, Pedagogy, vol. 10, no. 1, 2005,

The Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE) Research Center Collective, working under the premise that “networked computers create a new kind of writing space that changes the writing process and the basic rhetorical dynamic between writers and readers,” addresses the need to teach writing digitally in digital spaces. They assert that 1) traditional print-based rhetorical theory is not adequate for digital rhetoric, 2) teaching writing responsibly or effectively in traditional classrooms is not possible, and 3) we must shift our approaches to accommodate writing instruction in digitally mediated spaces. The uniqueness of this webtext resides in its multidimensional approach to responding to the question asked by the title, and in that it argues with the primary intention of assisting educators in responding to this question in their own institutional settings. This webtext provides answers for OWI practitioners and administrators who question why they would or should teach digital writing.

Keywords: digital literacy, computer-mediated communication, hypertext
OWI Principles:  3, 4, 6, 12, 14