The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction: Principle 7

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OWI Principle 7: Writing Program Administrators (WPAs) for OWI programs and their online writing teachers should receive appropriate OWI-focused training, professional development, and assessment for evaluation and promotion purposes.


Return to The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction


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

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

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

Babb, Jacob. “Reshaping Institutional Mission: OWI and Writing Program Administration.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 202–15.


Babb argues that Writing Program Administrators are uniquely positioned as knowledgeable practitioners to lead important change for OWI practices within their university, and they can lead broader institutional change by connecting online learning to the school’s current mission statements.  Using the institutional mission as a backdrop and a starting point for reflection and conversation, WPA’s can improve student learning, contingent faculty working conditions, and online training and technology gaps. As online learning continues to be a driving force within higher education, Babb points to the university mission as a place for conversation, growth, and change. He points out that even the mission itself may need to adapt and change to better reflect and accommodate the education needs and experience brought about by online learning. 


Keywords: faculty development, writing program administration, online education, contingent faculty
OWI:  3, 7, 8, 10, 13, 14, 15


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


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


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

OWI Principles 1, 3, 5, 7


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


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


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

Beavers, Melvin. “Preparing Part-time Contingent Faculty to Teach First-Year Writing Online: Examining Writing Program Administrator Approaches.” Dissertation, University of Arkansas – Little Rock, 2019.


Beavers uses an explanatory mixed-methods approach to examine how WPAs provide professional development and support for contingent faculty in online writing classes. Using survey and interview research, Beavers found that WPAs use an “administrative rhetorical mindset” in professionalizing contingent faculty. The administrative rhetorical mindset includes creating an inclusive, supportive community for contingent faculty, offering contingent faculty feedback for their online classes, informing contingent faculty of regional conferences, and being attuned to the multiple roles that they serve in their departments. Time and money were the greatest barriers to providing professional development for online contingent faculty, and WPAs showed resilience in finding new ways to meet online contingent faculty professional development needs. This study reinforces the need for additional support for online contingent faculty given the increasing role that they play in online first-year writing. 


Keywords: contingent faculty, writing program administration, mixed methods, research

OWI Principles: 1, 7, 8, 15


Bjork, Colin. “Integrating Usability Testing with Rhetoric in Online Writing Instruction.” Computers and Composition, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 4–13.


Bjork argues for user experience (UX) testing in OWI that is informed by an understanding of digital rhetoric. Acknowledging the potential for UX to improve learning management systems, the article cautions against an implementation of UX principles which treats students like consumers in a neoliberal education economy. As Bjork writes, “UX methods without digital rhetoric risks eliding the social, cultural, political, and ideological stakes of partaking in an online writing course” (p. 7). The article describes how an ecological understanding of technologies in digital rhetoric supplements UX methods, and it ends with a list of heuristics for UX testing informed by both UX and digital rhetoric theory.

Keywords: usability testing, user-centered design, digital rhetoric, course management systems

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 7, 15


Blakelock, Jane, and Tracy E. Smith. “Distance Learning: From Multiple Snapshots, A Composite Portrait.” Computers and Composition, vol. 23, no. 1, 2006, pp. 139-61. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2005.12.008.

Blakelock and Smith trace important institutional attitudes and labor practices that contributed to the state of distance learning in 2005. Their findings are based on a survey they distributed to a diverse array of intuitional types.  They also followed-up with participants to ask personal interview questions and compared their findings to previous national studies on the subject. In their discussion, they point out several patterns and trends that relate to actual—not theoretical—distance learning practices that teachers and students are exposed to in writing classrooms.  They are also attentive to administrative treatment of distance learning. They pay particular attention to the misconceptions that distance learning is often embroiled in and how those do or do not play out in writing classrooms. Further, they offer a logistical breakdown of course caps, the teachers, and the technologies used for distance learning. Their conclusions suggest that 1) fears and myths about distance learning are often not realized, 2) while circumstances for online teachers are improving, rising course caps remain a concern for students’ educational quality and instructors’ labor conditions, 3) technical help must remain constant for teachers, 4) “incentives and compensation need to be more commensurate with workload” (159), 5) we need to conduct formal research on assessment of online writing courses, and 6) we must continue to encourage quality online courses departmentally and as a field.

Keywords: academic labor, pedagogy: English, composition, faculty workload, distance learning, surveys, interviews, course caps
OWI Principles: 7, 8, 9, 15

Borgman, Jessie. "The Online Writing Program Administrator (OWPA): “Maintaining a Brand in the Age of MOOCs." Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 188–201.


This chapter explores issues specific writing program administration considering the huge influx of online writing courses across the country. The author argues that a pedagogical shift has occurred that requires a change in administering writing programs: teaching online is different than teaching face-to-face. Considering this influx and pedagogical shift, the author argues that in the age of MOOCs, focusing on faculty support and the development and maintenance of online writing courses (OWCs) becomes imperative. In order for online writing instructors to focus on what they do best (teaching), they need to be led by someone with online writing instruction (OWI) experience who is trained and qualified to lead a writing program that includes OWCs. The author argues for the development of a new WPA role, an Online Writing Program Administrator (OWPA), in order to distinguish a brand (a concept from Keith Rhodes, 2010) of OWI, which is distinctly different than the instruction and content offered by MOOCs.


Keywords: writing program administration, MOOCs, faculty development, 

course design 

OWI Principles: 7, 8, 9, 14


Borgman, Jessie, and Christine I. McClure. “The Ultimate Balancing Act: Contingent Online Teaching and PhD Coursework.” Forum: Issues About Part-Time & Contingent Faculty in College Composition and Communication, vol. 23, no. 1, September 2019, pp. A3–A8.

Borgman and McClure described the heavy teaching loads they balance with being PhD students (Borgman online and McClure on-campus). They identified challenges for online contingent faculty: the demanding workload of teaching personalized classes with multimodal content, the lack of professional development, the disconnection from other departmental faculty, and the toll on personal health. However, getting their PhDs gave them the opportunity to examine their work/life balance and make adjustments and gives them the confidence they need to make the next step in their careers. 

Keywords: contingent faculty, graduate education
OWI Principles: 7, 8


Bourelle, Tiffany. “Preparing Graduate Students to Teach Online: Theoretical and Pedagogical Practices.” WPA: Writing Program Administration, vol. 40, no. 1, 2016, pp. 90–113


Bourelle describes the eComp program at the University of New Mexico, which prepares TAs who already have experience in the face-to-face classroom for online instruction. The article demonstrates how the program’s pedagogy course aligns with Hewett and Ehmann’s five principles of OWI training and the CCCC Principles and Example Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction. The training includes engaging the TAs in research on programmatic praxis, training them immersively in the online teaching environment, mentoring TAs individually to address their specific needs, creating communities that encourage authentic interaction, and encouraging metacognitive reflection. The article includes a detailed description of how the program works as well as a syllabus from the course. This article provides a follow up to Bourelle and Bourelle (2015), which introduces the eComp program and provides an example of how previous theories and practices for effective online instruction can be put into practice to both train TAs and ensure programmatic alignment and consistency. 


Keywords: graduate education, professional development: Writing, writing program administration

OWI Principles: 4, 7, 14, 15


Bourelle, Tiffany, and Andrew Bourelle. “eComp at the University of New Mexico: Emphasizing Twenty-first Century Literacies in an Online Composition Program.” Composition Forum, vol. 32, Fall 2015, 


Bourelle and Bourelle describe the eComp program at the University of New Mexico. This program began as a pilot in Spring 2013 with the goal of preparing online writing instructors, particularly graduate TAs, to teach multimodal compositions online and to interact with students in meaningful ways. The article provides the institutional context of the eComp program, a description of the program, and the curriculum and course design in the eComp classes, which include both first-year writing courses and sophomore-level technical writing service courses. Results of a pilot portfolio assessment of the eComp program showed that outcomes were similar for face-to-face and online students except for the criterion of multimodality where online students scored significantly higher. The eComp students, however, struggled with outcomes related to discourse communities and the value of different languages. The article concludes with a description of how Bourelle and Bourelle used the data to modify the eComp program, the program outcomes, a pilot syllabus, and a link to training materials. Bourelle’s 2017 article follows up on this article to describe the program’s evolution, and both articles are valuable resources for online programs seeking to improve retention and online instruction through professional development. 


Keywords: professional development, program evaluation: English, pilot studies, writing program administration

OWI Principles: 1, 7, 10, 12, 15


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Davis, Marjorie T. "Applying Technical Communication Theory to the Design of Online Education." Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 15-29. 

Davis contends that principles of technical communication in general can inform the design of online programs in particular. She identifies seven key principles of technical communication that directly inform online program development: 1) analyzing audiences (or program stakeholders), 2) analyzing purposes (creating mission statements), 3) developing and testing a prototype, 4) evaluating and selecting technological tools, 5) collaborating with partners, 6) marketing an online program and 7) managing an online program. Davis provides an overview of how each of these steps worked in relation to the online program she helped to develop at Mercer University and concludes that technical communicators are uniquely prepared to develop and lead online programs given their unique set of abilities and experience.  This source provides a method of designing, implementing, and marketing online programs that will assist those considering online programs at their institutions.

Keywords: technical and professional writing, writing, online writing programs, program evaluation: English, marketing
OWI Principles: 4, 7, 12

Day, Michael. “Teachers at the Crossroads: Evaluating Teaching in Electronic Environments.” Computers and Composition, vol. 17, no. 1, 2000, pp. 31-40. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/S8755-4615(99)00028-6.

Day notes that, while many writing instructors at the turn of the 21st century were already incorporating new technologies into their writing courses, the use of technology was a risk for those learning to work with technologies. The primary risks are 1) students who are critical on instructor evaluations as they struggled to learn technologies and the content of the writing course, 2) the additional workload of incorporating technology might take away from other areas of teaching, 3) evaluators might misunderstand the “decentered or student-centered” nature of computer-mediated courses and thus see a classroom that they consider “messy or disorganized” (32-33). Day uses the term “electronic panopticon and provides an example in which a faculty member was given an “unfortunate” evaluation to provide guidelines for educating those who review computer-mediated classrooms for the purposes of faculty evaluation. He recommends, based on that evaluation process, that instructors ask questions in the hiring process that clarify how and how much they will be evaluated for their use of technology in the classroom, and that they also follow particular processes for creating retention, tenure, and promotion materials. Finally, he provides guidelines for those who are evaluating these materials and concludes that those working with technology in their classrooms will always need to carefully explain their work.  

Keywords: evaluation, computer-mediated communication, faculty development, tenure-track faculty
OWI Principles: 7, 8, 12

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

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

Keywords: constructivism, current traditional rhetoric, instructional design, course and program design: English, course caps, faculty development, online writing programs

OWI Principles: 5, 7, 8, 12

DeVoss, Danielle, Dawn Hayden, Cynthia L. Selfe, and Richard J. Selfe, Jr. “Distance Education: Political and Professional Agency for Adjunct and Part-Time Faculty, and GTAs.” Moving a Mountain: Transforming the Role of Contingent Faculty in Composition Studies and Higher Education, edited by Eileen Schell and Patricia Stock, National Council of Teachers of English, 2001, pp. 261–286.


At a time when part-time and adjunct faculty made up only 50% of faculty in two-year colleges and were 43% of the English Studies workforce, DeVoss et al. used the experience of one adjunct faculty member, Dawn Hayden, to illustrate the problems with the then current distance education practices. They build a case for “attending critically to the development of, training for, and institutionalization of distance-education curricula” (264). They acknowledge that, at the turn of the 21st century, English Studies could not simply say “no” to implementing technology in writing classrooms. They note the relationships between the development of distance education programs and the exploitation of part-time and adjunct employees and the access issues faced by poor and minority students. The authors call for English studies professionals to make distance education a means of changing the power relations between tenure-track and non-tenure track faculty by including contingent faculty in the conversations about distance education in English studies. They conclude with recommendations for individual instructors, departments and institutions, and the field of English studies, urging them to pay attention to the effects of distance education on all of the stakeholders involved. 


Keywords: adjunct,  graduate teaching assistants, distance learning, faculty workload, professional development, writing program administration 

OWI Principles: 1, 7, 8, 12


Duffelmeyer, Barbara. “Learning to Learn: New TA Preparation in Computer Pedagogy.” Computers and Composition, vol. 20, no. 3, Sept. 2003, pp. 295-311. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/S8755-4615(03)00037-9.

Duffelmeyer examines how student teaching assistants (TAs) experience their first-year composition classrooms and how well they adjust to these classrooms as they seek to incorporate computers into their pedagogy. She asked approximately twenty TAs to share their experiences with computers to study areas of “unease and dissonance with more intensive and advance[d] computer training” to establish the need for a communities of practice model for helping new TAs to be active participants in their preparation to teach in computer classrooms. She includes excerpts from TA narratives about their early teaching experience to demonstrate how these students encountered dissonance in the classroom and were tempted to fall back on old models of teaching and learning without computers in order to regain a sense of control in the classroom. Duffelmeyer selects two contrasting narratives to showcase how their comfort and skill in computer classrooms developed more organically in a TA preparation model that emphasized a community of practice. The benefits of this model are that TA’s experience “congruence among course goals, technology, and pedagogy” (305), they have “learning trajectories they can identify with” (306), and they can focus on “learning to learn” as they help to teach first-year students (308). The article concludes by positing the community of practice model against models that fall back on transmission modes in the classroom. This article, while in computer-mediated and not fully online or hybrid classes, demonstrates some of the very concerns that faculty might face in helping TAs move into online or hybrid classrooms. 

Keywords: graduate teaching assistants, computer-mediated communication, narrative, community of practice, teaching with technology: English, faculty development
OWI Principles: 7, 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 ongoing professional development for instructors.

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

Elder, Catherine, et al.  “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

Good, Jennifer, and Kellie Shumack. “If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them: Emphasizing Writing Instruction and Online Learning in Faculty Professional Development.” Journal of Faculty Development, vol. 27, no. 2, 2013, pp. 5-10. 

Good and Shumack argue that the same sorts of best practices used in OWI can, in several ways and for several good reasons, transfer over to online faculty professional development across the disciplines. This essay reports on a study of WAC faculty members’ thoughts on their experiences in using OWI-inspired training practices to enhance and improve teaching and learning in their writing-intensive courses. Some of the findings that emerged from the study, and have subsequently led to programmatic adjustments, include 1) adding Powerpoint slides to all presentations so that faculty can get a clearer sense of how their training can be realized in their instruction (including how individual peer interactions and evaluations can be accomplished through Blackboard, Jing, MyCompLab, and VoiceThread); 2) including a face-to-face orientation session was added to the overall training design; and 3) a decision to switch from Audacity to Jing for asynchronous recorded learning materials. 

Keywords: faculty development, WAC, Blackboard, teaching with technology: English, audio, video, orientation, asynchronous interaction
OWI Principles: 7, 12, 15  

Gonzalez, Lara, and Isabel Baca. “Developing Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Online Technical Communication Programs: Emerging Frameworks at University of Texas at El Paso.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 273–86.


In an effort to develop and maintain culturally inclusive online environments, Gonzalez and Baca explain their process of assessing and improving multiple literacies and diversity within their two existing online writing programs: a bilingual professional writing certificate and a technical and professional writing certificate. To help build better learning outcomes, they assessed community needs and expectations using interviews and surveys with local businesses and nonprofits, and they used data from student surveys generated in previous course sections.  In their conclusion, Bonzalez and Baca determine that programs should highlight language diversity and move beyond a single course in cultural diversity. A focus on diversity should be part of general faculty training to support the growing reality of diversity within everyday workforce and culture. Diversity should be seen as an asset and strength, and widespread focus on professional training and course work focus can help. Furthermore, building community partnerships enhances student and faculty focus on cultural and linguistic diversity in online and technical communication.


Keywords: diversity, technical and professional communication, bilingual, surveys

OWI: 1, 3, 7, 15


Griffin, June, and Deborah Minter. “The Rise of the Online Writing Classroom: Reflecting on the Material Conditions of College Composition Teaching.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 65, no.1, 2013, pp. 140-61. 

Drawing on results of the 2012 survey of online instructors conducted by the CCCC Committee on Best Practices in Online Writing Instruction (OWI), Griffin and Minter address opportunities for student literacy learning and collaboration provided by emerging technologies. At the same time, they point to the challenges of access for many students, including those who are English language learners, economically disadvantaged, or physically disabled. For faculty, the OWI survey results emphasize the need for workload compensation, class size limits, and training in technological tools and online pedagogy. Griffin and Minter observe that the information available within online courses offers an opportunity for data comparisons across institutions that may lead to better assessment of online teaching quality.

Keywords: accessibility, faculty workload, course caps, faculty development, surveys, ELL, ESL, multilingual writers
OWI Principles: 1, 7, 11, 12

Grover, Stephen David. “Preparing Graduate Teaching Assistants to Teach Writing Online: A National Assessment of Research and Practice.” Dissertation, Texas Tech University, 2017.


Grover assesses the current state of Online Writing Instruction (OWI) for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) to determine if the field of OWI is making progress towards its goal of preparation and training. Grover uses a mixed-method design, reviewing literature, surveying current Writing Program Administrators to assess current GTA training programs, and then analyzing the two results. Grover concludes that there is not a great deal of literature specific to OWI GTA preparation and more research is needed here as well as additional voices in the field of OWI. Further, Grover’s program analysis indicates that GTA’s are teaching a good majority of the existing online writing program courses and are often not adequately trained or assessed at all. Finally, Grover calls on WPA’s to expand GTA preparation and intentionally research OWI to better determine the ways to do this preparatory work.


Keywords: writing program administration, graduate teaching assistants, research, faculty development, mixed methods

OWI: 4, 7, 8, 15


Grover, Stephen David, Kelli Cargile Cook, Heidi Skurat Harris, and Kevin Eric DePew. “Immersion, Reflection, Failure: Teaching Graduate Students to Teach Writing Online.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 242–55.


Grover et al. review how three different universities respond to the challenge of teaching graduate students how to be effective online writing teachers.  One program teaches a single graduate course in OWI; one institution offers an online writing instruction certificate, and one university offers technical communication degrees, which offer courses, teaching experience, and the opportunity to be mentored.  After reviewing these three approaches to training online graduate students as OWI instructors, three common principles stand out as imperative components to effective practice and training. First, students should be immersed in an online environment while preparing to teach online. Second, students must have overt opportunities to reflect on their practices to become full practitioners in OWI.  Third, mentors who have successfully turned failures of planning and/or technology into successful teaching moments are essential to the future success of the OWI students. While there is no one single way to train graduate students in online writing instruction, these principles strengthen any training effort.


Keywords: professional development, graduate students, pedagogy, reflection, faculty development, mixed methods, research, graduate teaching assistants, mentoring

OWI: 3, 7, 13


Hallman Martini, Rebecca and Beth L. Hewett. “Teaching Tutors Not to Tutor Themselves: Personality in Online Writing Sessions.” Research in Online Literacy Education, 2018, vol. 1, no. 1.


Hallman Martini and Hewett study the importance of understanding the personality-types of online writing tutors as a means of improving the quality and experience of the online writing conference. Hallman Martini and Hewett surveyed WCenter and WPA listserv members via a Google Form asking background and demographic questions and also asked the same folks to take and self-report the results of the JTT personality type survey. They found that many online writing instructors and tutors share common personality types. This further emphasizes the need that all tutors be intentionally trained to work with other personality types.  They claim professional development for all tutors should include taking a Jungian-based personality test. Understanding the diversity of personality types and traits and reflecting on the communication preferences and styles of those types can enhance the online writing conference.  


Keywords: online tutoring, online writing center, literacy, personality, identity, professional development

OWI: 1, 3, 4, 7, 13, 14, 15


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

Henning, Teresa. “Writing Professor as Adult Learner: An Autoethnography of Online Professional Development.” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, vol. 16, no. 2, 2012, pp. 9-26. 

Henning argues that to overcome the challenges of preparing faculty for online teaching, faculty developers must take into account theories of adult learning. She reviews the literature concerning those challenges—which include instructors’ reluctance to change their teaching paradigms and roles, their concerns about shifting their work schedule or needing to devote more time to teaching than previously necessary, their difficulty learning to teach without visual or verbal cues, and their ability to use technology effectively—against the literature presenting adult learning theories—which suggest that adult learners require an environment that is respectful of their experience and that offers a degree of independence and self-direction. Henning synthesizes the two bodies of research to identify ways faculty developers can construct meaningful faculty development experiences. She then presents an autoethnography of her own experience auditing an online course called “ED 590: Designing Online Instruction” which she performed as a way of testing, challenging, and refining the ideas produced in her synthesis of the literature. Her presentation and analysis of her own experiences lead her to recommend that faculty developers should continue to research the factors that keep faculty from seeking out professional development for online teaching, explore how development experiences can better accommodate adult learners’ desire for control, ensure participants can self-direct their learning and avoid frustration while doing so, and encourage peer interaction and self-reflection. While this article is not specific to online writing instruction, its conclusions are applicable to the work that faculty developers and other teacher trainers do in the OWI field, and it provides many sound principles for the effective preparation of instructors.

Keywords: autoethnography, adult learners, non-traditional students, teacher training, professional development, reflection, student interaction
OWI Principles: 7, 12

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


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


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

OWI Principles:  2, 3, 4, 7


Hewett, Beth, and Rebecca Hallman Martini. “Educating Online Writing Instructors Using the Jungian Personality Types.” Computers and Composition, vol. 47, 2018, pp. 34–58.


Hewett and Hallman Martini investigated whether Jungian personality types can identify training and professional development needs and wants for online writing instructors. They used a mixed-methods study including a nationwide survey of online writing teachers and tutors and writing program and center administrators. The survey used Likert Scale and open-ended questions to gauge the participants’ teaching in the context of Jungian typology as well as their perceptions of professional development offered versus needed. The study also asked survey participants to complete a free, online Jungian Typology Test (JTT) based on the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and self-report the results. The study found a higher prevalence of introverted types among online writing instructors than in the wider population, which Hewett and Hallman Martini concluded was likely due to the heavy literacy load associated with OWI, and that introversion versus extroversion may account for whether the instructor generally enjoys teaching in the online environment. Nevertheless, the authors concluded that both introverted and extroverted online writing instructors would benefit from training in how and when to use synchronous meetings and other media to develop presence, establish relationships and help students at their points of need.


Keywords: personality, identity, professional development, writing centers, writing program administrators tutors

OWI Principles: 1, 7, 12, 14, 15


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


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


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

OWI Principles: 1, 4, 6, 7, 11


Hewett, Beth L. “Asynchronous Online Instructional Commentary: A Study of Student Revision.” Readerly/Writerly Texts: Essays in Literary, Composition, and Pedagogical Theory, vol. 11, no. 1, 2004, pp. 47-67. 

Hewett describes an empirical, practice-based study of asynchronous OWI undertaken to learn whether and how students apply commentary to their revision. The post-secondary developmental and first-year English students in the study received one-to-one asynchronous commentary from Smarthinking online instructors, called e-structors. The e-structor feedback was coded by breaking it down to idea units that revealed linguistically direct comments that inform, direct, and elicit and linguistically indirect comments that suggest. The students’ original and revised drafts were coded for revision changes according to Lester Faigley and Stephen Witte’s 1981 subtypes of revision changes. The study revealed that “the students 1) made approximately 40% of their revision changes in response to online instructional comments, 2) changed their writing more often at the surface formal and meaning altering levels from those comments, 3) revised in generally correct ways that had moderate to low rhetorical force, and 4) may have developed experientially from OWI.” This study addresses the fact that writing feedback provided in text-based, asynchronous online settings can lead to useful revision changes. However, it also reveals that students are more likely to use linguistically direct instructor feedback than linguistically indirect feedback, suggesting that knowledge of and training in writing such types of feedback is necessary. 

Keywords: asynchronous interaction, feedback, revision, empirical research, developmental writing, first-year composition, grammar & style, quantitative research
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7, 15

Hewett, Beth L. “Synchronous Online Conference-Based Instruction: A Study of Whiteboard Interactions and Student Writing.” Computers and Composition, vol. 23, no. 1, 2006, pp. 4-31. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2005.12.004.

Hewett reports on describes a small-scale, empirical study of synchronous conference-based OWI using an electronic whiteboard, where the tutorials were conducted by Smarthinking, Inc. tutors using their electronic whiteboard. She analyzed the talk of students and tutors involved in each tutorial using a previously tested linguistic analysis tool. Participant talk indicates that the interactions were focused on developing writing ideas and content and oriented to the task at hand as opposed to being oriented toward social exchange. However, despite the educationally transactional nature of the interactions, many interactions consisted of detailed dialogue in primarily declarative language. Nearly half of the talk was oriented toward communicative needs such as achieving interpersonal connections, facilitating the interaction, and communicating about the whiteboard's workspace. Most of the traceable writing and revision changes were meaning-preserving from the students’ original ideas and of minimal insignificant to moderate rhetorical force in terms of argument development. Hewett ends with suggestions for tutor training, preparing students for whiteboard use, and further research. The study suggests potential best practices for online instructor training, a need for student preparation to use whiteboard platforms, and ideas for future research into synchronous, text-based conferences.

Keywords: revision, empirical research, tutoring: English, synchronous interaction, revision, quantitative research
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7, 10, 13, 14, 15

Hewett, Beth L. “Generating New Theory for Online Writing Instruction.” Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 6, no. 2, 2001,

In an article containing what may be the first published use of the term OWI, Hewett includes “computer-mediated communication (CMC) for classroom and writing/peer group situations, computer-based literary study, as well as individualized writing instruction such as that found in online writing lab (OWL) tutorials” under this term. This webtext specifically considers online writing labs and online writing courses (also known as CMC at that time) as examples of online settings where practice-based research is necessary for finding best practices in OWI. She outlines how the theories that ground OWI and OWLs particularly stem from the current-traditional, expressivist, neoclassical, and social constructivist constructs. Further, she provides examples and explications of tutorials from both asynchronous and synchronous (whiteboard-based) environments as tutored through Smarthinking, Inc. Finally, Hewett provides examples of tutor-to-tutor discussion threads that both demonstrate the educational principles of association and reveal self-reflective discussions.

Keywords: online tutoring, research, empirical research, online writing labs, theory, expressivism, constructivist, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, tutoring: English, reflection, discussion: English
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hewett, Beth L., 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. Preparing Educators for Online Writing Instruction: Principles and Processes, National Council of Teachers of English, 2004.

Using common educational principles that evolved in traditional onsite settings, Hewett and Ehmann outline what they call their “principle-centered” approach to developing best practices for the training and ongoing professional development —both teachers and tutors. They outline five common educational principles—(1) investigation, (2) immersion, (3) individualization, (4) association, and (5) reflection—that they use to undergird their training program and practices at Smarthinking, Inc. Even though these practices are used in one for-profit, online learning assistance center, they are sufficiently broad as to be useful in developing professional development for online teachers and tutors at a wide variety of online educational institutions, regardless of their traditional or corporate structures. The book outlines the five principles, and Hewett and Ehmann use these principles to demonstrate experiences, difficulties, and successes in online writing instruction.  These principles, as well as a discussion about contemporary theories and philosophies relevant to OWI and what they call the “training spiral,” reveal a one-to group and one-to-one process of teacher/tutor training that can be used both asynchronously and synchronously. Hewett and Ehmann believe that such grounding makes their training approach educationally and practically sound regardless of the technology in use. The book is replete with examples, illustrations, and sample training materials.

Keywords: faculty development, online tutoring, mentoring, tutoring: English, synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction
OWI Principles: 7, 12, 13, 14, 15

Hewett, Beth L., and Christa Ehmann Powers. “How Do You Ground Your Training: Sharing the Principles and Processes of Preparing Educators for Online Writing Instruction.” Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 10, no. 1, 2005,

In this webtext, Hewett and Ehmann Powers contend argue that, like students, educators need acculturative and supportive training in online writing instruction (OWI). In particular, they need time and space for supportive professional development and mentoring. The authors review the available literature surrounding online training and professional development, and they discuss the five training principles first articulated in Preparing Educators for Online Writing Instruction: Principles and Processes--(1) investigation, (2) immersion, (3) individualization, (4) association, and (5) reflection--breaking them down to constituent parts and offering example scenarios. Their dual focus is on practical strategies of implementing the five principles and offering untapped areas of research into the strategies. They end the webtext with a call for program administrators and online instructors to dialogue more fully about their experiences and join together “to articulate, define, and theorize online training processes for both writing instructors and other educators.”

Keywords: writing program administration, faculty development, research
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7, 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

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

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

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

Hewett, Beth L., and Scott Warnock. “The Future of OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 547-63. 

Hewett and Warnock claim that the future of OWI is intimately connected to the future of composition “writ large.” They further argue that in the future, all composition will be taught in hybrid settings—if it is not already done so—and that there will be fewer distinctive features between OWI and onsite composition instruction. The term “OWI” may become something with meaning only to WPAs while what currently is considered hybrid and fully online OWI may just become “composition.” They define the potential for what they call “good OWI” by several features: 1) being a good teacher in any setting, 2) including both text-based and digital/multimedia-based compositions, 3) rethinking the nature of the students, 4) using technology thoughtfully for both alphabetic and digital text, 5) publishing the good teaching strategies that instructors have developed, 6) addressing core problems in writing research and assessment such that composition instructors and not outside bodies and companies determine the field’s future, and 7) being ethical and moral instructors fully aware of and responsive to issues of access and inclusion. Hewett and Warnock conclude by stating that “Good OWI should help the field of composition be better.”

Keywords: accessibility, assessment, literacy, research, composition, hybrid, multimedia, student preparation, research, inclusivity
OWI Principles: 1, 7, 9, 13

Izzo, Margaretha Vreeburg, et al. “The Faculty Perspective on Universal Design for Learning.” Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, vol. 21, no. 2, 2008, pp. 60-72. 

This article presents the results of two studies on the applicability and use of universal design in higher education. In Study 1, the instructional climate for students with disabilities was assessed through a survey of 271 faculty members and teaching associates (TAs) and focus groups with 92 additional faculty members and TAs. Survey respondents ranked universal design for learning (UDL) as the most needed training topic. A web-based, self-paced professional development tool called FAME (Faculty and Administrator Modules in Higher Education) was developed, piloted, and revised in response to the training needs identified. In Study 2, a review of FAME by 98 faculty members and administrators supported the value of on-demand, multi-modal professional development in universal design. Ninety-two percent of respondents reported increased comfort in meeting the instructional needs of students with disabilities as a result of using this curriculum. The article recommends that faculty 1) create a classroom climate that fosters trust and respect, 2) use a variety of instructional methods, 3) identify the essential course content,  4) provide multiple means for students to access the essential course content, 5) integrate natural supports for learning, 5) stay current on new and promising instructional technologies, and 6) allow multiple methods of assessment. For OWIs, this research complements research within technical communication and composition on what it takes to create a successful online course for students with disabilities.  

Keywords: accessibility, universal design, disability studies, teaching with technology: English, faculty development, multimodal, research, instructional design, assessment, technical and professional communication, surveys, qualitative research
OWI Principles: 1, 7, 12, 15

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

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

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

Jenkins, Patricia. “Arguing for Proactivity: Talking Points for Owning Accessibility in Online Writing Instruction.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 106–22.


Jenkins argues that online courses should be completely accessible to all learners at the launch of the course, and instructors should play an active role in ensuring this happens. Jenkins insists that those who teach OWI need to be proactive in creating a culture of inclusivity and accessibility.  She advocates that either a Writing Program Administrator or a designated Accessibility Coordinator should work to bridge gaps in instructor knowledge and work with administrators to change the culture and expectations of online courses. She argues a clear obligation for accessible education courses for all. 


Keywords: accessibility, writing program administration

OWI:  1, 7, 13, 14, 15


Kargozari, Hamid R., and Hamed Ghaemi. “Web-based Writing Instruction and Enhancing EFL Learners’ Writing Quality.” Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, vol. 12, no. 3, 2011, pp. 36-45. Education Research Complete,

This study questions the role of technology on students’ writing skills. Specifically, the authors ask whether technology incorporated in traditional face-to-face courses significantly improves the writing skills of EFL learners. The authors compared student test results from two classes that used the same textbook and assignments. However, the experimental class provided students with a supplemental website where students could interact and discuss concepts via asynchronous forums. The instructor also aided students in the technological component of the course, offering extra credit to students if they used the online course platform to communicate and create written assignments. Students in both classes took an essay test at the end of the course, and based on holistic scoring, the authors determined that the experimental class outperformed the traditional class. As such, the authors suggest using web-based instruction to improve the writing skills of EFL learners and assert that EFL trainers should be trained to use online instructional tools to effectively teach EFL students, providing sample training materials.

Keywords: EFL, ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, online tutors, asynchronous interaction, empirical research, quantitative research, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principles: 1, 7, 14, 15

Lang, Susan. “Replicating and Extending Dialogic Aspects of the Graduate Seminar in Distance Education.”  Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2005, pp. 157-75. 

Lang’s chapter outlines the rationale for and a method of facilitating synchronous online discussions as part of a graduate seminar. First, the chapter provides an overview of Von Krogh et al.’s four principles of good conversations: encouraging active (and balanced) participation, establishing conversational etiquette, editing conversations appropriately, and fostering innovative language. Then, it argues that asynchronous activities cannot replace the synchronous element of a graduate course because students need to participate in these elements of good conversations just as they would in a face-to-face class. The bulk of the chapter provides an extended case study of how synchronous class discussion is “an integral part” of the Texas Tech master’s degree in Technical Communication. This particular case study uses MOOs and addresses elements of faculty and student preparation, technical benefits and difficulties, and conversation dynamics in both main forums and back channels. This chapter provides a thorough description of the benefits and limitations of using synchronous discussion in graduate classes and serves a valuable introduction for faculty seeking to implement successful synchronous discussion in online graduate classes.

Keywords: graduate classes, graduate students, synchronous interaction, MOO, discussion: English, graduate programs, student preparation, instructor interaction, student-to-student interaction
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11

Lewiecki-Wilson, Cynthia, and Brenda Jo Brueggemann, editors. Disability and the Teaching of Writing: A Critical Sourcebook, Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008. 

As a collection of new and re-printed essays, this book is essential for understanding the wide range of issues associated with disability and writing instruction. While offering practical advice for the face-to-face classroom, some of the book’s advice can be modified for an online environment. However, the strength of this text is that it introduces those new to disability to key ideas and concepts that are necessary to teaching and learning. Sections in the book include disability awareness in teacher training, perspectives from teachers with disabilities, and resources for teaching disability concepts in the classroom. The last section on resources for teaching is the longest and includes subsections on redesigning the writing classroom, analyzing language and representation, using disability concepts, and entering cultural debates. The last section has the most practical application to teaching online as much of the information in this section can be repurposed to an online environment. 

Keywords: disability studies, accessibility, faculty development
OWI Principles: 1, 7

Litherland Baker, Nicki, and Elisabeth H. Buck. “Conducting Programmatic Assessments of Online Writing Instruction: CCCC’s OWI Principles in Practice.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monsky and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 385–405. 


Baker and Buck describe their programmatic study of how fully online and hybrid writing courses were being implemented at their institution, the perceptions of students and instructors toward those courses, and what recommendations could be made based on the CCCC’s OWI Principles. Using those Principles to develop questions, the authors conducted surveys and interviews across two semesters of fully online and hybrid first-year writing courses. Results from the fall semester revealed that of the 52 respondents, 32 were satisfied with their learning, 27 with peer feedback, 40 with instructor feedback, and 36 with the course overall. Twenty-three percent of students did not pass (compared with 12% in the face-to-face course equivalent). Results from the spring semester revealed that of the 16 respondents, 10 were satisfied with their learning, 9 with peer feedback, 11 with instructor feedback, and 10 with the course overall. Twenty-nine percent of students did not pass (compared with 13% in the face-to-face course equivalent). Ultimately, the researchers concluded that their institution needed to develop mentoring between experienced OWI instructors and new OWI instructors, determine students’ proficiency with the LMS, monitor drop rates, ensure students know the type of course they’re enrolling in, expand the number of hybrid course offered, and encourage instructors to stay up to date and offer student assistance.


Keywords: hybrid, OWI Principles, mentoring, course management system retention, student satisfaction, feedback, student-student interaction, student-instructor interaction

OWI Principles: 7, 10, 15


Litterio, Lisa M. “Uncovering Student Perceptions of a First-Year Online Writing Course.” Computers and Composition, vol. 47, 2018, pp. 1–13.


Litterio studied student perceptions of the WPA Outcomes and of focusing content on visual rhetoric, technology, and social media in a pilot online first-year writing course. In her limited study, she surveyed her students at mid-semester and at the end of the semester, asking Likert Scale and open-ended questions using language closely tied to the WPA outcomes. She found that the majority of students believed they did meet WPA outcomes, that their writing did improve, and that they enjoyed content curated to relate to the online learning environment. She concluded, however, that more research is needed into content delivery, face-to-face versus online learning experience, and institutional technological support.


Keywords: writing program administration, WPA Outcomes, first-year composition

OWI Principles: 3, 7, 10, 11, 15


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

Marshall, Leni. “Shifting into Digital Writing without Stripping Your Gears: Driver’s Ed for Teaching Writing Online.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 37–55.


Marshall “considers the educational value of training writing instructors and students in the technical and pedagogical possibilities of online classes, demonstrating the consequences that instructors’ engagements in constructive learning experiences have on instructors’ and students’ classroom experiences” (38). As such, this chapter makes a case for purposeful integration of the five pillars of online teaching. While primarily focused on why both online instructors and students need training before attempting an OWC, Marshall also includes some worthwhile examples of professional development for faculty in particular. 


Keywords: professional development, faculty development, instructor presence

OWI Principles: 7, 12


Martinez, Diane, and Leslie Olsen. “Online Writing Labs.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 183-210. 

Martinez and Olsen offer a comprehensive overview of OWL services, offering advice on accessibility infrastructure, function and pedagogy of services, and the essentialness of tutor training. This article emphasizes the idea that OWI must be supported by corresponding OWL services, concluding that all services and resources must be accessible to all students to insure inclusivity and that all services should be provided by highly qualified and well-trained online tutors who understand the specifics of online tutoring services. Faculty training is another key component of success for OWL services and support. This article supports OWI by insisting that OWI be accompanied by online support services.

Keywords: online writing lab, accessibility, inclusive, tutor training, synchronous interaction, tutor training, online tutoring, online resources
OWI Principle:  1, 7, 13, 14

McGrath, Laura. “In Their Own Voices: Online Writing Instructors Speak Out on Issues of Preparation, Development, and Support.” Computers and Composition Online, Spring 2008,

McGrath argues that “if faculty trainers, administrators, and other stakeholders are to make informed decisions about training and support, they need to know what online writing instructors are saying about these matters.” In order to provide this information, she conducted two surveys—one national and one local—as well as three interviews, each directed to online writing instructors asking about their perception of the training, professional development, and support they receive in their work. Her results indicate that most training is voluntary and focused on technological rather than pedagogical issues, that departmental and university administrators generally express little interest in instructors’ online teaching, and that most online instructors feel that their departments and institutions do not adequately value their online teaching and its time-intensive nature. McGrath calls for greater training and support, noting a special need for discipline-specific, pedagogy-based training to supplement general, technology-focused offerings, and recommends departments consider electing an “eLearning coordinator” to lead such efforts.

Keywords: teacher training, faculty development, administration, writing program administration, online writing programs, faculty satisfaction, faculty workload
OWI Principles: 7, 8, 12, 15

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

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

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

Mechenbier, Mahli, and Scott Warnock. "Evaluating/Observing Contingent Online Writing Teachers and a Proposal for a Collaborative Method of 'Reading' Online Writing Courses." Forum: Issues About Part-Time & Contingent Faculty in College Composition and Communication, vol. 23, no. 1, September 2019, pp. A8–A17.


Applying Peter Elbow’s theory of how writing teachers respond to writing, Mechenbier and Warnock argue that departments should reframe their approach to administering online teaching evaluations because, too often, OWCs are assessed by ranking faculty members who lack experience in online pedagogy.  The article briefly describes long-standing issues with course evaluations in general and online course evaluations specifically. These concerns include issues of who will conduct course evaluations, how evaluations will be conducted, when they will be conducted, and how they will count.  The authors recommend a collaborative feedback approach which involves a team of evaluators possessing varying and diverse expertise:  a faculty member with online teaching experience, an instructional designer, a faculty member with subject-matter expertise, and an educational technologist.  Challenges may exist regarding implementing this solution when hierarchy in university politics is taken into account; however, in order to systematize the online evaluation process and to provide accurate assessments of online instructors, WPCs should weigh the observers’ expertise—and these evaluators may not all have faculty rank—to welcome collaborative interdisciplinary feedback.


Keywords:  evaluation, assessment, contingent faculty

OWI Principles: 7, 12


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


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


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

OWI Principles: 5, 7, 12, 15

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

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

Keywords: faculty development, technical and professional writing, pedagogy: English, teaching with technology: English, faculty satisfaction, administration, writing program administration, online writing programs
OWI Principles: 5, 7, 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

Minter, Deborah. “Administrative Decisions for OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 211-26. 

Minter argues that WPAs must make smart and ethical decisions for online writing instruction in their programs and should look to the CCCC Position Statement of Principles and Examples of Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI) for direction. Factors that WPAs should consider include class size and student preparation. Class size is pertinent for the same reasons class size matters for onsite courses; however, Minter references current OWI research that argues reading for both teachers and students in online writing courses can increase significantly with each new student, as both students and teachers read more for each student actively participating in the course. Student preparation for online learning is also a crucial consideration. WPAs should advocate for ethical support and professional development for online writing instructors, which extends to student preparation for online learning. Student orientations to online writing courses and comparable support, such as online writing consultation and access to library faculty, are crucial to student success. Minter closes with a brief discussion of the need for WPAs to advocate for financial support of online writing instruction and financial incentives for teaching online courses.

Keywords: writing program administration, course caps, reading, faculty workload, online resources, online writing programs, faculty satisfaction, student preparation, orientations
OWI Principles 1, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13

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 Principles: 3, 6, 7

Palmquist, Mike, and Sue Doe. "An Evolving Discourse: The Shifting Uses of Position Statements on the Contingent Faculty." ADE Bulletin, no. 153, 2013, pp. 23-34. 


Mike Palmquist and Sue Doe note that numerous professional organizations have issued statements and resolutions focused on the status and working conditions of contingent faculty in the profession.  How these assertions and arguments in turn affect advances in recognizing the issues resulting from an increased dependence on contingent labor--especially in composition courses--has been discouraging.  Although the dialogue regarding these issues has been prolific at the national level, action at the local level comes with a distinctive set of structural challenges. Palmquist and Doe recommend that universities and administrators revisit the conversations which are a part of this national concern so that approaches to tenure and alternate forms of job security can be explored, recognizing the contributions of contingent faculty in this period of shifting appointments in academic labor. 


Keywords: contingent faculty, faculty satisfaction, faculty workload

OWI Principles: 7, 8

Palmquist, Michael, Katie Kiefer, James Hartvingsen, and Barbara Goodlew. “Contrasts: Teaching and Learning About Writing in Traditional and Computer Classrooms.” Computers in the Composition Classroom: A Critical Sourcebook, edited by Michelle Sidler et al., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008, pp. 251-70. 

Michael Palmquist, Kate Kiefer, James Hartvingsen, and Barbara Goodlew recount two empirical studies (the “Transitions Study” and the “New Teachers Study”) designed to assist educators as they cross boundaries between teaching in traditional and online settings. These studies, which compared classroom settings and student behaviors/attitudes over time, led to seven themes. First, differences in classroom settings impacted daily planning. Also, teachers adopted more “take charge” roles in the traditional setting and more decentralized roles in online settings. Palmquist et al. found that computer classroom students talked more often with teachers and that students used computer classrooms as a worksite, whereas traditional classroom students resisted writing activities. Teachers were able to transfer more successful activities from computer to traditional settings, and even when they believed in the pedagogical benefits, teachers who were less familiar with technology resisted using it. Finally, students in the two settings differed in their attitudes about writing, writing performance, previous writing instruction, and interaction. 

Keywords: empirical research, research, instructor interaction, networked classrooms, computer-mediated instruction, pedagogy: English, student engagement, technology, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7, 11

Proulx, Emily. Meeting Student, Instructor, and Institutional Expectations in Online Writing Courses. Dissertation: University of Central Florida, 2017.


Proulx’s dissertation studies areas of agreement and disagreement about online writing course creation and implementation among online students and faculty members. She interviewed three instructors of varying rank and four students (all seniors or graduate students) enrolled in online writing courses. Proulx provides a context for institutional online faculty professional development, and then, using a constructivist grounded theory approach, Proulx analyzes interview transcripts to show gaps between student and instructor perceptions in three areas: transparency, access, and professional development. She ends her dissertation by calling for instructors to be more aware of the current literature around online writing instruction to adapt face-to-face assignments to better meet the needs of online students. 


Keywords: dissertation, student perceptions, instructor perceptions, assignment design, professional development, transparency, accessibility

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 12, 15


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

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

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

Rice, Rich. “Faculty Professionalization for OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 389-410. 

Online writing instruction and online writing courses must be supported by faculty who have access to ongoing, dynamic, professional development and fair compensation.  Professionalization of the field of OWI includes providing spaces for shared resources and reflective practices and the ability to create flexible, reusable curricula that meet program goals and objectives. Support systems must be put in place to allow faculty to critically evaluate their work so they can improve their work over time.  Technology and the delivery of online courses continues to change. Therefore, to create the best learning experiences for faculty and students, there must be time, space, and clearly supportive systems within which faculty can foster ongoing reflective praxis and scholarly pursuits.

Keywords: faculty development, faculty workload, academic labor, online resources, faculty satisfaction, praxis, reflection, course and program design: English
OWI Principle 7, 8, 12

Rodrigo, Rochelle, and Cristina D. Ramírez. “Balancing Institutional Demands with Effective Practice: A Lesson in Curricular and Professional Development.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 314–28. 


Ramírez (the Professional and Technical Writing course director) and Rodrigo (the director of Online Writing Instruction at the University of Arizona) developed a four-course certificate program in professional and technical writing and argue for implementing a master course or template for online courses. After providing context and critiques from scholars not in favor of master courses, the authors explain that the UA Online Program requires that such courses undergo a Quality Matters peer-review process and that the majority of their instructors are graduate students who lack experience and are not trained as technical and professional communication scholars. The participatory design research method and the backwards design instructional design method culminate in sharing good practices and ideas related to design and/or learning.  New online instructors indicated that they appreciated the course template because it afforded them time to communicate, monitor, and assess their class of nineteen students. The authors argue that using a master course should be an immersive and applied experience and that, by implementing the template, new online instructors are able to be professionalized and prepared more quickly, meeting departmental needs while learning about online instruction in ways more sustainable than a one-time workshop. 


Keywords: template, professional development, faculty development, Quality Matters

OWI Principles: 7, 9, 12, 15


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


Salisbury, Lauren E. “Just a Tool: Instructors’ Attitudes and Use of Course Management Systems for Online Writing Instruction.” Computers and Composition, vol. 48, 2018, pp. 1–17.


Calling for a standardization of online learning education (OLE) terms, Salibury begins by explaining her use of course management system (CMS) over learning management system (LMS). Using interviews and observations to describe instructors’ teaching practices in face-to-face classrooms when compared to online classes, Salisbury investigates how instructors “reconcile, complicate, or adapt” CMSs to better understand instructors’ connections between teaching styles in face-to-face classes when compared to the ways they use CMCs. Participants included full-time and part-time faculty and graduate teaching assistants. At this university, only eight sections out of fifty-four composition courses were fully online (one course was hybrid). Among interviewees, 20% taught online-only or hybrid and 34% of those who participated in observations of their CMSs also taught at least one online or hybrid course. Salisbury found a disconnect between instructors’ f2f classrooms and their CMS usage, using Blackboard as an administrative tool rather than as a tool to facilitate interaction. This research also found that instructors use CMS tools they believe are efficient (e.g., Grade Center and SafeAssign) but choose not to adopt other tools or tools they cannot learn quickly. Further, this research found that deeper learning, though possible, was not achieved via CMSs and that instructors tend not to view CMSs as important for teaching and learning. Salisbury concludes by pointing out that this study also reinforces the idea that instructors need to be trained on best practices related to online writing instruction (OWI).


Keywords: course management systems, Blackboard, interviews

OWI Principles: 3, 7, 15


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

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

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

Schelly, Catherine, et al. “Student Perceptions of Faculty Implementation of Universal Design for Learning.” Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, vol. 24, no. 1, 2011, pp. 17-30. 

The anecdotal benefits of implementing Universal Design for Learning (UDL) at postsecondary institutions are well documented. The literature suggests that UDL offers students with disabilities enhanced opportunities for engagement, expression, and academic performance. Responding to the call by educators for empirical evidence of UDL’s beneficial effects on student learning, performance, persistence, and ultimately retention, the researchers used focus groups and surveys to measure changes and/or improvements in instruction as perceived by students following UDL instructor training and subsequent course delivery modifications. Students reported statistically-significant increases in faculty UDL use after training. Even though this study was conducted using psychology classes, the findings suggest that OWIs can benefit from professional development in the principles of UDL because that training resulted in significant increases of UDL principles in online course development.

Keywords: faculty development, universal design, learning outcomes, empirical research, WID
OWI Principles: 1, 7, 15 

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

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

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

Skurat Harris, Heidi, Tawnya Lubbes, Nancy Knowles, Steve Clements, and Jacob Harris. “Translation, Transformation, and ‘Taking it Back’: Moving Between Face-to-Face and Online Writing in the Disciplines.” The WAC Journal, vol. 25, 2014, pp. 106-26. 

Heidi Skurat Harris, Tawnya Lubbes, Nancy Knowles and Jacob Harris describe a workshop conducted at Eastern Oregon University where the attendees were both face-to-face instructors making the shift to the online environment and experienced online instructors seeking to improve their writing intensive courses in a variety of disciplines. Based on discussions within the workshop, the authors present three stages of moving between online and face-to-face classes: 1) the translation stage where instructors attempt to move face-to-face pedagogy into the online classroom with little change in pedagogy; 2) the transformation stage, in which instructors, through trial-and-error, attempt to translate the pedagogy more appropriately for the online classroom; and 3) the “taking it back” stage, where instructors convert practices within the online class to deliver in face-to-face classes. The authors suggest that promoting effective writing instruction online poses three main challenges, including “promoting student engagement and interaction, helping students navigate the overwhelming amount of reading and writing in the online classroom, and scaffolding and sequencing course activities to help online students complete longer writing assignments effectively” (110). In response to these challenges, the authors offer suggestions that closely align with the OWI Principles. Harris et al. describe the instructors’ challenges and successes as they moved through the three transition stages of teaching online; the article offers theoretical and practical approaches for teaching online and can be used by administrators and instructors alike when promoting training for online teaching 

Keywords: teacher training, curriculum development, instructional design, pedagogy: English, WAC, discussion: WAC, collaboration, scaffolding, student engagement, student-to-student interaction, instructor interaction
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7

Skurat Harris, Heidi, Dani Nier-Weber, and Jessie Borgman. “When the Distance is not Distant: Using Minimalist Design to Maximize Interaction in Online Writing Courses and Improve Faculty Professional Development.” Applied Pedagogies: Strategies for Online Writing Instruction, edited by Daniel Ruefman and Abigail G. Scheg, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 17–36.


Skurat Harris, Nier-Weber, and Borgman argue that “using minimalist design, modeling best practices, and focusing on interaction in [their] online classrooms has not only bridged the distance between content and course delivery in [their] own classes, it has bridged the distance between [them] as they teach in Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas” (32-33). As such, this chapter makes a case for “less is more” philosophy in online courses so that instruction can focus more deeply on a narrow range of topics and/or assignments. While primarily focused on application of the Conference on College Composition and Communication Committee for Best Practices in Online Writing Instruction and the Online Learning Consortium Five Pillars for Online Instruction, Skurat Harris, Nier-Weber, and Borgman also overview minimalist design as it applies to OWCs. The authors provide a convincing argument that less is definitely more in the online writing classroom.


Keywords: accessibility, course design: Writing, faculty development, professional development, OWI Principles

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 7


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


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


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

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


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.  

Keywords: 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

So, Lee, and Chung Hyun Lee. “A Case Study on the Effects of an L2 Writing Instructional Model for Blended Learning in Higher Education.” Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 12, no. 4, 2013, pp. 1-10,

L2 students in traditional onsite classes face many challenges in improving their writing, particularly those associated with time and guided practice. In response to these challenges, So and Lee designed a blended instructional model grounded in writing process theory that enabled students to interact with each other and each other’s drafts online. Doing so gave students more time to write and more opportunities to have their work reviewed by their peers and teacher before submitting the final draft and reflection. The instructional model mapped the five main stages of the writing process—prewriting, drafting, revising, revising and polishing, and reviewing—onto a blended model that started and ended in the onsite classroom. Students interacted with each other in both the onsite and online environments through the initial brainstorming session, two rounds of peer review, and the final assessment and reflection activities. Student learning was measured by language proficiency tests administered at the beginning, middle, and end stages of the semester. All of the participants’ writing improved, which So and Lee attribute to “the abundant opportunities to produce multiple drafts, the giving and receiving of feedback, and the explicit practicing of discrete writing components through guided writing exercises” (9). This study would be useful to OWI instructors, especially those who teach blended classes, as an example of how to sequence and support the stages of the writing process across multiple learning modalities.

Keywords: blended, L2, ELL, ESL, EFL, multilingual writers, writing process, interactivity, peer review, revision, empirical research, quantitative research, modality
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7, 11, 15

Starke‐Meyerring, Doreen, and Linda S. Clemens. "Theoretical and Practical Considerations for Virtual Learning Environments in Technical Communication: An Annotated Bibliography." Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 2, 1999, pp. 125-41.

This article provides an annotated bibliography of sources related to virtual learning environments for technical communication. Starke-Meyerring and Clemens note that they chose sources that related to praxis, including sources published on the Internet and aimed for a middle ground between theory and practice. They arrange sources according to the steps technical communicators take when entering the field: overviews, designs, implementation, and evaluation. Their annotations provide a summary of the sources and an evaluation of their usefulness for those in the field of technical communication who are also interested in online learning. 

Keywords: technical and professional communication, virtual classroom, praxis, literature review
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7, 13, 15

Stewart, Mary K. "The Community of Inquiry Survey: An Assessment Instrument for Online Writing Courses." Computers and Composition, vol. 52, 2019, pp. 37–52. 


Stewart validates a modified version of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) Survey (Arbaugh et al., 2008) for the context of writing studies. She delivered the survey to four sections of second-year composition at a four-year institution in the Mid-Atlantic (n=32; 32% response rate). Analysis of internal consistency confirms that the survey items reliably measure the three constructs of the CoI Framework, and multiple regression analysis additionally confirmed that the relationship between the presences is consistent with the theoretical assumptions of the Framework. The highest percentage of variance was explained when the model included cognitive presence as the dependent variable, and both teaching presence and social presence were significant predictors. While these findings indicate that the modified CoI Survey is a valid assessment instrument for the context of online writing courses, analysis of the mean ratings of individual survey items indicates that students in this study rated items directly associated with collaborative learning lower than items associated with the students’ individual experiences with the course. Consequently, while CoI may be a useful framework for understanding student perceptions of online writing courses, there may also be an opportunity for writing instructors to further emphasize collaboration and student-student interaction. Stewart ultimately calls for additional research on the value of the CoI Survey for informing course design and assessment practices in writing studies.


Keywords: community of inquiry, first-year composition, assessment: Writing; surveys, research, collaboration, student-student interaction, course design: Writing, student satisfaction

OWI Principles: 3, 7, 11, 15


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


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


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

OWI Principles: 5, 7, 11, 12


Tillery, Denise, and Ed Nagelhout. “Theoretically Grounded, Practically Enacted, and Well Behind the Cutting Edge: Writing Course Development Within the Constraints of a Campus-Wide Course Management System.” Online Education 2.0: Evolving, Adapting, and Reinventing Online Technical Communication, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood, 2013, pp. 25-44. 

This chapter outlines a strategy for delivering a business writing course at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas (UNLV) centered around a standardized course template in WebCampus (Blackboard) that allows faculty to select from a variety of course assignments within a predetermined assignment sequence. Tillery and Nagelhout describe a delivery-focused approach to the course that allows for consistent learning outcomes, assignments, and assessments among face-to-face, hybrid, and online sections of the course. The assignments and template reflect the nature of writing as a “complex, reflective, social activity” (29). The template includes not only student-directed units that the population of primarily part-time and graduate student instructors can utilize immediately, but it also includes a number of faculty resources that help instructors efficiently provide feedback and follow the guideline of spending no more than ten hours per week on an individual course. Data from random students in each course are gathered via Excel spreadsheets each term to allow administrators to discuss elements of the course that are and are not effective and modify the course accordingly. While the design and implementation of the course are effective, the constraints of the LMS that facilitate the standardized design put the program well behind the curve of “cutting edge” technology use. This chapter demonstrates the balance between standardization and innovation and provides a model of one program that has implemented a standardized course structure and attempted to compensate for the shortcomings of an LMS.

Keywords: course and program design: English, business writing, assessment, Blackboard, course management system, online resources, administration, faculty workload, pre-designed courses, time management, graduate teaching assistants, adjuncts, contingent faculty
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7, 10, 12

Tseptsura, Mariya. “Bringing Cross-Cultural Composition into the Online FY Writing Course: Focus on Language and Identity.” Research in Online Literacy Education, vol. 1, no. 1, 2018, 


Tseptsura addresses diversity in the online classroom by building an experimental cross-culture English composition course.  The goal of this course was to simultaneously address the specific needs of L2 students in an online space and improve linguistic diversity understanding in L1 students. Tseptsura outlines a case-study in which she explains how she redesigned her course to foreground language diversity issues.  Each of the three main assignments overtly addresses language issues. Most L2 students have a tutor that allows the student to process writing in their own language. Tseptsura draws on her TESOL background to give feedback to students and aid the course design. She concluded that L1 students showed some resistance to the assignments at first but ultimately came to appreciate language diversity and dialects.  She also found that L2 students were able to use their L1 as an asset in the course instead of a deficiency. Tseptusura emphasized that cross-cultural composition can humanize the online writing classroom by focusing on multiple literacy experiences.


Keywords: linguistic diversity, ESL/ELL/L2, course design: Writing

OWI: 1, 4, 7, 11, 15


Warner, Robin, and Beth Hewett. “Technical Communication Coaching: A Strategy for Instilling Reader Usability Assurance in Online Course Material Development.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 26, no. 3, 2017, pp. 300–13.


Warner and Hewett argue that the writing online instructors use to develop course content is a specialized form of high-stakes expository writing, which could benefit from more institutional consideration. Composing course content “requires special attention as it is set in alphabetic text and multimedia and is expected to be interactive, stimulating, and self-explanatory,” (301). Instructors composing such course content write for a more global audience as they are writing for an online classroom with students of all reading levels and abilities, as well as variant learning needs and styles. Instructors, primarily regarded as academic writers, are not accustomed to writing for such vast audiences. Warner and Hewett suggest technical and professional communication (TPC) professionals should coach instructors with their expository writing, as it would be beneficial for not only student accessibility but also for institutions as well. The authors conclude that, “TPC professionals have the skill set to be good online moderators, because of their skills in not only technical writing, but also in interpersonal and organizational communication” (306). Warner and Hewett go on to outline fundamental strategies for successful coaches. Through working with TPC coaches, and engaging with students, instructors will be able to evaluate course material’s usefulness. In addition, the authors suggest that students should find an equal, or greater, quality of learning in their online environment as they would in a face-to-face environment.


Keywords: course design: Writing, accessibility, multimedia, digital literacy, technical and professional communication, multimodal

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 7


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. “‘Awesome job!’—Or was it? The ‘many eyes’ of Asynchronous Writing Environments and the Implications on Plagiarism.” Plagiary, vol. 1, no. 12, 2006, pp. 1–14. 


This article draws on a case study of a course to show how asynchronous OWCs can curb plagiarism while complementing a positive learning environment. In Warnock’s OWC, a student plagiarized a message board post and was called on this behavior by two other students—on the boards. Warnock argues that the boards created a community dynamic that enabled the students to identify and react to the plagiarism. Not only were they indignant about the plagiarism, but they said they noticed it because the extensive message board writing allowed them to see differences between the plagiarized post and that student’s other writing. Drawing on constructive plagiarism approaches, especially Williams’ CORD method, Warnock describes ways message boards facilitate constructive plagiarism approaches: allowing many readers to see student writing, providing multiple opportunities for assessment, creating bolder participants, helping students read beyond content, and providing a means for students to enact their own form of justice.


Keywords: asynchronous, audience, discussion board, plagiarism

OWI Principles: 3, 7, 10, 11


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

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

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

Warnock, Scott. “Studies Comparing Outcomes among Onsite, Hybrid, and Fully-Online Writing Courses.” WPA-CompPile Research Bibliographies, no. 21, 2013,

In this bibliography, Warnock both responds to and challenges the drive for research comparing onsite, online, and hybrid writing courses. Warnock begins by pointing out that questions about the efficacy of online writing instruction invariably position hybrid and online writing courses against the “‘gold standard’ of the onsite class experience,” an assumption that “is—to say the least—flawed” (1). Assessment of onsite writing courses is notoriously difficult, due in no small part to methodologically-questionable assessment measures and the absence of “widely-accepted criteria as to what clearly constitutes success in writing courses” across institutions (2). Nevertheless, a robust collection of studies comparing onsite and online courses have been published, which Warnock examines closely. Among the themes that emerge from this analysis are that there is no significant difference between online, onsite, and hybrid courses and that instructor-student and student-student interactivity seems correlated “to student satisfaction and perhaps course success”(3).  This bibliography is an indispensible resource for OWI instructors and administrators alike.

Keywords: assessment: English, learning outcomes, hybrid, online writing programs, literature review, administration, writing program administration, student-to-student interaction, instructor interaction, student success
OWI Principles: 7, 10, 11, 15

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

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

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

Warnock, Scott. “Studies Comparing Outcomes among Onsite, Hybrid, and Fully-Online Writing Courses.” WPA-CompPile Research Bibliographies, no. 21, 2013,

In this bibliography, Warnock both responds to and challenges the drive for research comparing onsite, online, and hybrid writing courses. Warnock begins by pointing out that questions about the efficacy of online writing instruction invariably position hybrid and online writing courses against the “‘gold standard’ of the onsite class experience,” an assumption that “is—to say the least—flawed” (1). Assessment of onsite writing courses is notoriously difficult, due in no small part to methodologically-questionable assessment measures and the absence of “widely-accepted criteria as to what clearly constitutes success in writing courses” across institutions (2). Nevertheless, a robust collection of studies comparing onsite and online courses have been published, which Warnock examines closely. Among the themes that emerge from this analysis are that there is no significant difference between online, onsite, and hybrid courses and that instructor-student and student-student interactivity seems correlated “to student satisfaction and perhaps course success”(3).  This bibliography is an indispensible resource for OWI instructors and administrators alike.

Keywords: assessment: English, learning outcomes, hybrid, online writing programs, literature review, administration, writing program administration, student-to-student interaction, instructor interaction, student success
OWI Principles: 7, 10, 11, 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


Witte, Allison. “‘Why Won’t Moodle…?’: Using Genre Studies to Understand Students’ Approaches to Interacting with User Interfaces.” Computers and Composition, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 48–60.


Witte uses genre theory to analyze a six-semester study of Moodle as a content management system (CMS), specifically for first-year writing students. She reports finding mismatches among her own, her students’, and her university’s expectations for Moodle as the campus-wide CMS, so she explored how students “use the genre clues present in interface design to figure out how to use the CMS” (50), often by comparing the CMS to other platforms they’re familiar with. Witte notes that it’s the interaction among “user, content, and purpose” (51) that makes a CMS either useful or confusing in writing instruction. Typically, a CMS serves as a digital classroom (in online classes) or a repository (in face-to-face or hybrid classes), but most CMS are not technically limited to these uses: instructors often just lack the training or incentive to go beyond them. Witte makes two claims based on her findings: 1) developers and instructors should account for previous student experience when setting up their CMS, and 2) instructors should present the CMS interface as a genre and encourage students to learn its use that way.


Keywords: genre theory, content management systems, Moodle, interface, course design: Writing

OWI Principles: 3, 7, 10, 13, 14


Yeh, Hui-Chin, and Yu-Fen Yang. “Prospective Teachers’ Insights Towards Scaffolding Students’ Writing Processes Through Teacher-Student Role Reversal in an Online System.” Education Tech Research and Development, vol. 59, no. 3, 2011, pp. 351-68. 

In this research article, Yeh and Yang discuss the methodology and findings of a study conducted to investigate the effects of student-teacher role reversal in a computer-supported environment. Yeh and Yang postulate that prospective teachers benefit from taking on the student roles of writer, editor, and commentator; however, few empirical studies have been conducted on the subject. By using an online interface, the study is able to systematically record each step in the role-reversal experience, which allows researchers and teachers to evaluate and reflect on the writing texts and action logs produced. In addition to the semester-long online portion of the study, data was also collected from an open-ended questionnaire and follow-up survey. The researchers conclude that role reversal is an integral part of teacher training which allows future instructors to better understand students’ learning difficulties and appropriately adapt the learning curriculum and teaching methods to meet the students’ needs. The article does note a handful of changes to the online system interface that would better facilitate future role-reversal experiments. Yeh and Yang conclude by stating that the effect of role reversal in different teaching environments (online or face-to-face) would need to be explored in a future study.

Keywords:  assessment, flipped classroom, computer-mediated classroom, surveys, instructor interaction, mixed methods, qualitative research quantitative research
OWI Principles:  4, 7, 11, 14, 15