The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction: Principle 11

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OWI Principle 11: Online writing teachers and their institutions should develop personalized and interpersonal online communities to foster student success.

 

Return to The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction

 

Almjeld, Jen. “Getting ‘Girly’ Online: The Case for Gendering Online Spaces.” Handbook of Research on Writing and Composing in the Age of MOOCs, edited by Elizabeth Monske and Kristina Blair, IGI Global, 2017, pp. 87–105.

 

Almjeld posits that, considering data which reflects men are more confident and experienced with computers and women are hesitant to use free software tools “in favor of school-sanctioned course management sites” (88), females may not be as participatory in MOOCs as male students.  Additionally, female faculty may decline to design and instruct MOOCs because of fear of technology and the lack of opportunities to make personal connections—versus the interactive face-to-face classroom—in MOOCs. Universities should be cognizant of traditional gender hierarchies and “adop[t]  . . . feminist pedagogical principles . . . to . . . make space for marginalized voices” (92). One undergraduate course (92% female) and one graduate course (78% female)—neither being MOOCs—were used as examples to demonstrate how intentionally gendering online courses may create inviting, conversational, supportive, and communicative spaces. Almjeld recommends that in order for MOOCs to be more gender inclusive, instructors should make reflection a habit, build communities within online communities, encourage feedback and evaluation, put identity in conversation with course content, offer online tools and tips, and create space for difference.  MOOCs should be a digital space which is welcoming for all audiences; instructors should integrate available tools to mitigate the gender limitations of these learning spaces.

 

Keywords: gender, feminist theory, MOOCs, technology

OWI Principles: 1, 11

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

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

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

Arzt, Judy, Kristine E. Barnett, and Jessyka Scoppetta. “Online Tutoring: A Symbiotic Relationship with Writing Across the Curriculum Initiatives.” Across the Disciplines, vol. 6, 2009, pp. 1-15.

Arzt et al. discuss a new program piloted at the small liberal arts school of Saint Joseph College, where they combined online tutoring with more traditional writing center approaches to better support student writing for Writing In the Discipline (WID) and Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) courses. The authors maintain that “Although WAC, WID, writing centers, and writing fellows form a natural nexus, the value of technology in this mix is not firmly established” (1). They piloted the addition of online tutoring within this portfolio of services. The article provides a section describing the history of technology in American college writing centers before describing Saint Joseph College’s program and the high demands it meets. Arzt et al. then report that a survey circulated after their program’s inception (n=101) found that 79% of respondents were very satisfied and 97% would use hybrid writing center services again (7). They found that recruiting experienced students as writing center fellows is beneficial, learning how to tutor online did not take significantly more time than learning to tutor in person, and tutoring was best managed through simple technologies like email. The authors also note that faculty reported better outcomes among supported assignments, and that overall “online tutoring is a natural outgrowth of the face-to-face rapport tutors develop with students” (10)

Keywords: writing center, tutoring, hybrid, online tutoring, WID, WAC, interdisciplinary, rapport, support services
OWI Principles: 4, 11, 14

Barrett, Edward. “Collaboration in the Electronic Classroom.” Technology Review, vol. 96, no. 2, 1993, pp. 50-55. 

Barrett describes MIT’s first distributed network (The Networked Educational Online System or NEOS), a system that allows students to exchange drafts outside of class and is a precursor of more contemporary blended or hybrid classrooms. Barrett indicates that the goal of NEDS was “to support the complex private and social activities that make up the learning process” (51). The article describes the interface of the tool, which does not provide visual cues to help students understand which comments are made by the teacher, thus, providing a more egalitarian response experience. The students become “active agents” in responding to their peers’ writing, and “thus develop a greater awareness of audience and personal voice” (53). Advantages of the system included student satisfaction with the interactive capabilities of NEOS. Barrett concludes with a vision of online classes that has, for the most part, come to pass in the years since NEOS was developed. This article provides a historical view of early efforts at hybrid and blended classes and is valuable to anyone studying the history of computer-mediated peer review.

Keywords: networked classrooms, peer-review, student engagement
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Bastian, Heather, and Fauchald, Sally K. “Confronting the Challenges of Blended Graduate Education with a WEC Project.” Across the Disciplines, vol. 11, no. 3, July 2014, wac.colostate.edu/atd/rural/bastian_fauchald.cfm.

Bastian and Fauchald identify the challenges faced when a nursing program in a rural area of Minnesota moved from fully face-to-face to a blended program (some courses face-to-face and others online). As the program grew and attracted more adult learners, Bastian (the composition and rhetoric specialist on her campus) worked with Fauchald to train nursing faculty to implement a Writing-Enriched Curriculum (WEC) by “engaging in a three-phase, recursive process in which they create, implement, and assess a writing plan with the assistance of a composition and rhetoric specialist.” Faculty were encouraged to scaffold writing assignments, create group activities that encouraged students to write for real audiences, and incorporate peer review. The article outlines how Bastian and Fauchald evaluated the projects and “demonstrates the value of interdisciplinary collaborations between professional program faculty and composition and rhetoric experts.” This article models a successful collaboration between writing specialists and faculty in the disciplines and encourages WAC and WID programs to work with writing specialists to improve writing strategies for their online courses. 

Keywords: WAC, WID, hybrid courses, scaffolding, collaboration
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 11

Bell, Lisa. “Preserving the Rhetorical Nature of Tutoring When Going Online.” The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors, edited by Christina Murphy and Steve Sherwood, 2nd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011, pp. 351-58.

In this chapter, Bell recounts her experience as a new writing center coordinator who navigates and reframes an existing but not functional OWL. She narrates her experience, beginning with returning to the foundational principles of writing center theory espoused by Stephen North, Mary Dossin, and Joan Hawthorne. She then reviews the current state of the OWL, which consisted primarily of email submissions. Without the face-to-face interaction and meaning making involved in the traditional writing center, Bell felt that some of the tried-and-true methods of tutoring would be difficult to implement in an OWL. In particular, she found that the conversational nature of tutoring, so crucial to the experience of shared meaning-making, was lost when questions were added to a student’s paper and the tutor received no reply. Because synchronous online tutoring sessions take more time to complete, tutors found themselves getting straight to the point of the writing, which took away relationship-building that was the heart of the face-to-face tutoring sessions. Bell also found out that tutors in OWLs needed different types of training than their face-to-face colleagues. She concludes by calling for more research into what makes OWLs effective, research that others have done since this chapter was first published. This article provides those chronicling the shift from face-to-face to online writing centers a snapshot of a single center at a point of transition, a valuable narrative in the longer history of understanding OWLs. 

Keywords:  writing center, online writing lab, synchronous interaction, tutoring: English
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 13, 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bourelle, Tiffany. “Adapting Service-Learning into the Online Technical Communication Classroom: A Framework and Model.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 42, 2014, pp. 247-64. 

 

Bourelle discusses how service learning is implemented into a pilot technical communication course at Arizona State University. She links course outcomes to the pedagogical values of service learning and describes the curriculum and potential for what she calls “service e-learning.” Bourelle argues that online writing classes are a natural fit for service learning projects because they encourage student-centered pedagogies and require students to be self-regulated learners interacting with others. Service e-learning can meet the course objectives of developing civic responsibility, applying skills to authentic workplace situations, peer learning, and nonlinear learning. She provides a model of how to structure service e-learning in an online technical writing course and demonstrates how students in the pilot courses met the course objectives. Students in the course wanted more time with the directors of their service learning projects, which posed a challenge given the time constraints faced by most directors. The author ends with reflections on how she changed the course based on student evaluations. 

 

Keywords: service learning, technical and professional writing, culture, reflection

OWI Principles: 1, 4, 11

 

Bourelle, Tiffany. “Service e-Learning in the Online Technical Communication Classroom: Keeping our Pedagogies Relevant in an Age of Austerity.” The New Normal: Pressures on Technical Communication Programs in the Age of Austerity, edited by Denise Tillery and Ed Nagelhout, Routledge, 2016, pp. 107–24. 

 

Bourelle argues that service e-learning projects in online courses help students learn new technologies and engage in civic learning focused on technological literacy. The author demonstrates how service e-learning projects were implemented at Arizona State University, including a discussion of how to provide real-world experiences and  assignments that help students meet course outcomes through structured discussions, collaborative projects and reflection. Bourelle identifies how service e-learning can be incorporated in a variety of course platforms and how institutions facing budget cuts can support service e-learning. She concludes her article by challenging instructors to implement and reflect on service e-learning in the classroom. 

 

Keywords: service learning, professional and technical communication, peer learning, technology, culture
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 4, 11

 

Bourelle, Tiffany, Andy Bourelle, Stephanie Spong, Anna V. Knutson,  Emilie Howland-Davis, and Natalie Kubasek. “Reflections in Online Writing Instruction: Pathways to Professional Development.” Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, vol. 20, no. 1, 2015, kairos.technorhetoric.net/20.1/index.html.

 

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

 

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

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

 

Boyd, Patricia Webb. “Analyzing Students’ Perceptions of Their Learning in Online and Hybrid First-Year Composition Courses.” Computers and Composition, vol. 25, no. 2, 2008, pp. 224-43. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2008.01.002.

Boyd discusses a study of online and hybrid first-year composition courses and student perceptions of how much they learned in each format. As a way to promote learner-centered education (LCE) in online and hybrid formats, Boyd developed a survey that studies students’ perceptions of their interactions with their peers, their instructor, and the technology, and the impact of each of these on what the students learned in the course. This survey was completed by 179 students in nineteen sections of hybrid and online first-year composition courses. The survey found that instructors must be intentional about online course design, and they should explain the purpose of assignments and how these connect to the learning objectives for the course. Such intentionality promotes LCE in online and hybrid environments. Additionally, instructors valued the interactions between students, but data suggests that while students liked interaction with peers, the instructor feedback was most important to them. Boyd suggests that instructor-to-student interactions promote LCE over student-to-student interactions, but both are vital to student success in the online/hybrid writing class. Additionally, by building a community of learners through online discussion, students become the immediate audience and support one another as co-constructors of knowledge.

Keywords: student perceptions, first-year composition, hybrid, interaction, student-to-student interaction, surveys
OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

Boyd, Patricia Webb. “Online Discussion Boards as Identity Workspaces: Building Professional Identities in Online Writing Classes.” Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, no. 4, Dec. 2013, jitp.commons.gc.cuny.edu/online-discussion-boards-as-identity-workspaces-building-professional-identities-in-online-writing-classes/.

Boyd argues that online business writing classes should focus on professional writing practices as opposed to learning to write professionally, emphasizing critical identity production and reflection. The article compares two academic writing assignments: 1) Writers and Identity to Professional Writing and 2) Personal Brand. The goal is to get students to engage in online discussion board interactions as they produce a document for a social network. Boyd presents the idea of identity workspaces focused on social defenses, sentient communities, and rites of passage. These dynamic spaces enable students to develop as professionals through their writing. Boyd asserts that the two assignments under discussion teach students how to professionalize themselves by reflecting on the creation of their own professional identities and learning how professionals write as well as how they create themselves as professionals. Students’ awareness of themselves as professionals through online discussion is a unique way of building community as a learning tool and a pre-professional training tool. These online identity workspaces support the co-creation of knowledge among this professional learning community in online business classes.

Keywords: business writing, technical and professional writing, identity, learning communities
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breuch, Lee-Ann Kastman. “Enhancing Online Collaboration: Virtual Peer Review in the Writing Classroom.” Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 141-56. 

Breuch identifies the ways in which face-to-face peer review is both the same as and differs from online peer review. Commonalities include the assumptions that writing is a social act and that writing is a process. The differences in peer review involve space, time, and interaction. Asynchronous technologies for peer review require that students participate in peer review at both different locations and different times, and this fact affects how the students interact in both positive and negative ways. Breuch provides concrete steps to help facilitate peer review for brainstorming, providing reader response, and addressing strengths and weaknesses in the writing. This perspective on peer review demonstrates how similarities and differences in peer review between face-to-face and online environments can lead to equal or more productive experience and calls for additional research to deal with accessibility.

Keywords: tutoring: English, writing process, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 14

Brunk-Chavez, Beth, and Shawn J. Miller. “Decentered, Disconnected, and Digitized: The Importance of Shared Space.” Kairos, vol. 1, no. 2, 2006, kairos.technorhetoric.net/11.2/binder.html?topoi/brunk-miller/index.html

This pilot study supports the creation of a shared space in which students can create common or shared experiences for collaborative learning in an online setting. Students and instructors from three hybrid courses and three face-to-face courses responded to beginning- and end-of-course surveys.  While the findings are not generalizable, they suggest it is important to consciously design spaces that support true collaborative learning or learning that happens when knowledge is co-created simultaneously by participants and the teacher. The tools of online learning and the course design must be critically examined to determine if true collaborative learning is taking place within a course.  Some technological tools may appear to be collaborative such as an online discussion board. However, the way a tool is utilized determines if it is really forming a collaborative experience. OWI benefits from careful examinations of the intersection of rhetorical online practices and the implementation of specific online tools.

Keywords: collaboration, course and program design: English, pedagogy: English, surveys
OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

Brown, Kara Mae. “Criticism or Community? Breaking the Binary Thinking in Online Writing Classes.” The Proceedings of the Annual Computers and Writing Conference: Volume 1, edited by Cheryl E. Ball, Chen Chen, Kristopher Purzycki, and Lydia Wilkes, 2018, The WAC Clearinghouse, pp. 48-57.  

 

These conference proceedings respond to OWI Principle #4, exploring strategies for migrating onsite peer review pedagogy to the online writing classroom. She specifically focuses on the differences between anonymous and non-anonymous peer review. The literature indicates that anonymity enhances students’ willingness to offer constructive criticism, but it also limits the development of a sense of community. Brown applies these ideas to an analysis of her own online writing courses, questioning the assumption that anonymous peer review necessarily creates better feedback and hinders community development. She surveyed students enrolled in two sections of an online advanced interdisciplinary writing course (n=28) about their experiences with three different peer review workshops. In general, she found that students preferred to receive reviews from non-anonymous peers because they appreciated the opportunity for further communication with the reviewer. However, students seemed to prefer anonymous peer review for the third workshop, which was associated with the most difficult writing task, which may indicate a relationship between task difficulty and anonymity in peer review. She also found that students were more likely to want to be identified as reviewers in the second assignment than in the first, which may suggest that anonymous peer review could be a stepping stone towards non-anonymous peer review. 

 

Keywords: peer review, surveys, student perceptions, student satisfaction, OWI 

OWI Principles: 4, 11

 

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

 

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

 

Keywords: Google Suite, collaboration, peer review, revision 

OWI Principles: 3, 5, 11

 

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

 

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

 

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

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 11

 

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

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

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

Budiman, Rahmat. “Factors Related to Students’ Drop Out of a Distance Language Learning Program.” Journal of Curriculum and Teaching, vol. 7, no. 2, 2018, pp. 12–19

 

Budiman researches why online English writing classes at an open university in Indonesia have high drop-out rates. Budiman sampled a cohort of students and interviewed those students at four stages as they completed multiple levels of writing courses. Students identified a lack of basic English skills, outside responsibilities, and lack of support from the university as the primary factors in dropping out of the English writing classes. Students who were in courses without direct interaction or in courses where they did not interact also felt isolated and were more likely to drop the courses. The author uses the data from the interview research to develop a theoretical framework to explain why students drop out of courses and identifies points in the student’s recruitment and educational journey where interventions will help students feel connected to their coursework and choose to stay in the program. This article provides a model of how to retain students in online writing courses who most need intervention to be retained, which is a key concern of programs seeking to recruit and retain online students. 

 

Keywords: retention, student perception, interviews, student preparation, ESL/ELL/L2 learners 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Keywords: community, discussion boards, plagiarism, student engagement

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 10, 11

 

Cargile Cook, Kelli, 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

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

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

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

Carter, Lorraine M., and Ellen Rukholm. “A Study of Critical Thinking, Teacher–Student Interaction, and Discipline-Specific Writing in an Online Educational Setting for Registered Nurses.” The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, vol. 39, no. 3, 2008, pp. 133-38. 

In their qualitative study, Carter and Rukholm analyze student writing activity in an online course for evidence of critical thinking. Their findings suggest that high levels of critical thinking by nurse learners can be developed in an online setting. They looked at two bulletin board posts, using John’s Model of Structured Reflection (1995) to identify four different kinds of thinking: 1) aesthetic, 2) personal, 3) ethical, and 4) empirical.  They also examine student-teacher interactions and discipline-specific writing. They offer no comparison to onsite instruction and no argument that online is better or different, only that online instruction can be successful in teaching critical thinking.

Keywords: WID, discussion: WAC qualitative research
OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choi, Jessie. “Online Peer Discourse in a Writing Classroom.” International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, vol. 26, no. 2, 2014, pp. 217-31, isetl.org/ijtlhe/pdf/IJTLHE26(2).pdf.

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

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

Chung, Liang-Yi. “Distant Voices: Computer-Mediated Communication in English Writing Instruction.” 3rd IEEE International Conference on Ubi-Media Computing, 2010, pp. 323–28, ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/5544436.

 

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

 

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

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

 

Cody, Jim. “Asynchronous Online Discussion Forums: Going Vibrantly Beyond the Shadow of the Syllabus.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 30, no. 3, 2003, pp. 268-76. 

Cody studies how “online discussion forums uniquely contribute to the teaching and learning of community college students” (269). He first describes his research writing class, and then provides an overview of the LMS, WebCT. Cody sees a number of benefits in the online discussion forums in his class, including 1) the ability of the discussion forums to continue and build on the excitement of face-to-face class discussions and 2) the opportunity to bring “guest lecturers” into class for asynchronous discussions. The article ends with encouragement to use the tools available at an instructor’s home institution and to consider the possibilities of expanding class expertise in “many, sometimes unexpected, directions” (276). This article demonstrates one way that LMSs were used at the turn of the 21st century as writing instructors hybridized face-to-face courses.

Keywords: discussion: English, course management systems
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

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

 

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

 

Keywords: MOOCs, feedback, iMOOC, OER, interaction

OWI Principles: 3, 6, 11

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cox, Stephanie, et al. “Promoting Teacher Presence: Strategies for Effective and Efficient Feedback to Student Writing Online.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 42, no. 4, 2015, pp. 376-91. 

In this essay, Cox et al. argue that online teachers of writing courses must consciously choose particular feedback methods that remedy an inherent drawback—namely the lack of teacher presence—of an asynchronous learning environment that in traditional face-to-face courses prevents evaluation from being perceived as harsh, impersonal, or dismissive. They examine how instructors can achieve a social, cognitive, and teaching presence in their online courses by considering the tenets of the Community of Inquiry (COI) model. They argue that online instructors must consider the purpose of feedback, the effects of different delivery methods, and how these relate to teacher workload and satisfaction. The authors thoroughly examine feedback methods for both informal and formal writing, including how each method fosters a sense of teacher presence in online courses. Drawing upon their collective experience, they discuss the benefits and drawbacks of individual feedback, generalized group feedback, and no feedback for informal writing, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of using rubrics, in-text comments, holistic end comments, synchronous conferences, and audio responses as feedback methods for formal writing. The authors conclude that feedback that communicates to their students not only their subject expertise but also their teacher presence is one of the most effective tools in creating a successful learning environment at the disposal of instructors of online writing courses.

Keywords:  feedback, instructor interaction, community of inquiry, assessment
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 12

Cunningham, Jennifer M. “Mechanizing People and Pedagogy: Establishing Social Presence in the Online Classroom.” Online Learning, vol. 19, no. 3, 2015, pp. 34-47.

Cunningham applies the Community of Inquiry (COI) framework as a lens for understanding the perceived effectiveness of using avatars in an online classroom to create social presence. Voki—free, online, customizable avatars—were investigated as one potential means for establishing social presence. Students in seven sections of a prerequisite composition class at a community college were surveyed. Out of 140 students, forty completed a questionnaire that included three open-ended questions asking about their overall experience relative to social presence as well whether social presence was established using Voki specifically. Analyzing the open-ended question responses using content analysis informed by grounded theory, results suggested that Voki avatars had little effect on creating social presence. Receiving instructor emails and feedback as well as direct interpersonal communication with peers (i.e., a group project and peer workshops) was found to establish the most social presence. Adding to previous COI research, this research suggests three specific practices that best establish social presence: (1) an active instructor presence, (2) interactivity among students, and (3) the timeliness or immediacy of both.

Keywords: community of inquiry, instructor presence, qualitative research, feedback, email, student-to-student interaction
OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

Davis, Dan. “The Paperless Classroom: E-Filing and E-Valuating Students’ Work in English Composition.” Teaching English in the Two-Year College, vol. 30, no. 2, 2002, pp. 162-76. 

Davis describes how he implemented a paperless classroom conducted with a course management system (CMS) in a hybrid setting that uses technology-enhanced in-class activities as well as technology out of class in the form of email, online quizzes, e-conferences, and synchronous chat. While he acknowledges that technology can be a “diversionary tactic employed by frustrated teachers” (164) that gets in the way of learning, Davis reports on a business communication course for working adult professionals wherein technology made possible “an efficient and concise method for storing and evaluating papers and communicating with students” (163). While Davis does not argue that digital responses to student writing necessarily leads to better writing, he indicates that this medium allows for a clearer and more orderly space in which to respond, and that the students thereby benefit. This article is a useful historical document that outlines the concerns and benefits of the transition from fully face-to-face to hybrid classes partially hosted in an CMS.

Keywords: course management system, hybrid, email, synchronous interaction
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 11

Davis, Evan, and Sarah Hardy. “Teaching Writing in the Space of Blackboard.” Computers and Composition Online, Spring 2003, www2.bgsu.edu/departments/english/cconline/DavisHardy/.

Davis and Hardy use Blackboard 1.5 to discuss shifts from the space of the physical classroom to the “space” of the virtual classroom, applying the theories of Michel Foucault, Mikhail Bakhtin, and Michel de Certeau to the then new virtual discussion boards and applications of the digital classroom. The webtext first provides an overview of the literal space of Blackboard 1.5. It then uses Foucault’s concept of the panopticon to illuminate how in the “contained space of the course management system . . . the disciplining of the student occurs,” thus altering the power dynamics in the classroom. Bakhtin’s concept of dialogue manifests in several ways in Blackboard, both in ways that restrain speech and in ways that encourage dialogue and remove hierarchies. The authors apply de Certeau’s concepts of “strategies” and “tactics” for navigating physical space to the virtual space of Blackboard, saying “If we understand Blackboard as a space that is comparable to a city, then what we are looking for is not a map of that city so much as a story of how a student moves through it.” In conclusion, the authors provide a list of thirteen ways that faculty can fully use this LMS to support students in developing community, engaging discussion, and fighting the binaries of power that Blackboard imposes. This web text, while written about a very early version of Blackboard, is still useful for the instructor who seeks to push the boundaries of the LMS and more fully incorporate democratic students encounters.

Keywords: course management system, discussion: English, Blackboard, power
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 11 

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

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

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

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

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

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

DePew, Kevin Eric. “Social Media at Academia’s Periphery: Studying Multilingual Developmental Writers’ Facebook Composing Strategies.” Reading Matrix, vol. 11, no. 1, 2011, pp. 54-75, www.readingmatrix.com/articles/january_2011/depew.pdf. 

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

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

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

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

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

DePew, Kevin E., et. al. “Getting Past Our Assumptions About Web 2.0 and Community Building: How to Design Research-Based Literacy Pedagogy.” Emerging Pedagogies in the Networked Knowledge Society: Practices Integrating Social Media and Globalization, edited by Marohang Limbu and Binod Gurung, IGI Global, 2013, pp. 120-43.

DePew et al. interrogate the general promises certain vendors make that their technological applications or pedagogical designs will create community among students, especially in online writing instruction courses. Because the outcomes for achieving community are rarely defined, the authors question whether community can actually be created in online classrooms and, if so, how instructors can leverage a technology’s affordances to achieve their articulated outcomes for community. The authors theoretically reflect upon a “Community Analysis” assignment in which students are given the opportunity to create community by reading and responding to each other’s blog entries on the textual research they are doing. At the end of the research blog assignment students use the course readings on community to argue in the “Community Analysis” whether the students in the course had become a community or not. The authors learned that many of the students in the class felt a sense of community, but the blog assignment did little to facilitate it. Of the twelve students in the class, only seven of them commented on the blogs or commented on others’ comments ten times or more for the five blog entries. Over half of the total blog comments or responses to others’ comments were written in the last week of the blog assignment presumably in anticipation of “Community Analysis” assignment. This led many of the pre-service and in-service students to conclude that comment posts should be required after each blog entry was posted. While this requirement raises a question as to whether the students can truly be a community if they are compelled to interact with each other, the substantive interaction among those posts suggest that instructional motivations can be the catalyst students need to truly engage each other. Although the students did not feel a sense of community from the blog assignment and the blog’s affordances, many described feeling a sense of community resulting from how they used the affordances of other technologies in the class, such as the chat function on the synchronous video meeting application or the audio editing application that a group of students were piloting. The authors conclude that a deliberate approach to design online writing curriculum might entail collecting and studying data from how students are interacting in one’s class.

Keywords: community, blog, course management systems, qualitative research, discussion: English, synchronous interaction, course and program design: English, audio
OWI Principles:  3, 4, 11, 15

Di Desidero, Linda. “Facework and the Negotiation of Identity in Online Class Discussions.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 127–57.

 

Identity is an essential component of human communication, and Di Desidero argues that in online classes, where participants must interaction with each other, students must establish a presence (or facework) to maintain their personal identities and go on to develop scholarly identities. She analyzes discussion board interactions in a discipline-based writing course in communication studies to identify facework strategies students employ in their online discourse. This qualitative analysis studies identity development in three stages: personal identity, academic identity, and scholar-professional identity. Using examples from student writing, Di Desidero demonstrates how students develop identity in these three areas and concludes that online writing instructors can facilitate student identity creation to increase student agency and control in the online classroom. 

 

Keywords: identity, writing-intensive courses, WID, student-to-student interaction, agency, discussion boards

OWI Principles: 10, 11, 15 

 

Dockter, Jason. “Improve Access with a Course Orientation.” Online Literacies Open Resource, Global Society of Online Literacy Educators, 2015, https://www.glosole.org/improve-access-with-a-course-orientation.html

This open resource is a praxis piece, offering both advice on how to create an orientation for an online course and an argument for the creation of such a beginning to an online course. The author demonstrates the components of an online orientation video used to help students gain familiarity with the online course, hoping to help students transition more successfully to the online domain. The explanation of how to create an online course orientation focuses on the components of an example orientation and discussion of how to develop it with specific pieces of technology. This source is not OWI-specific, in that it generally could be utilized by any online course; however, the author specifically notes that this piece aligns with the OWI Principles.

Keywords: orientation, student success, accessibility, communication, course management system
OWI Principles: 1, 10, 11

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

 

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

 

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

OWI Principles: 3, 5, 11

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Ekahitanond, Visara. “Students’ Perception and Behavior of Academic Integrity: A Case Study of a Writing Forum Activity.” Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, vol. 15, no. 4, 2014, pp. 150-61. DOAJ: Directory of Open Access Journals, doi:10.17718/tojde.55218.

This article researches students’ behavior and perception of academic integrity in an online discussion forum. Ekahitanond expresses concern about the authenticity of student responses in online learning environments and how instructors can adjust teaching methods to better address this concern. After participating in a written discussion forum, students were given an initial questionnaire to measure their perception of academic integrity and record their experience violating this policy. An interview was further conducted to investigate the reasons for dishonesty. Findings suggest that students do not have a clear understanding of academic misconduct, leading them to acts of plagiarism or collusion. Ekahitanond concludes that instructors should clearly inform students of the rules for good writing and what explicitly constitutes academic integrity. While not explicitly about OWI, this article demonstrates the need to be explicit when addressing academic integrity when creating and facilitating online writing courses.

Keywords: plagiarism, student perceptions, surveys
OWI Principles:  10, 11, 15

Ellis, H. Mark. “Free to Speak, Safe to Claim: The Importance of Writing in Online Sociology Courses in Transforming Disposition” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 103–125.

 

Sociology programs effect “dispositional change” in students, encouraging them to explore outside of their experiences and develop new perspectives toward the world. Ellis argues that this dispositional change is more effective when taught through writing in online courses because personal identities can be shared and protected and discussion of sensitive or controversial materials is more easily facilitated. Writing in online classes slows down verbal thinking, gives students more time to construct thoughtful answers, and allows them to articulate opposing points of view about social issues. He examines discussion postings from an online sociology course where students write collaborative research papers about controversial social issues. The author analyzes student discussion at each phase of the research process (brainstorming; shaping the research question; research, analysis and discussion; drafting and editing; and reflection and evaluation) and concludes that students can explore and reflect more thoroughly through writing in online courses. Instructors can monitor students’ dispositional change through collaborative assignments that engage students throughout the learning process. 

 

Keywords: WID, student engagement, discussion boards, collaboration, reflection

OWI Principles: 1, 11, 15

 

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

 

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

 

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

OWI: 3, 5, 11, 15

 

Espasa, Anna, Teresa Guasch, and Ibis M. Alvarez. “Analysis of Feedback Processes in Online Group Interaction: A Methodological Model. Digital Education Review, vol. 23, 2013, pp. 59-73. 

 

Espasa et al. developed a methodological model for analyzing online group interaction in the feedback process for a psychology bachelor’s degree program. The model includes three dimensions: students’ participation, the nature of students’ learning, and the quality of student performance on written tasks. The researchers analyzed student interactions in an online discussion board to identify their cognitive, affective, and metacognitive activities. Students were divided into random groups in four experimental feedback conditions: corrective, epistemic, suggestive, and epistemic + suggestive (68). Students in the corrective feedback condition included no cognitive learning activities in relation to feedback and few metacognitive and/or affective activities. Students in the suggestive feedback conditions participated in all three types of learning. This article provides a model to research how students receive, understand, and use feedback and demonstrates how studies into student reception of feedback can be conducted. 

 

Keywords: writing process, feedback, interaction, asynchronous, empirical research, cognitive, affective, metacognitive, collaboration, discussion

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 15

 

Faigley, Lester. “Subverting the Electronic Workbook: Teaching Writing Using Networked Computers.” The Writing Teacher as Researcher, edited by Donald A. Daiker and Max Morenberg, Boynton, 1990, pp. 290-311.

Faigley provides an overview of an early networked classroom (1988) as one of the first versions of  an online discussion board used in a computer-mediated classroom. The students discussed a literary work the class, and the article provides a transcript of that discussion to demonstrate how discussion boards challenge the teacher’s control in an online setting. The transcript demonstrates that, unlike in traditional face-to-face discussions, instructors become students, or at least equal participants, in the online discussion board. He argues that student anonymity regarding gender is greater in the online discussion board and that closure does not need to be as artificial as it can be in the traditional face-to-face discussion. Faigley’s work addresses some of the early benefits and difficulties of implementing networked discussion boards, and while some of the data is only anecdotal, provides an early perspective on how discussion boards will challenge faculty authority in the online classroom.

Keywords: networked classrooms, discussions: English, gender
OWI Principles:  3, 4, 11

Ferganchick-Neufang, Julia K. “Harassment On-line: Considerations for Women & Webbed Pedagogy.” Kairos, vol. 2, no. 2, 1997, kairos.technorhetoric.net/2.2/binder2.html?coverweb/julia/honline.html. 

Ferganchick-Neufang acknowledges the benefits of writing on the web to support student writing and to democratize the classroom, but she warns that we should not ignore problems that online instruction can create for women and people of color.  She focuses specifically on the issue of student-to-teacher harassment by first discussing a previous study on student-to-teacher harassment of women instructors in the traditional, face-to-face classroom. Despite being in positions of authority within the classroom, female instructors who responded to the survey for the study relayed incidents of sexual harassment and threats of violence from male students. The author warns that despite notions of computer-mediated instruction creating egalitarian spaces and discourses, the dangers female instructors can face in the traditional classroom are still present in online environments. She points to the exclusion of women in the fields of computer technology and virtual reality and discusses the real and perceived differences in computer expertise of men and women, which could hurt the ethos of a female instructor wanting to teach with computers. The author then points out that the opportunity for anonymity online may encourage the participation of some students to be aggressive or hostile. She provides the transcript from a MOO used in a class to demonstrate this point, noting that harassment through writing, like harassment that occurs over email or in virtual reality environments, is often ignored or brushed aside. This harassment is real, and female instructors should have administrative support when they are harassed in virtual environments. The article concludes with suggestions for addressing these concerns, including 1) not obscuring these difficulties by focusing too much on the positive possibilities of web pedagogy, 2) training students in netiquette, 3) creating disruptive behavior policies appropriate for web environments, and 4) opening up channels of communication regarding this issue. Though dated, this article provides an important perspective on issues and challenges that OWI instructors, particularly female instructors, might face.

Keywords: gender, race, surveys, qualitative research, email
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 10, 11, 15

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

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

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

Finlay, William, Christy Desmet, and Lorraine Evans. “Is it the Technology or the Teacher? A Comparison of Online and Traditional English Composition Classes.” Journal of Educational Computing Research, vol. 31, no. 2, 2004, pp. 163–80. 

 

Findlay et al. studied the assumption that there is no significant difference in either student satisfaction or educational outcomes between online and face-to-face writing courses. They studied undergraduate students at a large public university in the Southeast in both online (synchronous) and face-to-face classes. They considered student satisfaction with the class, how much students felt the class improved their critical thinking skills, and how easily they could participate in classroom discussion. The research used student surveys (face-to-face n=95, online n=27, response rate=78%), focus groups with students, interviews with faculty teaching the courses, observations of the online writing courses, and interviews with students and faculty from another college whose classes were online asynchronous. Controlling for the effects of instructor behavior, they used regression analysis to conclude that four variables are significant for student satisfaction: being in an online class, instructor innovation, student autonomy, and clear indicators of success. Online classes did not significantly increase students critical thinking skills, but being in an online class, instructor interaction with students, and clear indicators of success were significant factors predicting student participation in class discussion. The qualitative data showed that online classes are successful when teachers effectively used technology to interact, modifying their instruction to take advantage of technology. While they acknowledge that their study is far from ideal, they call for additional research studies using more ideal conditions to determine what, if any, differences in student performance exist online or face-to-face.

 

Keywords: face-to-face, student satisfaction, student perception, instructor interaction, synchronous interaction, surveys, focus groups, interviews, empirical research

OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

Fleckenstein, Kristie S. “Faceless Students, Virtual Places: Emergence and Communal Accountability in Online Classrooms.” Computers and Composition, vol. 22, no. 2, 2005, pp. 149-76. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2005.02.003.

Fleckenstein highlights through concrete examples the difficulty of maintaining “communal accountability,” defined as “the reciprocal commitment among individuals to act in ways that promote the evolution and health of their interconnections online as is typical in face-to-face classrooms,” in online first-year composition classrooms (150). She argues that a complex-systems approach will allow for a language that honors both the sophistication of interactions in the online classroom as well as the individual activities that “comes into existence through . . . transactivity” or the transformative interaction that causes each element to change and become part of a larger entity (154). She outlines the challenges, including attendance for small group meetings, and describes in detail how the complex-systems approach gives us a new language and clearer understanding of the dynamics of place in online classes, one that goes beyond the initial attraction that students have to be able to be both in their homes and in their classes at the same time. Fleckenstein recommends that instructors in online courses should 1) “increas[ing] students’ opportunities to share language by offering multiple environments with multiple ways to link to each other,” 2) “reconfigure the online classroom is to open multiple chat windows,” and 3) “institute at the beginning of a semester a stop word, such as “stop,” that any student can use when the discussion careens out of control” (167). Overall, Fleckenstein calls for online instructors to be more cognizant of the ways that actions they take influence the ecology of the class, both positively and negatively.

Keywords: community, collaboration, first-year composition, discussion: English
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Ford, Michele. “Preparing Students for Assessment in the On-Line Class.” New Directions for Teaching and Learning, vol. 2002, issue 91, Fall 2002, pp. 77–82. 

Ford suggests the need to explain to students what standards will be used for classroom assessment in online courses. Because online students might struggle to understand course concepts and assessments, Ford suggests using email and web postings for communicating assessment expectations. In addition, Ford provides suggestions for creating a sound syllabus, clear and robust rubrics, and a student-centered environment. This article reminder online faculty that redundancy is in online classes is essential to enhance student understanding and provides a brief overview of sound online course design that has been expanded by other scholars. 

Keywords: assessment, feedback, course and program design: English, email
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Fortune, Mary F., Bethany Shifflett, and Robert E. Sibley. “A Comparison of Online (High Tech) and Traditional (High Touch) Learning in Business Communication Courses in Silicon Valley.” Journal of Education for Business, vol. 81, no. 4, 2006, pp. 210–14.

 

Fortune et al.  compared students’ perceptions of the value of face-to-face interaction and perceived learning in online and face-to-face classes. Face-to-face interaction was defined as “instructional methods that use immediacy behaviors (e.g., feedback, communication) to reduce social distance and alleviate information overload)” (211). The researchers used the results of open-ended survey questions with two on-campus classes (n=50) an online class (n=25) to develop the High Touch versus High Tech (HTHT) survey instrument which consists of 51 questions about learning environment, face-to-face communication, technical skills, and demographic questions. Students in online classes (n=90, 90% response rate) and on-campus classes (n=98, 98% response rate) completed the survey. Using factor analysis, the authors determined that students perceived their learning as similar across modalities. They found that more independent students selected online courses, and that simulating interaction through humor, personal experiences, addressing students by name, and providing feedback in real time (or through online instant messages) were sufficient to replace face-to-face interaction.

 

Keywords: face-to-face, instructor interaction, student satisfaction, business writing, empirical research, feedback, rapport 

OWI Principles: 11, 15

 

Gerrard, Lisa. “Feminist Research in Computers and Composition.” Computers in the Composition Classroom, edited by Michelle Sidler et al., Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007, pp. 377-400.

This chapter sets an agenda for research of the association of computers with masculinity and how this can impact female students and how computers can both support and challenge feminist pedagogy. The author first considers how cultural associations with computers and computer technologies like video games often provide males more access to and experience with computers than females and how these different experiences could make female students reticent about computer-mediated instruction and learning. She suggests we need to understand the attitudes and experiences of students with these technologies. She then looks at how computers could support feminist pedagogies, focusing specifically on the internet as a place to share experiences which she suggests supports the consciousness-raising goal of feminist methodology. She shows, however, that studies have demonstrated conflicting results of whether female students did freely express their feelings in online settings and calls for further attention to how web spaces can encourage students to be open about their experiences. The author also advocates further research into how computer technology can be utilized to support the feminist goal of democratizing the classroom. Other potential areas of future research presented by the author include examining gendered experience of aggressive discourse online and testing assumptions about gendered learning styles and gendered writing and rhetorical styles within the computer-based classroom. Finally, the author calls for research into gender dynamics within the field of computers and composition studies itself. This chapter enumerates several areas of research for those interested in OWI and gender, many of which have been largely left unexplored currently within the field.

Keywords: gender, computer-mediated communication, research, gender, critical pedagogy
OWI Principles: 11, 15

Gillam, Ken, and Shannon R. Wooden. “Re-embodying Online Composition: Ecologies of Writing in Unreal Time and Space.” Computers and Composition, vol. 30, no. 1, Mar. 2013, pp.  24-36. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2012.11.001.

Gillam and Wooden draw on Marilyn Cooper’s ecological theories of composition to describing a multi-step assignment approach to online first-year composition pedagogy. They acknowledge that, compared to face-to-face collaborative interaction, it can be difficult for students to develop and express online personalities. They illustrate how to make peer groups central to online learning through using discussion boards and e-mail to work through a carefully scaffolded sequence of assignments to move students through several layers of ecological interaction: from individual considerations, to inclusion in their small group through email, to larger considerations involving the whole class through discussion boards.. 

Keywords: first-year composition, course and program design: English, collaboration, discussion: English, scaffolding, email
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

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

 

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

 

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

OWI Principles:  2, 3, 10, 11, 15

 

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

 

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

 

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

Grant-Davie, Keith. “An Assignment Too Far: Reflecting Critically on Internships in an Online Master’s Program.” Online Education: Global Questions, Local Answers, edited by Kelli Cargile Cook and Keith Grant-Davie, Baywood Publishing, 2005, pp. 219-27. 

Grant-Davie provides a description of an internship assignment developed for online students in Utah State’s online master’s program in technical writing, identifies problematic language in the assignment construction, and identifies ways in which the internship assignment was strengthened based on feedback from students and colleagues. Complications with the assignment centered around the need for those completing the internship to have a foundation of scholarly knowledge that might best be developed in a seminar rather than in individual student work with faculty. This chapter demonstrates the importance of praxis in online education and the need for faculty to examine how they communicate with online writing students in assignment descriptions and the importance of receiving formative feedback.

Keywords: internships, praxis, graduate programs, reflection, instructional design, technical and professional writing
OWI Principles: 3, 11

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

 

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

 

Keywords: writing studio, hybrid, surveys, student perception, writing center, Blackboard, discussion boards, accessibility
OWI Principles: 1, 2, 10, 11, 13, 15

 

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 the 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

Guanwardena, Charlotte N., and Frank J. Zittle. “Social Presence as a Predictor of Satisfaction Within a Computer-Mediated Conferencing Environment.” American Journal of Distance Education, vol. 11, no. 3, 1997, pp. 8-26. 

Gunawardena and Zittle argue that social presence is a “strong predictor” of student satisfaction in a distance education setting. To determine this, the authors conducted a study to determine how social presence affects student satisfaction within a computer conference environment. According to Gunawardena and Zittle, many studies have examined the influence of social presence in face-to-face classes, but few studies explore this influence in the online domain. Fifty graduate students from five universities participated in this 1993 study that was based on an inter-university computer conference that offered a forum for graduate students to discuss their experiences with distance education. They completed a questionnaire to assess their opinions towards computer-mediated communication (CMC), the conference, and theoretical factors perceived to impact CMC. This study is relevant to OWI instructors because it establishes the significance of instructors using varied methods to communicate and teach online students to enhance the social presence of the course. Essentially, online faculty need to adapt to the online domain by developing communication skills that are best-suited for online teaching, which vary from the skills that are known to work face-to-face.

Keywords: instructor interaction, graduate students, computer-mediated communication, distance education
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Guglielmo, Letizi. “Feminist Online Writing Courses: Civic Rhetoric, Community Action, and Student Success.” Computers and Composition Online, Spring 2009, www2.bgsu.edu/departments/english/cconline/CCO_Feminism/author.html.

 This article discusses the impact of feminist course design on the development of community, the decentering of the virtual classroom, and student success and retention in online first-year writing courses. Guglielmo first examines the scholarship regarding technology in the traditional classroom and the loss of social aspects in online learning environments when shifting from a teacher-centered classroom to a student-centered classroom. She then defines feminist teaching and learning spaces through several pedagogical sources. Her study involved two sections of online writing and research where each section was asked to introduce themselves, discuss and provide netiquette in forum, and answer a set of questions throughout the course of the semester. Guglielmo concludes that students felt involved in shaping the course and felt they were responsible for their learning. The article concludes with future considerations in expanding opportunities for student collaboration and participation, while fostering co-teaching among students in online courses.

Keywords: student engagement, gender, community, retention, first-year composition, pedagogy: English, collaboration
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Haber, Natalie, and Tiffany N. Mitchell. “Using Formative Summative Assessment to Evaluate Library Instruction in a First Year Writing Course.” Journal of Library and Information Services in Distance Education, vol. 11, no. 34, 2017, pp. 30013. 

 

Haber and Mitchell report the results of embedding library instruction into online composition courses and assessing the learning from that instruction. The authors applied the Association of College and Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy (2015) to assess information literacy instruction on an annotated bibliography assignment, particularly the frames of information has value, research as inquiry, and searching as strategic exploration. Library instruction covered two weeks with students watching an instructional video and completing a worksheet in the first week and participating in a discussion board with a librarian in the second week. YouTube analytics showed that students watched approximately 46 percent of the instructional video. Graded worksheets demonstrated that students correctly identified scholarly sources, although they were unclear about the path they took to reach the source. Students engaged in the librarian question-and-answer discussion, and a summative assessment of student performance on the final annotated bibliographies demonstrated that students’ retention of skills weakened by the end of the semester. The authors used the assessments to modify the library instruction to include interactive content and quizzes to the video in hopes that the librarian Q & A could focus on more advanced research strategies. 

 

Keywords: information literacy, first-year composition, formative assessment, summative assessment, video: Writing, multimodal

OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

 

Hailey, David E.,Keith Grant-Davie, and Christine A. Hult. “Online Education Horror Stories Worthy of Halloween: A Short List of Problems and Solutions in Online Instruction.” Computers and Composition, special issue Distance Education: Promises and Perils of Teaching and Learning Online, vol. 18, no. 4, 2001, pp. 387-97. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/S8755-4615(01)00070-6.

David Hailey, Keith Grant-Davie, and Christine A. Hult address the potential “volatility” of the online classroom as instructors who are not prepared fully for teaching online are hijacked by students whose online attacks can threaten the instructors’ careers. Using concrete examples from online classrooms, the authors problem issues, such as inappropriate behavior, inappropriate collaborations, unteachable moments, and inappropriate channels for complaint, can subvert learning in the online classroom (388-391). The article describes why “flame wars” can derail an online discussion as “the combined effects of not having to look the audience in the eye, yet being able to compose and deliver an informal message to them within minutes or even seconds, may explain people’s tendency to suspend politeness and flame each other in online discussions” (393). Hailey et al. conclude the article with suggestions for instructors (including frequent email communication with students who are struggling and frequent presence in online discussion forums and other interactive areas of the class) and administrators dealing with issues of hostility in online classes.

Keywords: student perceptions, faculty satisfaction, discussion: English, email
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Handayani, Nani Sri. “Emerging Roles In Scripted Online Collaborative Writing In Higher Education Context.” Procedia: Social and Behavioral Sciences, vol. 67, Dec. 2012, 370-79. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.11.340.

Handayani’s study investigates students’ competencies in completing collaborative written assignments following what he calls a “script,” which is defined as “a series of instructions prescribing how students should form groups, how they should interact and collaborate, and how they should solve [a] problem” (371). The researcher used a multiple case study design with eighteen students in an Introduction to the Learning Sciences class at the University of Sydney. Data was collected from recorded face-to-face group sessions, from online discussion spaces, and from in-depth semi-structured interviews with the participants. The results indicated that while each group included members who evolved into particular group roles, the script was interpreted differently than what the researcher had intended. The three groups had varying levels of participation, which led Handayani to conclude that due to the variation in group work among the members, “it may be necessary to increase the role of the teacher during collaboration or to structure collaboration more strictly” (378). This research reinforces the need for faculty participation in hybrid or blended group projects and provides research into how blended groups operate when provided a specific plan of action for a group project.

Keywords: collaboration, discussion: English, case study, qualitative research, interviews, instructor interaction, hybrid, mixed methods
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 11, 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

Harris, Leslie D., and  Cynthia A. Wambeam. “The Internet-Based Composition Classroom: A Study in Pedagogy.” Computers and Composition, vol. 13, no. 3, 1996, pp. 353–71. 

Harris and Wambeam describe an early version of an online course in which students connected students synchronously through a MOO and asynchronously through an email list. The article is a report on the design and pilot study of an online environment that connected first-year composition classes in Pennsylvania and Wyoming. Through this connection, Harris and Wambeam support the critical thinking and persuasive skills that are a part of the classrooms built around social constructionism. The article builds a body of theory on building playful communities in writing courses and then moves to a description of the pilot study, a mixed methods study of students’ internet journals and MOO meetings along with a pre-and post-test and questionnaires in order to measure whether “students improved as writers, but also whether computer-mediated discussions contributed to or helped foster their improvement” (360). Their results were that the experimental internet-based classroom was more effective in improving student writing. Harris and Wambeam conclude with an invitation for others to participate in similar classrooms to encourage active participation in writing classrooms.

Keywords: MOO, community, discussion: English, synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, mixed methods, qualitative research, first-year composition, social constructionism
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 15

Harris, Muriel. “Using Computers to Expand the Role of Writing Centers.” Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum, edited by Donna Reiss et al., National Council of Teachers of English, 1998, pp. 3-16. 

An early discussion Online Writing Labs (OWLs), this chapter discusses the value of developing a central online site (hosting a variety of Internet communication platforms) for achieving the mission of university writing centers. Starting with how a tutoring session might go with and without access to an OWL, Harris recounts many other features and functions of various OWLs, especially the Purdue OWL. In particular, she examines how OWLs can serve as hubs for distance collaboration, as repositories for student and instructor resources, and as highly visible channels for outreach to developing writers across the globe and across the educational spectrum. Harris notes, however, that there are many institutional challenges to establishing a successful OWL, not the least of which includes acquiring funding for trained personnel who can develop and maintain the site’s writing resources within ever-changing electronic environments.

Keywords: online writing labs, writing centers, online resources, collaboration, WAC, tutoring: English
OWI Principles: 11, 13, 14

Hawisher, Gail E. “Electronic Meetings of the Minds: Research, Electronic Conferences, and Composition Studies.” Re-imagining Computers and Composition: Teaching and Research in the Virtual Age, edited by Gail E. Hawisher and Paul LeBlanc. Boynton/Cook, 1992, 81-101. 

Hawisher surveys what was at the time a small body of research on the electronic conference or “computer-mediated communication” (synchronous and asynchronous) in the composition class. Previewing many preoccupations of the research that has since emerged on online writing instruction, Hawisher points to the potential benefits of electronic conferences—including emphasis on writing, expanded ideas of audience, sense of community, high level of involvement, equitable participation, and decentering of authority—as well drawbacks—including flaming, communication anxiety, sensory overload, and replication of problems in traditional classrooms. In reviewing the research on electronic writing classes, Hawisher emphasizes the connection between the kinds of communication foregrounded by electronic writing pedagogy and compositionists’ increasing emphasis on social theories of writing.

Keywords: computer-mediated communication, synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, audience, community, student engagement, pedagogy: English, social constructionism
OWI principles: 3, 4, 11

Hawisher, Gail, and Michael A. Pemberton. “Writing Across the Curriculum Encounters Asynchronous Learning Networks.” Electronic Communication Across the Curriculum, edited by Donna Reiss et al., National Council of Teachers of English, 1998, pp. 17-39. 

Hawisher and Pemberton recount their exploration of Asynchronous Learning Networks (ALNs) within three different courses in a WAC program, as well as for the purposes of conducting online writing workshops. The project was funded by a Sloan Foundation grant to study the use of such networks for “‘on or near campus’ learning” (18) and not primarily for online-only learning. The authors were particularly interested in examining what might happen when ALNs and WAC courses  come together. Brief examinations of ALN exchanges were used to show successes and shortcomings in assignment design and learner engagement as manifested in students’ electronic interactions. The authors concluded that ALN assignment designers should take into account already-recognized effective practices for WAC coursework, referencing Fulwiler. Moreover, Hawisher and Pemberton emphasize the importance of making students “accountable” for participation in order to ensure engagement in the online activities (36).

Keywords: asynchronous interaction, WAC, asynchronous learning networks, writing-to-learn, writing centers, student engagement
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Hawisher, Gail E., and Cynthia L. Selfe, editors. Passions, Pedagogies, and 21st Century Technologies. Utah State UP, 1999. 

Hawisher and Selfe compile one of the seminal collections dealing with technology use in the field of writing studies. The chapters in this collection investigate how “teaching and research are inherently social and political activities” (2) and that the collaborations that technologies promote among teachers and researchers encourage us to “share the important stories of teaching” and “reflect in critical ways on the work and profession that we share” (3). The collection is divided into four parts: 1) Refiguring Notions of Literacy in an Electronic World, 2) Revisiting Notions of Teaching and Access in an Electronic Age, 3) Ethical and Feminist Concerns in an Electronic World, and 4) Searching for Notions of our Postmodern Literate Selves in an Electronic World. This collection, while not explicitly about online writing instruction, brings together key players in the worlds of digital rhetoric and computer-mediated instruction to voice the concerns and promises that technology brought to the turn-of-the-21st-century writing studies world. 

Keywords: collaboration, teaching with technology: English, literacy, accessibility, gender, identity, computer-mediated classrooms
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hewett, Beth. “Reading, Writing, and Digital Composition: Reintegrating Constituent Literacies in Online Settings.” Communication Design Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 4, 2016, pp. 20–35.

 

In this editorial, Hewett recommends that communication design specialists understand writing, reading, and digital (or multimodal) composition as interconnected aspects of their work, particularly in online contexts. Hewett argues that while writing is viewed as a core literacy, reading and multimodal composition are not often included as such. She suggests that the segmentation of these areas is akin to the subfields that have emerged in writing studies, and especially that of online writing. Hewett suggests they offer a means for design professionals to understand how the online context changes composing practices and how recent graduates have been prepared to approach design in online settings. However, she also recommends the reintegration of writing, reading, and design composition. Hewett cites examples of how these areas have been reintegrated in writing studies, and suggests that this reintegration will better prepare novice designers for the work projects and environments they will encounter after college. She concludes by inviting communication design professionals to contribute the Global Society of Online Literacy as a way to create better cohesion between academic and professional approaches to communication design.  

 

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

OWI Principles:  3, 10, 11

 

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

 

Hillard, Lyra, and Mary Stewart. “Time Well Spent: Creating a Community of Inquiry in Blended First-Year Writing Courses.” Internet and Higher Education, vol. 41, 2019, pp. 11–24.

 

Building on the work of Owston and York (2018), Hilliard and Stewart compare “medium blend” (33% online) and “high blend” (50% online) writing courses. They delivered the Community of Inquiry Survey to students enrolled in 17 sections of a first-year writing course at a large R1 university on the east coast, receiving 229 responses (71% response rate). Quantitative analysis of survey results (Mann-Whitney tests to compare groups) indicate that students in high blend sections were more likely to perceive their courses as communities of inquiry, especially in terms of teaching presence. The authors also observed the online activities assigned in the 17 courses and found that high blend courses were more likely to include activities that required student-student and student-instructor interaction. The authors ultimately argue for increasing the amount of time students spend engaging with each other through interactive online activities.

 

Keywords: community of inquiry, hybrid, first-year composition, collaboration, surveys, research, quantitative, instructor interaction

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 15

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Keywords: MOOCs, contingent faculty, globalization

OWI Principles: 2,  8, 10, 11, 12, 15

 

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

 

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

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

Hubbard, Danica. “Using a Blog Throughout a Research Writing Course.” Online Literacies Open Resource, Global Society of Online Educators, 2016, www.glosole.org/using-a-blog-throughout-a-research-writing-course.html.

 

Hubbard describes a method for implementing blogs in a research writing course with the goal of helping students organize their research, reflect on that research, and foster a sense of community in the online writing classroom. Blog posts allow students to incorporate multimedia, and Hubbard provides prompts to guide student research. The author provides instructions for setting up blogs, creating a classroom community in blogs, and provides examples of student posts from previous research blogs. 

 

Keywords: blogs, community of inquiry, research writing, reflection 

OWI Principles: 3, 11

 

Hubbard, Danica. “Using a Blog Throughout a Research Writing Course.” OWI Open Resource, Conference on College Composition and Communication, www.ncte.org/cccc/owi-open-resource/blog-research-writing.

In this article, Hubbard explains that a student blog is one method for implementing OWI Principle 3, “Appropriate composition teaching/learning strategies should be developed for the unique features of the online instructional environment.” In Hubbard’s first-year research writing course, students begin their blog on the learning management system with an introductory post. Later,  students use their blogs to post their ongoing research and to share difficulties and successes with the research process. Hubbard points out that a blog can take the place of a research journal or portfolio used in a face-to-face classroom, noting that it can help contribute to a “Community of Inquiry” in the online writing course. Hubbard offers several tips for implementing blogs: 1) creating a rubric, 2) assigning credit for posts, 3) encouraging brevity and informality, and 4) emphasizing “digital citizenship” or student support of each other’s work.

Keywords: blogs, course management system, research writing, community, first-year writing, community of inquiry, assignment: English
OWI Principles: 3, 11

Jackson, Phoebe. “The Reading-Writing Connection: Engaging the Literary Text Online.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 161–77.

 

Jackson argues that while reading takes precedence over writing in face-to-face literature classes, online literature classes place writing on equal footing, allowing reading and writing to be dialogic and broaden the practice of literary study. Thus, both reading and writing help students challenge meaning and interpretation while providing a record of student’s creation and re-creation of meaning. Jackson analyzes a student’s discussion board posts about Kate Chopin’s The Awakening to demonstrate how this student’s interpretations changed as that student read, wrote, and reflected about the novel. The student shapes a more nuanced view on the main character, and her posts demonstrated the active meaning making possible through online literary study. 

 

Keywords: literature, discussion boards, interpretation, assignment: Literature

OWI Principles: 3, 11

 

Jackson, Phoebe, and Christopher Weaver. Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices. Myers Education Press, 2018. 

 

The authors in this collection reflect on the ways in which “writing helps to shape online instruction and how online instruction helps to shape the writing process” (xii). Engaging instructors across the disciplines, the editors ask authors to identify ways that writing online engages students with coursework and helps instructors achieve academic goals across the curriculum. The collection includes three sections: Technology and the Writing Practice, Negotiating Identity Online, and Learning Academic Discourse Online. The collection focuses in particular on how writing is a collaborative, process-based act and how teacher-student and student-student interactions are shaped by writing. This collection is a vital resources as the principles of online writing instruction are disseminated to other disciplines and demonstrates the ability for the tenets of sound online writing instruction to engage students and help instructors meet disciplinary goals. 

 

Keywords: WAC, WID, collaboration, discussion: WAC, identity, academic discourse, instructor-to-student interaction, student-to-student interaction

OWI Principles: 4, 10, 11, 15

 

Johnson, E. Janet, and Karen Card. “The Effects of Instructor and Student Immediacy Behaviors in Writing Improvement and Course Satisfaction in a Web-based Undergraduate Course.” MountainRise, vol. 4, no. 2, 2008, pp. 2-21, mountainrise.wcu.edu/ index.php/MtnRise/article/view/81. 

 

This study suggests that “temporal immediacy,” defined as timely instructor and student responses to emails and other interactions, can contribute to student success in the online classroom. Temporal immediacy can also include helpful feedback between instructors and peers combined with consistent guidelines. The authors advocate for dialogue between instructors and students that is reciprocal, cooperative, engaging, and supportive. In this study, the authors reviewed instructor-to-student and peer-to-peer interaction, finding that instructors’ use of immediacy had a direct impact on students’ motivation to learn. In turn, the students in the course modeled the behavior of the instructors when interacting with their peers in discussion boards and with their instructors when writing emails. The authors argue that temporal immediacy is even more important in the online classroom where the face-to-face element is removed. 


Keywords: communication, collaboration, pedagogy: English, discussion: English, instructor interaction, student-to-student interaction, modeling, discussion boards, email
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Johnson, Genevieve Marie. “Synchronous and Asynchronous Text-based CMC in Educational Contexts: A Review of Recent Literature.” TechTrends, vol. 50, no.4, 2006, pp. 46-53. 

Johnson reviews the educational research on synchronous and asynchronous text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC) for their relative pedagogical strengths and weaknesses. She weighs the pros and cons of each in relation to online discussions, student achievement and satisfaction, and instructional viability. Johnson offers recommendations for using the best of both modalities, because studies indicate that a selective combination of both leads to higher student satisfaction and mastery of course materials. Johnson further claims that strategic combination of both approaches will more likely insure that educators will meet the needs of students with individual differences in cognition and personality. 

Keywords: synchronous interaction, asynchronous interaction, computer-mediated communication, research, discussion: English, student satisfaction
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 11

Johnson, Rowan Farrington. Student Attitudes Toward Blended and Online Courses: A Comparison of Students in Traditional Classroom Writing Environments and Students in Blended Writing Environments. Dissertation: University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, 2013. 

 

Johnson’s dissertation uses a mixed-methods approach comparing blended and face-to-face university freshmen to understand student attitudes toward blended and online classes based on their previous experience in each modality. The researcher surveyed students (n=214) and found that students across modalities valued interaction with their peers and instructors and feared that the blended and online classrooms would lack interaction. Students who had previous blended learning experiences were significantly more likely to prefer that modality, even though they also reported less interaction in blended classrooms. While students in blended classrooms were more likely to be willing to take online courses, only one third of respondents in qualitative questions indicated that they would definitely take fully-online courses. This study supports previous research on student preference by modality and can help those programs deciding whether they should move from blended to online modalities.

 

Keywords: blended, hybrid, surveys, mixed methods, qualitative, quantitative, student perception, student engagement, student-student interaction, student-instructor interaction

OWI Principles: 11, 15

 

Justice, Christopher. “Hybrid Spaces and Writing Places: Ecoliteracy, Ecocomposition, and the Ecological Self.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 219–37.


Justice examines how “disciplinary discourses often converge with electronic places to form unique textual ecosystems” (220), especially in the online writing or writing-in-the-disciplines classroom. He administered a upper-level general education course that used a hybrid delivery system to deliver an advanced WID curriculum tailored to each discipline’s needs. Instructors posted feedback publically, and students were encouraged to read feedback not only on their writing but on the writing of other students as well. The hybrid format showcased instructors’ writing as well as their teaching and encouraged students to see the world as a text to analyze written and visual composition. The hybrid format also allowed students to create records of their collaboration, their development of discourse communities, and how genres and medium impact textual production. He advocates for more focus on students’ ecological literacy to help them solve the challenges they will face in their professional careers. 

 

Keywords: ecoliteracy, hybrid, WID, writing in the disciplines, metacognition 

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

 

Kear, Karen L. Online and Social Networking Communities: A Best Practice Guide for Educators, Routledge, 2010.

Kear’s guidebook provides a useful starting point for teachers and administrators new to online learning, providing basic definitions and discussions of associated teaching and learning theories and relevant computer-mediated communication and educational technologies. As the title suggests and the introductory chapter explains, the book primarily focuses on using communication technologies to build online learning communities, drawing on social constructivist approaches to learning. To support this discussion, numerous case studies are examined to illustrate the use of specific technologies for educational purposes, each presented in the course of explaining fundamental learning principles, practical instructional approaches, and potential challenge for online learning. Throughout the book, the benefits of online learning—including flexibility, convenience, and social connectivity—are reconciled with issues such as information overload, depersonalization, and interaction from a distance. While not explicitly about OWI this guide addresses a connection between the learning theories prevalent in OWI and how to build and support interaction in online writing classes.

Keywords: community, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, learning theories, non-traditional students, writing program administration, theory, social constructivism, computer-mediated communication
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11

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

 

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

 

Keywords: collaboration, course management system, K-12

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 3, 11

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kynard, Carmen. “‘Wanted: Some Black Long Distance [Writers]’: Blackboard Flava-Flavin and Other Afrodigital Experiences in the Classroom.” Computers and Composition, vol. 24, no. 3, 2007, pp. 329-45. 

Kynard examines the digital communication of students of African descent in a predominantly black college in order to understand how the students construct their identities. Students “revocabularize” the academic setting to reconstruct knowledge about writing and about themselves. Kynard uses the metaphor of Flava Flav’s role in Public enemy to “bring light to the ways in which rhetorical practices of signifying constitute a culture/digitally unique type of spontaneous presence” (331). Kynard concludes with a discussion of his own vocabulary in the classroom and an analysis that places the students in reference to the work of John Oliver Killens. This article provides one of the most in-depth analyses of how students of African descent construct identity in Blackboard discussion boards and how online writing instructors might create spaces for empowering all writers.

Keywords: race, identity, rhetoric, culture, culturally responsive pedagogy, Blackboard, discussion: English, discussion boards
OWI Principle: 1, 11

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

Larsen, Kristine. “Getting Down to Earth: Scientific Inquiry and Online Writing for Non-Science Students.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 179–94.

 

Larsen argues that writing in online science courses encourages students to interact with each other and understand that science education involves scientific inquiry and skepticism, not just memorized facts. Using astronomy courses, she demonstrates that the dialogue necessary in online courses more closely represents how science is actually done than in face-to-face lecture classes. Students are encouraged to seek answers and argue positions in a supportive environment. The written record produced in online classes allows students to reflect on their opinions during the discussion and understand how their scientific opinions (and the opinions of others) changed over the course of the term. The author encourages science instructors to create discussions about scientific principles that help students understand how to write “scientifically” by asking questions, demonstrating their own understanding, and using evidence to modify that understanding. 

 

Keywords: WAC, WID, science writing, community, metacognition

OWI Principles: 4, 11

 

Laurinen, Leena I., and Miika J. Marttunen. “Written Arguments and Collaborative Speech Acts in Practising the Argumentative Power of Language through Chat Debates.” Computers and Composition, vol. 24, no. 3, 2007, pp. 230-46.

Laurinen and Marttunen study argumentative student writing using student debates in an online chat forum. They examine both collaborative and non-collaborative writing by organizing chat responses into seven categories based on Baker’s “rainbow method”: 1) explore and deepen, 2) argumentation, 3) opinions, 4) task management, 5) interaction management, 6) social relations, and 7) outside activity (234). The authors find that a majority of speech acts in the debates can not be classified as argumentation. However, they note that many students engage in collaborative speech acts in the chat forum and desire to emotionally validate their classmates’ responses. The authors argue that chat debate forums can be useful to students as they use chat archives to reflect on their writing. The authors conclude that “the discourse used in schools should utilise and provide students with access to all the forms of language that have utility in knowledge work both for today and for the future” (244). This article is relevant to OWI because it considers one modality for teaching argumentation and demonstrates a method of using the online writing classroom as an archive of speech practices for students to analyze their own argumentation practices. 

Keywords: collaboration, debate, chat, modality, argument: English
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11

Li, Ruth. “A Conscious Craft: An Approach to Teaching Collaborative, Computer-mediated Composition.” Online Literacies Open Resource, Global Society of Online Literacy Educators, 2018, www.glosole.org/a-conscious-craft-an-approach-to-teaching-collaborative-computer-mediated-composition.html. 

 

Li describes an approach to collaborative writing in a face-to-face class using Google Apps. Google Docs allows for multiple students to write simultaneously on the same document and tracks individual writing histories through the version history feature. Instructors can also monitor the progress of several writing groups while the groups are writing, providing instant feedback where necessary. Li ends with directions for implementing a collaborative assignment to write a screenplay, including daily notes and instructions for students at each step. She notes that genre matters as students collaborate, and projects such as screenplays with multiple components might lend themselves better to this method.

 

Keywords: Google Suite, collaboration, face-to-face, feedback, synchronous interaction, one-to-one classrooms, student-student interaction

OWI Principles: 4, 11

 

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

 

Lo, Hao-Chang. “Design of Online Report Writing Based on Constructive and Cooperative Learning for a Course on Traditional General Physics Experiments.” Journal of Educational Technology and Society, vol. 16, no. 1, 2013, pp. 380-91. 

This article reports on a study of wiki-based online report writing in physics experiments. The study focuses on fifty-eight undergraduates working in randomly-assigned groups of 2-3 individuals. The multi-method, quantitative and qualitative study collected data including questionnaires, interviews, online discussions, and student writing and instructor assessment of student writing. Study results indicated that students communicated more extensively with each other, students working online received higher scores than those writing in more traditional ways, and students and instructors responded favorably to the teaching and learning experience afforded by the wiki. The author concludes with recommendations for using computer-mediated communication through wikis to improve the social and cognitive teaching and learning experiences of both students and instructors of physics and a call for researchers to conduct similar studies. This article discusses how to apply appropriate pedagogical strategies to an online class and how to develop successful online communities for student success. 

Keywords: wikis, WAC, WID, research, qualitative research, quantitative research, interviews, surveys, discussion: English, assessment, student-to-student interaction, computer-mediated communication, community
OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Mabrito, Mark. “Facilitating Interactivity in an Online Business Writing Course.” Business Communication Quarterly, vol. 64, no. 3, 2001, pp. 81-86. 

Mabrito points to the importance of moving away from a presentation only style of online education to a collaborative online classroom.  Asynchronous discussion boards and synchronous virtual meeting spaces to create interactivity between students and content. Mabrito encourages student sharing of early writing drafts and a shared bibliography.  The class uses both ICQ and a shared web page URL for these tasks in an era before wide-scale use of packaged LMS products. Mabrito’s methods support the ongoing need for students to learn effective collaborative writing skills and the collaborative writing process because students will need these skills in the workplace. 

Keywords: business writing, technical and professional writing, discussion board, interactivity, collaboration, discussion: English, writing process, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, course management systems
OWI Principle 4, 11

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 10, 11

 

McCool, Lynn Beth. Humanizing Advanced Communication Online Writing Instruction: Developing Social Presence to Communicate, Collaborate, and Connect. Dissertation, Iowa State University, 2016. 

 

McCool’s doctoral research into online writing instruction identified a primary concern of dehumanization due to transactional distance (geographical, psychological and emotional distance that occurs when students learn online) and a lack of research into online writing instruction specific to courses beyond first-year writing. Thus, McCool’s dissertation set out to answer how might social presence (which, along with cognitive presence and teaching presence, make up the Community of Inquiry Framework) be used to reduce transactional distance and support collaboration and connection in the advanced communication course. Her study relied upon voluntary survey responses of instructors and students, as well as student reflections, in six advanced communication courses offered at Iowa State University. Instructors were asked questions related to technology use as well as perceptions about communication in the online course; students were asked questions related to technology use as well as perceptions about communication, social presence, and team collaboration. McCool’s research found that while a majority of instructors preferred to use the LMS to communicate with students, all instructors (100%) believed students preferred to use some other tool outside of the LMS to communicate with fellow students and the instructor. Instructor belief was confirmed when a majority of students indicated a preference to communicate with each other and the instructor outside of the LMS. Further, while all instructors indicated comfort when communicating online, only 20% believed they were able to establish community in the online classroom; by stark contrast, though, nearly 80% of students indicated they felt a sense of community. Finally, while all instructors believe collaboration is crucial, only 20% believed they fostered collaboration among students in the online environment; a significantly higher percentage of students indicated collaboration occurred, which may suggest student-motivated instigations of collaboration. McCool found that students generally accept a certain level of transactional distance in exchange for the flexibility of online learning. Further, McCool found that offering lower-stakes collaborative assignments earlier in the course would allow instructors and students to adapt to the environment more effectively.

 

Keywords: collaboration, social presence, communication, Community of Inquiry, course management system, collaboration, surveys, student-student interaction, student-instructor interaction

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

 

McKee, Heidi A. “‘Always a Shadow of Hope’: Heteronormative Binaries in an Online Discussion of Sexuality and Sexual Orientation.” Computers and Composition, vol. 21, no. 3, Sept. 2004, pp. 315-40. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2004.05.002.

McKee’s article is based on working with face-to-face writing students who were asked to participate for an extended period of time in the Intercollegiate E-Democracy Project, an online discussion that covered a range of topics, including sexuality. The article first chronicles the literature regarding online discussions of homosexuality and then shifts to the need for her research that “situate[s] analyses of online discourse within the multiple perspectives of the participants who sent and received the messages” (320). She works with eleven students who provided the substance of their discussions and participated in interviews. She concludes that “heteronormative binaries can provide important catalysts for movement in students’ thinking about complex issues and that online spaces in particular are valuable forums for students to articulate and then complicate their understandings of issues relating to sexuality and sexual orientation” (318). Her article ends with an overview of some practical strategies for encouraging discourse around sexuality in online discussion boards. Her research and her conclusions would apply to blended courses that involve asynchronous discussion boards and demonstrate helpful, practical ways of setting up these discussions around sensitive topics such as gender and sexuality. 


Keywords: gender, discussion: English, asynchronous interaction, research, accessibility, computer-mediated communication
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 11

Meloncon, Lisa, and Heidi Harris. “Preparing Students for OWI.” Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction, edited by Beth L. Hewett and Kevin Eric DePew, WAC Clearinghouse, 2015, pp. 411-38. 

Trying to fill the void in understanding the issue of student preparation and success in online writing classes, Meloncon and Harris gather literature across fields and specific to OWI to provide a current portrait of what we know about student preparation for online courses. They then provide recommendations for preparing students for online writing classes at the institutional level and instructor level. Institutionally, the authors propose the following recommendations: 1) create orientation modules, 2) use existing data to identify student preparation for online writing classes, 3) cap class sizes, 4) provide training and paid support for faculty, and 5) increase support structures for students. Orientation modules should be created to help students understand what resources may be available as well as specific technology-related orientations to ensure students are prepared to use the technologies they will need to succeed in class. Also, existing data should be leveraged to help understand their student population and learning needs better. Class sizes should be “capped responsibly” with a recommendation of 20 students per course.  Finally, institutions should provide and fund training for OWI teachers and more support structures for students. Instructors need to incorporate accessible elements into the design of their courses, build community within the courses, and prepare students for the online experiences of their writing courses. The authors give examples of how instructors can achieve these recommendations. The chapter includes an appendix, “Student Preparation Checklist,” that instructors can modify and easily add to their online courses to help better prepare students for their online writing experiences.

Keywords: student perception, student preparation, orientation, community, pedagogy: English, online resources, course and program design: English, accessibility, class caps
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 9, 10, 11, 13

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 

Miley, Michelle. “Writing Studios As Countermonument: Reflexive Moments From Online Writing Studios In Writing Center Partnerships.” The Writing Studio Sampler: Stories about Change, edited by Mark Sutton and Sally Chandler, University Press of Colorado, 2019, pg. 167–83.

 

Miley uses Paul Butler’s metaphor of “countermonument” to describe online writing studios as places of resistance to the corporatization and fossilization of programs in universities. The researcher drew on archived online writing studio conversations, email conversations outside the studio space, facilitator reflections and interviews with instructors and facilitators to show how online studios in a College of Technology helped rethink her motivations and methods for teaching writing in the disciplines. The online studios were beneficial because students communicated in writing through the whole process and were able to review answers to their questions in the discussion boards and encouraging them to build agency as they described their discipline’s conventions to facilitators. They benefited instructors who were calcified in their pedagogies and provided a place to resist stagnation, increase innovation, and assess the risks of those activities. 

 

Keywords: writing studio, interviews, power, innovation, WID

OWI Principles: 4, 11, 12, 15 

 

Miyazoe, Terumi, and Terry Anderson. “Anonymity in Blended Learning: Who Would You Like to Be?” Educational Technology and Society, vol. 14, no. 2, 2011, pp. 175-87. ifets.info/journals/14_2/15.pdf.

 

Miyazoe and Anderson study the effect of anonymity in discussion forums and blogs in blended classrooms. In particular, the researchers asked three questions: “1) What are the participatory behaviors of students in face-to-face (with real names) and online (with pseudonyms) in blended course designs? 2) How did the students perceive and evaluate the different online writing tools using pseudonyms? and 3) What are the students’ learning outcomes?” (177). The study included sixty-three students taking English for Academic Purposes in a blended format. Students’ identities were concealed from both the other students and the instructor. The study used five data sources: 1) pre-/post-course English proficiency tests, 2) a paper-based survey regarding the students pseudonyms and online writing experiences, 3) semi-structured interviews on the course experience and pseudonym usage, 4) students’ writings on the LMS, and 5) attendance records of the students and teacher’s notes on class management (178). The researchers concluded that using pseudonyms in blended or hybrid courses were useful in increasing participation in classes, particularly among female students, and that “anonymity can be a crucial factor in increasing the amount of content and effort expended by EFL students” (184). This research helps faculty to better understand methods of encouraging EFL and gendered participation in online, hybrid, and blended classrooms. 

Keywords: ELL, ESL, multilingual writers, discussion: English, hybrid, gender, identity, discussion boards, blogs, discussion: English, course management systems, faculty workload, student engagement
OWI Principles: 1, 11

Mongillo, Geraldine, and Hilary Wilder. “An Examination of At-Risk College Freshmen’s Expository Literacy Skills Using Interactive Online Writing Activities.” Journal of College Reading and Learning, vol. 42, no. 2, 2012, pp. 27-50. 

Mongillo and Wilder’s study focused on at-risk college freshmens’ ability to read and write descriptive text using game-like, online expository writing activities. The research explored online expository literacy tasks that required the at-risk students to read and write descriptive text for the purpose of having peers guess an object or subject. The findings suggest that these online activities