The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction: Principle 12

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OWI Principle 12: Institutions should foster teacher satisfaction in online writing courses as rigorously as they do for student and programmatic success.


Return to The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction


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

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

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

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


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


Keywords: accessibility, MOOCs, course design

OWI Principles: 1, 6, 12

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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Carpenter, Trudy, William L. Brown, and Randall C. Hickman. “Influences of Online Delivery on Developmental Writing Outcomes.” Journal of Developmental Education, vol. 28, no.1, Fall 2004, pp. 14-35. 

In this piece, Carpenter, Brown and Hickman provide data on urban Midwest community college students who took developmental writing online. They studied 265 students enrolled in a developmental writing class using logistical regression analysis to study student retention and student success (controlling for self-selection of modality and instructor effect) to determine whether instructional delivery (face-to-face vs. online) had a significant impact on student outcomes. Their analysis showed that while online courses had higher withdrawal rates than face-to-face courses, those students who remained in online courses saw higher success rates. Students with lower Accuplacer scores withdrew from online courses in greater numbers, and students with higher Accuplacer scores withdrew from face-to-face courses in higher numbers. Student scores in reading also inversely correlated with student withdrawal rates in both modalities.  Carpenter, Brown, and Hickman suggest that something about the online delivery method leads to greater success if the students actually complete the online developmental writing course and do not withdraw. he authors conclude by providing a table listing their findings and offering suggestions for pedagogical improvements for the developmental writing course.

Keywords: developmental writing, student success, retention, two-year college, quantitative research
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 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 the academy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 1, 7, 8, 12


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Keywords: journal, wiki, identity

OWI Principles:  2, 3, 5, 10, 12


Harrington, Susanmarie, Michael Day, and Becky Rickly. editors. The Online Writing Classroom. Hampton Press, 2000.

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

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

Hawisher, Gail E., and Cynthia L. Selfe. “The Rhetoric of Technology and the Electronic Writing Class.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 42, no. 1, 1991, pp. 55-65. 

Hawisher and Selfe explore their notion of the “rhetoric of technology.” The authors claim that, circa late 1980s, the rhetoric of technology in composition publications and presentations was all about uncritical enthusiasm aimed at persuading fellow compositionists of the value of teaching with technology. Hawisher and Selfe compare this idealist rhetoric to what they actually observed firsthand in computer-linked classrooms and during online conferences across the country. The authors conclude with cautionary warnings regarding the use of technology as yet another potential means of gate-keeping and authority-hoarding by well-meaning instructors of writing. They advise continuing scrutiny and critical inquiry so that practitioners can improve the teaching and learning of writing with technology, online or onsite.

Keywords: rhetoric of technology, computer-mediated classrooms, literature review, networked classrooms, teaching with technology: English
OWI Principles: 4, 12

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

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keywords: writing program administration, faculty development, research
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 7, 12, 13, 14, 15

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


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


Keywords: MOOCs, contingent faculty, globalization
OWI: 2,  8, 10, 11, 12, 15


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Keywords: professional development, faculty development, instructor presence

OWI Principles: 7, 12


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

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

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

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


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


Keywords:  evaluation, assessment, contingent faculty

OWI Principles: 7, 12


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


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


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

OWI Principles: 5, 7, 12, 15


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

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

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

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 


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


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


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

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

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 7, 9, 12, 15


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


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


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

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


Qiu, Mingzhu, et al. “Online Class Size, Note Reading, Note Writing and Collaborative Discourse.” International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, vol. 7, no. 3, 2012, pp. 423-42.

Mingshu Qiu, Jim Hewitt, and Claire Brett studied the “relationship between class size and note reading loads, note writing locas, and collaborative discussions in online graduate-level courses” (424). Because student participation and interaction are crucial to a successful online course, students can experience information overload in large online classes. Their researchers used a mixed-methods approach which demonstrated a positive correlation between class size and the number of notes that students read. However, “when the number of notes that students were meant to read increased beyond a certain point, the percentage of notes they actually read declined, mainly because of information overload” (429). Some students, when faced with more notes to write, chose to write more notes with more simple language. When asked about the instructor’s notes in discussions, students indicated that when instructors did not write enough notes, the students considered them “absent” (432). The researchers concluded that the ideal class size for online graduate classes was between 13 and 15 students; fewer students would lead to slow class discussions, and more students lead to information overload for both students and instructors. This study is important in demonstrating the correlation between class size and student performance in online classes. 

Keywords: graduate classes, course caps, collaboration, discussion: English, reading, student engagement, student-to-student interaction, instructor interaction, research, mixed methods, qualitative research
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 9, 11, 12, 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shih, Ru-Chu. “Can Web 2.0 Technology Assist College Students in Learning English Writing? Integrating ‘Facebook’ and Peer Assessment with Blended Learning.” Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, vol. 27, no. 5, 2011, pp. 829-45.

This article presents the findings of a study examining a writing course for first-year students at a technical university in Taiwan that used Facebook, peer assessment, and classroom instruction in a blended learning environment. For this course, students were required to post their writing assignments to Facebook, respond to each other’s writing via Facebook’s comment function, and then respond to each other’s feedback. For the study, twenty-three students were divided into three groups based on their National College Entrance Exam scores. Shih used both quantitative and qualitative methods to ascertain the perspective of students and the instructor about the class and changes in students writing as a result of the class.  Results of a pre- and post-test demonstrated improvement for all students, but particularly those who were in the lowest scoring group. Content analysis showed that those in the highest scoring group commented the most, most likely due to their higher competency with English. Shih found that many students used emoticons or the “like” button within Facebook to accompany their comments. Results of a survey given to students revealed moderate to high satisfaction with aspects of the course. Interviews with students corroborated these findings; students seemed to appreciate the opportunity to communicate with and receive feedback from their peers on Facebook. The instructor’s reflection suggested that a blended learning model relying on online peer assessment may actually require more time and effort for instructors. Shih concludes that the study supports the effectiveness of this course model and calls for future research with a larger sample of students. 

Keywords: blended, social media, assessment, peer review, community, research, empirical research, ESL, EFL, ELL, L2, multilingual writers, accessibility, faculty workload, time management
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 8, 11, 12, 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stella, Julie, and Michael Corry.  “Intervention in Online Writing Instruction: An Action-theoretical Perspective.” Computers and Composition, vol. 40, 2016, pp. 164–74.


OWI is uniquely situated to support student success by researching and deploying interventions based on action-theoretical models of student engagement research because they emphasize agentic actions.  Stella and Corry explain Self-Determination Theory (SDT) and its connection to studies on student engagement. In SDT, student action is central to their motivation and engagement. Furthermore, online education regularly traces student action within a course, such as turning in assignments, to determine levels of engagement. However, even with these studies, Stella and Corry, suggest that students are often disengaged before these actions are tracked.  Since the level of agency and dialogue between instructor and student are high in OWI courses, OWI courses can be sites of first response to less engaged students. Stella and Corry go on to list possible interventions, such as highly engaged asynchronous discussion board activities and student outreach, and they further connect ideas of learning to learn and metacognitive tasks. This articles supports OWI as a site of action and intervention, which can foster greater student success in an online environment.  By utilizing these methods, it pushes past traditional theories that say online learners must already be highly motivated and independent learners before they undertake an online course, and it paves the way for all students to be successful online students through appropriate interventions.

Keywords: student engagement, student success

OWI: 1, 3, 4, 11, 12 


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


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


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

OWI Principles: 5, 7, 11, 12


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


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


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

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


Thompson, Riki, and Meredith J. Lee. “Talking with Students through Screencasting: Experimentations with Video Feedback to Improve Student Learning.” The Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, no. 1,  2012,

In this article, Thompson and Lee explore the benefits of using screencasting software to deliver audio-visual feedback to students on written assignments. After briefly discussing how screencasting is used in the classroom for supplemental teaching, she explains the small study she and Lee conducted to survey students (n=32) regarding screencasting as a response medium. While the students were mostly positive about the screencast feedback, Thompson cautions that additional studies are necessary before drawing generalized conclusions on the effectiveness of screencasting with regard to improved learning and greater student engagement. However, the methods that Thompson and Lee outline for providing feedback are helpful for those considering providing screencast feedback or studying the efficacy of that feedback in their own classes.

Keywords: audio, feedback, video: English, assessment, research, qualitative research
OWI Principles:  3, 4, 11, 12, 14, 15

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

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

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

Townsend, Jane S., and Allan Nail. "Response, Relationship, and Revision: Learning to Teach Writing in Asynchronous Contexts." Journal of Literacy and Technology, vol. 12, no. 3, 2011, pp. 51-85. 

In this article, Townsend and Nail present the findings of a study of a writing mentorship program between pre-service teachers and high school students as part of the Online Writing Partnership. This article draws on a larger study examining this program, with the current study focusing on interviewing both the graduate student and high school student participants and analyzing artifacts from the experience, including high school students’ papers with feedback and the email correspondence between the partners. Townsend and Nail categorized the type of feedback offered by the graduate students and found that the majority were editing suggestions, despite the graduate students’ belief that they were helping students revise. Townsend and Nail suggest that even the graduate students do not fully understand or embrace the concept of revision. They suggest that these views are likely influenced by these pre-service teachers’ own experiences in the classroom. The other major theme from the study was the nature of online mentoring relationships. Many of the graduate students expressed a frustration with the lack of social presence in their online relationships. All communication was asynchronous, and many graduate participants reported feeling disconnected from their high school student partner. Despite this challenge, Townsend and Nail argue that experiences like the Online Writing Partnership are important for pre-service teachers, perhaps because of the discomfort, which provides an opportunity for growth and an opportunity to reflect on the function and form of effective feedback. From the results of the study, changes have been made to the Online Writing Partnership program to provide more opportunities for collaborative interactions and face-to-face meetings. The authors report that ongoing research is continuing on the program to assess this new blended learning model. The findings of this study on online mentoring demonstrates the importance of a sense of presence, relationship, and community in online learning. 

Keywords: revision, mentoring, graduate students, email, feedback, teacher training, instructor interaction, asynchronous interaction, collaboration, blended, community
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 15

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

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

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

Warnock, Scott. “Cutting Keystrokes, Improving Communications: Response Technologies for Writing Instruction.” California English, vol. 15, no. 1, 2009, pp. 2730.


In this article for the journal of the California Association of Teachers of English, Warnock says that while many teachers still use pen and paper response, “simple technologies offer ways not only to streamline but perhaps even to improve our responses to our students’ writing” (27). He describes digital alternatives for in-text and end comments, methods of using macros, and digital rubrics. He also discusses voice and video commenting tools and strategies. The article concludes with suggestions for how instructors might seek help using these tools, and Warnock ends by saying that with the large amount of response writing that writing instructors do, digital tools are more than just a novelty: “When I think of the bent fingers of carpal tunnel or the inflamed wrists of tendonitis, I realize our discussions of technology and response have high stakes” (30).


Keywords: audio: Writing, evaluation, response, rubrics, feedback, multimodal

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 12


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

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

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