The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction: Principle 15

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OWI Principle 15: OWI/OWL administrators and teachers/tutors should be committed to ongoing research into their programs and courses as well as the very principles in this document.


Return to The Bedford Bibliography of Research in Online Writing Instruction


Abbas, Zainab Ibrahim. “Blended Learning and Student Satisfaction: An Investigation into an EAP Writing Course.” Advances in Language and Literary Studies, vol. 9, no. 1, 2018, pp. 102–05.


Abbas describes a study conducted on Iraq’s first blended learning courses, which were planned to introduce this as a new method of instruction for EAP (English for Academic Purposes) classes. Abbas notes that student satisfaction was considered a major factor in the study because the new form of instruction would only continue to attract students if the first ones who took it reported good outcomes. The article begins with a definition of blended learning and a description of how it relates to traditional instruction. Abbas then turns to describing the EAP classes initiated in 2015. These six-week courses had the same instructor, used the same materials, and targeted students who were working and had limited schedules. Evaluators worked from Moore and Kearsley (1996)’s model in which satisfaction stems from interactions between “learner-content, learner-instructor, and learner-learner” (103) to design a survey assessing student satisfaction. Survey findings would be used to determine what “could be adjusted for the future” (103) to attract more students. Survey results reported high levels of satisfaction even as students often compared the blended learning approach to fully face-to-face instruction and found blended learning less effective. However, some of this might be due to the lingering novelty and uncertainty of blended learning in Iraqi higher education, and the survey did find that “learner-centered” instruction from the pilot teacher was an important factor in high satisfaction rates.


Keywords: hybrid, interaction, English for Academic Purposes (EAP), pilot study, assessment, student satisfaction

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 15

Ahrenhoerster, Greg, and Jon Brammer. “What’s the Point of Your OWL? Online Tutoring at the University of Wisconsin Colleges.” The Writing Lab Newsletter, vol. 26, no. 2, 2002, pp. 1–5.

Ahrenhoerster and Brammer make the argument faculty overseeing OWLs should implement OWL services to add benefits for students rather than doing so to incorporate technology for technology’s sake. After surveying twenty students who used an OWL, they found that half of the students expressed satisfaction with their online peer tutoring services, and all those who were satisfied were in their second semester of writing classes. Final grades of those students surveyed suggested that all students benefit from online peer tutoring services, regardless of satisfaction. Based on their admittedly small study, Ahrenhoerster and Brammer restructured their program to include more individualization in tutor response to provide more assistance at the sentence level, a change that many first-year students recommended in the survey. While this study has an admittedly small sample size, it does provide OWL administrators with a model of how to use student feedback to help revise OWL services to meet online student needs. 

Keywords: online writing labs, surveys, student satisfaction
OWI Principles: 13, 15

Alexander, Jonathan, and William P. Banks. “Sexualities, Technologies, and the Teaching of Writing: A Critical Overview.” Computers and Composition, vol. 21, no. 3, Sept. 2004, pp. 273–93. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2004.05.005.

This introductory piece for the special edition of Computers and Composition on Sexuality, Technologies, and the Teaching of Writing provides a literature review of the scholarship on this topic and a call for additional research in this area. Alexander and Banks write that “both sexuality and technology studies are concerned with the intertwined issues of space and identity” (274). As such, this introduction makes a case for the need for research to address a variety of sexualities, including LGBTQ issues and heterosexuality alike. While primarily focused on technology-enhanced classrooms, Alexander and Banks make a case for also studying how sexuality intersects or impacts the online classroom as well as the face-to-face classroom. This article provides a history of the intersectional work on sexuality, technology, and the teaching of writing and is valuable for the online writing instructor or scholar researching how gender has or has not been addressed in the online writing classroom. 

Keywords: sexuality, LGBTQ, gender, accessibility, intersectionality
OWI Principles: 1, 15 

Anderson, Bill. “Writing Power into Online Discussion.” Computers and Composition, vol. 23, no. 1, 2006, pp. 108-24. 10.1016/j.compcom.2005.12.007.

Anderson explores how power manifests in student discourse in distance learning environments. After establishing a theoretical framework that includes a literature review of research related to gender, race, and political space, Anderson considers both individual, group, and external elements that influence how students engage in asynchronous work. Myriad factors such as “demands from and interests in an instructor-learner relationship, an educational institution, a family, friends, a workplace, and community organizations” dictate how students engage in online writing spaces. He interviews twenty-five full-time students enrolled in a teacher-education course regarding their experiences engaging in online discussions and in online classes. Students identified power dynamics in the choices they made of whether or not to read class materials and whether to post initial discussion board posts and follow-up discussion posts or not. The primary constraints bearing upon students were time and technology issues.  Anderson urges awareness for these constraints and suggests that instructors can “ensure that interaction in online learning communities is enabling for the learning of all students, not just some” if they are attentive to power dynamics.

Keywords: agency, power, asynchronous interaction, discussion: English, interviews
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 15

Anderson, Dana. “Interfacing E-mail Tutoring: Shaping an Emergent Literate Practice.” Computers and Composition, vol. 19, no. 1, 2002, pp. 71–87. Science Direct, 10.1016/S8755-4615(02)00081-6

Anderson argues that the new literacy practices of email “invite—perhaps even require—new literate behaviors, behaviors that, in turn, invoke correspondingly new conceptions of literacy in the writing center” (72). Anderson demonstrates ways in which the new interfaces require different types of literacies and then analyzes the e-mail interface of twenty-one online writing labs (OWLs) to understand how the interface shapes students’ expectations experiences in this medium. The language of the OWL sites indicates specific parameters about the type of student and the type of writing acceptable for the OWL. These limitations, Anderson argues, shape a writer’s goals and expectations about the OWL. Faculty administering OWLs should, therefore, design e-mail portals to reflect the goals of their overall writing center literacy practices. Anderson concludes by introducing language that distinguishes “between first- and second-level representations within OWL email tutoring interfaces (83). She hopes that introducing such language will start a conversation about how OWLs integrate theory and language with literacy practices.

Keywords: literacy, online writing lab, interface, tutoring: English
OWI Principles:  13, 14, 15

Anderson-Inman, Lynne. “OWLs: Online Writing Labs.” Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, vol. 40, no. 8, 1997, 650–54.

Anderson-Inman traces what resources Online Writing Labs (OWLs) offered students and teachers in the late 1990’s. She creates a taxonomy for OWLs and categorizes them as providing “resource materials, online tutoring, and information gateways.” For each category, she lists examples of institutions that are utilizing each type and highlights what they offer students. Research material types provide students with sources for teachers, students, and tutors alike; they range from grammar handouts to handbooks for writers. Online tutoring types offer wider accessibility to students who can’t make it to campus; it can provide “synchronous” one-on-one tutor to student help or it can be used as a “grammar hotline” or email feedback service. Information gateway types serve as a means of guiding students to helpful resources that are housed outside of the OWL on the Internet and lead students to helpful grammatical or punctuation information. The author encourages these online mediums as a means of increasing access for online writing students to on-campus resources.

Keywords: online writing labs, writing resources, tutoring: English
OWI Principles: 1, 14, 15

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

Anson, Chris M. “’She Really Took the Time’: Students’ Opinions of Screen-Capture Response to Their Writing in Online Courses.” Writing in Online Courses: How the Online Environment Shapes Writing Practices, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, Myers Education Press, 2018, pp. 21–45.


Anson describes students’ feelings regarding screen-capture responses to final course essays using three dimensions: cognitive, affective, and linguistic. Students received traditional, written feedback on one paper and recorded screen-capture feedback on a second paper. Using a 14-item survey and subsequent interviews, Anson used two nonparametric measures to ensure differences in written and screen-capture feedback and equality of populations. Students reported that hearing the instructor’s voice on the screen-capture was more positive and encouraging, and they indicated that they preferred the screen-capture feedback to the written feedback. This study, although small and gender-biased, indicates that students might find screen-capture feedback more effective in learning and improving their writing processes. 


Keywords: screencast, feedback, student satisfaction, student perceptions, empirical research, qualitative research, quantitative research

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 15


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


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


Keywords: adaptive technology, grammar & style 

OWI Principles: 6, 15


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


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


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


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


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


Keywords: MOOCs, automated writing evaluation, online writing

OWI: 3, 4, 6, 15


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

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

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

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 1, 7, 8, 15


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 4, 7, 14, 15

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


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


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

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

Bourelle, Tiffany, Andy Bourelle, and Sherry Rankins-Robertson. “Teaching with Instructional Assistants: Enhancing Student Learning in Online Classes.” Computers and Composition, vol. 37, Sept. 2015, pp. 90-103. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2015.06.007.

This article describes a pilot program undertaken at Arizona State University wherein undergraduate peer mentors, called “instructional assistants (IAs),” were incorporated into online first-year composition courses in order to “enhance students’ experiences and reduce instructors’ workload” (91) despite a rising student-to-teacher ratio. The authors describe the hiring and the ongoing training of the IAs, which included an orientation, a “portfolio workshop,” bi-weekly meetings with the course instructor, and an in-service practicum. IAs were each assigned a cohort of up to 15 students to work with under the supervision of a first-year composition instructor who had up to 96 total students in a “mega-section” of the course, and IA responsibilities included facilitating online discussions, responding to student drafts, and managing students’ peer reviewing of each other’s work. The authors conclude by discussing the success and subsequent growth of the program, suggesting that other institutions consider a similar program for its pedagogical advantages rather than its money-saving benefits. They additionally question the potential ethical issue of using unpaid undergraduate interns and recommend that care be taken to ensure such an internship is pedagogically sound and beneficial to the interns’ future careers. This article is important because it offers an alternate model for effectively managing enrollment caps.

Keywords: internships, mentoring, teacher training, teaching assistants, workshop, course caps
OWI principles: 3, 4, 9, 10, 15

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

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

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

Bozarth, Jane, Diane Chapman, and Laura LaMonica. “Preparing for Distance Learning: Designing an Online Student Orientation.” Journal of Educational Technology and Society, vol.  7, no. 1, 2004, pp. 87-106. 

Bozarth, Chapman, and LaMonica describe their experience developing a one-credit-hour online orientation for students new to online learning. They discuss the differences between student and instructor expectation of what is needed in such an orientation based on feedback from an online questionnaire, which was developed to elicit feedback from both students and instructors about their perceptions of online learning. A focus group with online instructors identified key issues that they felt were prohibitive for students new to online learning. The authors identified instructor concerns as conflicting with student concerns. Where instructors focused on technology skills training, students pinpointed issues such as time management, realistic expectations, and communication. While students admitted they need preparation, they did not see a need for an orientation course. The authors suggest there is a need for an online orientation course for students new to the online environment, and suggest that there is a need for instructor training as well. The article outlines the differences between student and instructor expectations of what this orientation should contain.

Keywords: orientation, survey, faculty development, time management
OWI Principles: 10, 15

Braine, George. “A Study of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) Writers on a Local Area Network (LAN) and in Traditional Classes.” Computers and Composition, vol. 18, no. 3, 2001, pp. 275-92. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/S8755-4615(01)00056-1.

Braine studies the use of local-area networks (LANs) and their effect on the motivation of EFL learners. He explains how the LANs operate and provides examples of LAN conversations in a writing class for Cantonese-speaking students enrolled in English writing at a university in Hong Kong. Braine finds that the “quantity of writing and degree of interaction” make LANs attractive (279). After a review of literature related to students writing in LAN-based and traditional writing classes, Braine sets up this a study of eighty-seven undergraduates enrolled in a course titled “Effective Communication in Writing” (280) to determine if LAN classes improved writing. Experimental classes used the LAN to discuss the readings, provide feedback and conduct peer review. Control classes completed these same activities face-to-face and orally. The experimental classes did not show more improvement than the control classes, and Braine discusses the qualities of the LAN that might have led to the results, including an increased amount of written text that could have been overwhelming for EFL learners. He concludes that while LANs may produce more writing, they might not produce better writing.

Keywords: networked classrooms, empirical study, EFL
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 15

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

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

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

Brunk-Chavez, Beth, and Shawn J. Miller. “Decentered, Disconnected, and Digitized: The Importance of Shared Space.” Kairos, vol. 1, no. 2, 2006,

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

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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Carlson, David A., and Eileen Apperson-Williams. “The Anxieties of Distance: Online Tutors Reflect.” The St. Martin’s Sourcebook for Writing Tutors, edited by Christina Murphy and Steve Sherwood, 2nd ed., Bedford/St. Martin’s, pp. 285-94.

Carlson and Apperson-Williams studied how online tutors negotiated the sterile territory of online tutoring sessions without the face-to-face contact and rapport building that on-campus tutoring provides. The authors review various methods of online tutoring, including email and chat features, and conclude that “tutors must readjust their conceptions of how to develop interpersonal relationships when tutoring online” (286-287). Interviews with online writing tutors revealed some of the anxiety that online writing tutors face when interacting with online students, including worries about appropriating student writing and building relationships with students. However, the interviews also highlighted what tutors see as beneficial in online tutoring--the ability to alleviate concerns about prejudice and focus on the student writing and the student’s approach to the text. The authors conclude that, as students become more familiar with online tutoring, their anxieties will lessen. This article demonstrates some of the basic concerns of transitioning tutors from face-to-face to online tutoring. 

Keywords: tutoring: English, online writing center, email, interviews
OWI Principles: 10, 13, 14, 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. “Texas Tech University’s Online PhD in Technical Communication and Rhetoric.” Programmatic Perspectives, vol. 5, no. 2, Fall 2013, pp. 243-68. 

Carter first provides background on the department that houses the Online Ph.D. in Technical Communication and Rhetoric, which Texas Tech has offered fully online since 2004. She then provides the history of the program in the context of Texas Tech, which has a “large engineering, agriculture and professional student population” (244). Next, the article establishes the reasoning of developing an online doctoral program that had all of the rigor of the traditional face-to-face residential program and highlights two particular challenges in moving the program online: the questions of “residency and culture” (247). To address both issues, the program designed a 2-week residency in May. The article also outlines the curriculum and lists the courses and the dissertations and publications that have come out of each of the program’s areas of specialty (Rhetoric, Composition, and Technology; Technical Communication; Rhetorics of Science and Healthcare; Technology, Culture, and Rhetoric; and Visual Rhetoric, New Media, and User-Centered Design) (249). The showcase ends with sections that outline how the program is innovative, the facilities and faculty involved in the program, and professional challenges involved with continuing and building the program. This program showcase provides a template for how to develop, sustain, and build a rigorous online graduate program. 

Keywords: program evaluation: English, technical and professional writing, online writing programs
OWI Principle: 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chen, M.-H., et al. “Developing a Corpus-Based Paraphrase Tool to Improve EFL Learners’ Writing Skills.” Computer Assisted Language Learning, vol. 28, no. 1, 2015, pp. 22-40. 

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

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

Choi, Jessie. “Online Peer Discourse in a Writing Classroom.” International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, vol. 26, no. 2, 2014, pp. 217-31,

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

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

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


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


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

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


Clerehan, Rosemary. “Framing Writing Support Online for an International Student Population.” Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, vol. 1, no. 3, 2006, pp. 195-219.

Clerehan’s study investigated the issues that arise when students from other cultures (even from Western, English-speaking cultures) encounter post-secondary assignments from new cultures. The study investigates the efficacy of stand-alone online materials that support student writing in the disciplines. The objective of the research was to understand how incoming freshmen, many of whom were international students, responded to discipline-specific writing support materials posted online and “whether the theory (as embodied in the resource) correctly identified the students’ learning needs from the students’ perspectives” (201). Her results indicated that international students were “more likely to report the module elements as difficult or very difficult to understand than were the local students” (204). The survey indicated no significant difference on the helpfulness of the materials between local and international students. The motivation of local students to access and use the resources ranged from 59% to 67%, and the motivation of international students to use these resources was 92%. Clerehan concludes that “universities with diverse student cohorts who are concerned to internationalize their curricula and to improve their online teaching and support for student learning, research theoretically sound ways of doing so” (213). This research demonstrates that online writing faculty who teach international student populations review their materials to ensure that the writing suitable for diverse audiences. 

Keywords: ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, course and program design: English
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 4, 13, 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conference on College Composition and Communication, Committee on Best Practices in Online Writing Instruction. Annotated Bibliography. Edited by Keith Gibson and Beth Hewett, 2008, OWIAnnotatedBib.pdf.

In 2008, the Conference on College Composition and Communication developed an annotated bibliography of research “pertaining to Online Writing Instruction (OWI).” The sources on this list cover approximately 28 years (1980 to 2008) and are organized into four categories: OWI Pedagogy, OWI Technology, E-learning, and Online Writing Centers (OWC). The annotated sources in this collection cover a wider range of issues that are related to online instruction (or distance education) in addition to sources devoted solely to online writing instruction. This annotated bibliography provides a historical view of what sources were considered the heart of research on online writing instruction and provides part of the research used to develop the CCCC Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction. 

Keywords: annotated bibliography, research
OWI Principles: 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

Davila, Bethany, Tiffany Bourelle, Andrew Bourelle, and Anna V. Knutson. “Linguistic Diversity in Online Writing Classes.” WPA: Writing Program Administration, vol. 41, no. 1, 2017, pp. 60–81.


Davila et al. call for more research-based scholarship on enacting best practices for language diversity in online writing instruction. After a brief introduction to the NCTE’s 1974 “Students’ Right to Their Own Language” (SRTOL), the authors discuss how this statement has engendered controversy about how to enact its recommendations for serving multilingual student writers; they also name several successive statements that voice similar concerns. The authors then describe how the University of New Mexico, as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), has piloted a “language-focused online curriculum” (61) to help increase students’ awareness of two under-recognized student learning outcomes (SLOs): one regarding language diversity and one regarding discourse communities. Following a literature review that advocates a translingual approach to first-year writing, Davila et al. describe UNM’s eComp pilot program, discuss the language-focused second version of the program, relate their findings, and consider the implications for other writing programs seeking to support linguistic diversity in online classes. Their recommendations include more language-focused readings, more discussion of linguistic diversity during the course, additional training for instructors, and new assignments that ask students to analyze different dialects and registers alongside standard English (SE).


Keywords: best practices, research, diversity, multilingual, ESL/ELL/L2, learning outcomes

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 14, 15


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

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

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

Denton, Kathryn. “Beyond the Lore: A Case for Asynchronous Online Tutoring Research.” The Writing Center Journal, vol. 38, no. 2, 2017, pp. 176–203.


Denton advocates for evidence-based research to replace writing center scholarship’s reliance on lore when it comes to asynchronous online tutoring. In this article, she reports on the results of a mixed methods study that tested three lore-based criticisms of asynchronous tutoring: (1) that tutors are forced to do most of the work, making non-directive tutoring difficult, (2) that asynchronous tutors focus on the text more so than on the writer, and (3) that asynchronous tutoring is not beneficial to students. Over a six-month period, Denton collected post-session reflections from tutors and follow-up surveys from students, which she analyzed alongside the tutoring “artifacts” (the student’s initial submission message, the paper with the tutor’s comments, and the tutor’s comments in their response to the student). Her findings indicate that the lore-based critiques of asynchronous online tutoring were not reflected in the data: (1) the tutor’s labor was intensive, but not more so than a face-to-face session, (2) the tutors focused on the student as a writer not just a text, and worked to give personalized responses, and (3) the students indicated that the tutoring interactions were beneficial. This article ultimately positions the study of asynchronous online tutoring as an example of why evidence-based research is important for writing center scholarship.


Keywords: writing center, lore, surveys, asynchronous, online tutoring, mixed methods

OWI Principles: 14, 15


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

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

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

DePew, Kevin Eric, and Susan Kay Miller. “Studying L2 Writers’ Digital Writing: An Argument for Post-Critical Methods.” Computers and Composition, vol. 22, no. 3, 2005, pp. 259-78. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/j.compcom.2005.05.001.

DePew and Miller describe the divergence and convergence of “digital writing studies (also known as computers and composition studies) and second language (L2) writing” (260). While scholars in either field might be confident in their own field, if asked “which computer-mediated writing technologies are most conducive for facilitating L2 writers’ academic literacy development, the available corpus of literature that addresses all aspects of this question decreases significantly” (260). The authors argue for a post-critical framework for the study of digital writing practices of L2 writers after first acknowledging the difficulties and benefits of applying that framework to “the interdisciplinarity of a digital/L2 inquiry” (263). Next, the article “place[s] post-critical methodologies into conversation with methodological trends of digital writing, L2 writing and their related disciplines” (269). Finally, the article ends with implications of post-critical research and a call for the use of this methodology to study the digital lives of L2 students. This article could be used to analyze, extend, or critique other studies of L2 learners in online writing instruction. 

Keywords: ELL, ESL, multilingual writers, L2
OWI Principles: 1, 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

De Rycker, Antoon, and Prema Ponnudurai. “The Effect of Online Reading on Argumentative Essay Writing Quality.” GEMA Online Journal of Language Studies, vol. 11, no. 3, 2011, pp. 147-62, 

De Rycker and Ponnudurai performed a quasi-experimental study with ESL students in Malaysia (n=45) to compare the students’ quality of argumentation when reading interactive texts presented on a screen or texts printed on paper. Students completed an argumentative essay after reading the texts, and that essay was scored using a modified version of Harrell’s rating scale. The researchers found that the modality of the text did not affect the length of the essays or the students’ abilities to present counter-arguments. However, more students who read the interactive online reading wrote thesis statements and overall arguments that were rated as “good” (156). The sample size limited the study, but this research sets the stage for additional, more robust studies of the effect of reading on a computer screen as opposed to reading a print text and how either of those modalities affect student writing ability in online and hybrid classes.

Keywords: ESL, ELL, multilingual writers, modality, qualitative research, reading, hybrid
OWI Principles: 1, 4, 13, 15

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 10, 11, 15 

Driscoll, Dana, et al. “Usability and User-Centered Theory for 21st Century OWLs.” Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices, edited by Pavel Zemliansky and Kirk St. Amant. Hershey, IGI Global, 2008, pp. 614-31. 


Driscoll, Brizee, Salvo, and Sousa examine the theories of user-centered Online Writing Labs (OWL) and the research conducted on the usability of the Purdue OWL. They detail the history of the Purdue Writing Lab, the Purdue OWL Usability Project, and the implications of user-centered theory and usability research, primarily those involving collaboration with users to create an online literacy resource. In the study, two tests were conducted. In test one, the participants navigated the OWL and answered a survey, while in test two, participants responded to questions while using both the OWL website and a user-centered OWL prototype. Results suggest the prototype was more time efficient and participant responses to the prototype were positive. Researchers conclude that the necessity of usability research paired with participatory invention for the most effective user-centered website. 

Keywords:  online writing labs, usability studies, user-centered design, qualitative research
OWI Principles: 1, 13, 15

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

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

Keywords: graduate teaching assistants, computer-mediated communication, narrative, community of practice, teaching with technology: English, faculty development
OWI Principles: 7, 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ehmann Powers, Christa. “A Study of Online Writing Instructor Perceptions.” The Online Writing Conference: A Guide for Teachers and Tutors, edited by Beth Hewett, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2015, pp. 174-82. 

This study examines some of the experiences of online writing tutors at Smarthinking, Inc. in 2009 in an attempt to understand their attitudes about OWI and the roles they take as online instructors (also called e-structors at that time). Tutors primarily conducted asynchronous interactions where they commented on Web-delivered texts using a framework that called first for global comments with the addition of a few embedded local comments. Some tutors also provided synchronous conferences via a whiteboard and co-located chat box. Although unsolicited in the survey, many tutors remarked that they had pedagogical challenges when teaching using text (i.e., not voice) and struggled with the lack of instant feedback from students regarding whether the tutorial had been helpful. Tutors also spoke to what they saw as distinct features of OWI, including the ability for online writing instructors to self-reflect and assess their own work and the need for students to engage with different levels of cognitive processing. In terms of attitudes toward OWI, the online tutors expressed some concerns regarding whether OWI was pedagogically valid and potential political issues about the uses of OWI in educational institutions. Respondents claimed that OWI could have significant learning benefits for students and their writing processes while framing these benefits in terms of affect and the practical aspects of working online. Ehmann Powers ends with a series of implications for this research and the need for ongoing study of these issues.

Keywords: tutors: English, online writing center, asynchronous interaction, synchronous interaction, faculty perceptions, research
OWI Principles 13, 14, 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elder, Catherine, et al.  “Evaluating Rater Responses to an Online Training Program for L2 Writing Assessment.” Language Testing, vol. 24, no. 1, 2007, pp. 37-64.

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

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

Eller, Ryan, Bude Su, and Karen Wisdom. “A Comparison Study of a [sic] Face-to-Face and Online Writing Courses.” 38th Annual Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology: Volume 1, AECT, 2015, pp. 67–77.


Eller et al. conducted data using pre-surveys, mid-semester interviews, and post-surveys to understand student readiness, attitudes, and perceived ability in online and face-to-face writing courses for computer science majors at a public west coast university. The Intrinsic Motivation Survey was the basis for the surveys, and the interview data was coded for commonly used words and phrases. The surveys found that online students enjoyed writing outside of school more and perceived little choice in their online assignments. However, both online and face-to-face groups reported that the courses were effective. Online students were more nervous academic writers, but they were more confident in both their academic writing and their ability to learn more subjects in the online modality. The interviews (n=10) demonstrated that online students found pacing, access to further resources, and the ability to review material benefits of online learning. Face-to-face students reported that feedback, the immediacy of the professor their learning style, perceptions of the coursework, and relationships were motivating factors in selecting face-to-face courses. The authors conclude that online writing instructors should provide additional support and be more available through multiple means of communication for online students, especially those new to the online modality.


Keywords: WID, student perceptions, student satisfaction, surveys, interviews, empirical research

OWI Principles: 10, 13, 15

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 1, 11, 15

Ferganchick-Neufang, Julia K. “Harassment On-line: Considerations for Women & Webbed Pedagogy.” Kairos, vol. 2, no. 2, 1997, 

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

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

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


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


Keywords: collaboration, case study, course management site, Google Suite
OWI Principles: 3, 5, 11, 15


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


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


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

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 15




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

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

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

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 11, 15

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 1, 6, 15

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 2, 4, 6, 15

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

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

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

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


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


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

OWI Principles:  2, 3, 10, 11, 15

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 1, 3, 7, 15


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

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

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

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


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


Keywords: writing studio, hybrid, surveys, student perception, writing center, Blackboard, discussion boards, accessibility

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 10, 11, 13, 15


Greer, Michael, and Heidi Skurat Harris. “User-centered Design as a Foundation for Online Writing Instruction.” Computers and Composition, vol. 49, 2018, pp. 14–24.


With the proliferation of Web 2.0 technology and applications, online students expect their online courses to have a similar usable experience. Greer and Skurat Harris propose that user-centered and student-centered design models are essential for successful online writing instruction experiences.  This study traces intentional changes in an online graduate certificate program and design over multiple course offerings as Greer and Skurat Harris revise approaches and methodologies to incorporate more effective student-centered design models based on OWI principles. They conclude that UX or user-centered design benefits online writing instruction and has uses for professional development because it focuses the conversation on student learning.


Keywords: user-centered design, usability, course design: Writing, graduate classes

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 5, 15


Grigoryan, Anna. “Audiovisual Commentary as a Way to Reduce Transactional Distance and Increase Teaching Presence in Online Writing Instruction: Student Perceptions and Preferences.” Journal of Response to Writing, vol. 3, no. 1, 2017, pp. 83–128. 


Grigoryan’s research explains student preferences for and perceptions of the use of audiovisual feedback in online writing instruction feedback.  Using a quasi-experimental design, Grigoryan studied six sections of an online composition course. Three sections used text-only feedback, and three sections used both text-based and audiovisual feedback forms. The audiovisual feedback included a five-minute screencast of the student’s paper in addition to the traditional text-based margin comments.  The study indicated that audiovisual feedback may help with student revision practices. The teacher can explain in more detail with the audiovisual model. Students also had the perception of the teacher’s increased engagement and social presence within the course when using audiovisual feedback. This finding could lead to greater student satisfaction in online courses.


Keywords: feedback, multimodal, research, student perceptions, student satisfaction

OWI Principles: 2, 3, 4, 15


Grigoryan, Anna. “Feedback 2.0 in Online Writing Instruction: Combining Audio-Visual and Text-Based Commentary to Enhance Student Revision and Writing Competency.” Journal of Computing in Higher Education vol. 29, no. 3, 2017, pp. 451–76.


In an effort to enhance student revision and writing competency, Grigoryan compares audiovisual feedback and text-based only feedback in the online writing classroom.  Using a quasi-experimental design, the study compares results from six different composition courses. Three courses utilize text-only feedback and three courses use both audiovisual and text-based feedback on a key writing assignment in the course. Grigorian concludes that adding the audiovisual feedback component improves student audience awareness and sense of purpose, while those with text-only feedback seem to make more surface level changes to their writing.


Keywords: feedback, multimodal, research

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 13, 15


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


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


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

OWI Principles: 4, 7, 8, 15


Guasch, Teresa, Anna Espasa, and Montserrat Martinez-Melo. “The Art of Questioning in Online Learning Environments: The Potentialities of Feedback in Writing.” Assessment and Evaluation in Higher Education, vol. 44, no. 1, 2019, pp. 11123.


Guasch et al. conducted a follow-up study to the Alvarez, Espinasa, and Guasch 2011 study and the Espasa, Guasch, and Alvarez 2013 study on students’ cognitive, metacognitive, and affective activity after receiving feedback on collaborative writing activities. They conducted a quasi-experimental study that divided students into groups receiving corrective, epistemic, suggestive, or epistemic + suggestive feedback on collaborative writing assignments. The researchers collected student messages and drafts and analyzed them using a multi-method integrated strategy. They measured both the presence and intensity of each type of activity. Students receiving corrective feedback engaged in a significantly lower amount of cognitive and metacognitive activities and a significantly higher number of affective activities. Students receiving epistemic + suggestive feedback produced the opposite results, showing a significant increase in metacognitive planning activities. Significant differences were less evident for groups receiving only epistemic or only suggestive feedback. Students who mostly engaged in affective activities received lower marks on their final assignments. Guasch et al. recommend using epistemic and suggestive feedback, including questioning, requiring critical explanations, and asking for clarification as a means to situate students as active agents in their learning and writing. 


Keywords: mixed methods, quantitative, feedback, cognitive, affective, metacognitive, empirical research

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 15


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


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


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

OWI Principles: 4, 11, 15


Hallman Martini, Rebecca. Listening to Stories about Writing (Centers): Sites of Innovation in (Online) Writing Instruction. Dissertation: University of Houston, 2016.


Hallman Martini’s dissertation uses a critical ethnographic approach to study a hybrid/online studio partnership with the Department of English and a face-to-face, small group partnership with the Electrical Power Engineering Technology department. Using observations, interviews, focus groups, and informal conversations, Hallman Martini identifies the University of Houston Writing Center (UHWC) as a “site for innovative writing instruction while simultaneously critiquing business-model approaches to the teaching of writing” (iv). She uses her data to counter the writing center grand narrative of writing center work as “tutoring students” through case studies of two collaborative partnerships. She concludes that local stories can provide the peripheral visions of writing center work called for by Grutsch McKinney and that the partnership approach to writing instruction has advantages over the tutorial model. She cautions against transferring traditional face-to-face pedagogies to online spaces by encouraging online and hybrid instructors to disrupt those practices and innovate writing center practice in online and hybrid classes. 


Keywords: writing center, ethnography, WID, hybrid, tutoring: English

OWI Principles: 4, 14, 15


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


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


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

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


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

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

Keywords: collaboration, discussion: English, case study, qualitative research, interviews, instructor interaction, hybrid, mixed methods
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 10, 11, 15

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

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

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

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. “The Characteristics and Effects of Oral and Computer-Mediated Peer Group Talk on the Argumentative Writing Process.” Dissertation, Catholic U of America, 1998. 

In her doctoral dissertation, Hewett describes a naturalistic study with functional and qualitative analyzes and retrospective interviews regarding whether and how students use computer-mediated communication (CMC) and oral peer response group commentary differently when they revise their drafts. Using and adapting Anne Ruggles Gere’s 1985 linguistic function taxonomy and an iteratively derived revision analysis adapted from Lester Faigley and Stephen Witte’s 1981 revision analysis taxonomy, this study reveals key differences between uses of peer group response in asynchronous, hybrid CMC and oral settings. The “oral talk was more contextually-focused on abstract, global idea development; the CMC talk was more focused on concrete writing issues and group management; and each environment seemed to generate qualitatively different talk regarding referential and phatic contact” (ii). Referential and phatic talk were qualitatively different between the oral and text-based modalities. Both the talk and the student revision had different qualities between the two modalities, “suggesting that the medium shapes not only talk, but revision itself” (iii). Student individual writing styles and challenges revealed that students with visual or auditory challenges might have experienced better access in particular learning environments. Hewett’s study suggests a need for understanding CMC-based peer response as both connected to and separate from oral-based peer response. It suggests need for additional research into text-based peer response groups and the writing that emerges from them, as well as for research into how students with various learning disorders may benefit from either the traditional or online setting or a combination of both.

Keywords: asynchronous interaction, computer-mediated communication, hybrid, orality, revision, peer review, collaboration, quantitative research, qualitative research, modality, accessibility
OWI Principles: 1, 3, 15

Hewett, Beth L. “Characteristics of Interactive Oral and Computer-Mediated Peer Group Talk and Its Influence on Revision.” Computers and Composition, vol. 17, no. 3, 2000, pp. 265-88. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/S8755-4615(00)00035-9.

Abstracted from her 1998 dissertation, Hewett details a naturalistic, functional, and qualitative study of interactive oral and computer-mediated communication- (CMC) generated (using Norton Connect) peer-response group talk and its influence on revision in two classes: a traditional oral class whose peer groups met orally and a hybrid asynchronous class whose peer groups worked via text. The CMC was a hybrid class where students met in a computer lab for each class. They interacted both orally and through text although text was the primary medium for peer group work. The study revealed that the interactive peer groups in both environments talked primarily about their writing. However, the talk had different qualities when students used different media, suggesting that medium shapes talk. Oral talk focused contextually on abstract, global, idea development, whereas written talk focused more on concrete writing tasks and group management. Each environment generated qualitatively different talk regarding referential and phatic contact. Revision changes revealed different qualities when developed in different environments, suggesting that medium shapes revision. Revision from talk included more frequent direct use of peer ideas, whereas revision from oral talk included more frequent intertextual (imitative and indirect) and self-generated idea use. Further study of these phenomena may confirm these findings and lead to additional theories of writing when that writing occurs in online settings and/or when peer response groups share ideas in online settings.

Keywords: asynchronous interaction, computer-mediated communication, hybrid, orality, peer review, revision, modality
OWI Principles: 3, 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 3, 4, 11, 15


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 Principles: 2,  8, 10, 11, 12, 15


Ice, Philip, et al. “Using Asynchronous Audio Feedback to Enhance Teaching Presence and Student Sense of Community.” Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, vol. 11, no. 2, 2007, pp. 325. 

This case study presents an argument for using audio feedback in asynchronous online classes to promote student communities and meaningful relationships between instructors and students. In a study of an online class—Curriculum and Instruction 687, Advanced Teaching Strategies at West Virginia University—the authors asked instructors of the course to give text-based feedback for six assignments and audio feedback for five assignments. Using survey, interview, and final-project data, the authors found that students perceived the audio feedback to be more effective than text-based feedback in at least four ways: 1) conveying nuance, 2) promoting increased involvement in the course, 3) enhancing retention of content, and 4) increasing instructor-student interaction. The findings indicate that instructors should develop appropriate teaching strategies for the online environment by understanding how to adhere to students’ various learning styles in the inherently digital platform of the online class. 

Keywords: asynchronous interaction, feedback, technology, teaching with technology: English, pedagogy: English, community, audio, surveys, interviews, research, qualitative research, retention, instructor interaction, instructor presence
OWI Principles: 3, 15

Inman, James, and Dagmar Stuehrk Corrigan. “Toward a Doctoral Degree by Distance in Computers and Writing: Promise and Possibilities.” Computers and Composition, special issue, Distance Education: Promises and Perils of Teaching and Learning Online, vol. 18, no. 4, 2001, pp. 411-22. Science Direct, doi:10.1016/S8755-4615(01)00072-X.

This article, written when only two online Master’s programs in technical writing existed, outlines the possibility of universities offering Ph.D. programs online. Inman and Corrigan point out that there were, at the time this was written, a large number of adult learners who were place-bound by family or careers who would benefit from being able to earn a Ph.D. at a distance. Of concern was the benefit of a potential residency and whether online classes, even synchronous ones, could replicate the advantages of that residency. In demonstrating the value of online Ph.D. programs, the authors surveyed 71 four-year-only institutions and 58 institutions offering graduate degrees. A number of institutions surveyed at the time indicated that they did not see proficiency in computers and writing as a part of their hiring criteria. However, the authors concluded from the survey that, “the data demonstrate that room does exist in computers and writing education for an innovative program, one that continually adapts to the changing opportunities and implications of technology and one that well represents field diversity” (418). The authors close by proposing a consortium model to offer an online Ph.D., one that admits a limited amount of students and requires “four supervised research projects and a dissertation” (419). This article would be interesting to scholars who are completing historical research on online writing programs at the graduate level. 

Keywords: non-traditional students, teaching with technology: English, technical and professional writing, graduate students, graduate programs, online writing programs, writing program administration
OWI Principle: 15

Inman, James and Donna Sewell, editors. Taking Flight with OWLs: Examining Electronic Writing Center Work. Routledge, 2000. 

Inman and Sewell collect a variety of essays that take various positions on the development of the Online Writing Lab, both theoretically and practically. These essays explore the development of an OWL, discussing the theoretical groundings and institutional needs required for a successful OWL. The research then explores the ways OWLs maintain and diverge from analog writing center pedagogy. Some researchers argue that OWLs diverge from writing center pedagogy, failing to create dialogic models for their students, and as such, encourage readers to reexamine OWL practices to greater reflect accepted pedagogy and theory. Other researchers, however, see OWLs as an opportunity to expand and adapt pedagogy to the need for students to be technologically proficient and skilled writers in a digital age. Both groups, however, believe that as technology changes, the role of the writing center within the university should continuously evolve, establishing itself as part of the learning community, especially in the technological age.

Keywords: online writing labs, writing center, theory, online tutoring, praxis, community
OWI Principles 1, 3, 13, 14, 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, multimodal 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

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 4, 10, 11, 15


Jacobs, Geert, Liesbeth Opdenacker, and Luuk Van Waes. “A Multilanguage Online Writing Center for Professional Communication: Development and Testing.” Business Communication Quarterly, vol. 68, no. 1, 2005, pp. 8–22.

Jacobs, Opdenacker, and Van Waes describe the Calliope Online Writing Center at the University of Antwerp, Belgium. The authors detail how Calliope is constructed around social-constructivist, problem-based learning that “combines learner-guided learning and system-guided learning” (9). Calliope allows users to follow a less-linear process in dealing with the inherently recursive nature of writing. In a preliminary assessment of student self-efficacy after using Calliope, Jacobs et al. found that Calliope was effective on twenty-six separate measures of self-efficacy on post tests. They also found that peer feedback in Calliope showed a “relation between the level of confidence and the quality of the feedback” (17) and that learners made more comments and felt more knowledgeable in those comments “(18). The authors indicate that they are encouraged by these preliminary assessments and will continue development of the project.

Keywords: feedback, teaching with technology: English, online writing center, constructivism, research
OWI Principles: 1, 13, 14, 15

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


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


Keywords: accessibility, writing program administration

OWI:  1, 7, 13, 14, 15

Johnson, J. Paul. “Writing Spaces: Technoprovocateurs and OWLs in the Late Age of Print.” Kairos, vol. 1, no. 1, Spring 1996,

This short hypertext document provides an overview of the primary OWLs that were available online at the turn of the 21st century. While the article is dated and not all of the hyperlinks go to active pages, the article provides an overview and basic theoretical structure for the movement of OWLs from a focus on print-text-only medium or an online space that points to a physical campus location to what Johnson (through Eric Crump) calls “technoprovocateurs,” or “a writing space ‘where quietly subversive activity can emerge.’” Johnson notes that more of the OWLs he outlines fall into the former rather than the latter categories. However, he does nod to the fact that these OWLs embody Bolter’s concept of the “late age of print” in that they are remediations of more traditional writing center spaces that are solely focused on print. This hypertext provides a description of several early OWLs and, while not all of them exist in the form they were at the time of publication, provides insight to scholars researching the history of OWLs in terms of concerns that scholars and researchers voiced as the OWL moved from the 20th to the 21st century. 

Keywords: online writing labs, research, hypertext
OWI Principles: 13, 14, 15

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


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


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

OWI Principles: 11, 15

Jones, Rodney H., Angel Garralda, Davis C.S. Li, and Graham Lock. “Interactional Dynamics in On-Line and Face-to-Face Peer-Tutoring Sessions for Second Language Writers.” Journal of Second Language Writing, vol. 15, no. 1, 2006, pp. 1-23. 

Jones, Garralda, Li, and Lock examine two types of peer-tutoring and compare online tutoring interactions with face-to-face tutoring interactions. Using Halliday’s functional-semantic view of dialogue, the logs of online tutoring sessions were coded and compared with those from face-to-face interactions. The results showed that online tutoring fostered greater participation on the part of the student being tutored, while face-to-face interaction tended to result in hierarchical structures of communication controlled predominantly by the tutor.

Keywords: online tutoring, qualitative research, tutor training, online writing centersOWI Principles: 1, 13, 14, 15

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

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

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

Kim, Loel. “Online Technologies for Teaching Writing: Students React to Teacher Response in Voice and Written Modalities.” Research in the Teaching of English, vol. 38, no.3, 2004, pp. 304–37.


This study examines first-year composition students' (n=39) reactions to written versus audio feedback. The authors specifically question how students perceive written versus online spoken response, as well as what qualities students attribute to the teacher who delivered the response. Each instructor (n=4) was given two texts that the authors had seeded with five low-level and five high-level writing problems, and were asked to provide written response to one text and audio response to the other. Subsequently, the student participants (n=39)--first-year college students who had previously taken the same first-year composition course as the authors of the seeded texts--were each given one teacher’s response to two different texts, a written response to one text and an audio response to the other. The students read or listened to the feedback and completed a questionnaire, as well as a post-session interview. The findings indicate that the students preferences for modality were evenly divided—46% preferred audio, 41% preferred written, and 13% were unsure. However, when modality preference was considered alongside the teacher identity, Kim found that students who received Teacher 1’s feedback were more likely to prefer written feedback, while students who received Teacher 3’s feedback were more likely to prefer audio. Kim additionally found that 80% of student participants did not realize that the same teacher provided the written and audio feedback that they reviewed. The authors conclude that the teacher may be more important than the modality when it comes to student feedback preferences, but it is also the case that modality influences the ways that students perceive and construct their teachers' identities. 


Keywords: feedback, multimodal, audio: Writing, experimental study, first-year composition, student preferences 

OWI Principles: 3, 15

Kramer, Robert, and Stephen Bernhardt. "Moving Instruction to the Web: Writing as Multitasking." Technical Communication Quarterly, special issue, Redefining the Technical Communication Service Course, vol. 8, no. 3, 1999, pp. 319–36. 

Kramer and Bernhardt describe implementation of a web-based case study project in two face-to-face sections of a technical and scientific communication course. In a computer classroom setting, students worked individually with multiple linked documents in order to analyze the rhetorical situation of the case study and to design a visual solution that they communicated in a business memo. Students were surveyed about their technological and rhetorical expertise before beginning the project and were then observed by the researchers while completing the project. Few students reported having worked with visual information before, and many students who reported comfort with “multitasking” or moving between multiple open applications on the computer desktop were observed experiencing difficulty with these technological skills. In post-project reflection, the two instructors emphasized the benefit of teaching students to integrate visuals and text. The authors conclude that using web-based instruction can teach students technological and design skills at the same time they address rhetorical problems.

Keywords: technical and professional writing, technology, teaching with technology: English, research, case study, qualitative research, surveys, visual literacy, rhetoric
OWI Principles: 3, 4, 15

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

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

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

Lasarenko, Jane. “PR(OWL)ING AROUND: An OWL by Any Other Name.” Kairos, vol. 1, no. 1, Spring 1996,


Lasarenko’s hypertext catalogues the ninety-three OWLs that she found in 1996 and divides them into three categories: OWLs that advertise for on-campus labs, OWLs that offer on-site tutoring services, and OWLs that offer fully-online tutoring services. The links to each of these groups of OWLs are almost all broken, but the list itself provides a snapshot of which OWLs were functional in the mid-1990s and will provide scholars seeking to research the history of OWLs a basic list of thenoperational OWLs on which to build. 

Keywords: online writing labs, literature review, research, online tutoring
OWI Principles: 13, 15

Leonard, David. “The Web, the Millennium, and the Digital Evolution of Distance Education.” Technical Communication Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 1, 1999, pp. 9-20.

Leonard discusses the necessary shift in academia away from the “industrial age” model of education and toward a “digital age” in learning. He predicts that technical communication will need to shift to accommodate the increasing presence of knowledge shared freely on the World Wide Web (10). He compares and contrasts the two models of education, calling for a learning environment that “parallel[s] the digital networked environment that our students currently are or soon will be working in” (12). Leonard briefly discusses the shifts that universities will need to make to meet this new paradigm, including a shift from “teacher-centric” to “learner-centric” instruction (13). While some of his predictions, including the “demand for a tighter certification process for technical communication” (15), the ability for “students to consume the best possible interactive courses and content via the Web, no matter what their parent institution is” (16), and the “death of academic departments” have not been fully realized in the early 21st century, his predictions for what online writing programs are and can become serve as a fascinating starting point for individuals researching the evolution of online writing instruction. 

Keywords: course and program design: English, technical and professional writing, online writing programs
OWI Principle: 15

Li, Mimi, and Jinrong Li. “Online Peer Review Using Turnitin in First-Year Writing Classes.” Computers and Composition, vol. 46, 2017, pp. 21–38.


Li and Li studied students’ use of multiple Turnitin features for peer review on two writing assignments in two first-year writing classes, one for mainstream students and one for ESL students (n=26. The aim of their study was to learn about the types of feedback offered by students in the online setting and how students perceived online peer review. Students had no prior experience with using Turnitin for peer review, so a brief training was provided. Then, the students used the Turnitin features (PeerMark questions, Commenting Tools, and Composition Marks) in a double-blind, one-hour in-class peer review sessions on the two assignments common to both classes (a summary and response paper and an argumentative paper). Li and Li then analyzed the archived peer reviews and had students complete a post-task questionnaire comprised of Likert Scale and short answer questions intended to gauge student perceptions of the experience. Li and Li found that while both mainstream and ESL students provided predominantly revision-oriented feedback, the majority of comments focused on local rather than global issues (with the one exception of ESL students’ comments on the argumentative paper). They also found that though the students had a generally positive attitude toward using Turnitin for peer review, many noted the need for more specific training on the tool as well as on effective feedback. Li and Li concluded that the Turnitin features could be used for meaningful, critical online peer review, with appropriate training and modeling.


Keywords: peer review, first-year composition, ESL/ELL/L2, feedback, plagiarism

OWI Principles: 2, 10, 15


Licastro, Amanda. “The Problem of Multimodality: What Data-Driven Research Can Tell Us About Online Writing Practices.” Communication Design Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 4, 2016, pp.  55–73.


Licastro studies how ePortfolios hosted in WordPress can demonstrate student preparation for composing in online spaces, the characteristics of students online writing, how assignment design shapes student work, and whether characteristics of student writing are similar across disciplines (particularly in the humanities and STEM fields). Using a multivariate, quasi-experimental methodology, Licastro surveyed students (n=150) and analyzed class materials and student portfolios. Students surveyed indicated that even though they were exposed to digital technologies in high school, they struggled with digital literacy at the college level, and less than half of the students were familiar with blogging platforms. The author then compares materials from two sections of humanities seminars and two sections of a science-based seminar class. She analyzes the sections for low- and high-stakes assignments use of mode and media. While the mode of writing was similar across courses, the use of media varied widely, illustrating a disconnect between student literacy skills and their willingness to use these skills without specific direction. Licastro ends with pedagogical applications based on her findings and prompts instructors who want students to use multimedia and folksonomic elements to explicitly require and practice them across the curriculum. 


Keywords: blogs, portfolios, WAC, quasi-experimental methodology, mixed methods, student preparation, multimodal, multimedia

OWI Principles: 1, 2, 4, 10, 15 


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