What We Are Reading

A Position Statement of Principles and Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI).

Our master text for developing our online composition and literature courses.

Published in March of 2013, these 15 principles list inclusivity and accessibility as the “Overarching Principle.” Principles subordinate to this include “Instructional Principles,” “Faculty Principles,” “Institutional Principles,” and “Research and Exploration.”

Toward a Complexity of Online Learning: Learners in Online First-Year Writing by Merry Rendahl and Lee-Ann Kasten Breuch

This article, published in the December 2013 issue (Vol. 30, Issue 4) of Computers and Composition, is a case study of two first-year writing courses conducted online. The authors use Albert Bandura’s social cognitive theory as a lens for examining student survey data, course management statistics, online discussions and interviews. They focus, in particular, on students’ study habits.

Learning and Teaching Writing Online: Strategies for Success edited by Mary Deane and Teresa Guasch

Great overview text with chapters from instructors and researchers from all over the world. It contains sections on collaborative writing, course design, feedback in the online context, and writing in the disciplines.

Introduction: Multimodality, Meaning Making, and the Issue of “Text” by Elisabetta Adami and Gunther Kress

This introduction to a special issue of Talk & Text raises questions about how we define composition in multimodal discourse. Boiling down more extensive research on social semiotics by Gunther Kress, this brief introduction identifies several principles of composition that writers should consider when writing for or conducting rhetorical analysis within a digital environment.

Nontraditional Students Online: Composition, Collaboration, and Community by Cheryl Hawinkson Melkun

This article by Cheryl Hawkinson Melkun advocates designing online courses with large collaborative components. Melkun offers a variety of “preferable” practices for asynchronous and synchronous class activities and discusses some means of fostering student engagement. Melkun also mentions some students’ motivations for their level of class interaction, including convenience.

Re-embodying Online Composition: Ecologies of Writing in Unreal Time and Space by Ken Gillam and Shannon R. Wooden

This essay by Ken Gillam and Shannon R. Wooden proposes a multi-step sequence of assignments and possible activities as an ecological model of online composition. The proposed course design emphasizes means that could allow students a more complex, holistic presence as participants via the online interface. With a special focus on this “re-embodiment,” and building on Margaret Syerson’s principles of communication (distribution, emergence, embodiment, and enaction), the authors develop a line of thinking about socially situated writing that includes a discussion of several potential collaborative activities.

Bush, Laura L. “Solitary Confinement: Managing Relational Angst in an Online Classroom.” Teaching Language and Literature Online, edited by Ian Lancashire. Modern Language Association, 2009, pp. 290-309.

Bush’s essay is just one of many in this collection that tackle the “brave new world” of teaching literature and foreign languages online. Divided into three sections: Overview, Case Studies in Languages, and Case Studies in Literature, the book addresses a variety of challenges in online pedagogy and working with digital texts.

The Online Writing Instruction Community–OWICommunity.org

An extensive collection of resources for online writing instruction (OWI) edited by Jessie Borgman from Texas Tech University and Casey McArdle from Michigan State University. The OWI Community also has an excellent Facebook group that gets updated regularly.

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