This document describes OWI principles and example effective practices for teaching writing in the online learning contexts common in postsecondary education.
Although text-based communication has become the primary way institutions of higher learning deliver and receive information, Hewett (2010) observes that clear communication in text-based, online environments is challenging even for the most experienced online instructors and tutors:
When I first started thinking about sophistry, I had trouble understanding the vehemently low regard in which their contemporaries held the sophists. In trying to wrap my brain around the sophistic reputation, I found myself looking for the sophists’ contemporary parallel and in so doing, I recalled my own consternation regarding the ever-expanding field of online education.
Keywords: asynchronous, synchronous, email, video chat, accessibility, grand narrative, group tutoring, online instruction, pedagogy, relationships, student perspectives, talk, training
This study directly compares face-to-face writing center consultations with two closely related variations of Online Writing Instruction (OWI). Although the study takes place in a busy, dynamic writing center, the authors try to make their comparisons as systematic as possible so they can better foreground some of the benefits and disadvantages of various conferencing environments.
In preparing peer tutors for responding to student writers in an asynchronous Online Writing Lab (OWL), writing center administrators must engage tutors in activities that focus on writing about students’ writing rather than talking face-to-face with writers.
I’ve gotten hung up on the word asynchronous: I’d like writing centers to stop using it, and I would like them to stop believing the things they must believe if they take the label “asynchronous” seriously.
Writing centers can help multilingual students who hear many varieties of World Englishes and need to learn to write academic English, but in order to do this, writing center directors must guide their tutors on questions such as the following: In a digital environment, how can tutors engage L2 students in dialogs that are productive for academic writing? How can online tutors overcome comparisons that pit the many varieties of students’ writing against a hegemonic “ideal text”? What are the alternatives for responding to perceived errors of form?
Researchers from Kaplan University present findings from a media-rich feedback pilot program that targets students from developmental writing courses. One study of student reactions reveals how screencasting feedback encouraged more formative, holistic feedback and students’ awareness of writing process, audience, and revision.
When writers come through the doors of the Main Writing Center (WC) at UW-Madison, it’s worth considering how we instructors can process many bits of information about them.