Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction

As part of the Virginia Tech Composition Program’s continuing preparations for fall, we share in announcing the following event and resources.

Best Practices for Online Writing Instruction – 2-Day Online Course

June 22nd, 1:00-2:30PM EST and June 23rd, 1:00-2:30PM EST
June 25th, 1:00-2:30PM EST and June 26th, 1:00-2:30PM EST

The Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA) is pleased to offer a workshop focused on best practices for online writing instruction. Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle will be drawing from their book Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors to help WPAs develop plans to keep the quality of their writing programs high if they are asked to shift to online delivery.

From the book’s description: “Drawing on their novel PARS framework, Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle explore the complexities and anxieties associated with online writing instruction. PARS offers an innovative way to support your own online instructional efforts as well as those of faculty members in programs that offer online writing instruction. Borgman and McArdle offer extensive examples of how to create assignments, syllabi, and accessible, productive learning spaces. Drawing on work in the design of user experiences, they explore how we can design online writing courses with our students’ experiences in mind. Borgman and McArdle encourage us to plan online writing courses strategically, and they reinforce the importance of iterating our course design and teaching practices continually with the goal of creating a better user experience for everyone involved with the course.”

Figure 1. Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors (2020) by Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle.

Because it is an open access publication, the book is freely available through the WAC Clearinghouse here: https://wac.colostate.edu/books/practice/pars/

Registration Information:

  • The workshop will have two session and span two days, June 22 and 23 OR June 25 and 26, and will run via Zoom from 1:00-2:30 PM Eastern Standard Time.
  • Registration will be capped at 30 participants. We will also be maintaining a waitlist, and if sufficient interest is present, the workshop will be repeated.
  • Cost will be $30 for CWPA members, $35 for non-members. All proceeds will go directly toward an honorarium for the facilitators.

The Single Most Essential Requirement in Designing a Fall Online Course” by Cathy Davidson (HASTAC blog post)

Cathy Davidson’s May 11 post on the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory (HASTAC) website thoughtfully urges us to regard the bearing of “physical and emotional distress” on the labor of teaching and learning in this moment. Davidson reminds readers about the first precepts in a student-focused approach to teaching:

What do our students need now?  That is the essential question for going on line.  Whether teaching algebraic geometry or sociology or literature or art or religion, we need to begin with the question of: what would I need if I were a student in this historic moment?  A great place to start?  Ask them!

Cathy Davidson, The Single Most Essential Requirement in Designing a Fall Online Course,” May 11, 2020; para. 18