Online Writing Instruction: Best Practices and NCTE Position Statement

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Online Writing Instruction (OWI) is a viable method for teaching writing that has its own methodologies and pedagogies (Hewtt, 2010).  While this field continues to grow and adapt to the changing student needs and technology demands, professionals in this field remain steadfast in providing quality instruction and viable learning experiences for student writing.  Similarly, CCCC has demonstrated its commitment to this field by adopting a position statement on effective practices for OWI at the recent March 2013 Conference on College Composition and Communication.

Read the full report online: A Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction.

This OWI Statement is also available to download as a .pdf:  

This Position Statement includes an Overarching Principle which emphasizes inclusive accessibility, and the other principles explicate Instructional principles, Faculty Principles, Instructional Principles, and a call for commitment to Research and Exploration in the field of OWI.

The principles outlined in this statement clearly demonstrate the need for both student and teacher technological, instructional, and institutional support in the online writing instruction environment.  Methodologies, designs, and pedagogies must be adapted (and supported) to fit online learning. Ideas like creating presence (Rourke, Anderson, T., Garrison, & Archer, W. , 2001; Annand, 2011) and teacher immediacy (Baker 2010), high quality course tools and content (Allen, & Seaman, 2013; Palloff & Pratt 2010), multimodal writing (Kress 2010; Selfe, 2009; Yancey, 2009; Wysocki, 2004), and accessibility are central to success.

The continued legitimacy of this field and student success in OWI centers on treating these courses as their own valuable learning entities.  It also centers on the commitment of faculty, teachers, and students to remain open to exploration as the field and the technologies continue to emerge and shape our culture and our learning.

How do you use technology in your writing courses or online writing centers?

What are your keys to student and teaching success in your online writing practices?

Melody Pickle

 . . .More

Here is more on multimodal writing.

Hereis a review of Edwards-Groves, C. J. (2011). The multimodal writing process: Changing practices in contemporary classrooms. Language and Education , 25 (1), 49-64.


Allen, E. I. & Seaman, J. (2013). Changing course: Ten years of tracking online education in the

United States. Retrieved from

Annand, D. (2011). Social presence within the community of inquiry framework. The International

Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 12(5), 40-56.

Baker, C. (2010). The impact of instructor immediacy and presence for online student affective learning, cognition, and motivation. The Journal of Educators Online, 7(1), 1-30. Retrieved from Research/SteveArticles11.12C/ Baker09ImmediacyPresenceMotivation.pdf

Garrison, R. (2009). Implications of online learning for the conceptual development and practice of distance education, Journal of Distance Education, 23(3), 93-104.

Kress, G. (2010). Multimodality: A social semiotic approach to contemporary communication. New York: Routledge.

Palloff, R. M. & Pratt, K. (2010). Beyond the looking glass: What faculty and students need to know to be successful. In K. E. Rudestam & J. Schoenholtz-Read (Eds.), Handbook of Online Learning (2nd ed., pp. 370-386). Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

Rourke, L., Anderson, T., Garrison, R. D., & Archer, W. (2001). Assessing social presence in asynchronous text-based computer conferencing. Journal of Distance Education, 14 (2). ISSN 0830-0445

Selfe, C. L. (2009). The movement of air, the breath of meaning: Aurality and multimodal composing. College composition and communication, 60(4), 616–663. National Council of Teachers of English. Retrieved from

Wysocki, A. F. (2004). Opening new media to writing: Openings and justifications. In A. F.Wysocki, J. Johnson-Eilola, C. L. Selfe, and G. Sirc’s Writing New Media Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition, (pp. 1-42). Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press.

Yancey, K. (2009). Writing in the 21st century (Report from the National Council of Teachers of English). National Council of Teachers of English. Retrieved from

Online Writing Instruction

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