We support an expansive definition of online writing centers (OWCs) and online writing center work, as follows:
- OWC work can occur in on-site or fully online learning commons, undergraduate centers, graduate centers, community centers, secondary- or high-school centers, and professional or corporate centers.
- OWCs extend beyond the use of static websites, web-based scheduling systems, videos, or virtual handouts. Instead, OWCs include dynamic and/or interactive online writing support services such as asynchronous and synchronous consulting/tutoring, workshops, and question-and-answer services, among many other forms of support.
- Because technology and pedagogy are inextricably connected in online writing center work, we remain open to innovation and the ways in which OWC work is defined, discussed, and designed.
The OWCA acknowledges that online writing center (OWC) work is both similar to and different from online writing instruction and face-to-face writing support. While there are overlaps, the differences necessitate unique conversations, theories, and practices for online writing support. Therefore, we value the following:
- A basic tenet that receiving online writing support is a powerful and effective mode of learning.
- An inclusive vision of online writing center work that welcomes all modes, modalities, and technology platforms that consider the local context and/or empirical research.
- A recognition that online writing support can and should look different depending on the unique needs of the institutional or corporate context.
- A praxis-oriented model that moves beyond conversations of whether or not online writing center work is effective and instead focuses on how and why this work is effective in various contexts.
- A focus on accessibility, both broadly and narrowly, in that materials, events, and services are available in multiple, flexible formats for as many people as possible and center the needs of persons with disabilities.
- An emphasis on emerging research, theories, and practices that aim to extend the conversation in online writing support beyond foundational research and seminal texts.
- The equal significance of formal and informal publications in online writing center studies, as both contribute to the intellectual, pedagogical, and theoretical knowledge of online writing support.
- Training and professional development that is specifically focused on online writing support and prepares for varying technological literacies.
The OWCA promotes initiatives that support the contextual needs of writing and learning centers, professionalization opportunities related to online writing center work, and foundational and emerging research in the theory and practice of online writing support. Thus, activities to promote our values may include:
- Serving as a repository for foundational and emerging research, case studies, and resources for both beginning and experienced OWC consultants, professionals, and administrators.
- Promoting and expanding professionalization opportunities for those involved in online writing centers and online writing support.
- Encouraging and fostering collaboration among online writing center community members through virtual events, virtual conferences, discussion forums, and joint research publications.
- Formalizing connections with other writing center organizations to reach mutual goals about online writing center research, theory, and practice.
- Highlighting the uniqueness and complexity of online writing center work through mentoring programs and resources.
- Sharing all forms of work on OWCs on a larger, more accessible scale.
The OWCA has the following goals for its first year:
- Increase engagement with the organization, through active membership, a full Executive Board, and full committees
- Obtain 501(c)(3) status with the IRS
- Become an official affiliate of the International Writing Centers Association (IWCA)
- Host regular webinars (or other virtual events)
- Host a virtual conference in 2021
- Create position statements on online writing center work
- Expand and improve our scholarship archive
- Expand our mentoring program
- Create and invite OWC resources and training materials