This article reports on findings from a hyperlocal programmatic survey on writing instructors’ experiences in moving teaching online during the coronavirus pandemic. It highlights key challenges instructors reported, including a need for strategies addressing increased workload; a desire for greater experience with pedagogy- rather than technology-driven instruction; a plea for attention to personal/professional well-being; and concerns about the increased attention needed to address logistics in digital teaching. The article contextualizes these local challenges within larger scholarly conversations about online writing instruction (OWI) and offers a series of pedagogical and professional best practices relevant for future online and hybrid teaching. It concludes with a discussion of the limitations of this project and directions for future research.
Transgenerational and intergenerational memory relies on the voices of those who precede us. I crave the insights and wisdom of those voices.
In their article “We are Family: I Got All My (HBCU) Sisters with Me” in the 2016 “Where We Are: Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Writing Programs” section of Composition Studies, Hope Jackson and Karen Keaton Jackson state, “It is our hope that the HBCU experience will one day be fully integrated in composition studies . . . without the designation of ‘special issue’” (157). While their article focused on writing center studies, their call echoes that of Jacqueline Jones Royster and Jean C. Williams in “History in the Spaces Left: African American Presence and Narratives of Composition Studies.”
Social media has been a cornerstone of my professional life since before I formally entered my doctoral studies, but I never rushed to sign up for new platforms. I didn’t use Facebook until 2007, when I joined because a friend encouraged me to. I took even longer to create a Twitter account; in March 2016, I joined, once again because a professional peer highlighted its networking and informal professional development uses. I still maintain both accounts: Twitter as a mostly professional online space, Facebook as a hybrid space showing professional and personal interests. During my doctoral studies, my interest in social media deepened: such media became something I both researched and practiced in multiple contexts and capacities.
I spent my first year of college as a music business major, a wannabe audio engineer. Thanks to two main factors, that major didn’t take. First, I learned audio engineering wasn’t just being present while cool music happened. Second, I took first year writing, which convinced me to become an English major (more on that in a bit). Despite the major switch, my audio experience proved an unexpected asset when I began pursuing a PhD in English at The University of Texas at Austin in 2011.
Student retention and persistence is increasingly prioritized by state and local policies as well as national scorecards and rankings—however, the policies that politicians and administrators undertake to improve university metrics tend to ignore the realities faced by students at the heart of our institutions. Drawing on a survey/interview project involving 67 students repeating first-year writing classes at a diverse institution in the Southwestern US, this article takes a student-centered approach to understand the reasons they drop first-year writing, such as health concerns, lack of engagement with the curriculum, and their incompatibility with online learning or poorly taught online classes.
In this article, we argue that using students’ reflective writing to understand specific aspects of their classroom experience requires that researchers systematically integrate into the curriculum reflections that responsibly attend to both students’ learning and the focus of classroom research. Informed by recently published articles on reflection and collaborative writing and learning, this argument contributes to recent Composition Forum discussions (e.g. VanKooten; Fiscus; Winzenreid et al.; Jankens, Learning How to Ask).
As WPAs at a research institution without a WAC program, we embarked on this project to learn about the types of writing prompts faculty across the disciplines assign and their expectations for student writing. Although our first-year composition program is genre-based and focuses on teaching for transfer, we did not know what genres other faculty assigned nor which writing skills they hoped students could apply to their assignments.
I present two case studies of student–teacher Zoom conferences, examining the ways the digital space impacts the student–teacher relationship. I ground my analysis in current online writing instruction and writing center conversations about digital space/place and asymmetrical collaboration.
The original purpose of this project was to gather in one place a comprehensive list of writing center blogs that could be shared with tutors and writing center professionals. We made this list publicly available on the blog of the San José State University Writing Center, The Write Attitude.