When I was first asked to teach CO150 online, mostly I craved knowledge about pedagogy, best online practices, and academic studies that might provide me with some insight on how to approach online teaching differently. For this manual, I sought research regarding online teaching and pedagogy in general and specifically for teaching composition online. What results is a literature review of sorts, though instead of expecting a reader read it in full, I have provided a citation as well as brief note about why you might find the article useful, if you choose to access it yourself. I’ve also included a brief summary of each article. Please note that these summaries have the aim of extracting the information from the article that would be most useful to those about to teach online.
It should also be noted that it was common for this literature to begin in two ways. One, most writers began these articles by discussing how prevalent online teaching has become, but also how it is still relatively new. As a result, many writers in the following articles insinuated that the research regarding online pedagogy is still shallow. In my own search, I also noted that the literature was somewhat lacking, as many studies are anecdotal and not expansive. Further, it is even more difficult to find literature that addresses online pedagogy and composition specifically. That being said, below you will notes on what I personally found most pragmatic. I also included a few articles that consider a more theoretical perspective for those of you who find that theory engages your teaching practices. Please click on each article if you are interested to find a more detailed summary and if possible, a link to the article itself. I found most of these articles using ERIC (EBSCO’s Education data base) if you wish to find them that way.
If you only have time to look at one or two articles, I would recommend the Barran article, which provides concrete “best online practices.”
- This article takes a somewhat philosophical approach (think Greek mythology) to how writers approach the page both when they write with pen and paper and when they write and read writing on a screen. I would recommend reading this article if you are interested in that philosophical conversation.
- Although this bulletin is from 2008, it does answer some basic questions about who online students are.
Alvarez, Ibis, Espasa, Anna and Guasch, Teresea. “The Value of Feedback in Improving Collaborative Writing Assignments in an Online Learning Environment.” Studies in Higher Education (Vol. 37 2012): Web. ERIC. 19 Jan. 2015.
- It might be useful for you to read this article if you plan to teach a group assignment for your online class; however, I have also summarized the “feedback” part to be useful for all online teaching. It seems important to highlight that what the researchers found most useful about teacher feedback was likely a strategy you already employ—that teacher comments that work as suggestions or comments are more likely to facilitate student learning than comments that are simply corrective or the teacher’s opinion.
- This article details a study that worked to answer two central questions: “What are the successful practices that exemplary online teachers employ in their online teaching?” and “How do exemplary online teachers make a transition to online teaching in such a way that they create successful practices?” (Barran, et al. 1).
Bloom, Lisa, Sherlock, John, and Vesely, Pam. “Key Elements of Building Online Community: Comparing Faculty and Student Perceptions.” The Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (2007): Web. 11 Feb. 2015
- This study looked at fourteen online classes in order to understand how both students and instructors perceived online community. Students and teachers both found building community important and more difficult to establish online. However, while students ranked “instructor modeling as the most important element in building online community,” instructors themselves ranked this component forth.
Ihanainen, Pekka and Moravec, John. “Pointillist, Cyclical, and Overlapping: Multidimensional Facets of Time in Online Learning.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning (2011): Web. ERIC. 19 Jan. 2015.
- This article considers something all online teachers must think about at one point or another—how time differs is an online class. Unlike traditional environments, online learning does not operate in a linear way. The authors of the article label new time constructs as “pointillist, cyclical and overlapping” (27).
- Welker’s thesis contains a readable and informative literature review, which summarizes major research regarding online education and the application of that research to literature. The thesis itself considers how learning outcomes differ between online and face-to-face learning environments.