Saturday, November 23, 2013


Accelerating Community Through Online Writing: A List of Links and Sources  -- Carbone

Updates - Sunday, 11/24/13:
I added a talk summary. And explained more the works cited and talk origins.

 I updated the works cited to include Scott Warnock's _Teaching Writing Online: How and Why_, which got dropped when I cut and pasted the cited list from an essay.

I added four links (below in the links section) to items that we referenced on the fly during Q and A:

 to Charles Moran's "From High-Tech to Low-Tech"
 to NoodleTools which we referenced because it helps teach students about genres (knowing whether a source is a journal or website or article and so on).
 to the Eli software we talked about when we made the point that different software makes different approaches possible.
 to Audacity, which I turned on to illustrate the description Chris Weaver gave about how you can "see your voice" and edit it in ways similar to editing writing.

Talk Summary
Creating community in a course, any course, requires lots of student-to-student communication. When done online, that happens through the giving of words -- spoken, recorded, and written -- as well as the giving of images and video. But still mainly, for most teachers, it happens with words written in discussion boards, blogs, tweets, updates, chats, e-mails, exchanged drafts, feedback on writing, and in the margins of collaborative projects.

This talk focused on principles for helping teachers adjust to using online community, we covered a handful of premises:

1. Much of the literature on theory and pedagogy of using discussions, chats, draft-sharing online, peer review online occurred, at least in the journals read by those in college composition and rhetoric, 20 - 30 years ago. But it's only now that the tools which were relatively new then are in more common use. So for advice on the present and future, we need to draw from the past.

2. Research from the NCTE Committee on Best Practices for Online Writing Instruction and other sources indicate that most teachers do not have the kind of professional development they need. Local campus training on technology tends to focus on how to use tools, not the pedagogical and curricular design thinking required to make the use of tools meaningful and productive.

3. We describe the classroom as a space/place that operates with both an economy and ecology. Based on that idea -- there are limits to time, limits to attention, limits to cognitive attention -- it's important for teachers using technology to understand two things:
  • When a technology is introduced, it disrupts what was done before and teachers need to make room for it by letting something else go. This often means looking at how what is added accomplishes and whether those accomplishments meet the needs that had been addressed by what will let go. This is not always easy to do.
  • Not all of a technology has to be used -- nor should it be used. But teachers often begin by thinking they either have to use it all or know it all. 
As an illustration of these points, we focused most on the example of the discussion board, a simple tool. And here was the illustration: a good discussion involves writing-as-conversation, lots of student to student interaction that literalizes the metaphor of writing as conversation, of scholarship being shaped by discourse communities where pieces are published in journals, where the citations of those pieces frame the conversation the article written seeks to enter. As students discuss, if the discussion is good and such behavior is taught and encouraged, they repsond to one another and change their thinking -- in writing mind you -- by perhaps, considering an idea they'd not have thought of their own, discovering an idea that emerged only because of the discussion spurred it, encountering counter claims, clarifying what was written earlier and more. 
A good discussion requires higher-order thinking; honest engagement requires considering what others have to say and adjusting -- aka revising -- one's own thinking. So good discussions are a way of invention, drafting, and revising. 
Going back to the principle of letting things go, dropping one thing to make room for another, the idea is simple: if teachers want a good discussion to happen, with lots of posting and responding, then don't also ask that week for students to work on a draft of an essay. The discussion can also be the work on the draft. Keep students focused and engaged in the discussion, and conversely, from a teacher point of view, read discussion posts and not drafts that week. Encourage student-to-student interactions, summarize what students say when you see trends or patterns. Point students to other students, ask them to respond to one another. 

As my time wound up, I rushed out one other example of adding in and dropping something else. Peer review offers many benefits: close reading, careful analysis, writing about writing, treating classmates' words with the same respect given to other reading that is assigned. A written peer review comment is a micro essay, an act of textual analysis with a purpose and audience(s). Teaching peer review online makes it possible to see and review the work of reviewers, it makes the work visible. So doing a week of peer review, and really focusing on it, might mean not also assigning writers to read an essay for discussion, but instead making the work of fellow writers the focus of discussion, where the discussion is carried out in the review comments and response to comments from writers. And because the comments are micro-essays, why not ask writers, when it would help, to revise those comments? Learning to read carefully is hard. Learning to analyze prose is hard. Learning to respond to writing with goal of helping a writer is hard. But it's so important and so central to reading, writing, and thinking. So why not spend time on it? Well you can spend time on it, but only if you let something else go. And it's easier to let other things go if you can see that what you're focusing on also accomplishes the same ends of the things you let go. 

Links List:

NoodleTools --

Eli demo --, click on "Make Better Reviewers"

Audacity -- very cool, easy to learn, open source audio recording/editing software.

 James Lang on Transfer
"Why Don't They Apply What They Learned,  Part I" and Part II

Paul Krebs "Next Time, Fail Better."

Daniel Willingham -- from his collection of online articles at
"Why Transfer is Hard."

Seeing the Field from the Field, Nick Carbone --

The Writing Classroom as Functioning Ecology and Economy,

Charles Moran, "From High-Tech to a Low-Tech Writing Classroom: You Can't Go Home Again."

The works cited below is from my chapter in _Writing Online_ a collection forthcoming from IUP/Hampton Press, edited by Phoebe Jackson and Christopher Weaver, my co-presenters on this panel. My talk above was based on ideas explored in that chapter:

Works Cited

Barker, T. T., & Kemp, F. O. (1990). Network theory: A postmodern pedagogy for the writing Classroom. In C. Handa (Ed.), Computers and community: Teaching Composition in the twenty-first century. Portsmouth, NH: Bonyton/Cook Publishers.

Bazerman, C. (2009). Issue brief: Discourse communities. National Council of Teachers of English. Accessed 12 December 2012.

Berry, W. (1982). On poetry and marriage: The use of old forms. Standing By Words. Shoemaker & Hoard: Washington, DC.

Britton, J. (1993). Language and learning: [the importance of speech in children's development]. Portsmouth N.H: Boynton/Cook-Heinemann.

Burke, K. (1941). The Philosophy of Literary Form. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Cadle L., Monske E.A., (March 2013) Deploying 21st century writing on the economic frontlines. Computers and Composition, 30 (1), 1-2. ISSN 8755-4615, 10.1016/j.compcom.2013.02.001.

Carbone, N. (1993). Trying to create a community: A first day lesson plan. Computers and Composition, 10(4), 81-88.

CCCC, 2013. A Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction (OWI) Retrieved from

Coalition of the Academic Workforce. (June 2012). A portrait of part-time faculty members.

Committee on Best Practices for Online Writing Instruction. (2011). "Hybrid/Blended Courses Survey Results.” Accessed 1 March 2013.

Committee on Best Practices for Online Writing Instruction. (April 2011). Initial report of the CCCC committee for best practice in online writing instruction. Accessed 1 March 2013.

Computers and Composition. (Undated). “A Brief History of Computers and Composition.” Computers and Composition, an International Journal. Accessed 10 December 2012.

Gillam K., Wooden S.R. (March 2013). Re-embodying online composition: Ecologies of writing in unreal time and space. Computers and Composition, 30 (1), 24-36. ISSN 8755-4615, 10.1016/j.compcom.2012.11.001. (

Hairston, M. (1982). The winds of change: Thomas Kuhn and the revolution in the teaching of writing. College Composition and Communication, 33(1), 76-88.

Harris, J. Teaching Subject, A: Composition Since 1966. Logan, UT: Utah State University Press, 2011. Project MUSE. Web. 8 May. 2013. .

Handa, C., Editor. (1990). Computers and community:Teaching composition in the twenty-first century.  Portsmouth, NH : Boynton/Cook

Harrington, S., Rickley, R, and Day. M. (2000). The Online writing classroom. Cresskill, New Jersey: Hampton Press.

Howard, R.M., T. K. Rodrigue, and T.C. Serviss. “Writing from Sources, Writing from Sentences.” Writing and Pedagogy 2.2 (Fall 2010): 177-192. []

Hjortshoj, K. (2001). The transition to college writing. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's.

Jackson, R. R. (2009). Never work harder than your students & other principles of great teaching. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Kandinsky, W. (1977). Concerning the Spiritual in Art, trans. M.T.H.Sadler, Dover Publications: New York.

Klem, E., & Moran, C. (1992). Teachers in a strange LANd: Learning to teach in a networked writing classroom. Computers and Composition, 9 (3), 5–22. Accessed 06 February 2013.

Krause, Steve. “A Very Brief History of Computers and Composition.” English 516: Computers and Writing, Theory and Practice. Not Dated. Accessed  02 February 2013. Available at

Larson, R. L. (Dec., 1982) The 'research paper’ in the writing course: A non-form of writing. College English, 44.8. pp. 811-816.

Mehan, H. (1985). The structure of classroom discourse. In T. A. Van Dijk (Ed.), Handbook of Discourse
Analysis, Vol. 3 (pp. 119-131). London: Academic Press.

Moran, C. (2000). From a high-tech to a low-tech writing classroom: You can't go home again. The Quarterly, 22.3. The National Writing Project.

Scholar (undated). Learning philosophy: New learning. Scholar.

Syverson, Margaret. (1999). The wealth of reality: An ecology of composition. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois Univesity Press.

Takayoshi, Pamela and Brian Huot, eds. (2003).Teaching Writing with Computers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Thompson, C. (2009). Clive Thompson on the new literacy. Wired Magazine, Issue 17:09. [viewed 20 October 2012].

Warnock, S. (2009). Teaching Writing Online: How and Why. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

Wedlake. P. (October 25, 2001). Legal issues regarding Email shared with author. Available at