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OLOR Effective Practices Publications, 2014-2019 

Clarity in an Online Course as an Extension of Onsite Practice

by Jessie Borgman

Published in OLOR Effective Practices (15 October 2014)

This example addresses OWI Principle 4: “Appropriate onsite composition theories, pedagogies, and strategies should be migrated and adapted to the online instructional environment.” More specifically, the practices suggested below relate to items 4.1 and 4.6 from the position statement: “When migrating from onsite modalities to the online environment, teachers should break their assignments, exercises, and activities into smaller units to increase opportunities for interaction between teacher and student” (4.1) and “Teachers should incorporate redundancy (e.g., reminders and repeated information) in the course’s organization. Such repetition acts like oral reminders in class” (4.6). I try to highlight here the ways in which my online practice is not just effective in and of itself, but how it derives in many ways from my onsite teaching practice.

Improve Access with a Course Orientation

by Jason Dockter

In an attempt to help all students access an online class and feel comfortable moving into the first module of the class, this example uses videos that are purposefully brief with each video aiming to accomplish a specific aspect of orienting students to a particular online class, preparing them to begin the work of the course in a confident manner. This effective practice takes the idea of the "Welcome Announcement" and enhances it to be an overview of the course, a navigational guide, and an introduction to the instructor. Effective practice 10.1 stresses the importance of helping students become familiar with the design of the online course, and specifically, identifying the difference between public and private writing spaces and where assignments can be located and completed.

Managing the OWC User Experience by Managing Student Expectations

by Theresa M. Evans

This practice, which addresses OWI Principle 1, is a strategy for managing student expectations for an online writing course prior to the start of the semester and early in the semester. Even if students are capable of doing the work, they might not be able or willing to put in the time required to succeed in a particular online course. The goal is to ensure that students who stay in the course understand how to succeed—or have time to withdraw from the course early enough to avoid receiving a low grade. 

Using a Blog Throughout a Research Writing Course

by Danica Hubbard

This example addresses OWI Principle 3: "Appropriate composition teaching/learning strategies should be developed for the unique features of the online instructional environment." The blog is a platform for ongoing conversation and reflection related to individual student research projects throughout a course. This in-practice example has been used in a community college setting in an online, primarily asynchronous, first-year composition course being delivered through Blackboard 9.1.  

A Conscious Craft: An Approach to Teaching Collaborative, Computer-mediated Composition

by Ruth Li

The activity explained below presents an innovative approach to the design and integration of collaborative writing projects using the Google Apps for Education online platform (OWI 4). The setting is a traditional, face-to-face high school English classroom in which students write in class simultaneously, each on separate devices, on shared Google Docs. In particular, I offer specific strategies for teaching students to write collaboratively in a variety of creative genres, including plays, poems, narrative essays, and speeches. While I taught the lessons in high school English classes, the strategies can be adapted for college composition, especially first-year writing courses. As illustrated in students’ writing samples, this approach can support students’ writing practices as students craft works that are cohesive in substance, structure, and style. In addition, integrating collaborative computer-mediated composition can encourage creativity, foster inquiry, and build a shared sense of community in the classroom as the digital dimension transforms the composing process (in accordance with OWI 11).

Planning Feedback Opportunities in Online Non-Writing Intensive Courses

by Alex Rockey

This practices supports OLI Principle 3. It focuses on integrating a variety of technologies for consistent feedback and telling students upfront how and with what technologies they will receive feedback.  

Conversation Starters: Orchestrating Asynchronous Discussion to Build Academic Community among First-year Writers

by Dan E. Seward

This practice includes a sequence of discussion assignments developed to build academic community and develop academic literacies among first-year college students, a practice called orchestrated asynchronous discussion. To address the challenges of building class community and developing academic literacies, this practice takes advantage of the unique interactive and transactional features of asynchronous discussion (in accordance with CCCC OWI Principle 3), features that allow instructors to introduce students to new literacy practices in a social context and incremental manner, a process of gradual attunement, as suggested in current writings on literacy pedagogy (in accordance with CCCC OWI Principle 4). At the same time, orchestrated discussion builds community (CCCC OWI Principle 11) among participants by encouraging purposeful direct engagement with each other's postings. 

Screencast Feedback for Clear and Effective Revisions of High-stakes Process Assignments

by Jodi Whitehurst

This example demonstrates how to create screencast videos for feedback, which helps online writing faculty to indicate specific needs for revision within student assignments, discuss possible approaches for revising, display assignment rubrics to specify criteria that are and are not being met, direct writers to online resources, and give “voiced” affirmations to developing writers. The example provided here addresses OWI Principle 3: "Appropriate composition teaching/learning strategies should be developed for the unique features of the online instructional environment."   

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