Teaching Basic Writing Online


I am a graduate student working on a paper/project for an independent study. I am exploring the issues/problems/opportunities involved in teaching basic writing in an online environment, and could really use some help...

If you are a teacher/professor that teaches basic/remedial writing online (at the college level), I would love to hear more about your experience. My three main questions are a.) what type of programs do you use that best facilitate teaching basic writing online, b.) how does your pedagogy differ (if at all) when you teach online versus the face-to-face classroom and c.) what have you found to be "problems" with teaching basic/remedial writing online that you do not find in the typical face-to-face classroom experience.

If you can offer any other feedback concerning this issue, I would love to hear it.

Thanks so much!


Hi Anna-- In my previous job I taught online courses. Although they were ENG1A courses (freshman comp) and not developmental (our College did not support online instruction at the basic writing level, which I tend to agree with), my students generally speaking were not as prepared for college writing as those in the sections I taught in the classroom, and because I was at a community college, the level of preparedness was generally low. So, in many ways, I was teaching developmental students. Your questions are expansive and, if you're interested, feel free to ask follow up questions. Yes, the pedagogy differs; there is a lot of back and forth, via email for example, with individual students who do not have the skills to orient themselves to the online environment. In the spring, I required early in-person meetings, which really helped, but when I taught during the summer, this was not a possibility. I was teaching computer skills and a different way of reading for online materials (spatially, not linearly, for example) as well as the writing concepts. I think there any many problems with teaching online, but yet the students love it because it's learning on their time. They love it but often find it difficult to get motivated to stay the course. I could go on. Let me know if you want me to! Julia Bleakney

Please do go on. This is all very helpful to me and my paper. Will you expand on the "spatially vs. linearly" concept? Also, did you find planning to be more or less time consuming than for a traditional classroom?
I appreciate any feedback you are willing to provide. Thank you so much for your time.

Anna Lonon