Sunday, March 21, 2010

Emerging "best practices" for online writing courses

As undergraduate freshmen writing courses begin to move online, the Conference on College Composition and Communication is beginning to develop "best practices" to ensure quality instruction in that arena.  As Inside Higher Ed reports:

Leaders of the association, gathered [in St. Louis] for the group's annual meeting, on Thursday presented preliminary results of national surveys and in-depth focus groups that they have conducted with online writing instructors.

Here are some of the preliminary results of the survey:

  • Class sizes range from 11 to 30, with most respondents on the high end of the scale. (The 4C's, as the composition group is known, recommends no more than 15 students in a section so that instructors can both assign a lot of writing and grade it promptly, although that standard was developed with in-person classes in mind.)
  • Most of the instructors said that they considered the ideal size for their writing courses online to be in the range of 11-20.
  • Dropout rates in the courses are generally being reported at below 20 percent, which would make attrition rates lower than in typical online courses at most of the institutions surveyed.
  • Most of the instructors reported that the impetus for shifting some writing sections completely online came from the administration, not from the faculty.
  • Most instructors reported that their online writing courses do not include some features that are common and generally considered central to introductory writing instruction: student presentations, student conferences with the instructors and collaborative writing exercises. On the other hand, the instructors said that they made considerable use of asynchronous discussions.
  • Training of instructors to teach online -- if it exists at all -- tends to focus on the technology involved, not the educational issues.

You can read the rest here.

I am the scholarship dude.


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