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Using widely accessible online tools, teachers can create a rich writing environment that places student texts at the center of the course. This session will focus on the use of asynchronous writing tools: Web-based tools such as message boards and blogs that do not require all students to be “present” in the course at the same time. While some recent reports about online learning have encouraged more sophisticated uses of technology, these simple tools are ideal for the writing course, allowing students time for reflection and critical thinking. We will review fundamental aspects of having students write with these tools. We will also discuss pedagogical practicalities, such as how to develop good starter prompts for conversations and the appropriate level of instructor involvement in these student conversations. I will provide some examples of specific assignments in this environment to help spur student thinking and writing, and we'll work together in workshop-like exercises to develop additional creative assignments that challenge students and can make writing in this way fun. The audience members will learn: 

  • Core concepts of asynchronous communication
  • How to create good prompts to start dialogue with asynchronous tools
  • How to manage conversations, using the "just right" idea

Scott Warnock is Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Freshman Writing Program at Drexel University.  Dr. Warnock specializes in using technology to enhance writing instruction in courses across the curriculum.  His research interests include the influence of digital tools on the writing process, new tools for writing assessment, and science and medical rhetoric.  He is the co-author of The Writing Tutor and has articles in such journals as Science Communication, Learning Technology, and The Teaching Professor

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