Teaching Online

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At my school there’s continued pressure to offer fully online classes. The state has issued a mandate that 40% of state university undergraduates be enrolled in online classes by 2025.  Our Center for eLearning is well-funded, we’ve moved to Canvas as our online learning management system, and we’ve started placing more and more degree programs fully online.  My own experience with online teaching has been decidedly mixed and the class I am teaching online this semester, an introduction to interdisciplinary studies, has only confirmed that.


I’ve always felt that the challenge in teaching writing online is that writing courses are process courses and not content courses, and the best way to teach process is a lot of guided practice.  When I hear about teaching writing online it sounds as challenging to me as teaching violin or painting online (though, of course, such courses exist).  Continued evolution in technologies will, no doubt, assist but I am wondering how people have faced the more fundamental process versus content challenge.  I know any number of writing programs offer classes online so I am also wondering how you do it.


If you have experience teaching writing online I’d love to hear about it.  We’re offering some small test sections online here at school but additional advice or insight would be great.  What’s your experience been?

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About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.