OWI Principle 10: Students should be prepared by the institution and their teachers for the unique technological and pedagogical components of OWI.
Effective Practice 10.1: Appropriate OWI preparation should begin with interface familiarization and experiential exercises that make clear the public (i.e., communication to/from the teacher and among all students in the course) and private (i.e., communication between the teacher and individual student) spaces. Students need to be introduced to the writing-course specific uses of the LMS. At a minimum, students need to know where to access their assignments and readings, where to post and retrieve formal writing, where to meet and write publicly with peers, and where to communicate privately with the teacher and peers.
Effective Practice 10.2: Preparation for OWI should include specific lessons and examples regarding the study habits and skills (e.g., time management, self-motivation, and organization) students will need prior to taking an OWC. Optimally, the teacher should be a part of this process. Specifics may include such factors as the time needed to draft and redraft an essay and how that affects timing for sharing the draft online with peer group members, for example.
Effective Practice 10.3: Institutions offering OWCs should create resources for students before the course is taught for the first time to help students gain an understanding of the differences between writing in a traditional setting and in their specific online learning setting.
Effective Practice 10.4: Following from OWI Principle 2, the institution should provide 24/7, accessible technical support for any LMS or other approved software or technology used for meeting with or participating in the OWC. Teachers should not be considered the primary IT expert for the OWC.
Effective Practice 10.5: Teachers should conduct trial runs prior to the term with the enrolled students to create comfort with the environment among the students.
Effective Practice 10.6: Students should receive accessible back-up plans for when technology fails, either on their end or the institution’s end.
Effective Practice 10.7: In most cases, teachers should make use of the institutionally approved software and/or LMS on which students are prepared for the OWC. Although composition teachers may desire to bring additional, often free, software into the OWC, they should: (1) have a clear pedagogical rationale for doing so; (2) have appropriate permission to do so; (3) make sure that it is accessible to all students; and (4) prepare students adequately for the change and/or addition to the LMS.
Effective Practice 10.8: Students should be apprised of the time teachers will require for formal or informal conferences with teachers. Typically, OWC students should meet teachers in digital or technology-assisted media (e.g., phone or Skype) in keeping with the nature of the course although they may request a phone (if desired) or onsite (if feasible) conference with the teacher.