OWI Principle 7: Writing Program Administrators (WPAs) for OWI programs and their online writing teachers should receive appropriate OWI-focused training, professional development, and assessment for evaluation and promotion purposes.
Effective Practice 7.1: WPAs who will supervise OWI teachers should receive the same training, professional development, and assessment—as well as practical OWC experience—prior to training and managing OWI teachers.
Effective Practice 7.2: Teacher candidates for OWI should first be skilled, experienced teachers of postsecondary writing at the required levels and for the needed genres. Individual writing programs should develop methods, such as reviewing teaching experience and unit-based teacher evaluations, for determining such strengths.
Effective Practice 7.3: Teacher candidates for OWI should self-select or otherwise express willingness to teach in an OWI setting. Teachers who are not willing should be given accurate information about the writing program’s current and projected future needs for OWI teachers and whether the ability to teach in an OWI setting will have an effect on retention or promotion. Because the institutional needs for increasing OWI course selections must be accounted for, teachers should be encouraged to understand the professional development opportunities and needs for future writing courses (see OWI Principle 12).
Effective Practice 7.4: Given that not all teachers are well-suited to OWI work, those who would do better in traditional settings should be identified and assigned to such settings whenever possible. Where personality or conditions of access, as outlined in OWI Principle 1, indicate a poor match for OWI, such teachers should be accommodated whenever possible.
Effective Practice 7.5: Prospective OWI teachers should receive training particular to online teaching and learning, including differences in modalities, logistics, time management, and career choices.
Effective Practice 7.6: Prospective OWI teachers should receive OWI-specific training as outlined below:
- Training should include the technological elements of teaching both asynchronously and synchronously using the institution’s approved technologies. These elements include online techniques for teaching students to achieve strong writing in a computer-mediated setting. This training should be augmented with knowledge regarding any freeware that the institution approves generally or for OWCs specifically.
- In keeping with OWI Principle 1, training should address issues of accessibility such as how to welcome all students to the course through an inclusive syllabus, how and when to provide course materials in multiple modalities and formats, and the various technologies useful for connecting with student writers of different backgrounds and physical or learning capabilities.
- Teacher training should occur in the setting (e.g., fully online or hybrid) and modality (e.g., asynchronous or synchronous) and using the media (e.g., text, audio, video) through which the teacher will be expected to perform.
- Teacher training should include individualized instructional and mentoring opportunities that support the teacher’s unique capabilities and growth.
- Online writing teachers should be provided with an online network to associate and communicate with other online writing teachers at the institution.
Effective Practice 7.7: Novice OWI teachers should be assigned experienced OWI mentors while teaching their first two regular OWCs.
Effective Practice 7.8: When possible, institutions/units/writing programs should help teachers to progress into fully online teaching. For example, they may want to assign new OWI teachers to hybrid courses to build practical experience.
Effective Practice 7.9: Workshops and/or other in-service training in OWI concepts and techniques should be offered by institutions/units/writing programs on a regular basis and at times that are accessible to teachers. Teachers active in OWI also should receive compensated opportunities for ongoing professional development through such experiences as workshops, conferences, and research.
Effective Practice 7.10: The OWC itself should be observed on a regular basis and judged for the content and quality markers determined by the WPA or unit.
Effective Practice 7.11: Online writing teachers should be evaluated/assessed by a peer or supervisor who has similar training and equal or superior abilities/experience in writing instruction generally and OWI particularly.
Effective Practice 7.12: OWI teacher assessment should occur in the setting and modalities that the teacher uses in the online writing course.
Effective Practice 7.13: OWI teacher assessment should be engaged as rigorously as—and not more rigorously than—it would be in a similar traditional onsite course.