The changing horizon of composition studies: An examination of the influences of collaborative an online pedagogies on first-year college writing




Wilson, Gary

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Scholarship involving writing process theories and composition pedagogies undertaken in the last 25 years suggests that the writing-as-process model has experienced and will continue to experience significant change. The thesis statement of this dissertation argues that developments in the writing process over the last 50 years in composition pedagogy, as well as ongoing contemporary developments in collaborative learning and CMI, have transformed the writing process and first-year writing instruction to a progressively learner-centered and digital media-supported collaborative pedagogy. My dissertation's thesis advocates that composition pedagogy and the writing-as-process model is changing, due to the innovative influences of collaborative learning and online learning management systems. My research thesis facilitates an investigation that assesses the dynamics of writing theory, from the classical Greco-Roman period to the present, social learning theories, and the online digital media of Web 2.0 as they interrelate to facilitate, modify, and enhance college composition instruction. This study encompasses an extensive literature review, as well as replicable qualitative and quantitative studies. These studies are implemented through first-year writing program directors' interviews and online surveys of first-year writing instructors and their students.

The conclusions and recommendations reveal that the changes occurring in composition pedagogy in American academe will continue at an ever-increasing pace. These changes will transform the landscape of college composition—the way first-year writing is taught, as well as the roles of instructor and student. Online course management systems and digital innovations will facilitate more collaboration in the writing classroom and will enhance all recursive phases of the writing-as-process model. This dissertation's conclusions suggest how the prevailing pedagogies of social constructivism and digital media can be strategically applied to improve students' writing skills. Specific pedagogical strategies are recommended as ways that writing program directors and instructors can use to more fully accommodate and exploit the challenges and opportunities awaiting them in the future.



Language arts, Pedagogy, Rhetoric, Educational technology, Composition instruction, Collaborative learning, Distance learning, Writing instruction