Preparing graduate teaching assistants to teach writing online: A nationwide assessment of research and practice



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The rise of online learning has altered the teaching of writing significantly, requiring new adaptation from the field. I argue that one necessary adaptation is that graduate teaching assistant (GTA) preparation programs should begin to include training specific to online writing instruction (OWI) and that a widespread assessment to determine how much and what kind of OWI preparation is being offered to GTAs is a necessary first step to providing such preparation. This dissertation provides that assessment by reporting the results of an empirical, mixed-methods study that maps the field’s current research and practice and then interrogates that map to identify ways they might be improved. The first, qualitative phase of the research involved a content analysis of the professional literature concerning OWI preparation in order to determine the principles, locations, and methods guiding OWI preparation and what is known about each. These results enabled the construction of the instrument used in the second, quantitative phase of the research, which investigated local program practice by means of an online questionnaire directed to writing program administrators in writing studies-related doctoral programs. The results of these two phases are then synthesized to determine whether the field’s research and practice is in line with its stated values and to suggest methods for improving OWI preparation across the field.



Teacher preparation, Online instruction, Online writing instruction, Graduate teaching assistants