Teaching Online Courses

Scott Warnock, in Teaching Writing Online: How and Why, lays out guidelines on how to teach an online course or hybrid course for composition teachers. In his introduction, he briefly mentions that if compositionists do not get onboard with teaching online then forces outside their control will adapt online courses to the detriment of composition and the career of composition teachers. He mentions this in passing. I would like to know more about what he feels about this. I would like to know more about how compositionists can influence larger administrative decisions like how to implement online classes. In a recent New York Times article,, Trip Gabriel notes the increase in businesses offering educational classes online to schools. School administrators see these online courses as a way to save money since they don’t have to pay a teacher even though there are questions about the quality of education these students get. What I’m interested as a future composition teacher is how do I advocate for the use of online classes that are run from trained professionals in composition and not make sure that online classes get out of our control and are used by administrators as a way to cut costs. I understand the importance of online classes for students who are very busy and do not have the time to take a traditional face to face class. I also understand that in many ways an online class is good pedagogically since all communication between students and teachers and students and students are done with written texts. Thus, increasing opportunities to write means more learning opportunities. But I also understand the motives of some administrators to cut costs by outsourcing composition to companies. And in the dire budget times we live in, this is a significant threat to the quality of education as well as to compositionists themselves.


One comment on “Teaching Online Courses

  1. Robert, you raise some realistic concerns regarding the future of composition teachers. I hope that the people in control in education would continue to see the need for teachers to guide students through the writing process in collaboration with online writing programs, especially with ESL and basic skills students who don’t necessarily have a degree plan. As with all good science fiction, your view on the bleak future reminds me of Orwell’s “1984” and newspeak and what could happen when spheres of power influence our language and our lives.

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