The Online Writing Conference: A Guide for Teachers and Tutors

Paperback (Print)
Not Available on


Composition is going digital. The number of online writing courses in colleges across the country is increasing each year. How do we best teach writing over the Internet? How must our pedagogy change? Beth Hewett provides real and practical answers.

After years of online teaching and tutoring, Hewett shares her trade secrets and best practices. Grounded in current theory and research, her approach centers on building relationships, solving problems, and working efficiently. The book's problem-centered instruction uses mini-lessons and clear directions so that teachers and tutors can guide students toward improved writing.

Hewett covers a range of core issues, including:

building trust

assessing students' needs

creating effective mini-lessons

crafting helpful instructional messages

formatting comments and modeling key strategies

using time wisely.

The Online Writing Conference also provides a wealth of:

actual one-to-one examples of online conferencing

tutorial transcripts

action plans for teachers and tutors.

Whether new or experienced, whether a teacher, tutor, writing program administrator, or writing center director, you will want this book at your side when your computer screen becomes your classroom.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780867096019
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 2/2/2010
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Beth L. Hewett has been an editor, consultant, and teacher at the forefront of online education. Beth has written extensively on both teaching and learning in online environments, addressing audiences in education and business. Currently, she is Chair of the national Conference on College Composition and Communication Committee for Best Practices in Online Writing Instruction.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction xv

Chapter 1 Benefits of Online Teacher/Tutor Conferencing 1

What an Online Conference Is 1

Who Conferences Online and Why 2

When and Why Conferencing Online Helps 10

Why Conferencing Online Is Hard to Do Well 11

Chapter 2 Practical Matters 14

The Nature of the Writing Conference 14

Writing Conference Characteristics 16

Identify the Strengths of the Tools 30

Chapter 3 Establishing Trust 37

Creating the Learning Environment 37

Setting Instructional Expectations 47

Helping Students to Set Agendas and Make Choices 50

Connecting with Students 56

Caring for Students 59

Letting Students Care for Us 64

Chapter 4 Theories for Writing Response in Online Settings 71

Responding to Writing 71

Expressivism and OWI 72

Social Construction and OWI 74

Postprocess and OWI 76

Eclectic Approaches and OWI 78

Chapter 5 First Steps for Writing Response in Online Settings 82

Know What You Are Talking About 82

Use Vocabulary Specific to Writing Instruction 86

Write at the Student's Level 88

Choose Desired Outcomes 91

Writing Mini-lessons and Next Steps 97

Chapter 6 The Orneriness of Language 102

What Students Say They Need in Conference-based Commentary 102

Direct and Indirect Speech 106

"I've Got a Secret" (Direct and Indirect Commentary) 112

Chapter 7 Using What Works 120

Engagement 120

Where to Comment 125

Too Much and Too Little Commenting 133

Modeling by Proofing and Editing 137

Addressing Sensitive Issues 139

Chapter 8 Having Effective Conferences 145

Learning from Student Progress 145

Instructional Rubics 145

Interactive Journals 149

Spontaneous or Scheduled Chats 151

Midterm and End-of-Term Surveys 152

Self-Audits 156

Postscript: Toward a Theory of Conference-Based Instruction 159

Appendix 1 A Study of Online Writing Instructor Perceptions 163

Appendix 2 Direct and Indirect Speech in Writing Response 172

Works Cited 181

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)