Teaching Writing Home Page

WRT 614: Teaching Writing (Online)
Department of Writing and Rhetoric
Oakland University Fall 2011

Instructor: Dr. Lori Ostergaard
Phone: 248-370-2075
Email: ostergaa@oakland.edu
Office hours: Tues 2-3:30 (in Moodle chat) and by appointment
Office: 382 O’Dowd Hall
Website: http://comp-rhet.net

Catalog Description

Examination of and practice in instructional techniques and research in writing pedagogy, and such related issues as assessment and classroom workshops. Prerequisites: junior standing and WRT 320 or permission of instructor.

Course Objectives

  • To familiarize participants with disciplinary theories, pedagogies, and issues important to the teaching of college writing.
  • To introduce participants to new technologies and media that are changing the way writing is taught in college and the way it functions in society.
  • To provide participants with the knowledge and practical skills needed to integrate the theories, pedagogies, and new technologies into their own classrooms.

Required Texts and Supporting Materials

  • Online pdfs and videos available through Moodle;
  • Regular access to MOODLE and the Internet is required.

Course Procedures

As this is an online course, we will not be meeting formally in class during the semester, except for possible technology training. We may schedule a few individual and/or small group conferences during the semester to discuss the class and the various projects you will be working on throughout the semester. The course will be broken up into two-to-four week thematic modules that combine reading, forum discussions, and small projects.


This class is designed to be more experiential than evaluative, so fully half of your grade this semester will be based entirely on your online participation, on your weekly discussion posts and activities. I realize you’re all busy teaching writing, so I’ve kept the major projects in this class to a minimum and, instead, I think we’ll really take advantage of the time we have this semester to talk about the teaching of writing together.

In this class you will be asked to be an active, engaged, and informed member of our online class community by participating in online discussion posts and activities (50%).

Locate a single question about the teaching of writing, identify a single pedagogical problem, or investigate a single new teaching method and develop an inquiry project proposal. Your proposal will provide an overview of prior research related to that question, problem, or method; describe an appropriate research methodology to answer that question, solve that problem, or test that method; and propose a plan of research to address your question, problem, or new method. Write your proposal with an eye towards eventually composing this research for the Oakland Journal or Michigan Academician or write it with an eye towards proposing for a local or national conference (25%).

Develop an online teaching portfolio where you can highlight the pedagogical work you complete in this class and the work you do in your WRT classes as a whole. By the end of the semester, your online portfolio will include at least a short video statement of your teaching of writing philosophy, a sample writing assignment that you develop and a short narrative explaining the rationael behind your assignment design, two observation reports from WRT classes you have observed this semester, either an observation report or a “mid-semester chat” report that someone else conducts of your class this semester, and a short introduction to your online portfolio (25%).

Course Policies

Attendance: This is an online asynchronous class, so we do not have any official class meeting times. However, because you will be required to participate in discussion forums and activities at least twice a week, and because your participation will have a deadline attached to it, I will take attendance twice weekly.

All OU classes will adhere to the OU Excused Absence Policy found at: http://www2.oakland.edu/provost/web/reports/OU_Excused_Absence_Policy_Final.pdf. Otherwise, students in WRT courses are allowed a number of absences equivalent to one week during the semester; thus, in this class you are permitted two absences due to absent-mindedness, illness, car trouble, or schedule conflicts. For each absence beyond the two absences you are allowed, your grade will be deducted by 0.15 points on the 4.0 scale.

Please be aware that students missing more than three combined weeks of class (the equivalent of 6 online class periods) are not eligible to receive a grade above 0.0 in WRT 414. Please also be aware too that failure to complete online assignments by the deadline for that assignment will result in your being counted absent for that online class. There are no make-up assignments for missed online work.

Social Practices: I hope for lively, interesting, and informed discussion throughout the semester. I expect that you will respect your classmates and me by being prepared and engaged participants in our online class community and, if you're not entirely excited to be here every week, I hope you'll at least be willing to fake it for our sakes. I expect you to be respectful to your peers, to me, and to anyone else you encounter in the course of completing research for this class.

Academic Conduct Policy: Cheating on examinations, plagiarism, falsifying reports/records, and unauthorized collaboration, access, or modifying of computer programs are considered serious breaches of academic conduct. The Oakland University policy on academic conduct will be strictly followed with no exceptions. See the university catalog under Academic Policies and Procedures for more information.

Adds/Drops: The University add/drop policy will be explicitly followed. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of the university deadline dates for dropping the course.

Emailing me: is the fastest way to get a response from me to one of your questions. However, I reserve the right not to respond to questions that can be answered by consulting the syllabus, schedule, or Moodle or other online course materials. I will try to respond to emails within 24 hours on weekdays and 48 hours over weekends.

Late Work: Work submitted late will be graded one full grade lower for each online class period it is late. I reserve the right to fail any work submitted a week or more after the deadline. I also reserve the right not to respond to or return late work until after I have caught up on my other work. After you have submitted two late assignments, any additional projects submitted late will not receive a grade above 0.0. Late projects cannot be revised for a better grade. Please Note: any work completed after the deadline on Moodle will not receive a grade.

The Evil Computer Ate My Homework Excuses: are rarely acceptable these days (their only real chance of working is in the event of a whole system--like the entire OU network-failure and even then you're skating on very thin ice). We're all expected to deal with technology and deal with it responsibly everyday of our adult lives, so err on the side of obsessive when it comes to saving the documents you're working on. You may want to get a free Dropbox account to save your course work securely and privately online where you will always have access to it. And to be safe, write your longer Moodle responses in Word or Notepad and copy/paste them into the Moodle forum after you have spell-checked them and saved them. This will prevent you from experiencing the heartbreak of writing a response only to find that Moodle didn't save that response for you.

Students with disabilities who may require equitable accommodations should make an appointment with OU’s Disability Support Services office, and notify the course instructor at the beginning of the semester.