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Writing Apprehension of Basic Writers in an Online Writing Course: A Descriptive Study. Jennifer Follett Kim Holloway Leslie Gutierrez. I hear and forget; I see and remember; I do and understand. -CHINESE PROVERB-. The Era of Online Learning. Rise Like a Phoenix:

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writing apprehension of basic writers in an online writing course a descriptive study

Writing Apprehension of Basic Writers in an Online Writing Course: A Descriptive Study

Jennifer FollettKim HollowayLeslie Gutierrez

I hear and forget;

I see and remember;

I do and understand.

-CHINESE PROVERB-

the era of online learning
The Era of Online Learning

Rise Like a Phoenix:

The University of Phoenix Online and other online colleges and universities, such as Capella and DeVries, have allowed students the chance to earn a degree and go to school at the same time.

http://www.phoenix.edu/

cynthia selfe s call
Cynthia Selfe’s Call
  • Cynthia L. Selfe (1999)– “My purpose is to convince teachers of English studies, composition, and language arts that we must turn our attention to technology and its general relationship to literacy education” (p. 5).
  • Charles Moran (2001) – “ Computers have altered our landscape . . . . Therefore, we, as writing teachers, need to pay attention to what is happening” (p. 204).
writing apprehension of basic writers in an online writing course a descriptive study1
Writing Apprehension of Basic Writers in an Online Writing Course: A Descriptive Study

In our study we will observe an online basic writing course that relies on computer mediated discussion(CMD), asking:

  • What can we observe about changes in writing apprehension in basic writers across a semester of participation in this online writing course?
  • How do students’ perceptions about their writing apprehension change across a semester of participation in this online writing course?
  • What changes (if any) do we observe in students’ contributions to, attitudes toward, and perceptions of CMD across the semester?
methods
METHODS
  • Writing Apprehension Test (WAT): Administered at the beginning and the end of the semester.
  • Interviews with students over the course of the semester to capture attitudes toward and perceptions of the CMD, and their participation in it.
  • Discourse analysis of CMD transcripts.
  • Learning logs.

Note: our methods design was influenced by Shallert, D., Hailey Reed, J., & The D-Team. (2003), including multiple qualitative methods to get at the rich and inherently complex data associated with studies measuring metacognition.

say wat
Say Wat?
  • Writing Apprehension Test (WAT)
writing apprehension test wat
Writing Apprehension Test (WAT)

John Daly and Michael D. Miller. (1975)

  • Measures levels of apprehension in writers.
  • Twenty to Twenty-six questions.
  • Likert Scale.
  • Pre & Post Test.
  • 90% reliability rate.
writing apprehension test wat1
Writing Apprehension Test (WAT)
  • Directions: Below are twenty statements that people sometimes make about themselves. Please indicate whether or not you believe each statement applies to you by marking whether you: Strongly Disagree = 1; Disagree = 2; are Neutral = 3; Agree = 4; Strongly Agree = 5
  • _____1. I avoid writing._____2. I have no fear of my writing being evaluated. _____3. I look forward to writing down my ideas._____4. My mind seems to go blank when I start to work on a composition. _____5. Expressing ideas through writing seems to be a waste of time. _____6. I would enjoy submitting my writing to magazines for evaluation and publication._____7. I like to write my ideas down._____8. I feel confident in my ability to clearly express my ideas in writing._____9. I like to have my friends read what I have written._____10. I am nervous about writing. _____11. People seem to enjoy what I write._____12. I enjoy writing. _____13. I never seem to be able to clearly write down my ideas. _____14. Writing is a lot of fun._____15. I like seeing my thoughts on paper. _____16. Discussing my writing with others is an enjoyable experience. _____17. It is easy for me to write good compositions. _____18. I don't think I write as well as most other people do._____19. I don't like my compositions to be evaluated._____20. I am no good at writing.
writing apprehension test wat2
Writing Apprehension Test (WAT)
  • Scoring::To determine your score on the WAT, complete the following steps:Step 1. Add scores for items 1, 4, 5, 10, 13, 18, 19, and 20Step 2. Add the scores for items 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17Step 3. Complete the following formula:
  • WAT = 48 - Total from Step 1 + Total from Step 2Your score should be between 20 and 100. If your score is below 20 or above 100, you have made a mistake in computing the score.

Source:Daly, J. A., & Miller, M. D. (1975). The empirical development of an instrument to measure writing apprehension. Research in Teaching of English, 9, 242-249.

the benefits of the writing apprehension test wat
The Benefits of the Writing Apprehension Test? (WAT)
  • “A surprisingly large number of students have writing anxiety, a debilitating condition that often leads students to avoid courses, majors, and jobs that require writing.” (Daly & Shamo,1976, 1978; Wachholz & Etheridge, 1996).
  • “Studies show that affective aspects of learning such as anxiety have a strong impact on the student’s ability to learn course content”(McLeod, 1997).
the importance of this study computer mediated communication and sound pedagogy

The importance of this Study:Computer Mediated Communication and Sound Pedagogy

“. . . Teachers remain comfortable with the culture’s traditional separation of arts and technology as it has. . . allowed us to use technology in our classrooms while generally absolving ourselves from the responsibility for planning for technology, thinking critically about technology , [and] assessing the value of technology. . .”

If the goal for our writing courses is to promote collaboration within a social construction framework, then how might computer mediated discussion work with and/or against this pedagogy?

Selfe, C. (1999). Technology and literacy in the twenty-first century: the importance of paying attention. Southern Illinois University press. (p. 12)

social construction and cmd
Social Construction and CMD

Shallert, D., Hailey Reed, J., & The D-Team. (2003) and LaPointe, L. & Reisetter, M. (2008)

  • Knowledge is constructed in/by groups through interaction, collaboration, negotiation—in writing and in speaking:

“Language is the means by which learners construct their understanding, their very identity, and not simply the means by which more knowledgeable others express their best understanding to influence learners' cognitive development.”

(Shallert, et al, 2003)

Technological literacy: “a complex set of socially and culturally situated values, practices, and skills involved in operating linguistically within the context of electronic environments, including reading, writing, and communicating” (1999b, p. 11)

  • It is this emphasis on active participation in the social construction of knowledge that influenced us to look to CMD as the site where students may be building knowledge about writing that may influence their level of writing confidence.
cmd as pedagogically sound arguments in support
CMD as pedagogically sound: arguments in support
  • Stine, L. (2004). The best of both worlds: teaching basic writers in class and online. Journal of Basic Writing, 23, ( 2)
    • Perceived anonymity & distance of CMD may increase confidence in students reluctant to speak in class.
    • “Academic Skill Building” argument
    • Critical awareness & reflection time due to the persistence of text in CMD
  • Strenski, E. (2005). Email Small Group Peer Review Revisited. Computers and Composition, 22( 2)
    • The social nature of electronic “chat” leads to congenial collaboration
    • Rhetorical awareness due to audience issues—negotiations, reformulations based on misreading
what is a basic writer
What Is a Basic Writer?
  • Many definitions, little agreement
  • Shaughnessy (1977): Beginning writers who must learn from the mistakes they make. They are:

“[Students] who have been left so far behind the others in formal education that they appeared to have little chance of catching up, students whose difficulties with the written language seemed of a different order from those other groups, as if they had come, you might say, from a different country, or at least through different schools, where even very modest standards of high-school literacy had not been met” (p.2).

what is a basic writer 2
What Is a Basic Writer 2?
  • Others have also defined basic writers:
  • Kasdan and Hoeber (1980)
  • Wiener (1981)
  • Troyka (1981)
  • Bartholomae and Petrosky (1986)
  • Rose (1990)
basic writers 1990 and beyond
Basic Writers: 1990 and Beyond
  • Clear definition still debated:
    • Gray-Rosendale (2000): “On the one hand, the definition attributed to the term Basic Writer is too narrow to describe all of the issues relevant to the student population. On the other hand, the term’s lack of breadth in definition is precisely what allows administrators and instructors to make compelling arguments that support this same student population” (p. 10 – 11).
  • Shaughnessy’s definition of basic writers as beginners - still relevant
problems online learning
Problems – Online Learning
  • Typing and computer skills: Pavia, 2004
  • Not for everyone: LaPointe and Reisetter, 2008
  • Accessibility: Stine, 2000
  • Homogenous culture: Stine, 2000
  • Shallow online discussions: LaPointe and Reisetter, 2000
problems online learning 2
Problems – Online Learning 2
  • Overloading (learning writing and online): Stine, 2000
  • Text-based communications : Stine, 2000
  • Reduced cues: Stine, 2000
  • Too much faith in the computer: Stine, 2000
  • Self-motivation needed (often a problem with BW): Stine, 2000
where we stand recent studies that call for further research
Where we stand: recent studies that call for further research
  • Mabrito, M. (2000). Computer, conversations and writing apprehension. Business Communication Quarterly, 63(1), Retrieved June 17, 2009 from General One File.
  • McCarson, R. (2005).Measuring communication apprehension, writing apprehension, and group satisfaction levels in face-to-face and virtual settings. Chrestomathy: College of Charleston, 4, 1-32.
  • Pavia, C. (2004). Issues of attitude and access: a case study of basic writers in a computer classroom. Journal of Basic Writing, 23(2). 4-22.
slide20

McCarson, R. (2005).Measuring communication apprehension, writing apprehension, and group satisfaction levels in face-to-face and virtual settings. Chrestomathy: College of Charleston, 4, 1-32.

  • 1. “Further studies may also wish to move in the direction of developing scales that specifically measure CA,WA, and group satisfaction specifically in regards to CMC.”
  • 2. “Other studies may wish to examine the question of the writing element in the virtual setting-especially when a chat room could be thought of as the closest to synchronous communication besides video-and-voice-streaming.”
slide21

Pavia, C. (2004). Issues of attitude and access: a case study of basic writers in a computer classroom. Journal of Basic Writing, 23(2). 4-22.

“My own experiences teaching in the basic writing computer classroom point to the need for more research into the computer experience; attitudes; genealogies, which Sloane defines as an individual’s memory, understandings, and prior experiences with writing, reading, and technology; and overall technological complexities that

basic writers may bring to the computer classroom”(p. 50)

  • Teacher research in a basic writing computer classroom that offers two case studies to investigate how students’ perceptions about and attitudes toward computers in general and writing with/without computers might complicate their interactions with technology in the class.

Notable finding: the two students’ attitudes toward writing did not improve with computer use in this course. This finding is not in keeping with findings in other studies with a similar focus.

slide22

Mabrito, M. (2000). Computer, conversations and writing apprehension. Business Communication Quarterly, 63(1), Retrieved June 17, 2009, from General One File.

“When participating in discussions within these global newsgroups, high apprehensives contributed more messages, wrote longer messages, and spent more time initiating new topics of discussion.”

  • The results of this study are intriguing because of the data that shows that high apprehensives are more comfortable writing and initiating conversations with people they do not know (in the global newsroup) than with those people they know (in the local newsgroup). This conclusion reinforces the idea that basic writers are often more comfortable in the online setting because of the anonymity aff0rded in this environment.
we hope to discover
We hope to discover . . .

A.) What changes there may be writing apprehension across the semester

B.) What resonance or dissonance exists between students’ perceptions of their own writing apprehension and their WAT scores

C.) What changes we see in the nature of students’ participation in, attitudes toward and perceptions of CMD

What correlation may exist between A+B & C

references
References

Daly, J. A., & Miller, M. D. (1975). The empirical development of an instrument to measure writing apprehension. Research in Teaching of English, 9, 242-249.

Gray-Rosendale, L. (2000). Rethinking basic writing: Exploring identity, politics, and

community in interaction Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

LaPointe, L., & Reisetter, M. (2008). Belonging online: Students’ perceptions of the value and Efficacy of an online learning community. International Journal on E-Learning,7(4), 641 – 665.

Mabrito, M. (2000). Computer, conversations and writing apprehension. Business Communication Quarterly,63(1), Retrieved June 17, 2009 from General One File.

McCarson, Rebecca (2005). Measuringcommunication apprehension, writing apprehension, and group satisfaction levels in face-to-face and virtual settings. Chretomathy: College of Charleston, 4, 1 – 32.

Pavia, C. (2004). Issues of attitude and access: a case study of basic writers in a computer classroom. Journal of Basic Writing, 23(2), 4-22.

Selfe, C. (1999). Technology and literacy in the twenty-first century: the importance of paying attention. Southern Illinois UP.

Shallert, D., Hailey Reed, J., & The D-Team. (2003). Intellectual, motivational, and cultural considerations in teaching and learning with computer-mediated discussion. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 36(2), 103-118.

Stine, L. (2004). The best of both worlds: teaching basic writers in class and online. Journal of Basic Writing, 23(2), 49-69.

Strenski, E., Feagin, C. & Singer, J. (2005). Email small group peer review revisited. Computers and Composition, 22(2), 191-208.

Shaughnessy, M. (1977). Errors and expectations: A guide for the teacher of basic

writing. NewYork: Oxford UP.

University of Phoenix Online. http://www.phoenix.edu

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