English Language and Literature ETDs

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Asynchronous online tutoring is a highly contested form of writing tutoring. Critics of asynchronous online tutoring argue that it is ineffective, running contrary to traditional notions of what writing tutoring should look like and how it should be practiced. Supporters of asynchronous online tutoring advocate for its inclusion in the tutoring canon, suggesting that it should be one of many formats available to students. Noticeably absent from this ongoing debate is a grounding in research, as there are few current contributions to this field of research, with the exception of works, most notably, Beth Hewetts The Online Writing Conference. This project responds to the current climate surrounding asynchronous online tutoring interactions, offering a research-based exploration of asynchronous online writing tutoring. This work represents a move away from the question 'Is asynchronous online tutoring effective?' and towards 'What are some of the ways tutors and students are engaging in effective asynchronous tutoring interactions?' 'What support can we provide to promote effective asynchronous tutoring interactions?' and 'How can we present asynchronous online tutoring to students in such a way that they can decide whether it works for them?' Chapter one offers the historical context of the debate on asynchronous online tutoring and offers an overview of the works that have been published to date. Chapter two lays out the qualitative research design created to explore the phenomenon of asynchronous online writing tutoring. Chapter three explores the research findings, arguing that the findings counter critiques of asynchronous online tutoring as ineffective and disengaging on the part of tutor and student alike. Chapter four concludes by looking to future possibilities for how we can further enhance our understanding of asynchronous online writing tutoring through research, how we can begin to understand best practices for asynchronous online tutors, and how we can support tutor development through training. Finally, drawing on the concept of directed self-placement, I advocate for a model of self-evaluation that empowers students to choose the tutoring format that works best for that individual student, given that student's needs.'

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Elder, Cristyn

Second Committee Member

Eodice, Michele

Third Committee Member

Sanford, Daniel




writing center theory, online writing tutoring, asynchronous online writing tutoring

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