English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2023


To teach composition in this era means to engage students with technology; it is all but an unspoken requirement at the majority of universities. This dissertation theorizes, however, that the imbricated use of technology in first-year writing (FYW) classrooms places rural students at an inherent disadvantage, with issues of inadequate technological proficiency and inconsistent access causing a substantial learning disparity between this student population and their urban peers. Through mixed-methods data analysis of student survey responses and final FYW course portfolios, this study reveals that the expectation of technological access and presumption of digital literacy is detrimental to rural student success in these courses. This dissertation culminates in a call to recognize how technological requirements in FYW courses, though beneficial in many instances, can become obstructive to rural student success, and concludes with a discussion of possible equity-minded solutions that may aid in supporting technological equity for rural students.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Andrew Bourelle

Second Committee Member

Tiffany Bourelle

Third Committee Member

Cristyn Elder

Fourth Committee Member

Paula Smith-Hawkins




Rural, equity, writing, technology, digital, literacy, pedagogy

Document Type