Part Two

Part two furthers the discussion from part one by examining how to promote student engagement while creating and facilitating online classes. Each chapter considers various aspects of using a digital environment, including ethnicity, accessibility, emotions, collaboration, tutoring, and the differences between online and face-to-face (F2F) formats. These chapters serve to challenge the beliefs of online courses and their construction to promote a comfortable space for all types of students and instructors.

This section begins with “Lost in Cyberspace: Addressing Issues of Student Engagement in the Online Classroom Community” by Tamara Girardi, who suggests creating community through a variety of methods: introductory phone calls, synchronous chats, discussion forums, social networks, and email check-ins. Girardi also emphasizes creating unity and instructors’ reflecting on practices; this looks forward to Mary-Lynn Chambers’s “A Rhetorical Mandate: A Look at Multi-Ethnic/Multimodal Online Pedagogy” who reflects on BlackBoard’s history to prove that it is a system created by and for white students. Therefore, instructors must accommodate field independent and field dependent students and learn about how different cultures and backgrounds approach learning opportunities so that they can create classrooms of equal opportunity and foster community. Similarly, this reflection could be used in terms of accessibility, which is covered in “Can Everybody Read What’s Posted? Accessibility in the Online Classroom” by Danielle Nielsen.

Ethnicity and accessibility can be reflected on as instructors analyze the “temperature” of their classes, which Angela Laflen analyzes through emotions in “Taking the Temperature of the (Virtual) Room: Emotion in the Online Writing Class.” From this analysis, instructors see students’ emotional commitment, which uncovers if an instructor should revise their practices. Emotions in online spaces are important as students set the tone for discussions, and other students are influenced by these emotions; therefore, looking for specific language may indicate if there are areas, like ethnicity or accessibility, instructors may need to improve upon in their courses.

The remaining chapters of this section discuss collaboration in terms of group projects and writing tutoring. Katherine Ericsson’s “Thinking outside ‘the Box’: Going outside the CMS to Create Successful Online Team Projects” and Kimberley M. Holloway’s “Communicating with Adult Learning in the Online Writing Lab: A Call for Specialized Tutor Training for Adult Learners” prove how online classes can successfully move outside of the CMS.