Giving Feedback to Writers Online. International and Virtual Conference 26th June 2014- 9.30am-2pm BST

· Bibliography

This is an online conference which will be delivered via the Adobe Connect Platform.

The Conference themes are: Collaborative online writing, feedback to students and research into online writing environments.



9.30 am-9.45 Welcome and Opening Comments-  Dr Mary Deane, Educational Development Consultant, OCSLD & Marion Waite, Senior Lecturer, University Teaching Fellow, Department of Clinical Health Care, Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Oxford Brookes University.

9.45-10.15. Keynote, Unravelling the feedback process on collaborative writing in online learning environments.  Dr Tresa Guasch, Dean of Psychology and Education Department at the Open University of Catalonia, Spain.

Session 1: 10.20-10.50am. Group connoisseurship: creating shared understandings of quality in online collaborative assessments. Clara O’Shea, Associate Lecturer, School of Education, University of Edinburgh, & Tim Fawns,Programme Coordinator, MSc in Clinical Education, Centre for Medical Education, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Session 2: 11.00-11.30 am. Online Journal Writing , Reflective Dialogue & Professional Learning. Dr. Ros Stuart-Buttle,  Senior Lecturer in Theology & Education & CCRS Liverpool Hope University, UK.

Session 3:11.35-12.05 pm. Presence is everything.  John Hilsdon,  Associate Professor Head of Learning Support and Wellbeing. Plymouth University, UK.

Session 4: 12.10-12.40pm. Online peer review across cultures: a study of native and non-native speakers’ comments in an international exchange. Becky Bergman, Lecturer , Division for Language & Communication, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenberg, Sweden  &  Dr. Paul Anderson, Provost, Director of Writing Across the University, Elon University, North Carolina, USA.

Plenary. 12.45-1.15pm. Dr Sarah Hass, Ghent University, Belgium.


Keynote Speaker Tresa

Unravelling the feedback process on collaborative writing in online learning environments

What is the best type of feedback to give in an online learning environment in order for the students to benefit from it and improve their essay? How can we ensure that students implement the feedback given and are then able to extrapolate it to other written task? These questions have been studied in various educational contexts, but there are still some specific issues requiring further examination in online learning environments. Such is the aim of this presentation which summarises the research we have carried out with a focus on how technology-enhanced environments can solve the challenges that may arise in collaborative writing tasks.


Tresa Guasch is UOC (January 2014). She was director of the Educational Psychology Programme (2006-2011). She is also a lecturer on the Doctoral Programme on e-learning and the Master of Secondary School Teacher Training. Her research area is focused on the process of teaching and learning in online learning environments, with special focus on teacher training and educational support in writing processes in online environments, such as e-feedback and peer feedback. Her main area of interest is the study of the elements that contribute to scaffolding better teaching and learning in computer-supported environments. More information of her recent publications, presentations and projects in Research gate: Academia:

Session 1: Group connoisseurship: creating shared understandings of quality in online collaborative assessments. Clara O’Shea & Tim Fawns, University of Edinburgh.

Drawing on our recent research (O’Shea and Fawns, 2014), this presentation focuses on the challenges of group authorship in digital environments, exploring the implications of this as a form of assessment of learning and for learning, through feedback and feedforward.

High-stakes assessment of collaborative and multimodal student work is problematic as the perceived risks can hinder creative academic expression. Reaching an understanding of quality that is shared between students as well as tutors is challenging, requiring the development of a range of complex knowledge and skills within a supportive environment.

Using the case of a class-wide, wiki-based assessment in a postgraduate online, distance learning programme, we will argue that successful collaborative, multimodal writing for assessment requires a shift in focus from summative understandings of feedback to formative ones of dialogue and discussion that support the development of shared practices, values and goals. We will extend existing notions of connoisseurship (such as those discussed in Hounsell et al., 2007) which refer to the capacity to evaluate and enhance one’s writing, to include an understanding of academic quality that is co-constructed and interdependent across the members of a group – a concept we term “group connoisseurship”.

Throughout the presentation there will be an interactional element encouraging participants to experience and reflect on some key themes around group and multimodal authorship including academic alignment, roles and writing practices.

Session 2: Online Journal Writing , Reflective Dialogue & Professional Learning. Ros Stuart-Buttle, Liverpool Hope University.

The theoretical framework for critical dialogue and reflective practice to support adult learning and professional development is well-recognised for enabling practitioners to connect learning to their personal contexts and professional lives (Freire, 1972; Knowles, 1980; Schön, 1983; Mezirow, 1991). Reflective journal writing has found a place within adult pedagogy for enhancing professional practice and boosting the ability for adult learners to reflect critically (McAlpine, 1992; O’Hanlon, 1997; Boud, 2001; Hiemstra, 2001). Educators today use online technologies to facilitate contemporary teaching and learning; these technologies also act as media for human communication and expression. How, therefore, can online writing engage adult learners in critical reflection and dialogue for professional development? This paper contributes to research into online writing environments by considering the online journal entries from UK teacher practitioners undertaking a certified online programme for continuing professional development. Different types of journal entries are presented as five categories: narrative, exposition, testimony, demonstration and interpretation. It is suggested that feedback to adult learners engaged in online writing must take account of these types in order for successful reflective-dialogical learning to occur. This carries significance not only for individual learners but for the online community of inquiry too. It also invites further conversation about reflective pedagogy, online writing and professional education.

Session 3: Presence is everything.  John Hilsdon, University of Plymouth.

This session will offer description of my experiences of running both an online ‘writing retreat’ and a ‘study buddy’ partnership for doctoral level writing, with opportunities for comment and discussion. The platform I have used is the Open University’s FlashMeeting project – see on their server . Considerations of the value of working on-and-off-line will be explored alongside points relating to this particular platform, its limitations and advantages. I will concentrate in particular, however, on the existential elements of being involved in an online writing project. These include: the impact of making a commitment to be part of a group, and to participate in it, on the motivation of members to produce written work; the value of having less imaginary correspondents; and the enhanced opportunities for and availability of feedback. Links will be made with theoretical work and literature, including that of Habermas and Wenger. This workshop builds upon a presentation given at the 2012 Tertiary Writing Network Colloquium: Tūtakitanga: Confluence and Convergence, 28-30 November 2012, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand.

Session 4: 12.10-12.40pm. Online peer review across cultures: a study of native and non-native speakers’ comments in an international exchange. Becky Bergman & Paul Anderson

Because of the increased internationalization and globalization of business and commerce, employees in many companies must collaborate effectively across cultures and continents via the Internet with colleagues whom they never meet in person. To succeed, they must learn to navigate cultural differences in the ways texts are written and understand the ways that online platforms support and hinder understanding and cooperation. In order to mirror this situation, our university students in the US and Sweden have been engaged in a project in which they peer review one another’s drafts of texts in technical writing classes using various platforms such as Wikispaces and GoogleDocs. This project has been ongoing for five years.

As well as being a classroom project, research has been undertaken focusing on the kinds of comments students make and how they interpret the comments that they receive. Because we both also use face-to-face peer review within our own classes, we have been able to inquire into the differences students experience in these two settings. We have been using mixed modes of inquiry, including interviews with students, textual analysis of the students’ comments, and survey questionnaires.

Since we use online peer review in our classes and since we are also conducting research into this phenomenon, our work touches on two conference themes: Feedback to students and Research into online writing environments. We will describe our evolving practice, and refer to some of our research findings, with a special focus on their implications for teaching. As an interactive element of our presentation, we will ask participants to respond to the intercultural features of a variety of illustrative comments made by students. We will also invite participants to suggest the kinds of instruction they would provide to help students provide substantive, helpful, culturally sensitive feedback via the Internet to students in other countries.


The  Oxford Centre for Staff and Learning Development (OCSLD) with Oxford Brookes University’s Faculty of Health and Life Sciences will host an International Virtual Conference on 26th June 2014.

This Virtual Conference will bring together colleagues based in higher education who are researching strategies for giving feedback to writers online. The aim is to disseminate good practice and and promote further enquiry into tools and pedagogies for supporting online writing development. This Conference is supported by a Santander scholarship awarded to writing developers Marion Waite and Mary Deane.

Virtual Writing Development

Since September 2012, a vibrant remote writing group based in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences at Oxford Brookes University has explored strategies for collaborative writing online. This group works in partnership with OCSLD to support staff development in giving feedback online.

Learning and Teaching Writing Online

This Conference celebrates the forthcoming publication, Learning and Teaching Writing Online, which brings together international scholars working on collaborative writing in online environments, assessment of online writing, and strategies for online writing instruction in disciplinary contexts.  This volume is edited by Dr. Teresa Guasch, a Keynote speaker at the Conference, and Dr. Mary Deane, one of the Conference organisers.

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