Freewriting Reprogrammed: Adapting Freewriting to Online Writing Courses

in Learning and Teaching Writing Online
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Freewriting has long been touted as a pedagogical tool, particularly valuable for its ability to inspire invention and active learning. While freewriting is frequently assigned in face-to-face courses, it is necessary to adapt this practice to fit the unique setting of the online learning environment, where students often voice concern regarding limited connectivity with material, their classmates, and the instructor.

In this chapter, we share findings from our study that explores students’ experiences with freewriting in online writing courses. This study includes surveys of 58 students from two institutions. Our findings suggest that freewriting is an advantageous exercise for helping online composition students develop their writing and engage with course materials. We also found that freewriting cultivates community in the online classroom among teachers and students. These findings informed our suggestions for implementing freewriting activities in the online writing course, which we detail at the close of the chapter.

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