Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts

Degree Name

Composition, Rhetoric, and Digital Media

First Advisor

Janine Morris, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Star Vanguri, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Juliette Kitchens, Ph.D.


Fostering community in online basic writing (OBW) classes can be difficult with a student population who often lacks confidence in their writing. By implementing collaborative activities in OBW courses, instructors can facilitate students making connections with each other resulting in increased confidence in their writing. This thesis provides four best practices—make meaningful connections early on in the course, listen to students, provide meaningful feedback, and provide opportunities for collaboration— for instructors teaching OBW, which help students feel connected to and supported by their writing community. The four best practices were informed by research on basic writing, online writing instruction, Community of Inquiry (CoI), and collaboration. In addition, interviews were conducted with five OBW faculty at a four-year institution to gain a sense of how they build community and collaboration among students in their courses. Using the four recommendations as a starting point, this thesis presents instructors with a full syllabus for an OBW course that supports collaboration and community to assist in mitigating the isolation and lack of confidence basic writers feel when entering college writing.