(BEG)ging the Question: Using Online Tools to Support Writing Feedback

With Alison Hruby and Brandie Trent

Kentucky English Bulletin, Spring 2014, Vol 63, No. 2, pgs. 30-36

Effective writing feedback is an essential part of writing development. Without effective feedback, students do not engage in the “substantive self-assessment and revision” necessary to their growth and development as writers (Beach and Friedrich 231). Effective feedback is a “transaction…offering honest critique paired with instruction,” according to Nancy Sommers (253), and a “respectful” exchange between writer and reader, according to Carol Rutz (261).

We have found through the use of all three platforms–Blackboard, Edmodo, and Google+–that technology can be used, with proper planning and pedagogical support, to scaffold the conversation necessary to help students improve their writing. While it is easier to share in a more traditional classroom without the barriers and challenges of technology, technology also offers opportunities to work without distraction and to preserve a record of the conversation, including drafts, questions, and responses.