PARS in Practice: More Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors

  • Writing Program, Online Writing Instruction, Pedagogy, Writing

Edited by Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle
Copy edited by Don Donahue. Designed by Mike Palmquist.

CoverBy focusing on being Personal, Accessible, Responsive, and Strategic (PARS), this book explores the complexities and anxieties associated with online writing instruction (OWI). The PARS approach is an innovative way to self support your own online writing instruction and/or provide support for your OWI faculty. This collection offers extensive examples of how to create personal assignments, syllabi, and learning spaces that connect with students while teaching you how to be accessible and craft accessible documents and spaces. The contributors assert that when you create an online writing course, you're crafting a user experience. With this in mind, they encourage you to be strategic in planning and teaching your online courses as you continually iterate your course design and teaching practices in an effort to create a better user experience for everyone.

Table of Contents

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Front Matter

Foreword: Turning Research into Practice, Heidi Skurat Harris
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.1.2

Introduction: PARS and Online Writing Instruction, Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.1.3


Section 1: Design

Section Introduction

Chapter 1. Online Writing Instructors as Strategic Caddies: Reading Digital Landscapes and Selecting Online Learning Tools, Kristy Liles Crawley
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.01

Chapter 2. My Online Instruction Mulligan: How PARS Transformed My Technical Writing Community College Course, Thomas M. Geary
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.02

Chapter 3. Strategic, User-Centered Design for a Globally Distributed, Condensed Format, Online Graduate Course, Mary K. Stewart
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.03

Chapter 4. The Literacy Load is Too Damn High! A PARS Approach to Cohort-Based Discussion, Alex Sibo
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.04

Chapter 5. People, Programs, and Practices: A Grid-Based Approach to Designing and Supporting Online Writing Curriculum, Allegra Smith, Libby Chernouski, Bianca Batti, Alisha Karabinus, and Bradley Dilger
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.05

Section 2: Instruction

Section Introduction

Chapter 6. Finding the Sweet Spot: Strategic Course Design Using Videos, Christine I. McClure and Cat Mahaffey
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.06

Chapter 7. Designing a More Equitable Scorecard: Grading Contracts and Online Writing Instruction, Angela Laflen and Mikenna Sims
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.07

Chapter 8. Not a Laughing Matter: Creating a Humor-Centric User Design in OWI, Nitya Pandey
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.08

Chapter 9. Confronting Ableist Texts: Teaching Usability and Accessibility in the Online Technical Writing Classroom, Cynthia Pengilly
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.09

Chapter 10. Negotiating the Hazards of the "Just-in-Time" Online Writing Course, Theresa M. Evans
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.10

Section 3: Administration

Section Introduction

Chapter 11. Create, Support, and Facilitate Personal Online Writing Courses in Online Writing Programs, Rhonda Thomas, Karen Kuralt, Heidi Skurat Harris, and George Jensen
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.11

Chapter 12. Using PARS to Build a Community of Practice for Hybrid Writing Instructors, Lyra Hilliard
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.12

Chapter 13. Preparing Graduate Students and Contingent Faculty for Online Writing Instruction: A Responsive and Strategic Approach to Designing Professional Development Opportunities, N. Claire Jackson and Andrea R. Olinger
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.13

Chapter 14. Online Writing Instructors as Web Designers: Tapping into Existing Expertise, Jason Snart
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.14

Chapter 15. PARS for the Course: Using PARS to Teach PARS in an Online Graduate Seminar, Lydia Wilkes
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.15

Section 4: User Experience (UX)

Section Introduction

Chapter 16. The Bottom End: Transposing Online Bass Lessons to Online Writing Instruction, Dylan "Too Fresh" Retzinger
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.16

Chapter 17. Ensuring High-Quality Student User Experiences: PARS and the Technical Communication Online Writing Class, Guiseppe Getto
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.17

Chapter 18. Usability Testing for OWI Instructors, Joseph Bartolotta
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.18

Chapter 19. Aiming for the Sweet Spot: A User-Centered Approach to Migrating a Community-engaged Course Online, Erica M. Stone
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.19

Chapter 20. PARSing out the Course: User-centered Design through HyperDocs in Online Writing Instruction, Kathleen Turner Ledgerwood
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.2.20


Conclusion: Moving Day!, Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.3.1

Afterword: Re-Mapping the Global Context for Online Education, Kirk St.Amant
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145.3.2


About the Editors

Jessie Borgman has taught both face-to-face and online since 2009. She has several published articles and book chapters and has presented at conferences including, CCCCs, C&W, and TYCA. She has served on the CCCC OWI Standing Group in multiple capacities. Her research interests include online writing instruction, instructional design, content strategy, user experience, two-year colleges, and writing program administration. She is an instructor in the Writers' Studio at Arizona State University.

Casey McArdle is Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures at Michigan State University. He is an advocate for accessibility in and out of the classroom and has been involved with OWI for many years via publications, presentations, and research teams that focus on OWI.

Together, Borgman and McArdle are creators of The Online Writing Instruction Community (, a website and social media group dedicated to collecting and sharing online writing instruction resources. They co-authored a book which was released in the fall of 2019 titled Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors, which is based on their PARS approach to online writing instruction. They host professional development workshops on online writing instruction and the PARS approach.

Publication Information: Borgman, Jessie, & Casey McArdle (Eds.). (2020). PARS in Practice: More Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors. The WAC Clearinghouse; University Press of Colorado.

Digital Publication Date: January 11, 2021
Print Publication Date: October 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64215-114-5 (PDF) | 978-1-64215-115-2 (ePub) | 978-1-64642-188-6 (pbk.)
DOI: 10.37514/PRA-B.2021.1145

Contact Information:
Jessie Borgman:
Casey McArdle:

Practices & Possibilities

Series Editors: Mike Palmquist, Colorado State University; Aimee McClure, Clarke University; Aleashia Walton, University of Cincinnati; and Karen Moroski-Rigney, Michigan State University

Acrobat Reader DownloadThis book is available in whole and in part in Adobe's Portable Document Format (PDF). It is also available in a low-cost print edition from our publishing partner, the University Press of Colorado.

Copyright © 2021 Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License. 380 pages, with notes, illustrations, and bibliographies. This book is available in print from University Press of Colorado as well as from any online or brick-and-mortar bookstore. Available in digital formats for no charge on this page at the WAC Clearinghouse. You may view this book. You may print personal copies of this book. You may link to this page. You may not reproduce this book on another website.