You are here:

The effects of digital technology on basic writing

, Old Dominion University, United States

Old Dominion University . Awarded


At this study's research site—a small, Virginia community college—faculty, staff and students use digital technology to share information daily, which could cause a problem for some students: students may need digital literacy instruction before the college requires those courses. Another potential problem is that scholars (Stephens, Houser, and Cowan) indicate that some instructors across the academy treat students negatively if students do not demonstrate digital, rhetorical dexterity when communicating—particular digital skills that some students lack.

For this study, I surveyed basic writing (BW) instructors and students at the research site to learn more about their digital experiences. The surveys yielded results that complicate BW. For example, many students have some digital skills, but may also want simultaneous digital and word literacy instruction in their course. And, most students and instructors value digital technology. Also, instructors have digital experience but may be reluctant to teach digital, rhetorical dexterity despite their potential ability to do so.

I conclude that the site needs a hybrid BW (HBW) course. In the HBW course that I propose, instructors and students share digital experiences; instructors help students build digital and word literacy simultaneously; and students' assignments help them practice and develop digital, rhetorical dexterity.


Norris, L.D. The effects of digital technology on basic writing. Ph.D. thesis, Old Dominion University. Retrieved May 6, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

Citation reproduced with permission of ProQuest LLC.

For copies of dissertations and theses: (800) 521-0600/(734) 761-4700 or