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Paying attention to adult learners online: The pedagogy and politics of community


Computers and Composition Volume 23, Number 1 ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Our article profiles the evolution of a fully online writing course designed for adult learners in our university's Prior Learning Assessment Program. Based on our own observations and experiences teaching adult learners online, we question if the virtual learning environment presents different challenges and prospects for the adult learner versus the traditional student learner, along with an extension and complication of the more social metaphors of “virtual community.” Moreover, because of the changing demographic from traditional to adult students, we argue that this change also fosters a change in the relationship between teachers and students. In chronicling this relationship, we note problems when the labor of adult education becomes invisible to those supervising online instructors. Because of these “invisible” labor issues, we argue that successful online instruction must include a range of interactions between students and instructors that extend the more public concept of community to better acknowledge the importance of personal, private interaction. Thus, we conclude with a call to rethink our online writing pedagogies to be more flexible to adult learner needs and learning styles, simultaneously recognizing the impact of adult online education on faculty workload.


Blair, K. & Hoy, C. Paying attention to adult learners online: The pedagogy and politics of community. Computers and Composition, 23(1), 32-48. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved June 9, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Computers and Composition on January 29, 2019. Computers and Composition is a publication of Elsevier.

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