The Online Writing Conference: A Guide for Teachers and Tutors
An Interview with Beth L. Hewett

Interviewed by Geoffrey C. MiddlebrookWebtext design by John M. Bonham
University of Southern CaliforniaUniversity of Southern California


A quick survey of composition literature reveals an abundance of titles devoted to faculty-student conferencing, including Teaching One-to-One: The Writing Conference (Harris, 1986), Dynamics of the Writing Conference: Social and Cognitive Interaction (Flynn & King, 1993), Tutoring Writing: A Practical Guide for Conferences (McAndrew, Reigstad, & Strickland, 2001), and One to One: Resources for Conference Centered Writing (Dawe & Dornan, 2006). Though each of these texts (and many others not mentioned here) contributes something to the theory and praxis of conferencing, none adequately considers that pedagogy as enacted on the Internet. This gap matters, since as Elaine Allen and Jeff Seaman's report (2010) for the Sloan Consortium makes abundantly clear, the current growth in online enrollments is only expected to continue, with what are bound to be ramifications for composition instruction. Fortunately, to help fill the lacuna there is now Beth Hewett's (2010) The Online Writing Conference: A Guide for Teachers and Tutors. To the benefit of readers Hewett has thoughtfully brought her extensive experience to the undertaking, and while I wish there were a media-rich and interactive companion website, this is nonetheless a much-needed work of genuine value. After summarizing the volume in the Book section of this webtext, I discuss it with Hewett on the Conversation page.