Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Wolfe, Joanna Lynn

Author's Keywords

Comments; Praise; Virtual writing center; Directiveness; Student feedback


English language--Rhetoric--Study and teaching; College prose--Evaluation; Interaction analysis in education; Education; Higher--Computer-assisted instruction; Distance education--Computer-assisted instruction


Current scholarship indicates an increase in the use of asynchronous electronic formats by writing instructors and tutors responding to student writing. However, little research has been done to understand the ways in which different formats affect the content of teacher written response and students' perceptions of these responses and formats. This thesis presents the results from two studies: one in the first year composition classroom and the other in the virtual writing center. Both studies consisted of the collection, coding, and analysis of instructor and tutor responses to student writing in two formats: the in-text (marginal) commenting response and the end comment response. Two instructors, five virtual writing center tutors, and 6 students from two first year composition classroom were interviewed about their perceptions of these formats and forty-one composition students participated in a survey. Overall, instructors, tutors, and students preferred the in-text commenting format to the end commenting format. The response coding found that in-text commenting responses included shorter but more frequent comments compared to the end comment responses. In-text responses also included more question comments, teacher rewriting of student texts, sentence-level comments, and explanatory praise, while end comments provided a higher number of full-text and observatory comments. These studies point to the need for further exploration into the ways in which explanatory praise facilitates student revision as well as deeper investigation into questions about the roles instructors, tutors, and students play in student revision.