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Writer L1/L2 Status and Asynchronous Online Writing Center Feedback: Consultant Response Patterns

Authors:

Abstract

This case study examines the differences in comments offered by asynchronous online writing center consultants to L1 and L2 speakers and examines the potential disconnects in consultant perceptions of their practice. The researchers collected and coded sample papers and interviewed participants to contextualize data from the quantitative portion of the study. The researchers found that in addition to differences between comments to L1 and L2 writers in each category of comment, there was a significant difference in the number of comments offered. Participants accounted for some--but not all--of these differences, indicating some implications for training and assessment. (TLAR, volume 22, issue 2, pp. 9-38)
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Writer L1/L2 Status and Asynchronous
Online Writing Center Feedback:
Consultant Response Patterns
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XWWHUDQFHV/ RURIWRWDOFRGHGXWWHUDQFHV:KLOHWKH
GLIIHUHQFHLQXVHEHWZHHQWKHJURXSVZDVRQO\PDUJLQDOO\VLJQLÀFDQW
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LQWHUHVWLQJSLFWXUHExplanationsZHUHSULPDULO\XVHGWRDGGUHVV
correctnessLQ/SDSHUVDFFRXQWLQJIRURI WKHWRWDOH[SODQDWRU\
:ULWHU//6WDWXVDQG2QOLQH)HHGEDFN_
FRPPHQWVDQGMXVWLQ/SDSHUVLQ/SDSHUVexplanation was
SULPDULO\XVHGWRDGGUHVVstyle-formatDFFRXQWLQJIRURI WRWDO
H[SODQDWRU\FRPPHQWVDVRSSRVHGWRRQO\LQ/SDSHUV7KH
GLIIHUHQFHLQIRFXVLVVLJQLÀFDQWSIRUERWKFDVHV
ExplanationZDVDOVRWKHPRVWIUHTXHQWPRGHGLVFXVVHGLQ
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H[SODQDWLRQPRUHRYHUWO\WRWXWRUWUDLQLQJVD\LQJWKDW´RQHRI 
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SURYLGHDQ\VXJJHVWLRQV«ZHWU\WRJLYHUHDVRQLQJDVWRZK\WKDW
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WKDWFRQVXOWDQWVIHHOLQFOXGLQJexplanatioQLVLPSRUWDQWEHFDXVHLWLV
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HOHPHQWRI HIIHFWLYHRQOLQHFRPPHQWDU\$QQHYHQZHQWDVIDUDVWR
VD\WKDWLWLV´KHUIDXOWµLI DVWXGHQWGRHVQRWXQGHUVWDQGZK\VKHLV
FRPPHQWLQJRQDQLVVXHUHVXOWLQJLQKHUDWWHPSWLQJWRH[SODLQWKLQJV
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(DFKRI WKHFRQVXOWDQWVDOVRGLVWLQJXLVKHGEHWZHHQKRZWKH\
XVHexplanationGLIIHUHQWO\IRU/DQG/ZULWHUVEXWRQO\LI WKH\DUH
FHUWDLQRI WKHZULWHU·VODQJXDJHVWDWXV$QQIRULQVWDQFHSRLQWHGRXW
WKDWVKHPLJKWUHSHDWDFRPPHQWWKURXJKRXWWKHSDSHUEXWYDU\KHU
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ZULWHU·VODQJXDJHVWDWXVZDVDIDFWRULQWKHLUFRPPHQWV
2OLYLDDIWHUEHLQJDVNHGZK\/ZULWHU·VSDSHUVWDNH
ORQJHU,WKLQNWKDWH[SODLQLQJWKHJUDPPDUUXOHV
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LQWURGXFWRU\FODXVHPRUHWRDQRQQDWLYHVSHDNHU
0RQLFDDIWHUEHLQJDVNHGKRZWRDGGUHVVZRUNLQJZLWK
DQ/ZULWHUZKRKDSSHQVWRVWUXJJOHZLWKJUDPPDU
«,WU\WRWKLQN´ZHOOLI ,GLGQ·WNQRZDQ\WKLQJDERXW
(QJOLVKJUDPPDUKRZZRXOG,ZDQWWKLVH[SODLQHGWR
PHµVRLW·VNLQGRI KRZ,WU\WRDSSURDFK>LW@«PRUHVR
WKDQ,ZRXOGZLWKDQDWLYH(QJOLVKVSHDNHU
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7RVXPPDUL]HexplanationZDVWKHPRVWIUHTXHQWO\RFFXUULQJ
PRGHRecastWKRXJKXVHGVSDULQJO\ZDVRIIHUHGRQO\WR/ZULWHUV
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ZLWK/ZULWHUVDVRSSRVHGWRVW\OHFODULW\ZLWK/ZULWHUV,QWHUYLHZV
LQGLFDWHGWKDWSDUWLFLSDQWVZHUHDZDUHRI WKHGLIIHUHQFHVDQGWKDWWKH
GLIIHUHQFHVRFFXUUHGEHFDXVHRI FRQVFLRXVUKHWRULFDOGHFLVLRQV
Discussion
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FRQVXOWDQWVIRFXVHGRQPDQ\RI WKHVDPHDUHDVREVHUYHGE\5DIRWK
JUDPPDUDQGSXQFWXDWLRQcorrectnesscontentDQGorganization
2WKHUIUHTXHQWO\DGGUHVVHGDUHDVLQFOXGHGstyle-formatstyle-genreDQG
style-clarity0DQ\RI WKHVDPHPRGHVREVHUYHGE\5DIRWKZHUHDOVR
REVHUYHGKHUHLQFOXGLQJquestionsFRPPHQWVexplanationVXJJHVWLRQV
adviceDQGcorrectionsrecastsLQDGGLWLRQWRTXDOLÀHGFULWLFLVP
Of the IRFLcontentDQGcorrectnessZHUHWKHPRVWIUHTXHQWO\
DGGUHVVHG7KLVPLJKWEHH[SHFWHGVLQFHWKHVHWZRIRFLPDWFKXS
ZHOOZLWKWKHGLYLVLRQEHWZHHQVXUIDFHLVVXHVDQGJOREDOLVVXHVWKDW
ZHIRXQGCorrectnessZDVDOVRDPRUHFRPPRQIRFXVLQ/SDSHUV
whereas contentZDVPRUHFRPPRQLQ/SDSHUV+RZHYHUDVRXU
UHVXOWVGHPRQVWUDWHZKLOHcorrectnessZDVDGGUHVVHGLQERWK/DQG/
SDSHUVexplanationZDVPRUHIUHTXHQWO\XVHGDVDPRGHWRDGGUHVV
correctnessLQ/SDSHUVWKDQ/SDSHUVRecastsZHUHUDUHO\XVHGWR
DGGUHVVFRUUHFWQHVVLQ/SDSHUVEXWZHUHFRPPRQLQ/SDSHUV
5HJDUGLQJcontentTXDOLÀHGFULWLFLVPZDVXVHGLQFRPPHQWVWR/EXW
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SURYHGWREHGLIIHUHQWEHWZHHQ/DQG/SDSHUVDVGHVFULEHGDERYH
7KHVHUHVXOWVHFKRWKHLQWHUDFWLRQDOGLIIHUHQFHVEHWZHHQ/
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ZLWK/ZULWHUV0DQ\RI WKHVHVHHPWREHFRQVFLRXVUKHWRULFDO
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FOHDUO\IHOWexplanationZDVYLWDODVDPRGHLQZRUNLQJZLWK/ZULWHUV
&RQYHUVHO\WKH\IHOWWKDW/ZULWHUVGRQRWQHHGDVPXFKexplanation
DERXWJUDPPDUPLVWDNHVSRVVLEO\H[SODLQLQJZK\recastDSSHDUHG
:ULWHU//6WDWXVDQG2QOLQH)HHGEDFN_
RQO\LQUHVSRQVHVWR/+RZHYHUPDQ\RI WKHGLIIHUHQFHVPD\QRW
KDYHEHHQGHOLEHUDWH7RUHWXUQWRWKHH[DPSOHUHJDUGLQJrecastsQRQH
RI WKHFRQVXOWDQWVHQGRUVHGUHFDVWRULQGLFDWHGFRQVFLRXVO\XVLQJLW
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contentDQGstyle-clarityZLWK/VSHDNHUVDVRSSRVHGWRcorrectness with
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References
%DEFRFN57KRQXV7Researching the writing center: Towards
an evidence-based practice1HZ<RUN1<3HWHU/DQJ
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JRLQJRQOLQH,Q&0XUSK\(GThe writing center director’s
resource bookSS0DKZDK1-/DZUHQFH(UOEDXP
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$V\QFKURQRXVRQOLQHLQVWUXFWLRQ&UHDWLYHFROODERUDWLRQIRU
RQOLQHVWXGHQWVXSSRUWCEA Critic, 76SS
_7/$59ROXPH1XPEHU
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:HLVVHU(GVThe locations of compositionSS$OEDQ\
1<6WDWH8QLYHUVLW\RI 1HZ<RUN3UHVV
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6FKLFN.+HVVOHU+(GVA guide to composition pedagogies
SS2[IRUG8.2[IRUG8QLYHUVLW\3UHVV
'ULVFROO'3HUGXH67KHRU\ORUHDQGPRUH$QDQDO\VLV
of RAD research in The Writing Center JournalThe
Writing Center Journal, 32SS
*ROGHQ3Responding with purpose: Analysis of a writing center’s
commentary practices in an asynchronous online writing lab environment
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+HZHWW%The Online Writing Conference%RVWRQ0$
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FRQIHUHQFLQJLQRQOLQHSHHUUHVSRQVHWritten Communication,
18SS
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VHFRQGODQJXDJHZULWHUVJournal of Second Language Writing, 15
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SULQWThe Writing Center Journal, 29SS
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%UXFH(GVESL writers: A guide for writing center tutors SS
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UHVSRQGWRWKHPThe Writing Center Journal, 34SS
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ÀUVWDQGVHFRQGODQJXDJHZULWHUV-ournal of Second Language
Writing, 13SS
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Yearbook of Immigration
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Appendices
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“I might include a bit more information here.”
“I feel that this paragraph addresses several subjects. Could this be
made into separate paragraphs?”
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paper is about.”
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ZRUGFKRLFHSXQFWXDWLRQRUFLWDWLRQ"
“I’m not sure if this word would be needed here.”
“When connecting two complete sentences with a coordinating
conjunction, a comma must be used.”
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FRPPHQWV"
“This document seems like it isn’t appearing correctly on my
computer. Is this a formatting issue?”
“I’ll comment on things like organization, clarity, and APA
style.”
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ZULWLQJPHFKDQLFV"
“Since this is a proper noun, it should be capitalized.”
“The period should come after the parentheses in this in text
citation.”
“This should be ‘their’ instead of ‘there.’”
Organization (org):,VWKHFRPPHQWPDNLQJDVXJJHVWLRQWKDW
UHVXOWVLQFKDQJLQJWKHRUJDQL]DWLRQRI WKHSDSHU"
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“I think this sentence could be moved to the beginning of the
paragraph.”
´7KLVLQIRUPDWLRQPLJKWÀWEHWWHULQWKHSUHYLRXVVHFWLRQµ
“I like this introduction. It prepares the reader for the rest of the
paper.”
Content (cnt):'RHVWKHFRPPHQWVXJJHVWDGGLQJFRQWHQWSRLQWRXW
DODFNRI FRQWHQWRULQWHUDFWZLWKWKHFRQWHQW"
“Could a bit more explanation be given here?”
“I might also add a bit more about this subject, so readers
understand what it is.”
“This is so true, isn’t it? :)”
Style:'RHVWKHFRPPHQWÀWRQHRI WKHVHXVHVRI ´VW\OH"µ
style-clarity:,VWKHFRPPHQWRQDQLVVXHZLWKFODULW\VXFKDV
VHQWHQFHVWUXFWXUHRUZRUGFKRLFH"
“I feel like the word ‘issue’ doesn’t really accurately capture the
meaning. What about ‘altercation?’”
VW\OHIRUPDW,VWKHFRPPHQWRQDQLVVXHWKDWLVDPDWWHURI 
IRUPDWWLQJVW\OHVXFKDV$3$RU0/$"
“In APA, page numbers are also required after direct quotations.”
style-genre:'RHVWKHFRPPHQWDGGUHVVDQLVVXHUHODWHGWRWKH
FRQYHQWLRQVRI WKHZULWWHQJHQUHVXFKDVLQIRUPDOVSHHFKRU
FRQWUDFWLRQV"
“Generally ‘you’ is not used in academic writing as it can be seen as
informal.”
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“I might add a bit about this subject.”
“I would probably move this sentence to the start of the
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“Could more detail be added to this section?”
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“Is there anything else readers need to know about sociocultural
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“I might change this wording a bit to make this more clear. How
else could this be worded?”
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“I like that this transition refers back to the content in the last
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Add more detail.”
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Awkward.”
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Article
Full-text available
Writing centres play a vital role in guiding students in their academic writing. Central to this role is their physical location at tertiary institutions, where students usually walk in and schedule appointments with writing tutors. The recent #FeesMustFall protests saw the temporary closure of universities across South Africa. As a result, the functionality of the writing centres as physical locations was disrupted to the detriment of student development. This article evaluates the application of the principles that underscore the operation of physical writing centres as online spaces. First, it evaluates the writing centre as a physical space, and the resulting shift to an online space as a result of the #FeesMustFall protests. Secondly, with the methodological aids of Critical Interpretative Synthesis and my personal reflections as a tutor, I analyse the possible application of the principles that guide physical writing centres to the online environment.
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