Project Spotlight

Schoolhouse Online

Alligning with the University’s interest in expanding online learning initiatives, the project is designed to develop several modules in Schoolhouse Online, a web-based tool designed to address several widespread problems in college-level writing instruction.

In active development since 2010, the Schoolhouse site helps writing instructors at U.Va. and beyond address two central problems common to undergraduate programs:

  1. With limited classroom time at their disposal, instructors struggle to cover the curriculum while structuring lessons that encourage retention.
  2. Because of the labor costs involved, most colleges and universities staff their large, service-oriented writing courses with non-specialists. With steady turnover, training these instructors is a perennial challenge.

The Schoolhouse Online helps ease the labor demands of many writing classes by providing web-based instructional modules that introduce students to rhetorical and persuasive elements that are generally in-play across many disciplines and textual genres.

Each module offers a number of nodes: an illustration that makes the rhetorical feature easier to remember, a nutshell principle, annotated models that let the student see the principle in writing, and “try-it-out” sections that provide feedback to the student’s efforts to use the principle. At the same time, the modules provide in-service or pre-service training to new writing instructors.

The grant will support the development of several new modules on sentence syntax, information flow, and persuasive warrants.


Schoolhouse Online