Graduate Certificate in Online Writing Instruction Wins 2017 CSSC Curricular Innovation Award

The Graduate Certificate in Online Writing Instruction in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing has won the 2017 College of Social Sciences and Communication Curricular Innovation Award.

The OWI Certificate was approved in October 2015 and is the first certificate program in the nation to focus on effective online writing instruction and for writing for effective online instruction in general.

The program will graduate its first five students in May 2017.

Suzanne HomsleySuzanne Homsley, who will graduate with the OWI Certificate in May 2017, sees the certificate as a path to a future in online teaching.

“Being part of the OWI has been the culmination of a dream several years in the making. From my early days as an online student, I knew I wanted to teach online, in part because I can empathize with non-traditional students and the many challenges they face, while trying to juggle work, family, and school. Online classes can be instructive without being merely busy work, and the OWI provides the tools to make classes work and to make online learning a community.”



Wendy McCloud, another OWI Certificate graduate, said the skills she learned in the certificate were beneficial in her workplace.

“Obtaining the OWI Certificate helped me advance my career as the Program Administrator for Interprofessional Education at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). I use the principles of the course to further interprofessional collaborative efforts that will help create a healthier Arkansas population. I can’t think of a better end use for the education I received from the OWI Certificate!”


McCloud and Homsley will join three additional students in the inaugural cohort of the OWI Certificate graduating in May: John Havel, Heather Tolliver, and Sheila Dodson.

“The OWI Certificate is part of our departmental goal to promote high-impact practices and quality online writing instruction at UALR, for the State of Arkansas, and beyond,” said Dr. Joyce Carter, Chair of the Department of Rhetoric and Writing.

The OWI Certificate is an 18-hour program tied to the College Conference on College Composition and Communication Position Statement on Principles and Example Effective Practices for Online Writing Instruction. Students completing the certificate design a fully-online class that they can use to demonstrate their excellence in online writing instruction, and they also practice providing feedback in synchronous and asynchronous environments and on creating effective multimedia tools for online and hybrid course delivery.

UA — Little Rock was recently ranked 13th on the Great Value Colleges list of the 50 best colleges for adult education for the 2017-18 academic year for their excellent online degree programs.

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