Online Writing Tools

Brief Description: 

Online writing includes any form of writing where the process of writing occurs online or the writing is shared online. Online compositions may be short or long, and they may be written individually or collaboratively. They may be published on the web for anyone to see, shared with the class, or shared only between one student and the instructor. Online writing often leverages the linking power of the web to include images and other media, but this is not always the case. Online writing tools may also offer a glimpse into the writing process by making it possible to see the history of changes to a document, and they often include commenting features to facilitate discussion of the writing and the writing process. Your goals for the type and length of writing, the level of formality, the content and the audience will inform your choice of online writing tools.

Possible Instructional Uses: 
  • Individual or group writing assignments of any length
  • Peer review of writing assignments
  • Metacognitive reflection on writing
  • Collaborative note taking
  • Writing for the wider community
  • Individual reflective journals or portfolios
Some Available Platforms: 
  • Collaborative writing tools, such as Google Drive
  • Blogs, such as Blogger and Wordpress
  • Wikis, such as PBWiki
  • Websites, such as Google Sites or Wix

Tips for Using Online Writing Tools

  • If students will be writing in a public forum, allow students who do not feel comfortable using their real name to adopt a pseudonym known only to you.
  • Set clear expectations for tone, style, length, and content in your chosen online format. For example, if students will be writing for a class blog, you might consider posting a model blog post. If they will be commenting, consider sharing a few model comments to help students clearly understand your expectations. 
  • Sweetland Center for Writing has helpful guidelines for Using Blogs in the Classroom.