Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Instr and Curr Leadership


Instructional Design and Tech

Committee Chair

Michael Grant

Committee Member

Deborah Lowther

Committee Member

Jerrie Scott

Committee Member

Trey Martindale


Students in developmental writing courses and first-year composition coursesstruggle with thewriting process. Individual instructional strategieshave been insufficient to engage these students or build their self-confidences for further writing courses. The purpose of thisstudy was to understand how students perceive a combination of three strategies,social networking, the writing process, and cooperative learning may help students to be successfulwith the prewriting phase of the writing process. The three research questions were (1) what are students' perceptions of a social networking tool; (2) how do students perceive asocial networking tool influences prewriting in cooperative groups; and(3) how do cooperative groups work together to prewrite? A combination of strategies together with a high level of student engagement may help to increase student success in developmental writingand first-year composition courses. Nine students across four sections of writing courses agreed to participate inthis qualitative inquiry. Data werecollected from semi-structured interviews, social networking posts, observations, and a researcher-made handout, and data were analyzed using the constant comparative method. Three themesemerged:Students perceivedusefulness related to using a social netowrking tool, their behaviors, and positive results.Group interaction refleceted students'positive interdependnece,individual accountability, group processing, social skills, andface-to-face interaction.Finally,knowledge representation was evident as it encapsulated the participants' views on making their thinking visible and sharing ideas. A discussion of the research questions integrated these findings.Students perceived a social networking tool to be valuable, beneficial to helping them learn, and an achive for their ideas. Students perceiveda social networking tool to influence prewriting in cooperative groups by generating ideas,representing their contributions, andcommunications with groupmembers. Finally, the participants' perceptions and observations revealedthat working together in cooperative groups to prewrite reflected the five elementsof cooperation. Implications for practice with writing instructions, limitations of the current study, and implications for further research about timeframes, participants, and challenges are provided.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.