Term of Award

Fall 2008

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Michael T. Moore

Committee Member 1

John Weaver

Committee Member 2

Stephen Jenkins

Committee Member 3

Dixie Goswami

Committee Member 3 Email



Technological environments where teens spend much of their time after school are environments that educators seldom use in classroom instruction. These Web 2.0 environments are participatory, collaborative environments where teens share music, files, pictures, and ideas and are influenced by the information shared by others within their Web 2.0 environments. This study looks at a particular online environment, the Bread Loaf Teacher Network, and how secondary student writing is affected by the collaborative nature of electronic exchanges conducted on this online network. This study analyzed the history and ecology of one electronic exchange (a technological, participatory discourse community within the classroom) that has been replicated using the described format by hundreds of teachers over the course of the past 15 years on BreadNet, the private, online network of the Bread Loaf School of English. Louise Rosenblatt's transactional theory, M. M. Bakhtin's discourse theory, and Lev Vygotsky's social constructivism formed the conceptual framework for this study. Through the intrinsic case study of Pass the Poetry, an electronic exchange conducted on BreadNet via the Bread Loaf Teacher Network, the researcher traced the writings of four students using the transcript of the year-long exchange looking for evidence of student transactions with literature, watching for changes in writing fluency and syntactical complexity, observing responses to peer and adult audiences, and searching for evidence that students change their writing as a result of interactions with their audiences. Data sources for the research included the transcript of the exchange, open-ended surveys of four students who participated in the exchange, interviews of the two teachers who planned the exchange, and an outside correspondent/poet who participated directly with students in the exchange. An ecological metaphor described the components of the exchange. Themes identified in the research included student literary transactions, the role of audience, analysis of syntactic complexity, and online relationship building.

Research Data and Supplementary Material