A Qualitative Descriptive Case Study: The Impact of Texting on Writing Professors

A Qualitative Descriptive Case Study: The Impact of Texting on Writing Professors

Author: 
Mavis Carr
Program of study: 
Ed.D./CI
Abstract: 
Computer technology’s ubiquitous nature results in the tremendous increase of written communication between individuals, including educators and students. This study presents the specific problem regarding the lack of research on the impact of texting language on university writing professors. The participants in this study were adjunct and full-time university writing professors who taught primarily writing courses to undergraduate students. The purpose of this descriptive single-case study was to explore and capture the experiences of the professors to determine how best to leverage the technology to enhance students' writing abilities. The demographics of the study participants included eight adjunct and full-time writing professors who taught courses in intermediate and advanced reporting and news writing, business journalism, composition, editing, and media writing. Documentation of the experiences of the study participants required the use of a focus group session, individual face-to-face interviews, and direct observation. The use of notes from direct observations facilitated triangulation and assisted in the recording of vivid descriptions and checking for non-verbal cues, behaviors, and interactions. The qualitative findings from this study may result in the discovery of innovative tools to advance the pedagogical practice of university writing professors. The results of the study were consistent with communication-related theories and pertinent literature.
Dedication: 
When I started this journey four years ago, I had no idea what I had signed up for. My family, loving to a fault, supported my impulsive decision, providing valuable support and the space I needed to conduct my studies. It is to them—from the youngest grandchild (Colin Jeffrey, at this writing) to the oldest (89-year-old Uncle James)—that I dedicate this work, which was painstakingly drafted, erased, rewritten, and cried over for the past 48 months. To my late parents Horace and Mercedes Gillon … thank you for instilling in me the importance of education and being well-mannered. To my three children—Tennille, Nadine, and Eric—who are now grown with families of their own--I thank you for continuing to cheer me on throughout this arduous process. (I promise to call you more often.) Last but never least, I dedicate this dissertation to my soul mate and husband Donald, without whom I would never know which way to turn. Thank you for being my rock, sounding board, brilliant-idea generator, and scenario man. You are truly the wisest person I know … and love.
Acknowledgements: 
Where do I begin in acknowledging all the extremely tolerant individuals who assisted me during this educational, life-changing process? But first, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the e-mail I received from one of my former students who set me on this path. When I spotted what I deemed to be the inappropriate use of texting language within the message, I was greatly disturbed. I thank you, Ariana, for the experience that I believe we both learned from and are now the wiser for. To Doctors Marilyn Dickey and Margaret Boice, bless you for responding to my panicked and often frantic e-mails and calls where I cried “Woe is me!” much too often to count. I thank you for your sage wisdom and abundant patience. I am forever grateful to my committee chair, Dr. Scharbrenia “Breee” Lockhart, who politely turned me down when I first asked her to lead my committee. As a determined (yet frustrated) student struggling to grasp the concepts of developmental and learning theories, I relentlessly pursued Dr. Breee who gently explained that she typically waited to see how her students fared in her courses before making such decisions. (Fortunately, I earned an A.) Finally, I must note the significant contributions and assistance of my friend and mentor Dr. Rosalynne “Roz” Whitaker-Heck. She not only allowed me to borrow scholarly materials used in my dissertation, she was also a limitless source of information and was always available when I hit what I perceived to be the proverbial brick wall or wanted to throw in the towel. Dr. Roz, you rock!