Date of Award

Fall 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Kevin Depew

Committee Member

Joyce Magnotto Neff

Committee Member

Louise Wetherbee Phelps

Committee Member

Scott Warnock


Synchronous online tutoring shares many attributes with face-to-face tutoring such as real-time, document collaboration, and conversational cues provided by audio and video, yet writing center professionals know seemingly little about synchronous tutoring OWLs due to the lack of formal publications about synchronous online tutoring coupled with the prevailing paradigm that seeks to transfer face-to-face tutoring practices to online synchronous tutoring, which overshadows the innovation processes taking place in synchronous OWLs. The purpose of this study was to document emergent practices in the use of two different synchronous tutoring technologies and the processes by which those practices were adopted and implemented in each OWL, using the theoretical framework of Diffusion of Innovations (DOI). A qualitative, case-study methodology was used to explore the contextual-based knowledge of tutors and writing center directors within each case. Several DOI principles emerged to explain the relationship between the prevailing face-to-face paradigm and the selection, reinvention, and adoption of each synchronous tutoring technology and its related tutoring practices. The findings suggest that writing center professionals could benefit from enhancing their understanding of DOI’s social system concept and its symbiotic relationship with the established roles of metaphor and previous experience in synchronous tutoring innovations.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).