Beth Hewett, PhD

I love to coach adult academic writers because they’re just so darn smart! Regardless of their experience in academe, they have so much to offer–particularly in terms of perspective about the world and how their work can influence the problems they’ve chosen to study. My clients have taught me so much about many fascinating subjects, and they’ve pushed me to think more deeply about important concepts. My most valuable coaching skills include the ability to see the big picture of what’s going on in my clients’ writing, how that plays out in their affect and writing strategies, and how that bigger picture can be handled in small, doable tasks that get the job done. Let’s work together!   

ABOUT: Beth L. Hewett is the founder and past president of Defend and Publish. She manages coaching training and is the company’s Executive Coach. Beth holds a PhD from The Catholic University of America and an MA from Kansas State University. A postsecondary educator since 1980, she has taught basic to advanced writers, including multilingual and learning-disabled writers. Beth’s research interests are in online literacy instruction in digital settings, nineteenth-century American rhetoric, and grief education. She is the author, co-author, or editor of 13 books and the author or co-author of more than 40 articles/book chapters. As an educational consultant, Beth has trained post-secondary educators from a variety of disciplines about conducting writing conferences online and she has developed the structure for multiple Online Writing Labs (including TutorVista and Smarthinking). An expert on educational digital instructional/learning

Languages: English; minor proficiency in Spanish and German

Download Dr. Hewett’s current CV here.

Dr. Hewett is the author or co-author/editor of various books pertinent to online writing instruction:

  • Foundational Practices for OWI
  • Reading to Learn and Writing to Teach: Literacy Strategies for Online Writing Instruction
  • The Online Writing Conference: A Guide for Teachers and Tutors
  • Virtual Collaborative Writing in the Workplace: Computer-Mediated Communication Technologies and Processes
  • Preparing Educators for Online Writing Instruction: Principles and Processes

Dr. Hewett was the first president of the Global Society of Online Literacy Educators and was Chair of the CCCC Committee for Best Practices in Online Writing Instruction (OWI) 2007-2014.

Webinars and videos that Dr. Hewett has developed for her clients include the following:

  • Online Tutor Training:
    • Tutoring Developmental Writers
    • Tutoring Specific Assignment Types and Genres
    • Reading Student Essays Strategically
    • Finding Real Strengths in Student Writing
    • Formatting Instructional Response Thoughtfully
  • Five Tips for Better, Quicker, More Efficient Essay Response
  • Beneficial Essay Response
  • Developmental Writing for Teachers
  • Teaching Revision
  • Learning from Online Tutorials (for students)

Beth Hewett’s Publications

New Releases

Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction is grounded in fifteen principles of online writing instruction, offering the most comprehensive guide to access-focused administrative, faculty, student, and research considerations in the field.

The Online Writing Conference: A Guide for Teachers and Tutors offers an empirically based theory for conferencing with writing students in online settings and for responding helpfully to their writing and other needs.

Reading to Learn and Writing to Teach: Literacy Strategies for Online Writing Instruction offers a literacy-based theory of online writing instruction and practical strategies for both students and their teachers. ORDERING:

Beth Hewett’s Bookshelf



Research in Composition Is Practical.

11:07 minutes | recorded 03/03/2010

Pearson asked participants in the Research Network Forum (RNF) of CCCC to talk with us about research in composition. Some took the opportunity to try to define what is distinctive about composition research; some discussed their own research; some offered tips for new instructors about the role of research in the tenure process.

The eLectures on research have now been posted and are available at


Example clip 2:26 minutes

Published Books

Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction (OWI)

Foundational Practices of Online Writing Instruction (OWI) addresses the questions and decisions that administrators and instructors most need to consider when developing online writing programs and courses. Written by experts in the field (members of the Conference on College Composition and Communication Committee for Effective Practices in OWI and other experts and stakeholders), the authors, explain the foundations of the recently published (2013) “A Position Statement of Principles and Examples Effective Practices for OWI” and provide illustrative practical applications. To that end, in every chapter, the authors uniquely address issues of inclusive and accessible writing instruction (based upon physical and mental disability, linguistic ability, and socioeconomic challenges) in technology enhanced settings. The five parts of this book attempt to cover the most key issues relevant to principle-centered OWI: (1) An OWI Primer, (2) OWI Pedagogy and Administrative Decisions, (3) Practicing Inclusivity in OWI, (4) Faculty and Student Preparation for OWI, and (5) New Directions in OWI. The editors believe that the field of writing studies is on a trajectory in which most courses will be mediated online to various degrees; therefore the principles detailed in this collection may become the basis for future writing instruction practices.  To this end, the editors hope that the guidance provided in the final two chapters, the questions that the previous sixteen chapters raise, and the desire to apply foundational practices for OWI in one’s own context will encourage readers to join this conversation by designing practices, contributing to the data about OWI, and reshaping its theory.

Reading to Learn and Writing to Teach: Literacy Strategies for Online Writing Instruction

When writing classes move from the physical classroom to an online environment, instruction happens principally through textual communication—meaning that students and teachers alike are writing and reading more than ever before. Reading to Learn and Writing to Teach: Literacy Strategies for Online Writing Instruction is informed by the premise that the increased literacy load of an online environment is the most critical difference between online and onsite instruction, and thus warrants strengthening students’ reading skills and adjusting teachers’ writing skills to improve communication and learning. To help accomplish these goals, Reading to Learn and Writing to Teach offers explicit reading strategies for students accompanied by correlated writing exercises, as well as guidelines and strategies that aid instructors in communicating clearly and teaching effectively.

Online Writing Conference: A Guide for Teachers and Tutors

More writing courses than ever are being taught online, and effective online writing instruction requires teachers to communicate deliberately and clearly in order to have productive relationships with their students. In The Online Writing Conference: A Guide for Teachers and Tutors, former chair of the CCCC Committee for Effective Practices in Online Writing Instruction Beth L. Hewett articulates the how and why of one-to-one online writing conference pedagogy. Complete with an instructor’s study guide and informed by the principles set forth in the CCCC Position Statement of Principles and Example Effective Practices for OWI, her updated text provides examples and transcripts of synchronous and asynchronous instructor-student interaction, targeted lessons, and conferencing action plans that help instructors hone their pedagogical practice, from formatting comments to showing regard for students.

“Dr. Hewett’s text provides a first-of-its-kind guide for teachers, tutors, writing center administrators and anyone else involved in the process of helping students improve their work through one-on-one online writing conferences. Hewett’s theoretically-grounded work addresses the importance of responding to student writing within a problem-centered context, which encourages students and instructors to work collaboratively to improve their writing. Her instructional advice details several strategies for engaging students in the revision process including addressing the highest-order revision concerns first, using personalized revision demonstrations with the students’ own text, and developing a credible, supportive rapport through direct phrasing and language at the student’s level of learning. …Hewett’s text serves as a foundation for written response in online writing instruction and a springboard for more research on the perceptions and implications of online writing conferencing for both students and instructors/tutors. In my work with a leading online writing center, I rely on Hewett’s text as the quintessential guidebook for understanding the theory and practice of crafting personalized, rhetorically-focused, asynchronous instructional tutorials.”

Dr. Allison Warner

Virtual Collaborative Writing in the Workplace: Computer-Mediated Communication Technologies and Processes.

Beth L. Hewett and Charlotte Robidoux, Editors.

This book investigates the use of computer-mediated communication technologies and the processes by which we use them to facilitate effective interdependent collaboration in writing projects.

Use Coupon Code Hewett60 for 60% Discount

This substantial book not only describes principles, practices, and examples of successful virtual collaborative writing, but also is itself an example of what a dedicated team of geographically dispersed writers with both industry and academic backgrounds, connected through digital technology, can accomplish using virtual collaboration.
Read the complete book review.


Marguerite Krupp

Northeastern University, 2011

“Technology and English Studies” Innovative Professional Paths

A collaborative effort with James A. Inman

Technology and English Studies explores how English plays a part in communication for technology today. Some of the rhetorical figures examined are metaphor, dissemination, and dialetic. This is a must read for anyone looking for ways to communicate in the new world of technology.

Preparing Educators for Online Writing Instruction: Principles and Processes

Author(s): Beth L. Hewett, Christa Ehmann

Educators need new skills for teaching in the ever–evolving online environment, and departments need approaches to such technology that empower instructors and students both. Drawing on current thinking in rhetoric and composition, adult education, and e–learning, and incorporating their own experiences with a variety of online instructional contexts, including the online learning provider Smarthinking, Inc., the authors demonstrate how five important pedagogical principles–investigation, immersion, individualization, association, and reflection–can inform effective online instructor training, independent of the platform being used.


Technical Communication Quarterly

“What kinds of educational principles and processes address the very real challenges that arise when an institution conducts some or all of its training and professional development online using the Internet and other online modalities? This special issue of Technical Communication Quarterly (TCQ) explores such organizational concerns as well as the needed preparation and development strategies that arise for educators in online teaching and learning.” (p. 2)

Guest Co–Editor, 16.1 (Winter 2007)

Selected Published Work

“Writing Onstage: Giving Students an Authentic Model.” Hewett, Beth L. Classroom Notes Plus. October 2009. 1-6.

“Is There a Write Way to Collaborate?” Robidoux, Charlotte and Hewett, Beth L. Intercom. February 2009, 56.2. 4-9.

From Topic to Presentation: Making Choices to Develop Your Writing.” Hewett, Beth L. Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing. Charlie Lowe and Pavel Zemliansky, Editors.

Rhetoric and Technology

IM Talking about Workplace Literacy.” With Russell J. Hewett. Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices. Kirk St. Amant and Pavel Zemliansky, Editors. Kirk St. Amant and Pavel Zemliansky, Editors. NY: Information Science Referenc
e, 2008. 455-472.

Building Online Training for Virtual Workplaces.” With Christa Ehmann Powers. Handbook of Research on Virtual Workplaces and the New Nature of Business Practices. Kirk St. Amant and Pavel Zemliansky, Editors. Kirk St. Amant and Pavel Zemliansky, Editors. NY: Information Science Reference, 2008. 257-271.

Facilitating High School Student Revision with Online Tutoring.” “Interdependency: Building Relationships between the Academy and the Private Sector.” (author) Technology and English Studies: Innovative Professional Paths. Eds. James Inman and Beth L. Hewett. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. November 2005. Nominee 2005 IWCA Article Award.

“Logging On: Classical Rhetoric and Digital Communication: A Canon Blast into the Net.” With Cheryl E. Ball. Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, 11.3 (Summer 2007). For this and other “Logging On” or “CoverWeb” introductions, see

Hewett, Beth L. and Lynn, Robert. “Training ESOL Instructors for Online Conferencing.” The Writing Instructor. (September 2007)

“Synchronous Online Conference-Based Instruction: A Study of Whiteboard Interactions and Student Writing.” Computers and Composition, 23.1 (2006), 4-31. Invited by editors.

Asynchronous Online Instructional Commentary: A Study of Student Revision.”Readerly/Writerly Texts: Essays in Literary, Composition, and Pedagogical Theory. (Double Issue) 11 & 12.1 & 2 (2004-2005), 47-67.

“How Do You Ground Your Training? Sharing the Principles and Processes of Preparing Educators for Online Writing Instruction.” With Christa Ehmann Powers. Praxis section. Kairos 10.1 (Fall 2005). Online:

“How Do You Feel?–Attitudes about Tutoring Online.” Praxis: A Writing Center Journal. Eds. Sue Mendelsohn and Eliana Schonberg. February, 2004. Invited by editors.

Theoretical Underpinnings of OWLs.” OWL Development and Maintenance Guide. IWCA Press: November 2002.

“Generating New Theory for Online Writing Instruction.” Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. 6.2. (Fall 2001). Online:

“Characteristics of Interactive Oral and Computer-Mediated Peer Group Talk and Its Influence on Revision.” Computers & Composition 17 (December 2000): 265-88.


Hewett, Beth L. “The Eulogy: Grief and the Wisdom of the Ancients.” Proceedings of the 2006 RSA Conference. Waveland Press, 2007. 90-100

“Cradle of Public Discourse: Commencement Orations and Literary Society Debates at Bowdoin College (1820 – 1845).” Advances in the History of Rhetoric. Vol. 8 (2005), 73-98.

An Argument for Argument in Architectural Education.” With John Yanik, AIA. Journal of Architectural Education. September 2000.

“Samuel P. Newman’s A Practical System of Rhetoric: An American Cousin of Scottish Rhetoric.” Scottish Rhetoric and Its Influences. Ed. Lynee Lewis Gaillet. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1998. 179-92.

“Samuel P. Newman’s A Practical System of Rhetoric: The Evolution of a Method.” Advances in the History of Rhetoric: Disputed & Neglected Texts in the History of Rhetoric 1.1 (1997): 55-68.

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