Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Literacy, Language and Culture

Committee Member

Jacquelynn Malloy

Committee Member

Rebecca Kaminski

Committee Member

Zoi Philippakos


This multiple case study explored how adolescents and their teachers in a virtual education environment navigated the process of teachers’ digital writing feedback and its accompanying power dynamics. The study addressed a need in literacy research to understand how digital writing feedback functions in virtual schools due to concerns related to lower standardized test scores in reading among virtual schools (Fitzpatrick et al., 2020) and large increases in virtual school enrollment in recent years (Center for Research on Education Outcomes, 2015). This move toward virtual learning was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic (Farrow et al., 2020). The study’s theoretical framework included a multiliteracies perspective (The New London Group, 1996) and the theory of academic discourse (Duff, 2010) to help frame the complicated nature of academic writing within a virtual environment. Based on a multiple case study design, data collection occurred in one ninth-grade classroom case and two eighth-grade classroom cases. Much of the data came from embedded teacher-student dyads. Results indicated that teachers’ writing feedback looked different in each classroom. In addition, power dynamics varied, but the primary sources of power were similar across cases. Based on this study’s findings, four assertions are provided as well as implications for teachers and students and suggestions for future research.



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