Date of Award

Summer 8-13-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Elizabeth T. Burmester

Second Advisor

Mary A. Hocks

Third Advisor

Jennifer Esposito


College writing classes are often populated by students with varied native and non-native language backgrounds. This phenomenon should impact the ways that teachers develop the curriculum for such courses in order to best enhance their students’ learning. This dissertation explores the impact of culturally themed course content and group and dyadic writing activities on linguistically diverse developmental writing students. The research questions were 1) How do paired and group writing activities impact student perceptions of the usefulness of collaborative learning? and 2) How does enrollment in a culturally-themed writing class emphasizing paired and group learning affect intercultural attitudes? Just as this project builds on and responds to previous scholarship on writing groups, so too did the pedagogical choices the instructor in developing reading and writing assignments for the students. As the literature suggests, blended language origin writing classes are becoming the norm, and instructors must provide students the requisite literacy and intercultural skills for success in an increasingly globalized society. This dissertation provides the background, methodology, findings and implications of an action research study of intercultural collaborative learning in the developmental writing classroom.