Redesigning the online writing lab (OWL) presented the opportunity for collaboration among writing center and professional writing program members. While the article briefly describes the OWL redesign process, the argument focuses on collaboration and presents a model for sustainable intra-program collaboration. Following Hawhee, usability research is defined as “invention in the middle,” which offers a model for understanding research process as part of the infrastructure of new media instruction as described by DeVoss, Cushman, and Grabill. This article offers four stakeholder perspectives on the process of participatory technology design: of writing center administrators, graduate students, technical writing practitioners, and writing program graduate faculty members. The model asserted by this article presents a dynamic understanding of expertise and of fluidity in the roles of participants. Collaborative usability research, seen as invention-in-the-middle, contributes both to long-term sustainability of technological artifacts as well as the discursive interactions among stakeholders whose work supports these artifacts.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Computers and Composition. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Computers and Composition, [26, 2, (2009)] 10.1016/j.compcom.2008.10.001


OWL, Online Writing Lab, Writing Center, User-centered Design, Professional Writing, Usability, User-testing, Collaboration, Intra-program, Online Pedagogy, computers and composition specialist

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