College Students Discuss an Important Location to Them During the Pandemic Through Building Websites


  • Tara Hembrough Assoc. Prof., University of the Incarnate Word, USA,


place, environmental issues, identity, COVID-19 pandemic, stressors, websites, digital composition


During the COVID-19 pandemic, many college students, including low-income and racial minorities, experienced stressors related to their physical and psychological health, relationships, finances, and academic status. Moreover, most students had possessed difficulty previously in writing about their personal and communal identities and needs; exploring place-related rhetorics; and engaging in digital composition practices, including creating a website. This article presents an exploratory case study, which applies a mixed-methods approach employing a convergent-parallel strategy, involving an assignment where students used digital composition practices to build a website about a place, such as their hometown or a local park, that was important to them during the pandemic. The study involved 65 low socioeconomic status (SES) students from a rural university with a Native American subpopulation. For the assignment, students explored their identity and background, as well as how they and their location of choice were impacted by the pandemic. As outcomes of formulating a website about two difficult topics for the students to raise, their identity and the pandemic’s impact upon themselves as part of the greater, epic crisis, students learned to think critically; examine their personal and cultural pandemic-related concerns; research information about their place of choice; make creative decisions about their website; draft, compose, and revise digital work; and reflect upon their project. In completing a website about an important location as the study’s aim, students became more willing to consider their background and the pandemic’s impact on them and to gauge the 24 potentially related stressors they experienced tied to their physical and mental health, familial and social relationships, financial outlook, and academic goals. The author delineates the website assignment’s objectives, and both students and faculty raters measured students’ writing outcomes upon completing their site.




How to Cite

Hembrough, T. (2024). College Students Discuss an Important Location to Them During the Pandemic Through Building Websites. International Journal of Instruction, 17(1), 339–360. Retrieved from