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Undergraduate Perspectives

Undergraduate Column: Talk To Us About Your Writing Process

Fenwick Library

For many undergraduate writers, being introduced and reintroduced to the writing process is an important part of learning to write in an academic community. Some of the most important aha moments I’ve had as an undergraduate writer have come from these infrequent opportunities to listen to my professors talk about their own writing, their experiences as writers, and their strategies for overcoming difficulties. I find this especially true as I take courses on the 300 and 400-levels. As my writing becomes more intensive, the insights I can gain from conversations with professors about their own writing has become invaluable.

Categories
Teaching Writing

Read Around Groups

Read around groups are a great way to support peer review in your classroom in an non-traditional way. This activity helps students develop their vocabulary for discussing and critiquing writing, and solidifies ideas about what good writing looks like. Consider using this method in your classroom to engage your students in more dynamic peer review!

Categories
Teaching Writing

The One Minute Paper – Instructional Module

Interested in utilizing Dr. Thomas Sura’s One Minute Paper in your classroom? Here is a brief instructional video detailing how to implement it. This is a great way to foster reflective thinking in your students concerning their own writing practice, and has the added benefit of allowing you instant feedback on your own teaching practices!

Categories
Teaching Writing

Framing the Writing Center for Your Students

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By: Alisa Russell

Alisa Russell is a Master’s student in the Teaching Writing and Literature program at George Mason University.  She works as an administrator in the Writing Center, a research assistant for Writing Across the Curriculum, and a teaching assistant for First Year Composition. Her current research interests include the Writing About Writing movement in composition theory/pedagogy and Writing Center training and strategies for working with multilingual writers. You can reach her at wac@gmu.edu.

As a recent Writing Center tutor, a Writing Center administrator, and a current teacher of First Year Composition, I am uniquely positioned between the worlds of the Writing Center and the classroom. This position gives me a type of fluency in both languages – that of the Writing Center and that of a classroom teacher – and I can see spaces where the two languages do not necessarily align. One of these disjointed spaces can occur in how professors talk about and conceptualize the Writing Center for their students and how the Writing Center attempts to create its image and goals for student writers in all disciplines.

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Technology

Free Software and Five Minutes: Limitless Possibilities for Improving Student Writing

 

 JING_logo2

Jessica McCaughey is an Assistant Professor at George Washington University in Washington, DC, where she teaches and writes about the intersections of academic, creative, and professional writing. You can reach her at jessmcc@gwu.edu and find her online at jessicamccaughey.com.

When it comes to communicating with students, all writing instructors face two hurdles:

  1. Students have different learning styles, so not all students understand or retain the written word in the same way, and
  2. Sometimes it’s just easier to speak than it is to write.

The latter is a challenge that becomes especially clear when I find myself crafting embarrassingly long emails that could have been presented orally and visually quite easily. I have—although I’m really not proud of it—taken four paragraphs to clarify a homework assignment. I have written multi-page emails detailing the wonder that is the inter-library loan system. Most writers—and writing instructors—I know love the quote, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time,” by French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal. (You may have heard a similar quote falsely attributed to Mark Twain.) Concision takes time in writing, especially writing that is intended to teach in some way. And so it was with genuine pleasure that I discovered and began implementing the use of Jing, a program that supplements and improves the way I teach writing in so many ways.

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Modules

VIDEO: Principles for Assignment Design

Mason WAC’s learning module on best practices for writing assignment design in any discipline!

Elaborated Assignment
Unelaborated Assignment
Assignment Design Principles

Categories
Modules

Feedback and Revision – A Module from Eli Review

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Today we are highlighting a helpful module from Eli Review on how to understand, use, and teach informative feedback strategies and in-depth revision. Timely and explicit feedback from both teachers and peers leads not only to improved drafts, but to improved writing skills overall. Giving students the instruction they need to learn reflective skills for analyzing both their own writing and their peers’ is critical to fostering the confidence of emerging writers.

“Teaching and learning don’t happen in a vacuum. They happen within specific schools, classrooms, and cultural contexts. This is true for feedback as well.

Effective feedback requires a context in which learners have both the ability and opportunity to hear, understand, and act on that feedback. We might think about feedback rich classrooms as “safe and smart” learning contexts, or classroom communities in which students feel comfortable enough to risk engaging and learning with each other.”

Feedback and Revision: The Key Components of Powerful Writing Pedagogy

Categories
Interviews

Multilingual Writing Across Disciplines – an Interview with Anna Habib and Karyn Mallett – Part 3

In this series of interview questions from Mason WAC, Anna Habib, Assistant Director of Multilingual Composition, and Karyn Mallett, Associate Director of International Pathway and English Language Programs, offer some insights into their teaching practices and observations concerning multilingual composition.

Categories
Evaluating Writing Teaching Writing

Responding to Student Writing/Writers

Teaching and Learning in Higher Ed. highlights some of the best practices from Nancy Sommers’ new book, Responding to Student Writers. One of the most helpful insights is the ability to recognize that our comments to students may be contradictory, misleading, or vague, and that the real purpose of offering feedback to students is to “teach one lesson at a time.”

“We should ‘ask ourselves: What single lesson do I want to convey to students through comments? And how will I teach this lesson?'”

Categories
Evaluating Writing Graduate Students Teaching Writing

Write Nerdy to Me: Utilizing Fanfiction in WAC/WID Courses

Fan Fiction 1
By Caitlin Dungan

Caitlin Dungan is a PhD student in Mason’s Writing and Rhetoric PhD Program. Caitlin is a Graduate Research Assistant for Mason’s Writing Across the Curriculum Program, and her current research interests include fanfiction, digital media and rhetoric, online feedback practices, and participatory culture.

It’s interesting, perplexing, and – I think – exciting that geek culture has emerged as mainstream. Realms previously reserved for a few indoctrinated fans are now open for participation to the many. One of the side effects of this growth in fandoms is the increasing number of emergent writers embracing fanfiction as a creative outlet. As young fans pursue this unique composition practice and post their works on online forums like fanfiction.net or Archive of Our Own, how much of this self-sponsored writing is informing their writing practice in the classroom?