Evaluating Writing Interviews Teaching Writing Technology

Technology Access and Use in Writing Intensive Courses

By Bree McGregor, December 17, 2015

Part 1: Introduction

The National Council of Teachers of English describes digital literacy as “proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology” (The NCTE definition, 2013), which include utilizing a networked, social approach to designing, sharing, analyzing, and synthesizing information, and the application of ethical considerations that such complex environments require. At George Mason University, we strive to embody an innovative spirit at institutional and programmatic levels:

Teaching Writing

When and How Should Your Students Use the Writing Center?

help keys

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

Whenever we assign writing assignments in our classrooms, we often peripherally acknowledge that the Writing Center is a viable option for our students to work with a tutor toward improvement. However, students may not fully understand the extensive options that the Writing Center provides for them. After scrambling for an appointment or not making one at all, the student may bring in a near-final draft for a quick check mere hours before the due date, which fosters little learning and room for growth. Instead, as the instructor and grader of your students’ work, you can steer your students toward when and how they should be using the Writing Center even more convincingly than our website or bulletin boards. Teaching your students when and how to use the Writing Center will not only provide more opportunities for your students to engage in transferable learning, but it will also lead to more fully developed and reviewed writing assignments.


Are Cell Phones the Devil? Techniques for Using Mobile Devices in In-Class Writing

Cell Phones

Gavin Leach is an instructor at the University of New Mexico in the Department of Communication and Journalism.  You can contact him at, or on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Every semester college professors seem to struggle with how to manage effectively students’ use of their cell phones. According to a recent study in The Journal of Behavioral Addictions, over 60% of students reported that they self-identify as being “addicted” to their cell phones, citing that they felt a “great deal of anxiety” when apart from their phones after a short period of time (Park, Kee, & Valenzuela, 2009). How are faculty supposed to teach when their students’ eyeballs are glued – perhaps even unknowingly – to that tiny little screen? Instead of a deep introspective look into why and where a professor might have failed, a better strategy can be to consider how an instructor can leverage the online capabilities of mobile devices to increase and enhance the academic value of their in-class writing assignments. Implementation of these three strategies may encourage academic engagement with their cell phones.