Read and Respond for 4/1

Happy Spring Break, colleagues!

I don’t know about you, but I felt like I was post-pedagogy-ing until the bitter end this term, if ya know what I mean….

I’m looking forward to our next meeting, which will take place on April 1st (obligatory April Fools joke). We will be discussing a genre studies approach to the teaching of writing. Please read the selections I’ve posted on the schedule and respond to this prompt:

For WIC/WAC faculty who most commonly teach writing in their discipline, a genre studies approach to teaching writing can be a lifesaver, as students have (theoretically) already fine-tuned foundational skills associated with healthy writing habits and rhetorical analysis. Do you (perhaps unknowingly) abide by a genre studies model of teaching writing in your discipline in your classroom? If so, how does this manifest? If not, how might you consider helping students write in your discipline through a genre studies approach?

Jenna

Read and Respond for 2/18

Colleagues,

To some extent, we are all always already practicing a postpedagogy with our students, in that none of us exclusively teaches seniors or graduate students who have a high level of familiarity with the genres in which we are asking them to write. Therefore, I think we each have experience handling our students’s frustration, confusion, and failure. Reflect upon one such experience. No need to offer up an “and they lived happily ever after” narrative here. Give it to us straight.

Read and respond for 1/7

Colleagues,

For our next meeting on 1/7, please read my Threshold Concepts in Writing Studies (link located on the syllabus), and respond to this prompt:

What threshold concepts from the above list inform, or could inform, your choices when it comes to teaching writing in your discipline? What assignments do you have already (whether formal or informal) productively act out and introduce threshold concepts in writing for your students?

Looking forward to seeing you all in the new year!

Best,

Jenna “WAC” Goldsmith

New scholarship in WAC

Greetings from the land of cheese and hotdogs, WAC-y colleagues!

During the time off teaching this month, I’ve enjoyed catching up on new and recent scholarship in writing studies, and I thought I would share some of what I’ve learned with you all as you put the finishing touches on your Winter 2019 syllabi.

From “WAC Seminar Participants as Surrogate WAC Consultants: Disciplinary Faculty Developing and Deploying WAC Expertise” by Bradley Hughes and Elisabeth L. Miller. The WAC Journal (December 2018).

First, more evidence of positive impact of groups like ours:

“Even though one-time workshops about teaching and learning have long been staples in faculty development programs, including WAC programs, the semester- or year-long faculty learning community (FLC) model has proven to lead to far more change in actual teaching practices (Desrochers, 2010).”

“From a dissemination study about FLCs across six research intensive or extensive universities, Beach and Cox offered persuasive evidence that as a result of participating in a FLC, faculty incorporated into their teaching, for example more active learning activities, student-centered learning, discussion, cooperative or collaborative learning, and writing. The faculty participants in FLCS reported gains in their own attitudes about teaching and in their students’ learning and improvement in their own attitudes about teaching” (10).

New evidence reinforces the idea that the more active the writing assignment (concrete audience, analysis of their own writing and the writing of their peers, etc.), the more effective the writing assignment.

The author looked at writing related questions from the National Survey of Student Engagement (72,000 students survey). According to the survey, “assignments engage undergraduate students and enhance student learning when they involve (a) ‘interactive writing process’ (b) ‘meaning-making tasks, such as ones that ask students to analyze, synthesize, apply or otherwise do more than just report’ and (c) ‘clear writing expectations’” (20).

“Instructors in this WAC seminar chose [authentic writing situations] in order to focus communicate tasks and give students opportunities to sue their developing expertise about course content to communicate what they know with non-expert audiences, as recommended in the Boyer Commission Report on Reinventing Undergraduate Education (1998)” (emphasis original) (23).

At some point, I would love for us to discuss the ways in which we are already helping our students engage with “real” audiences, how students benefit from these concrete interactions, and how we aspire to improve in this area.

WAC-y NEH Grants

Colleagues,

The NEH (National Endowment for the Humanities) Grant recipients were announced this week, and I was pleased to see a couple of projects funded having to do with Writing Across the Curriculum. That these projects were funded indicates the vitality of discussions like ours. We are doing important work! Here are some project summaries:

  1. San Jose State University Research Foundation. Outright: $100,000 [Humanities Initiatives: HSIs] Project. Director: Richard McNabb. Project Title: Arguing the Humanities: A Course for STEM Students.” Project Description: The integration of humanities texts and methods of inquiry into a required writing course for STEM students, followed by faculty training, implementation of the course, and the creation of a digital archive. 
  2. University Corporation at Monterey Bay. Outright: $99,441 [Humanities Initiatives: HSIs] Project Director: Nelson Graff. Project Title: “Improving Learning and Achievement with Reading/Writing-Enriched Curriculum in the Disciplines.” Project Description: The development of discipline-relevant reading and writing instruction to be incorporated into the core and elective courses of six majors.

peer review example

Hi again, this is the peer review assignment that goes along with the Problem Statement assignment I just posted. I think the structure works well – it gives them tangible things to look for/comment on, and helps familiarize themselves with a rubric (which is critically important in grant writing), but what I haven’t done much of yet in this assignment is tell them what a good peer review looks like. I welcome your ideas about this. I could consider posting an example of an effective peer review for them and we could discuss that in class. Thoughts?

Problem Statement:  Peer Review

Instructions:

Pretend that you are a grant reviewer for the Oregon Community Foundation. Revisit the Oregon Community Foundation website to help you get into this mindset. This will help you gauge the extent to which the consequences of the problem is concerning – from the perspective of the Oregon Community Foundation.

Review & score the problem statement as if this is the first part of a full grant proposal you have just received. Your peers’ grade will not be affected by your peer review. This is simply a learning opportunity for you both.

Steps to take:

  1. Make constructive comments directly on your peer’s hard copy document, using the peer review form as a guide. Return hard copy to your peer. Explain your comments verbally, as appropriate.
  2. Fill out this peer review form as well. Upload it into the peer review assignment. Also, email it back to your peer (get your peer’s email address).

Author’s name:                                                                   Reviewer’s name:                               

 

Content/Development (15 points)

Points (circle)
Does the writing of the Problem Statement convince you that the problem is prevalent, the consequences of the problem are concerning, and the causes are clearly delineated? 0 1 2 3 4 5
Has the author used appropriate examples, facts, or other supporting material to document and reinforce the main points in the problem statement?

Are sources primarily paraphrased rather than quoted?

0 1 2 3 4 5
Does the Problem Statement cite at least 9 sources total?

At least 5 original peer-reviewed research articles?

Additional sources, such as reports, policy briefs, statistics from original sources online (e.g., U.S. Census tables), etc.?

0 1 2 3 4 5
Total points for Content/Development:                                            out of 15

Summarize your suggestions to strengthen the Content/Development, based on criteria above.

 

 

 

Organization (10 points)

Points (circle)
Follows the organization articulated in the assignment (problem/prevalence, consequences, causes)?

Does each part of the problem statement flow logically from the preceding part (e.g., use transitional words and phrases to guide the reader paragraph-by-paragraph)?

0 1 2 3 4 5
Does each paragraph include a central idea, backed up with supporting evidence (within that paragraph)?

Is information presented logically within each paragraph?

0 1 2 3 4 5
Total points for Organization:                                            out of 10

Suggestions to strengthen the Organization, based on criteria above:

(you can leave comments here if you have trouble leaving them directly in Canvas)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tone (2 points)

Points (circle)
Is the tone appropriate for the intended audience (e.g., formal and professional)?

Is appropriate grammar and punctuation evident?

0

 

1 2

Suggestions to strengthen the Tone, based on criteria above:

(you can leave comments here if you have trouble leaving them directly in Canvas)

 

 

 

 

 

Format (3 points)

Points (circle)
Is the problem statement written with correct APA format citations? Are secondary citations avoided 0 1 2 3
Does the assignment include an accurate Reference List? 0 1 2 3
Is the Problem Statement approximately 2.5-3 pages, double-spaced, with about 3 paragraphs for each of the three sections? 0 1 2 3

Suggestions to strengthen the Format, based on criteria above:

(you can leave comments here if you have trouble leaving them directly in Canvas)

 

 

 

example of writing assignment with rubric

Hi all, based on our conversation today I am posting this. If you have ideas for ways I could strengthen it I’m very open to your suggestions!

I copied and pasted this from a word doc so I’m not sure how the format will work out, but here’s an example of an assignment. It is the first part (Problem Statement) of a quarter-long grant proposal project. They turn in this Problem Statement as a first draft (graded only for completion), get feedback from me and from peers (peers use the rubric in their review; I can upload that separately), then turn in a 2nd draft that I grade using the rubric and provide feedback, and then at the end of the quarter they turn in a final version along with the final/3rd versions of all of their proposal sections in a one complete document.

Problem Statement Assignment from HDFS 461

Please read all the way through the Instructions & Rubric before you begin.

 INSTRUCTIONS

 Let’s say that it has come to our attention that students at OSU who have infants and toddlers find it very difficult to locate quality, affordable child care. To address this problem, we decide to write a grant to fund a quality childcare center on campus.  What would be our first step?

 The answer is that we would start by gathering factual information about the problem. How many students have children under the age of four?  How many students are not able to find good child care? What child care is currently available? How many more child care slots are needed? Together, this information considers the prevalence of the problem. In other words, we are asking, how big of a problem do we have?

 

Our second step would be to document the consequences of the problem. To continue with the above example, we would document the consequences OSU students experience because of a lack of quality childcare available to them.  We might find, for example, that this issue results in high levels of stress that affects students’ school performance. Perhaps the problem causes financial stress that leads students to drop out of school. Maybe it leads to strain in romantic partnerships or negatively affects students’ ability to parent well.

Information about both the prevalence and the consequences of the problem persuade the reader that this is a widespread problem that has serious consequences.

The third step is to document some of the causes of the problem. Again, following the above example, we could document reasons for the high cost of childcare, reasons for the lack of availability for students, etc.

Finally, the fourth step is to very briefly state what should be done about this problem. This will be the rationale for your grant proposal.

What you need to do:

The first step in writing your proposal is to gather information about (a) the prevalence, (b) the consequences, and (c) the causes of the problem you chose. Then decide (d) what you propose to do about it. Part (d) will not have any details – it is just the overall idea.

All of your information must come from trustworthy, original sources. At least 5 of these need to be original peer-reviewed research articles. Sources must be cited using APA format. Make sure that you use sources that have adequate evidence to support your claim that you are knowledgeable about the problem. Use your critical thinking skills!

The minimum word count for the problem statement is 750 words or about 3 pages. This means that each section of the problem statement should be about 3 paragraphs long.

Do not include sub-headings in this section.

 

Grading Rubric

 Content/Development (15 points)

  • Does the writing of the Problem Statement convince you that the problem is significant, the consequences of the problem are concerning, and the causes are clearly delineated?
  • Has the author used appropriate examples, facts, or other supporting material to document and reinforce the main points in the problem statement?
  • Does the author paraphrase rather than quote sources?
  • Does the Problem Statement cite at least 8 sources total?
    • At least 5 original peer-reviewed research articles?
    • Additional sources, such as reports, policy briefs, statistics from original sources online (e.g., U.S. Census tables), etc.?

Organization (10 points)

  • Has the author followed the organization articulated in the assignment?
  • Does each part of the problem statement flow logically from the preceding part?
  • Has the author used transitional words and phrases to guide the reader paragraph-by- paragraph?
  • Does each paragraph include a central idea, backed up with supporting evidence?
  • Is information presented logically within each paragraph?

Tone and (2 point)

  • Is the tone appropriate for the intended audience (e.g., formal and professional)?
  • Is appropriate grammar and punctuation evident?

Format (3 points)

  • Is the problem statement written with correct APA format citations? Are secondary citations avoided?
  • Does the assignment include an accurate Reference List?
  • Is the Problem Statement approximately 2.5-3 pages, double-spaced, with about 3 paragraphs for each of the three sections?

Addresses Feedback (10 points)

  • Does the second/final draft address the feedback provided by the instructor and peers on the first/ second draft(s)?

Problem Statement Total = 40 points

 

We are doing a good thing!

Colleagues,

In my research this weekend, I came across a newish book (2017) published in the National Council of Teachers of English “Studies in Writing and Rhetoric” series called Reframing the Relational: A Pedagogical Ethic for Cross-Curricular Literacy Work. The central claim of the book is that a pedagogical approach to faculty interactions in Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) and Writing in the Disciplines (WID) contexts can enhance cross-disciplinary communication and collaboration and ultimately lead to more productive, sustainable initiatives overall (not just in writing!). I will definitely be getting my hands on this book in the near future and will share any insights with the group that seem relevant to our efforts. Just thought I would report out on this to show how cutting edge we are . . . as if there was any question . . . 😉

 

Jenna

Writing on a deadline

Consider and investigate a time when you worked with a student to create a time-related accommodation on a writing assignment. Describe this experience: What was the assignment?; What went well?; What would you alter to improve the student’s experience?; What questions remain for you going forward that we might troubleshoot in our next session?

The Great Grammar Debate

First, collect and list commonplace grammar or style conventions (what we call in composition and rhetoric “sentence level” or “lower order” concerns) in your discipline. Then examine these commonplaces, both from your perspective as faculty, and from the perspective of a student. When/how do you remember being introduced to this commonplace? What helped you “learn” it? When a student asks why we write in a certain way in Biology or History, for example, can we move beyond “We just do it that way” mindset? How might our discussions with students also involve such writing concepts as audience, purpose, message, medium, genre, effect, rhetoric, so that we might demystify academic writing processes for our students?