As we are planning ahead for a busy Autumn Quarter, how can we provide students opportunities to get perspectives on writing from outside the classroom?
Writing for the classroom is very different from writing for the workplace or other public forums in context, expectations, and effect, and students can have a hard time adapting what they learn in the classroom to other settings. Student writers can benefit from hearing outside guests such as workplace professionals or scholars talk about their writing in the field. Moreover, they might be helped by a number of helpful resource colleagues on campus who can aid students with any aspect of the research and writing process.
Activity Idea: Make use of outside resources to supplement the teaching of writing in your classroom. Bringing in a fresh face can be a great way to keep your students engaged in the learning process throughout the quarter and it can offer your students a different perspective on the writing process. Furthermore, partnering with a university ally is a great reminder that you are not alone in your quest to teach students how to be effective writers. Try one of the following ideas for outside guests to supplement your own teaching practices:
OSU Community Example: Trish Houston, coordinator of the Minor in Professional Writing, has students organize a public panel featuring writing professionals from around central Ohio. Students interview the guests, prepare promotional materials, arrange their visit, and do all the writing involved with putting on a public event, including producing a thoughtful project evaluative report after the event. In the process, students not only learn forms of writing widely used in the work world, but also learn how writing works in the day-to-day lives of professionals. “Because my students engage in writing with real-world purpose, audiences and consequences, they enhance their professional writing skills and writing accuracy in meaningful ways,” Houston explains. Student Ashley McAtee summed up what she and her classmates gained from the program: “the biggest impact, for me was the way being in a room with writing professionals made me feel like my career goals are realistic… and it is much clearer to me now that professional writing is a rich, multidimensional field.”
WAC Resources: Collaborate with Writing Across the Curriculum to develop a writing workshop for your class. Think about scheduling a visit from Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) for an in-class workshop, presentation, or co-facilitation of a difficult writing topic. The WAC team can help you instruct students on how to write a thesis statement, how they can effectively both summarize and analyze sources, or how to use pre-writing practices to get a project off to a productive start. Keep in mind that you can schedule a WAC presentation or workshop for fall now and then meet with a WAC consultant early in the quarter to decide a topic that will best meet your students’ needs.
More Ways the WAC Team Can Help You: See an archive of our past tip e-mails at: http://cstw.org/WAC/?cat=50. For more ideas about how you might implement writing to learn activities please contact us to schedule an individual consultation. To further our aim of facilitating dialogue about teaching writing, we offer workshops with faculty and graduate teaching associates that tackle issues involving the teaching of writing in various academic genres. We also can co-facilitate in-class presentations for your students, demonstrating innovative approaches to writing instruction and lending students strategies for overcoming challenges with assignments.
Look for the following workshops Fall quarter through the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching (UCAT; formerly FTAD):
We hope you’ll join us.
Let us know how we can help. Contact us by phone (292-9650), e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), or through our website (http://cstw.osu.edu/wac).
Have a great rest of the summer,
The WAC Team,
Dr. Chris Manion, WAC Coordinator
Katie Linder, Women’s Studies