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For Professors Who Require Students to Write: We Lessen Your Load

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Writing Support Services for Faculty

Assigning Writing in Your Classroom: Two Aims

Writing to Learn: Students can learn a great deal by writing - about themselves and about course content. Providing frequent ungraded opportunities to write allows students to work through ideas, explore concepts, and generate opinions before responding to a graded assignment. Note-taking, outlining, free-writing, and journaling are all ways that students use writing to examine topics, learn, and remember.

Writing to Communicate: By writing, students learn the conventions and rhetorical practices of your discipline. Helping students develop proficiency as writers contributes not only to learning what is expected in the discipline, but also to developing skills that enrich self efficacy. Providing students with opportunities to write allows them to convey concepts being learned and show their developing skills in critical thinking.

Helping Your Students Become Better Writers

As an educator, you understand the importance of using writing to assess the knowledge of your students. However, what you expect of your students and what they are capable of producing in their writing may be incongruous. Aside from informing them of your expectations in class, there are several steps you can take to help your students become better writers:

  • Place information about Writing Center services on your syllabus: insert for syllabus offered here.
  • Schedule a Writing Center tour or have a consultant visit your class with a 10-minute presentation to introduce services and give students the opportunity to ask questions about how the Writing Center can meet individual needs.
  • Participate in whole-class or small-group Spotlight Workshops where a writing specialist and a writing consultant come to your class on a specified date to work with your students and their drafts.
  • Inform students of the array of tutoring and supplemental-instructional services that we offer to assist your students in producing and submitting quality written work in your courses.

Quick Links

Assignment Design
Plagiarism
Syllabus Statement
Writing-related Pedagogical Resources
Writing-Intensive Courses
In-Class Spotlight Workshops
Writing Support for International Students
Writing Support for Spanish Speakers

Better Assignment Design Means Better Student Papers

If you want stronger papers, you need to design stronger assignments. Improving what you do with writing in your classes is key to the success of your students. Giving them a well-designed assignment is essential. The Writing Center can help you by offering the following services:

    http://www.youtube.com/embed/4RTfMHYFp7Y
  • Faculty workshops focusing upon assignment design and the manageable, equitable grading of those assignments
  • Individual faculty consultations on course writing objectives, writing assignments, in-class heuristics, and grading tools
  • Faculty day in the Writing Center: develop, refine, and/or revise one or a series of writing assignments with a faculty writing specialist
  • Workshops specific to issues related to the writing of international students and English Language Learners
  • Workshops and individual consultations regarding plagiarism

Plagiarism: Issues and Resources

Plagiarism is a topic of ongoing concern within the WOU community. To prevent plagiarism, you need to take an active part in designing courses that educate students about the academic conventions of scholarly research. To clarify your commitment to high standards of academic integrity, you can take the following 6 steps:

  1. Place a no-tolerance statement about plagiarism on your syllabi
  2. Introduce students to your discipline's style guide (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago)
  3. Explicitly educate your students regarding proper citation practices to deter unintentional plagiarism
  4. Make students aware of the WOU Code of Student Responsibility to deter intentional plagiarism
  5. Introduce your students to the services of the Writing Center: request ( by e-mail) a 5-minute presentation in your class(es) and place a Writing Center services description statement on your syllabi
  6. Review the Writing Program Administrators (WPA) statement on defining and avoiding plagiarism: best practices

The first step toward preventing plagiarism and encouraging original scholarship is to make students aware of how American academic institutions define and address plagiarism, and how and why academic scholarship defines and values originality and intellectual integrity.

How Will You Know When a Student Uses Our Services?

At the end of each session, the tutor provides the student-writer with a gold-colored confirmation slip to serve as proof of her/his visit. While most students are not required by their instructors to seek writing assistance, they often choose to attach the slips to their final papers as evidence of their investment in your assignment.

Writing-Related Pedagogical Resources

Writing Intensive Courses and Information
A writing-intensive course includes formal and informal writing as integral parts of learning: that is, students in W courses write not only to demonstrate their knowledge of the subject matter (tests and research/term papers) but are engaged in informal, exploratory writing; writing that they use to push their thinking, to deepen their understanding of the subject matter, and to explore questions they have about the subject at hand. In a W course, the goal is to give students as many opportunities as possible to write (exploratory writing-to-learn using informal formats and writing-to-show-knowledge in formal assignments), to receive feedback from their peers and their instructors during the writing process, and to demonstrate how to write in a particular discipline, understanding the requirements regarding writing styles inherent in that discipline.

In-Class Spotlight Workshops

The Writing Center offers whole-class or small group Spotlight Workshops where a writing specialist and a writing consultant come to your class on a specified date to work with your students on their drafts. The writing specialist models for the group what would be done in a regular Writing Center tutorial by 1) reading aloud the assignment instructions, 2) reading aloud a volunteer's essay, 3) discussing with the student-volunteer the content and/or grammatical error patterns (s)he found within the paper, and 4) giving strategies on how to self-correct the errors. Spotlight Workshops are effective in that all students benefit from them; most often, errors addressed by the specialist with the student-volunteer are common errors that other students make and need to learn how to self-correct. Moreover, Spotlight Workshops show students and professors, in an authentic context, how the Writing Center works to empower students to become stronger writers of their college assignments.

Your International Students

As international students seek to negotiate a new language and understand course content, you may face challenges when meeting the needs of this student population. The director and professional staff in the Writing Center can aid you in promoting international student success by providing consultations and workshops to better understand the writing issues these students face.

We provide you with specific support by

  • offering writing workshops that target the common writing issues of international students
  • providing information on grading practices and rubrics which take the challenges of international students into consideration and provide an equitable system for all students
  • discussing recommendations on issues related to the teaching of international students including the importance of vocabulary development and issues of plagiarism

Additionally, through specialized workshops and individual consultations, an English Writing Specialist for International Students serves as an academic and cultural resource for the international student population and the tutors who work with them in the Writing Center.

Your Bilingual Spanish-English Speakers

Because many Spanish-speaking students possess oral proficiency in English, they are often mistakenly believed to possess written proficiency in English as well. As a Writing Center, we have learned that the majority of Spanish-speaking students enrolled at WOU are fluent in the everyday oral tasks and social interactions required of Spanish and English but are still in the process of acquiring literacy skills in both languages. An English Writing Specialist for Spanish-Speakers can specifically aid you in promoting these students' success by providing consultations and workshops to better understand and teach to the writing challenges these students face.

We provide you with specific support by

  • Offering writing workshops that target the common writing challenges of Spanish-speaking students
  • Discussing recommendations on challenges related to the teaching of Spanish-speaking students

You can read articles about the challenges of Spanish-speaking students from the field of Linguistics, Bilingual Education, and ESOL to inform your theoretical and pedagogical direction of second-language writing research:

Articles

Linguistically Diverse Students and College Writing: What is Equitable and Appropriate?

Building on the Sound System of Spanish: Insights from the Alphabetic Spellings of English-language Learners

The English Spelling Strategies of Spanish-Speaking Bilingual Children

A Brief History of Bilingual Education in the United States

Lessons our Writing Center has Created for Instructors of Latino Students

http://www.youtube.com/embed/OefPUxoulWY
CCCC-Conference-Video-Lesson-on-Perfect-Tense

Perfect Tense Lesson Powerpoint

GENESIS-cognates

Error Pattern Diagnostic Dictation Exercise

Latino Students in Higher Education: Websites

Excelencia in Education

Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities

The Journal of Hispanic Higher Education

Lumina Foundation for Education

Pew Hispanic Center

Contact

Writing Center 503-838-8286 | or e-mail: writingcenter@wou.edu

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