Appendix

Focus: THE DYSON COLLEGE WEC PROGRAM NEWSLETTER (SAMPLE ISSUES)

 


FOCUS on Spring 2001 Writing Enhanced Course (WEC) Pilot Program

(Dyson Writing Across the Curriculum Program Newsletter, no. 1)

 

Note from the WEC Directors

Linda Anstendig and Eugene Richie

To accomplish our common goal of helping Pace students further develop and practice competent communication skills for success in their professional life, we have begun a yearlong Pilot Program on both campuses. Dyson writing consultants are assisting the following professors who are teaching writing-enhanced courses in the disciplines. This pilot is supported by the Deans Council and Provost.

 

In the workshop sections and in individual consultations, professors learned strategies to incorporate writing that would help students learn course content and improve their communication skills. We emphasized three areas: developing assignments that included criteria for writing, building in revision (with peer review and or instructor intervention), and using evaluation techniques and rubrics.

 

The participating professors and their writing consultants summarized the way they effectively integrated writing into the courses:

 

Abbey Berg (DYSON, Speech and Communications), SPP 350 Hearing and Speech Science: "I found a rubric very useful in guiding the students in what constituted A, B, C, and D performance. An F is reserved only if someone does not turn in the paper. I also feel that these instructions and grading criteria put the responsibility back where it belongs -on the student. Having everything in writing and discussing these criteria makes less room for misinterpretations. In addition, it takes the mystery out of the writing and evaluation process. I think removing the mystery from the process also reduces the fear element."

 

Robyn Berkley (LUBIN, Management and Management Science), BUS 150 Contemporary Business Practice: "Two things of use that I have gotten from the WEC Program were the role of peer evaluations in assessing writing/grammar, and the value of allowing students a formal opportunity to hand in a draft and have them re-write the paper before the final grade is assigned. The idea of have peers evaluate their classmates writing and grammar enabled me to give them an additional perspective, aside from my own, on the quality of their writing and analysis."

 

Elizabeth Carbone (EDUCATION), TCH 305 Literacy and Assessment I: "I specified expectations and criteria for assignments. I provided models for lesson-plan writing. Also I extracted common errors from papers and used them in mini-lessons. Strong aspects of student writing were shared."

 

Dietrich Fischer (CSIS, Computer Science), CS 312 Research Methods in Computers and Society: "He often began class with a written discussion starter. He also made the research paper a two-stage process with a draft due for peer review and the final version due by the end of the term. He altered the percentage he assigned to the various assignments, giving more weight to the research paper than he had before. Dietrich used two different types of rubrics--a list of peer editing questions and a grading checklist--both of which he found helpful" (Kirschstein).

 

Peggy Fitzgerald (DYSON, Criminal Justice), CRJ 121 Government Administration: "For the first time, she allowed students to revise. Thus, she gave them specific feedback that would help them to improve their work. (In the past, she has routinely sent students with writing problems to Tutorial Services to get help rather than making comments herself.) When grading the revision, she specifically looked for improvement in the areas she had pointed out as needing change, and while she did not replace a paper's original grade, she took improvement into consideration at the end of the course. Overall, she felt that participation in the Pilot Program helped her students to improve their writing" (Kirschstein).

 

Donna Hallas (LEINHARD), NUR 283/285 A Holistic Approach to Systems Assessment II: "Students had to summarize an article and Jane and I commented on the summaries together and gave suggestions for revision. Students wrote up handouts for parents and made presentations on subjects such as immunization, infant feeding, and gun violence. It was my first time using revising techniques."

 

 

Janice Jackson (DYSON, Psychology), PSY 311 Physiological Psychology: "She worked out a sophisticated set of written exercises designed to aid her students in the assessment of scientific articles. In their first paper they received a Guidelines for Evaluation including the components of relevance, coverage, organization, mechanics, and level of analysis. Students posted their final paper on WebBoard so that other students could have access to them. She is certain that the writing component greatly facilitated the students' mastery of the course material" (Young).

 

Mary Long (LUBIN, Marketing), MAR 499Advanced Marketing Management: "Elements I incorporated into this course included peer reviews and having student papers on reserve at the library as models. Because revisions were allowed, there was more emphasis on presentation of content rather than just covering the basics of case analysis."

 

Peter Lyew (LUBIN, Management and Management Science), Bus 150 Contemporary Business Practice: "Peter completely revamped this class in order to integrate more writing into his syllabus. One major assignment was a written report on a company, including an overview and analyses of the company's finances, marketing, and strategic plan. The second major writing assignment related to a simulation game in which teams of students participated. At the end of the game, they wrote a report explaining the rationale for the decisions their team had made, and then they presented their reports orally to the class. Peter broke the assignments down into phases and used peer editing so that students would receive feedback on their work before handing it in to him. Students wrote at least twenty-five pages over the course of the term" (Kirschstein).

 

Carl Malinowski (LUBIN, Marketing), MAR 250 Principles of Marketing: "The major writing assignment in the marketing class was a research paper. Students were asked to submit two copies so that we could both give written feedback to each student. For my comments I modeled using a simple evaluation form to provide consistency in this feedback, an objective I felt was especially important because, as in the case of midterms, students would again be allowed to revise their graded papers to improve their grades" (Harsha).

 

Pauline Mosley (CSIS, Computer Science), CS 122 Computer Programming II: "This semester, as a participant in the WEC Pilot Program, I found that there is a correlation between good writing and good programming. In addition to requiring pseudocode as well as a flawless program, students had to develop a user's guide for their major programming assignment. These manuals were reviewed and tested by their peers in the labs. Several students have told me that they will bring their technical manuals to their job interviews as proof that they can write technical literature."

 

Wu Fang (EDUCATION, Child Development), ECD 200 History and Theory of Early Childhood Development: "Wu Fang in her Early Childhood Education class had her students work out a written statement of their teaching philosophy which was revised throughout the term into a final polished essay. A coherent, written expression of their teaching philosophy will be valuable to her students as they enter their professions" (Young).

 

Writing Consultants

Kathie Cheng: "Working with Professors Long and Berkley from the Lubin School of Business has given me more perspective on the sort of writing that many of my students devote their time to when they are not working on the papers assigned in my class. We were able to see some evidence of improvement in the student writing when students are given the opportunity to revise."

 

Jane Harsha: "As I evaluated these papers from a field outside my own, I was struck (and reassured) by the way the fundamentals of effective writing, like focus, structure, and development, can stand out in a piece of writing even when one is not very knowledgeable about the specific subject matter."

 

Bette Kirschstein: "It was rewarding to see my colleagues realize in the course of the Program the power of writing as a tool for learning."

 

Shannon Young: "As students become more engaged with processing the course materials through writing about them, learning is enhanced. I'm confident that as the WEC objective is implemented in more and more disciplines, we will produce Pace graduates who are more professional and more literate."

 

Writing Across the Curriculum Site

http://webpage.pace.edu/lanstendig/wachome.html

(also link to Guide To Writing and Technology)

For more information, contact Linda Anstendig or Eugene Richie

 

Evaluation of Writing:

By giving clearly written assignments, establishing criteria, and offering the opportunity to revise, an instructor can set definite standards for students to achieve and also can save time in grading the essays.

 

EVALUATING WITH ASSIGNMENT CRITERIA

1.      Criteria should be identified as much as possible in the written assignment and these criteria used to guide our responses. As we read student writing, we'll become aware of "hidden" criteria that we'll need to specify in subsequent assignments.

2.      Try experimenting with "criteria grids" in which criteria are listed and portions of credit ("points") awarded for meeting each criterion.

3.      Usually avoid cryptic letter grades or point totals until after students have revised drafts. The presence of grades on early drafts focuses attention away from our written or oral comments, and grades force us to use our comments to justify our judgments rather than to help students improve drafts. Premature grades also end a process that should be allowed to continue.

4.      In recognizing some student writing such as journals and impromptu, in-class work, try giving credit for quantity and regularity of work through a check or cumulative point system rather than via traditional letters.

SCORING GUIDES and CHECKLISTS: These guides may be given to students when assignments are given and criteria are discussed and then used for grading final essays.

Scoring Guide for Essays: Here is an example of an analytic scale that might be used for different kinds of assignments:

Quality of Ideas (____points)

Range and depth of argument; logic of argument; quality of research or original thought; appropriate sense of complexity of the topic; appropriate awareness of opposing views.

Organization and Development (_____points)

Effective title; clarity of thesis statement; logical and clear arrangement of ideas; effective use of transitions; unity and coherence of paragraphs; good development of ideas through supporting details and evidence.

Clarity and Style (____points)

Ease of readability; appropriate voice, tone and style for assignment; clarity of sentence structure; gracefulness of sentence structure; appropriate variety and maturity of sentence structure.

Sentence Structure and Mechanics (____points)

Grammatically correct sentences; absence of comma splices, run-ons, fragments; absence of usage and grammatical errors; accurate spelling; careful proofreading; attractive and appropriate manuscript form.

 

 

 

 


FOCUS
on Fall 2001 Writing Enhanced Course (WEC) Pilot Program

(Dyson Writing Across the Curriculum Program Newsletter, no. 2)

 

Note from the WEC Directors

Linda Anstendig and Eugene Richie

The 2001 pilot Writing Enhanced Course (WEC) Program was initiated by Dyson College and the University Communications Roundtable and supported by the University Deans' Council and the Provost. The Program encourages our common goals of helping Pace students better learn course content through writing, while they develop and practice competent communication skills for success in their professional lives. The success of the Program is reflected in the positive comments on surveys of participating students and professors, as well as in the significant improvement in student writing skills and course performance. We acknowledge the dedicated efforts of the faculty who have incorporated WEC material into their courses and the Dyson writing consultants: Kathie Cheng, Jane Harsha, Bette Kirschstein, and Shannon Young.

In the workshop sections and in individual consultations, professors learned strategies to incorporate writing that would help students learn course content and improve communication skills. We emphasized three areas: developing assignments that included criteria for writing, building in revision (with peer review and or instructor intervention), and using evaluation techniques and rubrics. The participating professors and their writing consultants summarized the way they effectively integrated writing into the courses:

 

Carol Alpern (DYSON, Communication Studies), SPP 123 Introduction to Psycholinguistics: I had students hand in a first draft of the results of the experiment they conducted using the class as subjects. They were able to work together in groups to analyze data. There were about five different experiments so groups were about 4 students each. This worked well to make sure they had completed all parts of the paper. Even though it was stated in the assignment that they needed to do an introduction and a final summary, the first drafts often didn't include them. So the revision helped in that regard.

 

Also I tried to incorporate Blackboard into a writing assignment. I used to give out review questions to help students study for exams. In the past, each student did all the questions on his/her own and we tried to have a review session in class. However, often students didn't really do the questions and the review in class was insufficient due to time constraints. This time, at first, I told them all to write the answers on Blackboard and I would respond. But that meant I could be reading and responding for many hours. So finally I decided to assign different questions to each group of students who would be responsible for posting the answers. Everyone was able to read their answers and my responses.

 

Robyn Berkley (LUBIN, Management and Management Science), BUS 150 Contemporary Business Practice: As a second semester participant in the WEC Program, my goal was to better integrate the techniques I learned in the first semester into my teaching method. I was better able to utilize grading keys and grew more confident in my assessment of composition structure and basic grammar.

 

One technique that I have continued to find useful is giving students the opportunity to formally improve upon a paper draft based on feedback from me, as well as the WEC writing assistant. While I have informally proofed paper drafts in the past, requiring it of the students significantly improved their composition over the course of the semester.

 

It became increasingly clear to me (since I had a class of 40 students) that we need to keep class size manageable (capped around 25-30) in order to give written assignments the proper attention.

 

Charlene Hoegler (DYSON, Biological Sciences), BIO 490 Seminar in Biology:

The Pace Biology Department has a tradition of encouraging our majors to write and speak the language of science. Bio 490 is a seminar course that requires all seniors to research two science topics and develop both written summaries & oral presentations based on their search through primary sources. I was, therefore, very eager to participate in the WEC workshop, knowing that many helpful hints and techniques would be learned. Since our Bio 490 students already peer-evaluate each others' presentations, it was valuable working with Bette, Linda and Gene to finesse the phrasing of the evaluation questions to better reflect course goals. Two hand-outs were distributed that provided excellent guidance for students and for me: (a) Brenau University Writing Skills Assessment Form and (b) Writing Corrections Key by A. L. Berg. Enhancement of basic writing and speaking skills gives our students a powerful "tool for learning." My thanks to the WEC consultants.

 

Martha Kelly (LEINHARD, Nursing), NUR 160 Exploration into Nursing Concepts: Martha Kelly decided to develop a one-credit nursing orientation course for transfer students into a writing-enhanced class. Incorporating significant amounts of writing and revision into this course represented a challenge, as Martha did not wish to overwhelm her students with what might seem excessive amounts of work for a single credit. The solution was to employ frequent and varied short forms of writing throughout the course. One of these forms was the mini-theme. At the close of most class meetings students were asked to write a brief response to or analysis of that day's discussion, enough to fill a single index card. These cards were returned with brief comments on the quality and content of the writing, so that students could build on these comments in later mini-themes. These mini-themes proved a successful way to encourage students to process course content as well as develop their writing skills. The course also serves as an introduction to research and documentation in the field of nursing. Martha addressed these topics with two assignments, one a write-up of a personal interview and the other a series of research questions that required the summarizing, paraphrasing, evaluation, and documentation of various sources found through library research. Students seemed to find all of these relatively brief, clearly delineated writing assignments a rewarding and manageable way of using writing to enhance their learning experience. Martha and I worked together to establish clear, consistent criteria for evaluating student writing, as well as communicating this evaluation to students. While all students in the class had to complete the writing assignments, only those who chose to participate in the WE pilot had the option to revise their writing after it was evaluated and possibly improve their grades. Thus those students who were willing to commit to a writing-enhanced learning process were able to reap extra benefit from that commitment, and motivating students to write was not a problem (Jane Harsha).

 

Pauline Mosley (CSIS, Computer Science), CS 122 Computer Programming II: This past summer Shannon and I were participants of a panel discussion entitled "Making Room for Writing: Communication-Enhanced Courses in the Disciplines"—Writing Across the Curriculum Conference held at Indiana University, chaired by Linda and Gene. We developed writing projects of appropriate scope and complexity and methods to assess their effectiveness for a computer science curriculum, without sacrificing content.

 

Learning programming in the object-oriented paradigm requires students to look at problem spaces and design solutions based on entirely different frames of reference using abstract concepts. Therefore, assimilating writing into this learning process was challenging. Our pedagogical strategy gave students the opportunity to document a program design, prepare code with comments, and create a user's guide. This progression of writing activities was not only educational but it promoted more active learning. The program design, the program and the technical manual went through a series of revisions and a peer-review process to achieve the final product. The writing component complemented the course objectives and students' programs were letter structured and formulated.

 

These findings and our collaborative efforts were shared with those in attendance at the conference. Claude Reichard, Director of the Stanford Writing in the Majors Program, attended our session. He was impressed with our writing progress because he had found it difficult to get CS majors in the Stanford Program to do more writing. He also mentioned that he liked the way the writing was seamlessly integrated into the course content.

 

Cathy Sagan (EDUCATION), TCH 303 Education Psychology: This class incorporated feedback on writing into seven separate writing tasks ranging from case studies to Standards presentations, to lengthy "Connections" journals. Students used peer feedback and the use of a model student paper in conjunction with analysis of the accompanying rubric. Rubrics were used for every writing task. Student writing noticeably improved as the semester progressed with a number of students expressing appreciation as they recognized the evident improvement in their writing. As future teachers, these undergraduates have become increasingly aware of how important communication skills are.

 

 

 

 

Bette Kirschstein (DYSON, English and Communications), Writing Consultant:


Before participating in the WEC Program, Cathy Sagan and Charlene Hoegler were already incorporating a substantial amount of writing into their syllabi. Thus, we worked on refining some of their writing activities to make them even more effective than they already were. For instance, Cathy decided to present her Teaching 303 students with an uncorrected model essay rather than one she had already marked up. So instead of merely reviewing her comments, her students used a rubric to critique the paper themselves, thereby making the learning experience more active than it had been. Charlene revised a questionnaire she had been using to get her Biology 490 students to be constructive critics of each others' presentations. Rather than giving students a series of yes or no questions, she designed a questionnaire that required the students to state the main point of the presentation and to explain what specific problems they discerned in the ideas, logic, etc., of the presentation. By making refinements such as these in their approaches to using writing in their courses, both professors further enhanced their students' learning.

 

Writing Across the Curriculum Site

http://webpage.pace.edu/lanstendig/

wachome.html (also link to Guide To Writing and Technology). For more information, contact Linda Anstendig (lanstendig@pace.edu) or Eugene Richie (erichie@pace.edu).

 

 

Annotated Bibliography Assignment & Evaluation Guide (Linda Anstendig)

This guide may be used in conjunction with a brief research assignment to assess students' critical thinking about Internet and Electronic Data Base resources.

Assignment: Find a minimum of 4 sources, using a minimum of two different search engines (e.g., google, alta vista), and one Library Electronic Database (e.g., Expanded Academic ASAP). Read the material, print out the source, and summarize and evaluate the sites according to criteria on the Library Web site. Complete a Works Cited page that lists each site in alphabetical order. For each site include a paragraph summary and evaluation.

 

 


EVALUATION GUIDE TO SCORE THE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Correct Form for Works Cited (_____points): Proper attention to MLA format and inclusion of all relevant information

Quality of Summary (______points): Evidence of main idea and understanding of gist of source

 

Quality of Evaluation (_____points): Evidence of attention to criteria for evaluating sites and inclusion of pertinent information

 

Overall Format (_____points): Clarity, neatness, readability and inclusion of appropriate materials (photocopies of sources)

 

Grammar & Mechanics (____points): grammatically correct sentences and syntax, absence of comma splices, run-on sentences, and fragments, absence of usage and other grammatical errors, accurate spelling, careful proofreading

 

Log (_______points): completed log that is readable and meaningful

 

Total Points:

 

Other Comments:

 

FOCUS
on Spring 2002 Writing Enhanced Course (WEC) Pilot Program

(Dyson Writing Across the Curriculum Program Newsletter, no. 3 )

 

Writing Across the Curriculum Site

http://webpage.pace.edu/lanstendig/wachome.html

(link to Guide To Writing and Technology)

 

Note from the WEC Directors

Linda Anstendig (lanstendig@pace.edu) and Eugene Richie (erichie@pace.edu)

Our WEC Pilot Program is completing its third semester. Now with the new General Education Core ready to go into effect in September of 2003, we look forward to having two required WE courses for all new Pace students. Here is an example of the statement WEC professors have included in a WE course syllabus: "This is a writing-enhanced course that requires an effective amount of writing, in addition to exams, to help students learn course content. Formal writing elements such as clear focus, good organization, development, and editing are considered in grading, as well as content. Students will receive detailed written handouts for each writing assignment, specifying criteria and clearly setting forth expectations. Students will receive feedback for revision on at least one writing assignment before it is graded. The writing in final drafts will be evaluated, along with content, based on evaluative criteria from a checklist or rubric."

 

Each semester we connect Dyson writing consultants with new WEC faculty and conduct three two-hour workshops that help faculty develop assignments with criteria for writing, build in revision (with peer review and or instructor intervention), and create and effectively use writing evaluation techniques and rubrics. These workshops share best-practices to nurture critical thinking and active learning through the discourses of the disciplines. Our first workshop for WEC faculty for next year will be held at the May Faculty Institute in Pleasantville on Friday, May 31, 11:45-12:30.

 

Along with our workshops next year, we plan to develop a university-wide WEC Advisory Board to help us set policy and review WEC courses. Also we will be working closely with the faculty who are piloting new Learning Community courses in the fall and spring semesters to make courses writing enhanced.

 

 

The following are brief reports of several of the new WEC faculty from spring 2002, as well as comments from the Dyson writing consultants.

 

Carol Alpern (Communication Studies)

This semester I worked with Shannon Young on my course, SPP 251 Early Language Development. It was already a writing-intensive course that incorporated some use of revision. However, this semester I added a peer review form for one part of the Language Sample Project (see example on last page of the newsletter), and an additional opportunity for revision in the Research Paper. Both were very beneficial additions to the course although I would make some changes in the future. Not all students took advantage of the opportunity for revision and peer review so I think next time I will be more explicit about how it will impact on their grade if they don't hand in first drafts of written work.

 

Susan Berardini (Modern Languages and Culture)

The WEC approach to teaching proved to be very successful in my SPA 310 Spanish Civilization & Culture course this semester. One of the most productive, experimental activities that I incorporated into the course was the informal journal writing that I assigned throughout the semester. This was extremely effective in several ways. For example, it helped students think through ideas in advance for class discussions. This is especially important for non-native speakers of Spanish, who, even at the advanced level, tend to be shy and nervous when asked to speak in class. The journal entries also provided starter material for short, formal compositions and final papers. Through the initial journal entries, students had the opportunity to brainstorm about topics and also receive feedback on their written Spanish. Although the majority of journal writing was done outside of class, on one occasion I had the students do some brief, reflective writing in class while they listened to a sample of Spanish music, which also facilitated the discussion that followed.

 

Amy Foerster (Sociology)

Participation in the Writing Enhanced Curriculum Project provided invaluable experience in creating assignments that were both student-focused and writing intensive. Rather than relying on the standard "midterm/short paper/final exam" formula to evaluate students, I was able--with the help of the WEC participants and my writing consultant, Shannon Young--to craft assignments that asked students to apply what they learned in class. Students in Sociology 209 ("Racial & Ethnic Minorities") wrote four short papers in the course of the semester: one asked them to analyze a case of racial & ethnic conflict utilizing the theoretical perspectives we discussed in class, one required that they analyze

Census data documenting the racial & ethnic profile of their own neighborhoods, and one required that they work in groups to formulate and distribute a questionnaire about interracial relationships. Peer review and revision were built into the process; the final paper, in fact, was a major revision of one of the previous three. The guidance and feedback I received from the WEC team during the course of the semester was essential, as they helped both to formulate the assignments and to ensure that my expectations and grading requirements were clear to students. As a result, I think everyone was more satisfied at the end of the semester: I learned new teaching strategies that I plan to use in

future courses, and my students improved their writing skills while learning more about race & ethnicity.

 

Christopher Malone (Political Science)

Imagine you had a dinner party and Plato, John Locke, Karl Marx and Adolph Hitler showed up. What would they talk about? What would they say to one another? To you? What would you say to them? Would you be able to convince them that they got a few things about politics wrong? This is what I asked the students in my

Introduction to Politics course to do - and then write about it. This assignment was part of a larger series of writing assignments whereby the students were asked to write mini-dialogues with some of the most well known political thinkers in history. By entering into a dialogue, the students were able to explore the

intricacies of political ideologies as well as offer their own critical analysis of those ideologies. The result, in my opinion, was a great success: students were funny, irreverent, insightful and creative. But in the end they seemed to get it - that is, they learned the material much more thoroughly by placing themselves within the shoes of the thinker in question, only to step back into their own to offer a critique of it.

The course was part of the Writing Enhanced Course Program run by Linda Anstendig. I want to thank Linda and Jane Harsha for pushing me to think in more creative ways about how to get students to respond to what can at times be very inaccessible material.

 

Michelle Pulaski (Communications)

This semester in COM 240 I utilized debates to discuss controversial concepts involving new technologies and media. Topics included the downloading of music, internet censorship, and the implementation of high definition television. Students were required to write a 3-5 page paper detailing both sides of the controversy. Students were able to choose a side to support in class during the actual debate. A minimum of three

sources were required for the paper. The assignment worked well because it encouraged students to fully explore both sides of the issue and not just focus on their view.

 

Linda Quest (Political Science)

The availability of a writing consultant for POL 213: 21st-Century Politics, a intensive Weekend Term B course, was very helpful to me and to the students. Another voice telling the students about writing effectively emphasized the role of writing in building plausibility and presenting self. It also conveyed the message that "the establishment" cares. Someone who would help—not grade—them was appreciated by students who wanted to learn without exposing their ignorance in a way that might be damaging to their grades. Instead of three smaller projects, I required just one written project which was done in layers, with feedback and rewriting between stages. This was conducive to a polished final product. It also tended to guide and authenticate the contribution each student made by presenting it for feedback at each step in its development. This feedback helped expose disingenuous products. My participation in the WEC Program resulted in more effective writing and increased academic integrity for the students in my class.

 

 

 

Marie Werner (Sociology)

My course SOC 222, Gender and Social Change, already had four short papers and a written project scheduled. Under the tutelage of Bette Kirschstein, I used this as an opportunity to develop more specific guidelines for structuring the papers. Two of the papers required the students to do comparisons. The first was to compare theoretical explanations for gender differences using two different theories. They used material from two different videos shown in class. The second paper was to compare gender representations of males and females in a media form of their choice. I used models of papers from the previous semester - putting them on overheads and discussing how the paper met the requirements of the assignment. I developed grids for the students to work on. I projected a blank grid onto the board and the students worked in front of the class designating variables to be used for the comparison, making rudimentary notes. And finally, I developed a grading guide for the projects, identifying

points for them to consider in the construction of their papers, including sentence structure, use of illustrations, documentation, etc. The class felt there was much writing in the course, but also felt that using guidelines and grids and models up front would be helpful in doing the assignments. I had 38 students in this class. The numbers made it impossible to spend the time I would have liked to working with each individually. Many of them did come in for help and admitted they "did not know how to write a paper". I sent several to Tutorial Services, but students were reluctant to go for the extra help.

 

Kathie Cheng (Writing Consultant)

Throughout the short semester, Linda Quest and I were in constant contact. Before the semester began, we discussed face-to-face as well as via e-mail what sort of writing/revision processes she could incorporate into the coursework based on the course materials she was planning to use and what sort of role I could play in the class. From our first meeting we had a very helpful discussion on the importance of clear and effective writing for any subject, but specifically with political science, focusing on the necessity of effective presentation of one's work through writing. As we had decided at our first meeting, I attended her first class, where I introduced myself and made myself available to the students for questions and conferencing in person or by e-mail on their writing for the course, and I also gave a mini-workshop that covered (1) carefully following directions; (2) accuracy and consistency, especially with documentation and clearly identifying sources; (3) presentation (importance of rereading), especially following a logical line of reasoning; (4) documentation (using the Chicago Manual of Style). Throughout the semester I dropped by the class to address any questions about grammar and documentation. A handful of students e-mailed me or met with me to go over course materials and documentation, but most of the consulting work was done directly with Linda. Both in person and through e-mail, we discussed the use of checklists to help facilitate student self-evaluations before they turn in their papers, the development of rubrics to facilitate evaluation and clarify for students what is expected of them, and the best ways to most efficiently organize the final project , which was posted for the entire class to see on Blackboard.

 

 

Bette Kirschstein (Writing Consultant)

My experience consulting with faculty this term was very positive. While both Marie Werner and Michelle Pulaski were already assigning writing to their students, we worked on ways of making assignments and grading standards as clear as possible. We also created rubrics that would make the grading process more manageable. My experience with these two colleagues reinforced what has always been clear to me: that incorporating writing into courses does not make one's work load too heavy if one learns

some "tricks of the trade." Faculty who have participated in WEC report that they have enabled students to write better papers than they usually do, which makes grading them faster and easier. And using rubrics, which eliminates the need for lengthy comments,

further streamlines the process. I am glad to see that the many benefits of using writing as a teaching and learning tool have been recognized by the Pace community, as is evident from the inclusion of writing-intensive courses in the new Core curriculum.

 

Jane Harsha (Writing Consultant)

My experience as a mentor this semester was a little different from that of past semesters in that I got to work with a professor who has traditionally included a good deal of writing in his political science courses but came to the Program looking for ways to redefine the role of writing in one particular introductory course. This effort became a fascinating process of devising assignments that offered the maximal balance and blending of subject area content, techniques of argumentation, and basic

writing skills to relatively novice students. The result was a series of both hard copy and Blackboard assignments that encompassed researched summaries, formal analyses, personal responses, and even dialogic discourse, all sequenced to build upon skills and knowledge developed in earlier assignments. Best of all, the students responded warmly to the challenge of these writing assignments and frequently produced a high level of work. But no wonder: I found myself a little envious of their opportunities to do such creative, even entertaining, assignments. Equally interesting to me was the fact that some of the work we had done for this professor's WE course ended up influencing his writing assignments and assessments for other courses, as well.

 

Shannon Young (Writing Consultant)

The four faculty I worked with this term agreed that WEC objectives bring enhanced clarity to their writing assignments. A major WEC goal is to work out a concrete, detailed writing project description, peer review worksheets, and grading rubrics that correspond to the criteria of the writing assignment. The result is a clearer idea of the parameters of the writing assignment from the outset for both the professor and the students. The professor can then present the assignment more effectively, and, as the students work through their drafts, be more prepared to assess the students' accomplishment of the assignment's objectives and their improvement in subsequent drafts. When the grading rubric evolves out of the writing assignment criteria, it takes the guesswork out of grading so students have a more concrete idea of where their writing is strong and where it needs to be improved. As Amy Foerster (Sociology) observed, "Previously, it wasn't until I was grading the papers that I really understood what I was asking my students to do. This time, I knew what it was before my students wrote their papers, and it helped all of us to have a more constructive writing experience. I also didn't have students questioning their grades this time, since the objectives the grades were based on were more clearly laid out." All four faculty also acknowledged that the WEC experience resulted in stronger writing from their students. Carol Alpern observed that she will definitely use revision in the future, since the final result is better and consequently her students feel more positive about the writing experience. The WEC writing and revision strategies enable faculty and students to engage more effectively with course materials in a more collaborative framework.

 

Writing & Revision

Revising allows time for the composing process to work. In addition to informal writing to start the process, students need enough time to write several drafts before the final paper is due. Students can share some of these drafts with each other to give both readers and writers a sense of each other's ideas and capabilities. Professors can give feedback in different ways: a short conference with each writer in the draft stage, written comments before the final draft, class discussion of models, classroom response, mini-exercises, and editing workshops. Carol Alpern developed the following peer review handout for her WE course:

 

SPP 251 Early Language Development

Dr. Alpern, PEER REVIEW SHEET

Name of Writer______________________ Name of Reader_________________

1. The information was complete. It included information on the following:

Yes? No?

a. Parent/caretaker information ____ ____

b. Prenatal and birth history ____ ____

c. Developmental history ____ _____

d. Medical history ____ ____

e. Social development ____ ____

f. Observations of behavior ____ ____

2. The above information was well-organized.____ ____

3. The summary used a professional tone. ____ ____

4. Editing checklist- Note errors on the student's paper.

____ ____

a. Are there any run-ons or fragments? ____ ____

b. Do subjects and verbs agree? ____ ____

c. Do nouns and pronouns agree? ____ ____

d. Are verb tenses consistent? ____ ____

e. Are the following forms used correctly?

Their, there, they're ____ ____

It's, its ____ ____

 

Note: This appendix is from to the article "Architects of Change: Writing Enhanced Course Program Development and Core Reform," by Linda Anstendig, Eugene Richie, Shannon Young, Pauline Mosley and Bette Kirschstein, available at https://wac.colostate.edu/atd/articles/pace2004/.