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INTD 105 Instructors' Workshop: Research and Revision

August 22, 2016

This workshop focused on INTD 105 instructors' informal review of the now-one-year-old research requirement, and a report to instructors on last spring's assessment of revision. Other topics included an overview of Milne Library's plagiarism workshops and how INTD 105 might fit into Geneseo's larger general education revision (GLOBE).

News and Announcements

INTD 105 has a new co-coordinator: Gillian Paku, associate professor of English, is taking over from Maria Lima. (Doug Baldwin, professor of mathematics, continues as the second co-coordinator).

Some things to keep in mind for INTD 105 syllabi and introductory class meetings: The Writing Learning Center is a valuable resource for INTD 105 students, mention it on syllabi. Similarly, many instructors find Milne's plagiarism workshops helpful and list them on syllabi. Finally, it is very helpful for instructors to do an "ESoL diagnostic" writing exercise on the first day of class, i.e., a short unprepared writing exercise that instructors can quickly use to detect students who would benefit from an ESoL course before INTD 105; instructors should encourage such students to drop INTD 105 and add Writing 101 or Writing 201, and give that encouragement before the end of the drop/add period (Friday Sept. 2 this semester).

There is an interesting online tool to help students revise at writelab.com. It will be available on campus as pilot.

Geneseo's annual writing competition has a category specifically for INTD 105. Even though the competition is in the spring, identify good writers in your fall sections and encourage them now to submit when the time comes.

There is a new Google group (i.e., mailing list) for INTD 105 instructors: INTD105-Instructor-googlegroup@geneseo.edu. Please join it, or let Doug know if you can't.

Finally, remember this wiki space for INTD 105 resources: https://wiki.geneseo.edu/display/intd105

Spring 2016 Assessment Results

This round of assessment focused on students' ability to revise writing, with "revision" understood as continuous use of reflection and feedback to improve writing, a central and ongoing part of the writing process. The INTD 105 guidelines require revision to be an explicit part of at least three writing exercises. We assessed revision by asking instructors to score one of these exercises against a revision rubric developed in the February 2016 instructors' workshop.

Thirteen sections completed the assessment, covering a total of 253 essays. 46% of the essays scored "excellent" and 41% scored "adequate," i.e., 87% showed evidence of effective revision. This is a satisfying result, although it leaves 13% who don't effectively revise, and it would be nice to reduce that number over future semesters.

Plagiarism Workshops

Milne Library runs a number of workshops on avoiding plagiarism every semester. Students can register for these workshops online, and can get GOLD credit for attending. Sue Ann Brainard, Michelle Costello, Dan Ross, and Brandon West presented a condensed version of one of the workshops to let us know what students see in them and to solicit our feedback. Their slides are available online.

Research Requirement

Discussion between instructors and coordinators of how the new requirement worked over the past year – its impact on students, on teaching INTD 105, etc.
            
General Discussion. It can be hard to evaluate students' use of research sources, and hard for students to understand the scholarly work surrounding the texts they read in INTD 105. Nonetheless, students need this experience, as shown by the difficulty of making the assignment work. Teachers can scaffold the assignment, e.g., ask for annotated bibliographies, ask students to find a "they say" relevant to an INTD 105 text without finding the entire literature or a full set of primary sources, have students find articles but then guide them to the good ones, etc. In all cases, the "researchability" of a topic depends on the specific topic. Expectations concerning what is a researchable topic and what constitutes research vary greatly between disciplines, but remember that this is not a discipline-specific course. Focus on general skills of locating and evaluating research sources. Those sources have to reputable but not strictly scholarly. While most INTD 105 research essays are short, instructors can sometimes do long traditional research papers too.

Possible Alternatives to the Current Requirement. Rewrite it to focus on using library skills, and make evaluation of sources an important focus of the course. Don't require a research paper unless INTD 105 becomes a much bigger (e.g., 2 semester) course.

General Education Revision

Geneseo is beginning to revise its general education program in light of the GLOBE recommendations. We briefly discussed how INTD 105 might fit into the revised program.

Ideas. INTD 105 should focus on reading and writing, less on critical thinking, research etc. Should INTD 105 coordinate with higher level things, e.g., dept writing requirements? INTD 105 has a big impact on students' writing, looking at students coming in here shows they need it. College-level instruction needs to retrain students in good writing rather than writing for a high school rubric.

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