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INTD 105 Writing Seminar

Changes to INTD 105 Requirements, Revision

August 25, 2015

This workshop focused on recent changes to the requirements for what INTD 105 sections should do, and on teaching revision, although it also included presentations on the library component of the course, the Writing Learning Center, and identifying non-native English speakers.

New Requirements

Group discussion, moderated by Doug Baldwin, INTD 105 co-coordinator

The key elements of the change are (1) require students to do more revision of their papers, and (2) require students to write a research-based paper. Because writing is a process of continuously developing ideas, expressing them, changing the expression in light of one's own reflection and reactions of other readers, etc., inviting students to do more revision aims to develop this attitude towards writing in them. INTD 105 has always required instruction in how to do library research; requiring students to practice what they learn in that instruction for one of the papers helps them retain the new knowledge.

Instructors' main concerns with the change are that it sacrifices the flexibility that is a hallmark of INTD 105 by requiring them to make changes in the way they structure their sections. There was also concern that it could disadvantage students who aren't native English speakers.

Discussion established that "revision" does not always require the instructor to grade early drafts of papers; a lot of the feedback to students can come from peer reviews.

Discussion also established that "research" needn't mean a long paper or one that asks students to read scholarly literature in a field. "Research" as intended here can be broadly understood as any activity that asks students to find and write about some "voice" other than their own and the one(s) they have been studying elsewhere in the course. The resulting paper can be one of the revised papers.

Action Item: Part of next summer's workshop will be used to let instructors who are trying some of the new requirements report back on their results, problems or successes they have encountered, etc.

Library Research

Presented by Michelle Costello, Sue Ann Brainard, and Dan Ross, Milne Library.

INTD 105 provides a unique way to introduce all Geneseo students to the library. The introduction can cover many things pertinent to INTD 105, and the library instructors prefer to work with INTD 105 instructors to craft a session specific to each INTD 105 section. Plagiarism-avoidance sessions that the library runs also complement research instruction for INTD 105. In all cases though, the students need to practice the skills covered in the instruction sessions. Set up library instruction by using the online request form.

Other things Milne librarians can do for INTD 105 include "libguides" with customized pointers to literature sources, and commenting on students' bibliographies or proposed research sources.

The attached handout from the presentation summarizes these points and more.

Writing Learning Center

Presented by Gillian Paku, WLC Coordinator

The Writing Learning Center, based in the Center for Academic Excellence in Milne Library, is a student-staffed service to help students understand the writing process. Tutor training uses vocabulary and concepts from They Say, I Say, and so coordinates well with INTD 105 sections that also use that book (but of course any student from any section, regardless of whether they use the book, is welcome to use the WLC). Students should sign up for a tutoring appointment online via the Writing Learning Center web page.

Instructors have a big influence on getting students to use the WLC. Consider putting a link to the Center's web page on syllabi, or encouraging students to consult the center for specific papers or problems. WLC staff can visit classes to talk about the Center, and can even provide temporary extra help in teaching INTD 105, e.g., as assistants on peer editing days.

The WLC also has tutors specifically trained to work with students who aren't native English speakers (see next topic).

Go to the Writing Learning Center web page for more information.

Non-Native English Speakers

Presented by Irene Belyakov-Goodman, ESoL

Geneseo has several courses for students whose first language is other than English, notably Writing 101, Writing 102, and INTD 110. INTD 105 can be a hard course for students who aren't comfortable writing and speaking English, so non-native English speakers may defer taking INTD 105 until after they have taken one or more ESoL courses.

In order to recognize students who need ESoL coursework quickly, Irene and the INTD 105 coordinators strongly urge instructors to do a "diagnostic writing exercise" during the first class meeting of the semester. Instructors can use the results of the exercise to identify students who should be referred to Irene for placement in an ESoL course, but it has to be done quickly so students who need to change their schedules can do so during drop-adds. Good diagnostic writing exercises involve short but unrehearsed writing done under time limits. See the attached handout for tips on what sorts of English mistakes often indicate that a writer is not a native speaker.

Action Item: Explore whether ESoL students can have more than the standard drop-add time to add ESoL courses to their schedules.

Revision

This part of the workshop started with a discussion of teaching with They Say, I Say generally, and then narrowed in on using its chapter on revision.

A good way to start a class off with They Say, I Say is to start with chapters on writing as conversation, e.g., chapters 12 and 14. This helps students figure out how to recognize what the conversation is in a reading (e.g., how the reading relates to others on the same topic, how the author contributes to an evolving understanding of that topic), and how to place themselves in it. They Say, I Say is also helpful at getting students to understand how to use quotations, and its templates can help both students and more advanced writers improve their writing (although you might have to overcome some initial resistance to templates).

The revision chapter of They Say, I Say provides a good synopsis of how all the other sections tie together to support a complete writing project, although it could create an impression that revision is just a matter of checking your writing against a checklist. Instructors may want to help students understand that the checklist is scaffolding for revision, and to eventually wean them away from it.

Finally, we used group discussion to consider a rubric for assessing revision in this year's INTD 105 assessment. We eventually decided to adapt the "revision" section of the 2006 INTD 105 rubric for this purpose.

Action Item: Develop a draft revision rubric to present to INTD 105 instructors in the spring 2016 workshop.

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