INTD 105 Instructors' Workshop: Writing in Geneseo's New General Education
February 8, 2017
This workshop solicited instructors' ideas concerning what roles INTD 105 in particular, and writing instruction more generally, should play in the general education program as Geneseo moves to implement GLOBE. The workshop also featured reports from the Writing Learning Center and Milne Library on their interactions with INTD 105.
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Writing Learning Center
The WLC offers 1-on-1 tutoring on writing via conferencing about papers. It's heavily used by INTD 105, but many students form ongoing relationship with the WLC to work on every paper. WLC staff are typically juniors or seniors w/ HUMN, INTD 105 experience. Tutors mostly but not exclusively come from English, but lots of fields are actually represented. The tutors use the language of They Say, I Say, and have copies to direct students to, but they coordinate carefully with handouts or other course-specific information from students. Students can request 15, 30, or 60 minute appointments. 30 minutes is the preferred length, 60 minute appointments are typically for students with some disability or for ESL students.
From talking to students, the tutors sense that students aren't really sure why they need to take INTD 105.
Library and information literacy instruction demonstrably helps students. Instruction is based on a library framework, but librarians work with course instructors to fit it into individual INTD 105 sections. The INTD 105 instructors need to provide reasons for students to use library resources though. The content and duration of library instruction varies from single 50-minute sessions on some specific tool to multi-session series on the library, plagiarism, resources, etc. Sherry Larson-Rhodes is the first point of contact for INTD 105 issues.
They Say, I Say
This text provides an accessible vocabulary for talking about writing and an important message for students – that writing is a learnable skill. It's the basis for how the WLC talks about writing. Note that the templates, which are a distinctive but sometimes hard to appreciate feature of the book, can be models for thinking about writing more than for how to word it.
INTD 105 and General Education
Geneseo has now adopted GLOBE ("Geneseo Learning Outcomes for Baccalaureate Education") as the framework for overhauling its undergraduate curriculum, and is establishing a "Curriculum Design Working Group" to figure out how to implement GLOBE.
GLOBE defines three broad components of a Geneseo undergraduate education:
- Broad and Specialized Knowledge, consisting of
- A major
- General education areas (natural science, social science, arts, languages, humanities)
- Intellectual and Practical Skills, consisting of
- Critical Thinking
- Quantitative Reasoning
- Information and Digital Literacy
- Creative Thinking
- Leadership and Collaboration
- Global Awareness
- Integrative and Applied Learning
For more details, see the full GLOBE document.
The Curriculum Design Working Group will consist of 10 faculty, 3 professional staff, and a few miscellaneous members (e.g., a representative of the provost's office, etc.). The core of its charge is to figure out specific requirements that will "attain" GLOBE "to the greatest degree feasible."
How can or should INTD 105's goals be reflected?
INTD 105 is about thinking and broadening perspectives as well as about the craft of writing.
Students need to understand why they need the liberal arts generally, not just INTD 105. It's education, including the ability to write effectively, for participation in free society, the ability to advocate for themselves. Conversation about the applicability of INTD 105 content to the "grown-up real world" needs to be extended for (at least) a semester; and needs to tell students that what they're doing here is real.
Abstract educational outcomes need to connect to actual (working) life.
Might INTD 105 be subsumed into department programs and not need to be a distinct course? Maybe writing sections could be "affiliated" with sections of discipline courses, like a writing lab in a disciplinary course.
But having a first-year basic writing course is important to later courses and programs. Students need to practice communication, research, etc. in the first year.
Maybe INTD 105 and HUMN can be a more connected multi-year program.