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INTD 105 Instructors' Workshop: New Instructors, Assessment

Although this workshop's stated goal was to start a conversation about assessing writing, and it did that, much of the time was spent welcoming some new or long-absent instructors and sharing tips for teaching INTD 105.

Welcome New Instructors

Welcome to everyone who's teaching INTD 105 for the first time, or for the first time in many years, and of course to the people who have taught it many times before. Some things new (and even returning) instructors might find helpful include...

Library Instruction

Every INTD 105 section has to have some instruction in library research from the Milne librarians, and has to include some assignment that requires students to put things covered in that instruction to use. But how many instruction sessions you have and what sort of "research assignment" you do is up to each instructor. The choice will depend on how you see library instruction and research fitting into your other plans for the course.

Note that the instructional librarians are located in Milne 105 now, on the lower level of the library. They seem to be a bit harder to find there than they were on the main level.

Sherry Larson-Rhodes (rhodes@geneseo.edu), Milne's first-year experience librarian, is the main point of contact for questions concerning INTD 105.

The Writing Learning Center

The Writing Learning Center is a very valuable resource for INTD 105 (and everyone else). Please put links to it (https://www.geneseo.edu/english/writing_center) in syllabi, and encourage students to visit it at least once. This will help your students realize that it's not a remedial service, but rather a writing consulting service that can help everyone.

WLC tutors are trained to use the vocabulary of They Say, I Say, INTD 105's recommended (but not required) writing manual.

WLC tutors are available to come to INTD 105 classes to talk about the center, or to help with things like peer editing sessions. Contact Gillian Paku (paku@geneseo.edu) to set up such visits.

INTD 106

INTD 106 is the online companion to INTD 105, focusing on mechanical aspects of writing so that 105 can concentrate more on academic argumentation/conversation. But INTD 106 isn't purely mechanical, it has, e.g., modules on the overall writing process, selection of good thesis statements, etc. INTD 106 is self-paced, and students can do the material in any order once they finish the first module.

There are several ways INTD 105 instructors have taken advantage of INTD 106. For example, you can require students to complete certain INTD 106 modules (e.g., theses, plagiarism) before INTD 105 classes that talk about those things. INTD 106 also requires students to write a couple of reflective essays, which very naturally draw on writings done in INTD 105. Encouraging students to use INTD 105 exercises for that purpose as well as for INTD 105, and pointing out the due dates for INTD 106, helps them keep moving through INTD 106 and helps them appreciate how the courses support each other.

As an INTD 105 instructor, you have access to a "test" version of INTD 106, which lets you see the content of 106 without also getting all the emails from students taking it. But any 105 instructor who wants access to the "live" 106, for instance in order to see how your students are doing in it, can have that access. Talk to Gillian Paku (paku@geneseo.edu) about setting it up.

Revision

Revision as part of the writing process is important to INTD 105, in particular revision approached as rethinking one's writing rather than just fixing what someone else says is wrong with it. Peer review/editing classes are one good way to start on this, especially if they're structured around questions or guidelines that encourage students to talk to each other about their writing intentions. Conferencing between instructors and students when students are finishing drafts of papers is also helpful; instructors can steer these meetings towards discussions of what students want from their writing rather than just mistakes they made. Such conferences also count  as "instructional time," i.e., you can substitute conferencing time for some regular class meetings.

Assessment

Now is an opportune time for "big picture" assessment of Geneseo's whole writing program, including INTD 105 and 106: the Strategic Planning Group is interested in the writing program, and general education reform is slowly moving forward, realizing that writing will remain a key part of the college's gen ed curriculum. What would we like to know about how writing instruction works at Geneseo, or could work, to inform these efforts?

Canvas collects lots of data that can be mined for quantitative measures of what students are doing. Some of this might be usable for assessment purposes, e.g. how measures of lexical sophistication change over a student's time here. But we need to think about how those measures correlate with such higher level assessment concerns as students' ability to argue persuasively, use evidence effectively, etc.

This conversation will surely continue in the future....

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