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INTD 105 Instructors’ Workshop

Fall 2013

(Notes by Doug Baldwin and Gillian Paku)


The Purpose of INTD 105

Key moral/conclusion from discussion: INTD 105 is foundation for further college writing, both inside and outside majors, and in life in general. There should be important connections to higher level courses. Must remind students later of INTD 105 lessons and vocabulary, reinforce and build on them. Even faculty who don’t teach INTD 105 need to do this.

Other ideas from the discussion. These are the product of lots of discussion, summarized here by general theme (although that’s not necessarily the way they emerged during the workshop), and mostly phrased as questions because the workshop raised them as issues instructors might think about more than it developed a definite conclusion regarding them.

  • Explicitness, e.g., about course goals, reasons for teaching what we teach, writing process: Should we make students conscious of their—or our—writing skills and process? Should we get students to identify personal writing goals & reflect on progress towards them?
  • Repetition: Is it important for students to read and re-read material? What role does note-taking play as they do so? Are some note-taking methods more effective than others at building insight? What about writing and revising? Should students maintain long-term writing portfolios and reflect on or revise their writing outside of the course it was originally done for?
  • Mechanics of essay construction from structural principles: Should instructors undo high school “5 paragraph” model? How much instruction is necessary in creation of thesis statements, topic sentences, transitions, etc.? How to help students understand a writing situation/audience and plan their writing approach from there? How to teach data (i.e., library) competency as well as writing competency? What can we do to develop students’ organizational skills (reading, notes, drafts)?
  • Ability of students to identify own topics vs being told topic and argument: Possible exercise in which students write on an interest of their own? Or write a personal mission statement for course? Does teaching writing skills in a context lead to more “genuine” writing?
  • Clearly crediting sources of ideas: How much instruction do students need in documenting their sources and constructing a bibliography? How aware are students of intellectual property and its protection?

Other Topics

INTD 105 instructors inevitably have to deal with students from multiple majors and interests. Despite best efforts to offer a variety of sections appealing to a variety of interests, students will still sign up for a section based on when it meets, what their advisor pushed them towards, whether it still had seats available, etc.

Do we need a common model of how to teach writing? Or at least a common vocabulary for talking about it, e.g., so that INTD 105 instructors, Writing Learning Center tutors, and instructors in other courses can all mean the same thing when they talk about “transitions” etc. Writing Learning Center is moving to use the vocabulary of They Say, I Say.

Do ESL students need special treatment in INTD 105? Students should be able to develop coherent arguments, etc. regardless of native language, although they may have trouble expressing them in a non-native language. Students can’t be forced out of INTD 105, but ones who have trouble writing in English can be referred to ESL courses prior to taking INTD 105 (or can be encouraged to replace INTD 105 in an early semester at Geneseo with an ESL course in order to come back to INTD 105 later).

Follow-Up Items

(i.e., items to address in future workshops or discussions.)

Development of a common model and/or vocabulary for teaching writing.

Making INTD 105 effective for speakers of languages other than English.

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