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Whether you're a student or an instructor, adjusting to writing or teaching writing in college can be challenging. The Center for Writing is here to guide you through the process.

Faculty Programming

Colleague-to-Colleague Coffee Talks

A half-hour discussion offering a concrete pedagogical strategy for teaching writing in the online environment. Sponsored by the Center for Writing and the Deans of the Faculty.

The Canvas/Zoom Connection for Pre-Loading Groups

Presented by Alex Browman (Psychology). Friday, January 15, 2021 at 10 am. Do you want your students to be able to do breakout room work in pre-assigned groups? This session will demonstrate how you can use Canvas functionality to both pre-assign students to specific work groups and set up Zoom to automatically put students into the correct breakout room with their specific group members. There will be plenty of time for questions and discussion.

Using Jamboard: An Online Collaborative Whiteboard Tool

Presented by Amy Finstein (Visual Arts). Tuesday, January 19 at 10 am. Come see how Jamboard can be a helpful tool for small-group work, whole class discussions, and more! We'll learn how to create and share a Jamboard for collaboration, and then how to save it for future class reference.

Using Perusall: An App for Group Reading and Note-taking

Presented by Sanjog Rupakheti (History). Friday, January 22 at 9:30 am. Do you want to explore a collaborative pedagogy where students can help each other learn by collectively annotating readings in threads, responding to each other’s comments, and interacting before they come to class? Perusall proactively engages students with automated personalized guidance, ensuring continual motivation, and its non-discriminatory grading system seamlessly syncs with Canvas making it easy to keep track of student progress to help plan class time. This workshop will show you how to set up reading assignments on Perusall using Canvas.

Using Canvas Discussion Boards as for Journaling or Sequenced Writing

Presented by Laurie Ann Britt-Smith (Center for Writing). Monday, January 25 at 10 am. This talk will demonstrate the use of the discussion board feature in Canvas to create a space for sequenced writing that functions like a private journal (a writing space that can only be seen by the professor and student). 

The Challenges of Virtual Paleography

Presented by Liz Spragins (Spanish). Friday, February 26 at 10 am. This talk focuses on a manuscript transcription project for an upper-level Spanish seminar where students read “Aljamiado”, Spanish written in Arabic script that circulated during the 16th century, and reflect on the experience of encountering a text in raw manuscript form instead of a neatly edited page. Prof. Spragins will discuss some of the digital strategies she used to get around the barriers COVID-19 threw in the way of implementing this project in the classroom, including Kahoot! and PDF annotation, and hopes to troubleshoot with the audience ways to continue refining this project so students get the most out of it.  

Facilitating Peer Response Using Canvas

Presented by Beth Sweeney (English). Friday, March 5 at 10 am. Have you used peer editing in your classes in the past, but aren't sure how to do so remotely?  Would you like to try incorporating peer responses into your writing assignments or allowing your students to view each other's work?  Beth will share her experience with the Peer Review function on Canvas.

Teaching Terminology Using Prep Sheets

Presented by Julia Khodor (Biology). Friday, March 12 at 10 am. Acquiring subject-specific vocabulary and using it appropriately and with confidence is an important step in mastering any subject. Course structures do not always allow space for students to practice flexibly using vocabulary in context, and pandemic realities further limit opportunities to do so. This two step terminology quiz model invites iterative and reflective practice and provides a low-stakes tool for building such practice into a course. 

Reactive Notebooks: Incorporating Interactive Content in Your Course Site

Presented by Neel Smith (Classics). Friday, March 19 at 10 am. "Notebook" environments like Jupyter let you mix blocks of text with executable blocks in a single web page.  Reactive notebooks take that a step further: every block on your page is automatically linked to other blocks that depend on it so that, as in a spreadsheet, when you update any part of your page, related parts update instantly as well. This talk will briefly introduce two reactive notebooks, Observable and Pluto, with examples illustrating how students are currently using these (1) as interactive components embedded on a course web site and (2) as a platform for exploratory data analysis.

Using the YouTube App and the OKIOCAM to Interact with Students

Presented by Danielle Poche (Education). Friday, March 26 at 10 am. Come learn about these quick and easy video capturing software apps. The YouTube app is free and helps you record and make videos in minutes that you can email to students or upload to Canvas. The OKIOCAM is inexpensive, takes seconds to install, and you can use it during class. With OKIOCAM, students see your hand while you write or draw out an idea for them in real time. It is like having a whiteboard that everyone can see.


Issues in Writing Keynotes

Annual guest lectures and interactive workshops on a topic related to writing pedagogy.

What Does it Mean to Use Labor-Based Grading Contracts for Socially Just Teaching?

Thursday, January 21, 2021 from 1-2:30 pm

Professor Asao B. Inoue will explain how labor-based grading contracts can contribute to an antiracist grading practice in college courses that include writing, and how these practices might be adapted to a range of pedagogical situations. He asks the audience to reflect on their own courses and grading practices as they plan for the spring semester. In the second half of the session, a template of a labor-based grading contract and other classroom resources will be offered, as well as a generous Q&A period. In addition to providing concrete classroom tools, Inoue models ways of grading student work based on meaningful labor and argues that these approaches allow him to be a more socially just educator. His model offers classroom practices that embrace the multiple literacies inherent in society.

Sponsored by: Office of Multicultural Education, Center for Writing, Office of the Deans of the Faculty, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Office of International Students, Academic Services and Learning Resources, Department of English, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Department of Classics, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Student Programming


The Center for Writing/Writer's Workshop occasionally sponsors short group workshops on specific topics relevant to students' writing lives. In the spring 2021 semester, five workshops will be offered via Zoom.

Writing Emails for College & Work

Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 3 pm. How do you write an effective message for a professor, employer, or co-worker? This presentation will help you consider audience, genre, and tone as you compose messages that have specific purposes via email. Missed it or can't make it? Check out the Google Slides presentation from fall 2020.

Connecting Reading & Writing Strategies

Tuesday, February 16 at 6 pm. Co-facilitated with the Office of Academic Services and Learning Resources. Become a more efficient reader by learning strategies to help you absorb and process high volumes of difficult material. Learn how to apply these techniques to improve your writing, too. (Zoom link TBA).

Writing Discussion Board Posts

Thursday, February 25 at 3 pm. Is a discussion board post a mini essay? A reflection? Something else? This presentation will help you understand how and why professors use discussion boards and how formal (or informal) they may be, depending on course expectations. Missed it or can't make it? Check out the Infographic from fall 2020!

How to Read a Writing Prompt

Thursday, March 11 at 3 pm. Reading a writing prompt may seem easy at first, but if you don't do it deeply enough, it can be easy to miss things that your professor expects. This presentation will help you identify key words that professors use and how to decode them to better understand what is being expected of you in college writing.

Using Feedback to Revise

Thursday, March 25 at 3 pm. CANCELLED. Getting feedback can be difficult. Using it to improve your work doesn't have to be. This presentation will help you identify emotional and intellectual responses to writing feedback and will provide four specific strategies for linking those responses to concrete revision actions you can take.

Issues in Writing Keynotes

Annual guest lectures and interactive workshops on a topic related to writing practices from a student's perspective.

Advocating for Students Inside & Outside the Classroom with Asao B. Inoue

Tuesday, January 19, 2021 from 1-2:30 pm

This interactive keynote focuses on how students and their advocates/supporters in student affairs and academic affairs can think about students’ use of language in and outside of the classroom, with particular attention to settings where they are either graded or evaluated (as in performance reviews). It offers some personal experiences from speaker Professor Asao B. Inoue and his education as a former remedial English student of color. It also considers how to navigate the politics of judgments of our languaging, both in education and in the world. The student audience will be asked to engage with ideas presented by periodically reflecting in writing and sharing some of their thoughts during the keynote in a nonjudgemental environment. It will end with a Q&A period.

Sponsored by: Office of Multicultural Education, Center for Writing, Office of the Deans of the Faculty, Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Office of International Students, Academic Services and Learning Resources, Department of English, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Department of Classics, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Contact Associate Director Kristina Reardon or Office Coordinator Samantha Garrity