The Writing Campus: George Mason's WAC Program

The Writing Campus: George Mason's WAC Program The blog of the George Mason WAC program. To see our call for submissions and mission statement, please visit: thewritingcampus.com. Wait. It’s a blog?

Yes. Here at The Writing Campus, we want to explode your ideas about the genre of “scholarly blogging”. . . Think of us as a remix of The Writing Lab Newsletter and ProfHacker. Our goal is to create conversation about writing and writing instruction across institutional and professional centers. We serve the Writing Across the Curriculum community broadly, producing practical, yet scholarly, pieces for instructors in the disciplines who teach and value writing. The pieces we seek will share practices and observations, providing support for faculty writing instructors who teach writing in many different contexts. We welcome a range of styles, approaches, and topics: Traditional. Hybrid. Multi-Modal. Print. Personal. Scholarly. Reflective. Empirical. Submit through our Online Journal System: http://journals.gmu.edu/writingcampus/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions

Mission: Central to our WAC mission is the belief that when students are given frequent opportunities for writing across the university curriculum, they think more critically and creatively, engage more deeply in their learning, and are better able to transfer what they have learned from course to course, context to context. The WAC mission forwards goals laid out in the university mission statement by focusing on writing as a pedagogical tool that enables students to develop critical, analytical, and imaginative thinking to address complex social issues, and on faculty development in support of excellence in teaching. The most visible components of our program are: the writing-intensive requirement in the major, with oversight by the WAC Committee, appointed by the Faculty Senate; the advanced composition in the disciplines (English 302) requirement; and writing-infused programs across the curriculum. Good teaching practice is reinforced through faculty development workshops, departmental assessment workshops, and collaboration with other teaching-focused units across the university, including CTE, TAC, CTAC, and the University Writing Center, which provides vital support for student writers. Additionally, this website and the Teaching With Writing Across the Curriculum newsletter celebrate and support faculty efforts in teaching with writing.

Operating as usual

03/21/2020
5 Tips For Success In Virtual Learning

GMU’s Associate Professor Melissa Broeckelman-Post offers tips for success in virtual learning. #GMU

Associate Professor Melissa Broeckelman-Post offers students five tips for being successful as George Mason University transitions to virtual learning.

Having to shift to online instruction mid-semester can be a daunting task, especially for those haven’t taught courses o...
03/11/2020
Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors - The WAC Clearinghouse

Having to shift to online instruction mid-semester can be a daunting task, especially for those haven’t taught courses online.

An open educational resource, *Personal, Accessible, Responsive, Strategic: Resources and Strategies for Online Writing Instructors* offers extensive examples of how to create assignments, syllabi, and accessible, productive learning spaces, and draws on work in the design of user experiences to explore how we can design online writing courses with our students' experiences in mind.

Drawing on their novel PARS framework, Jessie Borgman and Casey McArdle explore the complexities and anxieties associated with online writing instruction. PARS offers an innovative way to support your own online instructional efforts as well as those of faculty members in programs that offer online....

If you’re spending part of your spring break making plans in case Mason moves instruction online because of COVID-19, El...
03/10/2020
Eli Review

If you’re spending part of your spring break making plans in case Mason moves instruction online because of COVID-19, Eli Review will let you and your students use their peer feedback tools free of charge for the rest of the term. We’re huge fans of Eli Review, and our Graduate Assistant Director uses it in all his classes.

Here is a small gesture of help from us to our colleagues who may find a sudden need for online course support. If we can help, please let us know.

In our latest The Writing Campus blog post, we continue our discussion of effective feedback by examining what formative...
03/04/2020
Giving Formative Feedback

In our latest The Writing Campus blog post, we continue our discussion of effective feedback by examining what formative feedback looks like, both describing its characteristics and providing examples of formative feedback statements.

In our previous post, we discussed the why, how, and when of giving feedback, and we identified formative feedback as one of our most effective tools for teaching and learning. In this post, weR…

Need help implementing peer-learning pedagogies while shifting a course online because of COVID-19? Eli Review is offeri...
03/02/2020
An Invitation from Eli to Colleagues Who May Have a Sudden Need for Online Learning Support due to COVID-19 - Eli Review

Need help implementing peer-learning pedagogies while shifting a course online because of COVID-19? Eli Review is offering the use of Eli at no charge through the end of their Spring 2019 terms.

As campuses are making plans for possible containment or quarantine efforts related to COVID-19 outbreaks, we recognize that we might be of some assistance. Eli Review is an online resource for teachers and students who use peer learning – students sharing work, doing peer reviews, and planning re...

Will Silly Saturday become a thing? Probably not. But in honor a Saturday Leap Day, today we'll make an exception.
02/29/2020

Will Silly Saturday become a thing? Probably not. But in honor a Saturday Leap Day, today we'll make an exception.

For this week's #tbt visit to The Writing Campus archives, we revisit Tom Polk's "Designing High-Impact Writing Assignme...
02/27/2020
Designing High-Impact Writing Assignments

For this week's #tbt visit to The Writing Campus archives, we revisit Tom Polk's "Designing High-Impact Writing Assignments" based on research from Paul Anderson, Chris Anson, Robert Gonyea, and Charles Paine.

We often think of writing as a tool that prompts deep learning, but we don’t always talk about how to use writing assignments to realize this goal. That might let us assume that assigning any kind…

#WACresource: An excellent twitter thread on how instructors build writing supports in their courses.
02/27/2020
Dr. Jessica Jorgenson on Twitter

#WACresource: An excellent twitter thread on how instructors build writing supports in their courses.

“What are some ways you build writing supports in your class? I know we have peer review, rough drafts, and writing conferences, but do any of you smarties do other things? Mostly curious.”

Five research-based tips for providing students with meaningful feedback. Infographic by Rebeca Zuñiga.
02/26/2020

Five research-based tips for providing students with meaningful feedback. Infographic by Rebeca Zuñiga.

Formative feedback given during the process of working on a task or on some smaller component or stage of an assignment ...
02/21/2020
RISE Model — Emily Wray

Formative feedback given during the process of working on a task or on some smaller component or stage of an assignment is one of our most effective tools for teaching and learning. Emily Wray's RISE Model offers a method of providing formative feedback aligned with Bloom's taxonomy of educational objectives.

The RISE Model was created by Emily Wray, founder of Make Sense Media, to facilitate the giving and receiving of meaningful feedback and positive critiques in the classroom and beyond.

#WACtip In "Writing Blocks and Tacit Knowledge," psychologist Robert Boice argues that the assumption of tacit writing k...
02/20/2020

#WACtip In "Writing Blocks and Tacit Knowledge," psychologist Robert Boice argues that the assumption of tacit writing knowledge is a major cause of blocked writing in academics, including faculty. If you expect students—undergrad or grad—to know specific disciplinary genres, teach how to write those genres.

Julie Libarkin's How to Write a Manuscript: https://geocognitionresearchlaboratory.com/2017/11/21/how-to-write-a-manuscript/

For this week's #tbt visit to The Writing Campus archives, we revisit Tom Polk's "Characteristics of Effective Feedback....
02/20/2020
Characteristics of Effective Feedback

For this week's #tbt visit to The Writing Campus archives, we revisit Tom Polk's "Characteristics of Effective Feedback."

Writing intensive courses are built on the concept that students improve as writers when they are given frequent opportunities to revise their writing based upon feedback from faculty. While provi…

#WACtip Before you set out to provide feedback on student work, consider the contexts governing your feedback.
02/17/2020

#WACtip Before you set out to provide feedback on student work, consider the contexts governing your feedback.

In "Argument as Emergence, Rhetoric as Love,” Jim Corder asks us to think of argument not as an adversarial act but as a...
02/14/2020

In "Argument as Emergence, Rhetoric as Love,” Jim Corder asks us to think of argument not as an adversarial act but as a cooperative act of sharing our emerging truths with each other. How might Corder's call for a commodious use of language shape the way we teach disciplinary writing?

#WACtip: When providing feedback on student work, consider the contexts governing your feedback. Effective feedback is c...
02/13/2020

#WACtip: When providing feedback on student work, consider the contexts governing your feedback. Effective feedback is context-specific taking into account the goals for the assignment and when the feedback is being provided.

#WACtip Students are often overwhelmed by instructor comments on their papers — especially if those comments are overwhe...
02/10/2020

#WACtip Students are often overwhelmed by instructor comments on their papers — especially if those comments are overwhelmingly negative. Students are more likely to read comments that engage their ideas, their processes, or their development as writers.

For more tips on providing effective feedback on student writing, see our handout Tips for Commenting on Student Writing.https://wac.gmu.edu/wp-content/uploads/Approaches-to-Commenting.pdf

02/07/2020

#WACtip: By inventorying the forms “visually transmitted symbolic activity” take within our specific fields, both inside and outside the academy, we create a set of genres and activities to use as writing to learn activities and for disciplinary writing instruction.

Rather than ask students to write an essay, teach them to write in a disciplinary genre: A white paper, a threat assessment, a legal brief, a recommendation report, presentation for investors or stockholders, an analytical report, a review, or a lesson plan.

#tbt This week's trip to The Writing Campus archives reintroduces the one-minute paper as a low-stakes reflective writin...
02/06/2020
Mini and Mighty: How the One-Minute Paper can Transform Your Teaching

#tbt This week's trip to The Writing Campus archives reintroduces the one-minute paper as a low-stakes reflective writing assignment usable in any class.

By: Tom Sura Tom Sura is an assistant professor of English and the undergraduate writing coordinator at West Virginia University. Tom would love to know if you use one-minute papers in your courses…

While what we consider to be writing is often shaped by disciplinary practices, our assumptions about what counts as wri...
02/05/2020
What Counts as Writing?

While what we consider to be writing is often shaped by disciplinary practices, our assumptions about what counts as writing are often shaped by the genres and conventions in which we were taught in non-disciplinary contexts.

In our latest The Writing Campus blog post, we ask instructors to examine what disciplinary genres and practices might count as writing and how those genres and practices can be used alongside or in place of more traditional essayistic and literary forms of writing.

When we incorporate writing into our courses through writing to learn activities, learning to write assignments, or both, we have made the conscious decision that writing is an important tool for f…

Regular revision is associated with better writing performance, and meaningful revision is often driven by feedback. Eli...
02/03/2020
Feedback and Revision :: The Key Components of Powerful Writing Pedagogy

Regular revision is associated with better writing performance, and meaningful revision is often driven by feedback. Eli Review's Teacher Development Series #1 explains how to teach meaningful peer feedback.

This short module examines the power of feedback and revision to facilitate learning. We will cover what feedback is (and isn’t) and what makes for good revision (and what doesn’t). We will also provide resources that can help you learn to become a better teacher of feedback and revision.

01/31/2020
Describe - Evaluate - Suggest : Giving Helpful Feedback, with Bill Hart-Davidson

Bill Hart-Davidson explains the describe-evaluate-suggest model as a tool for teaching students how to provide effective feedback during peer review. #WACtip

Bill Hart-Davidson (@billhd) introduced the heuristic he introduces to students to help them learn to give one another feedback. This video is an extended cl...

#tbt In May 2015, graduating senior Mikal Lambdin reflected upon her experience with Mason's culture of writing.
01/30/2020
Practice Makes Perfect: A Student Perspective on Mason’s Culture of Writing

#tbt In May 2015, graduating senior Mikal Lambdin reflected upon her experience with Mason's culture of writing.

by: Mikal Lambdin Mikal is a senior studying English at George Mason. She previously worked with WAC to create disciplinary writing guides for student use. Mikal is graduating in May 2015! To reac…

01/29/2020
Archive of Workplace Writing Experiences

#WACresource The Archive of Workplace Writing Experiences, an ongoing research project by Jessica McCaughey (George Washington University) and Brian J. Fitzpatrick (George Mason University), is a growing archive of interviews and resources about workplace writing.

The resource section includes a number of classroom activities to help facilitate transferring college writing knowledge and skills to workplace writing.

Home Welcome to the Archive of Workplace Writing Experiences. This archive is a collection of interviews and resources about workplace writing in America. You’ll find interviews from workplace writers in a variety of jobs and across industries and locations, as well as resources for students, prof...

#WACtip Many students struggle with writing assignments when we assume they have tacit knowledge of writing specific con...
01/22/2020
Supporting the Transfer of Student Writing Knowledge

#WACtip Many students struggle with writing assignments when we assume they have tacit knowledge of writing specific conventions, especially disciplinary conventions.

Making explicit expected knowledge of writing conventions can improve student success. In fact, studies of the transfer of student writing knowledge have found that students don't always transfer prior knowledge to new writing situations without assistance.

Faculty who teach with writing in upper-level courses often ask about the prior literacy learning of students in their courses. Many of these faculty are uncertain about what their students have le…

Looking for ways to introduce the Writing Center as a resource for all students? Over at The Writing Campus, we've got y...
01/16/2020
Framing the Writing Center for Your Students

Looking for ways to introduce the Writing Center as a resource for all students? Over at The Writing Campus, we've got you covered: "Framing the Writing Center for Your Students."

#tbt

By: Alisa Russell Alisa Russell is a Master’s student in the Teaching Writing and Literature program at George Mason University. She works as an administrator in the Writing Center, a resear…

2020 WAC Summer Institute
01/15/2020
2020 WAC Summer Institute

2020 WAC Summer Institute

2020 WAC Summer Institute 2020 WACSI Registration: Spaces still available! Dates This 2020 WAC Summer Institute will take place Sunday evening, May 31, through Wednesday noon, June 3, 2020, at Colorado State University. Purpose & Agenda The Institute’s primary goal will be to assist new and prospe...

Over 50 faculty joined us for our winter 2020 writing retreat. This year we featured a panel of research development and...
01/10/2020

Over 50 faculty joined us for our winter 2020 writing retreat. This year we featured a panel of research development and grant writing and brought back everyone's favorite chair yoga!

Upcoming Institute
12/19/2019
Upcoming Institute

Upcoming Institute

Upcoming Institute WACSI Home About WACSI Past Institutes Registration Opens December 16 @ 1:00 PM EST Save the Date Announcement [Link will go live at registration time] Dates This 2020 WAC Summer Institute will take place Sunday evening, May 31, through Wednesday noon, June 3, 2020, at Colorado St...

Membership
11/15/2019
Membership

Membership

MembershipBenefits of Membership: Opportunities to help shape and contribute to this new WAC organization Opportunities to participate in WAC mentorship and research networks Access to members-only resources, such as the Virtual Workshop Series (webinars focused on WAC pedagogy and program administr...

Research shows that transfer of prior writing knowledge can happen, but it isn’t automatic. Here is some information to ...
10/16/2019
Supporting the Transfer of Student Writing Knowledge

Research shows that transfer of prior writing knowledge can happen, but it isn’t automatic. Here is some information to help you think about facilitating the transfer of student writing knowledge.

https://thewritingcampus.com/2019/10/16/supporting-the-transfer-of-student-writing-knowledge/

Faculty who teach with writing in upper-level courses often ask about the prior literacy learning of students in their courses. Many of these faculty are uncertain about what their students have le…

Address

4400 University Drive, George Mason University
Fairfax, VA
22030

General information

At our large state institution, we are proud of the culture of writing that has been created and fostered over the years by faculty, academic departments, and higher administration, all of whom share a commitment to student writers and writing in disciplines. Central to our WAC mission is the belief that when students are given frequent opportunities for writing across the university curriculum, they think more critically and creatively, engage more deeply in their learning, and are better able to transfer what they have learned from course to course, context to context.

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Comments

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Creative nonfiction writer needed, environmental focus:
Yeah, it's already on Twitter, but because there's never too much FYC love: #howwewrite in English 101. Early and often, with drafts and revisions. In writing groups, with peer review and support. Happy National Day on Writing! ❤️❤️