Blugold Seminar: Revision of the First-Year Writing Program


Published on

Presentation given to the College of Arts & Sciences Fall Retreat, August 2013
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Published in: Education, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

Blugold Seminar: Revision of the First-Year Writing Program

  1. 1. Blugold Seminar in Critical Reading & Writing Revision of the First-Year Writing Program College of Arts & Science Fall Retreat August 2013 Shevaun Watson: Director, University Writing Program Carmen Manning: Chair, English Department
  2. 2. Comprehensive Revision of First-year Writing Program • New University Writing Requirement • New Prefix & Array of Courses • New Placement System • New Curriculum based on current best practices • Ongoing Professional Development
  3. 3. Blugold Seminar Course Array • WRIT 114, 116, 118, & 120 • Not sequential • Each fulfills proposed University Writing Requirement • Fundamentally similar in terms of curriculum • Outcomes for all courses are the same • Each course specifically designed to meet needs of particular population • Different pace, level of depth necessary, and types of support built in to foster student success • Different methods, based on best practices, used to achieve goals based on needs of specific student population
  4. 4. Blugold Seminar Course Array • WRIT 114: Intensive Blugold Seminar in Critical Reading and Writing • Students who score low(< 405) on the English Placement Exam (UWENGL) and need more support to meet the writing program outcomes in one semester. • 5 credits • WRIT 116: Blugold Seminar in Critical Reading and Writing • Most students will place in this course (405-594 UWENGL) • 5 credits
  5. 5. Blugold Seminar Course Array • WRIT 118: Accelerated Blugold Seminar in Critical Reading and Writing • Students who do not need 5 credits to meet the writing program outcomes • High UWENGL (>595); or • High English AP (4 or 5); or • Appropriate score on University Writing Program Portfolio; or • Honors Program student • 2 credits • WRIT 120: Blugold Seminar in Critical Reading and Writing for Transfer Students • For transfer students with approved partial composition credit from another college/university • 2 credits
  6. 6. Themes to Model “Conversations” Nursing Dilemmas Our Stuff and Where It Comes From Home Sweet Home Technology and Communication The World According to Television Immigration & the Idea of Homeland Security Globalization and the World (Dis)Order Race in the 21st Century You Are What You Meat
  7. 7. BGS Pilot and Assessment • DATA COLLECTION • Baseline student survey, spring 2010 • BGS student surveys, Fall 2011-Spring 2013 • BGS focus groups, Fall 2011-Spring 2013 • BGS E-Portfolio blind reviews, Summer 2012 & 2013 • BGS student self-assessments, Fall 2011-Spring 2013 • “Pre” and “post” writing samples, Fall 2011-Spring 2013 • Longitudinal study of former BGS students, including annual interviews and collection of written work across courses; Cohort 1 (2012), Cohort 2 (2013), Cohort 3 (2014) • National information literacy assessment project with Library, 2013-2015 • Three double-blind experiments pertaining to writing pedagogies, 2013- 2014 • Tracking WRIT grades, UWENGL scores, e-portfolio outcomes
  8. 8. Student Self Perceptions— Beginning to End of Semester 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4 Writer Reader Rhetoric Research Self-assessment Revision Digital Literacy MeanSelf-PerceptionScore Time 1 Perceptions Time 2 Perceptions
  9. 9. Key Trends • Relevance of curriculum to Writing in the Disciplines • “I’m a biology major. I learned that writing in bio is about ethos. You need to tell readers where your ideas and information are coming from so that you have credibility.” • “I’m a political science major. I’ve already used what I learned about rhetoric in my poli sci class, and I’ve seen a huge jump in how I’m doing in that class.” • “I’m a music major. You have to analyze a lot of different kinds of texts. All of the rhetoric terms helped me do that better. I can see the rhetoric of music.” • Rigorous • “Definitely more challenging than my high school course.” • “If you wanted a good grade, you had to really work at it. You couldn’t just sit down the night before and crank the work out.” • “I thought it was a good challenge.”
  10. 10. Key Trends • Gains in information literacy/inquiry & research skills • “I’m better at finding credible sources.” • “I learned about all of the different databases. Wow! I don’t start with Google anymore.” • “I can see now why you need different kinds of sources for different kinds of papers.” • “Now I’ll go to the Library when I’m researching something.” • Opportunities for transfer • “I can write lots of different kinds of papers now.” • “I’m better at reading. Not just faster, but I know what to focus on.” • “Even though other professors don’t say it, I can hear them talking about rhetoric, audience, context.”
  11. 11. Student Performance – Year 2 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Segment 2 Project Final Portfolio Project Performance Project Performance
  12. 12. Transfer: Like a Bridge • Not just reapplication, but recontextualization • Needs to be prompted—explicitly and often • Involves affective dimensions • Involves metacognition (conscious, mindful abstraction) • For writing, students begin the process of transfer by relying on “antecedent genres” • Same terms, different meanings (disciplinary inflections) • Students as “Agents of Integration”: they actively work to perceive—and to effectively convey to others— connections, applications, reconstructions
  13. 13. Writing in the Disciplines “Writing is a complex and continuously developing response to a specialized discourse community, highly embedded in the specific rhetorical practices of that community, rather than a set of generalizable, mechanical skills that are independent of disciplinary knowledge.”
  14. 14. Picking up Where the BGS Leaves Off • Rhetorical situations (audience, purpose, context) • Academic discourse as rhetorical moves • “Conversation” • Rhetorical differences between source types, kinds of evidence • Course- or discipline-specific reading strategies • Rules as disciplinary conventions • Expectations model disciplinary conventions • Define terms used in assignments • Explore students’ antecedent genre knowledge • Opportunities for reflection (“first-person selling”) • Opportunities for practice
  15. 15. We welcome your questions and comments.