Handout august 7th


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Handout august 7th

  1. 1. 1 Writing initiatives in Latin-American countries: Tendencies emerging from websites of writing centers and writing programs Introduction Context of the data collected, analyzed and presented in this paper: The project “Initiatives of reading and writing in higher education, ILEES Latin America”. Objectives of the ILEES project: a. Describing tendencies of teaching and researching initiatives on tertiary writing in some Latin-American countries (Argentina, Chile, Colombia, México, Puerto Rico, Venezuela), and Brazil1 . b. Describing an account of the state of art for the Latin-American field that will be relied on perspectives of the regional leading scholars. c. Exploring narratives of some teaching initiatives on tertiary writing to learn upon their achievements and challenges. This presentation will only present tendencies of teaching initiatives, especially related to writing centers and writing programs. Methodology Stage 1 Designing, analyzing, and conducting and online survey applied to an intentional sample comprised by Latin-American scholars in two moments: July 2012 in Argentina, Chile, Colombia y México; and January-May 2013 in Puerto Rico, Venezuela, and Brazil. Description of the sections of the survey2 : 1. Institutional information of the participants 2. Teaching initiatives known by the participants in their universities and in other institutions up to 10 universities. 3. Authors, journals, books, and data bases used as resources, as well as publication venues from Latin America and Spain to publish and disseminate the work; titles of publications, oral communications, and research projects developed by the surveyees. 4. Other scholars who might be interested on responding the survey: Snowball technique. Stage 2 Designing, analyzing, and conducting semi-structure interviews to “regional leading scholars” 1 El proyecto se inició como parte de la formación doctoral de Elizabeth Narváez Cardona y Natalia Ávila Reyes, bajo la orientación del profesor Charles Bazerman de la Universidad de California en Santa Bárbara; posteriormente han participado otros investigadores, Vera Lúcia Cristovao, Universidad del Estado de Londrina, Mónica Tapia, Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Ana Valeria Bisseto y Francini Correa, Universida del Estado de Londrina. 2 Puede accederse a la encuesta a través del siguiente link https://ask.survey.ucsb.edu/index.php/survey/index/sid/745432/lang/es
  2. 2. 2 Explaining the category “regional leading scholars” for ILEES project (selection of scholars most mentioned as authors, journal editors and initiatives´ leaders) Designing a website to disseminate the results Further we will define criteria to explore deeply some programs and projects in the region Qualitative exploration for reading websites of the writing centers and writing programs reported by the surveyees: - Data collected based on the survey reports regarding universities running writing centers and programs - Rubric in excel to organize website information as possible and when available: country, university, university type (private/public), academic unit, name of the leader scholar, e-mail address, initiative name, link of publications, year of the publications, historical information of the initiative, initiative objectives, target audiences, initiative website, researcher comments/observations. Tendencies Freshman courses and courses after second year are the most frequent type of initiatives, whereas writing centers and programs articulating differing initiatives are less frequent in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico.
  3. 3. 3 0 2 4 6 8 Argentina Chile Colombia México Puerto Rico Venezuela Privadas Públicas 0 0,5 1 1,5 2 2,5 3 3,5 4 4,5 5 Argentina Chile Colombia México Puerto Rico Venezuela 1-3 años 4-6 años 7-10 años más de 10 años Regarding qualitative exploration of the websites, the following quantitative tendencies were identified: Public universities have led projects on writing centers and writing programs except from the Colombia case where private universities seem have undertaken such type of initiatives In the Colombia case, writing centers and programs seem to be more visible initiatives through websites in contrast to other countries Colombian initiatives seem to be youngest (1-3 years) Argentine and Chilean initiatives hold more tradition (4-6 years) A Puerto Rican initiative seem to be the oldest in LA region (more than 10 years)
  4. 4. 4 Regarding qualitative exploration of the websites, the following tendencies were identified relying on grounded analysis: Initiative origins Framing in public and institutional reforms in higher education: - PLEA in Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile: strategic institutional plan (2000-2005) and institutional large-scale assessment on writing abilities3 (p. 538-539). Institutional requests asked by academic units outside of the language or writing departments: - Programa de desarrollo de habilidades de lectura y escritura académica a lo largo de la carrera (PRODEAC) in Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Argentina: collaborative work between engineers and language scholars4 . Leadership of language and composition scholars: writing centers or programs that were embedded as “products” of research projects: - Centro de escritura académica de postgrado (CEAP), Universidad de Buenos Aires5 (p. 1). UNESCO chairs for reading and writing in LA as leading units in developing writing centers and programs: - Centro de Redacción Multidisciplinario in Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto Metropolitano - Escritura Académica in Universidad Central de Venezuela - Centro de escritura académica de postgrado (CEAP) in Universidad de Buenos Aires Services The most frequent services according to the website information available are: a) Consulting and tutoring6 on writing for undergraduate and graduate students individually or collectively b) Pedagogical consulting for disciplinary professors c) Consulting and tutoring for professors on scientific publishing d) Writing courses offered by language specialists (some as curriculum requirements of programs and others as elective) 3 El artículo original puede ser consultado en: Ávila Reyes, N., González-Álvarez, P. & Peñaloza Castillo, C. (2013). Creación de un programa de escritura en una universidad chilena: Estrategias para promover un cambio institucional. Revista Mexicana de Investigación Educativa, XVIII (57), 537-560. Disponible en: http://www.redalyc.org/pdf/140/14025774010.pdf 4 Información disponible en: http://www.ungs.edu.ar/prodeac/?page_id=30 5 Información disponible en: http://www2.udec.cl/catedraunesco/10VASQUEZ.pdf 6 Consulting has been seen as designing and posting formats, guidelines, explanations, and protocols by audio, video or writing, and links posted on websites, as well as forums and chats to discuss doubts and answer questions, whereas tutoring has been understood as personal encounters to discuss specific texts.
  5. 5. 5 0 5 10 15 20 Asesorías a estudiantes de pregrado Asesorías pedagógicas para profesores Asesorías a profesores como escritores Cursos específicos de escritura orientados por especialistas en lenguaje (oferta curricular obligatoria y flexible) Asesorías a estudiantes de postgrado (para publicaciones y escritura de tesis) Desarrollo de proyectos de investigación sobre la misma iniciativa o relacionada con estudios de la escritura en la educación superior Edición de textos para publicar por estudiantes y profesores Asesorías en más de una lengua Asesoría de personal administrativo de las instituciones Less frequent services: e) Researching on the issue f) Editing texts g) Consulting or tutoring in more than one language h) Consulting and tutoring for administrative staff Initiatives´ sustainability i) The writing centers and programs have bounded their scopes through two strategies: running as pilot projects and as disciplinarily oriented initiatives Pilot projects: Centro de escritura, Universidad de Tarapacá, Chile7 . Programa de Enseñanza de la escritura académica, Universidad Católica Argentina: the project plans implementation through 3 years8 . 7 Información tomada de: http://www.uta.cl/centro-de-escritura-uta-recibe-asesoria-en-implementacion-de- laboratorios-de-escritura/web/2013-07-10/121841.html 8 Consultar el proyecto en: http://www.uca.edu.ar/uca/common/grupo18/files/Programa_Escritura_Academica_julio_2009.pdf
  6. 6. 6 Disciplinarily oriented initiatives: Centro de escritura, Universidad Minuto de Dios (Uniminuto), Colombia: communication sciences (advertising, graphic design, social communication, and journalism) Programa de Enseñanza de la escritura académica, Universidad Católica Argentina: Department of education Programa de desarrollo de habilidades de lectura y escritura académica a lo largo de la carrera (PRODEAC), Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Argentina: concept of team-teaching between disciplinary professors and language specialists ii) The writing centers and programs start and keep running relying on south-south regional cooperation and north-south collaboration - Consulting services from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana de Cali and Bogotá, Colombia towards Centro de escritura, Universidad de Tarapacá, Chile (UTA). - Consulting services from Programa de desarrollo de habilidades de lectura y escritura académica a lo largo de la carrera (PRODEAC), Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Argentina towards Centro de escritura de la Universidad de Tarapacá, Chile (UTA). - Jennifer Craig9 , Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) towards Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile10 9 CV disponible en: http://aeroastro.mit.edu/faculty-research/faculty-list/jennifer-l-craig 10 Información tomada de: http://www.uc.cl/es/la-universidad/noticias/11204-academica-del-mit-dicto-charla- sobre-escritura-academica
  7. 7. 7 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA → Universidad de Tarapacá (UTA), Chile Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Bogotá →UTA, Chile Pontifica Universidad Javeriana Cali ← UTA, Chile Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Argentina ← UTA, Chile
  8. 8. 8 Justifications of the importance in undertaking teaching writing in tertiary levels The following justifications were inferred from the following sections of the websites´ information: mission, vision, objectives, history, services, and resources: two or more justifications could have emerged from the very same initiative. Most frequent justifications: 1. Writing centers and programs are important for developing and offering guidelines and formats for writing assignments, writing assessment rubrics, and/or supporting writing processes of academic genres. Examples:
  9. 9. 9 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 Desarrollar y ofrecer formatos de tipos de textos relacionados con tareas de escritura, rúbricas de evaluación y/o guías del proceso de escritura de géneros escritos en la educación superior Desarrollar las habilidades de lectura y escritura para aprender en la educación superior Desarrollar competencias para la escritura en las disciplinas y profesiones Favorecer la publicación científica de profesores y estudiantes Apoyar la escritura de la tesis en el postgrado Enfrentar los problemas de los estudiantes como escritores Formar especialistas en escritura 2. Writing centers and programs are important to promote developing reading and writing skills for HE learning: - Different types of resources and explanations offered to write the following genres: academic essay, reading report, oral communications, research protocol, case study reports, thesis project, thesis report, and citation formats (APA and MLA) 3. Writing centers and programs are important to develop professional and disciplinary writing competences: - Disciplinary professors became target audiences not only as scientific writers but also as potential leaders in incorporating disciplinary writing in professional subjects (team work, writing fellows, and intensive writing courses) Less frequent justifications: a. Supporting scientific publishing of professors and students b. Supporting thesis and dissertation writing c. Facing the students´ weakness as writers d. Training the future composition specialists (student-tutors)
  10. 10. 10 Emerging hypothesis from the tendencies Relying on the categories labeled as initiative genesis, services and justifications that have been described previously, it is striking that writing centers and writing programs in Latin America have developed their local and regional identities within the contexts of higher education reforms and needs in the region. Although most of the writing centers and programs seem to be initiatives initially based on US developments, it is also striking that, according to the initiative origins, services and justifications identified previously, the Latin-American projects have found their own local and institutional identities. This has been a re-contextualization process of international initiatives as those developed by the US scholarship. The existence of writing centers and programs implies designing online platforms, guidelines and formats. New ways of online interaction for tutoring seem emerging through forums and chats. Further research on the issue could be conducted. A flexible curriculum offered by writing centers and programs (i.e., writing courses for non-university audiences or elective courses in undergraduate and graduate programs) seems to be ways of getting financial resources to make sustainable the initiatives. Next research stages could confirm this hypothesis. Strategically speaking, it is noticeable the leadership of some initiatives articulating services and research projects. Collecting and analyzing data from the type of practices developed on the writing centers and programs might be efforts to promote collecting evidence of the initiatives´ impacts while scholars and practitioners develop knowledge for the field (books and handbooks), and resources for the target audiences (videos, guidelines). Furthermore, the regional cooperation between the initiatives could be on short term an important opportunity to develop an exchange program of visits and interregional research to boost the developments achieved thus far. As this report shows, the justification related to the students´ weakness as writers is still used as part of the importance of these types of initiatives. This deficit discourse is not negative itself, if we consider that "minimum writing expectations in HE" could be an "evidence" related to a) the emergence of a more plural higher education systems in LA, which means that more student population from underrepresented communities are accessing to HE; and b) the need of a debate upon how transition from high school towards higher education is understood. Theoretically speaking, it might be interesting to discuss conceptions of academic writing (as a generic/homogeneous concept) vs. disciplinary writing that emerged from the initiatives analyzed. It is striking that the most common services and justifications concur with the goal of offering formats and guidelines that seem to promote the idea of homogeneous academic writing practices (i.e., writing a summary or academic essay or steps for planning, drafting and editing any writing assignments as a generic genre and using such writing process
  11. 11. 11 regardless the discipline); however, most of the initiatives simultaneously advocate for promoting disciplinary writing in interdisciplinary team work with professors. One could think that the latter justification should advocate for designing formats, genre and processes guidelines according to the disciplines and learning moments. This case was identified in two writing centers: writing in Biology: how to write a lab report, genres for writing in Accounting, or writing assignments in History. This emerging interpretation also might posit the theoretical debate of what could/should be the boundaries among academic, disciplinary, and interdisciplinary writing; in other words, what types of reasoning related to writing could share or not disciplinary fields and what new ways of reasoning related to writing could have emerged from a new higher education global model. This might be the case of professionals who regardless their disciplines would be able to face with global issues, as the use of sustainable resources or public health problems, either relying on their own specialization or on multidisciplinary approaches. Regarding this latter debate, the idea of developing pilot writing centers and programs disciplinarily orientated and relying on research projects might be important possibilities to boost such theoretical debate; however, these types of initiatives will be more expensive and slow projects to run and in turn hardly justified before the administrative staff and university directives.