Current News Feature | Archived News Features
Artists and Scientists Make Good Writing Personal
The month of January was busy for the Minor in Professional Writing staff who held two events with students from scholars programs. On January 18, Clayton Clark facilitated a workshop on writing artist statements with students in the Arts Scholars program, and on January 31, Bill Riley facilitated a workshop on writing personal statements for graduate and professional school applications with students in the Biological Sciences Scholars and Health Sciences Scholars programs.
Some of the Arts Scholars|http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/scholars/arts.aspx
are currently showcasing their work in a juried exhibition in the Urban Arts Space through Saturday, April 21, 2012, and they needed to write artist statements to accompany their pieces. Clayton gave a short presentation on the features and structural guidelines of the artist statement, and he also led the students in brainstorming how best to describe their art and in peer workshopping their first drafts. Because this was the second year these programs collaborated on this event, one of last year’s attendees was able to share the outcome of her artist statement from this very same workshop. Through her model, the lecture, and brainstorming activities, students were able to see the value of audience-centric writing and imaginative word choice.
In collaboration with Julie Humble-Courtney and Melissa Basford, the coordinators of the two scholars programs, Bill led a workshop to enable students from these two programs to brainstorm ideas and draft content for their personal statements. The presentation focused on developing a unique and relevant personal narrative that would serve as a thread throughout the personal statement. Rather than rely on cliché reasons for wanting to attend programs like “I want to help people,” students understood that what makes them unique also makes them attractive candidates. Bill also provided students with a personal statement outline and editing checklist, while reminding students that the Writing Center|http://cstw.osu.edu/writingcenter
offers one-on-one consultation for documents like personal statements.
Of the workshop, Melissa said, “I think students benefitted by getting a head start on their personal statements. This can often be a critical but daunting piece of their graduate school applications, so this session helped them collect their thoughts and brainstorm some great ideas.”
Because all workplaces need good writers, facilitating workshops is another way the professional writing minor prepares Ohio State students across the spectrum of academic disciplines for the writing challenges of the 21st century work world.
Humanities Scholars Wrestle with Grammar in Writing Minor Smackdown
Can you smell what the Minor in Professional Writing is cooking?
Professional Writers and Writing Minor Staff Brainstorm about Semister Opportunities
Writing and Dancing Across the Curriculum
Outreach Designs Enjoyable Literacy Curriculum for Fifth Graders
Writing Minor Alumni Return to Campus
Free Social Media Event
Actions Speak Louder than Words
The Minor in Professional Writing Gets Artistic
Brookhaven High School Students Discover How Writing and Science Can Mix
Preview DMSW2011 via YouTube
Second-Level Writing Students Map Columbus Through Their Writing
Award Winner Juhi Kim on Writing Center Research
Interns Market City's Martin Luther King Day Celebration
First Student-Written Writers Talk
The "Great Debaters" at Whetstone High School
Pedagogical Approaches to Student Portfolios
Students Role Play to Reach Technology
CSTW's Writers Talk Continues Frightening Tradition
From Quarters to Semesters
Student Works and Learns at the Writing Center
"No One Way to be a Writer" at Africentric
Electronic and Other Resources
WAC at Teaching Orientation @ Ohio State
Ohioana Book Festival 2010
Internship Provides Bright Opportunity
Middle School Newswriters Address Societal Issues
A New Leader for the Student Technology Consultant Program
A Year in the Life of a WAC Consultant
Writing Intern Explores Pioneering Woman Cartoonist for Library’s Web Site
Adolescent Voices on Literacy Transformed into iMovies
Doug Dangler Selected as Distinguished Staff
Workplace Professionals Share Advice with Writing Minor Students
Exploring Digital Media as a Tool for Composition: WAC Spring Seminar
“Vocabulation” Day at Africentric Elementary
PodCamp Ohio is June 19
Born to Fly
Breakfast Gathering Explores the Changing Work World
Writing Center a Conduit to Research
Talking About Student Research
Technology Workshops for Arts and Humanities Faculty and Staff
High School Freshmen Write Tough About Life Choices
Writing Minor Students Compose King Script
Fall 2009 STC Graduation
A Walk in My Shoes
Professional Writing Minor Expands Workplace Internship Opportunities
Writing Center Satellite Serves Students
Grammar Girl Visits During Beat Michigan Week
Building the Classroom, Rubric by Rubric
Donor Funds are Value Added to Writing Center
STC Program: Get Your Tech Help Here
Humanities Scholars Wrestle with Grammar in Writing Minor Smackdown
What do the Biffel Beaters, the Terminators, and the Structural Linguists all have in common? They were the top three winning teams, respectively, of the Grammar Smackdown held on October 28, 2011 for first-year Humanities Scholars. These teams accurately corrected the most error-ridden sentences and raced their answers across the Royer Activity Space to the Smackdown Judges’ table in the least amount of time. The Minor in Professional Writing, which prepares undergraduates for the diverse types of writing they will encounter in the 21st century work world, facilitated the event as a quirky, high-energy way to enable the scholars to practice their writing skills on a sunny Friday afternoon before the OSU Homecoming festivities.
But what exactly is a Grammar Smackdown? Good question. The competition, developed by Deborah Gump of Ohio University and Ron Hartung, Associate Editor of the Tallahassee Democrat, is a two-round event that tests participants’ knowledge of English punctuation, spelling, grammar, syntax, and style. The Minor in Professional Writing staff concocted sentences that contained errors most common to undergraduate writers. In the first, qualifying round, students grouped into fifteen teams of five people and competed against each other to edit eight incorrect sentences. The eight teams with the most correct answers (and in the case of a tie, the faster submission of the answer sheet) were admitted to the second round: The Smackdown Round. At that point, the competition increased in difficulty. The eight teams edited five faulty sentences in a relay-style race, with each team selecting a person to run answers to the judges’ table at the center of the room. The team to turn in the most completely correct sentences in the least amount of time won the competition, and the top three teams received prizes including candy, medals, and program pens.
Ben Fortman, Program Manager of the Humanities Scholars who helped coordinate and judge the event, invited the Minor in Professional Writing staff because “the Grammar Smackdown is a unique and fun way to promote the importance of writing to any student. The example sentences used during the game serve as a helpful reminder about common grammatical errors.” He went on to discuss the relevance of strong writing skills to the students he advises: “I believe that students forget that their writing can have an instant impact on their reputation. College students of any major can always benefit from a little extra writing practice.” These sentiments align well with the Minor in Professional Writing’s goal to help students from across the university complement their primary academic study with an internship and coursework that will help them prepare for work-world writing in the Twenty-first Century. This common understanding of the importance of writing to all students bodes well for the two programs and their students; continued collaboration is expected in the future.
Can you smell what the Minor in Professional Writing is cooking?
Bad grammar? Bring it on. The Guillotines Team, Tiger Blood, The Best Team Ever, Equipo Cinco, and the Gold Team were ready to rumble and give bad grammar a beat-down.
Staff of the Minor in Professional Writing cohosted a Grammar Smackdown with the OSU Arts and Sciences Humanities Scholars on May 11. The 25 scholars were excited about competing for the title of Grammar Smackdown Champions.
During the first round, the teams were shown a series of erroneous sentences and told to make the sentences grammatically correct. Each team earned points for correct answers.
Then came the brutal second round. Teams were scattered around the vast Royer Activities Center living room, equally distant from the judges’ table on the opposite side of the room. Each team chose a runner to sprint to the judges’ table and grab questions for his or her team. As soon as the teams completed their question, runners dashed back to the judges with their answer. With a total of five questions in round two, it was not only important to be grammatically correct, but also quick, fierce, and agile.
At the culmination of the Smackdown, all the teams were deemed successful by the judges. The final tally of points revealed the teams to be within four points of one another.
The first- and second-place teams received gold and silver medals, along with candy. The Gold Team lived up to its name by claiming gold, but at a very close second was team Tiger Blood, missing gold by only one point.
The event was fun, educational, and entertaining for all involved, says minor coordinator Trish Houston. Amidst a little friendly yet fierce competition, students learned about misplaced modifiers, sentence fragments, pronoun agreements, and more.
Professional Partners and Writing Minor Staff Brainstorm about Semester Opportunities
When the professional writing minor staff hosted a breakfast meeting with its workplace partners on May 6, they were gratified to hear positive feedback about the 2012 shift from quarters to semesters. To a person, the workplace professionals look forward to having students for the additional four weeks of a semester. Don Nixon, Principal, Creative Spot, noted that the semester conversion would be “very beneficial because students can get more time to understand [the] organization.” This is particularly important because each internship site offers a unique writing context.
Jennifer Sadler, Marketing & Communications Manager of the Greater Columbus Arts Council, says she would like to allow students to be exposed to particular types of writing more than once: “Because of the quarter system, sometimes students only get to write one press release when, ideally, they should be able to do that more than once.” Nixon agreed, noting that semesters would “afford students the opportunity to do more types of work” and see a project through from start to completion.
Dan Willis, who directs the City of Columbus’ Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, expressed his enthusiasm for having extended access to interns: “From an execution standpoint, semesters give students a better internship.” Andy Hartzell, Publications Manager for the Ohio State Bar Association agreed. “[Semesters] open up opportunities for more long-term projects.”
MJ Abell, Sales Training Manager, Alcatel-Lucent; Mary Connolly, Program Coordinator, OSU Medical Center; Judi Lisi, HR Representative, McGraw-Hill; Alexis Martina, Lecturer, Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing; and Dr. Richard (Dickie) Self, Director, Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing also shared thoughtful perspectives on the changes ahead.
Each quarter, Trish Houston, who coordinates the professional writing minor for CSTW, places students in internship positions that match their interests. The students are not the only ones who benefit. “I’m always excited to get students that can write!” says Cheri Mitchell, BalletMet’s executive director. Christina Christian, Yelp Columbus Community Manager, says her organization has come to rely on receiving high-quality interns from the program.
Houston also used the breakfast to share information about opportunities the semester conversion will provide, including a fourteen-week term each fall and spring, and a special four-week May term to focus on special topics in professional writing.
The Partners’ Breakfast is part of the professional writing minor’s ongoing commitment to learning from the experiences and expertise of our workplace partners, she says. The program will use its partners’ insights to plan how to better serve students through the conversion to semesters and beyond.
Writing and Dancing Across the Curriculum
One of the most engaging and illuminating facets of WAC work unfolds through writing collaboration across the curriculum. That work entered a new dimension during autumn 2010 and winter 2011 thanks to faculty member Harmony Bench of the OSU Department of Dance. The desire to enrich the writing experience of upper level undergraduate and graduate students in dance history prompted Bench to contact the WAC office; her call subsequently opened the door to an enriching, collaborative learning experience for all concerned.
Bench sought to build on her students’ descriptive, linguistic repertoire of movement, their capacity to analyze dance through writing, and their ability to weave scholarly citations into a coherent finished paper. At the first meeting with Bench, WAC coordinator Chris Manion and WAC consultants Mara Gross and Deb Petrone planted the seeds of our work by brainstorming connections and pedagogical approaches to movement and writing. A few weeks into winter quarter, after Bench became acquainted with her dance history students, she finalized plans with Manion and Gross for an in-class workshop consisting of several exercises that combined writing with kinesthetic, spatial, and visual elements.
Bench recalls one highly memorable exercise, where students moved through the studio space collecting observational data from the same video clip in different areas of the studio. The exercise, according to Gross, was designed “to deeply engage with Martha Graham’s work from different perspectives in order to build their analyses upon three sets of observational data.”
In the workshop exit survey, several participants reported gaining more confidence. “The examples have given me more of a starting point for explaining topics and ideas,” one student wrote, “therefore giving me more confidence.” Students also noted a better understanding of analytical writing, descriptive content, organization, and engaging reader interest from different perspectives.
For Bench the process became a springboard for creative innovations in the studio classroom. When asked if she would work with the WAC team again? “Absolutely,” she replied.
Outreach Designs Enjoyable Literacy Curriculum for Fifth Graders
The work of CSTW Outreach consultant Betina McNeil entails designing lessons that create an environment for enjoyable literacy learning for Columbus Africentric Elementary 5th graders. Her approach is to enhance student writing and reading skills with unique activities such as pair discussions with “Turn & Talk” and “Turn & Write” lessons and “Fixing the Oopses,” which has served as the open door for reinforcing the process of revision.
“I encourage my students to recognize grammatical errors from prepared and personal writing pieces to make effective revisions,” McNeil says.
Every Wednesday, the after school tutoring program begins with another short lesson called “Unscramble the Letters, Uncover the Lesson” that allows students to get involved, think, and solve the word related to the writing task of the day.
“As a biochemist, I am required to use critical thinking, problem solving skills, and be willing to collaborate. I believe by consistently using this brief activity, I help every student glean these essential tools,” McNeils says.
Another assignment that challenged students to enjoy literacy learning is to share their personal perspective on being a good writer. Ten fifth graders were able to provide information about writing resources and grammar guidelines, as well as the impact that writing will have in the future. This project strengthened the confidence level in their writing ability because they were asked to write from an expert’s point of view.
Collectively, students compiled and organized their own written statements to create this year’s annual after school collaborative book titled, Why Am I a Good Writer, which will be presented on our final day during the “Young Writers’ Extravaganza” closing event. “Student commitment to the task and final product truly exceeded my expectations,” says McNeil.
Writing Minor Alumni Return to Campus
On April 30, 2011, alumni of the Minor in Professional Writing demonstrated their ongoing support of the program by returning to campus to meet with current students and program staff for the inaugural Student-Alumni Gathering. Alumni, students, and staff met in the Student-Alumni Council Room in the Ohio Union to socialize, network, and brainstorm current issues faced by the Minor in Professional Writing program.
It was a meeting of the minds—and the stomachs. Alumni and current students rekindled old friendships and made new connections while munching on delicious food prepared by Catering 1870, the exclusive caterer for the Ohio Union. Additionally, alumni had the opportunity to express to program staff how best to stay in touch, and some alumni even gave video testimonials detailing their experiences with the minor. This footage will soon be available on the program’s web site.
Toward the end of the program, Trish Houston, coordinator of the minor, facilitated a conversation in which alumni and current students provided feedback on timely issues facing the Minor in Professional Writing like the upcoming quarter-to-semester conversion of OSU’s academic calendar. The alums provided important insight about how to manage this transition as well as how to improve the minor’s primary courses, HUM COL 450 and 589, and the overall internship experience.
The event was a great success. Students heard from alumni about their work-world experiences. Alumni reconnected with each other and Houston. And the program received important feedback. Of the event, Houston said, “It was exciting to see how well alumni of the writing minor are doing in their professional careers and how willing they are to help our current students through networking and mentoring.” Current students and alumni can expect this to become an annual event.
For more information about the Student-Alumni Gathering or the Minor in Professional Writing, please contact Trish Houston at firstname.lastname@example.org
Save some time on Fridays this spring to hear about research on the study and teaching of writing. The Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing invites you to hear about research and join in discussions about writing from faculty, staff, and graduate students who received funding for a portion of their work from CSTW.
Sean Casey opened the series in March with a lively talk about “The Social Worlds of Writing in the Scottish Atlantic, 1750-1800.” His dissertation grant from CSTW facilitated travel to London and Edinburgh to visit archives.
All presentations are in room 109 of the PAES Building at 305 W 17th Ave. Please join us for refreshments and discourse.
- Kate Comer presents “Narrative Designs: Rhetorical Autobiography in Composition Studies” on Friday, April 15 at 11 a.m.
- George Newell, Alan Hirvela, and Allison Olsen present “How Context Shapes Argumentation: Teaching and Learning Argumentative Writing in Three High School English Language Arts Classrooms”
at 11 a.m. on Friday, April 29.
- Moira Konrad and Terri Hessler present “Effects of Spellography on Spelling Skills of Students with Learning Difficulties” at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 6.
- Melissa Wilson presents “Nonfiction Writing in the First Grade Classroom” on Friday, May 20 at 11 a.m.
Free Social Media Event Explores Topics for Education and Business
A free Digital Media in a Social World (DMSW) conference on The Ohio State University campus is open to everyone on April 1 in the Ohio Union and April 2 in nearby Mendenhall Lab.
Among the highlights:
Keynote speaker Mark Frauenfelder, editor of the popular blog Boing Boing and author of Made by Hand: Searching for Meaning in a Throwaway World, will talk about self-education and do-it-yourself projects. (Friday, April 1, 9 a.m., U.S. Bank Conference Theater, Ohio Union)
Columbus Dispatch multimedia producer Doral Chenoweth discusses his YouTube video of Ted Williams that went viral. (Friday, April 1, 3:30 p.m., U.S. Bank Conference Theater, Ohio Union)
Students from Ohio State’ Ohio Union Television organization will talk about how its members learn to develop content and produce videos to raise awareness of Ohio Union events. The video messages appear on screens throughout the Ohio Union. (Friday, April 1, 10:30, in the Creative Arts Room, Ohio Union)
To Tweet or Not to Tweet? Join a discussion between faculty in psychology and communication and students about the uses of Facebook, Twitter, and other digital media in the classroom. (Friday, April 1, 11:30, in the Maudine Cow Room, Ohio Union)
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media are great places to begin telling stories. A faculty member and student in communications/journalism talk about the importance of verifying information to produce worthwhile tales. (Friday, April 1, 12:30, Creative Arts Room, Ohio Union)
How can a student make his or her resume stand out from the crowd? Learn how to incorporate new, technology enhanced, and innovative ideas to move your resume to the forefront. (Friday, April 1, 1:30, Dance Room 1, Ohio Union)
There has been a lot of talk lately about the use of Twitter in medicine and health care. Hear from several Ohio State physicians who use Twitter to deliver educational content. (Friday, April 1, 2:30, Dance Room 1, Ohio Union)
Using social media to build your brand is a hot topic for small businesses. Debba Haupert, of Girlfriendology, LLC, shows you how to grow your online community and shares tools to manage you social media conversations. (Saturday, April 2, 9:30, 115 Mendenhall Lab)
Remember the Ohio State flash mob that went viral on YouTube? Jordan Davis and Luc Nutter, the Ohio State students who produced the video, will tell you what they learned. (Saturday, April 2, 10:30, 125 Mendenhall Lab)
Is your Facebook page littered with junk that makes it hard to do what you want, like staying connected with friends? Anne Adoryan, owner of Modern Footprint, a digital media services firm, can help you make your Facebook experience fun again. (Saturday, April 2, 10:30 a.m., 115 Mendenhall Lab)
Sara Barton tells job seekers that relying on job boards is not enough. She’ll help you build your personal brand and use social networks to find and apply for jobs. (Saturday, April 2, noon, 129 Mendenhall Lab)
Heather Whaling, president of Geben Communications, talks about a social media hot topic: influencer relations. She’ll tell you how to identify, monitor, cultivate, and activate influencers to meet your business goals. (Saturday, April 2, 1 p.m., 129 Mendenhall Lab)
Can social media work for small and micro businesses? Tiffany Odutoye, of Talk Social Networking, LLC, shares best practices for marketing and business growth. (Saturday, April 2, 2 p.m., 125 Mendenhall Lab)
Students at Williams College study race and new technologies by playing video games such as Grand Theft Auto and Left 4 Dead. Kimberly Springer from Ohio State talks about how the students use critical race and feminist theories to reflect on their assignment. (Saturday, April 2, 2 p.m., 129 Mendenhall Lab)
Parking is available at the Ohio Union Garage South. You may register and view all of the events at http://dmsw.osu.edu/
The Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing presents DMSW in partnership with student groups, the Social Media Society and Ohio Union Television. Conference silver sponsor is Sprint, and bronze sponsors are Microsoft and The Harvey Goldberg Center for Excellence in Teaching at Ohio State. DMSW Media Sponsor is WCBE radio (90.5FM). Conference partners are Ohio State’s Foreign Language Center, Wired Out, the Tech Store @ OSU, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, Girls in Tech, and Beyond Social 101.
Actions Speak Louder than Words
Brookhaven 9th and 10th graders are taking action that is far beyond reading their science textbook. Ou treach consultants guide them as they write content for a Going Green! website project. The focus is on issues students believe have an impact on the environment, such as acid rain, dust storms, greenhouse gases, and bio-fuels. The project also gives students the opportunity to work in the school library computer lab learning how to collect reliable sources that will cover the causes/effects and advantages/disadvantages of these global problems and identify possible solutions.
“Critical and creative thinking is always stimulated in our classes,” says CSTW Outreach Consultant Shiao-Chen Tsai. “For example, students designed comic strips to introduce the issue of acid rain to their peers, designed a story book on dust storms, and wrote some catchphrases and slogans about conserving energy.”
The five-member Outreach team also includes Ohio State graduate students Stacia Kock and Betina McNeil as well as undergraduate students Courtney Davenport, Tonya Lowery, Drew Sullivan, and Katerra Smith.
The team discovered the learning goal is more achievable if they simplify the steps to ease students into the writing process. The first step was for students to outline the content of their website. Next, students selected a sitemap design before collecting multimedia and credible sources. The Outreach team is on site weekly to help students organize all of these elements to create an interesting and interactive website. The overall curriculum is designed to give students the opportunity to combine writing and science for a real-world, meaningful purpose: promoting the importance of Going Green.
“We connect the knowledge they learn from library resources and their textbook to a global concern for action,” says Tsai, a native of Taiwan. “We also prompt them using both international and national scenarios. Students need to see how their thought and actions will matter in the future.
“I believe Brookhaven students have the potential to make a crucial change,” Tsai adds.
Professional writing may not seem relevant to the visual artist, but it is. On Friday, January 21, 2011, Brea Heidelberg, graduate assistant for the Minor in Professional Writing, gave a workshop on writing artist statements to students in the Arts Scholars undergraduate program.
Visual artists in the program were required to write a statement about their artistic work for an juried exhibition at the OSU Urban Arts Space. To prepare for this task, Heidelberg introduced the students to a traditional structure of the artist statement to help them better organize their ideas and tailor their statements to a unique audience.
The Ohio State Arts Scholars program “offers students the opportunity to participate in programs that enhance their educational experience. These programs include lectures and specialized workshops, group excursions, a juried student art exhibition and performance showcase, community involvement, and domestic and international trips.”
Heidelberg’s workshop fit well with the program’s goals. She opened with an exercise to help students brainstorm themes in their art. And thanks to the small size of the audience, students were able to put rough drafts of their statements on the projection screen to get detailed feedback from Heidelberg and their advisor, Tim Valentine, who thought the workshop “opened students’ eyes to the idea of various audiences for their writing. They were able to see how creative writing in artist statements can be strengthened through better word choice and sentence organization.”
As the Arts Scholars Program Manager, Valentine was especially interested in the presentation content as a means to direct future scholars in his program, saying, “Students need an outside perspective for developing their artist statements, and the staff from the Minor in Professional Writing was able to provide constructive critique.”
One of the benefits of the Minor in Professional Writing is its development of professional writing as a relevant skill to complement a student’s other programs of study. In this case, Heidelberg’s presentation was a success for both the minor and the Arts Scholars program.
Valentine said, “One of the challenges of writing for the artist is gaining enough feedback from different perspectives…. This workshop…enhanced what the Arts Scholars are already learning in their coursework.”
The workshop had real and immediate applications for these students, and it developed a strong connection between the two programs.
When thinking of physics, what comes to mind? Topics like gravity and velocity—but how about writing? The CSTW Outreach team is hard at work encouraging advanced physics students at Brookhaven High School to understand the importance of writing in the science classroom.
Led by CSTW Outreach Consultant Stacia Kock, the In-School Collaborative Writing Program at Brookhaven helps juniors and
seniors write college-level research papers on environmental topics such as bio-fuels, hybrid cars, and alternative energy sources. The CSTW team also includes graduate students Shiao-Chen Tsai and Betina McNeil, and undergraduates Courtney Davenport, Tonya Lowery, and Drew Sullivan.
Each week, consultants break down components of the research project so as to ease students into the writing process. From drafting an outline to finding credible sources, to piecing together a thesis statement, the CSTW Outreach team is helping students discover the multiple ways in which writing and science can mix.
“We have designed a very creative workshop curriculum to teach writing skills to our science students,” says Kock. “Because physics and writing are often seen as separate, it is our job to interweave the two in fun but educational ways. As consultants, we often have to ‘think outside of the box’ to come up with activities that speak to both science and writing interests,” Kock adds.
One workshop titled, “Writing For an Audience” asked students to write miniature cartoons on physics topics such as mass velocity and free fall that appealed to a specific audience. Students worked in groups to create a narrative and draw cartoon illustrations to support the narration. Though the workshop was art-based and fused physics and writing interests, its core mission remained writing-centric and underscored the value of writing for an audience.
The final output of the Brookhaven work is for students to convert their research papers into brief Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on their own eco-friendly topics. The PSAs will give students a chance to use new media technologies to let their research writing speak in nuanced ways, says Kock. Students will also have the opportunity to present their PSAs to their school and larger external communities.
What do an OSU Distinguished Professor in English, the Marketing/Multimedia Coordinator for the Ohio Union, a professor in Women’s Studies, and the Assistant Director of the Foreign Language Center have in common? They are all presenting at CSTW’s Digital Media in a Social World conference on April 1 and 2, 2011, and they all star in YouTube videos to promote the conference.
With “studios” ranging from offices to a quiet corner of the Wexner Center bookstore to what may be a bathroom, these videos demonstrate the do-it-yourself spirit of the DMSW 2011 conference theme, “Make Your Own Education,” says conference organizer Doug Dangler.
Keynote speaker Mark Frauenfelder, former editor of Wired
, and current editor of Make
magazine and the bOING bOING blog will describe the many DIY projects he’s done and why it helps him find “Meaning in a Throwaway World
,” as the subtitle of his recent book describes it. So plan to attend DMSW 2011
and find out how to teach yourself and others.
In autumn quarter, Professor John Simpson sent his students out from his classroom to spread out across the city of Columbus and write about what they found there. The results of their work are now published online, tied to a map of the city they explored.
The goal of Simpson’s Landscape Architecture/Natural Resources 367 course is to have students examine different landscapes in the United States and consider how human forces shaped them and what they tell us about our past, present and future, as well as how insights about our landscape can improve our lives. Columbus—the city where the students live, work, and study—became the focus of their exploration. Simpson and his graduate teaching assistants divided students into four groups and sent them out via COTA bus routes in different directions across the city. They asked students to look at features in the landscape that highlighted the issues they were discussing in class, noting that after they researched and wrote up their findings, they would write an abstract of their projects for an online audience.
The idea for the assignment, Simpson says, came from a discussion between university and workplace professionals last winter sponsored by the Minor in Professional Writing and Writing Across the Curriculum.
“Listening to my colleagues at the university and from the work world, I was struck by how composing for the Internet, composing digitally, was becoming more and more important, and how different that writing would have to be from the long-winded, academic writing I was having my students do,” he says. “That conversation triggered a lot of the changes I’ve made to my class.”
After developing the project idea with his graduate teaching assistants, Simpson approached the WAC team to get their feedback and to ask for resources for his students to help them write for online audiences and to add tags to categorize their posts on the site.
After researching and writing their papers, students posted the short 250-word abstracts of their projects to the course website. The project sites are marked on a map of Columbus and accompanied by a photo of the landscape feature they responded to. Markers corresponding to student projects spread across four major transects of the city: east and west across Broad Street and north along both High Street and Cleveland Avenue. The projects cover a wide range of topics, from the history and role of spaces like Franklin Park in a city, to common weeds that grow in abandoned urban areas, to the repurposing of buildings built over the two centuries the city has grown.
Simpson sees a lot of value in the writing students did. The fact that it is public brings a lot of crucial issues forward for budding student writers, he says.
“Writing in the digital world takes on a life of its own. It’s out there in the public forum, and students need to take ownership of their writing in a way that they might not in a regular classroom assignment.”
In the end, he says, it’s a lot more fun for him, his graduate teaching assistants, and his students. “Students—well, we all write better when it’s personal, when it’s based on our first-hand experience, when we believe that what we’re writing about is really important.”
Writing centers in universities are often stereotyped as remedial fix-it shops, says Juhi Kim, a doctoral candidate in Foreign & Second Language Education at Ohio State. Her dissertation study, funded in part by an award from the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing, suggests that tutorials that take place in writing centers are much more.
“My study began with the question: What does the writing center do,” Kim says. “Writing centers are easily imagined as places where writers can check for grammatical mistakes or other kinds of error correction. But the writing center, and the contemporary literature on writing centers and what work they do, tells its students, ‘We don't proofread.’”
Kim says determining what writing centers do is a difficult question, not only for the clients but also for the tutors themselves. When writing centers are not simply teaching rules of correct writing, but are engaged in new forms of collaboration and new conceptualizations of writing and literacy, it became difficult to articulate what writing centers do, Kim says.
Showing what the writing center does in actual tutorials has become the focus of her study. Kim videotaped tutorials at Ohio State’s Writing Center, which allows her to closely observe and code interactions between tutors and clients.
“I’m trying to understand how the work of the tutorial is organized and enacted in their talking together, and how the writing center philosophy is represented and shaped turn by turn in the conversation between the tutor and the clients, and ultimately, how they make sense of the work of the writing center and find their needs met.”
In keeping with its research mission, the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing will be accepting applications for dissertation research awards this winter for work conducted in 2011-2012. Please see the web page
for more details.
Trying something new takes the right mixture of blind faith, enthusiasm, and the ability to adapt. Three Minor in Professional Writing students — Alexandra Criss, Megan Smith, and Samantha Wiethe — rose to the challenge of becoming the first student marketing team for the City of Columbus’ annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. In the process, they forged new partnerships with campus organizations, contacted university VIPs, and even arranged for a student shuttle from campus to the event.
Hosted by Mayor Michael B. Coleman each year, “Celebrate the Legacy” honors Dr. King’s memory through song, dance, and a theatrical performance written by a three-student script team of professional writing minor interns. The MLK Day script team has worked on this event for six years, but this is the inaugural year for the show’s marketing team. Each year performance director Dan Willis hopes to fill all 4,000 seats in Columbus’ Veterans Memorial for the televised program. While the audience has traditionally consisted of nearly 1,500 family members and community leaders, Willis and his team are excited about adding a significant number of OSU representatives to the those in attendance this year.
And there is reason for optimism. The marketing team established partnerships with Ohio State’s Residence Hall Advisory Council, the Office of Inclusion and Outreach, the Multicultural Center, the Black Student Association, the Ohio Union SERV team, and the 14 university scholars programs to help distribute its flyers, e-mails, and Facebook postings.
While the end results of the team’s hard work won’t be evident until January 17, its members already value their experience. Wiethe, a senior majoring in strategic communication says: “As the quarter came to a close, everything I was hesitant about at the beginning came together. It was great to partner with organizations and groups on campus to reach various audiences.”
Criss, a senior majoring in accounting, noted that “working on this program taught me how to work as part of a team and how to communicate more effectively and efficiently. Most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to work on a project that will directly impact our community.” And Smith, a graduating strategic communication major, agreed: “This show commemorates a great national leader; it makes you feel good to fill the audience.”
According to Willis, the MLK Day marketing team has successfully “put the [MLK Day] program on the radar for students and university leaders.” Willis is confident that the students’ efforts will make a difference in program attendance. And the success of this year’s team has Willis looking forward to working with professional writing minor students again next year: “Next year’s MLK Day marketing team will be able to achieve even more based on the foundation set by this pioneering group.”
The 2011 Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, January 17, at Columbus Veterans Memorial (300 W. Broad St.).
What's the best way to motivate students to write? Give them the opportunity to be heard. That was the idea behind inviting members of the OSU student group Eighth Floor Improv to write the script for the 2010 Writers Talk holiday show.
"Everyone was really energized for this project," says Kevin Bauer, Executive Director of Eighth Floor Improv. “The students delivered far more material than could be used on the show, including skits about how a parent would react to a child asking for a hippopotamus for Christmas and what the aftermath of seeing mommy kissing Santa Claus might be.”
"Offering a student organization the opportunity to work on a project that blends their personal passions with practical, out-of-the-classroom learning truly celebrates the spirit of the university’s mission," says Eighth Floor advisor Krystyne Savarese.
Doug Dangler, host and producer of Writers Talk, agrees. "Writers need a real audience, which is, unfortunately, not something they often get at OSU. WCBE and WCRS value student voices, gave them the opportunity to be heard, and that's great.”
The show will have several broadcasts: Monday, December 20, 3:30 pm., WCRS radio, 98.3 & 102.1 FM, and Wednesday, December 22, 8:00 p.m. and midnight December 24th on WCBE radio, 90.5 FM. The midnight WCBE show will revive the traditional of telling ghost stories at Christmas by rebroadcasting the Writers Talk Halloween show.
It was not surprising to see a high level of engagement during an in-class debate among Alternative Technology Enhanced Curriculum (A.T.E.C.) students at Whetsone High School. In early fall, enthusiastic students were “The Great Debaters” who came up with thoughtful and intelligent arguments for and against issues on three different topics: a doctor’s punishment for stealing drugs for his dying wife, schools separating students by their academic ability, and banning junk food in public schools.
With the recent passing of the midterm elections season, CSTW Outreach consultants took the opportunity to bring “politics” into the A.T.E.C. by having students participate in three rounds of debates focusing on the above diverse topics.
“It was a valuable activity to get students to open up to our writing program and our Outreach consultant team,” says Rashea Hamilton, lead Outreach coordinator at Whetstone. Other onsite facilitators were Outreach consultants Stacia Kock and Shiao-Chen Tsai, and Ohio State undergraduates Allison Boehm and Brittany Sims.
Outreach consultants split the class into three groups with one group arguing “for,” another group arguing “against,” and the last group serving as judges. Each group had the opportunity to argue for and against an issue, as well as judge a round of debates.
To keep students engaged in actual writing activity, we asked them to spend five minutes at the beginning of each round scribing their thoughts on the issue and potential arguments that the opposing team may develop. Debating teams followed an adjusted Lincoln-Douglas debate format, which included case presentation, rebuttals, and closing statements with assistance from the Outreach team.
“Although the groups seemed a little hesitant to speak up at first, it did not take long for each of their inner orators to come out,” Hamilton says. “Students voluntarily stood up to represent their team. At times, students even argued with each other to decide who would state their case or do the closing statement.”
Initially students did not want to be on a side of the issue that did not align with their personal beliefs, but they overcame that obstacle pretty quickly. “It was a proud moment for A.T.E.C. teacher Mr. Poff, who actually smiled as his students easily took a perspective different from theirs and argued passionately for the issue,” says Nancy Hill McClary, a CSTW Assistant Director and Outreach Program Coordinator.
“We are looking forward to seeing more of the secret talents of A.T.E.C students,” Hamilton says.
Chris Manion, Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Coordinator for CSTW, recently facilitated a workshop on teaching with portfolios for Learning Technology. “As much as we talk about the technology supporting e-portfolios, it’s good to step back and take stock of the pedagogical approaches behind them,” he says. What follows are a few principles he thinks are central to portfolio pedagogy.• They can be process oriented. What we ultimately value about learning is less about students regurgitating all of the “facts” they learned than helping them take up the processes of inquiry we want them to practice. Portfolios give instructors both a more complete picture of students’ learning and an opportunity to structure assignments in a way that teaches students process.• Portfolios can create room for student self-representation and self-reflection. They can allow students to take comprehensive stock of what they’ve learned and come to new insights about their work. Furthermore, we want our students to learn how to think like professionals in our fields. Portfolios allow students to work out their identities as professionals and scholars. As they enter their professional, civic, and personal lives, this self-awareness is a crucial skill.• Portfolios can allow for flexible assessment. When we see a more comprehensive picture of students’ work, we can talk with our colleagues in a more informed way about what we really value about the work our students do. These conversations can be extremely valuable because you can discover unexpected areas of consensus and disagreement about program values and outcomes.• Portfolios can be directed toward multiple audiences and can contextualize student work in different ways. Portfolios can give us a framework for allowing students to present their work not just to us within the classroom, but to other audiences as well: their classmates, your colleagues in your department or program, professionals in their fields of interest, or others. Plus, students can bring in their work from outside the classroom as evidence of their learning, making crucial connections to their course of study. “Professor Tim Rhodus made an important point during the portfolio workshop I’ve been thinking about since then: the classroom is a safe place for students to learn and practice ‘real world’ activity; it is, in fact, part of the ‘real world,’ as much as we and our students tend to imagine it as separate from it,” Manion says. “Portfolios offer a number of ways to break down the false distinctions we make about what belongs in the classroom and outside it, and open up a number of opportunities to bring our teaching and learning into greater focus.”Here is a short bibliography of scholarship on portfolios and assessment from the perspective of composition studies:<?xml:namespace prefix = o />
Broad, Bob. What We Really Value: Beyond Rubrics in Teaching and Assessing Writing. Utah State University Press, 2003.
Belanoff, Pat and Marcia Dickson, ed. Portfolios: Process and Product. Boynton/Cook, 1991.
Huot, Brian. (Re)Articulating Writing Assessment for Teaching and Learning. Utah State University Press, 2002.
Yancey, Kathleen Blake and Irwin Weiser, ed. Situating Portfolios: Four Perspectives. Utah State University Press, 1997.
Each fall the Student Technology Consultant program trains another group of undergraduate consultants to help CSTW address the technology requests we receive from across the university. We run about eight workshops in the fall, most of which involve learning new technologies. This year included two sessions in which training consultants simulate an actual faculty tutorial session. Tim Jensen, Assistant Coordinator of the STC program, sends out “fake” faculty/staff requests via email. STCs, as they do when real requests come in, responded immediately to the one they feel most competent to take on, and then do some background research into the technologies in their request, in order to be prepared. During the class session each STC has 10 minutes to conduct a support session. If you'd like to know what our requests look like and get a bit of a chuckle, take a look at the fake requests Tim sent out (below).
CSTW Director Dickie Selfe, Tim, and STCs Angelo, and Jennifer (all experienced at STC work) assume the roles of “learning” teachers. They have great fun playing the part of Russell Sprout, Alli Catraz, etc. The session ends with a discussion of the subtle ins and outs of helping people learn new technologies, while, at the same time, making them feel good about the session and confident going forward.
If you have questions about the program, please contact Dickie Selfe
. If you would like to request help, please fill out the form
“Scary. So very, very scary.”
That’s how Doug Dangler described the third annual Writers Talk Halloween show, broadcast the week of October 24. But the show itself, a ghost story by local horror fiction author Gary Braunbeck wasn’t the most frightening part.
“Getting all the voice actors, most of them students, recorded and then adding the sound effects and music: that’s the part that kept me up at night,” said Dangler.
The show was an experiment in adapting media from one form, a short story, to another, an audio show. This presented a number of difficulties, according to Dangler, such as dropping text descriptions for sound effects or dialogue.
“It really gave me an appreciation for the way that sound changes the experience of the story, how it can bring the listener into it or make them feel distant from it. Doing the adaptation was one of the most educational things I’ve done with digital media and writing in a long time.”
To listen to the show, go here
Change affects everyone differently, instilling fear in some, while invigorating others. A particularly relevant example of the polarizing effects of change is the news of the impending conversion to semesters. While news of the conversion has caused many anxiety, Trish Houston, Coordinator of the Minor in Professional Writing, isn’t one of them. ”From the start, I was excited about the opportunity that the semester conversion presents for students in the professional writing minor,” Houston stated in a recent interview.
While the conversion to semesters will not take place until summer quarter 2012, the conversion process is well underway. All programs, departments, divisions, and colleges must undergo a review and reconfiguration. While the task may seem daunting, Houston relishes the “opportunity to step back from the day-to-day work running this program and to look at its history and the big picture of why we do what we do.” This university-sponsored time for reflection allows Houston the time to appreciate the Minor in Professional Writing as it was, and as it will be in the future: “I’m impressed by the thought and foresight that went into designing and implementing the writing minor in 2003, but I’ve also enjoyed the chance to add my own experience and insights into how the program will move forward.”
The conversion to semesters, in addition to altering the way coursework is structured, will also have a significant impact on the required internship. More than being optimistic, Houston is serenely confident that a semester system will only have a positive impact on students.
“To a person each term, it seems, our students blossom in their internships mid-quarter and begin to feel confident in their abilities to do hands-on writing projects that matter. I love watching them grow in this way, and I think the additional four to five weeks a semester term provides will give students the opportunity for a deeper and, therefore, even more meaningful experience.”
While the conversion is a change for the university, students starting in autumn 2012 will never know anything else. But what about students who will start in the quarter system and end in a semester system? These students will experience the most significant of changes as their courses, course numbers, and plans of study are changed to reflect the new academic calendar. Students in, and currently considering, the Minor in Professional Writing can assuage any anxiety they have with Houston’s parting message:
“We take to heart the university’s commitment to protect students’ academic progress as they work to earn the Minor in Professional Writing. We will continue to correspond and meet one-on-one with students as often as necessary to chart their progress, but we recommend that students stay in touch with us as well. We will all have to be flexible, but our goal, as always, is to help our students emerge as reflective and articulate writers able to contribute effectively to civic, academic, and professional endeavors in the twenty-first century.”
Sounds like a little change will do us all some good.
When senior Maggie Ross came to Ohio State as an undergraduate student five years ago, she says she was fleeing Tennessee. Newly hired this autumn quarter to staff the desk in the Writing Center, she has made a real difference in the efficiency of that facility
Ross has a double major in psychology and English pre-education and a minor in creative writing, with a specialty in poetry. She expects to graduate next year, enter the masters program in Education, and eventually teach high school English.
Though she attended high school in a Tennessee county too poor to offer AP classes, an outreach program with a local community college allowed her to enter Ohio State with 41 college credits.
“I had my two composition courses when I came to OSU, so I did not need to take English 110 or a 367 class,” Ross says. “I was lucky to take the equivalent of those classes in a small-group setting, so I had a lot of individual attention, much like students get here at the Writing Center.”
Before she came to work at the Writing Center, Ross had been working 56 hours a week while in school. “For the first time in my five years of college, I was awarded a Pell Grant,” she says. “I don’t need to work as many hours now, so I have much more time to focus on my studies and actually enjoy my college experience.”
Ross sits at the Writing Center reception desk where she greets clients, resolves scheduling conflicts, and does a range of tasks in support of CSTW staff, including research for assistant director Doug Dangler’s Writers Talk audio and video interview program.
“I like having a person on the desk to answer phone calls and help potential clients while the tutors are working,” Dangler says. “When CSTW moves to the Science and Engineering Library next summer, I expect to see use of the Writing Center explode. The administrative support from someone like Maggie will be essential.”
For her part, Ross is competent to handle anything asked of her. “I like seeing the range of students that come to the Writing Center and the wide scope of assignments they bring,” Ross says. “It’s an open environment, so I can’t help overhearing a lot of what goes on, which allows me to learn while I work.”
Who says you have to be an adult to script and design a cartoon strip, to write a speech, or write a children’s book? Elementary school students at the Columbus Africentric Early College K-12 School will get to do that — and much more — as participants in an after-school tutoring program facilitated by CSTW’s Outreach team. This year’s program theme is “There is No One Way to Be a Writer: Writing Across Passions.”
“Our 11-year elementary school program is popular among students and parents from Africentric,” says Gisell Jeter, Outreach consultant for CSTW. “With every new school year there is an even greater sense of excitement and anticipation among the students. It is nice to be part of a program that is supported by both OSU and the Africentic school community. It makes it easy to work with the students.”
Through out this 10-week program, 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students will put their thoughts, passions and creativity to the test. On the first day of the program this fall, both the students and tutors participated in an ice breaker called “We Have Something in Common” where they got to know each other better through sharing about things they have in common through a quick question and short written response exercise. During another week students practiced descriptive writing in an activity called, “My Favorite Place to Visit.” In the upcoming weeks the students will create their own cartoon strip in addition to writing, illustrating, and publishing their very own children’s book.
The two-member teaching team includes Ohio State Ph.D. students, Gisell Jeter, 3rd and 4th grade coordinator, and Rashea Hamilton, 5th grade coordinator. In addition to the core staff, there are several undergraduate and graduate/professional students who volunteer as tutors to work closely with the tutees from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. every Wednesday, except on holidays and school breaks.
“Our after-school program is designed to provide students with high engagement using their literacy skills, critical thinking, reflective writing, and creative language arts empowerment activities,” says Nancy Hill McClary, CSTW Assistant Director and Outreach Coordinator. Activities began late September and will go until late May.
If you, or someone you know, are interested in becoming a volunteer tutor, please contact Jeter at email@example.com
During a recent training session for all CSTW graduate and undergraduate staff, Director Dickie Selfe asked folks to recommend resources. We share them with you here.
- Spore Print Info Shop is a non-hierarchical, volunteer-run, not-for-profit social center. This is a safe space for independent thinking, face-to-face communication, skill sharing, community-building projects, and the distribution of alternative media to further social, political, and environmental consciousness.
- This is a good space to get involved with some of Columbus's great activist projects, including RedBird Books-to-Prisoners and Food Not Bombs. Check it out at on the web or at 172 E 5th Ave!
- Harvard Writing Center
- Writing Qualitative Inquiry by H.L. Goodall Jr.
- OSU Digital Union is an invaluable learning and support resource for a wide array of technological needs.
- OSU Urban Arts Space
- Wcenter listserv
- Newspapers on campus: Central Classroom Building has a lot of free newspapers, like The Other Paper, Columbus Alive, The Lantern, and Buckeye Sports Bulletin. Also, the business school has free copies of The Wall Street Journal.
- Columbus Metropolitan Library
- This isn't so much an electronic resource as a destination, although I find both terrific. For those non-scholarly books, free DVDs, etc., use the online catalog and have things sent to the branch nearest you. I'm telling you that 10 books on how to live in small spaces were a blast to look at. And find the time some day when you need to procrastinate to go down to the Main Library, 96 S. Grant Ave. It's a beautiful facility.
- Florida Technet: Shortcuts to Florida DOE Adult Education Webpages
- The site's e-Library has tons of resources (games, lesson plans, etc.) for children through adult literacy students.
- http://www.vocabulary.com/ has lists of vocab words and a variety of exercises.
- Versatile PhD is good for job postings and conversations about non-academic careers that are good for PhDs.
- Small Business Beanstalk is a free card that provides discounts if you go to small businesses in the Columbus area.
- ASFS (American Society of Food Studies)
- The listserv is interesting, but you get a lot of emails. I also saw that you can search the listserv archive if you are looking for something in particular.
- Geeky English teachers (rhetoric and composition mostly) discuss the workings and values associated with communication technologies. Very friendly. To join, go to http://www.interversity.org/lists/techrhet/index.html and subscribe.
Every year, the week before tens of thousands of students descend on campus, new GTAs and faculty gather for the University Center for the Advancement of Teaching’s (UCAT) annual Teaching Orientation @ Ohio State, a three-day conference for new instructors on campus. Participants from departments and programs all across the university are introduced to theories of and approaches to teaching and learning at the college level so that they feel prepared to enter the classroom the following week, many for the first time.
The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program at CSTW has long partnered with UCAT to facilitate sessions at the conference on topics related to writing instruction, including sessions on responding to student writing and the connection between writing and critical thinking. “The workshops at the conference are often our largest and most diverse,” explains Chris Manion, the WAC program coordinator. “We’ll lead three or four sessions over the day with around 40 participants each, most from entirely different departments on campus.”
Designing workshops for a group this diverse can be a challenge, since each of the instructors are teaching often radically different kinds of classes, from small recitations of 15-20 students all the way up to lecture sections of upwards of 50 students, and are bringing the values of very different disciplines to the conversation. In designing workshops for the conference, the WAC team has tried to use this diversity to its benefit, by using the sessions as an opportunity for participants to unpack the differences between their disciplines and to explore a range of approaches to teaching writing.
For instance, participants in the “responding to student writing” workshop look at a variety of responses to a sample piece of writing and reflect on which approaches would be most effective and efficient for them. The WAC team also strives to highlight diverse perspectives from participants, as Manion did in his workshop on writing and critical thinking.
“I asked the participants to define ‘critical thinking’ and how students demonstrate it in their field’s work,” Manion says. “Their responses reveal some interesting differences in approach, such as the kinds of evidence they find permissible; but they also find unexpected areas of agreement, such as a desire for students to not simply repeat well-worn facts, but to find ways of contributing something new to a conversation in their work.”
Each year, the conference participants express their appreciation for the WAC workshops offered at orientation. On her evaluation, one participant this year commended the positive tone Manion set for workshop: “Chris did a great job of identifying positive ways to comment on students’ writing.”
The WAC orientation workshops offer new instructors the opportunity to be introduced to the support services WAC offers throughout the academic year. Several orientation participants go on to attend various WAC workshops and campus events. Perhaps the most valuable components of WAC orientation workshops, however, are the skills they teach new GTAs as incoming teachers and as students. As one participant notes, “It wasn’t just about teaching. It was about writing. Even useful for me.”
Each year, the Ohioana book festival celebrates the area's finest authors. The staff of Writers Talk had the privilege of attending this year's festival and captured footage of some great writers.
“Authors as far as the eye could see made this a nearly perfect opportunity to speak with many great minds,” says student employee Chris Sawan. “We were able to capture interesting interviews with authors across varied genres. After filming almost five hours of footage, we got the chance to really test our post-production capabilities and efficiency.”
After the festival, Sawan came back to CSTW to produce the Writers Lounge series.
“This was one of the most efficient productions yet because not only were each of the interviews on the shorter side, but there was consistent editing done to each one,” Sawan says. “We used our standard filming procedure, involving both cameras and mixing shots from each into the produced interview. The Writers Lounge offered us a quick interview that covered all the intricacies of the design and creation of each author's work, which proved to be very interesting indeed.”
Sawan finds the production process as interesting as the interviews themselves. “Once done editing, we were able to upload each video to You Tube for worldwide access. The Ohioana experience showed how, in today's technological age, we are able to take a great event such as the Ohioana Book Festival and within a few weeks produce hours of professionally edited footage and made it available to anyone in the world via the Internet.
Who wouldn’t love the opportunity to earn college credits while playing games all day? Alex Yue, a graduating senior from the English Department, got to do just that—and much more—at his professional writing minor internship this summer. Alex’s work activities were a far cry from solitaire, Internet Sudoku, and updating his Facebook status. Instead, Alex combined his expertise in graphic novels and video games with his writing skills to market games for Brighter Minds Media, a publisher of online and multimedia materials aimed at “creating a wholesome online environment for children and the family.”
Yue’s internship gave him a holistic view of the gaming industry from beginning to end. In addition to playing games, Yue helped design iPhone and iPad apps and edit images for the games.
“Who would have thought I’d get the chance to help design a game?” he says.
On the other end of the game production experience, Yue was responsible for generating a “buzz” about Brighter Minds Media’s products. He accomplished this by writing press releases, posting to comic book forums, and maintaining contact with video game bloggers.
“It’s my job to get game reviewers to play our games and review them on their blogs,” Yue says.
As a part-time gaming blogger himself, he is familiar with the process from both ends. Because of his efforts, sales of one of Brighter Minds’ games, which had initially sold just three copies, saw a significant boost. Yue reports: “Two days after my post, we sold 150 copies.”
At his internship site, Yue was assigned tasks that were perfectly aligned with the interests he brought to the Minor in Professional Writing program. Yue felt that Trish Houston, program coordinator, truly understood him: “[She] got me an internship doing what I love; I can’t complain.” For Yue, the Minor in Professional Writing program was more than just writing: “[The program] prepared me for the transition from the classroom to real life.”
We are happy to add that Yue’s success continues. He has been hired to work in the gaming industry immediately upon his summer quarter graduation.
Middle School Newswriters Adress Societal Issues
Middle school students engaged in intensive, creative newswriting on societal issues at a three-week summer campfunded by the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation. The camp was conducted in the computer lab at the Columbus Africentric Early College K-12 School.
The first issue of The Nubians Info, the school’s summer newspaper, highlighted adolescent voices and youth reactions to those directly and indirectly impacted by the Gulf Coast oil spill. Students also wrote reactions and editorials about the Haiti earthquake and the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death.
“This year we wanted our young reporters to experience real-world newswriting, which included students interviewing their classmates and teachers and doing online research,” said Nancy Hill-McClary, Camp Director/CSTW Outreach Coordinator. “Students gathered opinions and details for their articles about sports celebrities, animal rights, and Lil’ Wayne, a rap artist. Carringtan P., a seventh grader, added a splash of drama to the newspaper with her editorialized news story about the Tiger Woods scandal,” Hill-McClary added.
Two students wrote movie reviews. Kiera S., a sixth grader, rated Toy Story 3 with “five stars” in her article and stated it was the “best” of the Toy Story movie series because it “shows people how to work with others.” Atea T., an eigth grader, wrote that The Karate Kid “demonstrates how people can gain courage and respect from others if they respect themselves.”
“Our journalists also got a chance to speak out about three important topics for young teens: bullying in schools, education, and ‘nutrition,” said Monika Kearns, one of three OSU-CSTW teaching assistants. Students were guided by researchable inquiry questions to formulate their ideas into news stories containing both facts and personal views.
About 20 students were enrolled in the camp from various schools across Ohio: Stewart Alternative Elementary, Columbus Africentric Early College Middle School, Seventh Avenue Baptist Charter School, Groveport Middle School, Johnson Park Middle School, Linden McKinley STEM Academy, and Canal Winchester Middle School.
Each week the students were given a topic to address. “The theme of the first week was titled ‘Using Our Voices,’ and it gave our students the space to write about any topic. They covered entertainment, sports, and global issues,” said Robert A. Bennett III, OSU-CSTW Teaching Assistant.
The oil spill that began in April 2010 was the focus of the second week. “Students not only addressed the responses by President Barack Obama and BP to the devastation in the Gulf of Mexico, but the environmental impacts,” recalls Gisell Jeter, another teaching assistant. “Some students even found quotable responses from Americans about the effects of the oil spill on marine animal life and fishermen.”
“The agenda for the middle school outreach program is to identify newswriting needs and enhance literacy skills by focusing on online reading, digital composing, and adolescent voices in the media,” Hill-McClary explained.
“We appreciate the three-year camp partnership with OSU,” says Sandra Alexander, Language Arts Teacher and Onsite Resource Educator. “We have always worked together to assure this project continues to allow students to venture down their own creative writing pathways.”
The newswriting camp is designed for middle school students (6th through 8th grade) and usually begins in late June from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Mondays and Tuesdays for three to six weeks, depending on school site availability.
The Student Technology Consultant program
(STC) works hard to help faculty, graduate stude
nts, and teaching staff integrate new technologies into their classes. Our goal is, in this way, to engage students and increase learning in classes across Ohio State’s campus.
It’s an ambitious goal, and we are lucky next year to have Tim Jensen, PhD candidate in the Rhetoric, Composition, and Literacy Studies program in the Department of English, as the Assistant Coordinator of the STC program. He's taking over from the wonderful Genevieve Critel, who took the program in new and important directions. Tim's personality, as you can see in these pictures, includes both a serious intensity and great good humor. We're looking forward to working with him as he applies both to the STC program this next year.
Jensen has been teaching with digital media his entire time at Ohio State and was recently asked by OSU’s Digital Media Collective to contribute to a session called “Engaging Students through Digital Media.” He focused on using digital media to encourage student agency. As Lorrie McAllister, leader of the Digital Media Collective, suggests in her notes, “Tim contends that digital media offers new directions for configuring students as creators.” His approach fits the program well. We believe that our STC program helps teachers see their students as creators of knowledge and media in the classroom. We also hope the STC experience offers opportunities for creative agency to our undergraduate student consultants.
Jensen worked for several years supporting the digital efforts of teachers in the Department of English by working in the Digital Media Project on the third floor of Denney Hall. In that capacity he helped teachers in many disciplines: rhetoric/composition/literacy, literature, film, folklore, narrative theory, critical theory, creative writing, and disability studies. He will now be able to share his expertise with student consultants and help them address the digital needs of teachers across campus.
Naturally, many of Jensen’s academic projects involve the use of digital media. For instance, he is one of the founders and is currently helping to maintain Harlot: A Revealing Look at the Arts of Persuasion,a digital magazine and web forum aimed at provoking a rhetorical literacy for everyday life. In the often-thankless work of journal editor, we see technical expertise, humor, serious academic work, and beauty! Tim's academic interests and broad digital media experiences will be a positive influence on the STC program throughout the year.
How did I become a WAC consultant?
In January 2009, Katie Linder, a good friend, colleague, and Writing Across the Curriculum consultant, asked if I might be interested in applying for an assistantship with WAC at CSTW. At the time, I believe my response was something like this: “um no. Why would I? I don’t teach a writing class like 367. I don’t know how to teach writing. And, to add to all that, writing is the part of my job that makes me the most anxious. Bring on the teaching, endless reading, and hours of dialogue with my colleagues, but keep the writing!”
Eighteen months later, here I sit, about to begin my second year with WAC. What changed? How did I go from “um no” to eagerly wanting to join the team? Well, Katie played an important role in encouraging me to apply. During one of our long talks she said, “trust me. You’ll love it. You get to talk about teaching. You brainstorm teaching techniques with colleagues across the university. You design and facilitate workshops on topics like “writing to learn,” “grading to learn,” “writing in the U.S. context,” and we facilitate a five-session seminar with 367 instructors across the university where we talk about incorporating digital media in the classroom, evaluation, and rubric design.” All of this was appealing to me. As I’ve said, I enjoy teaching and talking with peers about teaching, but to be honest, the selling point for me was the opportunity to work with instructors and faculty across disciplines. So, fast forward six months, I applied, I was offered a position as consultant, and I accepted.
Dialoguing Across Disciplines
As a graduate student and instructor, working as a WAC consultant has provided me with the opportunity to engage in dialogue with others about topics like evaluation and rubric design. These conversations have been especially helpful to me as a graduate student trying to balance time spent on teaching-related activities with my own research and deadlines. One of the most useful conversations I engaged in over the last year took place with a group of graduate teaching associates in the Department of Anthropology. I met with Jennifer Spence, the department’s Graduate Teaching Fellow. She felt a workshop addressing writing and assessment would be most helpful for her and her colleagues. Together we designed a workshop titled “Grading to Learn,” where we explored the relationship between course goals, assignment design, and evaluation. We talked about the variety of ways concepts such as “feedback,” “evaluation,” and “grading” are defined not only among colleagues within a single department, but across the university campus. Through this conversation, a number of instructors, myself included, began to think more critically about the relationship between our course assignments and our course goals. Do our assignments reflect the goals we have set for our students or the objectives of the course? And, what is the relationship between an instructors’ strategy of assessment and our course goals or even our individual teaching goals?
What have I incorporated into my teaching since joining the WAC Team?
As a result of participating in these conversations, I have not only developed a rubric for grading my student’s writing assignments more effectively, but I’ve also begun thinking critically about my own “philosophy of assessment.” For example, I now think about evaluation as a starting point rather than an ending point. For me, evaluation and feedback have become opportunities to dialogue with my students about their writing process and the importance of writing and revising several drafts of an assignment. Ultimately, WAC has provided me and hundreds of instructors and faculty across the university with the opportunity to talk with one another about teaching writing, evaluation and assessment, and other teaching-related issues.
Allie Mackerty, an English major earning minors in both Popular Culture and Professional Writing, spends her workdays at Ohio State’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum getting to know a dead woman. For her professional writing internship, Allie is creating a Web site that pays tribute to the life and work of Edwina Dumm, an Ohio native and the first female political cartoonist. She is best known for the creation and six-decade run of Cap Stubbs and Tippie, a cartoon that first ran in The Columbus Monitor in 1918.
Mackerty is responsible for creating the introduction, crafting a biography of Dumm, selecting and organizing works that represent Dumm’s personal and professional development, and providing a bibliography. While this may appear to be a daunting task, Mackerty is excited about her work: “It’s challenging and fun to try and capture the personality of someone I’ve never met in person.” Mackerty has the added pressure of working for Lucy Shelton Caswell, a woman who has interviewed and written extensively about Edwina Dumm. But Mackerty’s excitement outweighs her nervousness about doing a good job. “My supervisor has been very supportive throughout this process,” she says, “I can count on her to help me get it right.”
In addition to learning a lot about the life of a political cartoonist, Mackerty is learning how to best manage her time. Although she has many tasks to accomplish, she only works 10 hours per week. That time must be spent in the Cartoon Library because the materials cannot leave the library, due to their fragile nature. “I have learned how to organize my research because I only have a limited amount of time with each piece, so I cannot waste time trying to remember where I am in my notes.”
When asked if the Minor in Professional Writing Program has helped her be successful in her internship, Mackerty responded enthusiastically: “Yes! I didn’t know about [the program] until my junior year, but it has been great! I really needed to learn how to be both concise and interesting, and this program has really helped me do that.” Mackerty’s enthusiasm for her project is contagious as she excitedly discusses the things she has learned about Dumm during her time in the Cartoon Library. She hopes to be able to translate that enthusiasm to the Web page.
Mackerty’s future plans include graduate school. She hopes to turn her interest in popular culture and film criticism into a career and use her writing to help people.
High school students turned their thoughts about literacy into movies at a one-week camp hosted by CSTW’s Outreach program. The theme of the fourth biannual camp was “Metaliteracies: New Directions in 21stCentury Classrooms.”
“This high school camp was a true milestone based on the mini-movies created by juniors and seniors from public, suburban, and home schools in Franklin County,” says Nancy Hill-McClary, camp director and Outreach coordinator. “Students went well beyond what was expected to produce iMovies on topics such as learning styles, literacy and cheating, literacy and the beauty of dance, and the gaps in youth achievement and school resources.”
Ingram-White Castle Foundation provided funding for the summer phase of CSTW’s 2010-2011 high school writing collaborative project.
Students digitally composed two-page reflective essays that they transformed into visual pieces using multimedia software. “We taught students how to do audio and video editing on the Macintosh using iMovie. Students also learned Garageband to add music to their movie on the topic of literacy reform,” Hill-McClary says.
Student feedback on the camp was positive. “The camp has been a lot of fun…I wish it could have lasted at least another week,” says one student. Another added, “This camp taught me a lot about how to expand my writing and make a movie to go with it.” “Learning more facts about literacy was interesting because we dove into more about the whole theme of the camp,” and “I actually liked the recording process because it allowed me to voice my thoughts about this topic,” two students reported.
The closing ceremony was a student movie showcase attended by more than 40 parents, family, and friends, followed by a reception and refreshments.
The four-member teaching team included two Ohio State Ph.D. students, Erica Womack and Tamara Butler, Ohio State MFA Angie Romines, and Chad Weiss, a 2010 Ohio State B.A. graduate and CSTW Student Technology Consultant.
The camp was held on the Ohio State campus in the Learning Collaboration Studio at the Science and Engineering Library. Megan Troyer, manager of the studio, and Alex Wilkerson, collaborated with CSTW.
July 19, 2010
The Digital Media and Writing Program at the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing produced its first television commercial during spring quarter. Its purpose is to advertise Writers Talk on BuckeyeTV, the student-run television station that plays in campus dorms and streams online at http://www.buckitv.osu.edu/.
The commercial was an opportunity for CSTW digital media undergraduate consultant Chris Sawan to work with new technologies, such as using a green screen and secondary video clip motion within the work.
“It was a great learning experience that allowed me to try new avenues of editing, all while supporting the mission of CSTW," says Sawan. The promo can be seen on YouTube
“I was surprised by the whole thing,” says Doug Dangler, CSTW’s Associate Director. He’s talking about winning a 2010 Distinguished Staff Award from the Office of Human Resources. Members of the Awards Selection Committee ambushed him in his office to tell him he had been selected and present him with a tin of cookies and chocolate buckeyes, as well as invitations to the awards luncheon on June 9.
Dangler was among 12 Ohio State staff members who received an engraved crystal trophy from President E. Gordon Gee, Joseph Alutto, and Larry Lewellen at the luncheon. Ted Hattemer, chair of the selection committee, emceed the program.
Award recipients are selected on the merits and strengths of the following kinds of contributions:
· Enhancing the quality of work-life in ways that make a significant difference for colleagues or customers.
· Providing outstanding and ongoing excellence in services to faculty, staff, students and/or other customers.
· Developing creative solutions to problems that result in significantly more effective and efficient department or university operations.
Nomination and support letters for Dangler cited his work as a teacher, organizer of the Digital Media in a Social World conference, creator and host of the Writers Talk program on WCBE and Ohio television stations, coordinator of the popular Writing Center, and digital media specialist.
“I admire Doug’s dedication and his innate ability to encouragepeople and excite them about writing,” says coworker Judy Kauffeld. “He is an excellent person to talk with about new ideas or strategies — he is wise, honest, and creative in his assessments and suggestions. He sets an excellent example of professional behavior for the students he leads and the staff he works alongside.”
In addition to the trophy, Dangler received a $1,500 cash award and a base salary increase.
June 28, 2010
On May 25 and 27, students in the Minor in Professional Writing hosted a symposium of professional writers at Ohio State’s Science and Engineering Library. The May 25 panel featured Elizabeth Jewell-Becker, President, EJ Associates; Dionne Custer, Educator for School Programs, Wexner Center for the Arts; Ken Gordon, Senior Counselor of Public Relations, Ashland, Inc.; Dan Mushalko, Producer of The Amazing Science Emporium and General Manager of WCBE; and Dan Willis, Marketing Consultant for First Class Events and Director of the City of Columbus’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration. Speakers addressed professional writing in different worlds of work (nonprofit, newspapers, science-based organizations), new media, and networking.
Networking, however, became the overarching theme of the day, with speakers emphasizing its importance in all fields. “It’s all about relationships,” stressed Jewell-Becker. Mushalko encouraged students to join or start a writer’s group, and Willis told them to send meaningful thank you letters. To help students stand apart from others who apply for a position, Gordon encouraged them to think beyond the obvious of any workplace assignment, quipping, “Use your brain.”
The May 27 panel featured Jessica Emch, Committee and Section Manager, the Ohio State Bar Association; R.H. Karn, Video Producer/Director and Media Production Assistant, OSU’s Office of the Chief Information Officer; and Shantay Piazza, Communications Specialist for Ohio State’s Arts and Sciences Communications. These speakers were not only experienced workplace professionals, but also alumni of the professional writing minor.
All three panelists discussed the importance of students creating their own opportunities in the work world. Emch advised them to join Linked-In or establish a professional Facebook account, while Karrn and Piazza discussed the benefits of blogging. Piazza told students these strategies “show how something can be different, instead of telling [employers] how it could be different.”
Students organized and promoted the symposium as part of Humanities College 450: Writing in Organizations, a requirement for the Minor in Professional Writing. This program allows students in any major to add writing credentials to their résumés and offers a one-quarter internship at a business or organization.
This spring quarter marks the second annual WAC seminar that focuses on written, aural, visual and electronic communication across the curriculum (WAVE). The seminar provides an opportunity for graduate student instructors, teaching staff, and faculty to explore the teaching of writing with their colleagues from several disciplines. This year, participants coming from the departments of dance, Slavic languages, art education, women’s studies, agricultural education, and comparative studies joined the WAC team to explore several aspects of WAC pedagogy, from developing assignments, to coaching the research and writing process, to grading student work and assessing teaching and learning. What is most exciting about this seminar is conversations about and engagement with forms of composition that are not traditional printed texts.
In its second session the seminar was joined by guest speaker Ben McCorkle, professor of English in the Rhetoric, Composition & Literacy program at the OSU-Marion campus. Professor McCorkle gave a presentation on how he uses digital media in his class to get students to think about composing in different ways (follow this link
to his presentation with examples of his students' work on prezi, an online composing tool for presentations). In this digital media composing course, he introduces students to the concept of Internet memes, catchphrases or concepts that spread rapidly from person to person via the Internet, largely through Internet-based email, blogs, forums, social networking sites and instant messaging. He also focuses on the issues associated with creating digital media content, including its formal and social properties.
Participants in the seminar were, like Professor McCorkle’s students, asked to consider the practical, rhetorical, and ethical dimensions of composing in a digital world. During the session, participants were asked a series of questions which prompted them to consider how digital media and technologies are changing their research and teaching, and ultimately how they should respond in the classroom: What is important for students to know in order to be prepared to use digital media in their professional, civic, and personal lives? One participant responded, “Students should know how to assess online sources. They should also be able to investigate these questions: Who published the information? What is the publisher’s interest or perspective? How do you assess the accuracy of the information? Also, while digital media may allow for more informal writing, students should be aware of audience and of how to write more formally, if needed.”
This session on using digital media for composition gave WAC a lot of helpful ideas about the possibilities that digital media provides for teaching composition across disciplines. Incorporating digital media composition doesn't mean that teachers need to jump in and grab the latest gadget or adopt the most recent application to generate buzz. If they carefully consider how technology affects our teaching and our students' learning, they can find ways to help students not only enhance their written work through technology, but also provide them with the capacity to adapt and innovate in a rapidly changing environment.
CSTW Outreach consultants Christina Bush and Robert A. Bennett III, along with tutors from Ohio State, make tutoring fun for their third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students at Africentric Early College Elementary.
This spring, Bennett facilitated “Vocabulation” Day, which involved three fun games and exercises called The Circle, Tic-Tac-Toe, and Use It or Lose It. “The day is centered on a list of 20 words to increase student’s skills in spelling, writing, and memorization,” Bennett says.
The Circle involves word and definition recognition. Students are split into two equal groups. One group forms an inner circle with their backs toward each other and serves as the “teachers.” The second group forms the outer circle serving as the “students,” facing the “teachers.”
The game goes like this: The “teacher” asks, “What word means to give or help?” The “student” responds, “contribute.” The teacher then provides another definition in succession, and the student answers with the correct word.
“This repetition helps students become familiar with the words and their meanings,” Bennett says.
Tic-Tac-Toe is centered on spelling, Bennett says. Students are grouped in pairs, and tutors draw a tic-tac-toe grid for each group. Tutors ask students to spell a word. If they spell it correctly, they use their turn to place their designated mark on the tic-tac-toe grid. If they spell it wrong, the second students in a pair get the opportunity to spell the word correctly.
“In Use It or Lose It we require students to use the new words they learn in creative and detailed sentences to exhibit their mastery of the words,” Bennett said. Students write 10 sentences using some of the words provided on a list.
“Some students went beyond what was required and wrote sentences for all of their words.” Bennett says. “The purpose of this final activity is to ensure that our elementary students know how to use words in the right context and also grasp the full meaning of these new vocabulary words.”
It's PodCamp Ohio time again — Saturday, June 19, in Mendenhall Lab on the Ohio State campus. CTSW is once again sponsoring the annual new media unconference dedicated to podcasting, blogging, Twitter, audio and video production, photography, web design, and other new/social media technologies that reach an interactive, engaged online audience. In this, its third year, PodCamp Ohio is combining with WordCamp Columbus, an unconference dedicated to blogging and WordPress.
According to organizer Angelo Mandato, the focus is on “learning and networking, with experts from around the world speaking side-by-side with local bloggers and podcasters, together making Columbus and Ohio a center for tourism and technology.” PodCamp attendees are teachers, local government officials, small business owners, members of the media, and the technology crowd, he says.
The free event will be held from 9 AM – 5 PM. Please visit the PodCamp Ohio website for more about registration, sessions, and becoming a sponsor.
“During the conference, we plan to record and, where available, live stream to potentially thousands around the world, so the actual attendance and impressions will be far more than the 250-300 we are estimating on-site,” Mandato says. “The recorded audio and/or video will be available for repeat play on numerous websites after the event.”
Here is a sampling of proposed sessions: Podcasting and WordPress Sitting in a Tree… Optimizing a WordPress site for your podcast; Finding Clients and Customers Using LinkedIn; Intro to Audacity; Podcasting For a Technical Audience; and Social Media Marketing for Small Businesses.
Since 2008, director Dickie Selfe has put the “study” in CSTW by offering competitive research grants to faculty, staff, and graduate students who conduct research about writing. Awardees present their research for colleagues when it is complete or near completion. A series of such events in recent months introduced a range of topics. We will soon be streaming these presentations on our web page
Michelle Kearns is a former Kiplinger Fellow at Ohio State who has returned to her staff writer position at The Buffalo News. She produced a multimedia piece to tell the story of her research project with video clips from her teaching experiments, which were aimed at writing with voice, color, and style. The research subjects included Ghana reporters, a journalist, and a group of creative non-fiction students at Ohio State.
Beverly Moss, from the English faculty, looked at how African American women use literacy for civic engagement and action. She worked with a group of Columbus women in a community organization called Phenomenal Women Incorporated.
Cindy Selfe and Louie Ulman
, Department of English, shared their work on a self-archiving repository of personal literacy narratives called the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN
). The project provides unique opportunities for faculty to improve their teaching by learning more about the literacy practices and values that students bring with them to classroom spaces.
Julia Voss, Department of English, evaluated the role public libraries play in bridging the digital divide. She worked at the Northside Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library to find out from both library staff and patrons what service improvements would increase computer access.
Joel Bloch and Ivan Stefano, from Ohio State’s School of Teaching and Learning, examined the link between intellectual property and plagiarism. They surveyed incoming international students, conducted focus groups with staff and graduate teaching assistants, and interviewed the head of the Committee on Academic Misconduct. They found areas of disagreement plagiarism among these two groups: students and teachers. They also found differences between students and teachers within a class.
Jan Macian and Kathleen Houchens, from the Department of Spanish & Portuguese conducted as assessment of their department’s Teaching and Learning Centers (TLC). The TLC integrate tutoring, conversation, writing, and mentoring centers into one successful unit that services more than 8,000 students and 90 instructors a year.
Valerie Kinloch, from the School of Teaching and Learning, examined relationships among place, writing practices, and social interactions in the lives of young people. The research draws on data collected during a three-year timeframe in New York City’s Harlem and questions meanings of urbanity, schooling, and activism in relation to the ongoing gentrification of a historically African American community.
Hana Kang, formerly of the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, received CSTW research funds for her dissertation project. She compared computer-and paper-based writing among Chinese learners. She’ll present her research findings on Friday, May 28, at 2:00 in the Thompson Library.
Look for more presentations next year!
“Just because I was a girl in 1941, don’t think I was some sissy.” So says Bird McGill, the 11-year-old hero of Michael Ferrari’s debut novel, Born to Fly
. Written as his master’s thesis, the book was chosen for a Delacorte Yearling Prize for a first middle-grade novel.
Ferrari, who earned a B.E. degree in cinema at The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in English literature and creative writing from California State University in Los Angeles, was a recent guest on CSTW’s Writers Talk
program. He discussed the writing process and his book with host Doug Dangler.
The story centers on Bird and her friendship with a Japanese American boy named Kenji. Pearl Harbor has recently been bombed and the other kids at school are sure that Kenji is a spy or a traitor. The wartime adventure of the two friends is at the heart of the story.
Ferrari was inspired to write the story by two separate incidents. As a junior-high teacher, he was asked by a student to recommend a book with a young female hero and was at a loss to think of one. The, while setting up a camera shoot on a P-40 Warhawk at an air show, he overheard a boy tell his sister that girls could never be fighter pilots. The book is popular with librarians and schoolteachers, Ferrari says. Aside from featuring a pre-teen girl as a hero, the story opens up discussion about the Japanese internment camps in the United States.
Dangler asked Ferrari about the differences between writing a screenplay and a children’s book.
“Screenwriting is very sparse,” Ferrari said. “You can’t give much back story so you have to use artifacts and other devices to convey thoughts.”
Asked about the quest to be published, Ferrari said the most important thing for him was to change his attitude. “When I admitted to myself that I was writer, I began to have more confidence. You don’t have to be published to be a writer.”
Ferrari is halfway through his next book, Malcolm Devlin and the Shadow of a Hero, featuring a 14-year-old boy and a 1950s movie cowboy who magically comes to life. He lives with his family in Avon Lake, Ohio.
May 3, 2010
“If you don’t know where you’ve been, you can’t know where you’re going,” commented lifelong Hilltop resident and Kiwanis historian Alan Gates, in noting the value of oral histories in maintaining identity and community.
The necessity of preserving a sense of history and culture through the dissemination of oral narratives is the motivating factor behind the “What’s Your Hilltop?” project, which began last spring in a partnership between the Hilltop Public Library and CSTW. Through a series of workshops, 10 Hilltop library patrons learned a variety of ways to translate their stories into multi-media projects, using grant-funded laptops that will remain at the library.
“This initial workshop series, though very well received, provided crucial feedback for further development of the program,” notes CSTW Director Dickie Selfe. “It became obvious that many Hilltop patrons wanted to tell stories but were not necessarily interested in learning the technology necessary to compose their own media projects; frankly, they may have different priorities in enjoying their retirement.”
CSTW decided to offer a Story Day at the library, through which Loring Resler, Outreach Consultant, collected additional stories from interested patrons toward developing a second series of workshops. In addressing community needs toward the expansion and sustainability of this program, Resler conducted 30 interviews with Hilltop elders and residents in the early fall.
In an effort to bridge this gap by both meeting the needs of and capitalizing on the assets of participants, CSTW also partnered with Keith Neal, Executive Director of the J. Ashburn Jr. Youth Center to offer an after-school program for middle-school youth.
“Our young participants will learn the necessary computer programs to interview the elders and create digital stories on the rich history of the Hilltop,” Resler says. “This new partnership with the Ashburn Youth Center offers a creative means of reestablishing the deep sense of community that the Hilltop is historically known for.”
April 23, 2010
You won’t find a definition of the word unconference in the dictionary, but that didn’t stop CSTW from hosting the Compose, Read, and Research Unconference (CRR) during the university’s spring break.
“I don’t know of anyone else who is doing this,” says organizer and CSTW director Dickie Selfe. “It stands out because of the combination of its structure — an unconference where participants choose their own topics and meet to discuss, NOT to hear someone talk at them — and its diversity of participants.”
The 41 participants were literacy educators from across disciplines, across school levels, and from several non-academic organizations. Librarians (K-12, public, and OSU), business professionals, and community literacy organizations all brought their own literacy teaching and learning experiences to bear on an array of topics. A short list of session titles illustrates the breadth of unconference discussions. Click on them to go to a blog entry about each:
“There were many more intense and intensely satisfying conversations,” Selfe says. The notes collected during the CRR unconference are available at the conference Web site. Selfe urges people to explore http://www.cstw.org/crr
and leave comments for any blog entry that strike your fancy.
Jeff Grabill’s keynote speech, “We Are All Knowledge Workers Now: Literacies to Support Citizenship, Learning, and Work,” is available in text and audio online.
Selfe will take on the task of gathering all notes and comments in order to write a “white paper” highlighting important issues, approaches, and questions brought up at the CRR unconference. “Our goal is to develop an Ohio-wide research consortium that will seek support for the participatory action research we hope to sponsor next year,” he says.
Workplace and university professionals met February 26, 2010, to discuss how the work world is changing in response to digital media and what those changes imply for how we work, teach and learn. Hosted by CSTW’s Minor in Professional Writing and Writing Across the Curriculum programs, the breakfast meeting included participants from across the Ohio State curriculum and various work sectors, including from science and technology, the arts, nonprofits, multinational corporations, and media (print, radio, and online).
Crucial themes emerged from this conversation that will be the basis of future conversations. Attendees spoke to the importance of context and audience in the implementation of communication, the emergence of ever-new channels for distributing messages, and different methods of classroom management needed to address the technological evolution.
Additionally, the group discussed a number of concrete strategies for thinking about writing in some of these emerging venues. Ron Shaull, Senior Managing Writer and Editor at The Ohio State University Medical Center, shared the 3-30-3-30 rule he had recently learned. “Let people choose how much time they want to spend with your material: 3 seconds, 30 seconds, 3 minutes, or 30 minutes. It takes 3 seconds for a reader to consider the headline or Tweet, 30 seconds to read a headline and a blurb/summary of a story, 3 minutes to read a story, watch a video clip or listen to an audio clip, and 30 minutes to explore and rate the content, follow links to friends, join discussion forums, etc.” Shaull continued: “We used to focus primarily on the latter two, but we now understand the importance of paying attention to the first 3 and 30 seconds as well.”
The response from event guests has been overwhelmingly positive, and participants are eager to continue the conversation. Jaya Yoo, Director of College and Career Readiness at McGraw-Hill, described the event as “informative and engaging,” and she shared additional resources for further thought.
The conversation was particularly timely, given the university’s impending switch to semesters. Those departments that train students to communicate through various channels will soon be rethinking their curricula, and the jointly sponsored event was a way for both educators and potential employers to think about preparing students for work in an increasingly technological environment.
In addition to the tutoring services the Writing Center provides to writers in the university community, it is also a vibrant site of research and publication.
Kathryn Terzano, assistant coordinator and tutor, conducted research on tutoring sessions in satellite centers, where appointments last 20 minutes instead of an hour. Her experience with short-time tutorials led her to write an article about structuring time and negotiating expectations. The article is forthcoming from The Writing Lab Newsletter.
Alexis Stern Martina, a former writing center tutor and assistant coordinator and current graduate associate for the minor in professional writing, collaborated on a research project with fellow assistant coordinator Sharon Estes. Together, they developed online tutor training modules that allow tutors to develop their skills at their own pace. Their article, "Taking Tutor Training Online" is forthcoming from The Writing Lab Newsletter.
Seth Reno, tutor and assistant coordinator, focuses his research on online tutoring. In addition to face-to-face tutorials, the writing center offers online tutorials for students who are either not on campus or who would prefer to work online rather than come to the physical center. During Reno's first year as a writing center tutor he worked often with online clients, and during his second year he decided to begin a research project comparing and contrasting the methods and techniques that work best for face-to-face and virtual clients. Reno applied a critical framework based on a well-known book in his own field of British romanticism to the dynamics on online tutorials. The issue that Seth examines in his essay, "The World of Ideas and the World of Practice: Romanticism and Online Writing Centers," is online clients' consistent use of "Internet-speech," that style of online writing that ironically disregards capitalization, punctuation, spelling, grammar, coherence — many of the same problems present in the clients' more formal, academic papers.
As Reno writes, "There is often a distinction between clients' own 'natural' language of common, everyday use (to borrow Wordsworth's phrase) and the 'artificial' or academic language in which they are required to write their papers. This distinction intensifies during online tutorials as clients tend to use Internet-speech rather than formal English."
Reno presented an initial version of this project at the East Central Writing Centers Association (ECWCA) meeting at Ohio State in 2008, and he revised this presentation into an article that has been accepted for publication by The Writing Lab Newsletter. In the essay, Reno outlines various techniques to work better with online clients, including annotating clients' papers using the comment function in Word in order to establish a more formal, "academic" discourse.
Tutor Catherine Sacchi is observing sessions that concentrate on personal statements in order to identify and evaluate strategies that tutors use to talk about genre and audience. She will present preliminary findings at the ECWCA meeting in April.
The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program recently hosted a seminar on "Making Research Meaningful" with a team of brilliant teaching and learning experts from the library who wanted to explore how to effectively guide students through the research process. Participants, who came from departments such as English, linguistics, and women's studies, brought their enthusiasm, and satiated by morning refreshments, fostered a lively discussion.
Many of the questions raised came from the "Project Information Literature Study," a survey that was conducted in fall 2009. Two questions in particular that instructors and librarians tackled were: To what extent do students rely on "familiarity and habit" when it comes to engaging with course content and How can instructors encourage them to move beyond that.
An overwhelming number of participants agreed that students rely heavily on research habits that are familiar when it comes to engaging with course content. One 367 instructor explained, "Often times students donâ€™t utilize the resources that they have access to because they are unaware of what is here. When I talk about research, students often reduce it to books and articles. However, as an instructor I know better and it's my job to make them aware of other sources of information."
Another participant, a librarian, said, "I want students to come to me and ask questions. This research process can be fun once students get involved and move beyond the use of convenient and nearby information resources."
Many of the seminar participants agreed that developing assignments that require students to move beyond their safety zone and beyond limited notions of how to acquire knowledge provides an opportunity for them to meet this challenge. One suggestion was to direct students to go to a specific or new space to study and then write a reflective piece about that experience. Another suggestion was to introduce students to different types of research and writing - such as an editorial on drilling in Alaska from the perspective of different geographical regions, as one of the librarians had developed with an instructor - so that students can see the utility of research and also how they can develop a particular rhetorical structure that gives credence to their voice.
Overall, participants received helpful feedback and ideas about how to approach research inside and outside of the classroom. This was mostly due to the collaboration that took place. New ideas were developed and some current ideas were reaffirmed, leaving this collaborative group optimistic about the process of making research meaningful for their students.
The Student Technology Consultants (STC) Program in the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing invites you to participate in our winter quarter events. The Student Technology Consultants (STC) Program in the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing invites you to participate in our winter quarter events. The STC program trains undergraduates to support instructional technology use by faculty, staff, and graduate students in the College of Arts and Humanities.
In addition to a lineup of exciting workshops, we're rolling out a few new demonstrations this quarter. Each demonstration will focus on a comparison of key programs used to do a certain task. We're beginning the quarter with a workshop that will demonstrate Photoshop and Picasa. If you're not sure whether you need to learn Photoshop to do necessary image editing or could get by with a simple program like Picasa, this demonstration is for you! These demonstrations will offer an extended question and answer period to generate ideas about how to use technology and what technology is the best for a particular purpose. As such, they are not extensively hands-on workshops. If you want hands-on training, please attend a workshop.
Because we are aiming for a 3-1 ratio (participants to STC) in workshops, participation will be limited based on the number of STCs available. We hope this will ensure that everyone gets the most out of the workshop.
The event schedule is listed below. You may sign up for any of these events by filling out the appropriate form linked on our website: http://cstw.org/stc/wi2010events.html. Please note that enrollment is limited, so register soon.
February 8: Demonstration of Photoshop and Picasa
February 10: Intro to Photoshop workshop
February 15: Intro to Photoshop workshop
February 17: Introduction to Picasa workshop
February 22: Photoshop - Image Repair workshop
March 1: Photoshop - Publication Prep workshop
March 10 (date tentative): Demonstration of Twitter and Facebook
Date TBA: Demonstration of iMovie 9 and Final Cut Pro
Date TBA: Demonstration of Web applications for instruction)
"It is always challenging to create a curriculum or a workshop that will both successfully engage students and relate to them," says Melissa Crum, CSTW Outreach Consultant. Considering some of the issues ninth graders may have in high school, she developed a "Writing Tough" workshop focusing on what it means to be "tough" and the pros and cons of maintaining this type of life approach. "I used the writings of Stanley 'Tookie' Williams in my workshop, which I conducted some years ago with middle school students. That workshop was arts-based and focused on gang activity in the school," Crum said.
"Tookie" Williams is noted as the creator of the Crips, a notorious gang established in Los Angeles, California. After being imprisoned on murder charges, he spent his time writing children's books telling youth to refrain from joining gangs. He also wrote two autobiographies: one for teenagers and one for adults. Because of his work, he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
"Some of the students knew about Williams. Some did not, but they all knew who the Crips were," Crum says. "Columbus ranks high in the nation regarding gang activity, so I knew students could relate in some form or at least it would peak their interests."
She told her students how the founder of the infamous gang died, knowing that the organization he created should no longer exist. When Crum asked these ninth graders whether such a consequence was worth displaying toughness, the class was mostly silent, with the occasional "no," but now student faces reflected deep thought . . . contemplation. They were thinking, these same students who at first may have thought such a lifestyle might be necessary.
Later, Crum asked the class to write an example about being tough and explain the outcome of the decision. "I received stories ranging from having to 'step it up' on the volleyball court to having to physically fight for their family," Crum said. Following this writing exercise, volunteers were selected to create a skit about being in a tough situation.
"It brought humor to the space and the students had fun, but I left Linden McKinley STEM Academy knowing that my students may have thought a little longer about their life choices. And that is an important part of being a teacher, helping students become better people," Crum says.
Note: Linden-McKinley STEM Academy moved to Columbus North on Arcadia for grades 7-12. The school will reopen with newly renovated classrooms, auditorium, gym and athletic facilities, and modern safety systems in 2011. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math.
For the fifth year, a team of professional writing minor students has composed the script for the City of Columbus' annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. This event features local actors portraying important local, national, and international civil rights activists whose work has been influenced by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Julie Brown, Lindsay Johnson, Lee Masheter, and Ashley McAtee completed the script during their autumn quarter 2009 internships under the leadership of Dan Willis, director of the celebration.
Willis said the purpose of the show is to "educate, inspire, and empower our audience about the legacy of Dr. King, our responsibility to uphold that legacy, and our interest in discovering and rediscovering how his legacy manifests itself through local, national, and international history." Mayor Coleman noted that this event enables Columbus citizens to "learn about the history we all share as a people of hope and action."
This year's program, "Celebrate the Legacy: A Voice in the Crowd," will be performed before an audience of 1200+, televised live that day, and aired 15 times during Black and Women's History months on the city's cable-access channel, GTC-3. Additionally, the students were interviewed for Writer's Talk, an Ohio State public access radio program that focuses on the writing process across genres.
Trish Houston, writing minor coordinator, believes these interns receive an especially unique experience: "This unusual internship not only gives students the chance to be especially creative, but, perhaps more importantly, to be civically engaged."
Free and open to the public, this year's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration performance will take place at 6:00 p.m. on January 18, 2010, downtown at Veterans Memorial, 300 W. Broad Street. It will commence immediately following the annual commemorative march led by the mayor across Broad Street from City Hall.
After a term of learning from and teaching each other new technologies on Friday afternoons, Genevieve Critel added several new Student Technology Consultants to the six experienced STCs who have been carrying the load this fall. In the winter of 2010, we look forward to trotting out a whole new set of demonstrations, small group workshops, and individual consultations for faculty and graduate student teachers across the College of Arts and Humanities.
I, Dickie Selfe, pause here to thank the Digital Media Project in the English Department for providing the digital space for our class, all those experienced STCs who participated in the training classes this fall, but mostly Genevieve Critel who planned the training workshops and kept this extraordinary group of young people motivated and interested in the STC program.
Storytelling need not always involve words. Ninth graders at Columbus City Schools, Linden McKinley STEM Academy on Arcadia, designed their own sneakers on paper in order to tell a story about themselves.
Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing Outreach consultant Christina Bush conducted the activity to encourage students to think about unconventional ways to engage in the literacy process. She asked students to think about stories, how they know the stories, which stories speak to them, and why. After the students did a brief writing reflection, Bush showed them a pair of red suede Jordon V Toro Bravo shoes and asked two questions: What type of shoes are these? What do the symbols and colors on the shoes represent?
"Although it may seem that sneakers serve no purpose other than as functional apparel, they are actually important accessories to many people's identity," Bush says. "The enthusiasm that greeted the activity suggests that sneakers have a lot of cultural currency in this high school community."
After Bush helped the students establish the bridge between shoes and the narratives that accompanied them, she gave them a piece of paper printed with the outline of a sneaker. She told the students to refer to their writing reflection and design their own sneakers to tell a story about themselves through the use of color and images. Students completed the assignment by sharing their sneaker designs and accompanying stories with their classmates.
In the past two quarters, the Minor in Professional Writing Program has added nearly a dozen new workplaces to its roster of internship sites, including the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, Ohio State's Urban Art Space, BalletMet, the YWCA, and BNP Media.
In addition, Heritage Ohio, a nonprofit addressing preservation of the state's historic buildings, and Ohio State's Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity contacted the program seeking professional writing interns. Leslie Shortlidge, editor of the Kirwan Institute's journal, hopes to find an editorial assistant who has "an interest in social justice."
Students who earn the professional writing minor include majors from English and communication to electrical engineering, dance education and film studies. When working with a student from a new area of study for the program, Trish Houston, coordinator of the minor, helps identify what site will best fit the student's career goals.
This fall, a biomedical sciences student who had worked on related research indicated interest in working with the MS Society. Houston contacted the staff there, visited the office, and set up the first internship with the agency for winter quarter. "They are delighted to get the help," Houston noted.
Other times, a workplace contacts the writing minor. Kelly Stevelt Kaser, deputy director of Ohio State's Urban Arts Space, wrote: "We are always looking for help writing and editing copy for our promotional materials as well as researching and drafting grant applications." She, too, will host her first intern winter quarter.
In its six years, the writing minor program has worked with more than 120 Columbus area workplaces, from athletics organizations and community service nonprofits to corporations, government agencies, and multimedia publishing groups. "A good match between a workplace and one of my students feels like magic," Houston said.
Students panic when they see blue on the Writing Center schedule. It means all of the available appointments for the 48-minute tutorials are taken. But they breathe a sigh of relief when they hear about the walk-in hours for writing tutorials at the Science and Engineering Library.
The university's satellite writing center is on the third floor of the library and offers 20-minute consultations on a first-come, first-served basis. It's open for business Monday through Thursday evenings, 5:30 - 7:30, and Tuesday and Thursday afternoons from 12:30 to 2:30.
"We've made two major changes in the last several years," says Kathryn Terzano, assistant coordinator of the Writing Center. "We moved from the Younkin Center to the more centrally located Science and Engineering Library, which greatly improved our accessibility and visibility. And last winter quarter, we added the afternoon hours."
Tutoring sessions at the library writing center differ from those of the main location in Mendenhall Lab, which last 48 minutes. The 20-minute sessions force both client and tutor to focus, says undergraduate tutor Jessi Forman.
"The tutoring session is most productive when the client comes with a specific problem in mind," she says. "The library hours also give us the opportunity to build up good relationships with the students we tutor because we get to see them more often and in a more relaxed setting."
Many of the students who supplement their once-a-week scheduled Writing Center appointment with visits to the Science and Engineering Library location show a serious interest in improving their writing over the long term, Forman adds.
"We like that, since it's our goal to make students better writers," Terzano says.
You've listened to her podcasts, read her book, checked your grammar on her Web site, and seen her on Oprah. See Grammar Girl, Mignon Fogerty, in person on Thursday, November 19, at 11:30 when she talks with students and the public in room 90 of the Science and Engineering Library. Her newest book, The Grammar Devotional, will be available for sale and signing after the event.
Fogarty began her Grammar Girl podcasts to address the frequently asked grammar questions she came across while working as a copy editor. Providing simple, smart tips in five minutes or fewer, her Quick and Dirty Grammar Tips became an iTunes sensation, and her last book, Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing, was a bestseller. Oprah put it best: "Mignon has come up with clever ideas to help even the most grammatically challenged person remember the rules."
"We are really fortunate to have Grammar Girl visit Ohio State," says Doug Dangler, coordinator of the university Writing Center and associate director of the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing. "Everyone is writing more than ever thanks to social media sites, blogs, and the explosion of email in the past decade. Reading her tips and listening to her podcasts can help make that writing more polished and professional."
The event is sponsored by the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing, in partnership with the Columbus School for Girls, with book sales by Barnes & Noble at Lennox Town Center.
An interdisciplinary group of instructors met on campus in late October to discuss ways they might use rubrics (statements of the criteria by which student work will be evaluated) to teach students in second-level writing courses (367) what their expectations are and how to achieve their learning goals.
Convened by the Writing across the Curriculum (WAC) program, the participants came from Slavic language and literature, art education, history, linguistics, English, and women's studies. They used a sample rubric developed by the WAC team as a springboard to discuss which characteristics of writing would be helpful in communicating writing goals and expectations to their students. The diverse perspectives of the participants revealed different approaches to common criteria used to evaluate student writing.
"It was clear that while most instructors recognized such phrasing as 'claims and evidence' as important criteria, they understood them in very different ways," says Chris Manion, coordinator of WAC. "Instructors from each department brought different types of evidence to bear on claims writers in their field might make and had varying methods for evaluating and interpreting that evidence."
The result of the gathering was a lively conversation about how instructors might use rubrics in their classrooms. Among the ideas: give the students a blank rubric so they could participate in their own assessment and give the students one category at a time so they could concentrate on improving specific writing characteristics. Additionally, the conversation highlighted the need for using rubrics to help instructors improve their own teaching. One participant from Slavic studies observed, "As a teacher, I like the specificity of rubrics because it holds us to accountable levels of excellence and is flexible enough to adapt to multiple assignments."
WAC offers workshops about topics such as using writing to promote critical thinking, making research meaningful, and the uses of digital media assignments in the classroom. The group in October especially valued the interdepartmental conversation about teaching, Manion says. One participant from history commented, "We need to keep meeting because it is so helpful to hear other instructors talk about their own methods and problems in order to troubleshoot ideas."
Join the exciting conversation -- contact the WAC team and tell them how you are using writing in your teaching.
Writing skills are the key to success, says Ohio State history alumna Susan J. Bonnell, whose recent gift to the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (CSTW) created the Students First/Students Now Scholarship. Half of the funds, $2,500, are being used to fund undergraduate Writing Center tutor Jessi Forman.
"The great thing about this money is that its benefits are so widespread," says Doug Dangler, associate director of CSTW and coordinator of the Writing Center. "Jessi continues to gain valuable experience as a writing tutor, and her clients benefit from her expertise. In addition to the undergraduate tutor training course she's taken [Hum Col/Eng 467], she's exceptionally well-prepared for all kinds of tutoring."
This is Forman's third year with the Writing Center.
"I enjoy working at the Writing Center because it is rewarding to help clients learn to create writing that is clear, comfortable, and effective," she says. "Often they leave much more confident in their work than when they arrive, and it is encouraging and fun to know I contribute to this. I also really enjoy the opportunity to meet with so many people from such various backgrounds because I learn something new from each new person."
Bonnell also created the Susan J. Bonnell Endowed Fund to support the center's outreach programs. A former vice president and regional director for the Lincoln Financial Group, Bonnell retired in 2006.
Not only do humanities instructors need to stay current in their academic fields, they must also stay up to date on computer technologies, especially those used for instruction. To help them out, the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (CSTW) offers the services of students in the Student Technology Consultant (STC) program.
"This is a valuable experience for everyone involved," says Dickie Selfe, director of CSTW and creator of the STC program. "The students have an opportunity to become proficient in a range of technologies, to work closely with instructors, to lead workshops, and to be paid for their service. And instructors are grateful to receive help that addresses their specific needs."
This fall, the STC program is training 20 new consultants through a nine-week class taught by graduate student and STC assistant coordinator Genevieve Critel. "We’re focusing on the major instructional technologies used by humanities faculty and graduate students: Carmen, Media Manager, Dreamweaver, iMovie, Audacity, Flash, and a few others," says Critel. "Students who successfully complete the training course will be invited to begin working for the STC program in winter quarter."
Students in the class come from a variety of majors, including fine arts, Japanese, design, English, anthropology, computer science, Spanish, and history. Consultants working now are studying English, astronomy, business, psychology, communications, and philosophy.
The STC program offers a variety of services to humanities faculty, graduate students, and teaching staff. Consultants go to classrooms and offices to help instructors learn new technologies that will improve the academic experiences of their students. Consultants can also provide information on labs, studios, support people, online systems (like wikis, blogs, survey engines), online tutorials, and other resources. Workshops with hands-on practice in software programs are also popular.
The October 12 post on the Writing Center's Dissertation Blog is titled "Things I am loving...". It's all about a bookstand that the blog's author has discovered, purchased, and fallen in love with.
The newest resource on the Writing Center website touches on a wide range of topics in addition to being a narrative of the author's writing experience. Dissertation writers will relate to the "Things I am looking at when I should be writing..." posts.
We posed questions of the blog's creator (alias Amelia) and received these responses.
Q: Why a blog?
A: Why not? Blogs, in general, have two functions and both were appealing to me when I started this project. First, a blog allows a writer to chronicle and share his or her experiences, musings, etc., and developing this archive alongside the dissertation project is pretty interesting. Second, blogs create community and dialogue -- the ability to comment and respond to comments adds a really important layer to the blog.
Q: How does writing the blog help you?
A: Dissertation work is a fairly isolating pursuit. The blog is a means of connection, and if my insights can help other writers along the way, then that makes it all the more worthwhile.
Certainly writing the blog also gets me writing on days when I really don't want to write the dissertation, and the blog also provides me a space in which I get to use my other writing voices, voices that tend to get neglected when working on the dissertation. Furthermore, it is nice to have a writing space that has no stakes attached to it, no pressure -- this blog will not decided whether I get my degree or not or tenure later on or not.
Q: How does the blog help others?
A:I think that the blog provides a point of connection. Whether or not the various readers comment, it is a site they can come to and not feel so alone in the dissertation process. Plus, unlike the hours you spend reading other blogs when you should be writing your dissertation, reading this blog makes you feel less guilty because it is dissertation related, so you can almost justify it. Almost.
This past summer the 2nd Africentric Middle School Summer e-Writing Camp was held on site at Africentric Early College School in the school's computer lab room. CSTW summer outreach consultants worked three days a week 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with 25 to 30 students for five weeks.
Our students produced news articles that were published weekly in The Nubians Info newspaper. "We provided writing and revision support, which did a great deal for their psyche in a positive way," says Nancy Hill-McClary, CSTW Assistant Director and Outreach Coordinator.
Students worked in large groups for the "Theme Talk Day" session and in smaller groups of four to five students with an assigned OSU graduate student consultant. The writing themes were social change agents, positive affirmations for creative growth, and hip hop culture.
"The students exhibited great energy throughout the camp writing passionately about the diverse themes for the week. This project definitely gave our young student writers a sense of accomplishment," Hill-McClary added.
"It's a very revolutionary time."
This statement, from Columbus Dispatch writer Todd Jones to professional writing minor interns this summer, set the tone for an interactive discussion of the impact of new media on journalism. Jones, along with fellow Dispatch writer Aaron Portzline, talked with students about the rapidly changing work world of traditional news media.
Portzline, a Dispatch beat writer and sports blogger, addressed the unique challenges and opportunities in maintaining blogs for the paper. He characterized writing on the web as less formal than writing for print. He also revealed that Dispatch bloggers self-proofread, a concept that surprised many of the students.
Jones, whose specialty is long form journalism, explained that "new media is forcing [him] to write longer pieces differently." Although he writes mainly for print, he finds himself writing to audiences used to the faster pace of online writing. Jones explained that he creates "short, snappy" introductions that "fool" the reader into continuing to read his piece.
Other writing tips that emerged from the conversation included: use headlines that search engines like Google pick up, get to the point quickly, and always remember your audience.
But what about the fate of print journalism in the world of RSS feeds and Twitter? Both Jones and Portzline agreed that while print journalism will not disappear, it will continue to evolve as new technologies emerge. Jones and Portzline's emphasis, not on what gets left behind in the wake of new media, but on what new possibilities new media creates for both print and online journalism, resonated well with the students. One student's comment, in particular, underscored this. Looking at Portzline, Dispatch sports blogger, she said: "I appreciate the service you provide...but I need him [Jones] in my life, too."
Often when busy teachers sit down to grade student papers at the end of a course, they can get frustrated when a number of students "miss the mark" and don't seem to have understood an assignment or grasped an important concept. "Why didn't I see," a teacher might think, "that these students were struggling?" Evaluating student responses to an assignment at the end of the process only tells teachers so much about what students are learning, and usually tells them very little about how they are learning. Informal, reflective writing can give instructors a window into student learning: how they go about tackling a problem or question, what challenges they face in an assignment, and what about their work sparks their personal interests and passions.
The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) team has been hard at work developing a new resource for teachers at Ohio State and beyond that encourages instructors to think about using writing for assessment in new ways, to get at just what and how students are learning as they are learning. WAC has created a new resource wiki, which includes a whole section on writing and assessment, with tips, resources, rubrics, and sample assignments. Take a look at this new resource here: https://carmenwiki.osu.edu/display/osuwacresources/Assessment+and+Writing.
As educators and institutional partners maneuver through the WAC Wiki, they will find hyperlinks to help them navigate the many resources provided. Instructors interested in assessment should find the rubric page particularly interesting because here they'll find an opportunity to learn about different types of rubrics, tips on how to use a rubric, as well as sample rubrics from Ohio State instructors. From there, instructors can get advice on how to develop rubrics that coincide with their course learning objectives.
Teachers can also find tips on the wiki such as ideas about how to incorporate an icebreaker into a lesson plan that allows students to respond to a set of questions about the course toward the beginning of the quarter. They might ask students for the most memorable idea from last class, to describe an aspect of the material that they are finding confusing, or their favorite part of the reading for the day. Not only can short one- to five-minute writing assignments help prepare students actively participate in discussion, small group sessions, or other in-class activities that you have planned for the day, but they can also help instructors listen more closely to how students interact with their teaching methods, decisions, and course content.
How can we know how students are learning? We can ask them — and writing gives us a window into that learning.
Students at Africentric Middle School became summer journalists to produce five newsletters on selected topics during a CSTW-sponsored camp. Outreach consultants worked with 25-30 middle-school students three mornings a week for five consecutive weeks this summer at the e-Writing Camp. Students were instructed and coached in writing and revision of news articles that were published weekly in The Nubians Info.
The writing themes for the newspaper included introduction of the news reporters, social change agents, positive affirmations for creative growth, hip-hop culture, and the great literacy debate. Students worked in large groups for the "Theme Talk Day" session and in smaller groups of four to five students with their consultants.
"It did a great deal for their psyche in a positive way," says Outreach Coordinator Nancy Hill McClary. "They exhibited great energy throughout the camp, writing passionately about the diverse themes for the week."
Freelancing demands networking and Web writing requires exactness. These were among the lessons learning from the "Exploring Professional Writing" panelists on Thursday, May 28.
Professional writing students in the Writing in Organizations class (HUM COL 450.02) hosted the event, which featured four guests: Alice Duncanson, development writer and editor at the Center of Science and Industry (COSI); Alicia Kelso, editor of The Publishing Group Ltd.; Kelly Kinzer Malone, vice president of media and content at Real Living, Inc.; and Dan Willis, marketing consultant for First Class Events. Student Ashley McAtee moderated the symposium.
Duncanson defined nonprofit writing as mission-centered communication, noting that writers give "voice to the organization" and play a "forward thinking role." She emphasized that writers working at nonprofits need to be flexible, especially since most nonprofits run on a shoestring budget and lack adequate staff. Developing strong interpersonal skills will serve aspiring nonprofit writers well, Duncanson said, as writers often serve as a liaison between administrators and program directors.
Malone discussed ghost writing, stressing that writers need to know the style and tone of the person they are representing as well as the medium in which they are writing, which can range from articles and magazine columns to thank you notes, blogs, and letters of recommendation.
Willis talked about freelancing, drawing on his experience in the public sector to emphasize the importance of understanding the big picture. He underscored that writers need to be aware of three factors: the person they are representing, the audience, and how their own writing skills can produce a dynamic presentation. Willis encouraged aspiring professional writers to seek out freelance work. "Always look for opportunities," he said. "If you can write on behalf of somebody else, that's a great gift."
Kelso spoke about writing for the Web, emphasizing the importance of learning RSS feeds and blogging, as well as Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter. In spite of technological advances, she noted that strong writing skills and accuracy are essential components of all professional writing.
A question-and-answer session gave students a chance to ask professionals about the worlds of work. Each writer had advice for aspiring professional writers. Duncanson emphasized that students should seek out internships and freelance work, which could lead to contract or full-time employment. Kelso recommended that students focus on building their portfolios, and also to be patient and "coachable." Malone advised students to reach out to advisors and teachers. "Go for what you're passionate about," she said. Willis emphasized that students should connect with people as much as they can and always ask the question, "Do you know of anyone who can use my skills to get me started?"
McAtee summed up what she and her classmates gained from the program: "... [T]he biggest impact, for me was the way being in a room with writing professionals made me feel like my career goals are realistic ..., and it is much clearer to me now that professional writing is a rich, multidimensional field."
The Minor in Professional Writing allows students in any major to add writing credentials to their résumés and offers a one-quarter internship at a business or organization.
A group of about 15 librarians and Hilltop patrons attended the "Celebration of Hilltop Stories" on May 5 at the branch library on South Hague Avenue. While munching on fruits, cheese, and bread, the producers of digital stories talked about the value of creating an archive of Hilltop history or "herstory" (all of the produced stories were created by local "older" women from the Hilltop area). The digital stories are the culmination of a research project called "What is Your Hilltop" that trained library clients to collect and document points of neighborhood pride, such as individual histories, active citizens, creative individuals, and important community events.
"These aren't Hollywood productions, thank goodness," says Dickie Selfe, CSTW Director and leader of the project funded by a grant by the State Library of Ohio. "But they certainly are interesting, local digital storytelling that documents moments of the Hilltop's history and community."
Topics included the yearly Hilltop Bean Dinner (view on YouTube), the diverse racial and social nature of Hilltop, the welcoming nature of the Hilltop to working-class, independent thinking individuals, and a family of custom builders in the area
Selfe and doctoral student Cormac Slevin also collected one-time stories about OSU football games (in 1940); young people's lives in the shady parks; black families listening to Dr. Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and riding on Columbus buses in the 1960s; Hilltop protest events against drug activities in the 1980s; the Greenlawn Cemetery; and the experiences of a teacher of young troubled men in the 1970s. All stories (with permission) will be archived and found (in video and audio formats) on OSU's Knowledge Bank.
The grant was awarded by the State Library of Ohio that administers the LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) program, funded through the independent federal agency IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services).
For more information, Contact Dickie Selfe at CSTW, 614-688-5960, firstname.lastname@example.org.
It wasn't as down and dirty as wrestling, but for the students in Trish Houston's Writing in Organizations class it was a fight to the finish.
The Humanities 450.02 students demonstrated their knowledge of English syntax and grammar in a Grammar Smackdown on May 18. Developed by Deborah Gump of Ohio University and Ron Hartung, Associate Editor of the Tallahassee Democrat, the Grammar Smackdown has been used in both academic and professional settings to hone students' and professionals' writing and editing skills, Houston says.
Four teams - "The Witnesses," "The Conkerers," "Los Bobcats," and "The Defenestrators" - competed in a two-round test of syntax, grammar, and punctuation. In Round One, teams corrected five sentences with errors ranging from passive voice to comma splices. In Round Two, each team's appointed "runner" raced to collect their team's sentence, conferred with their teammates to correct the mistakes, and returned the corrected sentence. After completing five sentences, teams were ranked according to accuracy and speed. The winning team in both speed and accuracy, "Los Bobcats," consisted of Syra Arif, Mark Bradley, and Ashley McAtee. Arif says "the Grammar Smackdown doubled as a workout and a practice of our grammar skills."
Humanities 450 prepares and qualifies students to enroll in Humanities 589, the Professional Writing Internship, the capstone quarter for the Minor in Professional Writing. Says Houston, "Professional writing interns are often asked to edit and proofread all kinds of text in their workplaces. The Smackdown is a way to enhance students' professionalism-and it's a fun way to do it."
"I really like this part of my job," says CSTW Associate Director Doug Dangler of his time spent with children's book author RL Stine in May. "It's refreshing to meet writers of all types, but getting to know the authors before the interview makes the interview so much better."
After picking Stine up at the airport and taking him to lunch, the two visited Worthington Kilbourne Middle School where 100 eager seventh and eighth graders were waiting with questions for the Goosebumps series author. Stine says that "Goosebumps cast a spell upon children by transforming even the most reluctant students into avid readers."
After talking to the students, Stine gave a video interview in the College of Humanities studio, before going to a Faculty Club reception for Ohioana authors. The following day at the Ohioana Book Festival on May 9, loads of kids were on hand to meet Stine. "The line was very long for him," Dangler says. "His books sold out twice before the organizers had to give up." The day ended with a reception at the Governor's mansion, but not before Stine, a Bexley native and Ohio State graduate, talked Dangler into a drive past his childhood home. "I suggested that we install a commemorative plaque," said Dangler, "But Mr. Stine thought that the new owners might find that odd."
Dangler's interviews with Stine can be heard on WCBE's Writers Talk program and WDEM-tv.
Professional writing students in the Writing in Organizations class (HUM COL 450.01) this quarter will host "Exploring Professional Writing" on Thursday, May 28, 9:45 a.m., in 060 Science and Engineering Library.
Open to anyone interested in professional writing, the event features a panel of guests from the professional world that represents industries from nonprofits to publishing. Confirmed guests include Alice Duncanson, development writer and editor at the Center of Science and Industry; Alicia Kelso, editor of The Publishing Group Ltd.; Kelly Malone, vice president of media and content at Real Living, Inc.; and Dan Willis, marketing consultant for First Class Events.
Panel guests will address the ins and outs of ghostwriting, writing for nonprofits, bridging the divide between print and online media, and the advantages and disadvantages of freelancing in today's business world. A question-and-answer session after the discussion will give those in attendance a chance to ask real-world professionals questions about the worlds of work.
The Minor in Professional Writing allows students in any major to add writing credentials to their résumés and offers a one-quarter internship at a business or organization.
"Can the Writing Center proofread my paper?" is one of the more common requests we hear from students at CSTW. The answer is "No, but a consultant can help you learn to edit your own work." A new PowerPoint resource lets students reinforce their sessions at the Writing Center by reviewing slides that address common errors.
"Our culture appreciates resources that are visually appealing," says Katrina Peterson, who created the PowerPoint. "The text is easy to read and allows users to skip ahead to the parts they need while still getting the big picture."
The slides ask these major questions:
Have I followed the requirements of the assignment?
Have I checked organization?
Have I considered audience issues?
Have I edited for style?
Other slides address run-on sentences, subject-verb agreement, which vs. that, and using action verbs.
Peterson is working on a slide show about integrating quotations into writing, something she says she knew little about until graduate school. The slides will encourage students to think about how to integrate and merge quotations with their own sentence structure and show them how to use tags to introduce the quotations.
"I think students who want to become better writers will appreciate these types of resources," Peterson says. "I hope they help people."
Few activities on a campus as large as Ohio State's attract graduate students from 33 different disciplines for discussion and peer assessment. But that is what happens in Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing dissertation writing groups.
Since spring 2007, 52 students have met in groups of three to five to provide feedback to one another as they write their dissertations. Rachel Clark, Writing Center assistant coordinator, schedules the groups and leads one.
"The groups are meant to be interdisciplinary to allow members to focus on developing their writing skills and their ability to explain their dissertations to non-specialists," she says. "Ideally, groups stay together for three quarters, and the third quarter they meet without a writing center facilitator. Our goal is to model how a successful group works so that the groups can sustain themselves."
Participants may join at the beginning of any quarter. They take turns sharing their written work at meetings. The consultant moderates the discussions and manages email communications among the group.
"It is a really encouraging environment, being in a room with people who are having the same problems," says Eugenia Gonzales, who runs a weekly group. "I see a lot of collegiality and even friendships form. And the group holds its members accountable to deadlines, which keeps the dissertation writers on schedule with their work."
"From my perspective, accountability is the importance of the dissertation writing group," says a member of Gonzales's current group. "After I finished the candidacy exams and was on my own to complete my dissertation, it was very easy to prioritize other things above it. Having a deadline has been enormously helpful making progress. Additionally, knowing that I will need to explain my writing to others who are not in my discipline encourages me to think through the clarity of my writing and to make it applicable to a broader audience. Finally, I have found inspiration from others in connecting concepts in their topics and academic disciplines to my own work. I have also found models in writing style that have refined how I communicate through the process of writing.
CSTW will be on hand when readers of all ages gather at the third annual Ohioana Book Festival on Saturday, May 9 from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm in Columbus. The festival will be held at the Ohioana and State Library of Ohio's facility in the Jeffrey Mining Center at 274 E. First Ave., in the historic Italian Village and Short North Arts District of Columbus. The event is free and open to the public.
"We share the festival's interest in Ohio authors," says Doug Dangler, CSTW Associate Director. "I'll be there with our student digital media assistants to record author interviews for the website and the Writers Talk radio show on WCBE (90.5 FM)."
Ten writers will come to Columbus early to participate in outreach programming in schools and other community venues and the media. In Worthington, Margaret Peterson Haddix will visit Wilson Hill Elementary, and RL Stine will talk to 100 middle school students interested in writing. The Ohioana authors, all stars in their chosen literary field, include:
- R. L. Stine, a Columbus native, is one of the best-selling children's authors in history and most well known for his Goosebumps and Fear Street series.
- Jeff Smith, who grew up in Columbus, is the creator of the award-winning graphic novel series Bone.
- Peter Mansoor, an OSU graduate, is current Chair of Military History at Ohio State. A recently retired US Army Colonel, his 26-year military career culminated in his service in Iraq as the executive officer to General Patraeus, Commanding General of the Multi-National Force in Iraq. His acclaimed book, Baghdad at Sunrise, is a memoir of his experiences.
- Thrity Umrigar, professor of creative writing and literature at Case Western Reserve and former Washington Post and Cleveland Plain Dealer contributor, is a Bombay, India native. She is a highly acclaimed bestselling author of three novels and a memoir, First Darling of the Morning.
- John Scalzi, a California native and current Bradford, Ohio, resident, is an award-winning science fiction novelist best known for his debut novel Old Man's War. His newest release The Last Colony hit the New York Times Bestseller list last year.
- Erin McCarthy/Erin Lynn of West Lake, Ohio, sold her first book in 2002, and 24 books later she is still entertaining readers with contemporary and paranormal romances. She also writers young adult novels under the pen name Erin Lynn.
- Jaime Adoff, grew-up in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he currently makes his home, is an award-winning author of popular books for children and young adults. A poet, rock-and-roll musician, and author, Adoff received the 2006 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award for his book Jimi and Me.
- Margaret Peterson Haddix, grew-up on a farm near Washington Court House, Ohio, and is the award-wining author of more than 20 books for children and young adults, including the popular The Shadow Children series. Her new book, Found is the first in her new series The Missing.
- Ann Hagedorn, a Dayton native currently a resident of Ripley, Ohio, is a former Wall Street Journal staffer and investigative report with the New York Daily News. She is the author of a number of award-winning nonfiction titles, including Beyond the River and Savage Peace.
- Phil Brady, a New York City native, is Youngstown State University Distinguished Professor, award-winning poet, essayist, editor, and musician, and community organizer. His most recent work is By Heart: Reflections of a Rust-Belt Bard, a collection of essays.
During the festival, the featured authors will do individual readings and presentations, including taking part in five panels, including "The Writing Life" with R.L Stine and Thrity Umrigar; and "Why We Write, What We Write" with Erin McCarthy and Jeff Smith. Other panels include special interest topics such as writing for children and how to get published.
Alexis Stern was pleasantly surprised when Dean Osmer and his delegation from the Graduate School walked into the Introduction to Fiction class she was teaching on Monday. They were there to present her with a Graduate Associate Teaching Award.
"Dean Osmer talked to my students about what this honor means," Stern says. "I had to hold on to the chalk tray for support."
Nominations for the Graduate Associate Teaching Award (GATA) are solicited from students, peers, faculty and staff. The Graduate School notifies eligible nominees, who then prepare an application portfolio for review by the GATA selection committee, comprised of the Graduate School's Award Committee, undergraduate honors students, Council of Graduate Student representatives, previous GATA winners, and faculty Distinguished Teaching Award winners. The committee reviews all submissions and selects up to 10 award recipients.
Stern has a four-year history with the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing. She tutored in the Writing Center for two year and has been a Writing Center assistant coordinator for two years.
"My work at the Writing Center brings me into contact with such a great variety of students from all over the university," Stern says. "I get to talk to them about how they feel about writing, learning, school in general, their plans in life, etc. I think it helps me understand where my students are coming from, and I know that it helps me develop exercises and assignments based on what I see working with students at the Writing Center."
Stern has taught seven different courses at Ohio State, from First-Year Composition to Introduction to the Theory and Practice of Writing Centers. Teaching is her passion, Stern says.
"It's the reason I'm in grad school, and certainly the reason I've stayed in grad school. Students are smart; they surprise me every quarter and teach me new things. I love to teach."
The GATA winners will be formally recognized at the Graduate School Awards Reception.
"I liked sitting in that tall chair with those big, puffy but comfortable headphones on," reads a letter from a fourth-grader at Windermere Elementary School in Upper Arlington.
He and five other young students had their recording debut on April 1, 2009, when they visited Ohio State in a program organized by CSTW Associate Director Doug Dangler. The children read from literacy narratives they had written, which recounted how they learned to read and write.
The recording session were done as part of CSTW's digital media outreach and in conjunction with the Digital Archives of Literacy Narratives (DALN) project, a publicly available archive of literacy narratives that collectively provide a historical record of the literacy practices and values of contributors (to contribute, visit http://daln.osu.edu/). The recording was done at Humanities Information Systems' Digital Media Services Studio, assisted by Scott Sprague and Paul Kotheimer.
The students' narratives, in addition from being included in the DALN project, were edited into a five-minute radio program by the digital media group at CSTW for broadcast on Writers Talk, which airs each Wednesday at 8:01 pm on WCBE, central Ohio's NPR station. To listen to this and other Writers Talk programs and CSTW podcasts, please visit http://cstw.osu.edu/podcasts.
The class of 24 students spent time in the media studio and shared a tour of Ohio State and a sack lunch with Dangler and student digital media assistant Anne Adoryan.
"It's never too early to get them thinking about college," says Dangler. "I hope this unique experience will stick with them."
It likely will. Another student writes: "It was fun to see a college classroom. There are so many people in one class. College seems like fun. I wish I was in college."
If you'd like to know more about CSTW's podcasts and programs with Ohio writers, please contact Doug Dangler at email@example.com.
CSTW's Anne Adoryan shares her Facebook expertise in a recent workshop. "No matter your personal feelings about social networking sites, students are using it on, around, and in your classes," says Dickie Selfe, Director of CSTW. Twenty-four faculty and staff from the Colleges of the Arts and Sciences and other university venues learned the basics of Facebook (FB) in a workshop on April 3, 2009.
The goal of the workshop, led by CSTW student employee Anne Adoryan, a six-year user of FB, was to explore FB as an opportunity for making education and learning a more social experience, both inside and outside the classroom. A panel of students talked with the group about their uses of the site, and Adoyan showed participants how to set up their FB sites, manage their privacy setting, and navigate the many FB options.
One attendee was associate professor Anne Fields, a subject specialist for English at OSU Libraries. She is working on a project to provide all library student assistants with basic education in library research, in addition to the job training they already receive. "Students at Ohio State do not necessarily receive any formal instruction in library research while they're here," she says.
"Students are unprepared to deal with information they need for their classes, and they're unprepared to enter the larger world of information once they've graduated," Fields says. "I'm interested in exploring how we might use Facebook to communicate with that huge group of student assistants, perhaps subdividing them according to their more specialized needs and interests by the library department they're working in."
Nancy Golden started using FB when she was hired as a program coordinator with the Melton Center for Jewish Studies.
"We wanted to establish a group on FB to network with Ohio State students and potential new recruits and to advertise for our educational and cultural events, which cater to both campus and the larger Columbus community," Golden says. "We also thought that social media, like FB, would go a long way toward humanizing academia and helping us bolster the Melton Center's identity on campus."
Golden says the workshop was especially helpful in setting privacy settings and improving her navigating skills.
Workshop attendees represented departments of art, English, African American and African studies, women's studies, veterinary medicine, pharmacy, music, theatre, and others. Selfe says he was unable to accommodate everyone who registered for the workshop and expects to offer it again at the end of spring quarter. If you'd like to be notified, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's not unusual to see people lined up at Hilltop Branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library when it's time to open for the day. The locals are anxious to use the 44 computers, and there simply are not enough to go around.
A research collaboration that partners CSTW with the OSU Libraries and Ohio State's Goldberg Center will bring 12 laptop computers, 12 digital audio recorders, and 10 digital still cameras to Hilltop's library in a project named "What's Your Hilltop?
The project trains library clients to collect and document points of neighborhood pride, such as individual histories, active citizens, creative individuals, and important community events.
"What we're doing is creating a population of media producers - not just consumers," says Dickie Selfe, Director of CSTW. "National organizations and research studies indicate that media production is an important 21st century literacy skill. The explosive growth of archives of online personal histories indicates that, given support and access to digital media equipment, communities are hungry to tell and archive their local histories." This spring and summer, evening classes will target under-resourced and underserved adults and teens, those who are unfamiliar with audio production, photo manipulation, and video editing. Selfe and CSTW graduate associates and undergraduate employees will teach participants how to plan stories, interview subjects, take digital photos, and produce audio and video. These skills will help participants tell the stories of important people, organizations, and events in their community.
The grant was awarded by the State Library of Ohio that administers the LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) program, funded through the independent federal agency IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services).
For more information, Contact Dickie Selfe at CSTW, 614-688-5960, email@example.com.