Writing Program

Writing Across the Curriculum Certification

At Alvernia, we value the process of writing and providing our students with the support they need to succeed. The training modules below are intended to introduce faculty to the basic principles of Writing Across the Curriculum. In completing these modules, we hope to improve our ability to design syllabi, course materials, and activities that promote critical thinking through writing.

Each academic year, we invite a cohort of TEN faculty members to apply for certification. You can apply by emailing rachael.zeleny@alvernia.edu and indicating that you a) intend to complete certification b) your chosen method of certification and c) your intended submission date for your materials. The first ten faculty members to apply will be the cohort for this year. All materials need to be received by March 15th for consideration.  

There are two ways that faculty at Alvernia can become certified in Writing Across the Curriculum:

  • Faculty can attend three on-campus writing workshops, consult with the Writing Program Director, write a two-page reflection on the ways in which a course has changed since actively employing best practices in writing (see model), and submit student artifacts for assessment from the course in which Writing pedagogy is employed (contact Rachael Zeleny for directions on how to submit assessment artifacts).

OR

  • Faculty can complete the WAC modules, consult with the Writing Program Director, and submit artifacts via single pdf to rachael.zeleny@alvernia.edu for assessment from the course in which Writing pedagogy is employed.


All faculty who wish to receive certification will be given a copy of John Bean's Engaging Ideas. Those who complete certification will receive a letter of support from the Dean and a two hundred dollar stipend.

Module 1

Module 2

Module 3

Module 4

Module 5

Module 6

Module 7




Module 1

For this module, we will provide an overview of WAC philosophy and delineate the key elements of a Writing Enhanced course. In this module, you will have the opportunity to 1) read some of the key theories behind this movement and 2) apply these concepts directly to your own syllabus design. You will submit a before and after copy of your syllabus with track changes denoting your efforts to incorporate WAC philosophy.

Readings:

  • Ch. 1 and 2 of  John Bean's Engaging Ideas, "Using Writing to Promote Thinking" and "How Writing is related to Critical Thinking"
  • Writing Enhanced Guidelines
  • Model WE syllabus


Related Readings:

  • Fulwiler, Toby. “The Argument for Writing Across the Curriculum.” Writing Across the Disciplines: Research Into Practice. Eds. Art Young and Toby Fulwiler. Upper Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook, 1986. 21-32.


Guiding Questions:

  • What are the misconceptions about Writing Across the Curriculum?
  • What are the principles for designing a course with critical thinking objectives in mind?
  • What is the difference between learning to write and writing to learn?


Portfolio Artifact #1:
Please submit a current syllabus. Annotate your syllabus (use track changes)to identify places where you could offer more opportunities for drafting, writing, writing pedagogy and revising.

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Module 2:

For this module, we will address ways to encourage our students to become flexibile as writers and to think rhetorically about audience. In this module, you will have the opportunity to 1) consider the writing that is valuable to your field and 2) encourage our students to recognize the nuances of different genres. You will submit three short writing activities that will encourage writing for different audiences.

Readings:

  • Ch. 3 and 4 of John Bean's Engaging Ideas, "Helping Writers Think Rhetorically" and "Using a Range of Genres to Extend Critically"


Guiding Questions:

  • What types of writing are valued in your field (consider both daily communication and formal writing)?
  • What facets of writing are unique to your field?
  • What audiences are important to your field (ie. publisher, patient, colleague, etc)?


Portfolio Artifact #2
Design three short activties that will encourage writing for different audiences. You can either choose different constituents (ie explain the same medical concept to a fellow physician, to a researcher, to a child) or try the audiences mentioned on pgs. 40-45 (naive, puzzled/skeptical and hostile).

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Module 3

For this module, we will identify ways in which informal and/or exporatory writing can simultaneously improve the quality of thinking and the quality of writing. We will identify places in your syllabus where your students could benefit from reinforcing a concept through writing or where students could use informal writing to improve the quality of their prose on the skill-level. You will submit three informal and/or exploratory writing activities that align with your course goals.

Readings:

  • Ch. 7 and 8 of Engaging Ideas, "Informal, Exploratory Writing Activities" and "Designing Tasks to Promote Active Thinking and Learning"
  • Questions to consider when designing informal writing activities
  • Model Activities


Guiding Questions:

  • What types of brainstorming or drafting do you do before/during/after writing?
  • What concepts in your course are repeatedly difficult for students to grasp?
  • How could an exploratory activity improve a student's a)quality of argument b)ability to find credible sources c) ability to negotiate and address alternative perspectives?


Portfolio #3
Create three exploratory writing tasks that will encourage students to either think more deeply about the content of your course or an activity that will improve the clarity, complexity, sophistication of an essay for your course. See the model list of activities for ideas.

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Module 4

For this module, we will discuss the art of designing and assessing formal writing assignments. We will have the opportunity to consider how the goals and outcomes of our course are reflected in the types of activities we ask our students to complete. Furthermore, we will address the clarity of our current grading tools as they pertain to student understanding and grading efficiency. For this module, you will submit the prompt and rubric for a formal writing assignment.

Readings:

  • Ch. 6 and Ch. 14 in Engaging Ideas, "Formal Writing Assignments" and "Using Rubrics to Develop and Apply Grading Criteria"
  • Model Prompt and Rubric


Guiding Questions:

  • Do your current writing assignments align with your course goals?
  • Do your rubrics or grading tools reflect what is most important to you when assessing writing?
  • How engaging are your writing assignments?


Portfolio Artifact #4:
Create or revise a formal writing assignment and it's corresponding grading tool. Annotate the document to indicate how your changes reflect WAC pedagogy.

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Module 5

For this module, we will discuss strategies for how to efficiently comment on student papers. We consider the types of feedback that supports student growth and at what stages students require the most support. For this module, you will submit two documents 1) a student paper with comments and 2) a "fix-it" sheet that prioritizes the writing skills that are of the most importance to you.

Readings:

  • "Free Software and Five Minutes: Limitless Possibilities for Improving Student Writing"
  • Ch. 5, "Dealing with Issues of Correctness"
  • Ch. 17 of Engaging Ideas, "Writing Comments on Students' Papers"  


Guiding Questions

  • What are your "pet peeves" in writing?
  • At what stage in your own writing do you edit for grammar?
  • What type of feedback do you prefer on your writing?
  • What type of feedback do you typically give?


Portfolio Artifact #5 (2 assignments):
Submit a student paper with your comments (these comments should be reflective of WAC pedagogy). Make a "fix-it" sheet. On this sheet, make a list of 5 rules that students commonly break when writing papers for you. They can be grammar rules, argument errors, organization issues, etc. Create examples for each that are incorrect. When using this document in the future, students should be asked to revise these errors.

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Module 6

For this module, we will consider how your course and your thinking about writing has changed while completing this certification. Revisit the syllabus you submitted for artifact 1 and revise to reflect new skills acquired during this process.

Readings:

  • Ch. 15 of Engaging Ideas, "Coaching the Writing Process and Handling the Paper Load"


Guiding Questions

  • What types of activtiies can support your students' writing on a weekly basis?
  • What types of activities do not need to be graded?
  • When do you wish to see your students' writing for the first time?
  • Do you incorporate peer review, library days, conferencing and informal writing into your class?


Portfolio Artifact 6
Revise your syllabus to reflect sound WAC pedagogy. Annotate this syllabus to indicate how your course has changed to better accomodate the writing process. You might consider: pacing, drafting, required revisions, required conferencing, information literacy, in-class writing, informal writing activities, peer review days, and library days.

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Module 7

For this module, you will distribute this survey to your course, collect responses, and write a one page, single-spaced reflection that summarizes the feedback provided in these surveys and what changes you might consider for the future.

Survey

*If you did not use a mentor, you need only to have your students complete the top portion of the survey.

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