Inkshed 19

The edited and transcribed inksheds on the sessions

Note: clicking on the title will take you to the original program description of the session or presentation.


Session one: "Embodied Theory: Introducing Undergraduates to the Technology of Writing-to-Learn" -- Betsy Sargent

We would describe a mousetrap as a useful tool in eliminating household pests. The same object, on the other hand, would have a very different function from the mouse's perspective. So every time we say something, the framework that surrounds our thought is inevitably skewed, so in one sense, we can never achieve an impartial or "objective" description of what the object / phenomenon is. -- Tosh

The tip of the pencil is so insensitive and so conspicuously inferior to a fingertip. -- Grant Heckman

Betsy has created a superb metaphor about language that, as she said, she will be able to refer to again and again throughout the course. She has also gradually led her students into Polanyi's thinking. The word led is important here. Without their knowing it, they have been taken into a higher level of thinking. -- Roberta Lee

I think the activity also does develop relationship -- the listening and intent to record what is given so there is not editing, rejection or judgment and, in fact, an empathy that comes from recognition of the inevitable struggle . . . It was clearly not meant to give us the experience of the blind -- because of the absence of touch -- so I'm not sure why it's surprising this isn't mentioned. I missed something here. -- Wendy Strachan

(Comments on the above) Is it led or exemplified? Or are they the same thing here?

I experienced an "aha!" when Betsy talked about Polanyi in relation to this exercise so maybe led is a good word here? As in "you can lead a horse to water. . . ." Such a complex group of individuals. I found it very touching that Ginny talked about the closeness and trust generated by the exercise was paramount, and also that the man who hated drawing felt intimidated and distressed by it. . . . Who are we anyway, we people of material with thoughts that reach out like ruber-tipped pencils, interpreting what's out there, trying to make meaning where none is? -- Anonymous.

How we set up the assignment makes all the difference. -- Anonymous.

Be careful what you say -- don't say anything that could be suggestive or sound stupid. Because we're going to read these out loud. I can't keep up, but I want to capture what she's saying. Hey! I get it -- I want to document what she says. -- Illegible

I think that this honest and aware reflection can take a student writer out of student mode and introduce writer mode. -- Anonymous.

The most important aspect of this activity for me was to experience collaboration . . . and a willingness to discuss and make the "text" being produced (what is this object) together. I think people brought a lot of dignity to what is basically a pretty silly thing to do. -- Nan Johnson

One of the things that I liked best was that it proved that even Ph.D.s say things in simple terms, first. -- Anonymous.

I think it's really interesting the way the pencil exercise maps onto learning to write. You need to have your focal awareness out at the end of the pencil, but you also need to be -- well, not aware, exactly -- of the nature and limitations of the tool you're using. -- Russ

I like the way Polanyi talks about moving back and forth between using a tool and then refining (examining, studying) how we use it. That is, alternating between focusing on the tool and then dwelling in the tool to focus on something else. (He says that's how knowledge grows, from moving back and forth between those two things). --comment about Russ's excerpt

I thought it was really silly but then Betsy said that amazing thing about using language as a tool and concentrating on where the language touches or interacts with the world. I spent part of this week doing some "fact-checking" for some pieces of writing . . . I wanted my writing to be true but I'm always aware of how the words that I'm devising are in existence between me and what I'm looking at -- almost balanced on a breath -- as if they embody my perception of it -- and this is how it feels when I write all the time -- not just when I'm checking. -- Anonymous.

The urge to direct my partner's pencil was immediate -- to slip that object a little closer to my partner's hand and pencil tip. And I did a bit of that. It did strike me as an element of the writing centre experience in consultations. There is an element of direction even when the exercise is seemingly a freewriting, exploratory one. . . . I wondered why a "wacky" exercise was necessarily not a "serious" one. -- Anonymous.

Hm. This was wonderful to read. I enjoyed writing down what my partner was saying. It never crossed my mind to direct her pencil, unless it moved away from the object. But of course this is directing too. --comment I about the writing above

Yes -- Always in the writing centre the question -- who holds the pencil -- student or instructor? --comment II about the writing above

I know what the pencil is and what I can do with it in the exercise, whereas I don't think the students "know" what language "is". . . . So when Betsy was talking I got stuck on the "poet's love of language", using the language for itself (a concept I understand to be what poets do but sometimes hard to get my mind around). -- Anonymous

The exercise does create a sense of uncertainty that students seem to feel at the beginning of every class but perhaps more acutely in writing class. . . . The discussion of Polanyi's theories and how this exercise relates to any intellectual tool would be too hard for many of my first year students . . . . I wonder about this exercise's application to second language learners. Could they benefit from this exercise? How so? -- Anonymous

We try with words to approximate/reach-out-to/make-sense-of that which is unknown. . . . I wondered how much a student would take away from the instructor's eventual explanation -- in other words, whether it was perhaps in some sense more the instructor who would gain from this exercise than the students. I guess I'm saying I prefer some of our interpretations of the exercise than the intended one. --Ginny Ryan

Of course we would have done better without using the pencil. Would students do better at expressing themselves if we didn't keep offering lessons and genres and tips on how to do it? -- Margaret Procter

For me it's important to break the isolation of the individual writer, to make writing a genuinely interactive process. This icebreaker sets the stage for such interaction in class, as well as creating a common experience to which reference can be made through the semester. -- Henry Hubert

I found the discussion more interesting than "doing" but I worry about our collective readiness to find value, to assign value, to something encountered so fleetingly -- and presented "out of context," as Nan pointed out. -- Will Garrett-Petts

This ability to really listen is sometime lost . . . people seem to be more interested in what they have to say -- or are thinking about what they will say next, or even something else that has happened to them through the day. Writing down what someone else is saying . . . trying to capture everything , attributes real importance to their words . . . and their action. Everyone should have the opportunity to be really listened to in this way. -- Anonymous

No matter how we set up the situation in our classrooms, no matter how much we think we're establishing safe, playful situations, there's always someone for whom it will read as the equivalent of "blind shower game." This isn't meant to be a discouraging observation, just one to be mindful of. -- Kenna

I thought that it was a fairly isolating experience. My partner was a foot away and knew the answer but she could not offer me clues and I could not ask for any guidance. -- Anonymous

I could feel her anxiety and I could feel my own -- torn between wanting to tell her the right answer or at least get her back on track, like I feel torn in the Writing Centre, or letting her fumble through and hopefully she'd come to some conclusion that at least would get her a passing grade. -- Anonymous

I found the passion for language in the room particularly refreshing. Language has always been how I escape; when I'm feeling full of thought and confusion, I write and to not do so feels like restriction. Having an experience with 25 people who have already established a way to expand this passion in their professional lives seems extremely privileged and wonderful. -- Shenoa Tobin

The activity was one of empathy /team building which somehow relaxed the group. -- Ruthanne Tobin

I needed to say something about how we don't get to choose the language we're born into, how we don't get to test it or challenge each word before we decide to use it -- and how much this acritical acquisition of language both empowers and limits our thinking all our lives. -- Betsy Sargent

The part of the pencil you are holding is the tacit knowledge you are using to make something explicit at the other end . . . . this activity is not only writing-oriented, it's thought-oriented and thing oriented, and yes, when I train tutors I want them to think about learning, knowledge, their role in someone else's learning in a different way. The tutors often focus on getting the paper "gone over" or getting the math material "covered" but I want them to focus on the learner, and on the moving-towards-learning, on the invisible gains. -- Jen Gilbert


Session 2a: "Email and the Rhetorical Situation" --Nan Johnson

Nan's presentation highlights the different voices of email and how we can interact with them. Does E-mail represent a "barrier" by which people like to avoid personal, face-to-face and possible unpleasant consequences? -- Barbara Rose

The issue of breaking rhetorical rules implies specific expectations. Perhaps students would find it useful to explore their expectations of the medium and compare them to the expectations they have of other communication media. From this, they might be able to reach an awareness that the rhetorical rules are not necessarily broken, but changed or redefined. -- Andrew Zinck

I think, ultimately, that email is not a productive item for this analysis because too many other genres appear in it -- formal memos, spam, debates, requests for extensions, dates for golf, etc. We should only focus on how, as a medium, it changes the way we communicate and not identify it as a genre in itself. -- Roger Graves

In some cases, email has developed as a counter-culture to formal written discourse. Business writers were delighted to find that the constraints of style and form is business discourse have been lifted for email, but they are now discovering that communication is compromised when these conventions are abandoned. -- Anonymous.

I appreciated Sarah's paragraph. To me, it spoke not to breaking any rhetorical rules, but rather recreating them. -- Anonymous.

E-mail is just one more manifestation of how we no longer have time for things and of how it is easier to communicate in isolation than with investing our physical presence. Email, on the other hand, has opened doors, forcing communication that might otherwise never have occurred, inviting individuals into self-expression who would have never ventured there before. -- Ginny Ryan

Can't we recognize that changes in rhetorical / communication situations bring about changes in the language? Probably, the scriptorium monks lamented the loss of capitals once printing put texts into mass production, too. -- Margaret Proctor

I'm seeing email less as a genre or "the rhetorical situation" and more as a feature of a rhetorical situation providing particular resources and constraints. There are various registers within it, as someone pointed out, and I use a variety of those -- even in emails to students -- shurli (all lower case)

The temporal element, especially the sense of urgency referenced by Russ and others, is something that strikes close to home for me: several times I've been "reprimanded" or otherwise questions by those wondering why I've "ignored" their email messages for a day (or less). -- Will Garrett-Petts

I have not found email space / discourse particularly gendered, but I found it interesting how many more men were eager to talk in whole group in response to this exercise compared to the gender ratio of speakers to Betsy Sergant's exercise last night. -- John Bell

. . . certain kinds of interaction, ways of treating each other are attached to ways we speak and write -- and if we let those go, maybe all heck will break loose and lack of "care" with work will become lack of "care" with one another. I sound frightened, don't I? -- Nan

I couldn't help but wonder how email is affecting our broader sense of trust in society. Is this ease of communication binding society closer together or undermining our social trust in each other, when what appears to be intimate and personal is, in fact, abusive because it's so cheap. -- Henry Hubert

Are the notions of positive and negative politeness instructive in a discussion of the rhetoric of emails? I like signing my name in small letters on email, of not putting items on staff listservs and, when doing so of necessity, keeping them short and courteous: these seem to be hallmarks of self-effacing negative politeness. I enjoy these qualities in the email habits of others. -- Rachel Nash

Conventional spelling, grammatical sentences, and syntactical complexity (using subordinations and adverbials) are second nature to me, and it's more difficult not to use them. I think this is true for many in this room. While listening to how people speak to each other, I noticed that their utterances are also marked with complete sentences (inevitable result for being in academy for long). Many educators lament nonconventional approaches to writing and fail to adopt them as their own precisely because it takes them too long to write. -- Tosh

I was also rather surprised at someone's comment about how not capitalizing one's name reflected poor self-image. . . . Maybe I forgot to hit "Shift" to capitalize, maybe email to me is more informal than it is to you, or maybe my self-image is poor! And having a professor point it out certainly isn't helping any. -- Shenoa Tobin (capitalized)

Email isn't just one kind of writing -- > the message changes with the intended audience. Students write differently for an instructor / professor than to friends (or on chat-lines). The appeal is in the freedom -- > everything that is tiresome or intimidating about "formal" writing is done away with. -- K. Voltan

If we ask students to use email as free-writing, and consider it a form of informal dialogue, then requiring conventional grammar, punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure is questionable. Because we are worried that we could be judged as professionals, perhaps we tend to be more careful. Also, potential to FORWARD is a threat. -- Roberta Lee

Language is a generative, creative tool and communication is, at its heart, about negotiation. Consequently, the rules governing human communication are changeable. This is its strength. -- Jan Duerden

I disagree with the comment that conventions of communication (be they written or verbal) must be upheld for this medium to have validity as a communicative form. -- Erin Moen

I'm always wanting my students to be aware that they're seeing something new arrive and evolve and that they have a role in shaping it. . . . Currently email is getting so many of us into so much trouble that I could see some evolution of formal guidelines. Certainly some of the staff in my dept need to think more carefully about issues of tone -- perhaps because they think of the email as something done fast, they see it as an excuse to forget completely about tone and say things (and say them in a way) that they'd never do in person. -- Betsy Sargent

Email is very different in different situations. Writing to a list, writing to a person, what the pre-existing relations are, all this matters immensely. And it's wrong to think that there's something "substandard" about conventions in email. Standards (or forms, or conventions) are different in different situations, we're all learning them -- and, more important, we're all inventing them, just as we're always doing, in every language situation. -- Russ

One comment that wasn't made about emailing but one that always interests me, is the "fleetingness" of email but yet it is / or can be very lasting / permanent. I wonder if the quickness -- the immediateness -- of email contributes to why many people ignore the conventions of writing -- why bother with punc. Grammar & caps when the message will be deleted anyway? But will it? -- Anonymous

The difference between Nan's students and some of the working engineers I've taught at our Professional Development Centre is that the students are able to "take it or leave it," so to speak -- if email has no particular conventions, that's OK; they can "freewrite" if they want, or they can (like many of us) fall back on the conventions of other media (the traditional letter). -- Brock MacDonald

What I notice in my students' use of email is kind of awkwardness in their forms of address -- the styles they adopt reflect uncertainty about relationships and persona. . . . I am reminded of the conversations of women surrounded by children who manage to maintain a thread of conversation amid multiple interruptions -- when people write to me with no salutation or closing and simply pick up on the topic -- it's as if there is a shared intention to communicate -- it's always present and only suspended by unavoidable interventions. I is a curious intimacy and openness. -- Anonymous

I like the idea that the students need to give some specific examples of experiences with E-mail, better beginning to discuss it as a guess. It seems that the personal experiences are an important starting place -- and if you noticed -- during our discussion, many people had personal examples that they wanted to share. -- Anonymous

I was initially misled by my mistaken perception of the privacy of email. This led to indiscretions and untold embarrassment -- not just hitting the wrong key and sending private/love/personal notes to the 4th floor engineering print room also using. But also using the medium for the kind of late night, all-souls-heard intimate chats that are usually carried by Anonymousymity-protecting phone lines. -- Anonymous

Yes! To the woman who said language has " changed" -- I've thought for a while that we may be returning to pre-dictionary English. Dictionaries and formal rules came into Western world when God ruled a planned universe. Our world view (as a society) has changed, and so with " patterns of consciousness" writing, " free verse," and email, formal paradigms have become less meaningful.


Session 2b: "A Theoretical Analysis of E-mail Issues in the Workplace" -- Anne Hungerford

Could e-mail communication and its inherent problems in the workplace be an extension of existing office culture? -- Erin Moen

I think that Habermas is never critical of the term "rationality"; he naturalises this term when in fact " rationality" is completely culturally specific and often tied to people being trained -- schooled -- in certain so-called logical habits of mind. -- Nan

I am more willing to write an email to a minister than to write on paper and send an envelop. I'm apprised of others work and initiatives and have become a much more active participants in these debates. -- Wendy

The variables are very difficult to identify and control, especially in a business environment, where hierarchical and power relations are not easily subverted. -- Will

The discussion on the positive side and negative effects of email in the workplace -- and in this case -- focus on negative effects, remind me of discussions on issues such as literacy and education. -- depending on social context (socio/political/economic), each can be perceived as liberatory and emancipatory (e.g. Friere / Ira Shor), or as a form of social control. It seems to me that Anne's discussion places the use of email in the workplace in the "social control" camp. -- Anonymous

. . .the medium and the participants have changed, but the hierarchical and pressure filled situation in which business communications occur nourishes feelings of alienation and discomfort. . . . . . . . .some people are more reasonable by email than on the phone or in person . . . . -- John Bell

. . . you need to treat the email not as a self enclosed system but rather link it to other forms of communicative action. -- Roger Graves

One clear implication is that the internet is not a single space or a single connection -- Leslie

I was struck by the need to apply Habermas's criteria to the use of computer mediated conferencing within courses. There may well be the give and take he requires. But can students ever feel autonomous if the on-line writing is required and monitored by the professor (as it surely has to be in practical terms?) The best examples I've seen have been in problem based learning abilities, where there is no one right answer and students need to reach a working consensus in order to proceed (even to frame the question). -- Margaret Procter

I applaud the shedding of capitals, punctuation etc as an indication/way of opening up ideas, breaking out of constraints that may inhibit communication. -- Ruthanne

one connection between the issues raised by Anne and Nan and what we tried to show in our presentation is the possibility to (or probability?) That doing writing tutoring on-line would be prey to the same problems of tone, etc, as email in other contexts. -- Brock MacDonald

Is the new form of discourse more coercive that inclusive? What role do the power brokers play in influencing the flow of debate. -- Ruthanne


Session 2c: "Brave New World: Big New Problem?" --  Brock MacDonald, Barbara Rose, Kathryn Voltan

I loved the way that the technology (or the use of the technology) bracketed/accompanied/complemented the real/face 2 face action of teaching. . . .The combination was immensely effective. Each piece by itself would have been flat, insufficient. -- Anonymous

The remedial writing situation . . . suggest[s] the need to look at the meta-theoretical relationship of technology and writing instruction -- of technology and writing/writers. -- Henry Hubert

Asynchronous seems to mean not only "at different times," but also "over a very much longer time"; face-to-face communication is immeasurably more rich and efficient. To a certain extent, Writing Centres replace the session or two per week with the professor or tutor which was fundamental to the education that elite universities of decades and -- centuries gone by aimed to provide. . . -- Grant Heckman

"Check article use" presumes this student knows what an article is. Given the prose, why would we assume this? Which article anyway? -- Kenna

In the demonstration/re-enactment I was struck by the position of the w.c. consultant as mediating between the student and the institution -- and being the student's advocate in that session. -- Anonymous.

In our writing center we had an hour a day set aside for faxed paper. We would look at these and fax them back to the students with 24 hrs. This practice is very rare now. The papers were "edited"; there was very little teaching and not as much interest either in the paper or in the student. I found the tome of my comments on these papers to be rather critical and abrupt. -- Anonymous.

The face-to-face can't be replaced. -- Sharron

Any argument that conducting a writing class on the Web is a preferable mode of course delivery (and I use "delivery" as synonymous with "service" advisedly) ignores the very heart of any writing class -- human interaction. -- Anonymous.

There is a lot on the Web about the importance of identity in writing, issues related to race, gender, class. When text is "disembodied," when identity is not transparent, the message (it appears) is compromised. . . .The statement that we are trying to help writers to improve (rather than writing) is closely related to this issue of identity. If a student is a name and an e-mail address, even if the student is known, it's just not the same. -- Anonymous.

If writing was a product, or seen as a product, then perhaps technology would be more useful -- which is why we have "spell check" and "grammar check" from the technological guys -- "them" -- who think writing is a product. -- Anonymous.

How is time spent on computer consulting calculated in terms of work load? . . . What happens to on line records -- is it used for student petitioning with professors, and vise versa? . . . The writing centre consultation online might be valuable but is this a secure and safe environment in every case? Is there an administrative layer or a repository for student/instructor dialogues? -- N. Johnson

I agree that online work can be detrimental here -- except for one thing: if a conversation is carried online -- at least the student is getting practice I the very thing he or she needs to work on -- written communication in English for a real audience and for a real purpose! Surely that's a good thing. -- Betsy Sargent

The strength and the importance of writing centers, however, lies in the personal one on one dialogue. This space is crucial in universities -- especially considering the large -- numbers of international students. -- Roberta Lee

The student eventually corrected her article problems but we didn't see her coming to a greater understanding of Parkman or of the concept of historiography. -- Margaret P

I would so appreciate the references to the studies equating 18 hours of prep work for one hour of online so I could do some follow-up reading. -- Ruth Ann Tobin

Really appreciated the acting out making it real even if a little extreme in contrast. -- Shenoa Tobin

One aspect I found interesting was when Kathryn described how she/they had adapted their writing style based on how their students were reading web pages (esp. key words/bullets/no continuous prose). Here's a good example of how technology is shaping text/writing styles. . . would have liked to have been able to concentrate as much on the online response as I did to the role play (but the role play won out ). Perhaps next time, do each presentation style separately so each gets the attention it deserves? -- Anonymous.


Session 4A: "Leaving Grades Behind: Encouraging a Paradigm-Shift through Online Learning Records" -- Andrew Zinck

Why not put a letter grade beside each of the dots in boxes? (Which you did as you spoke) -- Anonymous

We humans long to learn. We aren't so keen on being reassured and judged and homogenized. I bet there are no bratty kids in Andrew's courses -- brattiness is a sure product of imbalance in power. -- Anonymous

What I especially like is the infinite reasons with feedback; reference on an what the student learned, assuming the results of a term of work rather than piecemeal. -- Anonymous

We do need, desperately, to escape from the awful trap of having "marks" serve as the only imaginable reason for doing something. -- Russ

This paradigm-shift seems to put grade/mark accountability where it belongs -- on the student/learner. Does this mean the end of the days when student, who received a poor grade would respond with, " Look what she gave me?" Will we now hear " Look what I got?" no matter what the grade? -- Anonymous

This is not to deny the utility or effectiveness of the OLR idea in general, but just to question whether it's really " getting away from grades." In the end, there is a grade, after all. -- Brock MacDonald

Students can read each other, work in progress -- great. This is the idea of making the student's writing public, and that, in and of itself, will lead to better, more responsible performances. -- Roger Graves

I wonder if some personalities and learning styles are better suited to this pedagogy than others. -- J. Page

Learning to evaluate others and yourself realistically is a skill that can serve you well. Not only in the rest of your degree, but after your graduation. -- Jen Gilbert


Session 4B: "'Fitting' Instructional Innovation in Reading and Writing: Mediating Factors in Activity Settings on Teachers' Adoption of New Methods" -- Laura Atkinson

A nice image, that the teachers wanted to be interviewed in the room with the glass wall: to show they're not being subversive? to claim credit for helping the researcher? somehow not to act on individual initiative? -- Margaret Procter

On the whole, business managers are very sceptical about theory (because they don't create it and it can undermine their identities). Their staff often refer to the introduction of new ideas as "the flavour of the month." Most professionals have suffered from the application of theories that might have been good for some businesses, but weren't necessarily for this. -- Anonymous

I'm disturbed -- make that horrified -- by the notion of teachers whose focus is to produce "the heroic individual," the outstanding over-achiever, whatever you want to call it. What kind of attention will teachers with this preoccupation give to their average students, i.e., the majority of their students? Sounds like a terrible, absolutely terrible institutional culture. -- Brock MacDonald

What fascinates me about teachers is how often their consciously held beliefs about teaching (whether or not they amount to a theory) are in conflict, or seem to me to be in conflict, with their practice with the activity they consistently engage in. I don't mean to suggest this is dishonest; it seems more often the result of a hard-won ability to keep theory in a separate box, where it has a sort of purely verbal existence. I suspect this is related to the disjunction between the theory-oriented discourse of teacher-training and the pervasive, inescapable power of institutional context. . . . I suspect theory never really dies, it just goes and lives in the attic. -- Russ

On the whole, business managers are very skeptical about theory (because they don't create it and it can undermine their identities). Their stuff often refers to the introduction of new ideas as "flavor of the month. "Most professionals have suffered from the application of theories that might have been good for some businesses, but weren't necessarily for theirs. The key is participation and situational flexibility. -- Anonymous.

. . . usually there are never the needed resources and time made available so that teachers in the classroom actually have the time to figure out a new approach. -- Anonymous

Contemporary theory is a form for change only for those that take these theories seriously; so how do we as educators get practitioners to do so? -- Anonymous

Rejecting new teaching methods on the grounds that they don't "work" seems eminently sensible to me. . . . Teachers are rightly more interested in practical effects rather than theoretical fashions -- Grant Heckman

Yes, but I always wonder about how we define "work" here. I think in many cases it really means "fit the existing institutional culture." -- Russ Hunt
these findings confirm, I think, the existence of a separation between theory & practice. . . . we all agree the cat needs to be belled, but the bigger question(s) is who is going to do it & perhaps more importantly, how is one to do it. -- Anonymous

We all agree the cat needs to be belled-but the bigger question is who is going to do it and, perhaps more importantly, how is one to do it? -- Anonymous

"Whole language" fascinates me, still. It means whole, after all. If teachers really explored it, the bright kids with quality product results would be everyone!! (or almost everyone) and the poor little -- living proof of my teaching excellence -- kids wouldn't have to be exploited. -- Anonymous


Session 4C: “Visual Literacies: the Artist’s Statement as Genre” -- Will Garrett-Petts, Rachel Nash

Genre studies inevitably "normalize" standards for the production of certain kinds of texts -- once you define a genre, you have intervened in its development. On the other hand, you can't develop a pedagogy for teaching how to produce a particular genre without first normalizing its formal properties. -- Nan

One of the first things in literary criticism we teach students is what the author says is simply added information, a p.o.v. . . . As my friend (young, upcoming photographer) said when I was puzzled by her statement, "If I could say it, I wouldn't be a photographer." -- Anonymous

As someone who paints, I find it hard to reconcile the verbal and the visual. Surprisingly hard. -- Jen G

Have artist's statements always existed (over time)? If not (I'm assuming?) when did this form of writing first appear? Under what conditions? Why? Who was doing the asking? -- Anonymous

What is it most like? It most resembles advertising! -- Laura

As the discussion has shown, we seem to have diverse expectations of what artist statements on the museum wall should be. -- Tosh

To be perfectly honest, I was not put off/turned off by this "statement;" I enjoyed it. It seemed to me a nicely wry, tongue-in-cheek critique of how we who conquer name what we feel we've conquered. . . . I guess I'm saying that this piece, because I couldn't really receive it as an "artist's statement" without the art it might accompany, just read to me like an interesting meditation with which I have sympathy. -- Ginny Ryan

I view the artist's statement as one tool in the marketing of art and creation of "high" culture which is highly priced -- Joan Page

Yes! A peculiarly pretentious and elitist form of advertising, but advertising all the same. -- Brock

Can we think without language? Do we translate the visual into words in our head? Certainly if we want to share our experience with the art we need to "say" it. -- Anonymous

While they may be called "didactics" by curators, once the statements are mounted they can become of art. . . . . . .I guess maybe in that sense the artist's statement does function as an intersection. Through its transformation into art, it helps to mediate b/w the verbal & the visual -- in an artistic sense. -- A. Zinck

The really interesting point is that we expect art to need explanation -- when did this start? It's a Romantic notion, I think. Writers resist it, when asked ("If I wanted to send a message I'd have hired a billboard"). Maybe artists do too. -- Russ

1.possibly a retaliation/parody of the requirement to explain the art work -- a way of escaping or subverting mass consumption conventions; 2.possibly a parody of contemporary didactics informed (badly) with cultural theory and loose Marxist terminology. -- Anonymous

If I ever have to produce an artist's statement, I know what I will write: "Please look at the work." -- Grant Heckman

A Foucauldian and even a Marxist theoretical framework as well as the present Derridian one would help investigate why "professional artists" are now compelled to produce artists' statements instead of being free to produce statements, manifestos, autobiographies if they wish. -- John Bell

We're poking at this with a pencil eraser, blindly. -- Sharron


Session 5a: "Responding to Student Writing: Generic Considerations" -- Tosh Tachino

The wonderful thing for me was watching our "grader" interact with the paper. The way he went about it made so much sense . . . Getting a grasp of the "big picture," looking for cues as to the direction(s) in which the writer's argument would proceed . . . How I enjoyed hearing him "wrestle with the thing exasperated over the pat points, the truisms, the easy generalizations then, suddenly willing and glad to be corrected "maybe there is something of merit here." -- then, plummeting back into disgust again; "Oh right, we're naming authors who don't even appear in the bibliography great" . . . Such an honest and respectful wrestling with someone's representation of their work . . . The disparity of responses as we heard them from around the tables, spoke volumes. -- Ginny Ryan

Bottom Line? Maybe a student's saving grace is that no one person is responsible for their GPA hopefully the diversity we see in marking all balances out in the long run I'm rambling but I think the difficulty is in evaluating writing at such a technical level and looking to find fault as if that's going to help the writer in the long run. -- Anonymous

Comment:

It's so different when we're not evaluating an essay by a student we know, some one in our class whose development we're following over a whole term or year.
I had expected from the discussion that it was an incoherent, maybe fraudulent, certainly incompetent pastiche. But it was na‹ve and earnest. These are two typical types of student productions. I am always more indulgent of the latter and my marks reflect it. I wonder if we all respond to the persona of the student writer and make this basic assumption about whether he/she is good-intentioned and na‹ve or bad-intentioned and duplicitous. -- Anonymous
After an initial outcry that such a degree of variability (Linda's information that one paper received between a 63 and 86) then a subsequent realization that to aim for more consistency requires a lot more conformity across raters do we want that? Is that desirable? I'm reminded of an article which talks about variability being a feature we should openly talk to students about regarding writing expectations the requirements of different disciplines, types of writing (essay/lab report/research paper), professors etc. Students already pick up on how "each professor seems to want something different." -- Anonymous

The discussion on differences in grading reflects some of the difficulties in teaching writing: there's so much to teach and learn that the task is never complete. Hence I'm always surprised that even some of our top English profs hold that these skills should be completed in High school! -- Henry H.

The problem of reliability is so significant it needs to be confronted regularly given that we are affecting student's lives in the short-term and long-term with the grades we assign their beliefs about themselves etc. as well as their access to programs and careers -- Wendy S.

But can we really grade a student paper when there is no human being behind it? Some of us think we can -- I could not do that as a teacher, looking for development. -- Roberta Lee

Tosh's limited time was enough to give us a taste of the questions we all need to ask ourselves about our marking paradigms -- our values, our foci, our expectations for different levels of student writing. -- Janet

A throwaway line by Tosh most resonated with me: a line to the effect that after about 3 hours of continuous marking, people marking from a common standard began to diverge noticeably. Does this mean one should break often when marking? -- John

Students certainly encounter large differences in how professors mark. However, most can adapt by tailoring their assignments, to the specific requirements of each professor. Given that marking often includes a degree of subjectivism, this seems unavoidable. -- Anon

And it seems to me that this variability in standards is not unique to the university and will be encountered/ coped with in many settings. -- Susan
Combined responses to both presentations:

Shurli and Deb's presentation raised a very interesting issue of exactly what "patch writing" is. I see this in academic webs frequently -- not just in student papers. I think there is a whole patch writing phenomenon out there in academic writing we haven't even noticed. -- Nan

. . . I'm also reminded of Bakhtin's invitation to his readers -- along the lines of "use my words -- change them to suit your purposes -- and don't cite me -- I don't care"-- Shurli

How do the researchers know that students told them the truth? How do they know that plagiarized essays always get good marks even when the instructor is suspicious? . . . Would the students have handed over to the researchers essays upon which the grader had been more open and punitive about poor citation practices? -- John Bell

The P word -- I thought was an appropriate expression -- the thought of plagiarism, the seriousness of the consequences, but underneath that, the deeply held beliefs about intellectual work, community and individuality -- no wonder we don't want to investigate it closely. -- Jan

Shurli and Deb's presentation puzzled me somewhat as to their reluctance (and sensitivity) to mention the "p" word. I have no hesitation in uttering the "p" word. I have no hesitation in uttering the p word -- loudly -- when working with student and papers and then helping them to integrate and use reference carefully and meaningfully. -- J. Barbara Rose

Of course, it seems to me that a big part of the problem with plagiarism is assignment design. I haven't had a plagiarism problem since 1988 when I started teaching writing differently -- but if you're teaching the writing process and students do a lot of inkshedding in class and then use those inksheds to start building a paper, they begin to realize that they can develop their own line of thought. Betsy Sargent --Plagiarism is a challenge to our pedagogy, We should welcome it. -- Anonymous

I'm increasingly interested in content/organization over expression as the first take. Especially since students struggle so much with writing. It seems critical to acknowledging and responding to intellectual effort so as to keep students thinking and developing intellectual competence and commitment. -- Lesley

Students who dismiss the grading process may well feel encouraged to take risks with the plagiarism "rules" and may never opt to the stage of recognizing the possibility of dialogue with instructors, peers, or sources. -- Anon

Session 5B: "Writing their way into academic culture: L1 and L2 writers 'talk back'" -- Shurli Makmillen and Debbie Payne

Charging a student with plagiarism and putting them through the academic court system is the best way to damage their desire to write in the future. If a student is given a chance to revise and correct the "patches," then I think the points have been made. I have never followed the university rules on plagiarized papers. -- Anonymous

We're doing it again -- using one word to cover an entire range of widely different activities. Cheating and plagiarism, for instance, overlap; but all plagiarism isn't cheating -- in fact 90% of it, in my experience, has nothing to do with cheating and everything to do with learning how we handle texts and ideas in a world where they're important. This is not trivial (of course), but we tend to skip over it simply by continuing to use the word to describe all of this. . . The proper response to plagiarism, I think, is to welcome it as a challenge to the kinds of pedagogical practices that generate it. If students are incorporating other people's texts into theirs, we need to find better ways to help them learn shared discourse. -- Russ

Excellent point, yes -- I found myself very frustrated during the portfolio reading in my previous dept -- it was so clear that one instructor was giving essay assignments that actually encouraged plagiarism (or that at least made it a reasonable) but no one was willing to talk openly to that instructor about it! . . . The principal reason for students' slow and faulting progress towards academic writing might simply be that they are not formally introduced to the conventions. I never was. -- Grant

The matter of "borrowing" is not simply a student learner problem -- A couple of years ago I decided to illustrate how the paraphrasing and summarizing is done by taking reference from a scholarly article. . . It was alarming to see how much "patching" there was -- frankly it was so closely patched that in a student paper it would be considered plagiarism. -- Wendy Strachan

I was puzzled by the repeated emphasis on "not saying the P-word." Perhaps U of T students are more hardened, or brazen, or something like that, but generally, I find that simply asking. . . gets an honest response. . . The point is, when it is inadvertent, students seem to be perfectly able to confront "the p-word," and often confronting them with it is the best thing to do -- a wake-up call. -- Brock

Is there as much real discussion of plagiarism as we assume, or is it considered dealt with because it was mentioned in the calendar? Some students say they've been given "the big scary lecture on it a dozen times"; others say they've never heard about it. -- Anonymous

They may be on the verge of graduation, and crying, "But no one ever told me that was wrong." Cynically, they can get away with patch writing or even plagiarism for years, especially since we keep very spotty records, and the same student can claim the same ignorance to different professors for years. . . -- Susan Drain

I remember reading an article (it was either Scollon or Pennycook) that said "plagiarism is like pornography. People can't define it, but they recognize it when they see it.' This is an interesting analogy since our reaction to plagiarism is similar to the public's reaction to pornography -- emotional outburst that casts reason asunder. -- Tosh

University administrations and teachers see "patchwork" (not to use the real "p" word as an ethical issue while students often see it as a means to an end. -- Anonymous

The issue of plagiarism and institutional practices is an interesting -- even radical -- one. The "skirting around" is something most of us have not even been aware of because we "skirt around" it. "Using" texts from scholars is central to scholarship. However, how many professors go beyond just "assigning a research paper x -- number of words, due -- -- with attention to using APA style correctly! -- Roberta Lee

I liked and agreed with the notion that rather than treating plagiarism as a crime with learning students one should treat it as a gradual lead-on into how one interacts with other people's ideas in academic writing. -- Ginny Ryan

They may be on the verge of graduation, and crying, "But no one ever told me that was wrong." Cynically, they can get away with patch writing or even plagiarism for years, especially since we keep very spotty records, and the same student can claim the same ignorance to different professors for years. -- Susan Drain


Session 6a: "Intervention in Students' Literary Analyses: Part of a Writing Centre's Role?"  Ginny Ryan

I thought it was interesting (alas) that men mostly spoke about the "requirements" of the course, the need for "evidence" and the technical aspects of the poem, while the women (alas) were interested in the personal history and whether or how it should be corrected. -- Anonymous

This was an excellent discussion. I really enjoyed hearing the range of responses to the paper/situation. The location of writing centre in a university is always problematic, I think. I experience that schism, the sense of coming from outside disciplines. -- Jen

I wonder -- how many of the Writing Centres represented here employ undergrad tutors? In some ways, it's a great idea (closeness to the students' p.o.v. etc.), but in others it's a high-risk approach, as came out in some of Ginny's description of her difficulties. -- Brock MacDonald

Who is qualified to be a writing tutor/consultant? Should they have a writing background? Should they have the background / training of another discipline in addition to writing? Is a generalist's perspective more desirable than a specialist's perspective? The same issues surface in the teaching of specialized ESL and in upper level WID courses. -- Deborah

One focus in the running of a writing center must be the rigorous training of tutors. Many of the issues discussed here today can be addressed through thorough training. -- Anonymous

The real issue for me in this situation involves training for the peer tutors and instructors around dealing with the personal issues that might come up during the tutoring session. Everyone who is involved in a position such as this should have some beginning counseling training about how to deal with a personal situation. -- Anonymous

Ideally, writing center staff should be well trained in "writing in the disciplines"; they should be able to provide discipline-specific advice. -- Will G.P.

Writing Centres are a marginalized institutional space -- like first year writing courses, they are seen as both "the cause and the cure" of student writing problems (someone else said that -- can't remember who). The W.C. getting the type of feedback that Ginny described -- "They told you/did that in the W.C??!!" is par for the course. -- Shurli

The "Dogs" paper raises reality -- as Writing Center tutors, we can not be all things to all people, and yet, as compassionate human beings, the temptation is to be just that. -- Anonymous

In a writing centre appointment -- usually 45 minutes -- how could be possibly address the problems/concerns of this student? Yes, we could be sensitive and caring and ask leading questions, but how much can we achieve? -- J. Barbara Rose

An interesting reminder of the challenges of using peer tutors in Writing centres. The condescension (bullying?) from the English department is directly related -- leaving the director in the middle ....situations like [working with this paper] or ones involving suspected plagiarism, or tephnical subject matter, or ESL issues -- or all of these, require years of life and academic experience. A lot to ask Ginny and the other directors to embody and transmit! -- Margaret

Since one of the first things I'd ask to see would be the assignment itself, I find it a bit disconcerting not to see it here. Altho' I don't find it at all hard to believe that the prompt we're given was the assignment. My own bafflement is with profs who give such little direction and expect students to know already what the prof is supposed to be teaching -- which is, if you like, poem attack skills! -- Betsy Sargent

It seems incongruous to me that the professors could object to engagement with content -- and to assume that the writing can be talked about without reference to its substance and source. -- Anonymous

I think we are helping students to be better academic writers; part of this is increasing their command of organization, grammar, documentation, and so on, and part of it is increasing their familiarity with what constitutes a sound and convincing scholarly argument. -- Grant Heckman

Ginny's original series of questions included the ethical issue that was partially addressed in John Bell's response; namely, that well-meaning writing centre tutors can indeed give bad advice on content. -- Henry Hubert

I remember writing a paper for my syntax class discussing anaphors (in Chomskyan linguistics), and I had to assume that my reader knew the rudiments of government and [?] theory, a piece of knowledge that 99% of the "educated" people don't know or care about. The essay was filled with technical terminology such as "c-command" or "government" and I had to convince my proofreader that the text was clear to my readers. -- Tosh

I think that it is very much the role of the tutor to identify problems in a text rather than taking the student's lead. -- Anonymous

. . . to not ask the student in the first place what their concerns as a writer are and not to address those concerns as a priority is to rob the student of their voice, undermine their confidence in their abilities, and arrogate to oneself an unwarranted position of power. -- John Bell

How often such circumstances arise! The student who discloses his thoughts of suicide; the young woman who "was" pregnant and is coping with loss; those first experiences that cannot go untold. We dignify them with our response and help the student move on -- ideally. There's no formula but listening; no technique but respect. -- [illegible]

One issue lurking in my consciousness here is the question of our ability to question and comment on writing outside of our subject areas. I'm confident that I can help writing in zoology, etc. to some degree. But there are deeply held assumptions about knowledge that I'm not sure can be solved merely by a series of probing questions. -- Rachel

Students often have a vague idea about the kind of help they want from the writing lab -- ultimately they want a BETTER MARK. Our job is often to redirect that focus so that they will work on becoming a better writer. -- Anonymous

I just lectured to a business class where the professor suggested the students make up personal statements when asked to provide "real life" analogies. Emily Dickinson reminds her readers: "The I is not myself." -- Nancy Johnston

I'm torn about this [disclosure issue] -- it could drive away people whose lives are pretty brutal and who are trying to get an education. Some people don't want counselling, even if they "need" it. -- Leslie

I think you'd have to feel your way through this one, moment by moment, aware of who you are and what you know of the student, and what would seem the most affirming intersection between you. -- Kenna

Ginny, your values are absolutely true. Yes, to the concern about disclosure; yes, to working with content (ye gods -- what is grammar if it doesn't communicate the deep grammar of the paper?) -- Jan Barkhouse

It seems that the struggle to persuade "the powers that be" in university that writing does not have to do with "mere grammar" is never ending! That is why writing instruction and writing centres are often marginalized, considered "remedial." -- Roberta Led

This rich discussion of interactions in the writing center tutorials, sparked by the problematic text before us, allowed many many important issues to be raised and debate and elaborated and questioned -- and in that great tradition of Inkshed -- left unresolved, left to become even more interesting in its new indeterminacy, in its new richness. If this isn't a verification of the method of this conference, I don't know what is. -- Roger Graves


Session 6B: "Workshopping Writing at University" -- Jennifer Gilbert and Roxanne Ross

Interesting -- given the topic of designing a "workshop" -- how much attention was given (by all of us) to advocating our colleagues about writing -- that is, negotiating a space for such a workshop. -- Will

Excellent presentation! Requests for quick fix workshops rather than ongoing attention to writing, but we need to give credit to those across the university who approach writing specialists for their expertise. These are the relationships we must cultivate. -- Shurli

Would it be possible for you to set out some criteria on your website -- some essentials -- that must be met (criteria) or supplied (essentials) before you can design a workshop on request. A lot of the problems seemed to originate with assumptions the profs were making. Perhaps these criteria (and/or) essentials could be designed to educate them. -- Anonymous

It's helpful to tell the instructors that not understanding the assignment is a main source of student writing problems. -- Leslie

The responses we're making to the requests for workshops show so clearly how much contextual and situational knowledge and understanding is required when writing is to take place successfully. . . . The collaboration and consultation are the challenges. -- Anonymous

Sometimes I am nostalgic for days of doing this sort of work -- workshops, that is. . . . There is such variety, such challenge, such opportunity to mediate between faculty and students. And the feedback is (almost) always positive: "Great workshop." -- Susan

Thanks for the stimulation here -- a good example of a participatory workshop in itself, and another demonstration of how much we learn collectively. It's interesting to see how much anxiety/resentment there is about working with course instructors, but (again) this confirms how much writing centres can offer to WID programs. -- Margaret

Revolution not reform is what we need! I'm angry at the evidence of writing instruction being devalued, underfunded, trivialized by unrealistic uninformed requests of staff writing centres. . . I'm struck by the good-natured helpful accommodating responses of Jennifer, Ginny Ryan and all the others in the room. But we all capitulate to an educational system that continues to expect us to do quickly and cheaply what takes expertise, intelligence and commitment. -- Phyllis

During the presentations to the plenary after Jennifer's session I noted the following stats:

-- Susan

What became clear from Jennifer's presentation is that she is often asked to do impossible things -- in 45 minutes "fix" the students' writing problems. I suggest that she never ask for that phone. -- Kathy

Each of the groups had to grapple with slightly different problems -- all very interesting. In our group I noticed that each person had a particular "hobbyhorse" that he or she wanted to serve in structuring the workshop . . . we managed to make a good plan though. -- Anonymous

I think the recurrent issue in all requests is that the professors' assumption that we understand what they vision as good writing. As many groups responded it is important to investigate what this particular assignment calls for and how students can adequately respond to this rhetorical situation. -- Tosh

A wonderful experience -- the group work really worked well for this. What was most striking to me is the assumption about how "quick and simple" it is to teach about the writing process that the email requests reveal. -- Ginny

The other thing that's clear is that what we always have to work for . . . is some real collaboration with the course instructor and or the TAs. The only way such workshops can really work is if they are genuinely integrate with the course term work in general. -- Brock


Session 8: Poster Session:
"Documentation: A Workshop in Visual and Verbal Literacies"  --Helen MacDonald-Carlson, Will Garrett-Petts, Donald Lawrence, and Erin Moen
"Writing and Learning Together at a Distance" -- Sharron Wall and Janet Barkhouse
"iWRITE and Who Reads?" -- Margaret Procter

Sharon and Janet: a comment on what you said about having your students write something produce a product of their own the next time. . . . They already have! They have collaborated with the McGill students to produce something that neither partner could individually. Asking them to "write up" a project themselves would put them into competition with the McGill students. They have written in other forms -- email, letters, notes with their grades. -- Margaret

The small children posters added the most to that presentation, perhaps because small children live most visually, in a pre-literate world. -- John Bell

An interesting variety of "posters"? Half hour talks masquerading as posters?. . . I think it is important that we embrace other literacies, that we explore how and why such literacies exist. The university / high school collaboration provides yet another good model, on involving, I suspect, literacies other than these we privilege at university. -- Anonymous

These two "poster" session reflected the incredible power of interdisciplinary teams, offering both energy and new insight. The bridging of ideas between pre-school and post-secondary in verbal and visual literacy offers the potential (and reality) of explosive insights. -- Henry Hubert

It would be interesting to know more of the reception of Erin Moen's writing/ documentation/ art as it moved amongst the venues of classroom, class exhibition, public art gallery, publication, and conference. Did the initial audience of fellow students, instructors, and friends effectively follow the work from one venue to the next and /or did it attract a fresh audience in each venue? How was the work transformed each time? -- Donald Lawrence

One of the things that struck me in Helen's posters is how her activities encourage cognitive development as documented in the literature. For example, children played with figures and their pictures and they seemed to understand the symbolic nature of those figures. -- Tosh

. . . the Reggio schools display has given me pleasure for three days. To celebrate, to give recognition -- these are crucially important for developing passionate learners. I wish I could live long enough to see the society children educated in this way create. Finally, Erin's work in Will's class is powerfully potent. The logging of the journey, and the honesty in both the journal and the final story impressed me profoundly, as both teacher and reader. -- Jan Barkhouse

Sharon and Janet: I cannot wait to take this idea back to my province and see it implemented. It's a way to do so many things. -- Ginny Ryan

Helen, Will, and Erin: documenting their own writing process helped students transfer what they have learned in one assignment into the next assignment. This learning could take the form of both learning from what did not work and of learning from what did work. . . Sharon and Janet. . . Brave, creative project! -- Roberta Lee

Margaret: what I really liked about your program was the sense of students sharing with other students. You have given me the idea of putting some of this information on a Web page which perhaps present students could add information to as the course progresses. -- Anne

Helen: so inspiring to see the emphasis on children's competence in pre-school experience -- a brilliant way to document and inquire with study and observation of photos of children at work -- repositioning teachers as composers of curriculum instead of consumers of credits. Terrific. . . . Margaret: I would love to experiment with Margaret's new program and see lots of potential for this if I return to working with faculty. Wonderful to have that opportunity -- thanks for sharing the idea and the software. . . . Sharon and Janet: offered a terrific example of how to engage students in an authentic situation with multiple dimensions for reflections and understanding of writing. -- Wendy

Margaret's I-write: so useful! Someone went to the effort of setting up a piece of software that meets an urgent need of mine -- right now, when I need it. The framework is practical; the process (for the user) appears painless. How unlike many of the systems that we're forced to adapt like web CT. -- Sharron

The photos, captions, and paintings from the children's class were like windows into a different world. Not so different in many ways, but we thinking of what kids do as playing and what adults do as "working" when there's not any difference between the activities in terms of their intensity of meaning, the absorption they induce, the interaction the spark. -- Jen

The Sharron-Janet project was delightful -- esp. because the class at McGill is teacher candidates. Much more than writing is involved -- negotiating communication is a great lesson for teachers and students. I'd love to read this written up. -- Leslie

Sharon and Janet: the one concern I have with exploring the more creative avenues with university students is how far it takes them away from academic genres -- or how it doesn't seem to initiate them into academic culture. I'm thinking if I did a project like Janet and Sharon's I would find a way to include academic reading, reading of articles within a discipline. -- Shurli

Sharron + Janet: what a wonderful process of un-learning this is introducing future educators to a sense of education as a two-way street. -- [illegible]

Nan wrote something in spiral/ artistic form to express her engagement with the concept of different literacies. It is not reproducible here due to technological issues (editorial team). [Click here to see it.]


Session 9: "Understanding Collaboration through a Video" -- Rachel Nash and Jan Duerden

A documentary would be great: it would have the authentic air and the rough edges. This video screams fiction to me. . . . I suspect that Rachel and Jan were very much planning a play rather than a documentary. As Jan said, that would require a bigger grant, but perhaps a hybrid is possible -- a talking head or interview explaining the workshopping idea, some content, and then some semi-scripted demonstration of different kinds of workshopping processes. -- Susan Drain

As someone teaching in the visual arts, I always have similar questions about how to encourage students to critique one another's work. The idea of a video such as this provides a useful model. -- Don Lawrence

I remember reading an article. . . [in which] the instructor specifically directed the students to comment on positives to alleviate anxieties associated with peer criticism. -- Tosh Tachino

If you are teaching a class you can't assume that all the students with these disabilities have disclosed them as a diagnosable disability that can be accommodated. For that reason, it's important to give students options -- don't force them to read aloud, offer to do the reading for them if they so choose, or to delegate the reading to a friend -- lay out the options and let everyone choose. You don't have to single students out that way. -- Jen Gilbert

I'm remembering the part of the presentation about international students and local students all benefitting from "mixed" groupings. That could be a feature of the video. -- Shurli Makmillen

I think a video is a great idea for the demonstration. I wonder if it isn't also important for the students to see a bit of ineptness and stumbling and not too-polished/experienced respondents, as well as the standard they want to aim for. The documentary idea is great. The limitations of it for academic writing is that the responses are mainly personal appreciations and the comments do not reflect (not surprisingly since the paper was not a piece of academic writing citing sources) the genre we were trying to help students acquire in the academic writing course. -- Wendy Strachan

It also occurs to me -- responding to what I think Jen said -- that getting the process of note-taking onto the screen would be a good thing. Imagine, for instance, occasionally cutting to a page with sincere responding in real time to what we're hearing. Might be hard to get, but I think it would be powerful. . . .There really is a lot of writing which for one reason or another doesn't lend itself to oral reading. Especially twice. . . . -- Russ Hunt

If I were going to create a video to teach workshopping, I'd probably do it in Hyperstudio, so some written language could follow video clips (or precede), but the oral system reaches only one style of learner. -- Janet Barkhouse.

I notice we don't get in small groups, read our Inksheds aloud and have each other member of the group comment at length. -- John Bell

As a presentation I really like the way Jan and Rachel led this -- and introduction, video was shown -- edited for relevance -- questions and discussions were well run and organized -- they did not try to do too much for the time given. -- Anonymous

I use workshopping for a class on expressive narratives. The video showed a semi-personal "composition." Could this method possibly work -- and be shown to work on video -- with academic writing? -- Margaret Procter

In my classes, participants use the following guideline: You can not make a criticism of a piece of writing without providing a suggested solution (a concrete one) -- not something like "maybe you could find a better opening," which is too vague to be useful. -- Anne

If the video is intended only to function as an introduction to the technique, a shorter text would work as well as a longer one and might hold viewers' interest better. -- Anonymous


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