“Naming What We Know About Writing” by Barbara Fister

Barbara Fister reviews Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, edited by Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, in light of new threshold concepts that reframe the way we think about what we know.  Fister also writes to warn against the undue haste she believes some librarians have with this new Framework.  Instead of checklists and learning skills, she would have librarians and faculty think about sharing these Framework ideas in full, fleshed out form.  Foster recommends this collection of essays to librarians and those across the disciplines.

Most interesting for WI course faculty is the focus of the book Fister reviews.   Continue reading

Stacey Cochran “My WID Assignment Sequence and Conferencing Experience; or How I Became an Expert at Being a Non-Expert”

Conferencing is an excellent way to not only build rapport with students, but to support and grow student writers.  In a conference, a writing professor can address the individual needs of each writer: checking in on their writing progress, asking questions that help the student develop as a writer, and even proofreading assignments.  Unlike marks on a student’s paper, conferencing allows for personal, timely feedback in the context of a dialogue about the student’s writing.  Moreover, conferencing puts the responsibility on the student, and makes the professor a support to ask questions that guide the student writer. Continue reading

Helpful links: Appalachian State University’s Glossary of WAC terms

We’d like to share Appalachian State University’s wonderful resource, a glossary of WAC and WID terms.  This glossary (below) may be helpful to faculty in all disciplines who teach writing and work with student writers, as it provides a flexible and easy to adapt vocabulary. Terms included describe the the writing process, the various conventions of written texts, and other aspects of academic writing. Continue reading

“How to Read a Book”: Paul Edward’s guidebook to reading techniques for students

From a piece by Paul Edwards of the School of Information at University of Michigan.

So unless you’re stuck in prison with nothing else to do, NEVER read a non-fiction book or article from beginning to end.

Instead, when you’re reading for information, you should ALWAYS jump ahead, skip around, and use every available strategy to discover, then to understand, and finally to remember what the writer has to say. This is how you’ll get the most out of a book in the smallest amount of time… Continue reading

Book Review: Sharing our Intellectual Traces

Sharing Image

By Caitlin Dungan

Caitlin Dungan is a PhD student in Mason’s Writing and Rhetoric PhD Program. Caitlin is a Graduate Research Assistant for Mason’s Writing Across the Curriculum Program, and her current research interests include fanfiction, digital media and rhetoric, online feedback practices, and participatory culture.

Sharing our Intellectual Traces: Narrative Reflections from Administrators of Professional, Technical and Scientific Communication Programs, eds. Tracy Bridgeford, Karla Saari Kitalong, Bill Williamson (Amityville, NY: Baywood Publishing, 2014).

Sharing our Intellectual Traces walks a mediatory line between the worlds of technical and professional communication, pedagogy, writing program administration, and writing across the curriculum. Though it may seem difficult to weave these related yet disparate areas together, the unique lenses through which this collection views these fields – narrative and administration – are the key to the success of its message and to its utility. The narrative nature of this collection offers perspectives about complicated institutional dynamics in a manner that is relatable and illuminating.

Continue reading

Combating the “Kids Today” Trope in Student Writing


Nick Carbone, Director of Teaching and Learning for Bedford/St. Martin’s, discusses the tendency of faculty to view their incoming students as progressively less skilled than in years past. He gives several reasons why, despite how it may appear, the written word is not necessarily in decline.

“There was no magical time when students arrived at college as literate and able as faculty imagined students used to be when the faculty were students themselves…Things are not getting worse. In many ways, since students are writing more in their everyday lives, things are getting better.”

“Faculty Who Diss Student Writing Under the ‘Kids Today’ Trope Forget That They Were Students” – Nick Carbone 

Recent NPR Story: “Turnitin And The Debate Over Anti-Plagiarism Software”


“The fact that anti-plagiarism software can’t tell the difference between accidental and intentional plagiarism is just one reason that Rebecca Moore Howard, a professor of writing and rhetoric at Syracuse University, is not a fan. Here’s another reason: ‘The use of a plagiarism-detecting service implicitly positions teachers and students in an adversarial position,’ Howard says.”

Read or listen to the whole piece here: