Developing Professional Writing Support Services for Graduate Students

Developing Professional Writing Support Services for Graduate Students

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This Make was created by Jeannie Bennett



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I am a graduate research assistant at the Graduate School at Texas Tech University, an aspiring Teir-1 university. In the Spring of this year, I was asked to teach a series of writing workshops, and over the interim session in May, I taught an onsite “Thesis and Dissertation Boot Camp.” The workshops were actually a seminar series. I lectured over topics such as grammar and punctuation, what is a style guide and how to use it, and other similar topics. It was conceived as a refresher or review for graduate students who haven’t had a lot of writing instruction at the graduate level, or an introduction to American writing instruction for international graduate students. The Boot Camp was a combination of seminar/lecture and actual writing workshops. I was asked to re-develop this for online students, and with the help of a collleague, we are now hosting the first-ever online Thesis and Dissertation Boot Camp. We have rapidly redeveloped it over the last few weeks. We originally planned to give lectures over Microsoft Lync and then do workshops in the afternoon live in the same way. I had made the mistake that translating these workshops for online distance students meant using technology to provide the same services for them, meaning synchronous lecture and chat. However, my colleague, who is herself a distance student, reminded me that online and distance students have different needs and expectations. She has taught me a lot about what that audience wants and needs and together we have tried to develop an online boot camp that best serves those needs and expectations. Based on some advice from a faculty member who told me about “flipping” the classroom, I recorded my presentations via Mediasite. We have developed a Blackboard for these students, offering Mediasite presentations (with audio and video) and the presentations by themselves, handouts and discussion boards. I would like to continue to develop this as an online professional writing workshop and support service from graduate students at my university. I am interested in developing professional writing support for this interdisciplinary audience who has particular writing needs. I have a lot to learn. The seminar series and the boot camps now are in their rought form. We are getting good feedback, but I know it can be better. I would like to work on this during the CLMOOC. I can’t give you access to the BlackBoard, but if there is any way we can collaborate or I can get some advice, I would really appreciate it!


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