Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What’s the difference between editing and proofreading?

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill features a helpful online handout about the differences between editing and proofreading, available here: Editing and proofreading are two separate steps within the revision process, although some use the terms interchangeably. Editing involves refining the content, overall structure, clarity, style, and citations. This stage involves rewriting and reorganizing your words to better support your thesis statement and argument. Proofreading is the final step of the writing process in which you correct the punctuation, grammar, and spelling of your writing, or the surface errors that are important for presentation. The handout promises that one will save time by taking these steps one at a time, rather than trying to edit and proofread writing all at once. To encourage visitors to begin honing their proofreading skills right away, the handout includes a fun, circular challenge—seven common proofreading errors for readers to detect as they read about editing and proofreading.

Additional Resources about Editing and Proofreading:

Purdue Online Writing Lab
(Proofreading): (printable version of a handout and makes a nice checklist; it’s also available on their website, which offers many other writing resources, here:
(Grammar, Punctuation, etc. Exercises):

SNL Writing Guide – Editing Stage of the Writing Process:

University of Minnesota:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Different Approaches to Student Journal Reflections

Starting Point, an online teaching resource for undergraduate instructors provided through Carleton College, recommends seven different formats for student journaling as part of the experiential learning process. Those offering service learning courses and/ or the externship competence should consider these unguided and structured journal assignments.

Unguided journal reflections include the “personal journal” and the “dialogue journal.”

- The “personal journal” is one in which the students freely recount their experiences without prompts.
- The “dialogue journal” is the model used in many SNL online courses. Students submit journal entries on a predetermined schedule, and the instructor provides feedback on the students’ findings in return.
Some students find it helpful to have more direction in their journal writing. Examples of guided journal assignments consist of the “highlighted journal,” “the key phrase journal,” “the three part journal,” “the double entry journal,” and the “critical incident journal.”

- The “highlighted journal” asks students to write about their experiences and then later go through the text and mark the pieces that pertain directly to course content.
- In the “Key phrase” journal, students are given course-specific terms and asked to incorporate them into their journal entries.
- The “three-part” journal asks students to divide each entry into three parts: Describing the experience, relating the experience to course content, and then applying the experience to their personal or professional goals.
- In the “double entry journal,” students divide their journal entries into two parts; one page is devoted to personal thoughts and responses to the experiential learning, and the opposite page is devoted to key concepts from class discussions and readings.
- The “critical incident journal” gives students prompts and asks them to evaluate their experiential learning experience through the lens of personal reflection and implications the experience will have for their future.

The full text is available by visiting:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Writing Center Services - Summer Quarter 2011

The University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL) would like to remind you and your students to utilize the below services during Summer Quarter.

Scheduling Classroom Presentations: Remember to schedule your informational presentations for Summer 2011. Presentations are a great way to get your students excited about utilizing the Writing Center’s services at your campus or online.

To schedule your presentation at the Loop or Lincoln Park campuses, visit

To schedule a presentation at one of the suburban campuses, please email Tom McNamara at

Presentations are about fifteen minutes in length and will include a demonstration of our online scheduling service as well as a quick tour of the resources available to students on our website. A writing center consultant who works at your campus will deliver the presentation and take any questions from both the students and you. Furthermore, the consultant can also lead a discussion about how the Writing Center can aid your students as they tackle work specifically for your course.

Suburban Campus Writing Groups: Please note that the Suburban Campus Writing Groups begin Saturday, June 18 at the Naperville and O’Hare campuses at 10 am, a valuable resource for students who live in the suburbs. Oak Forest SCWGs will begin on Saturday, June 25th at 10 am. Meeting on Saturdays throughout the term, these groups allow students to work on their writing in an atmosphere that promotes the sort of collaborative and active learning valued by SNL. Most importantly, the groups allow students to practice reading and responding to the texts of others, allowing them to develop critical reading skills that they can utilize when assessing their own texts. Also, our Lincoln Park and Loop Writing Centers are open for services, and students are welcome to schedule one-on-one appointments and submit essays for Feedback-by-Email by visiting

Writing Groups: Students who are unable to utilize the Saturday morning Suburban Campus Writing Groups are welcome to form their own Writing Groups that meet on the Suburban Campuses at a time of their choice. Students may form a Writing Group with classmates or friends working on similar projects, and this is an excellent option for those working on long-term projects as a means to help them stay on track with their work. Those wishing to form Writing Groups may do so by visiting

Should you have any questions, please feel free to email Tom McNamara at ( or visit the Writing Center's website ( Please encourage your students to use these services!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Strategies for Instructors to Aid English Language Learners in the Classroom

Global Voices contributor Nicholas Hayes suggests strategies for instructors to aid English Language Learners in his annotated bibliography, "Student Linguistic Identity in Freshman Composition Classes: Sources for Instructor Reference."

Read his annotated bibliography by visiting:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Values and Goals of the SNL Writing Program

Like the School for New Learning, the SNL Writing Program embraces the values of life-long, reflective, student-centered, integrated and experience-based learning. The goals of the Writing Program follow from these values.

The life-long and reflective values focus on providing writing support to students during their time at SNL and preparing them to be self-reflective writers who will continue to improve beyond SNL. To best serve students and faculty, SNL Writing upholds the commitment to continuously renew our pedagogy by learning from others and reflecting upon our own practice.

Maintaining a student- centered writing program is achieved by meeting students where they are and helping them attain the goals they have set for themselves at SNL. This is also achieved through assigning writing projects that are shaped by students’ interests, teaching students to assess and address their own writing needs, and privileging writing instruction that is learner-centric.

The SNL Writing program is integrated into the overall SNL curriculum by delivering writing instruction that helps students succeed in the unique context of SNL, while also building their skills for success in their writing efforts outside of and after SNL. Writing is integrated into the teaching of all competences in ways that enhance learning.

Experience-based learning is accomplished by promoting writing as a means of reflecting upon, making meaning of, and communicating experience. The SNL Writing program values students’ various literacies, while helping students know how and when to move between these literacies. Experience based writing also teaches students how to use writing to describe, reflect upon, analyze, and situate their experience in academic discourse when necessary.

The SNL Writing Program values and goals are available online as part of the SNL Writing Guide.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mom Knows Best: First Lady Communicates Importance of Reading and Writing to Daughters and British Students

On May 25th, Rebecca Kaplan of National Journal published a story on Michelle Obama’s recent visit with students from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School for Girls. In the article, Mrs. Obama shares with the students the same advice she gives her daughters to “help them achieve their goals”:

Read, write, read, read. If the president were here--one of his greatest strengths is reading. That's one of the reasons why he's a good communicator, why he's such a good writer. He's a voracious reader. So we're trying to get our girls, no matter what, to just be--to love reading and to challenge themselves with what they read, and not just read the gossip books but to push themselves beyond and do things that maybe they wouldn't do. So I would encourage you all to read, read, read. Just keep reading. And writing is another skill. It's practice. It's practice. The more you write, the better you get. Drafts--our kids are learning the first draft means nothing. You're going to do seven, 10 drafts. That's writing, it's not failure, it's not the teacher not liking you because it's all marked up in red. When you get to be a good writer, you mark your own stuff in red, and you rewrite, and you rewrite, and you rewrite. That's what writing is.

According to Mrs. Obama, applying the adage of ‘practice makes perfect’ to one’s writing and reading is the path to success. After all, this is the path Barak Obama followed all the way to the White House. It also helped him earn recognition as one the best orators of our time.

Her words also bring to mind another tried and true axiom, ‘writing is rewriting.’ Revisions are a necessary part of the writing process, and Mrs. Obama intimates that one need not wait for a second pair of eyes to make improvements. When self-editing drafts, some suggest that reading the paper backwards or returning to it after a couple of days helps one to gain fresh insight. Careful re-writes of a paper or project can be the difference between an ordinary piece of work and a work that really captivates the reader.

Now would be the perfect time to ask yourself what books should go on your summer reading list… and then add a few more! If there is room for one more maxim on this page, it is that ‘mom knows best.’ Following the parental advice of Michelle Obama to write, rewrite, read, and read some more can only lead to more engaged, knowledgeable, and skilled citizens of the world.

Complete article available here.

*Special thanks to visiting faculty member, Jill Joachim, for finding and sharing this National Journal article.

Friday, June 3, 2011

SNL Writing Faculty member, Kristin Fitzpatrick, publishes two short stories and wins award

My short story, "The Lost Bureau," will be published in Epiphany Magazine. The story is about a female police officer who carries her dead husband's unregistered gun during her first week on patrol. One of my former Academic Writing For Adults students is a police officer and he agreed to an interview in order to help me with my research for the story. Another story of mine, "Queen City Playhouse," was awarded the 2011 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize from the North Carolina Writers Network. The story is about a group of actors trying to stage a production of The Tempest before the owner of their theatre dies. By winning first place in the contest, I received $1000 and a one-year membership to their network. There is an article about the contest at this link:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Lifelong Learning Cohort Beginning Fall 2011

If you have students or advisees that have not yet taken Foundations and are looking to graduate quickly with ongoing support from his or her Faculty Mentor, suggest registering for Pat Ryan’s Foundations of Adult Learning in Fall 2011. This course is the first in a series of cohort classes that will be team-taught in sequential quarters by Pat with writing faculty, Steffanie Triller. The students in this cohort, beginning with Foundations, will also take Academic Writing for Adults (L4) and Critical Thinking (L5) with the same cohort (8 Cr. Hrs) in Winter 2012. This course will be an 8-credit hybrid, and will include a significant online component. In Spring students will take Research Seminar (L8, L9: 6 Cr. Hrs.) The courses will take place in the Loop on Tuesdays. Finally, students will be offered the choice of taking an Advanced Elective course (E1, E2: 4 Cr. Hrs.) with Pat or Steffanie in the following school year.

Each successive course will build on skills and lessons learned during the previous cohort class. Both instructors and students will work together on a formative learning experience. Instructors will also support students in the writing of two Independent Learning Pursuits (ILPs).

Students interested in this opportunity should register for Foundations of Adult Learning (L2, L3, F1: 6 Cr. Hrs.) taught by Pat Ryan at the Loop in Fall 2011.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Getting to Know SNL Writing Staff: An Interview with Kaitlin Fitzsimons

Tell us about your educational and work experiences before SNL

I graduated from Providence College with a Dual B.A. degree in English and Theatre, and a minor in Music. Some of my peers jokingly referred to my selected areas of study as “the trifecta of impracticality,” but I was confident that a liberal arts education would yield a career path that was suited to my interests. Throughout college, I worked a myriad of jobs including camp counselor, administrative assistant, resident assistant, cashier, and skate guard at an outdoor recreational ice rink. My first post-graduate job was fundraising and selling tickets for a regional Chicago theatre. While I never expected to be in a sales position, this job certainly taught me to be more assertive in order to close a sale, and also afforded me the opportunity to enjoy free live theatre. My position at SNL has allowed me to combine my passion for learning and people, and for that I am very thankful.

What attracted you to DePaul and SNL?

I am a huge advocate of higher education and lifelong learning. My time in college was so rewarding, and I believe everyone should have the opportunity to learn, write, debate, philosophize, engage in meaningful conversations, experience different cultures, interpret classic texts and works of art, and contribute to the newest research and technology available to us today. Through its focus on experiential learning and independent learning projects, the School for New Learning reaffirms that learning opportunities are all around us, every day. SNL’s extensive online course offerings classes further support the notion that not only does learning extend outside the classroom, but also across state lines. I love that my job supports the learning process, even in a small way.

What is your role with the SNL Writing Program?

I offer administrative support for the SNL Writing program by managing the email account. I am the first responder to all student and faculty correspondence regarding SNL Writing events, the SNL Writing Showcase, and writing placement essays. I also contribute to the two writing blogs, SNL Writing News and Writing at SNL. My other responsibilities for the Writing program include marketing and planning SNL writing events, compiling and analyzing writing placement data, and creating a writing resource packet for new SNL students which is distributed at SNL events.

What keeps you busy outside of work?

Since I am not currently participating in any theatrical endeavors, I make it a point to see as much live theatre as my free time and budget allow. Additionally, I love going to concerts and enjoy reading, writing, running, watching movies, baking, and participating in my faith community. As this will be my first summer living in Chicago, I’m very excited to play on a summer softball league, take advantage of the many festivals and beaches here, and just explore the city!