Monday, July 23, 2012

Learn and Earn!

This fall, SNL Writing Coordinator Michelle Navarre Cleary will be offering two sections of a six-module, online professional development course for SNL faculty on using writing for teaching and learning in your classes. Below you can find a brief syllabus for the course.

Participants who successfully complete the course will earn a certification of completion and a $500 stipend.

Enrollment in each section is limited to 15. If you would like to reserve a place in the course, please send an email to

School for New Learning
DePaul University
Fall 2012

Because You are Not a Writing Teacher: A Professional Development Course for SNL Faculty
Michelle Navarre Cleary, PhD
School for New Learning
Assistant Professor & Writing Coordinator
E-mail: (best way to reach me)
Phone: 312-362-7301
Skype: michelle.navarre
Office: Room 1423, 14 East Jackson

Course Location:  Online

Section One: 9/17/12 – 10/28/12
Section Two: 11/26/12 – 12/16/12 (intensive 3-week version)

Course Description:
This six-module course will give you practical ideas and coaching on how to make the most of writing as a tool for teaching and learning in SNL’s writing-intensive program. 
You will learn about short in-class writing assignments that allow you to set up discussions and to get quick feedback on what students are learning. You will learn how to develop assignments and provide feedback on student writing that enhances student learning and decreases your frustration and time spent on student writing. You will have the opportunity to share ideas with each other, get feedback on your current writing assignments and ways of giving feedback and create new assignments. Finally, you will learn about additional resources at DePaul to help you continue to develop your teaching.

About the Instructor:
I am an Associate Professor and the Coordinator of Writing at DePaul University's School for New Learning. I received my Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Theory from Northwestern University and taught reading, literature and writing classes at Olive-Harvey College before coming to DePaul. I have published scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals including Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy and WPA: Writing Program Administration. My current research is motivated by two questions: How do adult students develop as writers when they return to school? How can the teaching of writing to adult students be improved? To learn more, see

Required Text (will be provided free to participants):
Gottschlak, Katherine and Keith Hjortshoj. The Elements of Teaching Writing: A Resource for Instructors in All Disciplines. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004.
Additional selected readings which will be available on E-Reserve or online

All assignments and discussions in this course will be marked complete or incomplete at the end of each module. There are 13 discussions and 3 assignments in the course, and all must be completed to earn the course completion certificate and $500 stipend.

Course Schedule:

Module One
“Why can’t they write?” and other perennial questions about student writers
  • Have an overview of research findings that address common questions about and frustrations with student writing
  • Understand how this course will answer questions and give teachers in a variety of disciplines strategies for working with student writing in their courses
  • Try low-stakes writing assignments
  • “Introduction” (pages 1-11) in The Elements of Teaching Writing: A Resource for Instructors in All Disciplines
  • Write or Die (
  • Discussion 1.1: Introductions and Being a Beginner
  • Discussion 1.2: Experiencing Freewriting and Responding to the Readings
  • Assignment 1.1: Muddiest Point

Module Two
Using Writing for Teaching and Learning
·         Examine assumptions about having to choose between teaching content and teaching writing
·         Understand what low-stakes writing is and why it is useful
  •   Identify at least two low-stakes writing assignments that you can use   in a course

  • Discussion 2.1: Writing vs. Content
  • Discussion 2.2: Low-stakes Writing

Module Three
Course Design and Assignment Sequencing
·         Identify writing assignments that are aligned with course learning goals
  • Sequence writing assignments to support student learning
  • “The Complexity of Research Writing: What Teachers Should Appreciate About Students’ Difficulties with Term Papers” from John C. Bean’s Engaging Ideas: The Professor’s Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom
  • Chapter 7 in The Elements
  • View “Alternatives to Term Papers” ( from Lawrence University.
  • Read pages 40-46 in The Elements
  • Discussion 3.1: Identifying course learning goals
  • Discussion 3.2: Research papers
  • Discussion 3.3: Sequencing assignments

Module Four
Assignment Design


  • Evaluate what students need to know to complete an assignment and can provide scaffolding when necessary
  • Design or redesign assignments that target desired learning and set students up for success
  • Use revision to support student learning
  • Pages 29-40 in The Elements
  • Pages 62-72 in The Elements
  • Assignment 4.1: Drafting an Assignment
  • Discussion 4.1: Peer Revising Draft Assignments
  • Discussion 4.2: Assigning Revision

Module Five
Feedback that Support Student Learning (and Does Not Take All of Your Time)
  • Understand the importance of feedback for student learning and have a variety of strategies for providing feedback
  • Understand why editing student papers helps no one and have strategies for responding to student papers with many errors
  • Provide feedback on student papers that promotes learning
  • View “Beyond the Red Ink: Students Talk about Teachers’ Comments”
  • Chapter 3 in The Elements
  • Chapter 6 in The Elements
  • Pages 72-75 on “Methods for Structuring Peer Revision” in The Elements
  • Discussion 5.1: Response to the Readings
  • Discussion 5.2: Practicing
  • Discussion 5.3:  Your Feedback Plan

Module 6
What’s next?
·         Know about resources available for continuing to learn about working with student writing
  • Have a plan for continuing to experiment with using writing for teaching and learning
  • Discussion 6.1: Your Plan
  • Assignment 6.1: Making a Date

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