Monday, August 27, 2012

Fall Quarter 2012 Writing Courses

Please see below for a comprehensive list of writing courses offered at the loop, suburban campuses, and online this Fall Quarter 2012.  
Loop Campus Offerings

LL 140
Writing Workshop
Hayes, Nicholas
H3J (Tuesday)

LL 150
Academic Writing for Adults
Meyers, Alan
L4 (Tuesday)

LL 150
Academic Writing for Adults
McGury, Carol
L4  (Monday)

LL 153
Writing Together – Writing Well:  A Community Approach to Academic Writing and Personal Narrative
Triller, Steffanie &
Hurtig, Janise
A3A 14443
H1X 14444
H2X 14445
L4 14442
*L4 competence required (4 cr. hrs); May register for one additional competence
(2 cr. hr.) LATE START. Begins 9/13 (Thursday)

AI 196
WriteNow: National Novel Writing Month
Triller, Steffanie
A5 16535
A2X 16536
FX 16537
Meets 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31, 11/7.
Can only be taken for one competence. (Wednesday)

Naperville Campus Offerings

LL 150
Academic Writing for Adults
Muller, William
L4 13077 (Wednesday)

LL 140
Writing Workshop
Navarre Cleary,
H3J 13125 (Wednesday)

Oak Forest Campus Offerings

LL 150
Academic Writing for Adults
Wozniak, Kathryn
HYBRID. Meets on ground 9/6, 9/13, 9/27,10/11, 10/25, 11/8 (Thursday)

FA 247
Thinking and Writing about Work
Muller, William
A1E 14786
A2X 14787
A5 14788
FX 14789 (Tuesdays)

O’Hare Campus Offerings

LL 140
Writing Workshop
Weidner, Diane
H3J  (Wednesday)

LL 150
Academic Writing for Adults
Morris, David
L4 (Wednesdays)

SNL Online Offerings

LL 150
Academic Writing for Adults
L4 13330
Schmidt, Kathleen

LL 150
Academic Writing forAdults
L4 13332
Gilbert-Levin, Renee

LL 150
Academic Writing for Adults
L4 13334
Triller, Steffanie

LL 150
Academic Writing for Adults
L4 13336
Kutty, Nina

AI 176
Creative Writing
A1C 11698
A2A 11699
A5 11700
Dumbleton, Molia

FA 133
Editing Yourself and Others
L7 16094
H3D 16095
FX 16096
Greenberg, Michelle

FA 339
Professional Business Writing
FX 12007
H2X 12005
H3X 12006
Schmidt, Kathleen

LL 140
Writing Workshop
H3J 14204
Fitzpatrick, Kristin

LL 140
Writing Workshop
H3J 14206
Hemmerling, Joseph

Writing and Editing a Newsletter
FX 16093
Murphy, Douglas

On 10/10 I'm on my way to 50,000 - join me at

You may have heard about the new 5-week class WriteNow that will be offered this fall quarter. This course will run at the Loop on Wednesdays from 10/10/12 until 11/7/12. Please encourage your students to join in the effort to write 50,000 words (25,000 required for course credit) in honor of National Novel Writing month, and earn either an A2, A5, or FX competence. And, plan on joining us yourself! In honor of National Novel Writing Month, everyone at SNL is invited to join in the effort to write 50,000 words between 10/10 and 11/7. You can join in our Wednesday JustWrite sessions, or write on your own. Email to register. We will ask for a weekly word count update from each participant.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Power of the Prompt: Original Sin or Opportunity?

“Just never know when life—that river of prompts—will send you something to write about.” (Freele 220)
“It’s really hard when I don’t care.” (Richard[1])
An accomplished fiction writer, Stefanie Freele seems to suggest above that prompts are ubiquitous: in constant supply and readily available to the observant writer. However, adult School for New Learning students like Richard often struggle to find topics that interest them. Life may offer a prompt around every river bend; however, without reflection, pause, and a ready oar we might simply head for the rapids and let each opportunity for writing float by.
While faculty generally encourage students to develop their own ideas and write on their own topics (they will have to do so in any Independent Learning Pursuits that they write, in Research Seminar, and in Advanced Project), we still must extend the invitation to write. Otherwise, student will continue to collide with the impenetrable wall of writers block. This could lead to incompletes that turn to Fs, discouragement, and dropping out.
Adult educators might borrow from the work done with adult writing workshops in the community. One of SNL’s community partners, the Community Writing Project, leads community writing workshops for adults in Chicagoland based on popular educator Paolo Freire’s ideas. Freire believed that prompts should come from life and that primers designed for depositing knowledge were akin to original sin (8). Instead, he thought everyone should teach and everyone should learn in a classroom devoted to the problematizing of material. This is a crucial opportunity for SNL faculty: in order for students to mine their life experience for Prior Learning Assessment opportunities and ongoing coursework we need to first surface students’ narratives of expertise, and then problematize them. Even better, we can allow students to do this for one another.
                Educators like Elsa Roberts Auerbach, as well as CWP founder Hal Adams and current director Janise Hurtig have written extensively about ways that Freire’s pedagogy can be adapted for the American academic classroom, using his principles but modern educators’ tools. One way the CWP uses Freire’s pedagogy is in the way it allows for democratic development of writing topics.
The CWP believes that telling good stories promotes the writing and then telling of more good stories. I recently observed an Academic Writing class that used their process to develop a writing class. It went something like this:
Carlos began by telling the story of his “Charlie Brown Year,” in response to a previous week’s prompt. During the heartbreaking story written in a humorous tone, Carlos started laughing, and so did his classmates. He tells about losing his girlfriend, his car, his job, and his health, all in one year. After the students initially react to the humor of the narrative, they begin to relate to it: three students begin a side conversation about times that they have been towed. “I can relate to that,” one of them said. This same student was earlier involved in a discussion where he stated that “A lot of topics I’m not interested in. It’s really hard when I don’t care. If it really doesn’t interest me, what the hell do I care?” However, his fellow classmate’s Charlie Brown year allowed him to relate to an idea, and based on his next story, to “care.”
                After the animated discussion around Carlos’s story, students easily generated multiple prompts for the next writing session:
·         A time when you fought the law
·         A time when you either lost faith in or stood up to the system
·         A time when you had something taken away or got something back that had been taken away
·         A time when you got a leg up
                Richard, the student above who “didn’t care,” chose the second option. He proceeded to write about how he felt judged and oppressed by “the system” when he was young and it interfered with his daily activities. He goes on to say that as an adult he still does not believe in “the system,” but believes in himself and that’s why he became a Marine and is now in school so that he can enter the police academy.
                Richard’s story is significant not for the wisdom imparted by this writing, but for the possibility present in his story. In his somewhat vague narrative, he considers why he has made certain choices without coming to a resolution. He surfaces feelings about “the system” that have grown from simple to complex in his journey from youth to adulthood. The way he problematizes his own narrative not only demonstrates many future opportunities for writing, learning, and inquiring, but that he finally found something to care about.

More ideas for your classroom (or course site):
·         Invite students to give each other feedback throughout the entire process of writing a paper, not just on the final product.
·         Have students write down possible paper topics on the day that you give an assignment. During that class or the next, or a discussion board, give students the chance to dialogue about their topics. Often their first idea is not their best!
·         Have a targeted writing workshop: discuss a topic from your course until specific themes appear that relate to students’ lives. Don’t stop here! Generate a few themes and invite students to write for 10-30 minutes on these themes. Invite a few students to read theirs aloud, or collect the writings and respond as a reader – ask mostly questions; don’t correct grammar.
·         As above, but have students exchange their papers with one another. This can be done each week as an alternative (or supplement) to journaling.
·         For more on the Community Writing Project, see

Selected Bibliography

Auerbach, Elsa R. Making meaning, making change: participatory curriculum development for adult ESL literacy. Washington DC: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1992. Print.

Freele, Stefanie. “The Last Pages.” Glimmer Train 82 (2012): 220. Print.

Freire, Paolo. The Politics of Education: Culture, Power, and Liberation. South Hadley, Mass: Bergin & Garvey Publishers, Inc, 1985. Print.

Hurtig, Janise, and Hal Adams. “Democracy Is in the Details: Small Writing groups Prefiguring a New Society.” New Directions For Adult and Continuing Education, 128, Hoboken, NJ: Jossey-Bass, Inc., 2010. Print.

Hurtig, Janise. “Resisting Assimilation: Mexican Immigrant Mothers Writing Together.” In Marcia Farr (Ed.) Latino Language & Literacy in Ethnolinguistic Chicago. 246-275. Print.

[1] The students quoted here have given their permission to have their words and work cited. All student names have been changed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Seats Remain Open in Two Fall Writing Courses that Provide Unique Opportunities to Work on Writing and Earn Necessary Competencies

Writing Together – Writing Well (Academic Writing for Adults)

Loop Campus, Thursdays

Competences offered: L4, A3A, H1X, H2X

In this special 6-credit hour section of Academic Writing for Adults, students will complete the work for the required L4 competency and get extra writing practice (and an extra competence) by participating in or leading a community writing workshop. Reading and writing topics for the course will ask the questions: What is literacy? How can education empower or disempower individuals or groups? What is the value of our stories? How can our stories teach others and ultimately change the world?

This is an excellent course for students looking to take just one course in a quarter that can fulfill the minimum credit hours necessary for financial aid. It is also an excellent course for anyone interested in writing, education, issues of power, democracy and class, and storytelling.

Faculty: Steffanie Triller and Janise Hurtig

WriteNow: National Novel Writing Month

Late Start, Loop, Wednesdays

Competences offered: A5, A2X, FX

Do you have a story to tell? If so, October/November is the time. In honor of National Novel Writing Month, SNL will premiere “WriteNow,” a 5-week course that invites students to write at least 25,000 words toward a novel, memoir, ILP, Advanced Project, or other long writing assignment. Beginning on October 10, students will have five weeks to reach their 25,000 word goal. Writing will happen both in class and as homework. Additional writing assignments will inspire reflection upon the creative process, and students will be required to present during the final week as the culminating project for the class.
Class meets Wednesdays in the Loop 10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31, 11/7
Faculty: Steffanie Triller

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Incomplete Writing Bootcamps on Aug 22 and Aug 29!

Do you have any students that have incomplete grades? If so, encourage them to finish their missing assignments, ILP or AP through SNL’s Writing Boot Camps.

This program is designed for SNL students who currently have an incomplete grade on their transcript or students working on writing assignments.
Sessions offer a supportive academic environment, writing assistance, and help with library services so that students can get assignments completed.
Session Dates:

Wednesday, August 22, 5:30pm-9:00pm
Wednesday, August 29, 5:30pm-9:00pm

Session Location:

Loop Campus, Daley Building
14 E. Jackson Blvd., Room 1325, Chicago, IL

Refreshments will be served!

Information for interested students:

To Register: Email your name, DePaul ID number and the incomplete course title(s) you wish to work on to at least 3 days prior to your desired sessions (messages to this email are reviewed by DePaul / SNL college faculty and staff only).
Items to Bring to Session(s): Please bring a flash drive, your copy of the incomplete contract, all
prior assignment preparation, including research material, assignment instructions, and assignment writing format (APA/MLA). Please let your faculty mentor know you plan to attend.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

When Zombie (Nouns) Attack!

In her NYT Draft editorial, “Zombie Nouns,” Helen Sword explores the overuse of nominalizations, or nouns formed from other parts of speech by adding a suffix like ity, tion, or ism. Sword postulates that while some people (read: attorneys, bureaucrats, academics) believe that nominalizations sound impressive, their use makes writing overly complicated and hard to understand, and thereby weaker. She calls them ‘…“zombie nouns” because they cannibalize active verbs, suck the lifeblood from adjectives and substitute abstract entities for human beings.”

When it comes to verbs, if to be or not to be is the question, then the answer is not to be! Strong writing avoids being-verbs and employs action-verbs, but nominalizations often relegate verbs to their being forms, i.e. the simple “indicate” becomes “may be an indication of.”  Also, Sword advises that structuring sentences around human subjects versus abstract concepts helps readers stay connected to the writing.

Sword writes,

        "At their best, nominalizations help us express complex ideas: perception, intelligence,   epistemology. At their worst, they impede clear communication. I have seen academic colleagues become so enchanted by zombie nouns like heteronormativity and interpellation that they forget how ordinary people speak. Their students, in turn, absorb the dangerous message that people who use big words are smarter – or at least appear to be – than those who don’t."

How often do you find yourself tempted to add an “ity” or “ism” to adjectives, verbs, or even other nouns? Find out if you are guilty of overusing nominalizations with this interactive tool, the Writer’s Diet test. The test allows you to input a sample of your writing and then gives automated feedback about which parts of speech need to be excised for more “fit” sentences.