Thursday, December 15, 2011

The UCWbL Announces School for New Learning Workshops for Winter 2012

Advanced Project Forums

At the AP forums, students can discuss their Advanced Projects with other students, Writing Center tutors, SNL faculty, and a librarian. We'll address the steps that need to be taken before beginning the Advanced Project, as well as how to generate ideas for topics, begin research, and manage the project once it begins. SNL students at all stages in their Advanced Projects, as well as faculty, are welcome.

The dates and locations are below. RSVP here for an AP forum.

Tuesday, January 31, 6 PM-7:30 PM- Loop Campus Writing Center (Lewis 1600)
Saturday, February 4, 12 PM-1:30 PM - O’Hare Campus

Independent Learning Pursuit Forums

The ILP forums foster discussion, provide information, and offer support to School for New Learning (SNL) students who are completing an Independent Learning Pursuit (ILP). These discussions feature Writing Center tutors, SNL faculty, and a research librarian, all of whom provide focused and individualized feedback to students. This is a great opportunity for SNL students to share tips and receive advice from their peers. All students and faculty are invited.

The dates and locations are below. RSVP here for an ILP forum.

Saturday, January 21 – O’Hare – ILP workshop
Saturday, January 28 – Naperville - ILP workshop

Incomplete Project Bootcamps

Back by popular demand, the UCWbL's "bootcamps" are for SNL writers with an incomplete grade on their transcripts. These bootcamps will help you get back on track, and they include faculty-led sessions to create a supportive academic environment for you to get assistance with your writing and research. The dates are as follows:

Saturday, February 18 – Loop – 9am to 1pm
Monday, February 20 – Loop – 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Saturday, February 25 – Oak Forest – 9am to 1pm
Monday, February 27 – Oak Forest – 5:30pm to 9:30pm

In order to register, send an email to with your name, DePaul ID#, and incomplete course title(s) you wish to work on at least three (3) days prior to the session. Bring a flash drive, your copy of the incomplete contract, and all prior assignment preparation materials with you to the session. Please let your faculty mentor know you plan on attending.

Please contact Edward Evins at with any questions.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Digication Resources at DePaul

Are you interested in learning more about portfolios and DePaul’s portfolio software, Digication? Do you want to know more about how you might integrate portfolios in your course? DePaul offers a wide range of resources for learning more and getting started:

• DePaul Teaching Commons offers an overview of Digication and portfolios at DePaul along with instructions on how to get faculty and/or student accounts and getting started with Digication.

• University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWBL) offers pedagogical and technical guidance for faculty and students using (or planning to use) Digication and portfolio development. They offer one on one as well as in-class workshops about portfolio assignments, multi-modal learning, and using the Digication eportfolio software. Instructors can request a one-on-one consultation or request a presentation about portfolio development here:

• Faculty Instructional Technology Services (FITS) offers Digication technical guidance for faculty using Digication. Faculty can contact fits to set up an appointment or training:

• Media, Production, and Technology offers technical guidance for students using Digication. Students can email their request for assistance to

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

SNL Writing Showcase: Encouraging Excellent Writers

Did you receive any impressive student papers this quarter?? If so, please encourage your student(s) to submit their paper to the annual SNL Writing Showcase. Each spring, SNL Writing recognizes excellent submissions at the Spring awards luncheon. To view last year's winning entries and to download this year's application, please direct interested students to:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

SNL faculty member & author, Pamela Meyer, discusses her latest book Permission

1. What inspired you to write this book?

I discovered the power of permission during my research on adults’ experiences learning to improvise, and which I wrote about in my last book, From Workplace to Playspace (Jossey-Bass, 2010). Improvisation initially feels very risky for most people and when someone (or several people) help co-create a safe, dynamic space for risk-taking, the chances that real learning and transformation will happen greatly increase. When people feel they have permission via someone else taking a risk and not being ridiculed (or even receiving positive feedback), a wonderful shift starts to happen: people start generating more ideas, being more of themselves and having more fun (which is why we made this the subtitle of the book). This concept extends to all areas of adult life, especially at work, where we often gauge our behavior based on the social cues around us. We may hear people talking about the importance of risk-taking, playing around with ideas and being authentic, but unless people actually see the behavior in action, they may not feel they have actual permission to do so.

The concept of permission and the role of the permission-giver resonated a lot with readers and workshop participants as I traveled the country talking about the book, as well as with, graphic facilitator, Brandy Agerbeck (with whom I have collaborated often over the years). Brandy is very interested in giving people permission to draw and to explore their capacity for visual thinking and communication. After an initial informal conversation to play around with the idea of the book, we decided to meet to brainstorm a long list of permissions we sometimes need to remind ourselves to give, take and get. These include permission to be silly, use our whole bodies, question, take a break and many more.

2. Permission was a collaborative effort with graphic facilitator Brandy Agerbeck. Can you tell us a little bit about the co-creation process?

After brainstorming our initial list of about 35 permissions, Brandy and I met a few times to discuss the dimensions of each permission and help each other think as playfully and expansively as possible about each of them. This served as inspiration for me to begin writing and Brandy to begin playing with various images that reflected and/or evoked each permission. While we each worked to our strengths (me, writing and Brandy, creating the images), we chose to call ourselves co-creators, rather than the more traditional titles of author and illustrator. We felt that separate titles didn’t fully honor how we worked together, which was very collaborative and co-creative. We soon discovered that Amazon does not have the option to list yourself as a “Co-creator”, so you will see us both listed as authors, which doesn’t accurately reflect our collaboration either. We are clearly breaking new ground here.

3. What was your process for writing, revising, and editing this book? For example, did you work with an outline, did you experience writer's block, did you have outside reviewers, how long did it take, how many drafts, any major changes to organization/structure of the ideas/sections?

In terms of our individual processes, I call myself a “turtle” when it comes to writing. I like to write very first thing in the morning, at least five days a week, though often I only write for 30-45 minutes. I gave myself a quota over the summer of drafting three permissions a week. Every Friday I would send the week’s writing to Brandy, who would read the permissions, make notes to provide feedback, and begin working on the images. If I am a turtle, Brandy is more of a rabbit in her work process. She likes to work in bursts, so would often wait until she has 10 or 12 images to start working on and then hole up in her studio to work on her drafts. We would then meet in person go through our drafts, each giving the other feedback and continuing our brainstorming, which would send us back to work on the next iteration individually. Along the way we shared sections with trusted readers for feedback, and also decided to cut a few of the permissions that either seemed a bit redundant, or just didn’t excite us as much as the others.

I can’t say I experienced writer’s block per se, because of my discipline to write every morning. Just like exercising when we don’t feel like it, or going to work when we might rather be doing something else—writing is a discipline. I would sometimes move on to work on another section of the book, if nothing was coming to me thinking about the section in front of me, and I always wrote something each day. We continued this iterative process through to the end of the summer and by early September agreed that we had a solid draft of the book. At this stage we moved into production mode.

4. What made you decide to forgo the traditional publishing route and use self-publishing?

There were two main reasons we chose to self-publish this book 1) Speed to publication and 2) Creative control. My first two books were represented by agents and published by major publishers. These were generally good experiences and certainly useful in building my credibility as an expert in the field of creativity and organizational change. At the same time, with traditional publishing, there are a lot of other stakeholders in the process from the agent, who wants to choose a publisher who offers the biggest advance (not always the best choice for any given book) to the marketing department, who may have the final say on your title and cover design (which might have little to do with the actual contents of the book) and list price. Brandy and I had a very clear vision of what this book would look and feel like, as well as our target audience. We did not want to get caught up in convincing others of the value of our vision, nor did we want to slow the process down. If we had gone with a traditional publisher, we would likely be looking at a publication date of up to a year later than when we were actually able to get the book out. We both wanted to have it out quickly to build on the momentum of the Workplace to Playspace readership and also to have it out in time for holiday gift-giving. By self-publishing via Amazon’s CreateSpace service, we were able to control all of the creative choices, the cover price and the timing.

5. What specific publishing services did you use from Amazon? Would you self-publish again? If so, would you purchase any additional services, or do without any of the services you used this time?

We were lucky to have between us many of the competencies necessary to take the book from conception through to publication. I had a lot of knowledge about the overall production and distribution process and Brandy had the skills and talent to do the full layout with images, design our cover and properly prepare the pdf document for uploading. We did pay for light editorial services to catch typos, unintended word repetition, etc.

We would both definitely consider self-publishing again. If I were not working with someone with a design background, I would consider using their design services, and would definitely use the editorial services. Both were more cost-effective than hiring these separately from outside vendors, and we were happy with the overall quality and efficiency of the process.

6. Do you have any words of advice or tips for aspirant writers?

Writing Advice: Think of writing as a discipline. Don’t wait for inspiration or until you get the perfect writing space, your house is clean, or you get one more credential. Pick a topic and write.

My two cents on publishing: Before you decide whether or not to self-publish or to explore traditional publishing, you need to be able to answer the question: what do I hope to accomplish with this book? If your primary goal is to get something out quickly to a target audience with whom you already have a relationship, self-publishing may be your best option. If you really want the additional credibility and visibility that comes with a mainstream publisher, and are willing to let go of some control and are patient about the time it takes, consider an established traditional publisher.

As you make your decision, pay attention to how the publishing and bookselling industry is changing. More people are shopping for and buying their books online, as opposed to in bookstores than ever before. Many also prefer e-books, which is why we were sure to have our book converted to Kindle. Book buyers are making decisions based on word-of-mouth marketing, price and convenience, more than the name of the publisher. If you have a great marketing plan, strong social media presence and a good reputation in your field, self-publishing may be for you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Writing “Hotspots” during December Intercession

Please make your students aware of the below areas and resources available during December Intercession. While the University Center for Writing-based Learning (the Writing Center) is closed during December Intercession, there are still many places for students to go for help, support, and workspace as they continue writing.

1. DePaul Libraries - most of the libraries are open through December 22nd, though some have limited hours on weekends. See the library website for details: (Tip: Working late in the Loop? Check out the Law Library in the Lewis Center. It is open late, and on weekends).

2. The Adult Student Center - on the 11th floor of the DePaul Center is another resource and “place to go” for adult students, with support staff and group workspaces.

3. DePaul's computer labs are still available - see locations and hours here

4. Available 24/7 are the SNL Writing Guide for students online, and the Writing Center’s really comprehensive online resources for students working on papers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Portfolios at SNL

Portfolio practice involves a process of selecting, collecting, and reflecting upon work and accomplishments across one’s learning experience, both inside and outside the classroom. The AACU discusses research about portfolio practice in higher education here:

Along with other programs at DePaul, SNL has been piloting DePaul’s ePortfolio development tool, Digication, in several SNL courses such as Academic Writing for Adults, Writing Together/Writing Well, Professional Portfolio Development, and Professional Writing. Students and faculty have both found value in using ePortfolios and Digication at SNL to track their accomplishments, showcase their work and experiences, and reflect upon their learning and demonstration of competence.

Faculty are welcome to obtain Digication accounts and try out Digication with students in their courses. More information about how to do so is here:

To see examples of students’ portfolios at DePaul (including SNL students’ portfolios), visit DePaul’s Digication portfolio site here:

For more details about the SNL ePortfolio Pilot, contact Katie Wozniak at

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

SNL Writing Showcase Accepting Entries for 2011-2012 is currently accepting entries through April 1st for the 2011 –2012 SNL Writing Showcase.

Please encourage any SNL student that received an "A" on a paper or glowing feedback on an Independent Learning Project (ILP) to consider submitting their work to the Writing Showcase. Students may submit up to three pieces of writing. The Showcase allows students to share their accomplishment with others, and also provides inspiration to other SNL students as they work on their writing assignments. Excellent submissions will be recognized at the Spring Awards Luncheon.

To download this year's application and to view entries of previous winners, please visit

Monday, October 24, 2011

Open Access Resources for Writers

Colorado State University has developed an open-access resource for writers, available by visiting: The texts currently on the site are The Informed Writer: Using Sources in the Disciplines, Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing Volumes I and II, Writing Commons…the Home for Writers, The Process of Research Writing, and Paradigm Writing Assistant. Colorado State intends to expand upon the current posted resources “by providing access to previously published textbooks and by creating a collection of new textbooks.”

Another online writing resource is, in development at the University of Virginia. The site’s library presently offers “lessons on argument, problem framing, and style—all geared towards first-year college students.” Writers have the option to join in the conversation by posting on one of the site’s “public forums for discussion, including a writers’ forum, a teachers’ forum, and individual class blogs.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Thursday, October 20th is National Day on Writing!

October 20th has been officially recognized as the National Day on Writing by the US Senate since 2009. How can you celebrate writing on this day?

You could read selections or contribute your own to The National Gallery of Writing, available through the National Council of Teachers of English.

You could tune into the National Writing Project’s radio show titled “Why I Write” by visiting here at 5pm CST.

If you have a twitter account, you could help #whyiwrite become a trending topic by expressing your motivations for writing in 140 characters or less.

DePaul is also hosting writing-focused programming to celebrate the National Day on Writing!

If you are in the Chicago area, you could visit the “Gallery of Writers Display” that will be at the Lincoln Park and Loop Student Centers. Posters representing writers from different DePaul offices and departments will showcase “what writing means to them and what kinds of writing they do.”

As part of the Writing and Rhetoric Across Borders International speaker series, a talk entitled “Belles Lettres to Rhetorical Genre Studies: Writing Studies and Rhetoric in Canada 1900 -2000” will be given by University of Alberta Professor Roger Graves in SAC (2320 N. Kenmore, Chicago) in Room 254 at 6pm.

If you cannot commit to participating in one of the above, simply approach your routine daily writing tasks (be it emailing, blogging, journaling, or even texting) with a mindfulness of the day.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Student Writing Resource: Extended Project Support Tutors Available through UCWbL

Do you have students looking for writing support on papers longer than 20 pages? Good news! Students seeking writing guidance on an advanced project, independent learning project, or any paper lengthier than 20 pages can apply for a dedicated writing tutor to provide feedback on his or her writing project. The University Center for Writing-based Learning now offers Extended Project Support (EPS) tutors to provide consistent commentary on long-term projects. This support also allows the writer more time each week than normal writing center services permit, up to four hours per week. There are several methods in which the tutors provide feedback to the student, including written feedback by email, via IM/ Webcam, or face to face appointments.

Please direct students here for more information and to apply for an EPS tutor.

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Student Samples Available on the SNL Writing Guide

If you have students interested in viewing sample "A" papers, SNL Writing has added new student samples for the following assignments:


Advanced Elective papers
Advanced Projects
Externship journals
Research Seminar proposals


MAAPS learning plans
MAEA final projects

Some of the papers are annotated with writing tips that highlight "what worked" in the student's paper, including word choice, structure, and proper citations. View them by visiting the SNL Writing Guide:

Monday, October 3, 2011

Upcoming Writing Center Forums for SNL Students

A reminder that the Independent Learning Pursuit Forum offered through DePaul's University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL) is being given Saturday, October 8th, 12pm to 1:30pm in Room 307 at the O’Hare Campus.

Students may make reservations here.

The UCWbL is also hosting two upcoming Advanced Project Forums:

Saturday, October 15th, from 12:00 to 1:30pm, Room 220 (Naperville)
Monday, October 24th, from 12:00 to 1:30pm, Lewis 1600 (Loop)

Students may make reservations here.

These forums allow SNL Writers to discuss their projects with other students, Writing Tutors, and a research librarian. Because writers at all stages of their projects are welcome, these forums are great opportunities to share tips and get advice about these critical components of the SNL program.

Feel free to contact Writing Group Coordinator, Edward Evins, at with any questions.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Writing Fellows Program

Wondering how you can get more support for student writing in your existing classroom? If you have students write two or more papers, and if you are willing to ask students to create multiple drafts of these papers, consider requesting a Writing Fellow in your Winter or Spring course. SNL faculty who have invited Writing Fellows to accompany their classes have raved about the improvement in students’ thinking and writing:

A description of this opportunity from the University Center for Writing-based learning’s website:

The Writing Fellows Program links undergraduate peer writing tutors with writing-intensive courses across the curriculum -- from physics to journalism, religious studies to computer science.

Like their colleagues in the Writing Center, Writing Fellows are peer tutors specially trained to act as sympathetic readers and advisors, providing informed, constructive criticism to fellow writers. Writing Fellows work with the same set of writers from a particular course for an entire quarter, responding to two of their papers through written comments on drafts and real-time dialogue.

Check out to view SNL alumna/former UCWbL Writing Fellow Jill Anderson’s website and Advanced Project. Jill offers research about adult students, andragogy, writing assistance, writing fellows, UCWbL, etc. The below is an interview with Jill and SNL Writing Instructor Kathryn Wozniak, also on the SNL Writing Guide website, (second from the top right hand corner).

Request a Writing Fellow or learn more:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Community Creative Writing Resources

Chicago and the surrounding Chicagoland area offer many writing groups, writing seminars, and writing workshops for those interested in creative writing. DePaul University offers a Masters of Arts in Writing and Publishing, but there are also several programs outside the DePaul Community to help enhance your creative writing skills. Students could use these non-DePaul resources as part of developing an Independent Learning Project on creative writing.

A comprehensive list of Chicago-based writing resources:

The Newberry Library:

Chicago Dramatists offers playwriting courses:

Story Studio Chicago:

Writer's Loft:

Online Resources/ Courses for Writers

Poets & Writers magazine:
Publishing Search Engine:
Coffee House for Writers:
UW Madison Online Workshops:

Monday, September 12, 2011

Writing Center services available this fall quarter

Dear Suburban Faculty Member,

The University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL) would like to remind you to schedule your informational presentations for this term. These presentations are a great way to get your students excited about coming to the Writing Groups, a wing of the UCWbL. The Writing Groups meet each Saturday and offer student-centered workshops that allow students to enter into the discussion of academic writing in a workshop setting facilitated by two tutors from the UCWbL. By discussing their own writing as well as the work of other participants, students develop critical reading, thinking, and analytical skills and the ability to articulate and discuss writing. The presentations will make sure that they are aware of Writing Groups as well as the wide variety of services that we offer online, at our Lincoln Park and Loop offices and outposts, and here at the suburban campuses.

Presentations are about fifteen minutes in length and will include (in smart classrooms) a demonstration of our online scheduling service as well as a quick tour of the resources available to students on our website. An experienced tutor or staff member will deliver the presentation and take any questions from both the students and you. If you’d like, our staff members can also briefly tell you and your students about the other four wings of the UCWbL: the Writing Fellows Program, the Suburban Campus Writing Groups, the Collaborative for Multilingual Writing and Research, and Faculty Development.

If you are unable to schedule an in-class presentation with us, we can still deliver promotional materials such as bookmarks to you. Feel free to email the UCWbL at with any inquiries about requesting these items. Presentations begin the second week of classes. For more information visit our website at

To request a presentation for your class, contact Edward Evins at:

Suburban campus writing groups begin again September 17

Suburban Campus Writing Groups are convenient tutoring options for commuters, SNL and suburban campus students, meeting at the Naperville, Oak Forest and O’Hare campuses on Saturdays from 10am-11:30am during each academic term. They are a drop-in tutoring service where students work with Group Leaders and fellow writers in a collaborative setting in which they both receive and provide feedback on written work. Contributing writers will find that all meetings allow them to constructively share their pieces in contexts like one-on-one peer feedback and group workshops, allowing exposure to different audiences and forms of collaboration and group discussion. If you would like more information, check the University Center for Writing-based Learning website at

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Meet New SNL Writing Faculty Member Jane Wagoner!

Jane Wagoner taught a variety of courses at the City Colleges of Chicago, including ESL, reading, Introduction to Literature, freshman composition, the research paper and developmental English. She has created several hybrid classes and earned a Master’s Online Teaching certificate. In addition, she has begun taking piano lessons and enjoys being a student. Jane loves going to the theater and being a member of the Jane Austen Society. Her BA is from Edgewood College in Madison, WI, and MA from DePaul University.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rhetorical Analysis Rap

A rap that reviews terminology used in rhetorical analysis...check it out, yo!

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Taste of Haste: Accelerating the Writing Process

In the Slate article, “Slowpoke: How to be a faster writer,” Michael Agger explores why some people can more quickly finish writing projects. He relates habits and anecdotes of highly efficient writers, which effectively boils down to “read and write more each day.” Agger offers this practical writing tip, “Try to limit your working hours, write at a set time each day, and try your best not to emotionally flip out or check email every 20 seconds. This is called "engineering" your environment.”

To aid with checking Email/ Facebook/ Twitter/ Wikipedia/ insert your favorite internet distraction “every 20 seconds,” some people prefer to work in surroundings without internet or install software, like Freedom©, that turns off a computer’s network connectivity for a given period of time. However, if you have the discipline to stay only on sites that are relative to your writing, Agger suggests using the internet for research while writing can be helpful. He writes,

“The modern multitasking style of composing next to an open Internet browser is one solution to limiting writing's cognitive burden. There are experimental programs that will analyze what you are writing and attempt to retrieve relevant definitions, facts, and documents from the Web in case you need them. Like many writers, I take a lot of notes before I compose a first draft. The research verifies that taking notes makes writing easier—as long as you don't look at them while you are writing the draft! Doing so causes a writer to jump into reviewing/evaluating mode instead of getting on with the business of getting words on the screen.”

Agger cites research from The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance in which author Ronald Kellogg purports, "Serious writing is at once a thinking task, a language task, and a memory task." Naturally, by sufficiently preparing for each individual part of the writing process, the writer shortens his production time. For instance, Agger relates how much easier (and presumably faster) it is for one to write about what one already knows. He says, “… the writer's brain is juggling three things: the actual text, what you plan to say next, and—most crucially—theories of how your imagined readership will interpret what's being written. A highly skilled writer can simultaneously be a writer, editor, and audience.” This all-in-one approach to writing takes practice, which Agger says can only come from reading more to increase knowledge (what you know) and then writing more, with the critical eye turned inward. And if you really just can’t seem to expedite your writing output, find a paid writing gig – Agger points out that “the promise of money has a way of stimulating writerly ‘flow.’ Amazing!”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Educating in the Digital Age

The August 7th New York Times Op Ed article, “Education Needs a Digital – Age Upgrade,” by Virginia Heffernan discusses technology learning themes from Cathy Davidson’s book titled Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn. Heffernan supports Davidson’s position that the American educational system needs to make better use of the digital age in which we find ourselves to facilitate learning. She claims educators must meet students where they are, which often includes commenting on online political forums or creating digital videos, rather than perpetuating archetypical classroom assignments,

“What if bad writing is a product of the form of writing required in school — the term paper — and not necessarily intrinsic to a student’s natural writing style or thought
process?” She adds: “What if ‘research paper’ is a category that invites, even
requires, linguistic and syntactic gobbledygook?”…After studying the matter, Ms.
Davidson concluded, “Online blogs directed at peers exhibit fewer typographical
and factual errors, less plagiarism, and generally better, more elegant and
persuasive prose than classroom assignments by the same writers.”
With the above in mind, educators could assign blog posts that resemble a research paper’s framework by asking students to include a thesis statement, scholarly citations, or imposing a length requirement. A blog offers students the opportunity to read and comment on one another’s work, therefore creating an active community of learning in a format familiar to students of today. Wiki projects are another online learning option that encourages information sharing between students. Heffernan writes,

A classroom suited to today’s students should deemphasize solitary piecework. It
should facilitate the kind of collaboration that helps individuals compensate
for their blindnesses…The new classroom should teach the huge array of complex
skills that come under the heading of digital literacy. And it should make
students accountable on the Web, where they should regularly be aiming, from
grade-school on, to contribute to a wide range of wiki projects.

SNL Writing instructors Michelle Navarre Cleary, Peggy St. John, Suzanne Sanders- Betzold, and Polly Hoover explored the option of wiki based learning when they co- taught a writing intensive class through the use of “bliki” (blog + wiki). Students worked together to write a group research paper, and two conduct manuals; “How to Transition to Life After College and a “Good Friend Handbook.” You can read about both the instructor and student experience using the “bliki” by visiting:

For more ideas on how to incorporate digital media into your courses, check out the book, Encyclopedia of Information Communication Technologies and Adult Education Integration available by visiting

To read the NYT op ed in its entirety, please visit:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Fall 2011 SNL Writing Course Offerings

The following Fall Quarter courses at SNL have a writing and/or literature focus. Encourage your students to register today by visiting campus connect.

Loop Campus Offerings

LL 150 Academic Writing for Adults
L4 13864
HYBRID. Meets on campus: 9/12, 9/26, 10/10, 10/24, 11/7

LL 150 Academic Writing for Adults
Forster, Peter
L4 14054

LL 153 Writing Together – Writing Well: A Community Approach to Academic Writing and Personal Narrative
Wozniak, Kathryn & Hurtig, Janise
A3A 14250
H1X 14251
H2X 14252
L4 14249
9/17. Meets from 9-1p

LL 140 Writing Workshop
Hayes, Nicholas
H3J 14171

AI 276 Creative Ink: The Art of Writing
Sautter, R. Craig
A1C 13986
A2A 13987
A2X 13988
A5 13989

AI 184 Wordplay: Demystifying Poetry
Starrs, John
A1A 14047
A1H 14048
A2X 14049
A5 14050

Naperville Campus Offerings

LL 150 Academic Writing for Adults
Muller, William
L4 13172
LL 140 Writing Workshop
Miritello, Mary
H3J 13185

LL 150 Academic Writing for Adults
Brown, Barbara
L4 12834

LL 140 Writing Workshop
Michicich, Tracy
H3J 12836

FA 247 Thinking and Writing about Work
Muller, William
A1E 12830
A2X 12831
A5 12832
FX 12833

O’Hare Campus Offerings

LL 150 Academic Writing for Adults
Morris, David
L4 13584

LL 140 Writing Workshop
Weidner, Diane
H3J 13716

SNL Online Offerings

LL 150 Academic Writing for Adults

L4 12113
Schmidt, Kathleen

LL 150 Academic Writing for Adults
L4 12117
Gilbert-Levin, Renee

LL 150 Academic Writing for Adults
L4 12115
Hemmerling, Joseph

LL 150 Academic Writing for Adults
L4 16024
Wagoner, Jane
AI 176 Creative Writing
A1C 12260
A2A 12261
A5 12262
Dumbleton, Molia

FA 133 Editing Yourself and Others: A Collaborative Approach to Writing at Work FX 12315
H3D 12314
L7 12313
Greenberg, Michelle

AI 172 Making Poems: An Introduction to Verse
A1C 12375
A2A 12376
A5 12377
Sullivan, Tom

AI 211 Men of Fortune, Women of Cents: Analyzing Pride and Prejudice and the films it has inspired
A1D 16028
A1E 16029
A1X 16030
A5 16031
Kutty, Nina

FA 339 Professional Business Writing
H2X 12719
Schmidt, Kathleen

LL 140 Writing Workshop
H3J 12450
Dow, Tom

LL 140 Writing Workshop
H3J 12448
Fitzpatrick, Kristin

Degree Completion Offerings

DCM 330 Professional Writing
Wozniak, Kathryn
4 – DCM
2 – H3X
2 – FX
DCM 14350
H3X 14351
FX 14352
Meets Online.

Independent Study

IN 270 Writers in 1920’s America
A1A 11282
A1C 11283
H1F 11284
Scheideman, Warren

IN 203 Writing and Editing a Newsletter
FX 11275
Murphy, Douglas

Writing Center Forums on August 6th

Independent Learning Pursuit Forum: This forum is designed to foster discussion, provide information, and offer support to SNL students who are currently working on or beginning an Independent Learning Pursuit. The discussion-based event features Writing Center Tutors, SNL faculty, and a research librarian, all of whom provide focused and individualized feedback to students. This is a great opportunity for SNL students to share tips and receive advice from their peers. All students and faculty are invited!

Date: August 6 from 12 noon to 2 pm (O'Hare)

Click here to RSVP.

Research-Writing Workshop: Participate in this workshop to get feedback on your research project—whether it be a quarter-long class project, an AP or ILP, or a thesis. UCWbL tutors will also provide valuable tips to help you successfully complete your project.

Date: August 6 from 12 noon to 2 pm (Naperville)

Click here to RSVP.

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Font Aids Dyslexic Readers

A new font, aptly titled “dyslexie,” has been developed to aid those with dyslexia, a learning disability which affects one’s ability to read by transposing certain letters. The dyslexie typeface helps dyslexic readers by offering greater differentiation between similar looking letters, like b and d, p and q, v and w, h and n, c and e, i and j, and so on. It also bolds punctuation and capital letters to help readers better recognize the end of one sentence and the start of a new one. According to the Project Dyslexie website,, “Independent research undertaken by the University of Twente proved that the Dyslexia font improves reading results. The study at the University of Twente showed that people with dyslexia made fewer reading errors when they use the dyslexia font compared to using standard font.”

Unfortunately, buying the dyslexie font can be prohibitively expensive for some, as it is currently priced up to $1000. This site offers alternative resources that are either cheaper or free: The site suggests that using some fonts already used with word- processors can be helpful to dyslexics, including Sassoon, Trebuchet MS, and Comic Sans.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

SNL student, Maria Jasso de Razo, featured in Global Voices

SNL student Maria Jasso de Razo is featured in the first annual issue of Global Voices, the online magazine published by The Collaborative for Multilingual Writing and Research (CMWR) and The University Center for Writing-based Learning (UCWbL). Maria wrote her paper, "How English as a Second Language Affected my Reading and Writing," for SNL writing course, "Writing Together - Writing Well," taught by Steffanie Triller and Janise Hurtig. The essay depicts the hurdles Maria overcame as an ESL student learning to read and write. On her essay being chosen for Global Voices, Maria says, "I never imagined that I could write something that would be published. You don't know how much this means to me. I can't believe it."

Read her essay here:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Online Resource for Writers -- Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing

Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing - "is a book series containing peer-reviewed collections of essays--all composed by teachers for students--with each volume freely available for download under a Creative Commons license. The Writing Spaces' aims to build a library of quality open textbooks for the writing classroom as an alternative to costly textbooks."

One of the featured essays on the site is "How to Read like a Writer" by Mike Bunn. He discusses the difference between reading for content and actively reading for writing choices and techniques made by the author to better your own writing. Bunn writes, "Questioning why the author made certain decisions. Considering what techniques could have made the text better. Deciding how to include the best attributes of what you read in your own writing. This is what Reading like a Writer is all about." To read the whole text, please visit

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Writing Center Offers Forums for SNL Writing Projects

Independent Learning Pursuit Forums: These Forums are designed to foster discussion, provide information, and offer support to SNL students who are currently working on or beginning an Independent Learning Pursuit. These discussion-based events feature Writing Center Tutors, SNL faculty, and a research librarian, all of whom provide focused and individualized feedback to students. This is a great opportunity for SNL students to share tips and receive advice from their peers. All students and faculty are invited!
• July 16 from 12 noon to 2 pm (Naperville)
• August 1 from 4:30-6:30 pm (Loop--Lewis 1600)
• August 6 from 12 noon to 2 pm (O'Hare)

Click here to RSVP.

Advanced Project Forums: AP Forums allow students to discuss their Advanced Projects with other students, UCWbL tutors, SNL faculty, and a librarian. Participants discuss the steps that need to be taken before beginning the Advanced Project, generating ideas for topics, beginning research, and managing the project once it begins. SNL students at all stages in their Advanced Projects and faculty are welcome.
• July 9 from 12 noon to 2 pm (O'Hare)
• July 11 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm (Loop--Lewis 1600)

Click here to RSVP.

SNL Writing Forum: This unique Forum at the Oak Forest campus will feature guidance from two UCWbL tutors and a librarian. SNL students of all levels are welcome to come and discuss their ILPs, APs, and class assignments. Date: July 13 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm (Oak Forest).

Click here to RSVP.

Research-Writing Workshops: Participate in this workshop to get feedback on your research project—whether it be a quarter-long class project, an AP or ILP, or a thesis. UCWbL tutors will also provide valuable tips to help you successfully complete your project.
• July 23 from 12 noon to 2 pm (O’Hare)
• August 6 from 12 noon to 2 pm (Naperville)

Click here to RSVP.

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!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

2010 - 2011 SNL Writing Showcase Winners Announced

SNL Writing is pleased to announce the winners of the 2010- 2011 SNL Writing Showcase:

Jeffrey C. Barg, "A Happier New Year from Poston" and
"Do Squirrels Matter?"

Nathan Fey, "Mary Magdalene and the Markan Appendix"

Stephen A. Hall, "Cultural Competence in the Writing Center: Partnering with Students of Color in Writing through Understanding"

Jeffery A. Kidd, "A Terminal Day"

Margaret D. Sabatino, "Alternatives for handling stormwater runoff from disconnected downspouts in urban cold climate areas."

These students will be recognized with a plaque and public congratulations at the Spring Awards Luncheon to be held on June 4th, 2011.

The SNL Writing Showcase is an annual competition which celebrates the outstanding writing students do for their classes and Independent Learning Projects. Please direct any interested students to the SNL Writing website to download an application for the 2011-2012 showcase or to for more information.

Monday, May 9, 2011

UCWbL offers SNL Writing Forums - including ILP and AP!

The University Center for Writing-based Learning invites all SNL students to participate in its upcoming workshops and forums! Students can RSVP for these events through the "Writing at SNL" blog found here: Contact Tom McNamara at or 312.362.6726 with any questions.

Writing for the Job: Bring Your Resume and Cover Letter to Life
Looking to break into the business world? Join our workshop to learn how to make targeted, effective resumes and cover letters to get that job you want. Bring a current letter or start from scratch with the help of our tutors.
Naperville Campus—Saturday, May 14th at 12 noon in Rm. 228
Oak Forest Campus—Saturday, May 14th at 12 noon
O’Hare Campus—Saturday, May 21st at 12 noon in Rm. 307

Advanced Project Forum
Discuss your Advanced Project with Writing Center Tutors, SNL faculty, and a librarian. Share tips and get advice from others who have been there!
Loop Campus—Tuesday, May 17 from 4-6 pm in Lewis 1600 (Loop Writing Center)

Independent Learning Pursuit Forum
Join other SNL students, Writing Center Tutors, SNL faculty, and a librarian to discuss your project! Share tips and get advice from others who have been there!
Loop Campus—Wednesday, May 25th from 4-6 pm in Lewis 1600 (Loop Writing Center)

Are students selecting reliable resources...or just junk?

This one of many questions teachers and researchers speaking at the Conference on College Composition and Communication 2011 asked themselves when sifting through over 164 student research papers from institutions in 12 states. They found that students often don't thoroughly analyze, summarize, or selectively include information from sources that are both reliable and relevant to the topic at hand.

InsideHigherEd reports, "about 90 percent of one page in a student's research paper was either a direct quote or patchwriting -- and 9 of its 17 citations referred to the same page of the same source: a single entry on WebMD. While the paper was an extreme and atypical example, it also demonstrated a common trend: students tended to rely heavily on their sources -- so heavily, in fact, that students rarely seem to fully own the material and marshal it to form a novel argument."

Click here to read more.

Interview with SNL Student and UCWbL Fellow, Jill Anderson

Jill Anderson, a soon-to-be graduate of SNL and UCWbL Writing Fellow, has put forth tremendous effort in bringing SNL students to the UCWbL and bringing UCWbL fellows to SNL classrooms. She also created a website dedicated to her Advanced Project theme: andragogy, writing, and writing fellows. Take a moment to check out an interview with Jill on the SNL Writing Guide as well as Jill's website:

Interview with Jill Anderson: (video in top right corner)

Jill's website, "Fellows of Andragogy":

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

SNL Evening of Writing a Success!

On Thursday, April 14, SNL students, faculty, and staff came together to share in the first SNL Evening of Writing.

SNL student Joyce McMurray said, "Attending the SNL evening of writing was truly a motivation to put me back on track with focusing on improving my writing skills, and to continue my journey of adult learning with the SNL Program. Kudos!"

If you were unable to attend this spring's Evening of Writing, do not worry. The SNL Writing Program will continue to hold evenings of writing in future quarters. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Reminder: SNL Evening of Writing this Thursday, April 14

Please remind students about SNL's inaugural "Evening of Writing"! The SNL Writing Program is devoting the 15th Floor of SNL's Loop Office to "all things writing-related" on Thursday, April 14th. All students, faculty, and staff are invited to dedicate some time to put pen to paper (or bring your laptop). Don't forget your preferred writing muses! Snacks will be provided.

What: SNL Evening of Writing
When: Thursday, April 14th, 2011 4:30-7:00pm
Where: 14 E. Jackson, 15th Floor (Rooms 1501, 1508, 1515)
Who: All SNL Students, Faculty, and Staff
Why: Sometimes you just need to sit down and write!
Cost: FREE

SNL instructor and alum publishes her first novel

SNL alum and writing faculty member Rita Leganski recently announced that her novel, The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow, has just been accepted by Harper Collins. Publication date is forthcoming.

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow weaves a tale of heartbreaking loss, perceived guilt, and atonement gone terribly wrong. And then there comes a healing, brought about by a silent and gifted little boy who shares his name with a mystic-turned-saint. Set against the background of New Orleans and the fictional town of Bayou Cymbaline from the 1920s to the 1950s, the story is rich with the character of a culture that is full to overflowing with conjured charms and sanctified spirits.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thoughts on the L4 Competence: Academic Writing for Adults

by Joan Travers

Recently, we asked SNL student Joan Travers to share some thoughts about her choice to take the Academic Writing for Adults course over the L4 Proficiency Exam. Her reflection follows:

One of the things SNL stresses to students in introductory classes is the writing intensive nature of the program. Not only do all the classes rely on writing as the primary form of expression and evaluation but so do the experiential ILP’s. This can be exceedingly intimidating to an adult returning to school, especially if that student hasn’t spent time writing in several years.

As a returning student myself, I found this to be incredibly daunting. At one of my first meetings at SNL, I was told that my writing skills were sufficient enough to take the L4 proficiency exam. And while I liked the price and the limited time commitment of the exam, I opted to enroll in Academic Writing for Adults. If such a high premium was placed on writing then I figured I could use the practice. Even if my skills were believed to be up to par, at least I would understand for myself the expectations actually needed for success in a class designed to concentrate solely on writing and the writing process.

Since I had a limited background in writing, having taken a few creative writing classes in the past, I was not completely comfortable with all my writing skills. I lacked the ability to write research papers and how to cite properly. Through taking this writing class, I was able to learn and practice some of these skills. I also grew confident in my abilities to express my ideas at a level necessary for SNL. And I learned techniques to help me overcome some of my apprehension I’ve always had about writing, like procrastination and proofreading.

As an assignment for the class, I tried my hand at writing my first ILP. I turned to my creative writing background and used some of the new skills and techniques I learned in the course to write a paper about my interaction with physical science and the environment during a skydiving experience I had. I started by writing about my experience as if telling the story or events, and then applied some technical research to explain the events. I used this as an opportunity to develop my research and citing skills, using the feedback I received from working with my writing teacher. The end product was not only an ILP I could submit for an additional class credit, but also an example that I have the ability and know-how to complete a satisfactory ILP.

So while this writing course took longer than a proficiency exam and cost a bit more, the benefits were invaluable. I learned new writing skills and got constructive writing practice, but ultimately I gained the confidence to be a competent student at SNL. This course helped me to write better, but also to manage my time better and to understand and respect the process of learning.

Click here to read Joan's skydiving ILP. Her essay, "My Skydiving Mishaps: A Quick Lesson in Physics," won a Writing Showcase award in 2010. She plans to graduate in 2011 with a Focus Area of Wilderness Education.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Deadline for Writing Showcase Entries is April 1, 2011

Please ask your students to submit their best written work to the SNL Writing Showcase by April 1, 2011. Students can see previous winners and download the 2010-2011 application here:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How Effective are Plagiarism Detection Services?

According to Debora Weber-Wulff at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, plagiarism detection software is not making the cut. She recently tested 26 plagiarism detection services, finding that the most effective services detected only 70% of plagiarism.

The top 5 systems were deemed "partially useful" and received a grade of C-:

1: PlagAware
2: Turnitin
3: Ephorus
4: PlagScan
5: Urkund

At the bottom of the list were the following "useless systems for education":

22: PlagiarismSearch
23: PlagiarismChecker
24: Grammarly
25: PercentDupe
26: ArticleChecker

The University of Applied Sciences in Berlin makes the following recommendation: "The focus should be on teaching students about plagiarism and how to avoid it instead of investing time in using software."

The test overview and summary can be found in English here:

Debora also writes a blog dedicated to plagiarism:

Monday, February 21, 2011

Writing instructor Tom Dow co-authors new writing textbook

Tom Dow, an SNL writing instructor, recently co-authored a writing textbook for students titled, Why White Rice? Thinking Through Writing.

A brief description of the textbook from the authors:
"This book on writing comes from four community college teachers with different backgrounds and training (with contributions from students, as well) in a collection of voices that speaks directly to students and writers. It drops the pretense of traditional textbooks and talks honestly with students in a way that has them reading and responding in some surprising ways."

Congratulations to Tom and the co-authors.

Resource for SNL Students Interested in ILPs or Independent Studies

Students interested in doing an ILP or an independent study might find some of MIT's Open Courseware (OCW) resources helpful. Their OCW Scholar courses are designed for students who have limited access to additional resources. Videos and simulations accompany many of the courses.

More information can be found here:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Study finds that writing about worries before an exam results in better performance

A recent University of Chicago study found that students who write for 10 minutes before a test decrease the brainpower they are using to be anxious and thus increase the brainpower they are using on the test material. Students in the study who wrote about the anxiety they were experiencing before an exam scored significantly higher on a sample exam than students who did not write about their anxiety.

"Writing about your worries for 10 minutes before an upcoming exam leveled the playing field such that those students who usually get most anxious during exams were able to overcome their fears and perform up to their potential," according to primary investigator and University of Chicago professor of psychology Sian Beilock.

Beilock found that students performed better on the test when they wrote specifically about the test anxiety itself. Beilock suggests that these findings are useful for particularly anxious students who should consider writing for 10 minutes about their anxiety before a class in whcih they must write an exam. Even if instructors do not invite students to write about their anxiety before an in class exam they might consider suggesting that particularly anxious writers spend ten minutes writing about their anxiety before beginning an essay, homework assignment, or test.

The full article can be found here:

Writing about worries eases anxiety and improves test performance

Students can combat test anxiety and improve performance by writing about their worries immediately before the exam begins, according to a University of Chicago study published Friday in the journal Science.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Academic Writing Resources for SNL Students

As the winter quarter gets into full gear, feel free to share these writing-related resources with SNL students:

SNL's Writing Guide:

DePaul University Writing Center's Resources for Writers:

DePaul University Writing Center Blog:

Purdue's Online Writing Lab (OWL):

Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference Website:

Click here for even more resources on the SNL Writing Guide's "Writing Help" page.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Writing Center Presentations, Suburban Campus Writing Groups, and Fishbowls

The Center for Writing-based Learning would like to remind you to schedule your informational presentations for Winter 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.

Please note that the Suburban Campus Writing Groups begin Saturday, Jan. 15th at the Naperville, Oak Forest, and O’Hare campuses at 10 am, a valuable resource for students who live in the suburbs. 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 open on January 10, and students are welcome to schedule one-on-one and online appointments.

Finally, please consider scheduling a Fishbowl Workshop for your class. Fishbowl Workshops allow instructors to invite representatives from the Writing Center to his or her class to model effective peer response for in-class writing workshops. During a Fishbowl Workshop, tutors engage students in providing effective response and can even help facilitate peer review sessions. To schedule your Fishbowl, visit

Should you have any questions, please feel free to email Tom McNamara ( or consult the Writing Group page on the Writing Center website ( Please encourage your students to use their services!

A Writer's Reference - New Edition of Writing Handbook for Students

For many years, the required text for SNL's Academic Writing for Adults course has been Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference. After taking the course, many students have said that they will never sell this book back to the bookstore...a few students have admitted that they keep it on top of their desk at work! A wealth of information and examples related to thesis statements, organization, citation styles, formatting, grammar, and mechanics makes this textbook useful for students at any level, in any course, not just students taking their first (or second, or third) college writing course.

The publisher, Bedford/St. Martin, has just released the seventh edition of A Writer's Reference with a new co-author, Nancy Sommers. This edition has new sections on how to interpret written feedback from instructors and how to prepare a portfolio. If you're interested in checking it out, feel free to pick up a copy from Katie Wozniak or order a free desk copy from the publisher here.