Productive and Ethical: Guiding student writers in a GenAI world (Part 1 of 2)

An abstract image of electrical waves running through a ring of wiring.

Vol. 5, No. 1 (Fall 2023)

by Clare Bermingham, Director, Writing and Communication Centre, University of Waterloo

Note: Part two will provide the framework with some follow up information. A link to the framework will be added to this post at that time. Editor.

How institutions and course instructors are managing generative AI (GenAI), such as ChatGPT, Bard, and Dall⋅E, has been the focus of both scholarly and public-facing articles (Benuyenah, 2023; Berdahl & Bens, 2023; Cotton et al., 2023; Gecker, 2023; Nikolic et al., 2023; Sayers, 2023; Somoye, 2023), but few articles or resources have addressed students directly. And yet students are subjected to the suspicions of worried instructors and administrators caused by GenAI, and students are left to deal with the resulting surveillance and extra pressure of in-class assignments and monitored final exams (Marken, 2023). This is a critical point where writing centres can and should intervene. Our work is primarily student-facing, and we have the ability, through one-to-one appointments, to have conversations with students about what they are experiencing and what they need. Continue reading “Productive and Ethical: Guiding student writers in a GenAI world (Part 1 of 2)”

The Voyage Out and The Voyage Home: Learning to trust the freewriting process in writing appointments

Vol. 4, No. 4 (Summer 2023)

Christin Wright-Taylor, Manager, Writing Services, Wilfrid Laurier University

This term, I seem to be meeting with more students who struggle to start the writing process. I tallied my writing appointments so far and found that 32% of them have been dedicated to helping the student generate writing for their assignments. For me, this has been an increase over previous terms. I’ve enjoyed these appointments, but I’ve also found myself hesitating on the precipice of a guided freewriting prompt, wondering: Do these work?

I can report that, yes, they do!

However, the experience of guiding my students through this formative, messy, unruly part of writing has made me reflect on what I often forget about the act of writing: it requires trust. Trust in me as the writing consultant, and both our trust in the process.

Continue reading “The Voyage Out and The Voyage Home: Learning to trust the freewriting process in writing appointments”

Navigating the push and the pull: ‘Negotiating’ doctoral writing

Vol. 4, No. 2 (Summer 2023)

Brittany (Britt) Amell is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Digital Humanities Hub at the University of London. Her research focuses on critical, collaborative, and reparative engagements with unconventional scholarship, non-traditional knowledge production, and writing and genre studies. She can be reached at BrittanyAmell @

As a social practice, the doctoral dissertation has been characterized as the outcome of complex negotiations that surround the entire dissertation process (Paltridge et al., 2012). Here, the word, negotiation, often implies a mutually beneficial agreement arising between two or more parties as a result of dialogue. However, the experiences of doctoral writers often reflect a different reality, one where choices are constrained and affordances are limited. Other factors, such as power differentials and assessment conditions, can also play a significant role in shaping the local contexts in which doctoral students write. Few doctoral writers, for instance, wish to risk failure when it comes to the assessment or examination of their dissertations. Given this, it is important to reflect critically on usages of negotiation that imply a natural smoothness or ease accompanies the dissertation writing cycle. Continue reading “Navigating the push and the pull: ‘Negotiating’ doctoral writing”