Friends don’t let friends Studiosity (without reading the fine print)

A surveillance on the ledge of a building with a cloudy sky in the background.

Vol. 4 No. 1 (Fall 2022)

Brian Hotson, CWCR/RCCR Editor
Stevie Bell, CWCR/RCCR Associate editor

Like many teachers on a late-August vacation, education companies can see September on the horizon. The difference is that these companies aren’t relaxing. They’re sending e-mails and booking video conferences with offers of freshly printed textbooks, handy workbooks, new online tools, and easy-to-use mobile apps that promise to make student life easier and save universities and colleges money.

The business of education is very large, with total global spending estimated at $4.7 trillion (USD) (UNESCO). By comparison, the total GDP of all African nations in 2021 was $2.7 trillion (USD) (StatisticsTimes, 2021). In 2018-2019, “public and private expenditure on [postsecondary] education” in Canada was $41.5 billion. Education companies would like a share of the money. In this context, a new-to-Canada online writing and tutoring tool, Studiosity, has appeared. Continue reading “Friends don’t let friends Studiosity (without reading the fine print)”

Making Space for Speaking at the Canadian Writing Centre

A conference presenter speaking into a microphone

No. 3 Vol. 3 (Summer 2022)

This post is from the 2022 CWCA/ACCR annual conference virtual poster session. – Stevie Bell and Brian Hotson, 2022 CWCA/ACCR conference co-chairs

By Moberley Luger & Craig Stensrud, University of British Columbia


As writing centres increasingly become centres for writing and communication, our presentation calls for expanding the place of speaking pedagogies in writing centres. We understand scholarly speaking as an integral part of the research—and, indeed, writing—process. We will share a scholarly speaking web resource we built available to Canadian writing centres: The Precedents Archive for Scholarly Speaking (PASS). The site features examples of student speakers and aims to align speaking and writing pedagogies.

Please share widely! speaking.arts.ubc.ca

 

Managing the Emotional Well-being of Tutors and Students in a Middle-Eastern Writing Center

Landscape image of palm trees and institutional buildtings

Vol. 3 No. 4 (Summer 2022)

This post is from the 2022 CWCA/ACCR annual conference virtual poster session. – Stevie Bell and Brian Hotson, 2022 CWCA/ACCR conference co-chairs

By Maria Eleftheriou, Tamanna Taher, Alaa Itani, Konstantina Spyropoulou, & Zahraa Al-Dawood, The American University of Sharjah


As part of an effort to address writing issues, the American University of Sharjah (AUS) located in the United Arab Emirates established a writing center with a peer-tutoring program in 2004. The Writing Center conducts approximately 3500 appointments a year and has a staff of 30 undergraduate tutors and four graduate tutors. In this video, we describe how our Writing Center responded to the emotional challenges presented by the pandemic. We present our story through a variety of clips which illustrate the ongoing process of introducing emotional intelligence training in our program: the discussions that emphasized the importance of emotions in the teaching and learning process, the role-playing activities and readings we incorporated into our training program, the opportunities tutors are given to discuss strategies for avoiding burn-out and our developing ability to create a safe and supportive atmosphere in our Writing Center. Continue reading “Managing the Emotional Well-being of Tutors and Students in a Middle-Eastern Writing Center”

Vacillating Pandemic Space and Emergent Themes

Image of a home office with 2 computer screens.

Vol. 3 No. 5 (Summer 2022)

This post is from the 2022 CWCA/ACCR annual conference virtual poster session. – Stevie Bell and Brian Hotson, 2022 CWCA/ACCR conference co-chairs

By Nancy Ami, Emily Arvay, Hossein Ghanbari, Kaveh Tagharobi, Madeline Walker, and Medha Yadav, Centre for Academic Communication, University of Victoria


Reflecting on our journey since March 2020, when we moved from our beloved library offices to remote workspaces, we have noted themes of safetyresponsivenessever-changing technology, and resilience that may speak to us all. We would like to share our personal paths via a blog, to affirm our writing centre colleagues: “You were not alone in experiencing …” and as a way to instill hope for the future: “You will not be alone as you experience…” Our blog features artifacts that document our individual and collective experiences with vacillating S P A C E.

Check it out here: https://onlineacademiccommunity.uvic.ca/caccwca2022/

 

Creating an Online Space for Learning Science Communication

Learning science communication online

Vol. 3 No. 6 (Summer 2022)

This post is from the 2022 CWCA/ACCR annual conference virtual poster session. – Stevie Bell and Brian Hotson, 2022 CWCA/ACCR conference co-chairs

By Clare Bermingham, University of Waterloo & Elisabeth van Stam, University of Waterloo


Abstract 

To support the development of science communication knowledge and skills in undergraduate  classrooms, students benefit from access to specific content and examples from science  communication experts. Training students in science communication prepares them for the  many careers that help bridge the gap between scientists and the public. Because  undergraduate students typically do not receive this kind of training in their undergraduate  classrooms, the University of Waterloo Writing and Communication Centre secured funding from eCampus Ontario and worked with partners from the University of Waterloo, from University of  Toronto–Mississauga (UTM), Scarborough (UTSC), and St. George (Health Sciences Writing  Centre) campuses, and from Toronto Metropolitan University to develop four asynchronous  workshops that can be embedded into courses or used for independent learning. Continue reading “Creating an Online Space for Learning Science Communication”

Academia’s ‘Among Us’: A guide to imposter syndrome

Academia's Among Us: A guide to imposter syndrome

Vol. 3 No. 7 (Summer 2022)

This post is from the 2022 CWCA/ACCR annual conference virtual poster session. – Stevie Bell and Brian Hotson, 2022 CWCA/ACCR conference co-chairs

By Ashley Kyne, Simon Fraser University


“Am I good enough?” “Do I belong here?” Have these questions ever plagued your mind? Well, you are not alone. Undergraduate students, graduate students, post-docs, and even your professors (yes, they can feel this way too!) are haunted by feelings of inadequacy. However, how did this syndrome come to be? Imposter syndrome is a feeling of self-doubt or incompetence. Despite your accomplishments, imposter syndrome can be described as that little voice in your head that makes you question your self-worth. Imposter syndrome can be attributed to a pattern that causes academics to doubt their success, feel like a fraud, and perceive themselves as failures. So, if you doubt yourself, even when you are doing everything right, are you sentenced to feeling like an imposter forever? No. There are a few things you can do when you feel like imposter syndrome is creeping up behind you. Namely, turning off “negative self-talk TV,” embracing criticism, avoiding comparison, asking for help, and being kind to yourself. Continue reading “Academia’s ‘Among Us’: A guide to imposter syndrome”

Principles of Inclusive & Antiracist Writing

Vol. 3 No. 8 (Summer 2022)

This post is from the 2022 CWCA/ACCR annual conference virtual poster session. – Stevie Bell and Brian Hotson, 2022 CWCA/ACCR conference co-chairs

By Julia Lane, Simon Fraser University


If you want to write in an inclusive and antiracist way, you have to pay attention to the perspectives, peoples, and groups that might be excluded and even harmed through your writing, even if unintentionally.

  1. Question Assumptions. Part of the power of inclusive and antiracist writing is that it prompts us to shine a light on our assumptions–even ones we’ve never noticed before.
  2. Choose words thoughtfully & carefully. As you question assumptions, you bring new attention to the words you use. Words have power and no two words mean precisely the same thing!
  3. Revise critically. Like all writing, inclusive and antiracist writing benefits from revisions! Seek feedback from those whose experiences differ from yours.
  4. Learn from feedback. When you get critical feedback treat it as a chance to learn and grow. Mistakes are not an excuse to give up or back away from the work.

Continue reading “Principles of Inclusive & Antiracist Writing”

ProTips for Essay Writers: From OWL Handouts to Videos

Image of Stevie Bell, a white woman with cropped hair, and Brian Hotson, a white man with a grey beard, smiling with the text: Pro Tips for Essay Writers

Vol. 3 No. 9 (Summer 2022)

This post is from the 2022 CWCA/ACCR annual conference virtual poster session. – Stevie Bell and Brian Hotson, 2022 CWCA/ACCR conference co-chairs

By Stevie Bell, York University Writing Department & Brian Hotson, Independent Scholar


The digital turn in education, part of the COVID turn, initiated by the pandemic reenergized, recentred, and reoriented asynchronous writing instruction where students engage with writing resources and connect with writing tutors on their schedule. At York University’s writing centre, where Stevie is located, renewed attention is being paid to developing a repertoire of online resources to engage students differently than traditional PDF instructional handouts or webtext pages. Stevie was given a .5 teaching credit in an experimental initiative to develop instructional videos for the Writing Centre and learn about student preferences, engagement, production processes, etc. Of course Stevie invited Brian Hotson, her writing partner, on the adventure. Together, they produced ProTips for Essay Writers. In this piece, we reflect on lessons learned and share some of the behind-the-scenes production workflow, how-tos, and video analytics. Continue reading “ProTips for Essay Writers: From OWL Handouts to Videos”

Writing a conference proposal: A guide

an auditorium filled with people with two presenters

Vol. 3 No. 3 (Winter 2022)

Brian Hotson, CWCA/ACCR 2022 Conference Co-Chair
Stevie Bell, CWCA/ACCR 2022 Conference Co-Chair


If you’ve not written a conference proposal, it’s hard to know where to start and what to write, all while following the conference CFP format. This guide (links below) will provide you with some help as you get your proposal started, into shape, and then submitted. This is a step-by-step guide, leading you through each part of the CFP:

  • Title
  • Detailed abstract
  • Proposal description
  • Type of session
  • References

Provided are instructions on how to structure each section using examples, leading to a final Proposal Description sample. Use it for your own proposal and share it with your colleagues and tutors.

Writing a conference proposal: A guide

2022 CWCA/ACCR Conference CFP – Reckoning with Space & Safety in the COVID Turn

If you need support, please contact the conference co-chairs,
Stevie Bell, stepbell@yorku.ca
Brian Hotson, brw.hotson@gmail.com

“I don’t know, let’s play”: Multimodal design support in the writing centre

the word "Play" in green against a brown backdrop

Vol. 3 No. 2 (Winter 2022)

Editor’s note: This is a Session Reflection. If you have a unique tutoring experience to share, submit your Session Reflection to Brian Hotson cwcr.rccr@gmail.com

Stevie Bell is an associate professor in the Writing Department at York University and CWCR/RCCR co-founder

A sticker with the word "essay" that looks like its meltingWriting centre tutors may be seeing an increase in multimodal writing projects (DWPs) now that students are primarily producing and submitting their work online―at least this is the case for me. Today’s students have the opportunity to use colour, sound, gifs, and video elements to enhance even traditional essays, and these elements are becoming not just common, but often expected. Students are also being assigned creative projects that require them to focus on becoming design-savvy producers of multimodal texts, using design elements and theory that isn’t always in their writing toolbox

Where on campus can students seek help with multimodal projects? In my opinion, writing centres are well positioned to extend the work they do supporting students as they use writing as a tool of thinking and communicating to include multimodal processes that do not prioritize alphabetic/linguistic modes. Writing centre tutors already know the structure of argumentation, the rhetoric of academic writing, and styles and formats required for writing at university or college levels. They also know how to think along with students, as well as to think in and through the tasks, challenges, and blocks that students come to the centre to work through.

Continue reading ““I don’t know, let’s play”: Multimodal design support in the writing centre”

Creating writing centres in neocolonialism

Vol. 3 No. 4 (Fall 2021)

Brian Hotson, Editor, CWCR/RCCR
Stevie Bell, Associate Professor, York University
Guest editor: Lauren Mackenzie

In 2008, the then CWCA/ACCR president participated in “setting up of the first writing centre” in India (Holock, 2009, p. 6) through the University of Ottawa. In a piece in the 2009 CWCA/ACCR Newsletter, Writing into India: Setting up the first Writing Centre in the country, Holock describes his experience at Parvatibai Chowgule College of Arts and Science in Gogol, Goa, India in a travel diary style recounting,

On Friday, June 27, 2008, we step off of our fifteen-hour flight in Mumbai, my boss and I, and immediately feel the weight of our endeavour. It is not only the heat and thickness of the air, but the realization that we have finally arrived to start work on Monday, in a country and an educational system that neither of us have ever been exposed to. (Holock, 2009, p. 6)

Continue reading “Creating writing centres in neocolonialism”

If you could say anything to faculty about academic integrity…

Vol. 3, No. 2 (Fall 2021)

Stephanie Bell, Associate Professor, York University Writing Centre; co-founder, CWCR/RCCR

A clear-cut strategy for undermining the writing centre’s relationship with student writers is to become reporters, adjudicators, or punishers of plagiarism and cheating (Bell, 2018).

In its heavy-handed discourse around academic dishonesty, the institution draws a divide between itself and students. Students arrive on campuses to find themselves positioned as likely criminals, and their work is policed by AI that scans it for infractions. Ironically, the institution’s academic dishonesty rhetoric can so undermine the institution-student relationship that it fosters academically dishonest student behaviour (see Strayhorn, 2012). To fulfill their missions, writing centres must carefully navigate the issue of academic dishonesty and the institution-student divide it constructs. Continue reading “If you could say anything to faculty about academic integrity…”