On August 31, 2021, OpenAI posted to their website, Teaching with AI, described as a guide “to accelerate student learning” using ChatGPT. This guide provides prompts to “help educators get started with” ChatGPT. These include prompts for lesson-planning development, creating analogies and explanations, helping “students learn by teaching,” as well as creating “an AI tutor.”
Please join this open, participatory discussion about how writing centres are integrating, responding to, and guiding students and instructors on ChatGPT and similar large-language model (LLM) Artificial Intelligence.
(Chair) Clare Bermingham, PhD
Director, Writing and Communication Centre, University of Waterloo
Brian Hotson, MTS
Senior Manager, Program and Impact Evaluation, Dalhousie University
Michael Cournoyea, PhD
Instructor, Health Sciences Writing Centre, University of Toronto
Zoe Mukura, OCELT
Language Instructor, Saskatchewan Polytechnic
ChatGPT & LLM AI Overview / Q&A
Breakout session 1: Participants self-select based on topics
Breakout session 2: Participants self-select based on topics
Vol. 4, No. 6 (Spring 2023) Brian Hotson, Editor, CWCR/RCCR
Having a baseline foundation is important to building writing and tutoring programs and support for students. This is especially true when technology comes available that dramatically changes not only the way we teach, but the way we think about education. This is the case with CHatGPT and other Large Language Model (LLMs) tools. (Think: ChatGPT is to LLMs as Band Aid is to bandages, or Kleenex is to tissues.)
Liv Marken, Learning Specialist (Writing Centre Coordinator) Writing Centre University of Saskatchewan
In April 2023, I asked writing centre practitioners to answer 5 questions on ChatGPT and their centres’ responses. Over the next month, I’ll post the response. If you have a perspective to offer, please use this form, and I’ll post it here. Brian Hotson, Editor, CWCR/RCCR
What actions, policies, resources, or information has your institution put in place for ChatGPT?
It has been an exciting but challenging term because there has been uncertainty about who would take leadership on the issue. There wasn’t any official guidance issued, but on our academic integrity website, an instructor FAQ was published in early March, and soon after that a student FAQ. Library staff (including me and my colleague Jill McMillan, our graduate writing specialist) co-authored these with a colleague from the teaching support centre. Continue reading “ChatGPT snapshot: University of Saskatchewan”→
Vol. 4, No. 1 (Spring 2023) Brian Hotson, Editor, CWCR/RCCR
A couple months ago, I asked OpenAI‘s ChatGPT to write blog post on writing centres and academic integrity. This week, I asked the new version of ChatGPT to write this piece again. For the old version of GPT, I used this prompt:
Write a five-paragraph blog post about the state of writing centres in Canada, with citations and references. The first paragraph is an overview of Canadian writing centres for 2022. The second paragraph is an overview academic integrity issues in Canada in 2022. The third paragraph is an overview of how academic integrity affects Canadian writing centres. The four paragraph provides a preview of possible academic integrity issues in Canada in 2023. The fifth paragraph is a summation of the first four paragraphs.
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.
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.
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!
Revise critically. Like all writing, inclusive and antiracist writing benefits from revisions! Seek feedback from those whose experiences differ from yours.
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.
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”→
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:
Type of session
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.
Editor’s note: This is a Session Reflection. If you have a unique tutoring experience to share, submit your Session Reflection to Brian Hotson firstname.lastname@example.org
Stevie Bell is an associate professor in the Writing Department at York University and CWCR/RCCR co-founder
Writing 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.
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…”→
This three-part series looks at how the pandemic affected both graduate student writers and graduate student writing support.We speak to Jill McMillan, a Learning Specialist at the University of Saskatchewan, and Nadine Fladd, a Writing and Multimodal Communication Specialist at the University of Waterloo.
Part I: In the Thick of It
Here, in part one, we learn about Jill’s and Nadine’s roles and work, and how the pandemic has supported intercampus collaboration and better use of resources to benefit the overall student experience.
Liv: Thank you, Nadine and Jill, for speaking with me about your experiences this year.
Could you tell me a bit about who you are and what you do at your institutions?
Nadine: Sure. I am one of several Writing and Multimodal Communication Specialists at the Writing and Communication Centre at UWaterloo. My role, in particular, focuses on supporting graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty, so a lot of the work that I do focuses on developing programs for graduate students, such as Dissertation Boot Camp, a program called Rock Your Thesis that is designed to help students start their dissertation or thesis writing process on the right foot, and orchestrating and coordinating writing groups and writing communities. In between these activities, I also do a handful of appointments with grad students, postdocs, and faculty each week.
Jill: I’m a Learning Specialist, and I work with Student Learning Services. And yes, there’s a lot of overlap in terms of Nadine’s and my dossiers; there is a focus on programming—facilitating workshops, designing new workshops, trying to think of new initiatives that are going to have value for our graduate student population. I’ve also been hosting virtual writing groups and offer one-to-one appointments, though the majority of the one-to-one support comes from our amazing writing help centre. I also offer a course for international grad students. But otherwise, the focus is on designing new programs, creating new initiatives, trying to connect to other campus partners, and thinking of how we can pool resources, which I think is especially important these days as we just try and figure out how we can offer support without replicating services.
Liv: Have either of you have you found that moving online has helped to reduce that duplication and increase communication between communication units?
Nadine: Maybe, but I feel like every university does have that compartmentalizing of units.
Liv: Has that lessened during the pandemic, stayed the same, or intensified?
Nadine: I think that the Writing and Communication Centre had pretty strong collaborative relationships with campus partners before the pandemic, and that has been a blessing. What I’ve seen is more communication between those campus partners and each other than I’ve seen in the past. So, for example, our Student Success Office has traditionally hosted an orientation for graduate students and during the pandemic the Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs office helped design and took the lead on building an infrastructure for an online orientation program and has since handed that program over to the Student Success Office. So there’s collaboration there that didn’t exist before that I think has been really useful.
Liv: That’s positive. Jill, what have you noticed?
Jill: It’s certainly helped me as someone who is relatively new to campus to make some of those connections a bit more easily. Of course, you still encounter some of these instances where there is duplication popping up, but then you reach out and make that connection. And so, it’s possible that that duplication will eventually turn into a collaboration at a future point. So, I think that in some ways I do recognize that there have been some strange benefits to how everything has happened over the last year in terms of the shift to remote teaching and learning. I think it really has forced people to think, “oh, how do we make use of the limited resources that are currently available to maximize the student experience?”
Nadine: We have an incentive system. So, students have a digital coffee card that they can fill out every time they attend a writing session. And when you’ve attended 12 writing sessions, you earn a mug that has a #WaterlooWrites logo on it. We see a lot of repeat members in our writing community, and people get to know each other and talk to each other during the breaks and help each other. We see a lot of regulars in those communities for sure.
Liv: Interesting. Now, in terms of your own work, how have you kept up professionally or what’s really helped to you in your job?
Nadine: I’m lucky because unlike a lot of writing centres, I have a team I work with of full-time permanent staff who do the same work I do. I’ve learnt a lot from other members on the team as we navigated this together. A lot of my professional development this past year has been technological. One of my colleagues, Elise Vist, our digital guru on the team, has taught me how to do things like build online asynchronous workshops through Rise 360, and so now we can build these really slick looking modules full of videos and interactive elements. And that’s not something that I ever would have even considered trying to attempt a year and a half ago. It wasn’t on my radar.
So, in some ways, the pandemic has been a push to expand my range of teaching tools. And in a lot of ways, at the beginning of the pandemic, we were focused on trying to recreate what exists in our in-person programming in an online format. And I think that worked for a while. But what students have needed after a year in isolation and after a year of video calls has changed. I think my approach to teaching has really gotten back to the very basics of starting with what is the goal, what is the objective and building from there rather than trying to transfer an in-person equivalent to an online environment.
Jill: We have an academic integrity tutorial now and we’re currently just beginning to work on some new writing modules. So, you know, it’s been good to learn all about Panopto, WebEx and other online platforms.
In part two, posted next week, Jill and Nadine share their thoughts on accessibility, especially around international student writing support.
Interviewing gives students greater intimacy with an event or subject in a way not otherwise possible with secondary research. In interview assignments, students connect first-hand to an individual’s accounts of, for instance, their participation in a protest event or reflections on their career in ways that support their understanding of course content. Interviewing is a process that is very much like writing; it involves stages of researching, outlining, writing, rewriting, and editing. For this reason, writing specialists and tutors situated within locations of writing support have much to offer students as they prepare for and write about interviews. Continue reading “Supporting students for interview assignments”→