Skype Conversation, Mon, 9/19


Here are some issues that people have suggested we discuss today:

  • Balancing or linking classroom activities (Marion, Luke)
  • Time management: structure vs. improvisation (Alex)
  • Setting up workshops (Luke)

Fastwrite: What else would you like us to talk about today? You can either jot down a question or idea on paper, or perhaps even post it as a comment on this post.

Ideas for our next conversation (Mon, 10/17)

Over the next few weeks, please feel free to let me know what you’d like us to talk about by either:

  • Commenting on this post
  • Posting a reflection of your own
  • Sending me an email

My own suggestion: Would there be any interest in sharing a limited number of student drafts to discuss either (a) responding toward revision, or (b) grading?





September Post – Pedagogical Initiations

So far things have been going fairly well. Students are talking about the potentially uncomfortable topics of the readings dealing with sexuality in mature ways and asking intriguing questions. I’m pleasantly surprised by their willingness to engage in discussions about reading and writing at 8am (with some gentle nudging). Like in Luke’s post, student questions and responses are helping me to refine the language I use in giving assignments or explaining a concept.

Here’s what I’m wondering about –

I’ve been doing a good deal of group/pair work in class – both analyzing passages and responding to each other’s writing. Students seem to be inwardly groaning when we do this and their desire for a straight lecture and for me to “explain” what everything means is, at times, almost palpable. I guess I’m probably worried myself about them thinking that I’m sloughing too much of the responsibility for interpretation onto them. I know there’s no magic formula for the ratio of group work to class discussion to lecture, but I am trying to find a balance that makes me feel comfortable and serves the goals of the class.

Course Sites

Here are recent drafts of some of the R&C courses currently being developed by the members of this seminar:

UCB 2016
2016 Seminar in the Art of Teaching Writing



Seminar, Fri, 6/10

Keeping This Conversation Going 

Reflections on This Seminar

Our hope is to hold another version of this seminar in June 2017, so we would very much appreciate your help as we refine and move forward with this project. Could you please do some reflective writing for about 15 minutes in which you respond to any or all of the following questions:

  • What should we make sure to continue to do?
  • What might we do more of?
  • What could we perhaps do differently?

You don’t need to put your name on your document if you don’t want to. Please email or hand your reflection to John Paulas. He will organize them for Ramona and me to review.


Please take an hour to do some more work on your course materials. I will be wandering about the room and happy to advise about scheduling, WordPress, and other logistics. At the end of the hour, I’ll ask you to email me the link to your site, so I can project it onscreen. I’ll then ask each of you to speak informally about for two minutes (but absolutely no more!) about the theme of your course and a writing project that you plan to assign students in it.Then we’ll have our arcade.


Have your laptop open with your course website displayed. Turn your screen to the middle of the room. Walk around, see what people are doing, and talk to them about it.

Last Thoughts From Me

I thought this week was at once exhausting and invigorating. I’m excited by the courses you are designing, and I think Berkeley is lucky to have you! Please don’t hesitate to contact me in the coming weeks and months. I’m eager to keep in touch.

Thanks for your work!



Seminar, Wed, 6/08



Setting up writing workshops

Workshop: Writing Projects

  • How would you describe the voice of the author in this text? How would you describe the stance the author (teacher) takes towards their readers (students)?
  • What terms of value appear in the text? What is said or suggested about how this writing will be evaluated?

To Do

Choose a WordPress template for your course website. Use Pages to create the sections of your syllabus. Use Widgets to post course info, contact, Creative Commons, search, etc.

Some examples:








Seminar, Tues, 6/07

Questions From Monday

How to negotiate between

  • Disciplinary methods and student interests
  • Close reading and writing
  • Reading examples and reading theory
  • Reading difficult or accessible texts

How and when to

  • Introduce non-majors to field
  • Share student writing

How to move beyond

  • Summary to analysis
  • Excitement about discipline to excitement about student writing

Course Overview/Schedules

Trade overviews with a colleague. Try to read their document from the point of view of a first-year student. What else might the teacher tell you about:

  • What you are going to do as a writer?
  • Why you’re going to do it? How this work is work interesting or useful?
  • What the pace or rhythm of the semester will be?

Composing Writing Projects

Working in Class With Student Writing (slides)

To Do

Draft one of the main writing projects for your course. Bring five copies of it and your course overview to seminar tomorrow.