Staying Networked: Writing Centers, Social Media, and Pandemic Shifts

Covid, Higher Education, Technology, The Online Writing Center, Writing Centers

By Amanda May—My investment in writing center social media usage and non-usage grew out of my personal and professional social media practice. I still remember going to the Southeastern Writing Center Association’s 2016 conference and meeting Molly Wright, who ran the Facebook group Writing Center Network. At the time, that was my only connection to the writing center field because I was the sole writing center employee on campus. Molly convinced me to join Twitter because of #wcchat, a biweekly professional event that writing center administrators and tutors used to discuss writing center issues. […]

Continue Reading

Ongoingness: Reflections from within a Pandemic

Graduate Students, Higher Education, The Online Writing Center, Writing Center Academic Staff, Writing Center History, Writing Center Tutors

By Jennifer Conrad—When we entered the spaces of online learning a year ago, few of us could have guessed what the time would hold. On the one hand, this past year has been one of shared experience: all of us are finding our way through a global pandemic, with all of its uncertainty, political and social unrest, boredom, loneliness, and other associated experiences. On the other hand, this time has been one that is deeply individual: each of us passing time in our quarantine “bubbles.”

Continue Reading

When a Dean Writes: Celebrating Black & African American Campus Writers for Black History Month

Diversity and Inclusion, Higher Education, Social Justice Committee

By Gabrielle Isabel Kelenyi, on behalf of the Writing Center’s Antiracism Standing Committee, and featuring Dean Eric Wilcots—Writing happens. It happens everywhere and all the time, even when we’re not writing an essay. Furthermore, writing is important because we use it to communicate important ideas and information, to express ourselves, to make the particular more universal, to reach out and connect with one another. […]

Continue Reading

Spotlighting Our Instructors’ Dissertation Projects

Graduate Students, Student Voices, Writing Center Academic Staff, Writing Center Tutors

By Ellen Cecil-Lemkin—Just last month, I was hired as a Faculty Associate for the UW-Madison Writing Center, and I could not be more excited to join this amazing team of administrators and instructors! Joining a writing center team, in a lot of ways, feels like coming home. I started my journey in writing studies after working as an undergraduate writing consultant at the University of Central Florida […]

Continue Reading

Revisiting Grammarly: An Imperfect Tool for Final Editing

Multilingual Writers, Technology

By Dorothy Mayne—As I entered the Undergraduate Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for my shift as a tutor in the writing center one day in the fall of 2015, I noticed a new and overwhelming number of flyers and posters for Grammarly, the automated written corrective feedback (AWCF) software. As the flyers purported, students could use Grammarly to help “perfect” their writing. […]

Continue Reading

Introducing the WAC Program’s Online Writing Toolkit

Technology, Writing Across the Curriculum

By Jon Isaac—Last March, like every other instructor in the country, I shifted my course—a once-weekly graduate course on writing pedagogy—from in-person to entirely online. Along with the inevitable technological glitches, I also had to attend to the constantly-evolving conversations happening in and beyond higher education circles about rethinking expectations, student engagement, community-building, and evaluation. The questions that ran through my head as I imagined how my course would proceed for the final two months of the semester may sound familiar to you: Should I transition to entirely asynchronous instruction and just use online discussions on Canvas? Should I decrease the word limits of assignments and expectations for student engagement? How could our class possibly maintain the sense of community we had in person?

Continue Reading

Blogs Can Create Community Among Students in Courses Across the Curriculum

Classes, Collaborative Learning, Higher Education, Technology, Writing Across the Curriculum

By Annette Vee—Like every other teacher in higher education right now, I’m navigating the new terrain of socially distanced, online, hybrid or hyflex teaching due to our global pandemic. I’m also a writing program administrator, which means that I share some responsibility to help other teachers navigate this terrain as well. Conscious of the labor issues of instructors preparing new classes in flex, hybrid or online contexts, I’m digging into my online toolbox to share strategies that might work for others in this context and for the future, after the pandemic. The best little tool I have for teaching online or in hybrid formats is a class blog. […]

Continue Reading

Reflecting on a Virtual Semester

Collaborative Learning, Community Writing Assistance, Diversity and Inclusion, Events, Higher Education, Madison Writing Assistance, Outreach, Peer Tutoring, Social Justice, Writing Center Workshops, Writing Fellows, Writing Groups

From Chrissy Widmayer—Looking back on the Writing Center’s Fall 2020 semester, I am awed by all that we have been able to do. Alongside our students, we grappled every day with new challenges posed by the pandemic, adapting to an entirely online slate of services this semester, and sought to maintain the high level of professionalism we always offer. I am grateful for the patience our students have shown as we’ve adjusted to our new methods of teaching and so pleased with the reciprocal culture of care the Writing Center has fostered this semester. […]

Continue Reading

NaNoWriMo & AcWriMo: A Month-Long Celebration of Writing is Just the Beginning

Community Writing Assistance, Diversity and Inclusion, Events, Madison Writing Assistance, Outreach, Writing Centers, Writing Groups

By Gabrielle Isabel Kelenyi—What comes to mind when you think of the Writing Center? Perhaps you think of a place where you can receive help with your writing; a place where you can take your writing to the next level; a place where you can brainstorm ideas for a first draft, get feedback on a second draft, and put the finishing touches on a final draft… before submitting it to be evaluated by a professor, a TA, an admissions committee, a potential supervisor. That is, the Writing Center is typically thought of as a place where writers can receive short-term and long-term assistance with academic writing. But what if the Writing Center could be more? […]

Continue Reading

“Focus on the Now,” or Embodiment in a Virtual Dissertation Writing Camp

Graduate Students, Higher Education

By Calley Marotta and Jennifer Conrad—In May of 2020, two months after the sudden jump to online-only instruction necessitated by COVID-19, our writing center held its first virtual Dissertation Writing Camp. Co-sponsored by UW-Madison’s Graduate School and facilitated by Writing Center instructors, the central goals of this camp have always been to support writing and its production during a compressed timeline and to provide dissertators with a community of fellow graduate student writers engaged in the same effort. The decision to host this long-running camp online rather than in person felt provisional, and yet necessary amid so much upheaval.

Continue Reading

Staying Networked: Writing Centers, Social Media, and Pandemic Shifts


Covid, Higher Education, Technology, The Online Writing Center, Writing Centers

By Amanda May—My investment in writing center social media usage and non-usage grew out of my personal and professional social media practice. I still remember going to the Southeastern Writing Center Association’s 2016 conference and meeting Molly Wright, who ran the Facebook group Writing Center Network. At the time, that was my only connection to the writing center field because I was the sole writing center employee on campus. Molly convinced me to join Twitter because of #wcchat, a biweekly professional event that writing center administrators and tutors used to discuss writing center issues. […]

March 30, 2021

Ongoingness: Reflections from within a Pandemic


Graduate Students, Higher Education, The Online Writing Center, Writing Center Academic Staff, Writing Center History, Writing Center Tutors

By Jennifer Conrad—When we entered the spaces of online learning a year ago, few of us could have guessed what the time would hold. On the one hand, this past year has been one of shared experience: all of us are finding our way through a global pandemic, with all of its uncertainty, political and social unrest, boredom, loneliness, and other associated experiences. On the other hand, this time has been one that is deeply individual: each of us passing time in our quarantine “bubbles.”

March 16, 2021

When a Dean Writes: Celebrating Black & African American Campus Writers for Black History Month


Diversity and Inclusion, Higher Education, Social Justice Committee

By Gabrielle Isabel Kelenyi, on behalf of the Writing Center’s Antiracism Standing Committee, and featuring Dean Eric Wilcots—Writing happens. It happens everywhere and all the time, even when we’re not writing an essay. Furthermore, writing is important because we use it to communicate important ideas and information, to express ourselves, to make the particular more universal, to reach out and connect with one another. […]

February 23, 2021

Spotlighting Our Instructors’ Dissertation Projects


Graduate Students, Student Voices, Writing Center Academic Staff, Writing Center Tutors

By Ellen Cecil-Lemkin—Just last month, I was hired as a Faculty Associate for the UW-Madison Writing Center, and I could not be more excited to join this amazing team of administrators and instructors! Joining a writing center team, in a lot of ways, feels like coming home. I started my journey in writing studies after working as an undergraduate writing consultant at the University of Central Florida […]

February 9, 2021

Revisiting Grammarly: An Imperfect Tool for Final Editing


Multilingual Writers, Technology

By Dorothy Mayne—As I entered the Undergraduate Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for my shift as a tutor in the writing center one day in the fall of 2015, I noticed a new and overwhelming number of flyers and posters for Grammarly, the automated written corrective feedback (AWCF) software. As the flyers purported, students could use Grammarly to help “perfect” their writing. […]

January 26, 2021

Introducing the WAC Program’s Online Writing Toolkit


Technology, Writing Across the Curriculum

By Jon Isaac—Last March, like every other instructor in the country, I shifted my course—a once-weekly graduate course on writing pedagogy—from in-person to entirely online. Along with the inevitable technological glitches, I also had to attend to the constantly-evolving conversations happening in and beyond higher education circles about rethinking expectations, student engagement, community-building, and evaluation. The questions that ran through my head as I imagined how my course would proceed for the final two months of the semester may sound familiar to you: Should I transition to entirely asynchronous instruction and just use online discussions on Canvas? Should I decrease the word limits of assignments and expectations for student engagement? How could our class possibly maintain the sense of community we had in person?

January 12, 2021

Blogs Can Create Community Among Students in Courses Across the Curriculum


Classes, Collaborative Learning, Higher Education, Technology, Writing Across the Curriculum

By Annette Vee—Like every other teacher in higher education right now, I’m navigating the new terrain of socially distanced, online, hybrid or hyflex teaching due to our global pandemic. I’m also a writing program administrator, which means that I share some responsibility to help other teachers navigate this terrain as well. Conscious of the labor issues of instructors preparing new classes in flex, hybrid or online contexts, I’m digging into my online toolbox to share strategies that might work for others in this context and for the future, after the pandemic. The best little tool I have for teaching online or in hybrid formats is a class blog. […]

December 29, 2020

Reflecting on a Virtual Semester


Collaborative Learning, Community Writing Assistance, Diversity and Inclusion, Events, Higher Education, Madison Writing Assistance, Outreach, Peer Tutoring, Social Justice, Writing Center Workshops, Writing Fellows, Writing Groups

From Chrissy Widmayer—Looking back on the Writing Center’s Fall 2020 semester, I am awed by all that we have been able to do. Alongside our students, we grappled every day with new challenges posed by the pandemic, adapting to an entirely online slate of services this semester, and sought to maintain the high level of professionalism we always offer. I am grateful for the patience our students have shown as we’ve adjusted to our new methods of teaching and so pleased with the reciprocal culture of care the Writing Center has fostered this semester. […]

December 15, 2020

NaNoWriMo & AcWriMo: A Month-Long Celebration of Writing is Just the Beginning


Community Writing Assistance, Diversity and Inclusion, Events, Madison Writing Assistance, Outreach, Writing Centers, Writing Groups

By Gabrielle Isabel Kelenyi—What comes to mind when you think of the Writing Center? Perhaps you think of a place where you can receive help with your writing; a place where you can take your writing to the next level; a place where you can brainstorm ideas for a first draft, get feedback on a second draft, and put the finishing touches on a final draft… before submitting it to be evaluated by a professor, a TA, an admissions committee, a potential supervisor. That is, the Writing Center is typically thought of as a place where writers can receive short-term and long-term assistance with academic writing. But what if the Writing Center could be more? […]

November 24, 2020

“Focus on the Now,” or Embodiment in a Virtual Dissertation Writing Camp


Graduate Students, Higher Education

By Calley Marotta and Jennifer Conrad—In May of 2020, two months after the sudden jump to online-only instruction necessitated by COVID-19, our writing center held its first virtual Dissertation Writing Camp. Co-sponsored by UW-Madison’s Graduate School and facilitated by Writing Center instructors, the central goals of this camp have always been to support writing and its production during a compressed timeline and to provide dissertators with a community of fellow graduate student writers engaged in the same effort. The decision to host this long-running camp online rather than in person felt provisional, and yet necessary amid so much upheaval.

November 10, 2020