University of Wisconsin–Madison

Events & Workshops

These workshops are open to UW-Madison graduate teaching assistants, instructional staff, and faculty, and are offered free of charge. This series of workshops focuses on various approaches for improving teaching and learning with writing. Topics include Creating and Sequencing Effective Writing Assignments, Assessment in the Age of COVID, Writing Recommendation Letters, Working with Multilingual Writers and Fostering their Success, and Responding to and Evaluating Student Writing.

Creating and Sequencing Effective Writing Assignments
Thursday, November 12, 3:00 – 4:30 PM Register Here
What can you do to get great work from your students? Design great assignments! In this workshop, we’ll share five proven strategies for designing writing assignments in any discipline and for sequencing those assignments to accomplish course goals and outcomes. We’ll also discuss samples of effective writing assignments and consider how assignment design can help you respond to students’ work more efficiently. And you will leave with an initial draft of a writing assignment for your classes.

Assessment in the Age of COVID
Thursday, December 3, 12:00-1:30 PM Register Here
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school shutdowns, conversations around equity in assessment practices are more necessary than ever. In this offering from the Writing Across the Curriculum program, participants will learn about alternative writing assessment practices—like contract grading or “ungrading—that they can incorporate into their classroom writing pedagogy.

Writing Recommendation Letters
Tuesday, October 13, 12:00-1:30 PM Register Here
Do you feel unprepared when asked to write letters of recommendation for your students? Are you uncertain about how much to say, how many details to include, or what tone to take? In this workshop, we’ll look at a sample of letters and we’ll offer advice about writing letters that are honest and effective.

Working with Multilingual Writers and Fostering Their Success
Tuesday, October 27, 2:00-3:30 PM Register Here
In this workshop, we’ll discuss strategies and approaches for helping multilingual students (for whom English is a second language) succeed with writing tasks in your discipline-specific courses. First, we’ll consider the various pedagogical philosophies about evaluating and assessing multilingual students’ written work, with a particular focus on the tension between upholding academic standards while allowing for some non-standard English. We’ll then articulate best practices for creating successful writing assignments and responding to students’ work, with an emphasis on how to determine errors to mark and how to formulate feedback that will help students revise. Finally, we’ll look at models of effective feedback and explore how online programs can help writers assess their own work and correct patterns of error.

Responding to and Evaluating Student Writing (Part 1): Maximizing Your Time with Conferences & Peer Review (offered by request)
Research on writing across the disciplines shows that instructors can save time and enhance student engagement by facilitating discussions about student writing in-progress. This workshop outlines two effective and manageable approaches for doing so: (1) one-to-one conferencing and (2) peer review. We’ll discuss how to prepare for both activities and highlight best practices for helping students develop their ideas, plan revisions, and offer constructive feedback to peers. Finally, we’ll look at successful models from across the university, and participants will leave with a plan for integrating conferencing and peer review into a course.

Responding to and Evaluating Student Writing… Without Getting Buried under the Paper Load (Part 2) (offered by request)
This workshop focuses on giving feedback that supports students in the writing process. We’ll look at current research about instructor feedback and practice different forms of responding effectively and efficiently to student papers. We’ll also explore various tools for evaluating student writing in Canvas, UW-Madison’s learning management system. Participants will leave with a deeper understanding of Canvas’ SpeedGrader tool, which can be used to annotate drafts, create rubrics for writing assignments, and respond efficiently to short writing assignments, even in large lecture classes. Before the workshop wraps up, there will be time for you to plan for using Canvas in your own classes.

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