Working with Writing Fellows

Plan Carefully

Think about the purpose for the assignment, specifically what you hope the students will learn through doing it, and how you will evaluate that learning.

  • Make sure students know what “critical task” they’ll have to perform (analysis, synthesis, summary, research)
  • Describe that critical task to the Writing Fellows
  • Make your evaluation process clear so that both the students and the Fellows know what to expect.  Make sure any TAs understand how the Fellows work with your students and keep the Fellows’ participation in mind when grading student essays.

Decide on distribution details

Although you will likely include the due dates for major assignments in the course syllabus, it is probably best to give the students and Fellows detailed instructions for an important writing assignment on a separate one-page handout at the time they should begin work on the paper. Take a few minutes to discuss the assignment in class.

  • Give that assignment prompt to your Senior Fellow
  • Make yourself available if the Fellows have questions

Include all important information

Include enough guidance to help students produce a strong paper, while still allowing for originality in their final drafts. Generally, you will want to include some discussion of the following: purpose; audience; genre-specific tips (i.e. how to write a book review); ideas for content; suggestions for research, if appropriate; and guidance on manuscript formatting. Be sure to include the due dates and an explanation of your grading criteria.

  • Make this available to the Fellows so that they can best help your students meet your expectations.

Working with Fellows

◦       Plan at least two substantive writing assignments to be Fellowed.

◦       Write detailed assignment and grading criteria for students and Fellows.

◦       Plan for each paper to have a good draft submitted for Fellowing two weeks before the final draft is due.

Meet with Fellows

Contact your Senior Writing Fellow and schedule a time to meet with your Writing Fellows. Give them syllabi, written assignments descriptions and, if possible, a quality sample paper. Explain your goals for writing in the course, the kinds of criteria you use in grading, etc.

Introduce Writing Fellows

Introduce the Fellows to your class early in the semester. Divide class among the Fellows. They will explain the program and pass out letters of introduction.

Facilitate First Fellows

Collect first submissions. The Senior Writing Fellow will pick them up and disperse them to the other Fellows. One week later, the Fellows will return the papers with detailed comments and set up appointments for individual consultations.

Meet with Fellows Again

After you have graded the first set of papers, meet again with your Writing Fellows. The Senior Fellow should contact you to set this up. Give feedback on what worked and what didn’t. You might want to ask them for feedback on the assignment and their perceptions of how well the students understood your expectations.

Facilitate Second Fellowing

Collect second submissions.  As with the first paper, the Fellows will return the papers with detailed comments and set up appointments for individual consultations.

Evaluate Program

The Fellows will bring evaluation forms for you and your students. Please respond candidly so we can continue to improve the program.

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