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Writing groups workshop

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UWC Presentations

on 13 October 2017

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Transcript of Writing groups workshop

What are some of the benefits you, personally, expect to get from a writing group?
Sell you on the benefit of writing groups

Describe the elements of writing groups

Invite you to form and participate in writing groups

Many graduate students don't just need to produce a thesis or a dissertation, but also reviews, articles and presentations (Kamler & Thomson 2006; Lee & Aitchison 2011).

There's significant pressure from universities for graduate students and faculty to produce more work (McGrail et al. 2006; Rocco & Hatcher 2011; Lee & Danby 2012; Group of Eight 2013).

It can seem hard (even close to impossible) to find the time to write what you need (Hemmings & Kay 2010; Murray, Steckley & MacLeon 2011).

Some dissertation advisers don't have time/ability/interest in teaching writing skills (Catterall et al. 2011; Aitchison & Pare 2012).

Those who are writing in another language, in another methodology or in another discipline are especially challenged (Guerin et al. 2013).

Why Writing Groups? The Challenges:
Get work done and done well (Murray 2005; Moore 2003; Rocco & Hatcher 2011).
Build community and peer-review skills (Boud & Lee 2005; Caffarella & Barnett 2000).
Learn how to do scholarly writing (Lee & Boud 2003; Kamler & Thomson 2008).
Develop an identity as a scholar (Guerin 2013; Lee & Boud 2003; Cuthburt et al. 2009).

Writing Groups
Provide Solutions!

Every week? Every two weeks? Every month?
What's realistic for your writing schedule and life?
Sara Saylor
UWC Graduate
Writing Coordinator
Our Contact Info
Additional Resources
Elements of Writing Groups
But, Okay, You're Here
What are the challenges you anticipate about regular participation in a writing group?
Writing Groups

PCL Learning Commons
PCL 2.330

Take 3 minutes and really think about what you want from a writing group. Be as specific as you can. Write down notes.
Take 3 minutes. Be as specific as possible. Write down notes.
What would you need to have or do to surmount those challenges?
Take 3 minutes. Be as specific as possible. Write down notes.
Is this writing group just for dissertations? Is it for job materials? Creative writing? Anything?
Commit to the duration: is this a semester-long group or just a couple of weeks? Is it just until job materials are due?
Meeting Length
How long you meet will have a lot to do with what you can accomplish; you may not have time for 6 people to share their writing in one hour; two hours might be draining.
Who is in charge? And what does this look like? Do you just schedule meetings and remind people or direct writing activities?
Will you meet on campus? A coffee shop? What place will have the materials and atmosphere you need?
Who can join? Just grad students? Do they have to be in the same major or is variety okay? Do they have to be writing their dissertations?
Will you email mid-week reminders to keep writing or confirm the location just before the meeting? Who emails?
What time of the day/week works best for you? Be realistic--if you're a night owl, you won't wake up for a 7 am group!
Between-Meeting Activities
What will you do between meetings? Do you have to prepare work for other people to read? Do you make written comments for them? Do you commit to write every day you don't have a meeting?
In-Meeting Activities
What happens when you meet? Do you write quietly together or share your writing? Do you start with a writing exercise, like brainstorming, before working? Do you eat lunch while you work? Listen to music?

What does the department want in a dissertation?
What's an appropriate scope of work to do in a dissertation?
What would be a good publication venue for your work?
What are the genre conventions (e.g. format, citation) for your discipline?
What kinds of moves to scholars in your field have to make?
Things Your Adviser Does Best
Things Peers Can Help With

Is the argument clear and coherent to an outsider?
Is what you're trying to say matching up with what you're saying?
Is your work clear and coherent?
Can you explain your work to an outsider? (Very important as you get close to applying for a job.)
Where might you search for more information (especially subject librarians!)?
UWC Resources

Weekly Writing Groups
45- minute consultations
Instructional Workshops
Saturday Writing Retreats
PCL Learning Commons Resources

The Public Speaking Center

UT Librarians by appointment

UT Libraries "Chat with a librarian"

The University Writing Center
Full transcript