Listserv Misgivings and the WcORD

Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 8.25.38 AMThis blog post is courtesy of Patrick Hargon, the Associate Director of the Learning Commons at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. 

If you haven’t checked out the Writing Center Online Research Database, enter a term in the search field at this link. It is like a micro-Google just for writing centers. You can find annotated exchanges from WCenter, links to writing center websites with all of the handouts and videos and resources so many have created, links to journal articles, blogs, podcasts, etc.

Perhaps its most useful function, for me, is that it offers a new site to check whenever I get the feeling that I want to post a question to the WCenter listserv.

Last Friday, as UNK’s Learning Commons neared closing time, I pulled one of our writing tutors aside and asked her to tutor me. She said she would, but I couldn’t judge her. “That’s got to go both ways,” I said, knowing that I was about to drag her into a house of mirrors: I wanted to send a question to the WCenter listserv, and I just needed to verbally release, like static electric discharge, all of the misgivings I cycle through beforehand. Should I this, should I that? Should I not? No, I should not. Okay, just do the thing. Hit send.

I’ve never been browbeaten on a listserv, I’ve never sent a message and lost sleep over it (I haven’t hit “Reply-all” by accident yet), and I’ve never come up with a single rational reason to go through the anxious protocol of searching the archives, writing, deleting, searching the archives again, rewriting, thinking, overthinking, finishing, almost sending, rethinking, etc., before simply hitting send. Furthermore, WCenter has an admirable record for polite responses to questions that have been asked many times before.

The tutor and I looked over recent posts to assess the tone of the salutations, to look at folks’ preferred sign-offs, to just get a feel for the different intonations of queries. We didn’t come up with a coding or classification system or anything, so I have nothing to report from our findings. But it was fun.

After that, she asked, “What are you worried about?”

“Well, creating an international wave of eyerolls throughout higher education,” I said.

She said, “Seriously, what’s the worst thing that could happen?”
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WLN News Round-Up: February 1-14

Here’s some of what has been on the WLN news radar this week:

Small changes can improve teaching (and tutoring!). James M. Lang offers three activities for boosting engagement in the first few minutes of class. These strategies—such as asking what they already know about a subject—can be useful to tutors as well. With many institutions starting up a new semester, now can be a great time to re-examine teaching and tutoring practices! [The Chronicle of Higher Education]

A new book advocates creating a more individualized higher education experience. This article explores the ideas in Todd Rose’s The End of Average: How to Succeed in a World that Values Sameness. In terms of colleges and universities, Rose advocates for less focus on grades and “seat hours” and more student agency. [Times Higher Education]

Teaching and writing for the ear. Like many writing center professionals, Dr. Stuart Sherman believes in the connection between good writing and reading out loud. Complete with sample feedback, this article walks readers through Sherman’s approach to teaching writing, which relies heavily on students writing for the ear. [PC Mag]

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Special Announcement: Introducing WcORD of the Day! This Facebook page, curated by Patrick Hargon, shares daily posts from WcORD, a searchable database of writing center resources. WcORD invites all members of the writing center community to add their own resources and share the database on their websites and social media outlets!

 

WcORD goes public!

Ever feel like the same questions get asked on the listservs and Facebook groups again and again?

Looking for examples of writing center videos?

What articles to read about training programs?

Links to regional writing center groups?

There’s a new solution for that!

The WLN is pleased to announce that WCORD: The Writing Center Online Resource Database is now LIVE.

Associate editor Lee Ann Glowzenski, a key architect of the archive, shares that “WcORD is a community project, and we’re depending on users to help the database to grow. We’d love to see the addition of writing center websites and blogs, links to articles and handouts, videos and multimedia presentations — any and all resources that writing center practitioners and researchers use in their everyday work.”

Mickey Harris agrees. “Join on in! Enter the online resources they have for their centers or that they know about (including the URLs for their WCA organizations). Together, we can make this an invaluable resource for our community.”

Explore and bookmark the WcORD today!