January 26, 2011

Writing Workshops for January-February

The Writing Center is beginning its writing workshop series for the Spring semester. The following workshops are being offered in January and February 2011.
 Intro to the CWE
This workshop provides a basic overview of the College Writing Exam. It discusses what is involved in the exam, frequently asked questions by students, and gives sample questions and papers.
PCCC Writing Center
(Paterson campus--in the Library)
Mon., January 31, 2:30
Thurs., Feb. 3, 5:30

Preparing for the CWE and Other Essay Exams
This workshop will focus on helping students manage their time when taking a timed essay exam.  It offers strategies for planning the essay and writing within a time constraint so that you maximize abilities and chances of passing the exam.  This is especially helpful for students who have never taken the CWE or who have problems with running out of time or going off topic.  Materials needed:  pen and paper.
PCCC Writing Center
(Paterson campus--in the Library)
Mon., Feb. 7, 5:30
Tues., Feb 8, 2:00

Attacking the Question
Ever sit down to write a paper only to realize you don't even know where to start? The place to begin an essay is with the question. What is being asked of you? What is required in the answer? This workshop will teach you how to attack an essay starting with the question. You'll learn to decode "professor speak" and figure out what's really being asked of you. From there, you'll learn how to formulate and organize an answer.  This workshop will help students taking the CWE to figure out exactly what a question is asking and how to go about answering it.
The focus of this workshop will be topics on the November CWE theme: Consumerism.

If you have a paper that you're struggling with, feel free to bring the topic to the workshop to get some examples of how to get started. Materials needed: pen and paper.
PCCC Writing Center
(Paterson campus--in the Library)
Tues., Feb.15, 5:30
Wed., Feb. 16, 1:00

Proofreading Strategies for Essay Exams
This workshop will help students overcome some of the problems with editing of writing an essay in a timed setting.  This workshop will give you some strategies geared specifically toward timed exams and allow you to notice more of your errors before you turn in the test!  It will be especially helpful for students who are not confident in their writing abilities, haven’t written in a while, or have problems with grammar and editing.
PCCC Writing Center
(Paterson campus--in the Library)
Thurs., Feb. 24, 1:10
Fri., Feb. 25, 5:30

Studying for Exams
This workshop aims to help students prepare for lengthy exams.  It will help students figure out how to organize the information in their notes and readings, understand the broad themes in the course and discover the best study strategies.  If your instructor has handed out a study sheet, please bring it to the workshop.  You can also bring in your lecture notes, textbook and any exams and/or quizzes taken during the semester.
PCCC Writing Center
(Paterson campus--in the Library)
Mon., Feb., 28, 1:10
Tues., March 1, 5:30

For full descriptions of the workshops and a schedule of upcoming workshops for the summer, go to http://pccc.libguides.com/writingcenter and click on the "Student Workshops" tab.
If you have any questions about upcoming workshops or the Writing Center, please contact Elizabeth Nesius at enesius@pccc.edu.

January 25, 2011

Survival Grammar Is Back!

Survival Grammar

Every week Elizabeth Nesius will lead students through a different grammar topic each week.  Students will be provided with new information, review, handouts, and practice materials.  This is a great opportunity to brush up on  grammar or learn it for the first time!  All PCCC students are welcome to attend.  Registration is not required.

Location:  PCCC Writing Center, Paterson campus library

Day/Time:  Every Wednesday, from 5:30-6:30 PM
                    Workshop repeated on Thursday at 1:10

This week's topic is: Parts of Speech

For full descriptions of the workshops and a schedule of upcoming workshops for the summer, go to http://pccc.libguides.com/writingcenter and click on the "Student Workshops" tab.

If you have any questions about the workshop or the Writing Center, please contact Elizabeth Nesius at enesius@pccc.edu.

 We hope to see you there!

January 24, 2011

Getting Help Preparing for the College Writing Exam

There are a number of things you can do to prepare for the PCCC College Writing Exam. Perhaps the most important thing is to prepare early. Doing one of these suggested preparation strategies will make a difference - doing more than one is far more effective.

1. Attend some CWE workshops in the Writing Center. We will review what the test asks, how to prepare your essay and explain how the test is evaluated.

2. PRACTICE! Practice is especially important if more than one semester has passed since the completion of Composition II. There are sample topics and essays available online.

3. Have someone review your practice essays - make an appointment with a tutor from the Writing Center. They can review your essay if you have taken the exam and failed. They can also work with you to prepare for to take the CWE for the first time. Email cwe_prep@pccc.edu, call 973-684-5601, or come to the Writing Center. We are located on the Paterson campus in the library area.

4. Register for the one credit CWE Writing Intensive course (EN117). This course lasts only eight weeks. It is offered at least twice each semester. The final exam for this course is the CWE itself and will be offered on a special date NOT shown on the regular schedule and is only for those who have taken the course.

5. Use PCCC's free eTutoring. You can submit a sample CWE essay to an eTutor and get feedback (up to 3 drafts) on how to improve your writing.

There is a lot of good information about the exam including sample questions and essays at http://pccc.libguides.com/cwe

If you need to meet with a Writing center Consultant, the following hours are available for the Spring 2011 semester.

CWE at the WRITING CENTER at Paterson
9:00 AM - 1:00 PM
12:30 PM - 3:30 PM
4:00 PM - 8:00 PM
4:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Appointments and walk-ins welcome

12:00 PM - 5:30 PM
By appointment only

CWE at the WRITING CENTER at Passaic
12:00 PM - 3:00 PM
10:30 AM - 2:30 PM
Appointments and walk-ins welcome

January 21, 2011

Writing Center Hours for Spring 2011

Welcome back!

The WRITING CENTER at Paterson will be open for students who are in (or have already taken) Writing Intensive courses, and to assist students preparing to take the College Writing Exam every weekday.

10:00 AM - 8:00 PM

9:00 AM - 8:00 PM

10:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Appointments and walk-ins welcome

The WRITING CENTER staff will be at Wanaque on Wednesdays from 12:00 PM - 5:30 PM, by appointment only.

The WRITING CENTER staff will be at the Passaic campus on Wednesdays from 12:00 PM - 3:00 PM and again on Thursdays from 10:30 AM - 2:30 PM in room 113. Appointments and walk-ins are welcome.

January 10, 2011

Writing Intensive Course Development Seminar - January 11-12

This week's (January 11 & 12) Faculty Institute is the second part of the development process for faculty developing math and science WI courses that will be piloted in the Spring or Fall 2011 semesters.

While part 1 focused on developing materials, this institute will focus on reviewing those materials (syllabi, assignments etc.) that have been developed by participants since last summer. In a seminar setting, we will discuss both the plans and methods for implementing them in the classroom during the pilot semester.

We will meet Tuesday and Wednesday from 9 - 3 pm in the Writing Center.

Our agenda includes these areas of discussion:

  • Institute Part One Recap
  • Review of your WI syllabi
  • Incorporating critical thinking into writing assignments and using the CT rubric (Ken Ronkowitz)
  • Incorporating information literacy into writing assignments and using the IL rubric (Ken Karol)
  • Creating your WI course LibGuide and adding content including media resources (hands-on session)
  • Formal and informal writing defined
  • Review of your formal writing assignments
  • Strategies for grading writing as writing (and for content) and grading policies
  • Using the student e-portfolios - technical information, implementation and evaluation (Anita Kumar)
  • WI Course evaluation: reviewing progress during the semester with the team, and by the Task Force

We require participants to bring along the materials from the first summer session (handbook etc.) and all materials for their new WI section – especially the revised syllabus, writing assignments, textbook and any media titles being used.

January 4, 2011

The Writing Initiative Task Force

The Writing Initiative Task Force is a group of administrators and faculty charged with monitoring the creation and assessing the implementation of the Writing Intensive (WI) courses at the college.

As the Initiative is now in its fourth year (of the 5 year grant), this group becomes more important in assuring the sustainability of the Initiative goals beyond the time of the grant.

The group is headed by Greg Fallon, Associate Dean of Learning Resources and the Title V Project Coordinator for the Writing Initiative.

Matters addressed by the Task Force during this past year included:

1. Performance of WI students on CWE (presentation of data by Dr. Gurvinder Khaneja of Institutional Research; positive signs; findings to be shared at fall meeting of all full-time faculty)
2. Number of WI courses developed and to be developed (19 WI courses have been developed thus far, just one short of the number originally planned; Human Growth and Development and Economics are currently being considered; Computer Concepts and Applications needs another trained instructor)
3. Composition I as a pre-requisite (previously, students were enrolling in WI courses without this pre-requisite; the pre-requisite is now in place after intervention by registrar)
4. Need for additional sections of WI courses as well as additional instructors (announced at meetings of departmental chairpersons)
5. Insufficient use of ePortfolios (to increase use, Dr. Kineavy plans to introduce ePortfolios in the required first-year experience class so that students are comfortable with them by the time they take WI courses)
6. Expansion of evaluation committee (at present, WI staff does all of the assessment of student submissions to ePortfolio—plans to include faculty from Gen Ed, Assessment, and College Writing Committees to accommodate increasing number of students)
7. Review of WI courses to maintain WI standards (Task Force responsibility)
8. Alignment of rubrics (currently, the writing rubrics for the College Writing Exam (CWE) and the WI courses are perfectly aligned; Ken Ronkowitz and Elizabeth Nesius have further worked out the alignment of the CWE, WI, and WritePlacer rubrics to show how they correspond for assessment purposes)
9. Getting the word out (various efforts: WI faculty presentations, a dedicated blog, an anthology of student writings, and the branding of the Initiative through the logo and its use on promotional materials)
10. Involvement of General Education Committee (a co-chairperson is a member of the Task Force; the Gen Ed Committee doing inventory of the writing already done in Gen Ed courses; establishing outcomes expected of PCCC students with respect to writing and critical thinking)
11. Involvement of Assessment Committee (the chairperson is a member of the Task Force; the review of writing outcomes assessment for WI courses will fall to this committee)

The current Task Force members are:

1. Dr. Jacqueline Kineavy, Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs
2. Prof. Edward Mosley, Chairperson for the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
3. Ms. Donna Stankiewicz, Assistant Dean of Nursing Education
4. Mr. Todd Sorber, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement and Workforce Development
5. Dr. Gurvinder Khaneja, Executive Director of Institutional Research
6. Mr. Greg Fallon, Associate Dean of Learning Resources & Title V Project Coordinator
7. Mr. Ken Ronkowitz, Director of the Writing Initiative
8. Ms. Elizabeth Nesius, Coordinator of the Writing Center
9. Mr. Ken Karol, Technology Resource Specialist
10. Dr. Ida Greidanus, Professor of Biology
11. Prof. Mark Hillringhouse, Co-Chairperson of the College Writing Committee
12. Prof. Margaret Holland, Co-Chairperson of the College Writing Committee
13. Prof. Alan Mitnick, Chairperson of the English Department
14. Dr. Lonna Murphy, Co-Chairperson of the General Education Committee
15. Dr. Christine Redman-Waldeyer, Chairperson of the Assessment Committee

January 3, 2011

January Seminars for New WI Faculty

This week (January 4 and 5), we will be holding our seminars for new Writing Intensive faculty in the Paterson Writing Center from 9 - 3 pm.

This two-day seminar is for faculty taking on a section of an already developed Writing Intensive course, and teaching WI for the first time

The topics covered over the course of the 2 days will include:
  1. Writing Initiative goals and requirements
  2. The Writing Initiative Teacher's Handbook 
  3. Using the Writing Center
  4. A review of the existing WI course materials: syllabus, assignments etc. and suggestions for revisions and additions.
  5. Using the 3 initiative rubrics for assessment
  6. Components of the formal versus informal writing assignments
  7. Incorporating critical thinking in writing
  8. Incorporating information literacy in writing
  9. Hands-on session using the course LibGuide and making additions to it (links, resources, media objects etc.)
  10. Student portfolios: why we use portfolios, use of the eFolio product, sample student portfolios, grading strategies.
  11. Online support for online course sections and all students.
  12. Using Writing Center tutoring and eTutoring
Information on faculty development in writing at PCCC is at  http://pccc.libguides.com/writing/