Effective Practices in Online Writing Instruction workshop

On August 6, 2020, Beth Bensen (Reynolds Community College) and Derek Mueller (Virginia Tech) led participants in a showcase of best practices in online writing instruction. Forty-four (44) participants from 15 colleges, universities, and high schools (Dual Enrollment) participated in the workshop to discuss course design, learning management systems (Canvas), and other challenges and opportunities common for teaching and learning remotely.

Beth describes the various modes of content delivery for an online course.

Recurring themes across the workshop included the importance of establishing open lines of communication between instructors and students in online settings. Many participants noted various methods of pedagogical delivery beyond email (such as video and interactive presentations) to help students engage with course material. Establishing a consistent schedule for when work would both be available and assignments were due was noted as an important methods for building a “course routine” for students. For example, always making course content available on a Friday (so that early birds have an extra weekend) and then always making work due the following Sunday at the same time each week allows students to more easily to adapt the class to their schedule. The full slideshow can be accessed here.

The last 25 minutes of the workshop was dedicated to breakout rooms in which participants discussed concerns they had for the upcoming semester and strategies for adapting to them.

Thank you to all of you who attended and participated! Great representation from schools across Virginia!

WAVA July meeting updates

The WAVA executive board met over Zoom on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 to discuss the organization and its role during the upcoming semester. Topics discussed included placement practices at institutions across Virginia, effective practices in online writing instruction, anti-racist pedagogical practices, and a state-level higher education policy analyst position.

Placement practices at institutions across Virginia

On Tues., September 22 from 4-5 p.m, Kristi Murray Costello (Old Dominion) and Cheri Lemieux Spiegel (Northern Virginia Community College) will lead participants in a discussion of writing placement practices, problems, and opportunities. The interactive session will begin with brief introductions of practices being used in the region and then move into open discussion and problem solving.

We have set up a Google Sheet to collect information about placement practices in VA both to inform our upcoming session and to serve as a resource for folks who are interested in placement. To this end, we hope that you will visit the sheet and include information for your institution: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1bjGpcV8qGNO7nZzDkfeomx4Qaq7sI8RVitzxUeoV0Qg/edit?usp=sharing

Effective practices in online writing instruction

Beth Bensen (Reynolds CC) and Derek Mueller (Virginia Tech) will lead participants in a showcasing of best practices in online writing instruction. The interactive session will include discussion of course design, learning management systems (i.e., Canvas), and other challenges and opportunities common for teaching and learning remotely. The workshop will be held online on August 6, 2020 from 10:00-11:00.

Anti-racist pedagogical practices

WAVA has reached out to Asao B. Inoue at Arizona State University and asked him to host a discussion via Zoom about anti-racist pedagogical practices. More details will be forthcoming.

State-level higher education policy analyst position

In line with other Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA) affiliates, WAVA is in the process of developing state-level higher education policy analyst position. The WAVA higher education policy analyst will monitor education policies in and beyond the Commonwealth of Virginia that may have bearing on writing programs, writing instruction, or the standing of students who enroll in writing classes at colleges or universities in Virginia. A call for nominees will be sent out in the future when the position description is finalized.

WAVA Ratified as CWPA Affiliate

On Monday, May 4, 2020, the Writing Across Virginia Affiliate (WAVA) was formally, officially approved by the Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA) Executive Board. CWPA President Mark Blaauw-Hara (North Central Michigan College) announced the approval of the organization’s newest regional affiliate, which was supported unanimously by members of the executive board.

WAVA supports the work of writing programs, instructors, administrators, and students in post-secondary institutions, undertaking initiatives designed to support these and other higher education stakeholders across the Commonwealth of Virginia. As an affiliate, we consider writing programs–and the interests of writing programs–broadly to include first-year writing, writing centers, undergraduate majors and minors, writing across the curriculum, writing in the disciplines, and graduate programs. For more information about WAVA or to be added to the organization’s membership roster and listserv, please contact Cheri Lemieux Spiegel (cheri.lemieux@gmail.com) and Kristi Murray Costello (kcostell@odu.edu).

WAVA Election Updates

The results of the first WAVA election were posted to the organization mailing list on July 28, 2019 by Kevin DePew (ODU), elections officer. While there was no webmaster candidate on the original ballot, a webmaster was recruited as a result of a write-in nomination made during the election.

  • Chair (two-year): Cheri Lemieux Spiegel (Northern Virginia Community College)
  • Chair (four-year): Kristi Murray Costello (Old Dominion)
  • Secretary: Beth Bensen (Reynolds Community College)
  • Treasurer: Derek Mueller (Virginia Tech)
  • Webmaster: Matt Beale (Old Dominion)