Writing Lab Resources

For Students

Writing Lab Courses

Basic Principles of Writing - WRT 101

Basic Principles of Writing consists of five workshops on writing (scheduled the third through eighth weeks of the semester) and a minimum of six individual appointments, which students must schedule independently. Each workshop covers a specific facet of writing, including improving thesis statements, writing coherent and well-developed paragraphs, fashioning sentences with style, writing introductions and conclusions, and citing sources.

Advanced Principles of Writing - WRT 102

Advanced Principles of Writing consists of eight workshops (scheduled the third through eleventh weeks of the semester) and a minimum of three independently scheduled individual appointments. Students hone writing skills including summary, analysis, comparison, and synthesis. 

Oral Communication - WRT 120

In Oral Communication, students will learn how to become confident and competent public speakers. The weekly sessions will cover initial planning for a speech, audio-visual support, and presentation strategies. Each student will prepare and deliver several speeches.

Teaching Writing - WRT 150 (cross-listed as EDU 150)

Teaching Writing offers both theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience for students serving as Writing Fellows for college courses or teaching writing in other settings. Student will read about theories of teaching writing, practice skills of running workshops and facilitating peer review, observe the teaching of writing in several contexts, share experiences of mentoring, journal about their experiences, and synthesize their learning in a final project.

Writing Intensive Courses

Some courses are designated "writing intensive." A writing intensive course encourages students to use writing to understand course materials, develop critical thinking skills, and communicate ideas effectively.

Characteristics:

Regular Writing

Students work on writing assignments--formal or informal, graded or ungraded--throughout the semester. They need not complete written assignments every week, but do complete a substantial number.

Regular Feedback

Although not all written work receives instructor feedback, students receive frequent suggestions for improvement. Revision: Students are encouraged to revise at least one, and ideally more, of their assignments.

Clear Expectations

The instructor provides clear written instructions for all assignments.

Grading

A substantial part of the course grade depends on the quality of written work. Instructors make explicit their criteria for evaluating written work.

Fall 2013

ANT-195-01   ST: Color, Culture, Ntnl Idnt   K. Gibel Mevorach

ANT-200-01   Cultural Politics of Hybridity   K. Gibel Mevorach

ANT-285-01   Anthro, Violence, & Humn Rghts   B. French

ANT-293-01   Practicing Anthropology   J. Roper

ANT-295-01   ST: Language Contact   C. Hansen

ANT-326-01   Anthropology of Religion   J. Andelson

ART-103-01   Intro to Art & Art History   M. Knowles

ART-103-02   Intro to Art & Art History   J. Lyon

ART-103-03   Intro to Art & Art History   J. Anger

ART-221-01   Euro Art 1789-1848: Fgrs/Grnds   M. Knowles

ART-230-01   Northern Renaissnce Art   J. Lyon

ART-231-01   Modern Art in Euro, 1900-1940   J. Anger

ART-260-01   Museum Stds: The Art Museum   L. Wright

BIO-150-01   Intro to Biolgcl Inqry w/lab   S. Hinsa-Leasure

BIO-150-02   Intro to Biolgcl Inqry w/lab   B. DeRidder

BIO-150-03   Intro to Biolgcl Inqry w/lab   K. Jacobson

BIO-150-04   Intro to Biolgcl Inqry w/lab   C. Lindgren

BIO-150-05   Intro to Biolgcl Inqry w/lab   V. Praitis

BIO-301-01   History of Biological Thought   J. Brown

EDU-101-01   Education Princ/Plural Society   D. Michaels

ENG-120-04   Literary Analysis   E. Simpson

ENG-121-01   Introduction to Shakespeare   T. Arner

HIS-100-01   Making History   K. Maynard

HIS-100-02   Making History   K. Maynard

HIS-100-03   Making History   J. Silva

HIS-100-04   Making History   J. Silva

HIS-212-01   Demcrcy in America: 1789-1848   S. Purcell

HIS-311-01   Pol in Early Amer Republic   S. Purcell

HIS-342-01   Stalinism   E. Cohn

HUM-185-01   Film Analysis, Theory & Crtcsm   T. Geller

MAT-310-01   Statistical Modeling   S. Kuiper

POL-101-01   Intro to Political Science   B. Trish

POL-101-02   Intro to Political Science   G. Sala

POL-101-03   Intro to Political Science   D. Lussier

POL-101-04   Intro to Political Science   B. Trish

POL-250-01   Politics of Intern'l Relations   H. Moyer

POL-352-01   US Forgn Policymaking Process   H. Moyer

SOC-242-01   Deviance and Social Control   C. Hunter

For Faculty

Teaching Resources

Feedback

We offer individual consultations on:

  • planning syllabi
  • crafting writing assignments
  • scaffolding writing tasks
  • commenting on student papers

In Class Presentations

Writing Lab instructors are available to lead in‐class workshops, usually in tutorial, on a variety of topics, including but not limited to:

  • academic honesty and citation
  • expectations for college level thesis-driven writing
  • integrating research and writing
  • organizing a college essay, thinking in paragraphs
  • sentence clinics to improve clarity
  • peer response strategies

Teaching Academic Honesty

Writing Lab instructors are available to talk with students about citation practices through classroom visits as well as individual appointments.  In addition to explaining the academic honesty policy by which all Grinnell students are required to abide, Writing Lab instructors can:

  • involve students in a discussion about the importance of citation and its purpose in academia
  • provide models of how to use specific citation styles (such as MLA, APA, and Chicago)
  • teach students how to paraphrase appropriately
  • discuss cultural differences in citation practices
  • encourage students to see citation practices as essential to their participation in an academic conversation
  • ask students to consider how incorporating expert sources will enrich their writing process
Writing Mentor Program

Advice on Best Practices for Faculty with Writing Mentors

The following best practices are suggestions from faculty who have used Writing Mentors in their classes. You’re not obliged to follow this advice; it’s just meant to let you know about experiences people have had in the past. We hope that you will add your ideas to this document as we move forward with this program.

Also, please feel free to contact faculty members who have had Writing Mentors: Tim Arner (English); Ed Cohn (History); David Cook Martin (Sociology); Karla Erickson (Sociology); Brigittine French (Anthropology); David Harrison (French); Astrid Henry (GWSS); Paul Hutchison (Education); Jean Ketter (Education); Deborah Michaels (Education); Jack Mutti (Economics); Sarah Purcell (History).

1. The Writing Mentor should attend class regularly.

This regular attendance has many benefits. First, the more familiar the students in the class are with the Mentor, the more likely they are to use the service. Second, the more familiar the Mentor is with what’s happening in the class, the better he/she is able to answer questions about the material, the assignments, or the discussion. Third, by attending the class, the Writing Mentor may provide the faculty member with insight into student reactions to what’s happening in class and to assignments.

2. The Writing Mentor should be introduced to the class.

Mentors can introduce themselves to the class formally or informally during class sessions.

See two sample introductory emails (here and here) from Writing Mentors to their class.

3. The Writing Mentor may model respectful and productive class participation.

While Mentors are typically not taking the course for credit, they can model how to ask questions and how to respond to others’ comments.

4. The Writing Mentor may give the faculty member feedback on assignments.

Mentors can give insight into how a student may read your assignment, and that consultation can save you and your students much time and difficulty.

 5. The Writing Mentor may meet one-on-one with students in the course.

This has been the most common and most valuable way that Writing Mentors have functioned. Typically, they hold office hours in the evening or on weekends, and work with students on any phase of the writing process. During the class, some mentors pass around sign-up sheets for their office hours.

6. The Writing Mentor may run peer review workshops or meet with groups or individuals preparing oral presentations.

Since the Mentors study ways of encouraging good peer review in their WRT 295 class, the faculty member can have them put their knowledge to work either during class or outside of class. Writing Mentors have also worked with groups planning oral presentations.

7. The Writing Mentor may offer written comments on a set of papers or an assignment such as an annotated bibliography.

While Writing Mentors are not graders and should not be privy to grades students receive, they may, with permission of the student writer, demonstrate how they as readers would respond to that student’s paper. Such a demonstration, especially early in the semester, can establish credibility for the Mentor.

However, since encouraging conversation about writing is a major goal of the Writing Mentor program, faculty members and mentors should encourage face-to-face interaction between the Mentor and the student. Thus it may not be best practice to encourage students to email their papers or parts of them to the Mentor; rather, students should be encouraged to meet with the Mentor.

8. The Writing Mentor may facilitate small-group discussions during class.

Especially in large classes, Mentors may facilitate a discussion group so that more students get to talk.