Thanks to all for these helpful observations! And more welcome.
What we are doing at SFU sounds very like what Chris Anson is doing -
embedding writing in departments and working with faculty to figure out
ways to do this effectively by assuring them they don't have to know
what a participle is and collaborating on planning the syllabus and
wording assignments etc. and mentoring and supplying resources of
various kinds throughout the semester. Currently, we are planning TA
training and preparation for W-courses because the large history lecture
scenario with tutorials of 16 student looks like the only model we can
use and be able to offer 10,000 spaces for W-spots in 2007.
Whether it makes too much difference that there are 250 in the class
instead of 100, I don't know. The writing instruction is pretty much
done in the once a week tutorial but the metadiscourse of the instructor
is attentive to the functions of writing and its uses in the learning
and understanding of the content.
The other requirement happens to be a quantitative which is math to some
extent - we are not calling these math-intensive, however! It's
possible that new courses will be developed which are math-intensive -
we at CWIL are currently working on a history of math course which
involves a lot of writing but also solving math problems. A neat
combination - even us math-phobes think it's going to be a terrific
course and we expect enrolments in the math department to soar!
From: CASLL/Inkshed [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Russ Hunt
Sent: Friday, November 21, 2003 4:10 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: WI Courses--lectures & tutorials
I don't have much experience with large multi-section courses (I'm
getting to where I'm grateful for every sunrise, and then for every time
I remember that . . . ), but I think Amanda's remark about math is
> (What would happen if administrators decided, for example, to require
> Math-Intensive courses? How would mathematicians feel?)
A few weeks ago I spent some time at a conference with Chris Anson, who
used to direct writing at the University of Minnesota and who's now
running a really interesting WAC-like program at North Carolina State.
The university mandated writing intensive courses in departments, and
hired Chris to help departments design and conduct them. What he does,
it seems, is mainly faculty development, and it sounds from his
description like a super program. OK, you've been told to make your
course writing intensive and you think what that means is taking on the
English teacher's burden of 100 essays to mark every weekend. It
doesn't have to be that way: let's talk about some alternatives.
I think if he were doing that here and I were told I had to make my
Restoration Drama course more math-intensive I might be interested in
finding some ways to do that . . . and were I a mathematician I might
feel pretty good about it, too.
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