Writing in the Disciplines

WRS 102 (Writing in the Disciplines) introduces students to the kinds of writing required of students across the university. Students write documents in their choice of disciplines and share their drafts in a gamified writing and editing online environment.

Blended learning approach

The rationale for seeking this blended learning award is to support the development of GWrit (The Game of Writing: a gamified online writing environment), specifically a version for a new, blended learning format of Writing Studies 102. Writing courses usually use class time for discussion and sharing of drafts. These activities were moved to the new online, gamified environment. Over 100 files (videos, texts, screencasts) were created to enable students to study on their own time and as they were drafting their assignments rather than force them to conform to the usual face-to-face timetable for learning.

Content development team

  • Roger Graves, Professor, Department of English and Film Studies; Director, Centre for Teaching and Learning.
  • Heather Graves, Professor, Department of English and Film Studies; Director, Writing Across the Curriculum.

Sample module in the course

The blended learning approach has been to divide the course into four modules, each one of three weeks. In the first week, students decided which of the three assignments in the module they were going to complete. In the second week, they wrote an in-class assignment in groups that built their skills for that module and assignment. In the third class of the module, they worked in groups to make final revisions to their assignments.

For each module there were online activities posted on a Google Site. An introductory video and screencasts based on slide presentations. As students began working on the assignment they chose, they then read the relevant chapters in the textbook—for example, on how to write a good observation. They then looked at the model paper in the textbook and the grading rubric on the Google site to build knowledge about the important features of writing an observation. After they posted a draft of their assignment, they read the drafts of other students on GWrit and posted comments to help those students improve. Because reading other drafts helped them learn about the kind of writing they are doing, the commenting process gave them ideas about how to improve their own draft. They then revised their work in preparation for handing it in at the end of the module.

 

 

In the second in-class assignment in the module on critical thinking and analysis, students were given a graphic produced by Career Services listing facts about recent University of Alberta graduates. They wrote a critical analysis of the graphic in groups. In this analysis, they posed questions about the statistics presented in the graphic, including information about how these statistics did not match up with national and international findings. At the end of the class, each group handed in their critical analysis. This functioned as a mini version of the main assignments.

 

Blended learning evaluation results

Click here to download the evaluation results.
 

Do you want to know more details about our Blended Learning Evaluation? Send us an email:

L. Francisco Vargas M.
fran.vargas@ualberta.ca

Resource development details for this module

Roles of the content development team (~30 hours)

  • Create the materials, examples, and make the presentations.
  • Outline content and initial storyboarding to develop scripts.
  • Develop the script and record the audio.
  • View video drafts and request edits.

Roles of the CTL production team (~45 hours)

  • Support in creating storyboard and script.
  • Edit, revise and approve the script and storyboard.
  • Clean audio with Audacity.
  • Create and annotate video using Camtasia Studio.
  • Edit and upload video to Google Sites.

Tools & additional information

GoogleDocsTOOLS

YetiMicTOOL

AudacityTOOLS

CamtasiaTOOLS

SitesTOOLS

ScreencastTOOL

Publications and presentations

  • “Feedback to Student Writing: Multimodal feedback in a blended academic writing course.” With Heather Graves, Dan Harvey, Shahin Moghaddasi Sarabi. Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing, Toronto, May 2017.
  • “The Resourceful Writer: Research, Write, Cite, Repeat.” With Heather Graves, Dan Harvey, Shahin Moghaddasi Sarabi. Canadian Association for the Study of Discourse and Writing, Toronto, May 2017.
  • “Commenting, Gamification and Analytics in an Online Writing Environment: GWrit (Game of Writing). Jinman Zhang, Mark Mckellar, Kamal Ranaweera, Roger Graves, Heather Graves, & Geoffrey Rockwell. Canadian Society for Digital Humanities, Toronto, June 2017.
  • Graves, R., Graves, H. & G. Rockwell. “Gamification and the teaching of academic writing.” Writing Research Across Borders IV. February 15-18, 2017. Bogota, Columbia.
  • Graves, R., Graves, H. & G. Rockwell. “The Writing Games.” Thomas R. Watson Conference on Mobility Work in Composition: Translation, Migration, Transformation. Oct. 20-22, 2016. Louisville, KY.
  • Graves, R., Graves, H., Scanlon, T. “Writing Across Disciplinary Differences: Gamifying Writing Across the Curriculum.” International Writing Across the Curriculum Conference, Ann Arbor MI, June 24, 2016.
  • Graves, R. and H. Graves. “Changing the Game: Blended learning and gaming in an academic writing course.” Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, London ON, June 23, 2016.
  • Graves, R. “The Resourceful Writer: Research, write, cite, repeat.” Campus Alberta Writing Studies Colloquium, Edmonton AB, May 17, 2016.
  • McKellar, M. P., Rockwell, G, Ranaweera, K., In, A., Ru’aini, M., Graves, R., Graves, H., Rodriguez-Arenas, O. “Game of Writing (GWrit).” Canadian Society for Digital Humanities/Association for Computers in the Humanities, June 3, 2015.
  • Graves, R & H. Graves. “Blended/ Game of Writing vrs. In-person Delivery of Writing Studies Courses,” Campus Alberta Writing Studies Colloquium, April 6, 2015.
  • Graves, R. “The Business Case for the Game of Writing.” Conference on College Composition and Communication, Tampa FL, March 20, 2015.
  • Graves, R., Graves, H., and Rockwell, G. “Ignite Showcase: The Game of Writing (GwRIT).” Conference on College Composition and Communication, Tampa FL, March 20, 2015.
  • Graves, R., Graves, H., and Rockwell, G. “The Game of Writing (GwRIT).” Humanities Computing Conference, March 6 2015.
  • Graves, R & H. Graves. “The Game of Writing (GwRIT): A New Educational Technology to Support Academic Writing Pedagogy.” 2014 International Writing Studies Colloquium, Malmo Unviersity, Sweden, November 7.
  • Graves, R & H. Graves. “WRS 102 and the Game of Writing,” Campus Alberta Writing Studies Colloquium, September 26, 2014.
  • Contact

    Do you want to know more about the content?

    Contact Details

    Roger Graves
    roger.graves@ualberta.ca

    Do you want to know how CTL can help you?

    Contact Details

    Phone: +1 (780) 492-2826
    ctl@ualberta.ca