Posted in CCCC 2012, What's New in Basic Writing, Who is Basic Writing?

Live from CCCC 2012: Roundtable on Basic Writing, 3.24.12

This year at CCCC, we tried an experiment to bring together conference attendees interested in Basic Writing and Basic Writing faculty from around the country who couldn’t attend CCCC in a live conference event.

The panel began asynchronously before CCCC on Facebook. There, each week, our moderators introduced the following topics:

Session Organizer and Moderator: Rochelle L. Rodrigo from Old Dominion University

Who are Basic Writers and Student Placement
Moderated by Debra Berry from College of Southern Nevada, Carla Maroudas from College of Southern Nevada, and Elaine M. Jolayemi from Glendale College

This discussion explored question such as: How do you get to know your students through the semester?
How do they get to know each other? What kinds of activities or assignments do you use to help students engage their lived experience with classroom curriculum? How does your institution handle placement?
Does your institution have issues with placement? What are they? How are you coping with them?
What courses does your institution offer, and how are students eligible for each step? How does your curriculum treat Basic Writers? Traditionally, such students have assumed to require instruction In Addition To that which is required of everyone, but current curricular currents seem to be shifting that emphasis; is In Addition To appropriate, or should such students instead be given instruction Different Than that which is effective for more traditional students?

Day-to-Day in the Life of Basic Writing Faculty and Students
Moderated by Kelly Keane from Bergen Community College

This discussion explored question such as: What are activities you use to build community within your Basic Writing Classes? Many instructors dread having to teach grammar, punctuation, and other surface feature related issues. What lessons and activities have worked well for you? What are you still struggling with?

Teaching with Technology
Moderated by Amy Edwards Patterson from Moraine Park Technical College and J. Elizabeth Clark from LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

This discussion explored question such as: How does technology become another facet of basic skills development in the 21st century? What are the key pieces of teaching with technology? Do these elements differ from teaching with technology in another kind of composition course?

Teacher Preparation and Professional Development
Moderated by Leigh Jonaitis from Bergen Community College and Marisa A. Klages from LaGuardia Community College, CUNY

This discussion explored question such as: What is the role of professional development for Basic Writing faculty? How do professional development practices in Basic Writing connect to professional development in other Composition and Rhetoric fields? How do we promote scholarship at the community college level, especially when faculty at the CC have such a heavy teaching load?

Academic Skills & Writing Centers
Moderated by Ilene Rubenstein, College of Desert

This discussion explored question such as: How will Skills/Writing Labs survive with reduced lab requirements and funding? Should they survive? How do we connect the pieces–tutors, faculty, administrators? Do any of you see any other concerns that will affect our basic skills writers and the help they receive in these academic skills/writing labs?

Then, at CCCC, we brought everyone together to continue the conversation synchronously (face-to-face and online) in a roundtable on Saturday, March 24, 2012.

The presentation began with a summary of the on-line conversation. Two groups, “Teaching With Technology” and “Professional Development” used Prezis to summarize. Other presenters summarized the conversations verbally.

We then moved to a rich and robust group conversation. The group discussed ideas for professional development, like creating a course or a series of workshops for faculty. We also discussed sharing syllabi and group norming.

Participants in both the on-line and the face-to-face discussion explored who basic writers are in our classes and how that differs from campus to campus. We also discussed how many levels each campus has for basic writing & where basic writing is on campus (developmental skills, combined with ESL, in an English department, etc.).

We also discussed grant writing as a strategy for getting additional funds for supplies and training for faculty.

People asked questions about designing effective basic writing curriculum, placement of students, and exit strategies. Participants shared ideas and examples from their own campuses.

We also discussed the challenges of using technology in the classroom when students don’t have access to technology.

  • Link to Teaching with Technology Prezi
  • Link to Professional Development Prezi
  • Link to the transcript of the on-line discussion during CCCC (this might be hard to follow but is a record of the on-line discussion happening during the face-to-face session. People who weren’t at CCCC posted comments/questions in chat and we responded.
  • Link to the CBW Facebook Page (This is open to anyone teaching/interested in the teaching of Basic Writing. Please join us for on-going discussions!)
  • We look forward to continuing these discussions on-line. We’ll be addressing the following topics, based on our discussions in St. Louis (Thanks to Amy Edwards Patterson for keeping careful nots on these!).

    * Grants: Where are the grants for BW? What grants are available to help us become better BW teachers/scholars/grantees? How do you find these opportunities? The Hewlitt Packard grant also came up as a specific example.

    * Professional development: This was a popular topic! People asked about training, adjuncts, etc., and where they could receive training (for example, are there grants out there for Basic Writing Professional Development?). There was also an interest in seeing more information on the Mesa Community College course on teaching composition in a two-year college.

    * Belonging: Does Basic Writing belong in the English department or Dev Ed? What are the differences? Why?

    * Curriculum: Where to start? How do you go about developing a curriculum for BW? Tips and resources?

    * “Classroom and action research”: how do we capture what happens in our classrooms as theoreticians and practitioners?

    Please join us!

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    Thanks to Rakka at for my gravatar image, "Binary Easter Egg." Awesome photo!

    One thought on “Live from CCCC 2012: Roundtable on Basic Writing, 3.24.12

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