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CBW Award for Innovation: Call for Applications

The Council on Basic Writing (CBW) invites applications for the 2015 Award for Innovation. CBW wants to recognize those college and university programs that are implementing new or unique ways to improve the success of their basic writing students. Is your program doing something especially useful and effective in terms of assessment, placement, pedagogy, curriculum, community outreach, etc.?  If so, please nominate yourself for the 2015 CBW Award for Innovation.

Please note that only innovations that have been implemented will be considered for the award.


Recipients of the Council on Basic Writing’s Award for Innovation will be determined by a review committee.


*       Originality – the creativity and uniqueness of the innovation

*       Portability – the extent to which the innovation lends itself to application in other institutions or contexts

*       Results and Benefits – specific details, data, and observations derived from the innovation, focusing on specific educational benefits to students


The following will be considered a complete application packet.  ALL application materials must be submitted in electronic form.  Please include the following:

1. A descriptive title of the innovation, along with the name, institution, address, phone number, and email of the contact person.

2. An explanation of how the course/program in which the innovation is centered includes students labeled “basic writers” by the institution and, if applicable, a brief (one paragraph maximum) explanation of how students are labeled as such.

3.  A complete description of the innovation including:

*       justification of the creativity and uniqueness of the innovation compared to traditional methods

*       evidence or examples of portability to other basic writing programs

*       the measurements and monitoring used; results indicating a significant benefit in achievement in educational goals or outcomes

Please note that applications are limited to five (5) pages or less; single spaced; 12pt font; graphs and charts are accepted as part of the page limitation.


February 25th, 2016: Nominations due

Early March, 2016:  Award recipient notified

April 2016: The Winner will be honored with the presentation of a plaque at the CBW Special Interest Group (SIG) at CCCC in Houston. The winner will be invited to give a brief presentation about the winning program to the SIG attendees.


Lynn Reid

Co-Chair, Council on Basic Writing

Coordinator of Basic Writing, Fairleigh Dickinson University

*Please check for a confirmation email to be sure your materials have been received.*

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New Issue of BWe!

I’m pleased to announce the publication of a new special issue of Basic Writing e-Journal, guest-edited by Tom Peele.

The link to the new issue is here:

BWe Special Issue:

Basic Writing, Community Engagement, and Interdisciplinarity

Issue 13.1


Thomas Peele, Guest Editor

Barbara Gleason, BWe Editor

Lynn Reid, Associate Editor, Production

Introduction:Basic Writing, Community Engagement, and Interdisciplinarity

Thomas Peele

Basic Writing Through the Back Door: Community-Engaged Courses in the Rush-to-Credit Age

Cori Brewster

This essay describes a linked, community-engaged writing course, “Field Writing: Food Stories,” which was offered as part of an early college program for rural high school students at a regional public university. While demonstrating many of the benefits commonly attributed to public writing and service learning in composition, the course raised important questions about the politics of access and acceleration, and about the role of community-engaged coursework in continuing to protect room in the curriculum for both high school and college writers.

A Service-Learning and Transfer-Oriented 
Approach to Teaching Developmental Reading and Writing Students

Jeremy Branstad

In this essay, Branstad discusses how he used service-learning informed by the scholarship on transfer to reimagine current-traditional assumptions common in composition and to create rhetorically-oriented pathways for student success. The evidence of student learning demonstrates the value of implementing service-learning techniques informed by the theory on transfer within the basic writing classroom.

Story-Changing Work and Asymmetrical Power Relationships in a Writing Center Partnership

Ann Shivers-McNair and Joyce Owleski Inman

Shivers-McNair and Inman analyze and reflect upon the dissolution of a partnership between their institution’s basic writing program and writing center. In their network reading of the partnership, the authors argue that their efforts to combat institutional discourses about students and faculty in two marginalized programs were complicated by asymmetrical relations of power. The authors conclude with reflections on possibilities for partnerships and collaborations between marginalized programs.

From Obscurity to Valuable Contributor: A Case for Critical Service-Learning

Marisa Berman, Julia Carroll, and Jennifer Maloy

This essay argues the benefits of a critical service-learning project in which English Language Learners and developmental writing students documented the stories of Holocaust survivors for a campus-based resource center at a two-year college. The authors demonstrate the importance of designing service-learning projects that promote reciprocity and sustained collaboration among participants and stress the need to structure such projects to meet the needs of community college students.

From Obscurity to Valuable Contributor: A Description of A Critical Service Learning Project and the Behind the Scenes Collaboration

Marisa Berman, Julia Carroll, and Jennifer Maloy

In this follow up to “From Obscurity to Valuable Contributor: A Case for Critical Service-Learning,” the authors detail how they collaborate in order to produce a successful project through the interviewing of Holocaust survivors. In this description, readers learn about the planning, interviews, and the final product produced by the students – with examples of student writing and photographs. As reference for educators looking to develop their own projects, the article covers how to build an authentic relationship across diverse communities, generate content knowledge and design classroom curriculum, and provides a chart detailing the collaboration and activities that educators can use as a template for organizing their own projects.

The Multimodal Remix: One Solution to the Double-Audience Dilemma in Service-Learning Composition

Karen Forgette, Chip Dunkin, and Andrew Davis

Students writing for an authentic audience in service-learning composition courses often face a double-audience dilemma. The texts they compose must suit the demands of the real-world audience of the service-learning project while also meeting the expectations of the academic audience. This article examines the role multimodal composition may play in helping alleviate the tension of the double audience, particularly for basic writers.

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CFP: Poster-Session at CBW 2016

Call for Proposals:


The Council on Basic Writing (CBW) invites proposals for a poster-session to be held during the CBW Wednesday workshop at CCCC. This session is intended to be a space for graduate students and other scholars to share their recent Basic Writing research and/or teaching practices and receive feedback from workshop attendees.


Posters may address topics including but not limited to:


  • Basic Writing Pedagogy
  • Basic Writing and Writing Program Administration
  • Basic Writing Histories
  • Basic Writing and Digital Literacies
  • Basic Writing in Faculty Development/Graduate Education
  • Basic Writing Theory
  • Basic Writing and Disability Studies
  • Basic Writing, Race, and Cultural Identities
  • Basic Writing and Multilingual Writing Instruction


Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words to CBW Co-Chairs Lynn Reid and Michael Hill by February 6th, 2016. Submissions should be emailed to and
Participation in the CBW Workshop does not conflict with the CCCC policy on multiple speaking roles. Participants’ names will be included on the CBW program.

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CFP: BWe Special Issue on Acceleration

Accelerated Learning in Basic Writing: Investigating the Successes and Challenges of ALP Models

2016 BWe Special Issue: Call for Submissions

Guest Editors: Leah Anderst, Jennifer Maloy, and Jed Shahar, Queensborough Community College, CUNY

This special issue of BWe will focus on accelerated models of basic writing and college composition, particularly the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP) model envisioned by Peter Dow Adams and his colleagues at the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) (Adams, et al.). Within the ALP model, students identified as needing a basic/developmental writing course enroll in a sequence of two credit-bearing college writing courses while attending a linked (non-credit) companion course to support their learning. The educational benefits for students and the cost benefits for colleges have led more than 200 colleges and universities to establish ALP programs.

Current research on ALP models focuses on quantitative analyses of large student cohorts in order to explore student retention and academic performance (Cho, et al.). Few publications contextualize accelerated learning in basic writing scholarship or focus on political implications of adopting ALP models in light of current pressures to reduce or eliminate remediation. Also absent from discussions of ALP are qualitative research studies that explore student perceptions of learning and experiences as developing writers.

To address these gaps, we seek submissions that contextualize accelerated learning within larger conversations in composition studies and basic writing theory and history and that present analyses of issues in administration, research, theory, and practice.

We hope to publish a combination of print essays (4,000 to 8,000 words) and digital texts that focus on both the possibilities and the drawbacks of accelerated learning programs within the field of basic writing. Manuscripts will be accepted through our extended deadline March 15, 2016.

BWe is a peer-reviewed online journal that welcomes both traditional and multi-modal texts. Submission guidelines for formatting print essays and webtexts appear on the BWe Website:

The editors welcome queries from prospective authors before the deadline. These should be emailed to the three editors at:,,


We welcome submissions that respond to any of the following questions:

Discussions of accelerated learning program design and administration:

  • What challenges do institutions, instructors, and students face when implementing accelerated learning programs?
  • What challenges and opportunities exist as an accelerated learning model expands and grows?
  • In what ways does acceleration promote interdisciplinary and cross-departmental collaboration?
  • How has the ALP model, initially developed at the Community College of Baltimore County, been adapted to fit the needs of a variety of institutions?
  • In what ways does the increased adoption of accelerated learning models mirror other curricular innovations in developmental education?
  • How do differing models of acceleration relate to larger national discussions of developmental education and/or standardization?


Investigations into the successes and challenges of accelerated learning:

  • What are the outcomes of accelerated learning models, both short term and long term?
  • In what ways can we measure and assess accelerated learning outcomes?
  • In what ways has the success of models such as ALP been replicated?
  • What aspects of the model contribute to its relative successes?
  • What are some of the limitations of accelerated learning models for students and instructors?
  • Which students most benefit from accelerated learning and which do not? (students with extensive developmental needs, English language learners, bilingual and multilingual students)
  • What kinds of assignments and classroom practices best serve accelerated learning models?
  • How do accelerated learning models help students bridge the gap between developmental and “college level” courses?


Theory, History, and Politics of ALP:

  • What is the place of accelerated learning within the field of composition and rhetoric, and within history of developmental education and basic writing?
  • What connections does accelerated learning have to other alternatives to or innovations in developmental education? (mainstreaming, studio programs, stretch programs, etc.)
  • In what ways is accelerated learning connected to the Common Core, increased standardization, or recent cuts to developmental education?
  • In what ways does accelerated learning impact the writerly identities of “basic” writers and “ESL” students?
  • How do accelerated learning programs respond to the “gatekeeping” function of basic writing?


Works Cited

Adams, Peter, et al. “The Accelerated Learning Program: Throwing Open the Gates.” Journal of Basic Writing 28.2 (2009): 50-69. Print.

Cho, Sung-Woo, et al. “New Evidence of Success for Community College Remedial English Students: Tracking the Outcomes of Students in the Accelerated Learning Program (ALP). CCRC Working Paper No. 53.” Community College Research Center, Columbia University (2012): ERIC. Web. 6 Apr. 2015.



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The Journal of Basic Writing at Forty: Risk, Affect, and Materiality in the Shaping of a Field, the 2015 CBW Featured CCCC Session

If you’re attending CCCC, please be sure to attend the session H.07, “The Journal of Basic Writing at Forty: Risk, Affect, and Materiality in the Shaping of a Field” with Hope Parisi, Steve Lamos, Susan Naomi Bernstein and Cheryl Smith. The Council on Basic Writing is proudly sponsoring this panel as a panel that represents our mission, our scholarship, and our pedagogy. And this session promises to be a great one with four leaders in the field of Basic Writing scholarship all discussing the import of Basic Writing Scholarship. Please click on this link to read the abstracts. The panel takes place on Friday between 11-12:15 in Room 1 of the Tampa Convention Center.

This is the first year that CCCC is using panels sponsored by standing groups. As one of the longest standing groups, the CBW would like to encourage CCCC to continue allowing groups to sponsor panels as a way of impacting the conference program. So, to help us do that, we would like to have a great turnout at this panel to show CCCC the strength of our community. I look forward to seeing you there.

Posted in CBW 2015, Uncategorized

Presenting the CBW Pre-Conference Workshop, 2015

Risky Relationships in Placement, Teaching and the Professional Organization
Council on Basic Writing Pre-Conference Workshop 2015

For our 2015 preconvention workshop, the Council on Basic Writing answers CCCCs’ thematic call to rethink BW practice and policy and to share stories of various efforts at trying something new. What happens, for example, when we reach outside of BW and composition scholarship to help inform the design of writing programs that strive to be more democratic and respectful of language diversity? How can BW faculty better utilize campus and community resources, as well as resources from unexpected and surprising places to help balance their lives outside of school with the often demanding challenges of being mentor and teacher to students with equally complex lives? In what ways can we rethink writing placement methods in order to increase access to multilingual and other culturally and racially diverse students? These questions will guide the CBW workshop as we examine the risks and rewards of BW relationships in writing placement, in student and instructor lives, and in our professional organizations.

9:00 a.m. Welcome
CBW Co-Chairs:
Sugie Goen-Salter, San Francisco State University
Michael D. Hill, Henry Ford College

9:15-10:15 a.m.
The 2014 Innovation Award for Teaching of Basic Writing
Session Chair: Sugie Goen-Salter, San Francisco State University

Presenters: Candace Zepeda, Our Lady of the Lake University; Mike Lueker, Our Lady of the Lake University; Thomas McBryde, Our Lady of the Lake University; David Hale, Our Lady of the Lake University

Almost 40 years ago, when Mina Shaughnessy introduced Errors and Expectations, she challenged instructors to look beyond the errors of students’ work by studying their linguistic (and cultural) identity. Nearly four decades later, Gregory Shafer questions what we have learned from Shaughnessy and if instructors (and even writing programs) “respect the linguistic competence that students possess.” Shafer proposes that if the goal of current basic writing scholarship is to “foster a writing that is democratic, that expands literacies to authentic contexts and cultivates a truly creative spirit, a paradigm shift is clearly in order and must begin with the way we see dialects and language diversity and the way we handle them in the placement process.” The paradigm shift Shafer suggests is a rather ambitious vision, but offers a vibrant description of the QUEST First-Year Writing Program at Our Lady of the Lake University. QUEST is an innovative curriculum that offers a democratic, hospitable and progressive writing curriculum that responds to the needs of our student population. OLLU is a Hispanic Serving Institution that serves a considerable amount of first-generation, Latin@ and low-income students with more than 86% historically placing into developmental courses. The QUEST model is a product of risk-taking, grounding our theoretical and pedagogical design using scholarship from outside basic writing and composition studies. As recipients for the 2014 Inny Award, our panel invites an interactive workshop with audience members where we will cover areas related to program and theoretical design, pedagogical practices, assessment measures, and faculty support. Audience members will be encouraged to participate in discussion and with workshop activities.

10:30-11:30 a.m.
The Risks and Rewards of Complex Lives: Balancing Basic Writing with Instructor and Student Lives
Roundtable Chair: Marisa Klages-Bombich, LaGuardia Community College

Participants: Candace Epps-Robertson, Michigan State University; Marcia Buell, Northeastern Illinois University; Dawn Lombardi, The University of Akron; Annie Del Principe, Kingsborough Community College, CUNY; Elaine M. Jolayemi, Ivy Tech Indianapolis; Daniel Cleary, Lorain County Community College; Jason Evans, Prairie State College; Kerry Lane, Joliet Junior College; Marcea Sible, Hawkeye Community College

Teaching is hard work, and unlike careers that get to stay in the office, teaching often comes home with us- not only in the form of grading and class preparation but also in the way that the often complex lives of our basic writing students find their ways into our own narratives as instructors. Figuring out how to balance our roles as teachers and mentors (available to students for guidance and assistance), our scholarly selves (with responsibilities for publishing and institutional service) and our lives as caretakers (parents, elders, our own illnesses) is ultimately complex and requires careful navigation. These problems seems particularly relevant in the field of composition and rhetoric, where grading essays often takes significantly longer than grading multiple choice exams, and where one-to-one conferences on student papers often elicits discussions about issues in students’ personal and academic lives. This roundtable will focus on helping faculty think through the challenges on balancing their lives, and student lives while teaching Basic Writing. We will have a number of co-leaders facilitate discussions on various issues in our classrooms and lives including: Utilizing Resources on Campus and in the Community, Finding Mentors and Support in Unexpected Places, and Learning from Our Students.

11:30-12:30 p.m.
Best Practices in Placement and Pedagogy: Progressive Policy Statements by the BW Community
Presenter: William Lalicker, West Chester University of Pennsylvania

Basic writing still, in too many sites, enacts a system of gatekeeping, where risk is in difference and reward resides in the normative. Placement policies broadcast institutional values: how we sort students may express old prejudices, or may transform our institutions into progressive communities of learners. Moreover, placement presages pedagogy. In the capstone segment of our workshop, the facilitator will first invite all workshop participants to contribute to the creation of a policy statement that establishes principles for placement policies that can respect difference, can recognize the generative intersections of culture and voice and identity, and can honor the strengths of developing student writers by inviting them into the academic conversation. Then this segment will invite participants to apply these progressive placement principles, using these values to create a statement of best pedagogical practices in basic writing. The result will be two policy statements, drafted by the workshop that will integrate basic writing placement and pedagogy, scaffolding more humanistic, pluralistic, and welcoming basic writing programs for all developing student writers.

12:30-1:30 p.m. Lunch

Afternoon Joint Session with CBW and TYCA

1:30-2:30 p.m.
Writing Placement that Risks the Academy: Rethinking Ways of Access and the Reward of First-Year Writing
Keynote Address: Asao Inoue, University of Washington, Tacoma

This keynote will discuss ways to rethink writing placement methods, procedures, validation, and outcomes in order to address the increasingly diverse students entering first-year writing programs. Most placement systems are designed with the assumption that the placement decision must come from a measurement of student writing ability, coming perhaps from a test score, a timed writing exam decision, or even a directed self-placement that asks students to perform writing tasks or self-assessments of some sort. This keynote address will question two assumptions that work in all these placement models: (1) the nature of the writing construct against which readers or raters measure student performances (e.g. as a white construct, as a transactive rhetorical construct); and (2) the nature of the kinds of judgments needed to make a placement (e.g. judgments of cognitive dimensions of writing that seem to be associated with writing “quality” or success in first-year writing courses). This keynote will ask the question: How do we increase access to multilingual and other culturally and racially diverse students in our writing programs? The larger purpose of this discussion, beyond rethinking writing placement, is to suggest a rethinking of the nature of the academic discourse(s) we expect in the academy.

2:30-3:30 p.m.
Situated Placement: The Rewards of Developing Placement Processes

Participants: Heidi Estrem, Boise State University, Dawn Shepherd, Boise State University; Leigh Jonaitis, Bergen Community College

This afternoon roundtable discussion will focus on placement. Our roundtable discussants represent a range of institutions (doctoral institution, regional campus, and two-year colleges), and all speakers have developed new placement processes at their institutions. The first group of speakers will describe how a new course matching process at their doctoral institution mediates students’ understandings of college writing courses prior to enrollment and encourages student self-efficacy while also increasing retention across all first-year writing courses. The second speaker will share how her regional campus used a state mandate to eliminate “remedial” education as leverage to develop a new basic writing curriculum and a guided self-placement process that led to better outcomes and increased satisfaction for instructors and students. The final speaker will discuss the challenges of placement at a two-year college and how her program has used its placement process to respond to student needs.

3:45-5:00 p.m.
The Rewards of Collaboration Between TYCA and CBW
Session Chairs: Michael D. Hill, Henry Ford College and Suzanne Labadie, Oakland Community College

Roundtable discussants will facilitate collaboration between CBW and TYCA attendees around research in our field. The goal of this session of the workshop will be to determine the key areas of crossover in our organizations where research needs exist, and to develop professional communities of instructors to support, produce, and participate in work in these particular areas. Attendees will be actively engaged in this session through conversation, brainstorming, and planning future collaborative work around key topics, such as placement, retention, acceleration, critical thinking, rigor, and changing expectations in college-level writing.
And don’t forget to join us for the CBW SIG on Thursday night to congratulate Boise State’s PLUS: ‪Projecting Learning, Understanding Success‬, winner of the 2015 Innovations in Basic Writing Award. Our SIG is located in Marriott, Grand Ballroom C, Level Two from 6:30-7:30 pm.‬‬

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CBW 2014, Complete Schedule

Please join us for the CBW 2014 Pre-Conference Workshop 

19 March 2014 at the CCCC National Convention!

Open Futures? Basic Writing, Access, and Technology

Council on Basic Writing Pre-Conference Workshop 2014

So often, technology is touted as the promise and answer to everything. We are told that technology makes everything easier, simpler, and more accessible. But when we consider technology and Basic Writing, is that true? Does technology provide open access for our students to achieve their educational goals, moving from developmental writing courses through graduation? What is the impact of technology on basic writing classrooms today? What are the political consequences of eschewing digital pedagogies? Of adopting them? Who controls these technologies? What are the implications of who creates and controls them? What does responsible basic writing pedagogy look like in a digital age? This pre-conference workshop will work to explore the possibilities, realities, and restrictions of technology and basic writing pedagogies.

9:00 a.m. Welcome

Session Chair: Sugie Goen-Salter, San Francisco State University

9:15-10:00 a.m. The 2013 Innovation Award for Teaching of Basic Writing

Session Chair: Sugie Goen-Salter, San Francisco State University

Presenters: Anne-Marie Hall, University of Arizona; Aimee C. Mapes, University of Arizona; and Christopher Minnix, University of Alabama at Birmingham

The University of Arizona Writing Program will discuss the “Adapted Studio Model” for basic writing (BW) in a two-part presentation. First, we will define our curricular innovation as an adaptation of a variety of successful approaches in the field. Our reinterpretation blends strategies from a studio model, an intensive model, and the accelerated learning program with an emphasis on increasing student and instructor interaction. Importantly, adapted studio model contributes to two major goals: fostering expansive student learning and improving retention of students at higher risk of dropping out. The presentation will overview institutional exigencies for improving BW instruction in our program and then outline the success and portability of the adapted studio model. Workshop participants will learn about:

•     intricacies of course enrollment and scheduling, including credits and implications for students and instructors,

•     professional development for instructors in a weekly teacher collaborative,

•     scope and sequence of the composition course,

•     integration of the studio into the composition course,

•     and student retention.

At The University of Arizona, this model has been successful at increasing retention of underprepared writers from 46% under the traditional “extra remedial course” model to 81%. We contend that the combination of the composition course with the studio accomplishes a “slowing down” of the pace of the curriculum in a way that draws out the metacognitive aspects of writing for students. The additional face-to-face time with instructors and extra instructional support effectively closes the gap between academically underprepared students and students whose high school experiences have geared them toward success in college.

The second part of the session will focus on studio curriculum, emphasizing the workshop as a space where instructors can teach to their strengths related to writing and where students can address what they feel are weaknesses. Typically, studio workshop offers opportunities for stronger personal engagement. We will demonstrate how creating a more flexible environment for reflection through the studio model also sustains more enriching interactions between students and faculty. In studio, students participate in a range of craft lessons. We will feature three exemplary studio lessons on invention, the intersection of sound and meaning in language, and a thesis workshop.

10:00-12:00 noon: Basic Writing, Literacy Narratives, and the Collective Power of 2.0 Projects 

Keynote Address by Cynthia Selfe, The Ohio State University

Session Chair: Lynn Reid, Fairleigh Dickinson University

In this session, Selfe explores ways in which Basic Writing teachers/scholars can multiply and amplify their individual efforts by undertaking 2.0 projects (Anderson, 2007; O’Reilly, 2005) that leverage the power of collaboration and digital expression.  Even as Basic Writing faculty struggle with heavy work loads, minimal staff, and a lack of material resources, they can help build 2.0 projects and, perhaps more importantly, make these projects pay off in their own institutions, colleges, and/or departments.

As part of her talk, Selfe will show autobiographical literacy stories that undergraduate students have contributed to the Digital Archives of Literacy Narratives (DALN) and explore what kinds of work these accounts can accomplish for both teachers and coaches. She will also preview a new project of “digital curated exhibits,” Stories That Speak to Us, that she is undertaking with colleagues Scott L. DeWitt and H. Lewis Ulman and fellow teacher/scholars from across the U.S.

12:00-1:30 p.m. Technology Café and Interactive, Digital Poster Session (and Lunch)

Session Chair: Lynn Reid, Fairleigh Dickinson University

This technology café asks basic writing educators to share local models for successful integration of technology into the Basic Writing classroom. Basic Writing faculty from two- and four-year institutions will showcase technologies and how they are used in practical lessons. Participants will have the opportunity to hear about the practical application of a new technology in the classroom and then try out the technology with the assistance of an experienced practitioner.

1:30-2:30 p.m. MOOCs and Basic Writing

Session Chair: Sara Webb-Sunderhaus, Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne

Discussants: Jeff Grabill, Michigan State University; Steven Krause, Eastern Michigan University; Ben McCorkle, The Ohio State University at Marion; Leigh Jonaitis, Bergen Community College.

This afternoon roundtable discussion will focus on MOOCs and their potential–and potential issues–for basic writing instruction. Our roundtable discussants represent a range of institutions and have a variety of histories with, and attitudes towards, MOOCs. Some have created and taught MOOC writing courses, while others have enrolled in these courses to understand as much as possible what a MOOC student’s experience is like.

2:30-4:00 p.m. CBW Talks Back

Session Chair: Michael D. Hill, Henry Ford Community College

Discussants: Susan Naomi Bernstein, Arizona State University; Wendy Olson, Washington State University Vancouver; Michelle Stevier-Johanson, Dickinson State University; Michael Hill, Henry Ford Community College

So often our courses in BW are constructed and/or dominated by our teaching tools: our textbooks, our exams, our writing-based computer programs.  The use of these tools is marketed by large companies; demanded by administrators and bookstores; and, at times, mandated by departments.  The unfortunate reality is that these tools tend to define the terms, the activities, and the pedagogies of our classes and they often do so poorly.  As the professionals in the BW classroom, BW teachers, along with our students, should be the ones who define the field.  In this session, the participants of the workshop will determine in what ways the CBW might speak back to the producers, the administrators and to our colleagues about the efficacy of these tools.  We will start with short presentations by practicing teachers critiquing the effects of specific products at their institutions and in their classrooms.  We will then break out into small groups, each examining and discussing separate products.  The goal in these groups will be to empower the individual teacher who must attempt to instruct salespeople, editors, bookstores, deans, and perhaps even WPAs about what basic writers needs.  The entire workshop will then reconvene to determine what type of work the CBW should be doing as an authoritative organization to combat the domination of BW products in the teaching of BW.

4:00-5:00 p.m. Basic Writing Town Hall Meeting

And don’t forget to join us for the CBW SIG on Thursday night to congratulate Bill Riley of Penn State University for receiving the 2014 CBW Travel Award and Our Lady of the Lake University’s QUEST First-Year Writing Program, winner of the 2014 Innovations in Basic Writing Award.

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Bring Technology Examples With You to CBW 2014!

Plan now to join us for our CBW pre-conference workshop, “Open Futures? Basic Writing, Access, and Technology.” The full day workshop will be Wednesday, 19 March 2014 at the CCCC convention. As part of your plans, please bring examples (posters, laptops, examples) of innovative uses of technology and basic writing for our cafe session over lunch!

Posted in Uncategorized

2014 Award Winners!

CCCC is just a few weeks away! Make your room on dance card for all things Basic Writing! We’ll be posting the schedule for the CBW pre-conference workshop (Wednesday, 19 March 2014, all day!) later this week. But for now, please plan to attend the CBW Meeting on Thursday, 3/20 at 6:30 p.m. to celebrate our 2014 award winners and to meet fellow basic writing faculty from around the country! On Thursday we’ll honor Bill Riley of Penn State University for receiving the 2014 CBW Travel Award and Our Lady of the Lake University’s QUEST First-Year Writing Program, winner of the 2014 Innovations in Basic Writing Award. Congratulations!

Posted in CCCC 2013, Uncategorized

Perspectives on the History and Future of Basic Writing

With inconsistent internet and an overwhelming stream of panels (and textbook parties), I want to do a brief post on what’s freshest in my mind – the wonderful histories presented by Andrea Lunsford, Mary Soliday, Gregory Ott, and Kelly Ritter in “Perspectives on the History and Future of Basic Writing”  — and return later today to the panels on English language learners that I attended yesterday.

Both Andrea Lunsford and George Otte provided overarching, bite-sized histories of “basic writing” and how basic writing has become a contested field of study. Lunsford discussed the recurring Crisis in Literacy that we are once again in the midst of today. She discussed the concern in 1970, with the article “Why Can’t Johnny Write?” that invented the need for “remediation.” She discussed her first 4Cs in 1969 in which the chair, Geneva Smitherman, gave an address called “Black Language is Black Power”; Shaughnessy’s work in Errors and Expectations; and how in 1980 the 4Cs first included “basic writing” and how the field developed in the 1980s. Otte opened his talk discussing how the “definition” of basic writing and basic writers is perpetually unstable and called into question. What makes basic writing is a special kind of attention, according to Otte. He then charted that attention, beginning with Mina Shaugnessy’s attempt to uncover causation in error. He then discussed the cognitive turn from scholars like Lunsford and Mike Rose, and the critique of a purely cognitivist approach from Rose. From there, he discussed David Bartholomae’s critique of the emerging basic writing subject, that “in the name of sympathy and empowerment, we have once again produced the ‘Other.’” Following this would be Ira Shor’s critique of BW as “our apartheid.” While basic writing is constantly contested, Otte suggested that basic writing teachers and scholars need less a united front than a persistence of attention. Lastly, Mary Soliday used archival information from CUNY professors in 1970 evaluating their basic writers. Though there was no established scholarly field for basic writing at the time, she praised the observations of these teachers, such as form drives proficiency (i.e., when a student knows a subject, she/he produces more fluent writing). Soliday suggested that these observations – that “excitement is the hook on which we are engaged in intellectual life” – should continue to guide how we teach basic writers, that we should pursue academic inquiry rather than the modes (get rid of the modes, both she and Kelly Ritter suggested), that our basic writing courses should be more like book clubs, not the acontextual modal approach that is still dominant in basic writing textbooks.