Writing Support News
Writing Instructors Fall PD Event

"Responding to Student Readiness"

Writing Instructors at the University of Toronto are invited to participate in a PD event

Wed. December 16 from 9:30 am – 1:30 pm.

Location TBA

As background reading participants may find the following article about Vygotsky and his ideas about scaffolding a useful theoretical frameworks for writing-centre instruction. The article is at http://writingcenters.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Nordlof_WCJ34.1_2014.pdf and just won the IWCA prize for best article of the year.

Draft Agenda

9:30 - 10:45 Research in the Age of Google (Andrea Williams, Faculty of Arts & Science, and Heather Buchansky, U of T Libraries)

10:45-11:00 coffee break

11:00 – 12:45 breakout sessions:

Integrating grammar and editing instruction (Dena Taylor, Health Sciences; Leora Freedman, Faculty of Arts & Science; Sarah King, UTSC)

Working with exceptional and challenging students (Jane Freeman, SGS; Barbara Rose, Woodsworth College; and Nellie Perret, Undergraduate Medical Education).

12:45-1:30 Lunch

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Announcement: The University of Toronto's Jack McClelland Writer-in-Residence for 2015-16 is award-winning novelist and short-story writer Rawi Hage. Rawi will be conducting a non-credit creative writing seminar on fiction in the "S" term on Wednesdays, 6-8 pm, at Massey College. Check the English Department website for more information about signing up for her seminar in the spring.

Whether you're starting your studies at the University of Toronto or returning to a program of study, you're wise to seek out the support that's available for learning writing. We offer many resources to help you handle the written work that's expected in your program—but it's up to you to find the exact ones you need. Here's an overview of the resources available to you.

Group Instruction:

There are a number of workshop series on writing and study skills offered at U of T. They are all open to the U of T community.

  • The St. George campus college writing centres provide a campus-wide series of academic skills workshops, entitled Writing Plus. These workshops provide help on basic study skills, the academic writing process, and types of academic essays. They are free, and all U of T students may attend. Workshops are on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. and Saturday mornings. At the start of both fall and term, Writing Plus also offers a series of two-hour workshops on writing admissions letters.
  • The Academic Success Centre offers workshops on general study skills. All U of T students may attend. Lecture topics include Giving Presentations, Managing Procrastination, Memory & Concentration, and Managing Procrastination. No Registration is required. Workshops are between one-and-a-half and two hours, and they require registration.
  • The SGS Office of English Language and Writing Support (ELWS) offers workshops on topics such as Writing a Thesis or Grant Proposal, Writing Literature Reviews, Improving the Flow of Your Writing, and Writing Lab Reports. No registration is required, and all members of the U of T community are welcome to attend.
  • U of T Libraries offers workshops on research and study skills. Open to the U of T community. Choose the workshops that interest you and register online.

Writing Centres:

Writing Centres are U of T's key resource for individualized writing instruction. They're provided by your faculty as part of your academic program - not as remedial services, but as co-instruction alongside courses in the disciplines. Instructors in writing centres offer personalized instruction to help you improve your skills in planning, drafting, and revising academic work. Bring your work-in-progress from any course, and it will serve as material for this instruction. Whether you know you need improvement or are building up your proficiency for a career involving writing, whether you're a first-year student or a graduate student completing your Ph.D. dissertation, you are eligible to work with a writing centre in your own faculty. One tip: be sure to make appointments well ahead of time. Most writing centres will be open in the first week of classes. Check here for contact information.

Note: You may book an appointment either by visiting the writing centre home page in your college or faculty or simply by visiting the common online booking system. Just follow the instructions on the welcome page. You will find links taking you to all centres that you are eligible to use.

Writing courses:

Courses that focus explicitly on writing are available in various faculties. They are designed to match the types of writing done in specific areas of study. Visit our page on courses to find out more about the full range of writing courses available at U of T. Though it is too late to enroll for most fall courses, a few options remain open:

English Language Learning (St. George Campus):

The Faculty of Arts and Science's English Language Learning program helps multilingual students gain confidence in using English at a university level. During the first 6 weeks of the fall and winter terms, Arts and Science students may participate in Reading eWriting, an online method for improving scholarly reading and writing. During the first 5 weeks of the fall and winter terms, students may also participate in the Communication Café, a series of interactive language activities which develop presentation and discussion abilities.

In spring and late summer each year, students may enroll in an 8-day non-credit course, ELL010H1F, Intensive Academic English. The course is specially designed for multilingual students who want to improve their scholarly reading, academic writing, speaking, oral presentation, and listening abilities. It is suitable for students in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.

To learn more, visit the ELL website.

English Language Development (UTSC):

The English Language Development Centre at UTSC offers programs to help students develop the level of oral and written academic communication skills they need to succeed at university. The suite of programs consists of the Café series (Communication Café, Vocabulary Café and Discussion Skills Café), the Personalized Academic Reading and Writing through Email (RWE) and seminars. These programs are offered all three semesters. Students can explore the Café series and decide which combination of modules from the Communication Café, Word Play, Vocabulary Café, and Discussion Skills Café series would best meet their needs. Sign up on the Intranet to register for a specific session.

Students are also encouraged to take Academic English Health Check, a confidential service that supports students.

To find out more about all activities offered during the year by the English Language Development Centre, visit the ELD web site.

Online advice:

Online advice is a hallmark of U of T writing instruction. Make the most of the material about academic writing created especially for U of T students. You'll find a wealth of advice files answering common questions among students at U of T.


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