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The Weekly Blast: October 8, 2010

Monday, October 11, is Columbus Day and the University will be closed. REMINDER - Tuesday, October 12, will be a Monday’s schedule.

Funded jointly by the English Department and the Writing Program, a new computer lab for use by English TAs and Writing Program TOs / lecturers is now open in Bartlett 307A. Three brand new Dell PCs with 19” LCD monitors, internet-connected and fully loaded with standard OIT software, are up and running. A printer station and UCard reader, connected to the University’s pay-for-print system, is also provided. Login instructions are posted on the wall above each station. The lab is open from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday through Friday, though we may occasionally close it for tech-related workshops and other events. After needed electrical work is done (we hope by spring 2011), the lab will have 8 stations – 4 PCs and 4 Macs – along with the printer, all for use by our graduate teachers and part-time lecturers. Be aware that this is our lab (English/WritingProgram) – OIT has helped us set it up but will not be maintaining it. Over the coming weeks, we will be assessing what kinds of technical assistance and maintenance will best meet our needs and resources. In the meantime, we are doing the best we can to trouble-shoot inevitable hardware and software problems. Please be patient: the lab will not have a monitor, as in OIT labs; problems may therefore take a day or more to straighten out. Help us keep the room clean and the computer stations in good order! Please, no food or uncovered beverages. And check out the Writing Program’s technology page at! Send questions or comments to David Fleming at, or the Writing Program’s technology coordinator, Christina Jones, at

WORKSHOP FOR NEW TOs: NEXT THURS., OCT 14 @ EITHER 11:30 OR 2:30! Next week’s workshop for new TOs will be held on Thursday (Oct. 14) rather than Tuesday because of the Columbus Day holiday. There will be two options for attendance Thursday: 11:15 am or 2:30 pm, both in the Calipari Room, on the lower level of Du Bois Library. All new TOs are required to attend one of these sessions! Please be on time as we have a lot to cover. If you’ve never been to the Calipari Room, give yourself extra time to locate it. The topic of the workshop will be teaching your students about the print and electronic resources for research available at UMass Libraries. The session will be led by Sarah Hutton, the head of Undergraduate Teaching and Learning Services at the library.

As we get closer to Unit III, Adding to a Conversation, College Writing teachers will want to think about changes and new resources for that unit. First, the UMass Libraries’ home page has changed. The page now uses a default search engine, WorldCat, that is a powerful one-stop research tool including all of the Five College book catolog but also materials from many other libraries and databases, including full-text articles indexed by Academic Search Premier. You will want to familiarize yourself with this new search engine so you can help your students use it effectively. Second, in addition to your usual library training session with your students, our new partnership with OIT and the new smaller class size in CW make it possible for all of us to hold at least one follow-up session in a campus computer lab. This can dramatically improve the one-to-one, peer, and small group help we provide our students as they learn about research. See . Third, think about teaching your students to use RefWorks, a popular and university-supported tool for storing and formatting bibliographic references. Information about RefWorks and other matters related to Unit III and the library can be found at the Library Subject Guide for College Writing: Finally, remember to talk to your students about plagiarism (see ). And don’t forget about the new “paths” through Unit III that we developed last year: .

“Portfolio Debriefing” by Hari Kumar can be used with any unit. This activity engages the students, as a group, in the final refection of the unit’s entire portfolio process. It also works to help us as teachers to identify the particular things that worked well and did not work so well for the students. To see the full details go to:

Tuesday, October 12 will be a joint meeting of all members in English 698F (Professional Development), English 698G (Composition Theories & Pedagogies), English 698K (Working & Playing with Grammar), and English 698S (Teaching & Technology). First-Year TOs and teachers no longer in training are welcome to attend. The joint meeting led by Peggy Woods, Kate Marantz and David Fleming will focus on Effective Ways of Responding to Student Writing and updates on the Library Resources for College Writing. The meeting will be held in Herter 205 and will end at 4:55pm. Please note that due to the Columbus Day Holiday, Tuesday October 12 is following a Monday schedule.
Any questions please see Peggy.

What essays are your students interacting with this semester? Join the conversation on the Resource Center’s teaching blog. This is a great place to see what your colleagues are thinking about teaching, writing and the teaching of writing. This is a closed blog—meaning only Writing Program teachers have access to it. To log in, just use your OIT account. (If you cannot access the blog, please contact Peggy ( We invite you to check it out, write a post, include a link to something you think your fellow teachers would be interested in, etc. The link below will take you to the OIT Blog page. Just enter your OIT email account and password.

Reminder: Dream Sheets/Practica Forms are due in the Writing Program by Friday, October 8. If you have any questions/comments about the packet please see Heidi, or email her at

Below is a list of graduate course change offerings for Spring 2011:

772: Contemporary Poetry: Gizzi CANCELED

777: Modern Poetry: Jennison W 4:40-7:10

780-2: Poetry Wkshop: Haug Th 10-12:30

781-3: Imaginiative Writing Fiction: Crawford Tu 6:30-9:00

891JC: Secularization & Materialism: Rosenberg CANCELED

891JF: The Rise of the Prison Novel: Rosenberg M 6 – 8:30

893B: Theorizing Performativity: Sack Tu 3:30-6:00

Thursday, October 21, 2010 is the last day students may withdraw from a course and receive a ‘W’ on his/her transcript. Make sure you inform the students of this date. If you have students in your course who are in danger of receiving a D or F, please fill out a mid-term grade report. Please be as specific on the form as possible. Make two copies of the form giving the original to the student, a copy to Becky for the Writing Program files, and keep one for yourself. If you need to mail the form to a student Becky can help you locate an address. If you have any questions please see your course director, resource center staff mentor, or any member of Writing Program staff. You can pick up the forms in the office or download them from the Writing Program website at: The report is due Friday, October 15 if not sooner.

Check your mailboxes next week around October 14 for a statement on policies and procedures for submitting essays to the 2011-2012 Student Writing Anthology. There have been some changes, so please take careful note of this essential information. We will also be attaching a sample Publisher’s Release Form just in case you have any Unit I essays to submit. Please get your Unit I nominations to the committee as soon as possible. There is a file Box in 305 Bartlett on the table in front of my office.

Thank you.
Pat Zukowski

Nominations for the 2010-2011 Distinguished Teaching Awards are now being accepted. The Distinguished Teaching Award is the highest recognition of teaching awarded to faculty members and teaching assistants/associates. To nominate your
favorite professor or TA, tell us why your nominee should receive a Distinguished Teaching Award. All nominations must include your name, mailing address, and email address. Nomination forms are available online at Nominations may also be sent by email to

Mark your calendars for the 2011 Writing Program Teaching Symposium, to be held 11:30 – 2:30 PM on January 14, 2011. This mini-conference includes the opening meeting, a selection of 45 minute teaching presentations/demonstrations, and is a great way to gear up for the Spring semester. If you have ideas for topics you would like covered or if you would like to present at the symposium, please email Deirdre Vinyard

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