Skip to main content

JWU Writing Lab: Resources for faculty

How the Wildcat Writing Center can help you

The JWU Writing Lab offers a variety of resources for Faculty and Staff. These include:

  • Introduction: Let us visit your class for 10 minutes to inform your students about the services the JWU Writing Lab has to offer them, what they can expect from a visit, our hours and locations, and answer any questions they may have.
  • Workshops: The JWU Writing Lab offers general classroom workshops, or ones specifically tailored to your class and assignment. A Writing Coach will meet with you ahead of time in order to insure we design a workshop that meets the specific needs and goals of your class. Examples of workshops can range from general (such as MLA overview, college level writing basics) to specific (such as how to write reviews of literature, composing annotated bibliographies).

Please contact Eileen Medeiros for scheduling and information.

Tips for Providing Quick and Effective Feedback on Student Papers

Few things facilitate a student’s learning better than direct interaction with a professor. For many of us, this often comes in the form of written feedback on a student’s assignment. But students can easily become discouraged by minimal or vague notes, leaving them to wonder where they went wrong or where to start revising, as well as too much feedback, leaving them to feel overwhelmed.

Follow the tips below to avoid frustration for both you and the students.

  1. Avoid vague comments. It doesn’t ruin an assignment to reveal your criteria up front.
  2. Provide student examples of both strong and weak student papers. Showing them less-than-perfect student work allows them to identify pitfalls to avoid.
  3. Avoid too many written comments. Grammatical errors are the easiest to fix, so students tend to address only those, sacrificing their understanding of the content.
  4. Know what you can and can’t fix. If a student has an excessive errors, suggest (gently) that they seek out other resources available to them, such as the Writing Center.
  5. Use a mix of feedback. Keep in mind a student can only absorb so many comments Mix line edits with an overall comments in a paragraph at the end.
  6. Be clear. Make sure your students know upfront what your markings means.
  7. Be nice. Point out the student’s strengths as well as weaknesses.

Simple Steps to Avoiding Plagiarism in Your Classroom

It's a common misperception that all types of plagiarism are the result of a willingness and intention to deceive. In fact, the main causes of plagiarism have to do with a student's misunderstanding of the material or assignment, or poor time management skills. While these things still remain the responsibility of the student to identify and correct, there are steps we can take as instructors to help guide our students through the often unfamiliar research process.

  1. Clearly articulate assignments and objectives. Make sure students understand how research fits into this process.
  2. Ensure students fully grasp the assignment. Take time to address any questions in class.
  3. Allot enough time for students to complete the assignments according to the standards. Check in with them along to way to help avoid procrastination. One method for this is to scaffold or sequence smaller assignments that culminate into a larger writing project.
  4. Review what constitutes plagiarism. Studies show students who take a brief quiz reviewing citation methods, such as the difference between proper and improper quotation and paraphrase, significantly reduces the instances of plagiarism.

These tutorials and quizzes can help students review the material. Each takes only 10 to 20 minutes:

  1. Capitalize on teaching moments. While severe plagiarism, such as copying an entire paper, is an obvious violation of any university’s honor code, sporadic bits of copied text often indicate a student is struggling with comprehending the class material and/or the citation method. Meeting with the student and/or using the Writing Center may not only resolve the matter, but strengthen the student’s understanding of the material and the process of writing in academia.
  2. A student's failure to understand the conventions of MLA, APA, etc. does not necessarily mean the student has intentionally plagiarized. These citation methods are part of a complex rhetorical act that require knowledge of the discipline and its conventions, including how the field values, makes, and represents knowledge. Without such an understanding, citation styles can seem like an arbitrary list of rules. But again, failure to give credit in appropriate MLA style, for example, does not equate with plagiarism. Before we suspect plagiarism, we must take a look at the entire text to see if the student is acknowledging the source in some other way.

Content credit

Content provided on this page was borrowed and modified with permission from the JWU Denver Campus Center for Academic Support Writing Center.