Monthly Archives: November 2012

Writing Workshop Data

The numbers have all been tabulated from the eight writing workshops that were held in my four sections of the US History survey this semester.  Many thanks to the Teaching Assistants who helped with these workshops!  After each workshop, the students filled out a survey about the activity.  The graph attached here is based on data from 478 total students who answered seven questions about the workshops.  Students responded to each question on a scale of 1-5 (five was the most enthusiastic response and one was the least).  Question two was a yes-no response.

The survey asked students:

  • whether they had benefited from the exercise.
  • whether the exercise had introduced new strategies for critical thinking.
  • whether they thought the exercise would benefit their writing in the future.
  • whether they would like to repeat this exercise in other classes.
  • whether the Teaching Assistants had been effective.
  • whether they would consider using TA office hours.
  • whether the exercise had been an enjoyable experience.

Several patterns readily emerge from the graph.  Overall, the vast majority of students answered almost all of the questions with a four or five which were the most positive responses.  The only area with a somewhat tepid response pattern was that of utilizing TA office hours.  Most students seemed to genuinely enjoy the exercise.  Many of the students’ grades on the second writing assignment from the second workshop went up.  They are undertaking their third, and final, writing assignment very soon.  This assignment will be completed individually but my hope is that the students’ skills were sharpened by the workshops and are applied to this assignment.  Though it is still a work in progress, I am excited by the initial results of the writing workshops.  And I am thoroughly enjoying the strengthened rapport I feel with my students which I believe stems directly from the workshops.

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Southern Historical Association Annual Conference

The Southern Historical Association’s conference in Mobile last weekend was very enjoyable.  This was my first SHA meeting and I was impressed by the collegiality of the attendees and the rigor of the scholarship presented.  The sheer number of receptions for a conference of this size was also notable!  It was really nice to be able to connect with editors from academic publishers in the friendly atmosphere of the exhibit hall.  I especially enjoyed meeting Larry Malley, the director of the University of Arkansas Press, with whom I’ll be working on a couple of new projects.  The meeting is in St. Louis next year and I hope to be there!

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