Many of the following workshop suggestions are based on things that DSEM and WAC Writing Fellows have described faculty doing over the years or things they have done based on their training and reading. If you recognize a version of one of your assignments, you should know that your Writing Fellow recommended it to others as particularly successful, so thanks. I am collecting other activities so please feel free to share if you did something that works.


Each of these workshops invites you to divide the class into small groups although some may be organized in a round robin fashion as described in “Types of Workshops” (small groups are easier for you and the Writing Fellow to monitor). Begin class with a brief overview of the topic and, then in most cases it is advisable to discuss or work together through an example to show them what you expect. Then divide the class into groups and as they work or talk, you and the writing fellow should circulate between the groups offering feedback and answering questions. It may be necessary for one of you to sit with one group and model group work by prompting questions and asking for explanations, clarifications, examples etc., but in general the students should be responsible for their own work (see “Best Practices”). Leave at least five minutes at the end for the students to reflect and develop a plan of action for their own writing.

DSEM Workshops using Write-to-learn assignments

Summary synthesis:

Put the students into pairs (or three) and give them a news article or short reading. Ask each person to write a summary of the source, then the pair/group works together to create one summary using sentences and phrases from both students.

From quote to paraphrase:

Put students into groups of three (or four) and ask them to read the same text and select two or three quotations that seem particularly effective. Write these out then pass the list to the left. The next student has to write a paraphrase of each quotation. Pass again and the next student reviews the paraphrase for accidental plagiarism.

Paraphrase/avoiding plagiarism:

Review ppt/handout/handbook on the difference between paraphrase and patchwriting/plagiarism; then put the students into groups of 3 or 4 and give them a text and two student-written (or you can write them) paragraphs that paraphrase/summarize it. The paragraphs should be of different quality and one of them should contain some word-string copying. Ask the students to compare the two versions and suggest revisions where necessary, then discuss their recommendations with their group; finally, either have them do the same for their peers or for their own papers [depending on time]. This can become a workshop focused on plagiarism if one of the paragraphs (or both) violate Drew’s policy; follow the first part of this workshop with a discussion of the policy and of source use in general.

Sources in dialogue:

put the students into groups of three and have them review a class reading that uses sources. Each group makes a list of three or four sources that are cited in the article and that seem worthy of further reading. The list should include the correct citation (from the reference/works cited list in the article), one sentence describing how the source uses it and what it appears to argue/be about, and one more sentence explaining why the student considers this to be a source that might be relevant for someone writing a paper on the same topic as the book. Finally find that source, look at it, and decide whether the article uses it fairly/accurately.

Evaluating sources:

put the students into small groups and either provide them with sources that they could use as a jumping off point for a paper, or give them 10-15 minutes to each find a potential source using the library databases. First ask each student to write a tweet that succinctly captures the argument of the source they found, then write a Yelp-style review of the source complete with stars. Finally, the group reads the tweets and Yelps and selects which of the sources would be useful for the paper or assignment at hand.

























Sandra Jamieson 2016