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Teachers and Tutors Suggestions on Using this Site

Suggestions from Teachers and Teachers on How to Use the WriteSite 

Try It Yourself

Before you refer students to the WriteSite, take some time to become familiar with it yourself. That way you can direct students to areas of the site that will be most appropriate and useful. Familiarity with the site—its resources for thinking about topics, doing research, writing drafts, editing, and preparing the final product—will help you help students tackle course writing.

Plan and Follow Up

The more an instructor or tutor is involved in the use of the WriteSite, the better the results: prepare and plan how you want students to use the WriteSite. Beyond a general introduction to the site for students' ongoing independent use, directing students to specific sections and tasks will support them as they tackle particular writing assignments and writing issues.

Most of the WriteSite's instructional units ask for student writing; have them e-mail their results to you or print them out and hand them in.

Ask students for feedback on what they did on the WriteSite: have them record problems, frustrations, insights and revelations. Ask them to write down what they learned and how.

Encourage Metacognitive Thinking

Have your students observe and write about the work they do on the WriteSite, either on paper or within a word processing program (see below). You might consider asking them to keep a running log of their work with the WriteSite.

Consider Varied Uses and Adapt to Your Needs

The WriteSite can be used in the lab or classroom, to introduce rhetorical or grammatical topics, or serve as supplementary instruction.

The WriteSite can be used in collaborative learning sessions, or as supplementary homework, with the results printed out or e-mailed to you.

The WriteSite can also be used in one-on-one consultation or tutoring sessions, to help students gain another perspective on persistent writing difficulties.

The WriteSite can be a link from your course Web site, if you have one. You can link to the WriteSite home page, or link to relevant WriteSite pages as needed, or both.

Possibilities:

The WriteSite has been used as part of a group activity in the Writing Center at LaGuardia Community College. Students are presented with a task that has been designed to complement a particular WriteSite activity. They work on the task as a group, move individually to computers to work through the activity on the WriteSite, then return to groups to discuss and refine the work they have done.

A history professor's course orientation, on her course Web site, includes a section on "Writing for the Course," with a link to the home page of the WriteSite. She asks students to review the site contents and formats and explains it will be an ongoing resource for independent use. In addition, when she posts assignments on her own site, she links to particular WriteSite resources. For example, a paper comparing two revolutions links to WriteSite section on comparison and contrast.

An English professor at the College of Staten Island tells his students that instead of requiring them to buy a handbook and/or workbook of grammar and style, he will refer them to the free interactive resources on the CUNY WriteSite.

Use the Index

The WriteSite index page is arranged and numbered in outline form, so that you can refer students to a specific section of the site. For example, if you wanted them to work on irregular verb forms, you could simply ask them to work through all of section II.A.28.

Open a Word Processing Program
Keeping a word processing document open enables students to save all their work in one place (using copy and paste) and facilitates the keeping of a metacognitive log (see above).

Open an E-Mail Program
Encourage students to open up an e-mail program while they work, so they can you send their work to you or others. Also, if the students are using the WriteSite in a lab or classroom, e-mailing their work to themselves is a clever way to save it without using floppy disks.

Keep in Touch With the Site
Letting site developers know how things are going as your students use the site will help the WriteSite best serve you and your students.

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