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Webinar Transcripts

Developing Your Writing: Creating a Paper From a Discussion Post

Presented August 25, 2016

View the recording

Last updated 1/5/2017


Visual: The webinar opens with a main pod for the PowerPoint slides and captioning, Q&A, and files pods stacked on the right side of the screen. A small pod next to the files pod shows Claire’s picture. The PowerPoint slide is titled “Housekeeping” and details how to use the webinar features that Beth discusses.

Audio: Beth: Hello, everyone, and welcome to today's webinar. My name is Beth Nastachowski, I'm the manager of multimedia writing instruction here for the Writing Center, and I'm so glad you could join us today. I'm going to get us started by going over a couple of quick housekeeping notes. So, if you're new to webinars or you haven't been to a Writing Center webinar in a while, this will be helpful for you, just to sort of know what's going on throughout the session. And then I will hand it over to our presenter for today, Claire.

So, to get us started, I want to note that we are recording this webinar. So if you'd like to come back and review the recording or if you have to leave for any reason, you're always welcome to come back and finish watching at a later date. And, in fact, we also record all of our webinars, so, if you haven't seen our webinar archive, that's on the Writing Center's website, and we have over 45 webinar recordings waiting for you there. So if you ever need some writing instruction or you have some extra time and you'd like some help with any scholarly writing, grammar, or APA topics, you're more than welcome to take a look at that. I'll be posting this recording probably by this evening, so you'll have access to it right away. And I do welcome you to take a look at that if that would be helpful for you.

Also know that there's lots of ways for you to interact with us today. So I know Claire has lots of chats put together that she'll be leading you through throughout the session.

But the PowerPoint slides that we have here are also interactive in that you can click on the hyperlinks that Claire has, so those will open up in a new tab, you can download those slides that she's sharing in the files pod at the bottom right-hand as well, so you're welcome to do that if you'd like access to the slides at a later date as well.

Also note that we have a Q & A box where you can submit questions or comments throughout the session. So myself and my colleague, Rowland, we're going to be monitoring the questions box. And we do welcome you to submit any questions or comments you have throughout the session so we can get you some answers right away.

And then Claire will be stopping for questions at a couple of different points and then I can kind of voice common questions aloud as well. I do also want to note, particularly at the end of the webinar, sometimes we get a number of questions that we aren't able to get to because we do have to end the session at the top of the hour, if that's the case, you submit a question, you aren't able to get an answer, or if you think of a question after the webinar, please feel free to e-mail us at, I'll make sure to display the e-mail address at the end of the session as well.

The last thing to note, if you have any technical issues, let me know in the Q & A box, I'll be happy to help as much as I can. There's a help button at the top right-hand corner of the screen, that's Adobe's help option, so that's the best place to go for any technical issues. With that, I'll hand it over to you, Claire.


Visual: The slide changes to the title slide for the webinar. This shows a larger picture of Claire and her position at the Writing Center.

Audio:  Claire: Thanks, Beth. Hi, everybody, I'm coming in from Grand Rapids, Michigan today, where it has been a very humid and rainy couple of days. I'll be presenting this webinar, Developing Your Writing:  Creating a Paper from a Discussion Post. And we'll go over that process together today.


Visual: The slide changes to “Learning Objectives.” Claire reads and discusses these.

Audio: So, our learning objectives for this webinar are to today the differences between a discussion post and a paper, both in purpose and general characteristics. To understand how a discussion post can be a basis for a course paper. And to identify the basics of the writing process for a course paper.


Visual: The slide changes to an untitled slide. It has three textboxes with pictures attached to each in a vertical arrangement. The boxes are arranged from left to right with a picture of a puppy on the left with “discussion post” and “explore” as the labels. The center set has an adult dog paired with “develop, research, expand” and “take the next step.” The set on the right shows an older dog with labels “writing and revising course paper” and “write.” All three sets are connected with arrows. Claire briefly discusses how to move through these stages.

Audio: So we're going to go over three kind of major sections in this webinar today. We're going to start with, discussion posts and how they're a chance to kind of explore your ideas, especially related to your course readings, and then we'll talk about taking that next step, taking those ideas that you have in the discussion post and developing research and expanding on those ideas. And then we'll talk about how you can take that and turn it into writing and revising your course paper.


Visual: The slide changes to show a chat prompt. The screen layout changes so that the PowerPoint slide is slightly smaller and shifts left. The Q&A and captioning pods move side-by-side to the top right corner. A chat pod opens below them. The files and picture pods are not visible. Claire reads the prompt and introduces the chat activity.

Audio: So, to start us off, I'd like to do a quick chat. And you can tell me how you develop your ideas for academic writing. What techniques do you use or how do you get your ideas? How do you get started? So I'll give you guys a second to do that and then I'll chime in with some comments.

I'm seeing a lot of good comments here. Reading the literature is a great way, and a literature review is a great chance to kind of get all those ideas out there, even just a standard search of your topic is great. I see some stuff about personal experience, which is, of course, important because we're all, you know, professionals in our field and trying to make social change in the world, so real life really taps into our course work and what interests us. Reading journals and articles that are current, maybe you subscribe to one or you have access to a bunch through the Walden Library. Outlining is a great way to get ideas, just to kind of see what you know and where you can go from there. And reading the assignment first is great. If you're working on something specific for your academic writing, if you have a specific assignment, going over that assignment is a really good way to kind of get your brain moving. Okay.

That seems like we've slowed down with comments, but you guys had some great ways to come up with ideas. And I'm going to go over some processes today that work specifically with discussion posts, but all of those ideas are really beneficial and although we're focused on this specific way to help you get ideas, all of those are really great and we have a lot of other resources on generating ideas in multiple different ways, too. So, if one of those ways really works well for you, we probably have something on that topic, and if I don't end up covering it today, you're free to ask in the chat box or write us to get that specifically.


Visual: The screen returns to the previous layout with the files pod available. The title slide for the next section “Exploring: Writing and Responding to a Discussion Post” opens. The picture of the puppy from earlier is in the center of the slide.

Audio: So let's move on to our first section. Exploring through writing and responding to a discussion post. And, so, just like this little tiny dog here, we're starting, we're kind of exploring, we're starting on our way.


Visual: The next slide “Discussion Post and Paper Writing Process” opens. It shows the writing process in a cyclical diagram with five textboxes connected by a circular arrow. Clockwise, the boxes say “Course resources,” “Discussion post and responses,”  “Develop, research, and expand ideas,” “Write and revise course paper,” and “Instructor feedback.” Claire discusses these steps and their relationships.

Audio: So, the basic circle of discussion post and paper writing process, and that doesn't mean that it has in this exact order every time, that there's not some back and forth, but the basic process for Walden courses is that you start out with your course resources.

So, that reading that you're doing for your courses and the interactions that you're making based on that. And then you'll be assigned discussion posts and responses based on those course resources, so that's your chance to explore and get your ideas going. And then you can take the ideas that you talked about in those discussion posts and develop research and expand on them in order to use them to write and revise a course paper on a larger, but related topic. And then you'll get your instructor's feedback on that paper. And then it will start over again with the next week or the next several weeks' worth of resources.


Visual: The next slide “Students write discussion posts to…” opens. A pyramid diagram lists the purposes of discussion posts. Clair reads and discusses these.

Audio: Students write discussion posts to evaluate authors, develop ideas and arguments, show their understanding of resources, explore their questions, and prepare for papers. So, they're really a chance for you to kind of feel out what you're reading, what interests you about it, how are you engaging with the text, and it's a chance for you to talk to your peers, too, which is really great. So you can kind of engage in that academic conversation. And have a chance to think more deeply about it and answer questions and really reflect on things you might not have thought of just in doing the reading. And writing's a really great way to do that. And it can help you prepare for your papers because you're already thinking about this idea that you've been reading about and usually the papers that you have are going to be related in some way to those smaller discussion posts.


Visual: The next slide “In the post…” opens. The picture of the older dog is in the top right corner. The main body of the slide has a bulleted list of key points to cover in a discussion post. Claire reads and discusses these. The bottom right corner has a hyperlink for a webinar about how to write discussion posts.

Audio: So, in your discussion post itself, once you get it, you'll want to make a claim, organize logically, compare, and contrast, support with evidence, and practice academic writing. And what we mean by make a claim is that there's going to be a stance that you take in that discussion post probably based on the actual post assignment itself.

So, you'll take a stance, you'll have an opinion about something, and then you'll organize how you write that logically. It's good practice to string your points together and see what makes sense, one idea to the next. Take a time to compare and contrast, consider the positives and negatives. This is your time to explore and make sure you're supporting with evidence, that you're practicing citing, and all of that will add up to practicing that academic writing, which is kind of the point in the first place because you'll be writing those larger papers.

And we have a really great in-depth webinar about writing discussion posts really specifically, and you can find it through that link there. So I'm not going to go too much into the actual process of breaking down the assignment and outlining your discussion post because our writing instructor, Christina, does such a wonderful job in that particular webinar.


Visual: The next slide “Sample Discussion Prompt:” opens. This slide shows a mock discussion prompt in a format common for Walden courses. Claire reads and discusses the prompt.

Audio: So, instead, what I'll do is I want to go over a fake discussion prompt and a sample paragraph from that prompt, and then we'll use that throughout the webinar today to talk about how we can take that information and boil it down so that we can use it later in a larger paper. So, the sample prompt is, post by day 2 an evaluation of what you think is the most significant positive and most significant negative of Helakoski's classroom management strategies. Give examples of where Helakoski's methods might be effective in your classroom and explain why.


Visual: The next slide “Sample Discussion Paragraph:” opens. Claire reads and discusses the paragraph.

Audio: So, here's a sample paragraph that I wrote based on that prompt. It's a little more condensed than you necessarily would have in a discussion post, but that's so we could fit everything in. So I'll read that aloud for everyone. Classroom management strategies can be very useful to educators. In particular, Helakoski's strategies have many positives, but some negatives as well. For example, Helakoski's method of discussing misbehavior privately with the student could be an excellent way to manage this issue and create trust between teacher and student. However, it can also give those who act out attention and single them out even more, which could alienate them from the rest of the class, as described by Borstler. In my classroom, I would use the step aside method for particular cases in order to build trust with my students.

So, you can see how we've kind of addressed all the main points, we're talking about the positives, the negatives, and the personal experience in this little mini example.


Visual: Textboxes with “Think Through,” “Use Resources,” and “Explore” appear on the paragraph as Claire discusses these actions.

Audio: And this is just a chance to really think through, what are the positives and negatives of Helakoski's strategies? Use resources, you'll notice that this example used a resource that's not even related to Helakoski, and that might be from my own reading or it might be from other course reading that you've done that you're choosing to bring in external sources to add to your argument. And it's also a chance to explore, what is that personal connection? How does this tie into what I do?


Visual: The next slide shows a chat prompt. The screen shows the layout with the chat pod. Claire reads and discusses the chat activity.

Audio: So, I'd like to do another chat and have you guys think about a time when a discussion post has been helpful to you in thinking or writing -- in your thinking or writing process and complete the following sentence. The discussion post was helpful in my thinking or writing process because blank. So I'll give you guys a minute to work on that.

So I'm seeing some really great answers here about exploring topics for the paper, thinking about other perspectives and different points of view and whether that's part of your job as part of the prompt or whether it's from your classmates giving you different perspective, that's really helpful, too, right, because if you're going to eventually use some of that information or some of those ideas, it's important to take other opinions into consideration when balancing out your argument. Yeah, and it's a great place to just talk about your own opinion and although you may not use your own opinion in an academic paper, some of them do.

But although you may not use it in an academic paper for your course work, it's still important to have that base opinion because once you have it, you can look for information to help support that with real evidence, right? So you can still have the basis of the idea. Yeah, and it's a great chance to practice academic writing, practice citing, practicing doing all these things, practice organization, in this smaller format. So that you're ready to try it out in a larger form for your papers as well. Okay.

So it looks like we've trailed off here, but I saw some really great answers. It's really important to kind of balance it out and take that time to explore, right? This is your chance to explore the idea. And what's really cool about discussion posts is they sort of simulate what would happen in a physical classroom during class discussion, right? Where you would bounce different ideas off of your classmates, but it's beneficial in different ways than that as well because it lets you practice that academic writing, practice using those citations and really hone your skill that way since your larger work is eventually going to be a big piece of writing.

All right. So, I see a couple still coming in. But let's... Yeah, it does give you an opportunity to bring together different readings. The example I used was about a specific reading that you had done for that week, right. But sometimes it might be about just a general idea, and it's up to you to bring together the different readings. That's a great point.

Okay, I'm going to let Alice finish here, and then I'm going to go ahead and move on to the next slide. Yeah. And it's a chance for you to get a little bit of feedback from your instructor. That's a great point as well. Which ties into that practicing of academic writing.


Visual: The slide “The Continuum” opens. Below the title is a textbox reminding participants to “Use discussion posts to help inform and develop ideas for a paper.” A close-up picture of the adult dog laying in a field is on the left and is labeled “discussion post.” A wide-angle picture of a dog on the top of a mountain is on the right and is labeled “paper.” An arrow connects the labels from left to right. Claire discusses how discussion posts and papers might be linked.

Audio: So, we're going to talk a little bit about discussion posts are thematically linked with longer assignments, right? They are connected. They expand from one point to the next. It gives you a chance to explore those ideas so that you can turn them into something else. And just like this picture of the dogs, yes, I did use dogs throughout this whole presentation, in the picture on the left the dog is outside and there's this big background behind them, but we're really focused on this one small area where they are, right? And that's the discussion post. You're focusing on this one particular thing.

Whereas, the paper is this picture on the right, which is expanded, right? You're exploring, you're going out, you know, beyond the mountains, behind the dog in the other picture. And, so, they're connected, they're related, but they're just bigger focus. And, so, you can use your discussion post to help inform and develop ideas for that later paper. And that's part of the reason that instructors assign them, right, is to help you get ideas for those papers.


Visual: The next slide continues to content of the previous slide. It shows a mock discussion prompt and a mock application prompt. They are connected with an arrow. The discussion prompt is the same as earlier. Claire reads the application prompt and discusses how these two assignments are related.

Audio: So, going along with that, I have a sample application paper here, which I also wrote. And I'm going to talk a little bit about how that connects to the discussion post example that we talked about before with Helakoski's classroom management strategies.

So here's the application paper assignment. Consider a scenario in which you are recommending your entire school take on a classroom management approach. From your course readings. Submit by day 7 a three to four-page paper that includes the following, an explanation of the method you would use to educate fellow faculty on your approach including, how you would manage meetings, what materials you would provide, and how you would take resistance into consideration.

So, although this talks about a classroom management approach in general, right, it does say from your course reading, so you may have done a few of these in your course up to this point, but for this example we'll use Helakoski's, because we already wrote a discussion post about it and maybe we like that the best or maybe we have the most ideas about it, but that's what we'll do for this example.


Visual: The next slide “Outlining Steps” opens. The slide shows an example of how to use a reverse outline of the discussion post from earlier to build an outline for the application paper. Claire reads the outline and discusses this process.

Audio: So, first, I suggest that you do a reverse outline of the discussion post where you make a bulleted list of the main points that you discussed in that post. And that will help you kind of filter down the information so that you can see what might be useful and what you're definitely going to need more to add on to. And you may even use more than one discussion post to do this, depending on the prompt and the relevance of the posts, right?

So, if you wanted to, you could even keep a little bulleted list of all your discussion posts throughout the semester and then you could have that to refer back to. But also, it's a pretty quick exercise, I think, because discussion posts are pretty short. So you can always do it when you're trying to decide what to focus on for your paper as well.

So, for the example we used earlier, our bulleted main points for Helakoski's strategies would be a summary of those strategies, so that's something we definitely would talk about in our discussion post. We talked about the positives, that it creates trust between teacher and student. We talked a little bit about the negatives, that it could isolate students. And we talked about the use in the classroom and how it could help with misbehaving students. So, what parts of that, then, once we have our bulleted list, might we want to use in our paper on Helakoski's methods and why we think they would be effective at our school.

So, looking back through those bullet points, a summary of Helakoski's strategy would be helpful, since we'll be educating the others, right? We'll need to educate them, so we'll need to have a summary prepared. And we might want to educate our readers on that as well. A positive example of the ways that Helakoski's strategies are effective would be persuasive in explaining to the school why we think Helakoski's methods should be implemented. And the personal experience using the technique would be helpful as well if we have that, if we've tried it in our classroom. Adding that in is also a good persuasive tactic. So, that's not really enough for a whole paper, right? So, this is our chance to add more through researching, exploring, and expanding.


Visual: The next slide “Taking the Next Step: Developing, Researching, and Expanding Ideas” opens. This shows a wide-angle picture of the dog on the top of a snow-covered ridge.

Audio: And I'd like to take a quick pause here to see if there are any questions.

Audio: Beth: Not so far, Claire. So, I would just remind everyone, if you have any questions or comments, let us know in the Q & A box.

Audio: Claire: Okay, great, then we will just keep going. So, this is the taking the next step, right? Developing, researching, and expanding those ideas. There's the Vista, right? The larger idea where we're growing from that more focused-in discussion post.


Visual: The next slide has a chat prompt. The screen layout changes to show the chat pod. Claire reads the prompt and discusses the activity.

Audio: So, what strategies do you currently use to brainstorm, develop, and expand your ideas? It's a little different than thinking of ideas initially, right? How do you expand them? You might have a thought, but then what do you do with it? How do you find out more? I'll give you guys a minute to type in there.

So I'm seeing a lot of entries about doing extra research on that general topic. And that is a great way to get more ideas because you might have an idea, but it's interesting and helpful to see what others have said about it, right? To see what the current conversation is going on regarding that, and maybe you'll end up finding a big hole where nobody's really talking about it, and that's a good place for exploration. Or maybe you'll find that something somebody else says really sparks your interest and you want to learn more. And that is a great way to expand on your ideas. Comparing and contrasting is great, too, because then you can really think about who likes this, who doesn't like this, why, and decide what you think is more supportive and just explore that way.

The Walden Library's a wonderful resource, of course. Creating an outline is a great way to help you come up with ideas as well, and that really works well for some people. Also free writing works well for some people. I know I'm a very messy writer myself, and, so, I tend to kind of just write everything I can think of and then try and sift through it later, which I know doesn't work for everybody, but that can help generate ideas as well. Yeah.

I saw somebody mention writing notes while you've been reading and going back and looking at those. That's a great tactic. Mind mapping is great. So that's kind of a visual organization type of brainstorming. Relating how your ideas connect to real-life situations, that's really great, and it's especially great for Walden, right, because of our social change mission to really connect to how we're enacting these -- this research in real life to make change. These are great. I'm going to give you guys just another second to finish up here because I see somebody still typing. Highlighting the key points as you read is a great way to kind of boil it down and think about the points that have been made and then think about what you think about those, right? Yeah, and your course reading assignments and the discussion posts, right, are kind of there to help you generate ideas and explore and think about that. Okay.

I see a couple people are still typing, so I'm going to let you guys finish up and then we'll move to the next slide. Yeah. And writing just ideas that come to you that seem interesting to you or your thoughts while you listen to a lecture or are reading is a great way to come back later and look at your notes and think about what you want to explore. Great. Okay.


Visual: The screen returns to the previous layout with the files pod available. The next slide “Research Ideas” opens. Walden Library is hyperlinked below the slide title. A screenshot of the library’s homepage is in the center of the slide. Below the screenshot is the hyperlink for Ask a Librarian and the library’s main email address. Claire gives a brief overview of how to use the resources at the library.

Audio: So, like a lot of you said, one of the best ways is to research ideas. And how do you know what ideas to research? Well, you'll want to think about the topic that you're writing about, right, and see what other people are saying about it. Who likes it, who doesn't like it, why? What are they saying? Are people using it? You know? Are people using their research? Are they basing other things off of their classroom strategies? How are people using this information or are they? And you'll also want to think about the other parts of the prompt as well, like in this case, the example we were using earlier, part of the prompt was to persuade the rest of the people at your school to use Helakoski's strategies, right?

So you might want to research some persuasion techniques, since you're going to need to support those. So the main points of the assignment itself can help you figure out what ideas you have and then what you're going to need to find out more about so you can support that point that you're trying to make.

And the Walden Library is a wonderful, wonderful way to do that. They have so much information, and you can go and look by topic or article and you are interact with the librarians, which is wonderful. They are wizards at finding things if you're searching keywords and you just can't seem to find what you're trying to look for, they are great, they're a fantastic resource. And if you come across something that sounds really great and it fits right with your topic and for some reason you don't have access to it, sometimes they can find it and get you a temporary copy or find you a PDF. So I really suggest using them. They're fantastic.


Visual: The next slide “Once you’ve done your research… Put Everything in One Place” opens. Two bulleted lists are stacked: What we took from our post and Add to. Claire reads and discusses these ideas.

Audio: So, once you've done your research, you can put everything together in one place. Right? And that can mean a couple different things. One of the things that I do any time I'm researching is I make a new Word document and I copy and paste all of the paraphrases or quotes or just general bullet ideas that I'm interested in from my reading, and I usually organize them by source. And then I can read back through it later and see what thematic things are going on in what I found, and that way I have that document sitting there with all my citations and everything when I'm ready to incorporate those into my paper. So it's a really useful exercise. I highly recommend it.

And once you have that with your extra research, you can put everything in one place together from adding to your prompt. So what we took from the post, the discussion post, was a summary of the strategy is helpful, right? A positive example is going to be persuasive. And personal experience using the technique is going to be helpful. And we can add that to the research we found supporting our approach to how we'll educate the fellow faculty, since that was part of the assignment, and research, in addition to Helakoski herself, that supports the approach, right?

That's an important thing, too, if you're going to say that you believe in a certain approach, you should have more than one -- more than the person who wrote the approach themselves talking about it, right? Because, of course, they're going to think it's a great approach. So you'll want to find other people who have used it, other sources critiquing or supporting that research. And that gets the academic conversation going.


Visual: The slide changes to “Practice—Reverse Outlining” which has a paragraph of a mock discussion post. Claire discusses reverse outlining and reads the paragraph.

Audio: So, what I'm going to have you guys do now is a quick little practice exercise. On reverse outlining. And like I kind of explained earlier, I think reverse outlining is really key to connecting your discussion post to your larger paper because it really boils down those main points and lets you see what you might have already that you can research more in depth.

So, here's a sample paragraph, which I'm going to read aloud, and then I'm going to have you guys boil it down and practice giving kind of the bulleted or abbreviated version. So, I'll read it first. I think it is very important for nurses to continue education beyond their degree program in order to stay as up to date as possible on new medical advances. In my hospital, Mercy Hospital, many of the nurses who have been working longer use out-of-date methods or don't know the same things as newer nurses do. This difference in knowledge could lead to mistakes or not treating the patient as effectively as possible. Nurses should be encouraged to take part in professional development activities as part of their work time to avoid this knowledge gap.


Visual: A chat prompt appears below the mock paragraph and the screen layout changes to show the chat pod. Claire discusses the chat activity.

Audio: So then I will have you guys in the chat box summarize the main points of this paragraph so that we can keep it aside for a later assignment. And I'll give you guys a couple of minutes to do that. All right. I know some of you are still writing, but I just wanted to bring up a few of these that are really great. I think you guys have got the gist down really well.

The importance of that continuing education, professional development for nurses, right. And we're kind of talking about why this knowledge gap is a problem and what we can maybe do to fix it, right. And you guys have so many different ways of saying this. It's really great. I'm sure you're all very excellent paraphrasers with that particular skill set. And there are different conclusions you can draw about this, right? So it will depend on what paper you're eventually writing it for, what might be the most relevant, but having the basics of what we've said here can help you build on that larger paper.

And I go through a little example in the next slide. I think everybody's pretty much done typing. I'll give you guys another second to finish up. But this assignment might have been something like, you know, discuss an advancement that could benefit your hospital or a change that could be beneficial to your staff, maybe. All right. So, sorry if I'm going to cut anybody off, but I am going to go ahead and go to the next slide.


Visual: The screen returns to the previous layout with the files pod available. The next slide continues the concept of reverse outlining. A textbox has a sample reverse outline of the previous paragraph. Claire reads and discusses this.

Audio: So, you guys nailed it. The reverse outline of that short paragraph is that the knowledge gap makes less efficient nurses, right? That's a problem. That knowledge gaps could cause problems, like less efficiently treating patients or perhaps some mistakes. And that we came up with a potential solution, right, that more professional development for nurses could mean solving this knowledge gap issue.


Visual: Another textbox appears below the first showing a bulleted list on how to expand the discussion post ideas to an application paper. Claire reads the list and discusses how to expand a discussion post assignment to the larger application assignment.

Audio: So, if we had a larger paper for perhaps a change in our hospital, then we might want to use this discussion post that we kind of brainstormed that idea already. And in that case, we'll want to do some more research about who wrote about this knowledge gap, like, what is it? Who's been talking about it lately? What support or evidence is there that the knowledge gap actually causes a problem, right? Because this discussion post example was all personal opinion, which is fine as long as that's okay with your instructor for that particular discussion post. But for your larger paper, you have to have that evidence, right? And you really should probably have some in most of your discussion posts as well. But we're going to want to really beef up our stance if we're going to have in a longer paper. So we need to know who supports that knowledge gap being a problem and what kind of problems does it cause.

Also, find some others who have written about professional development. That's what I mean by P.D. there, for nurses. So who wrote about that? What are they saying about it? What support or evidence is there out there for the benefits of more nurse P.D.? What specific things are happening when nurses do more professional development that would support our conclusion that this would solve the knowledge gap issue?


Visual: The title slide for the next section “Writing: Write and Revise Your Course Paper” opens. In the center is a picture of the head of an older dog with its chin on a table. A laptop with eyeglasses resting on it is on the table. Next to the picture is a graphic with “Writing Process” in the center circle. This is surrounded by five small, blank circles that are connected in a ring.

Audio: So, before we go on to this next section, I want to pause to see if there are any questions again.

Audio: Beth: Thanks, Claire. We had a great question about whether students can use their actual discussion post, so exact paragraphs from a discussion post in the paper that they kind of are working from the discussion post on. Could you talk about that a little bit?

Audio: Claire: Sure. That's a great question. So, I definitely wouldn't recommend using an entire paragraph from your discussion post in your longer paper for a few reasons. One is that you're going to need to find additional evidence probably outside of your course readings to support whatever assertion you're making for your larger paper. And, so, that's going to mean adding to what you maybe already had some of in your discussion post. And then you'll also want to -- you know, it's your chance to kind of -- to expand, right? To do more. And usually the discussion post is so focused that there's going to be changes that you need to make.

Also you want to be careful because some instructors might consider that self-plagiarism and it really is going to depend on your instructors, so what you can do is if you're ever in doubt of if you can use a sentence or two from your discussion post in your larger paper is go ahead and just ask your instructor. They will have an opinion about it and let you know. And if they have an issue with it, then just paraphrase yourself, you know, take the idea that you already talked about, and write about it in a different way. Take that core idea and just write a totally different sentence and then you'll be good and you can use the evidence and the research, you know.

It would be okay to use the same, like, quotation, right, that you used in a discussion post in a paper because that's going to stay exactly the same anyway. But even a paraphrase is probably going to need like a slightly different connection or introduction depending on the topic of your larger paper.

Audio: Beth: Fantastic. Thanks so much, Claire. That's all the questions that we have so far. So keep sending those questions our way, everyone.


Visual: The next slide opens and shows a graphic of the writing process. The center circle in the graphic is labeled “Writing Process” and it is surrounded by four smaller circles that are connected in a ring. Starting at the top and going clockwise, the smaller circles are labeled “Thesis statement,” “Outline and plan,” Write, revise, write, revise,” and “Proof.” The bottom right corner has hyperlinks for two related webinars on the writing process. Claire discusses the writing process.

Audio: Claire: Okay, great. Then we will move on to writing and revising that course paper. So, this is the basic writing process kind of outline. And you'll notice that it's a circle, right? And that means that it's not necessarily certain steps in a certain order that you can't deviate from. You just need to make sure you have all of these things at some point in your writing process, right?

And that's especially true for your thesis statement and outlining. Sometimes you might write your thesis statement first, and that's just a draft to help you get started. I know a lot of students, that's really helpful to just give them a point of view, give them a stance to work off of. But other students might prefer to kind of outline and plan ideas or make kind of a bulleted outline before they come up with that thesis statement. And you may need to go back and revise your thesis statement later and that's fine, too.

A lot of times your thesis statement is kind of built into your assignment prompt as well, like in the example we talked about today with convincing everybody to use Helakoski's methods, right, there's your stance, there's your thesis statement. You know, my school should use Helakoski's methods because of these reasons, and I will convince everybody of that this way. Right? So that's your basic thesis statement already built into the prompt. They're expecting you to take a stance on this specific idea. So, in that case, it's probably helpful to write that first and then outline and plan. And we have a really, really great webinar on thesis statements, specifically, and the life cycle of a paper webinar on the kind of paper process in addition to this.

So, after you have your outline and your kind of plan for approach, then you can write and revise and write and revise, and this is a great part in the process to come to the Writing Center. You know, we can help you with something specific, if you're working on something, if you want an opinion on something that you're having trouble with, that's what we're there for, and we're happy to help.

And definitely, you know, plan on revising, always plan on revising because nobody's writing comes out perfect the first time. It just doesn't happen. And there are things that you miss and things that you need a second audience for as well, and that's what we're here for.

And then be sure to proof your paper, and I don't mean submit it to the Writing Center and ask us to proofread it, I mean actually just go proofread it yourself. Because I see a lot of papers that have, like, little typos or, like, where you use the wrong word and it's still a word, so Microsoft Office won't catch it as an error. But I see little things like that all the time in student work, and it's so easy to catch if you just read it aloud to yourself or even just sound it out in your head as you reread through it. And you'll be surprised at what little things you catch.

It's a great way to catch yourself in repetition, too, if you're reading it mentally out loud, you can hear the words kind of repeating themselves. So, make sure that you're doing all of these steps in whichever order works best for you and make sure that you're including revising and proofreading in that process.


Visual: The slide “Discussion Post and Paper Writing Process” is shown again. This has five circles arranged in a ring showing how to being with course resources and connect discussion posts to application papers. Claire reviews this information.

Audio: So, as a reminder, we start out with our course resources for our course work, and then we have our discussion posts and responses from those discussion posts and that's a chance to explore the ideas, get our own opinion out there and talk to our classmates about what we think and see different opinions from our own, as well as potentially validate our own opinion. Then we can take those ideas from our reverse outline and develop research and expand on them to write and revise our course paper and then we'll get our instructor feedback and start all over again.


Visual: The next slide shows a chat prompt and the screen layout changes to show the chat pod. Claire reads the prompt and briefly discusses the activity.

Audio: So, as a final activity, I would like you guys to consider a discussion post you wrote recently, last week or the week before, although I know it's between semesters for a lot of folks, so most recently, if that's the case, and did you use it to develop ideas or complete that week's paper? If so, how did you use it? And if not, how do you think you could use it using this webinar strategies? And I'll give you guys a couple minutes to do that.

I see we have a question here, so how did you use your discussion post to help with your paper? And if you didn't use your discussion post to help with your paper, how, if you could go back in time, after having watched this webinar, how would you use the strategies we talked about today to connect your discussion post and your paper?

I see we have some new students. New students, let us know what you would do, because this is great, because now you'll go into it and have your first discussion post and be able to apply this to your first paper. So what are the key things you would do from your first discussion post for your paper? I'm seeing some great entries here.

I just wanted to take a second to answer one comment that I saw that sometimes your discussion post may not relate to your paper. And that's true. You know, sometimes it might not relate really directly to your paper like the example that I had. But I am almost 100% positive that there will be a discussion post during your course that does relate at least thematically or in research to a larger paper that you have because the way that the Walden courses are designed is so that all of that fits together. Even if it's not immediately apparent from the wording, it's still going to connect thematically, you know, whether that's -- you end up using the research by somebody that you read for your course work and wrote about in a paper about a slightly different topic, that can be fine.

And you might have to get a little more creative, and that's where the reverse outline can be really helpful because you can see the kind of themes emerge. Yeah, I'm seeing a lot of great points here about how valuable it is to have feedback from your peers and your instructor on your ideas because maybe they have a lot of questions about that idea and, so, if you use it in a later paper, that's a good chance to explore it more through your research, right, and firm up your opinion and support it more thoroughly. So that's great. It's kind of like having a first set of eyes on your idea, right, and that's something we can help with at the Writing Center, too, but it's awesome to have it from your peers and in your course work.

Yeah, so I see a lot of people saying they're going to try the reverse outlining thing, which is awesome. I really believe in that method, I use it myself in class writing all the time. I just find it to be -- really clarifies things for me, in particular, and I think it will for you guys, too. Yeah, I see a lot about finding -- doing extra research to kind of find out more about your topic, so that's great, too, right. It's not exactly connected, right? You can't necessarily use everything in the discussion post by itself to make a big paper. You need that extra. So you're going to take those general ideas and really expand on them. So that's great.

Audio: Beth: Hey, Claire?

Audio: Claire: Yes.

Audio: Beth: Do you mind, I was just thinking about your discussion about outlining, and I just threw in there the link to the -- your outline blog post series, just in case that was useful for people, too. So I just wanted to point that out in case that was helpful.

Audio: Claire: Awesome. Yeah. We have tons of resources on different ways to outline and, in particular, for discussion posts. We have that discussion post webinar that really goes into a bunch of different ways you can outline your discussion post before you even write it. And that will give you an even easier way to do a reverse outline later.

Yes, all our materials are available at the Writing Center, and we have a webinars tab on the Writing Center main page where you can read our archive. The webinars are available to everybody, even if you can't attend in person, so those will be up until we do a new one. I think we're pretty much wrapped it up as far as discussing the actual activity. So I'm going to turn it over to Beth, see if there are any last questions or comments.


Visual: The last slide opens and has hyperlinks for asking questions after the webinar. It also shows a hyperlink for the webinar on writing a discussion post.

Audio: Beth: Thanks so much, Claire. I wondered, you know, we had a couple of students who are new, like we he saw on the chat box there, to the Writing Center. And they weren't sure what the paper review appointments were. So I wondered if you could give a brief overview of the paper review appointments and when they might be useful for students.

Audio: Claire: Absolutely. So, a Writing Center paper review is where you will sign up for myPASS, that's our online scheduling system. And once you have an account, you can make an appointment with us, with one of our Writing Center instructors, and you'll attach your paper and we will read it and give you comments within two days and you can specify what you'd like to us comment on or if you just really aren't sure, then you don't have to and you can kind of just tell us what your goals are as a writer. And we'll provide really supportive, helpful feedback and we'll link to a bunch of our specific resources so that you can dig in more and learn yourself and keep improving as a writer.

And you can schedule two of those a week, so if you want to get in ahead of time, you can do them two weeks in advance and plan on scheduling one and then revising and then having another appointment later in the week. I think that's really effective for students. So if you have a paper that you know is due at the end of a week, then you can write a draft of that paper, submit it to us, we'll give you our feedback, you can take some time to revise it and then resubmit it to get even more advice before it's due at the end of the week. I don't think I missed anything.

Audio: Beth: No, I don't think you did at all, Claire. That's great. And I would just emphasize that the writing instructors, like Claire and Rowland are just absolutely fantastic at giving feedback, so I'd encourage everyone to make those appointments, yeah. One other question, we had a student, kind of the theme, many of our students are newer writers and this student had asked about any advice for newer writers, and I think Rowland responded to that, but I wondered if you had any advice, Claire, for newer writers as well?

Audio: Claire: Absolutely. You know, don't be discouraged. Don't ever feel like you can't do it or that, you know, you don't know enough or you're a bad writer, anything like that. Don't feel that way because writing is something that you learn, and it takes a lot of practice. And it really does. You know, I'm a professional writer, I do this for my job, and there's still so much that I look up and remind myself about and learn every day. So, don't be hard on yourself, you know.

There are so many support services through Walden to help you. Outline your work. I think that's really helpful. And then come to the Writing Center. You know, we can tell you, like, what we think would be most beneficial for you to kind of work on and dig more into to help you communicate better and keep advancing your skills. Writing's a journey and it just takes a lot of time and practice and patience.

Audio: Beth: I love that. That's fantastic. Lots of thank yous in the Q & A box for you, Claire. So I just wanted to pass that on. And let's see. Oh, there was one last question. And it was about paper review appointments, Claire. Can students submit both papers and discussion posts to those?

Audio: Claire: Yes. You're more than welcome to submit a discussion post. And that's a great way, you know, especially if you're newer or, you know, you're probably going to get a discussion post assignment before you get a paper assignment, so if you want to send that in, we can give you a general idea of some resources we think would be really helpful to you and some comments on your writing in general and help you work on whatever you need to work on.

Audio: Beth: Fantastic. Thanks so much, Claire. And I think with that, we can go ahead and end for the evening unless you have anything else you wanted to kind of talk about.

Audio: Claire: No, I don't think so. This has been great, though. And you guys have been a really responsive audience. I so appreciate it. Thanks for coming.

Audio: Beth: Thank you, Claire. And I echo Claire's thanks there, everyone. I'll be posting the recording of this this evening and do look out, we have the end of August, this is the end of August, our last August webinar, but we have September schedule already up so look for some sessions there that might be useful for you as you're starting at Walden or continuing in your program. We hope to see you at another webinar. So, thank you so much, everyone. And I hope you have a wonderful day. Thanks, all.