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Webinar Transcripts

Walden Assignment Prompts: Learn the Requirements

Presented January 30, 2018

View the recording

Last updated 2/19/2018

 

Visual: The webinar begins with a PowerPoint title slide in the large central panel. A captioning pod, Q&A pod, and files pod are stacked on the right side.

The slide says “Housekeeping” and the following:

  • Recording
    • Webinar is being recorded and will be available online a day or two from now.
  • Interact
    • Polls, files, and links are interactive.
  • Q&A
    • Use the Q&A box to ask questions.
    • Send to writingsupport@waldenu.edu
  • Help
    • Choose “Help” in the upper right hand corner of the webinar room.

Audio: Hi everyone and welcome I am Melissa Sharpe and I’m a writing instructor here in the writing center. Before we begin and I hand the session over to Kacy, I just want to go over a few housekeeping items. First, we are recording this webinar so you are welcome to access it at a later date through the webinar archive. In fact, note that we record all of our webinars. So, you’re welcome to look through the archive for other recordings that might interest you. Also, if you are attending this webinar live or watching the recording you’ll find that we have some interactive elements like links and chats and files in the files pod so if you look at the bottom of the screen you’ll see the PowerPoint slides Kacey will be sharing today. You can interact with all of these things throughout the webinar. We also welcome questions and comments throughout the session and there will be a Q&A box for these. I will be watching the Q&A box and I’m happy and excited to answer questions for you as Kacy is presenting. You’re also welcome to send any technical issues you have to us through the Q&A box.  But, note that there is a help option in the upper right hand corner of your screen. This is adobe’s Technical Support and it is the best place to go if you need technical help. And so, with that I will hand it over to Kacy.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the title of the webinar, “Strategies for Demystifying Walden Assignment Prompts” and the speakers name and information: Kacy Walz, Writing Instructor

Audio: Kacy: Thanks Melissa. Hi everyone my name is Kacy Walz I’m also a writing instructor at the Walden University writing center and I’m real excited to be presenting this webinar for you on strategies for demystifying Walden assignment prompts.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Today’s Learning Objectives

You will be able to:

  • Explain the purpose of application assignments
  • Identify the three sections of most Walden assignment prompts
  • Employ strategies for reading assignment prompts to use in your own assignments
  • Understand the required components of any academic paper

Audio: Today's learning objectives are that at the end of this webinar you should be able to explain the purpose of application assignment. So, understanding why you’re being asked to do these weekly writeups. You’ll be able to identify the three sections of most Walden assignment prompts. Most of the assignments you’ll see are made up of three specific portions and so we’re going to go over how to explain those and understand them. You’ll be able to employ strategies for reading assignment prompts to use in your own assignments. So, we’re going to go over seven different strategies for reading those different assignment prompts and you’ll be able to understand the required components of any academic paper. So, all those kinds of rules that maybe don’t appear explicitly in the directions. But that you still want to make sure you’re following. So, those are our learning objectives for today.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Walden Assignment Prompts

  • Instructions for completing an application assignment have many names
  • Writing Prompts
  • Assignment Instructions
  • Assignment Prompts
  • Assignment Guidelines

Audio: Before we get into the meat of this webinar I just want to go over a few things. Instructions for completing assignments have different names and people will refer to them differently so if you hear me talking about writing prompts or assignment instructions, guidelines, directions, all those kinds of terms, I’m really talking about the same thing so hopefully that does not get confusing but there are just different terms for describing that information that you get before you start the assignments.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: What do application papers look like at Walden

  • Application paper
  • Course paper
  • Weekly paper
  • Weekly assignment

Audio: Similarly, the assignments themselves can go by different titles or different names. Some people will call them an application paper or a course paper, others might call them a weekly assignment or weekly paper. So, if you see those terms either in your coursework or maybe you have a writing appointment with the writing center and a writing instructor uses some different terms. Hopefully you’ll be able to understand that, we’re really talking about the same thing.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Sample Assignment Prompt from Blackboard

  • The slide is showing an illustration of blackboard class WCSS-6010G-10 GradWriting I

Application 2 Writers History Essay

Note that you have shared some of your writing experiences with your colleagues, you will examine these experiences in more detail by crafting a formal essay and writing, two skills you will study and practice in this course.

To prepare for the assignment:

  • Review the “instructions for Your Writer’s History Essay’ document located in the Resources area.
  • Consider any insights you have gained by participating in this week’s Discussion.
  • Reflect on your experiences with writing, including your professional, personal and online writing.

The assignment:

  • Compose a 2-3 page essay that examines your experiences with writing, in other words, write your “Writer’s History”.

Audio: Here on the screen this might look a little familiar to you. We have a Blackboard page and the assignment instructions for an application paper and this is an assignment that some Walden students might come across. So, it may be familiar that is the case for you and this the writing prompt that we are going to take apart today. This will be our example for those different strategies.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat

What’s the first thing you do when you receive a new assignment?

Audio: Before we get into that I am interested to know what is the first thing you do when you receive a new assignment? When you log into Blackboard and you see your application paper prompt, what’s the first thing that you do? And, you can share with your classmates in the chat box.

[Pause while students type]

This is great. It looks like not only are you guys aware of the important portions of each assignment prompt but you already have some techniques and some strategies of your own for addressing that assignment prompt so all very important information, due date, the instructions, the objectives, what it is the teacher wants you to take or to get out of the assignment. These are all really great things to take into account when you first read through your assignment information.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Purpose Can Shift

  • Assignment
  • Reflections
  • Position paper
  • Program evaluation
  • Annotated bibliography
  • Literature review
  • Final papers, theses, studies
  • Degree
  • Undergraduate
  • Master’s
  • Doctoral

Audio: So, moving on. It’s important to note that the purpose of these assignments can shift. Depending on the assignment type or degree that you are working towards the purpose might be a little bit different. There’s a lot of different types of assignments you may come across at Walden or other academic settings such as reflections, position papers. You might need to evaluate something, a program or an article. You might be asked to create an annotated bibliography or a literature review and then of course there are those final papers, theses and various other assignments. These are just a few you might come across. And, all of these different assignments have different goals. So, a lot of you were noting you need to pay attention to what the teacher is asking for in the prompt and these kinds of titles are a really good clue for figuring that out. Purposes can also shift depending on the degree. So, whether going for your undergraduate, your masters or your doctoral degree those will also impact what the assignment purpose is.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Walden Assignment prompts

1. Introduction and explanation

  • What’s the assignment’s topic? What is the scenario or situation you should respond to?

2. Preparation

  • What should you read before writing? What should you think about or consider before writing?

3. Action

  • What should you do when writing? What are the requirements for the paper?

Audio: So, here we’re going to get into that assignment that we briefly looked at on the Blackboard page. Walden assignment prompts are usually broken up into three different parts. There’s the introduction and explanation, which is basically just asking you… it’s giving you the information about what the assignment topic is, what kind of scenario or situation you’re responding to. It might be a certain argument. It might be you’re put into a certain situation and asked to consider how you might act. All of that information is going to come in the introduction portion. The second part is the preparation. So, this is what you're going to do before you actually start writing. So, what should you read. What you should think about? Maybe there’s a video to watch or you need to look at other of your colleagues’ discussion post answer something like that. This is what you need to do before getting into the actual action which is the third portion of the prompt and this tells you what you should do while you are writing, the specific questions you might be asked and what are the general requirements for the paper.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Reflection

During this course, you have engaged in the writing process by brainstorming, outlining, drafting, reviewing, and revising an essay. You have also examined grammar, sentence, and paragraph construction. As this course draws to a close, take the time to reflect on your learning in this course, and how what you have learned will help you with future writing, both in your coursework and in your professional career.

To prepare for this Reflection:

Review previous topics, readings, assignments, Discussion threads, and your own writing in this course.

Consider the following questions and respond to them as part of your reflection essay.

What practical skills have you learned to improve your writing?

How would you describe your writing before taking this course?

How would you describe your writing now?

How do you anticipate the skills you have learned in this course will contribute to your personal and academic goals?

The assignment:

Compose a 2- to 3-page reflective essay in which you do the following:

Assess your growth as a writer based on your responses to the prompts above. Be sure to include how you anticipate the skills you have learned in this course will contribute to your personal and academic goals.

Questions about this assignment? Post them in the Contact the Instructor area. That way, everyone in the class will see, and benefit from, the Instructor's response.

Submit your Reflection by Day 7. In order to receive full credit, all assignments are due on time.

Audio: So, I got a little bit ahead of myself but here is that prompt again. And you can see it has been broken up into the three different portions. The reflection, how to prepare, and the action portion of the assignments. So, we’re going to take these each piece by piece. There's a lot of information. It can seem kind of overwhelming when you get these long prompts, so the first technique is to break them down into these three sections.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Section 1: Introduction and Explanation

Reflection: During this course, you have engaged in the writing process by brainstorming, outlining, drafting, reviewing, and reviewing an essay. You have also examined grammar, sentence, and paragraph construction. As this course draws to a close, take the time to reflect on your learning in this course, and how what you have learned will help you with future writing, both in your coursework and in your professional career.

Audio: The first section is that introduction and explanation. We know right away that this is a reflection cause that’s what it’s called up at the top and we have this information. During this course, you have engaged in the writing process by brainstorming, outlining, drafting, reviewing, and revising an essay. You’ve also examined grammar, sentence and paragraph construction. As this course draws to a close, take the time to reflect on your learning in this course, and how what you have learned will help you with future writing, both in your coursework and in your professional career. So, now we know the kind of setting that we’re in, this assignment is taking place in. It’s going to be a lot of reflection on your own work, on your own understanding and what you are hoping to achieve later on.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat:

What’s this assignment’s topic? What is the scenario or situation you should respond to?

Reflection: During this course, you have engaged in the writing process by brainstorming, outlining, drafting, reviewing, and revising an essay. You have also examined grammar, sentence, and paragraph construction. As this course draws to a close, take the time to reflect on your learning in this course, and how what you have learned will help you with future writing, both in your coursework and in your professional career.

 

Audio: So, I’m really interested, we’re going to be a little practice and see what is the topic of this assignment and what are you expected to respond to here? What is this faculty member looking for based on just this first section of the assignment?

[Pause while students type]

Awesome job you guys and I really like what you are doing here. You’re condensing all of that information that is included in this prompt into really brief sentences which shows that you are able to pick up on what’s really important in this section. They’re giving you a lot of information and it’s all very helpful but the key things that you want to pick out are that it’s asking you to think back on the course, what you have learned. It is asking you to think about your own writing, how your writing has changed and that’s great that you've already picked up, that’s what this topic is, that is the focus of this specific application paper.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Section 2: Preparation

To prepare for this Reflection:

Review previous topics, readings, assignments, Discussion threads, and your own writing in this course.

Consider the following questions and respond to them as part of your reflection essay.

What practical skills have you learned to improve your writing?

How would you describe your writing before taking this course?

How would you describe your writing now?

How do you anticipate the skills you have learned in this course will contribute to your personal and academic goals?

 

Audio: The second common section of Walden writing assignments is the preparation portion. And again, this is kind of what happens behind the scenes, so this is what’s going to happen before you actually start writing. To prepare for this reflection you’re going to review previous topics, reading assignments, discussion threads and your own writing in this course. So, before you start writing anything, they want you to look for specific examples. They want you to read through your own writing, through your colleagues’ writing and all of your past assignments. Then you're going to start considering the following questions and respond to them as part of your reflection essay. What practical skills have you learned? How would you describe your writing before and after this course? How do you anticipate the skills you’ve learned will help you in your academic goal? So, a good technique might be to do some free writing on these different questions. And, obviously because, like I said, this is a behind the scenes portion, you’re free writing wouldn’t need to be the perfect, polished final version of your assignments. This is just to kind of get you thinking. This is to get you started on the way to what the action steps which is going to come next.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Section 3: Action

The assignment:

Compose a 2- to 3-page reflective essay in which you do the following:

Assess your growth as a writer based on your responses to the prompts above. Be sure to include how you anticipate the skills you have learned in this course will contribute to your personal and academic goals.

Questions about this assignment? Post them in the Contact the Instructor area. That way, everyone in the class will see, and benefit from, the Instructor's response.

Submit your Reflection by Day 7. In order to receive full credit, all assignments are due on time.

Audio: In the action portion of this assignment we are told to compose a 2-3-page reflective essay in which you do the following: assess your growth as a writer based on your responses to the prompts above. And be sure to include how you anticipate the skills you've learned in this course will contribute to your personal and academic goals. Then we also have some information on how we can contact faculty members or classmates if we have any questions. And then of course there’s that important due date that you want to make sure you’re following all those guidelines so that you get full credit. Some things to note, this again is really important information. We can think about the page requirements since this is a 2-3-page reflective essay you probably know this isn’t going to be a novel about your coursework and about what you’ve learned over this past term, but you also want to do a little bit more than just briefly talk about, I learned how to revise my work. You're going to have to do a little bit more elaboration because you are expected to fill about two or three pages. We also have what the specific question is, so you did that free writing on those four, I believe questions, earlier and this is what the specific prompt wants you to answer based on that free writing.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: 7 Strategies for Demystifying Writing Prompts

  1. Highlight action words
  2. Change pronouns from second person to first person
  3. Outline using language from the writing prompt
  4. Outline your outline
  5. Make a checklist
  6. Refer to the rubric
  7. Ask your faculty

Audio: Now we're going to get into seven different strategies for demystifying these writing prompts. Again, they can be long, they can be kind of intimidating so these are just some tools that you might consider trying out to help you make those a little bit less daunting, a little bit less scary maybe.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Strategy 1: Highlight Action Words

To prepare for this Reflection:

Review previous topics, readings, assignments, Discussion threads, and your own writing in this course.

Consider the following questions and respond to them as part of your reflection essay.

What practical skills have you learned to improve your writing?

How would you describe your writing before taking this course?

How would you describe your writing now?

How do you anticipate the skills you have learned in this course will contribute to your personal and academic goals?

The assignment:

Compose a 2- to 3-page reflective essay in which you do the following:

Assess your growth as a writer based on your responses to the prompts above. Be sure to include how you anticipate the skills you have learned in this course will contribute to your personal and academic goals.

Audio: The first strategy is to highlight action words. This is kind of what you guys were already doing when you talked about what it was that the specific topic of this assignment was. Looking through this specific assignment prompt we can go ahead and highlight these specific action words. [Visual changes to highlight the following words yellow] We have prepare, review, consider, respond, describe and then compose, assess and include. By highlighting these action words we’ve kind of created a step-by-step play for how we are going to attack this assignment prompt. These are the things that I as a writer need to do.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Strategy 2: Change Pronouns from Second Person to first Person

To prepare for this Reflection:

Review previous topics, readings, assignments, Discussion threads, and your own writing in this course.

Consider the following questions and respond to them as part of your reflection essay.

What practical skills have you learned to improve your writing?

How would you describe your writing before taking this course?

How would you describe your writing now?

How do you anticipate the skills you have learned in this course will contribute to your personal and academic goals?

Audio: And that first strategy is also really helpful if you add on the second strategy. Of course, you can do them on their own but I think sometimes it’s nice to build on strategies. The second strategy is to change the pronouns from second person to first person. So, second person is that when you’re directing, you’re directing the reader to do something. So, when we’re saying "you" "your" what practical skills have you learned, how would you describe your writing? And then first person really puts that agency back into yourself so that’s when I use [visual changes to highlight the following words] "I" "my" “mine” and so if we go and change those pronouns from second person to first person we have these specific directions for ourselves. I’m reviewing these previous topics and readings to consider my own writing in this course. I need to consider them as part of my reflection essay. What practical skills have I learned to improve my writing? And you can kind of see that by just shifting these words we’ve almost started answering the questions directly. These are the skills I’ve learned to improve my writing. This is how I would describe my writing before taking this course. This is how I would describe my writing now. It kind of helps to clarify what that assignment prompt is asking of you specifically.

 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Strategy 3: Outline Using the Writing Prompt

  1. Introduction
  1. Background information                   a. Importance of writing in higher ed
  2. Thesis statement                                b. this course helped me
  1. a.   Main idea: Before taking this course, my writing was…

b. Evidence                                               a. Jumbled

c. Analysis                                                 b. Readers confused

d. Lead out                                                c. I know what I want to say

                                                                  d. Practice transitions

  1. How would I describe my writing now?
    1. Main idea: After taking this course, my writing is…
    2. Evidence                                             a. More organized
    3. Analysis                                              b. Better grades, positive feedback
    4. Lead out                                              c. Importance of transitions

d. clarity

  1. What practical skills have I learned to improve my writing?
    1. Main idea: I have learned many writing skills such as…
    2. Evidence                                             a. Organization
    3. Analysis                                              b. MEAL plan from WC, reverse outlines
    4. Lead out                                              c. Reach out for help

d. Practice and give feedback

V.         How do I anticipate the skills I have learned in this course will contribute to my personal and academic goals         

            a.   Main idea: I have learned many writing skills such as…

            b.   Evidence                                             a. Future assignments

            c.   Analysis                                              b. Every Walden class has them

d.   Lead out                                              c. Importance to practice

                                                                  d. Continuing to learn

VI.       Conclusion: Not just a repeat!

Audio: The third strategy is to outline the writing prompt and I think this is a great strategy for any paper whether you have a really long paper or you have a shorter, like this is a reflection piece so it might be able bit shorter but an outline can still really help you out. We also have these great links here on the side that are active for the meal plan which is if you look on the outline that we have got you might notice that under paragraph two, three, four, and five we have main idea, evidence, analysis and lead out or the MEAL and that is an acronym that we like to use to help us remember what the main parts of each paragraph should contain. We have useful resources for meal planning, for paragraphing and we also have some helpful tips for introductions and conclusions here because I know, for me at least those can be particularly tricky. If I'm going to outline my paper, I might first want to just provide what, in general, I want to include. I want an introduction. I have my different questions that I was asked, how would I describe my writing before taking this course? How would I describe my writing now? What practical skills have I learned and how do I anticipate these skills will help me in the future? I’ve got these meal plan portions, so my main idea, my evidence, my analysis and my lead out. Again, just kind of having a quick, this allows me to quickly remember all of the main things that I need to include. So before taking this course my writing was. After taking this course my writing is. These are the main ideas I want to focus on. And then I can just quick fill in some maybe some more brainstorming or maybe this is what I take from my brainstorming session.

For my introduction I want to reflect on how important it is to be able to write in higher education. And for my career in the future. And I just need to state that this course has helped me because ideally, probably it has and that's probably what your faculty wants to hear. In terms of this first section, this first main idea before taking this course I’ve read through my discussion posts, my previous assignments and I've concluded that I wrote a little bit jumbled and tended to confuse my readers. So, I can use my evidence, I can have specific examples from my writing. My analysis is that readers were confused because maybe that was the comments I got on my graded papers or from my peers when they commented on my discussion posts. My analysis is that I know what I want to say and so that can be really tricky because even though I know what I want to say, maybe I can’t get that clear and that makes it harder for me so maybe I need an outside reader. And my lead out is that I want to practice transitions and this is something that I’ve learned. Again, you can kind of see, these are just examples of course. I actually try to fill this out for myself but these are examples of ways that you just really briefly make sure that you’re touching on all of those things. You make sure you have a main idea, that you have evidence, analysis, and a lead out. And this can be so helpful for when you go and sit down and you’ve got that blank Word document in front of you because you've already got a lot of the substance of your paper set up.

We're going to get to say a little bit later but I want to point out that the conclusion should not be just a repeat of everything you have said but that you do want to make sure you have a conclusion. That’s one of those aspects of academic writing that sometimes is expected without directly asked for.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Strategy 4:          

            Outline Your Outline

  • Schedule time for discrete writing tasks, including revision

Estimate of time needed: 2 hours

  1. Introduction
  1. Background information                   Read through paper
  2. Thesis statement                                introduce – 30 min
  1. a.   Main idea: Before taking this course, my writing was…

b. Evidence

c. Analysis                                     Look at previous writing – 30 min    

d. Lead out                                               

  1. How would I describe my writing now?
    1. Main idea: After taking this course, my writing is…
    2. Evidence                                            
    3. Analysis                                             
    4. Lead out                                  Reflect – 15 min
  2. What practical skills have I learned to improve my writing?
    1. Main idea: I have learned many writing skills such as…
    2. Evidence                                            
    3. Analysis                                  Reflect – 15 min                     
    4. Lead out                                             

V.         How do I anticipate the skills I have learned in this course will contribute to my personal and academic goals         

            a.   Main idea: I have learned many writing skills such as…

            b.   Evidence                                            

            c.   Analysis                                              Brainstorm & reflect -15 min

d.   Lead out                                                                                                         

VI.       Conclusion: Close – 15 min

Audio: Strategy four is called outlining your outline and this is something that I was not familiar with before I started working at Walden but I think it’s a really great tool. Basically, what this is asking you to do is to schedule time for the different tasks of this writing project. And so, again, I’ve kind of given some very basic suggestions for maybe how I would want to spend my time on this but by no means should you consider this how it will be for every case. In my imaginary practice or set up to prepare for this prompt I assume it’s going to take me about 30 minutes to look at some of my previous writing and then to fill in those bullet points that I had in the previous slide. I want to give myself at least about 30 minutes. The next section is about how I would describe my writing now and I don't really need to do any research or work so I don't think that’s going to take me as long so I am assuming that’s going to take me about 15 minutes to reflect on that and fill in that portion. Same thing with this next paragraph I’ve decided that, the practical skills I’ve learned, I’ve already done that reading through my previous assignments so this might me a little bit take me less time as well. And then how do I anticipate the skills that I’ve learned in the course will contribute and this is again, I’ve got to brainstorm and reflect but I’ve already set up the first three paragraphs have helped me set up this argument so I don't think is going to take me as long, either. In my own writing practices, I like to do the body paragraphs first and then go back and do my introduction and for my introduction I want to read through what I've already got so that is going to take me some extra time and then make sure that I’m introducing those points. Make sure that my introduction is connecting to all of the pieces that I have already written about. And then I like to write my conclusion at the very end. Again, because I’ve already read through the paper, I’ve written my introduction, I know what I told my reader I was going to be doing and so I have a better sense of how to conclude.

For this make-believe plan that is set up for myself, I need to budget about two hours to write this reflection. What I find particularly helpful about this strategy is that I’m actually a student myself and I work full-time at Walden but I’m working on my dissertation and sometimes it can feel like I shouldn’t even start working on something because I don't have all day to devote to it so I only have a few minutes or a few hours so I’ll just put it off. I’ll just watch Netflix or something else. But if I’ve outlined this so I have a general sense of how much time I am going to need, I can probably budget two hours. Or maybe if this is a longer assignment and it’s going to take me several days to complete, I can break up these different sections and say, okay this first section that’s going to take me about maybe two hours, three hours. So, I don't necessarily have to finish the project as a whole but I can just take those pieces and set goals and guidelines for myself that way. If this has been unclear to you or you would like some more information we have this great blog post linked in this slide to outline your outline and again all of these links and these slides will still be available for you if you don't get to click on it right now, you can download those slides from our files pod- and check out those links later on.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Strategy 5: Make a Checklist

  • Make appointment for a Writing Center Paper Review 
  • Review previous topics, readings, assignments and discussion threads
  • Consider the following questions:
    • What practical skills have I learned to improve my writing?
    • How would I describe my writing before taking this course?
    • How would I describe my writing now?
    • How do I anticipate the skills I have learned in this course will contribute to my personal and academic goals?
  • Compose a 2- to 3-page reflective essay with introduction, body paragraphs, and a conclusion
  • Revise essay and submit for Paper Review appointment
  • Revise using Paper Review suggestions and comments
  • Submit to Grammarly and Turnitin and edit and proofread
  • Submit paper to my instructor

Audio: The fifth strategy is to make a checklist. I love checklists. I think it feels so good to check things off of my checklist. This is a particularly good strategy for me and basically this is just setting up your path for success. Similarly, to planning out your time, this gives you a sense of all of the things that you want to make sure you’ve done. You might notice that the first step I have is to make an appointment for a writing center paper review. That might seem a little weird because if that’s the first point in my checklist I don't have a paper yet. The reason that we suggest making this appointment earlier on is because you are able to make an appointment with the writing center a few weeks in advance. It gives you a nice little deadline to make sure that you have something to submit and then you can upload the paper later on. You want to make sure you upload it before the day of the appointment but you do have that leeway. So, you can make the appointment before you actually have your paper completed and this ensures that our schedule won’t be full and you get to make an appointment on the day that you want. It can take up to two days to get a paper back so you want to make sure that you leave enough time to get that response and then use that feedback. So that’s why that is my first point on this checklist is to go to the writing center webpage and make a paper review appointment.

Now I’m creating a checklist based on that assignment prompt again. We looked at all those action words and now I'm putting this action words into this step-by-step checklist so I can make sure that I’m accomplishing all the different portions of that prompt. The first step is that behind the scenes reviewing the previous topics the readings, the assignments, the discussion threads. I’m going to brainstorm so I can check off these different questions as I work on my free writing. And then I can go about composing my two-three-page reflective essay. And you’re also noticed that I’m not done yet with my checklist. Now I want to review, revise and submit my essay to the writing center for my paper review appointment. I want to get back those comments from my writing instructor and then use those suggestions and comments to revise again. After I’ve done those extra revisions I can submit it to Grammarly or TurnItIn or both to get some more of that editing and proof reading done. And then of course I want to submit my paper to my instructor on time, make sure I get all of those points. This is my ideal checklist so I make sure I feel really solid about this assignment that I’m turning in.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Strategy 6: Refer to the Rubric

Still have questions?

Strategy 7:

Ask your faculty

[Illustration of a Discussion rubric is shown as a photo]

Audio: And strategy six is to refer to the rubric. Rubrics are awesome tools and I know several of you commented earlier on that was one of the first things you looked at when you got your assignment. I think that’s such a good technique. In general, just to be aware that the rubric is a tool to help you as a writer. It lays out all the things that your faculty member thinks is important, what they’re looking for in your responses. So, you can make sure that you are meeting their expectations and their goals. You kind of get an idea of what’s going to not work well, what’s going to not get you the grade that you probably want to get and what you really want to strive for. We want to strive for clear patterns of idea formation. We want to address all the aspects of the tasks fully and completely. We want to respond thoughtfully. We want our grammar and mechanics to be very well checked, make sure we’ve gone through all of those steps even though it can be annoying sometimes that that is an important thing to get that exemplary. You want to get all of those points. Rubrics are really great tools and this is a great strategy to use as you go about approaching your next assignment.

And the final strategy is to ask your faculty. Faculty are, of course, a great resource when you are confused about assignments. If you just want some more clarification. Maybe you’ve used one of these techniques and there is still something you want more information about. Ask your faculty. That is what they are there for and they really want to help you succeed. That’s our seventh strategy.

 

Visual: Slide Changes to the following: Chat:

Highlight action words: List three of the action words that you

could highlight to show what to do for this assignment.

To prepare for this Application:

  • Download from Doc Sharing and read your partner's draft essay.
  • Review the Peer Critique Guidelines handout and the "Track Changes" article from this week.
  • Apply the Peer Critique Guidelines to the Sample Student Draft.
  • Consider the items in the Peer Critique Guidelines as your evaluation criteria and checklist for critically reading your partner's paper.

Assertions you make should be grounded in and supported by the guidelines. You may refer directly to questions or criteria from the guidelines in your critique.

Remember that this is more than a proofreading session. Look for errors in logic and organization in addition to grammar and punctuation errors. Use Chapters 4 and 7 of the APA Manual as reference.

Audio: Now we're going to do a little strategy practice. This is your section 2 preparation. In the chat box I’m asking you to list three of the action words that you could highlight if this were an assignment and that is the technique you are going to use. There may be more than three. You can include more than three if you want.

[Pause as students type]

Great, and you’ll probably notice as you were working on this that when you're looking for those action words they kind of pop out at you and really stand out. So, we make sure that we can follow all of these guidelines and it can be really useful to look for those action words and then some of you are also pointing out these adjectives or adverbs like critically reading and we want to make sure that we’re grounded and supported in the assertions that we make. Again, really important because obviously since they’re in the prompt that’s going to be important to your faculty member as well. Also, you guys pointed out that we have some preparation to do. We have to download something, we have to review something and so I think that can be really important as well. You don't want to just jump into writing this paper if you haven’t fully prepared to address this prompt and full.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat:

Compose a checklist: What are three of the items you’d place on

your checklist for completing this assignment?

The assignment:

First, in your partner's document, use the MS Word Track Changes feature to begin your critique of his or her Persuasive Research Essay draft.

  • Focus on specific paragraphs, sentences, or note other issues directly by using this feature.

Then, compose a 2-page paper in which you critique your partner's draft Persuasive Research Essay.

  • Include this paper in your version of your partner's draft Persuasive Research Essay, beginning on the next page after the essay.

Communicate your critique clearly and professionally, relying upon the Peer Critique Guidelines to support your assertions.

Audio: Our next strategy is to, we’re going to use that second person to first person strategy this is another assignment prompt. I'm sorry. I'm leading you guys astray. With this one, we’re actually going to create a checklist so what are some of the items that you would place on your checklist if you received this assignment prompt?

[Pause as students type]

So, what’s kind of cool here is, some of you either intentionally or maybe not intentionally are combining this with that highlighting the action words, right? And highlighting those action words can be really helpful in setting up a checklist cause if you know what the actions are that you’re supposed to take you can help to code what are the steps that you also need to make sure that you’re taking. I also, like to, because as I’ve noted I really like checking things off my list so sometimes I’ll add pieces like "write one paragraph, write second paragraph." Because then I get to check those off of and feel like I'm making a lot of progress on whatever assignment I’m working on. You guys are doing a great job of outlining how you might line up your goals for this specific assignment step-by-step, manner.

 

Visual: Slide changing to the following: Chat:

Refer to the rubric: What aspect or aspects should you pay closest

attention to based on the rubric?

[Illustration of a rubric for a writing assignment]

Audio: We’re going to try another strategy practice. This one we’re going to refer to the rubric. This is a little bit of a different kind of rubric than the one we were looking at before. You might note that with different faculty members and different classes yours might look different. Using this rubric, I want you to consider what section or sections you might want to pay closest attention to, particularly in the beginning stages of this assignment.

[Pause as students type]

So, this is another great technique you guys can use and it seems like you are, you’re using different strategies and techniques to interpret this rubric, which I think is great. Some of you pointed out that the discussion and analysis section is worth the most points. That’s something you really want to focus on particularly early on. That also is a good hint that maybe if the discussion and analysis is 30 points and identifying the issue and the reasons why you selected the issue is 10 points that might also give you a little bit of a hint what to spend the most time on your paper. Maybe you don't want to have five paragraphs just introducing the issue and explaining why you have picked it and then one paragraph where you discuss and analyze but you might want to reverse that a little bit because we can see that discussion and analysis is a little bit more weighty in terms of points. But, others of you are also pointing out that if it is in this rubric is important, right? If there is some way you're going to get points on something, you want to make sure that you’re paying attention to that. Using APA and Walden style is not as heavily weighted as that discussion and analysis, but, you know it’s a factor because it is appearing on that rubric, so, great job taking up on all of that. Again, we can see how important of a tool a rubric can be for you as a student when you’re sitting down to start that assignment.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Even if the assignment prompt doesn’t explicitly ask for these things, they are most likely necessary:

Audio: Moving on a little bit we're going to talk about those necessary elements that the assignment prompt might not directly ask for but more often than not you’re going to include them in your papers. Part of that is knowing your context. If you are writing an assignment for a Walden course you are writing an academic paper. Academic papers have some specific conventions.

Things that are probably going to be necessary are APA formatting, an introduction paragraph, a thesis statement, a conclusion paragraph and then we’re going to get into this last bullet point a will bit more but your wording and your voice and the structure of your response is expected to be presented in a certain way. While this might not be the case for every single assignment and I don't want to necessarily make you think that, these are some different elements that are probably going to be expected for a lot of your assignments. Even if it doesn’t necessarily say in the prompt or rubric that you need to have a thesis statement, you should probably make sure that somewhere in your paper there’s a clear statement or a few sentences that tells your reader what you’re doing and how you're going to go about doing it. What your argument is, what observation you’re making. That should be pretty much in any assignment that you do. Same thing with the introduction and the conclusion. It might not explicitly say that you're going to be graded on that the way we sort of had that appear in the rubric previous, but you’re still going to want to give your reader some kind of introduction, not just throw them into an answer or discussion without giving them any background information. And you’re also going to want to conclude. You don't want them to feel like they’re missing something, that you just left them hanging. Again, you’ll notice that all of those bullet points are links and will lead you to some helpful resources we have created on these different elements that are often required in your assignments.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Avoid Assignment Prompt Wording

Avoid this Conclusion:

            I have explained the skills I learned to improve my writing.

I have also described my writing before taking this course. I concluded by explaining my goals for writing.

Better Conclusion:

While writing throughout high school and college I have learned many skills, like paraphrasing. These skills will serve me well in achieving my goals of improving my APA format in this course.

Audio: And so, for that last bullet point, avoid assignment prompt wording. This is something that I think can be really tricky when we’re talking about how to use these prompts. We’ve been going over a lot of strategies that take the wording of the prompt into very close consideration. We want to make sure we’re not leading you into thinking that’s how you should respond as well by using those same kind of wording techniques. You want to avoid this conclusion. I’ve explained the skills I learned to improve my writing. I have also described my writing before taking this course. I concluded by explaining my goals for writing. Partly you can probably hear just from reading it’s not the most exciting conclusion, but additionally anybody who is answering that prompt or who is turning in that assignment could have concluded their reflection in exactly the same way with exactly the same words and we don't want to do that. Your conclusion should be personal. It should help the reader sum up what you specifically have been talking about. A better conclusion might sound like this: While writing throughout high school and college I have learned many skills like paraphrasing. These skills will serve me well in achieving my goals of improving my APA format in this course. So, based on that conclusion we can probably infer that this writer talked a little bit about their educational writing experiences, talked about paraphrasing in some way, how he or she learned to use paragraphing skills and develop those skills and also talked about wanting to improve in APA formatting. This is a much more personal conclusion. You couldn’t tack this onto just anybody's reflection, at least not well. It wouldn’t make sense for every single response to this prompt.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Avoid Assignment Prompt Wording

Avoid these Headings:

What practical skills have you learned to improve your writing?

How would you describe your writing before taking this course?

Better Headings:

My Writing Skills

My Previous Writing Experience

Audio: In a similar vein we want to avoid just taking those questions from the prompt and making those our headings. We don't want to have questions as our headings because it sounds a little bit more informal. It may be even looks like you are asking your reader to consider these things as opposed to answer the questions yourselves. Instead of having what practical skills have you learned or even what practical skills have I learned to improve my writing? We could just have "my writing skills." Very clear directly to the point -- it lets the reader know what you’re going to be writing about without that seemingly questioning or confused set up.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Practice Activity:

Consider your current or next application assignment prompt.

Chat:

What strategies or tips that we talked

about will you use to help you

complete your assignment?

Audio: And so, for one last practice activity I want you to think about your current or next application assignment prompt and let me know if you're going to use any of these strategies that we talked about or what strategies maybe you are most interested in trying out in the future.

[Pause as students type]

I’m glad a lot of you have found some technique that you want to try out. What I love about this portion of the webinar is we can see how different techniques can be combined to approach an assignment but also how different techniques will appeal to different people. I think that’s really important to know that not every technique will work for every assignment and not every technique will work for every writer. It looks like you guys have picked out some great techniques. Hopefully you have learned some new techniques or are interested in trying out some of these techniques for your next assignments.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Check it Out

WriteCast episode 11

with Brittany and Nik

"Doesn’t Meet Requirements"—Strategies for Following Your Assignment Instructions

Blog Post

By Jes Philbrook

Prompted to Write: A Guide for Using Walden Assignment Prompts to Your Advantage

Audio: And so, before we conclude I want to point out a few more resources that might be helpful if you would like some more information about this topic. Our WriteCast podcast has an episode devoted to this kind of writing we never want to see on our assignments. Right? We don't want to see, it doesn’t meet requirements. And so, Brittney and Nick discuss strategies for following your assignment instructions. For making sure that you don’t see that on a grade, or a paper you get back. We also have a blog post called prompted to write a guide for using Walden assignment prompts to your advantage. This just gives you another perspective on how to use that information to your advantage to set you up for success in your assignments. And both of these links are active and you can access them now or later on after you download the slides.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions

Now: Let us know!    ·          Anytime: writingsupport@waldenu.edu

Continue the conversation on Twitter with #waldenu 

New to Walden and academic writing? 

Check out the recorded webinars “What is Academic Writing?”

and “Writing and Responding to Discussion Posts”

Audio: Now I’m going to turn it over to Brittany I'm sorry, I'm going to turn it over to Melissa. Do we have any questions Melissa that would be helpful to go over?

Melissa: We didn’t really get many questions into the Q&A box which is great you were explaining everything so clearly. The one thing that I was wondering if you could clarify for our students is how can the writing center help them understand assignment directions if they are unclear on what the prompt is asking?

Kacy: That’s a great question and it also reminds me of something that I wanted to bring up but forgot. So, thank you Melissa. When you make an appointment with your writing instructor in the Walden Writing Center you can include the prompt itself with your submission and I really encourage you to do so. You don't have to but it is really helpful for us as instructors if we can see the specific wording that your faculty member has used. It can help us make sure that we see you addressing all of the elements. Again, sometimes it’s much easier as the writer to see where you’ve answered questions but the reader may be more confused. So that’s one way we can help. We’re also happy to work with writers at any stage in their writing so if you want to make an appointment and have somebody look over an outline, like we talked about that strategy in our webinar today, we’re happy to talk about that. We are happy to attempt to address those questions. But as always, we do want to defer to the faculty member, so, if there is anything that’s really unclear about your assignment prompt we are more than happy to try to help you figure that out, but we’re probably also going to suggest that you talk to your faculty member. Melissa would you have anything?

Melissa: NO, I agree with everything you said. As a writing instructor, also, I do appreciate having a copy of the prompt because it just adds some context to the appointment. If there’s ever a question about the directions and what they are asking, I agree, that the instructor is probably the best person to turn to. Before we wrap up today are there any other services that you would like to promote or remind our students that we offer?

Kacy: Yeah, I think that our blog has a lot of really great resources for different stages particularly, referring to assignment prompts but also just getting into writing. I know for me personally, I have trouble sometimes getting past writers block or even just starting an assignment and we have some great blog posts about those topics. You can find them through our website and you can, if you type into the search bar, "writers block" or if you type into the search block "starting writing" you will find great techniques that the writing instructors here have used and tried and found successful.

Melissa: Thank you so much. I want to thank everybody for joining us here today and I especially want to thank Kacy for this wonderful presentation. If you have any questions after this session is over you can email us at writingsupport@waldenu.edu. Also, if you want to continue the conversation about assignment prompts you’re welcome to join us on Twitter. We use the hashtag Waldenu for all of our twitter conversations. And of course, feel free to check out the recorded webinars listed here that also relate to this topic. Once again, thank everybody for coming and have a great day.