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Webinar Transcripts

Developing Your Writing: Creating a Paper From a Discussion Post

Presented March 8, 2018

View the recording

Last updated 3/23/2018

 

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: [not on the recording] Melissa: Hello, everyone. And welcome. I'm Melissa Sharpe, and I'm a writing instructor here at the Walden Writing Center. Before we begin and I hand the session over to Michael, I want to go over a few housekeeping items. First, we are recording this webinar. Although, it helps when you push the button. Okay.

Hi, everybody. We are now recording the webinar. And, 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 are welcome to look through that archive for other recordings that may interest you. Also, whether you are attending this webinar live or watching the recording, you will find that we have some interactive elements like links and chats, as well as files which you can find in the file pod. If you look on the bottom of the screen, you'll see the PowerPoint slides Michael will be sharing today and you are welcome to download those. You can interact with all of the links and chats throughout tonight’s webinar. We also welcome questions and comments throughout the session, and you can use the Q & A box for these. Both Kacy and myself will be watching this Q & A box. And we are happy and excited to answer questions throughout the session as Michael is talking. You are also welcome to send any technical issues you have to us here as well. Although note, there is a help option in the top right corner of your screen. This is Adobe's technical support, so that is the best place to go if you need technical help. All right. And with that, I will hand it over to Michael.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the title of the webinar, “Developing Your Writing: Creating a Paper From a Discussion Post” and the speakers name and information: Michael Dusek, Writing Instructor, Walden Writing Center

Audio: Michael: Great! Thank you, Melissa, for that lovely introduction. My name is Michael Dusek. I'm a writing instructor here at Walden University. You can see my picture there on this first slide. I think I'm contemplating if winter will ever end in the Midwest, but I can’t be sure. Anyway, today the webinar that I'm going to be delivering, the topic for this webinar about developing your writing and really creating a paper from a discussion post. Now, I guess I want to couch this. Before we get going, I just want to couch our discussion here or my lecture here in the idea that academic writing, all parts of academic writing, all genres of academic writing share certain conventions. So, taking something like a discussion post, there's going to be a main idea. There's going to be some paint points that are elaborated upon briefly there, and this webinar is really about expanding that discussion post and making it into a more formal academic essay or course paper. Sure. But again, before I move on, I want you to kind of think that the elements that are present within an academic essay are also present within a discussion post and vice versa. And this can even be extrapolated to something like a doctoral project or a dissertation.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Learning Objectives

  • Talk about the role a discussion post and paper has in a course
  • Understand how a discussion post can be a basis for a course paper
  • Identify the steps for developing a paper from a post

Audio: Yeah, today in this webinar, we're going to talk about the role of a discussion post and paper that these two elements have in a course. Kind of how they fit into a general course. We're going to be looking to understand how a discussion post can be a basis for a course paper. So, yeah, as I've mentioned, kind of using the discussion post as a jumping off point to expand on those ideas and craft it into a more formal academic paper or course paper. And lastly, we're going to identify the steps for developing a paper from a post. So, we're not just going to talk about how to do this, we're going to give you guys some steps for actually doing this should you choose to.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Weekly Course Assignment and Writing Process

  • Course resources
  • Begin: Discussion post and responses
  • Take the Next Step: Research, explore, & learn
  • Expand: Write your paper
  • Instructor feedback

Audio: So, here's kind of where these two elements fit into your general weekly course here at Walden. You start on top by looking at some course resources, you know, digging into some of this research, some of the course content that your professor has laid out for you. As a way of interacting with that course content, you're going to write a discussion post oftentimes, and you're often going to be required to respond to the post of your colleagues. Obviously, here, this is about cultivating a kind of an academic intellectual discussion around the content of the course that's delivered that week. Next, when you're looking at perhaps expanding this into a larger piece, into an academic essay, you're going to then return to the research, explore this topic, and learn as much as you can about it. Generally, you can think of the course content as kind of a jumping off point if you're going to focus in on this topic and write an essay. If that's something you choose to do, you're going to need to return to your research to bring depth and breadth to your knowledge on that subject. Next step from there, is you're going to expand these ideas, go into more detail, elaborate on some of the points being made in that content area and write actually a paper. Lastly, you're going to turn this in for some instructor feedback, perhaps a grade on this. But, yeah, these are kind of how these two elements are situated within a Walden course.

 

Yeah, as you can see, going from a post to a paper as this webinar is titled, this is going to be kind of the middle steps, right? You can see on the top, we start with kind of the instructor driven course resources, and we end with this instructor feedback. So, the loop comes all the way around.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat

How do you develop ideas for your academic writing – what techniques do you use or how do you get your ideas?

Audio: Okay, then, let's talk about this as a group. In the chat box, you can see this just come up. I want to you to offer your answer and let's talk amongst ourselves. So, what I'm looking for is how develop ideas for academic writing? What techniques do you use or how do you get your ideas? Yes, so when you're looking in that idea generation point within your writing when you're just starting off, how do you get your ideas? Where do you get these from and what techniques do you pull them out of your head to write about? I'm going to mute here for a second, but I'll return in couple of minutes and we can talk about some of these different techniques that you guys use.

[Pause as students type]

All right, I'm seeing really, really great responses here. Some people are saying they enjoy brainstorming. One that I thought was particularly good was this person who talked about looking within the course resources and thinking about what interest them. That's a great way to do it. You know, follow your interest. A lot of research and a lot of academic writing is really curiosity-based. So, following your own interest is a really great way to find topics to write about. The assignment prompt. So, because I'm directed to do so would be kind of that answer.

Sure, that's a good practical answer. Reading and brainstorming, okay, great. Past experiences. That's an interesting way to let your own interest or your own experiences kind of guide you. Yeah. I think we've covered kind of the big ones here. I mean, when I sit down to write an essay, I think brainstorming is a really good way to go about this. Mind mapping which would be somewhere between a brainstorm and outline is a great way to do this. Outlining was mentioned in this chat also. I would certainly recommend that for larger pieces.

One that I didn't see that I would offer to you guys is a method pioneered by composition scholar Peter Elbow. He would say that freewriting is a great way to kind of come to a topic that interest you or find something to write about, which is kind of funny, you know. Writing about anything, leading you to write about something, but I think freewriting is another really good technique to use when you're trying to generate ideas. Cool, thanks for that, guys.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Begin: Writing and Responding to a Discussion Post

Submit your Assignment by Day 4

To participate in this Assignment.

Class Cafe

Audio: So, yes, to begin, looking at crafting a discussion post into a course paper. Let's look at Writing and Responding to Discussion Posts. This is going to be a really elemental part of your time at Walden and your studies here. Being that we are in an asynchronous environment, posting your thoughts about a topic and responding to the thoughts of your colleagues about that topic is really our main form of interaction. So, this is kind of, think of it as getting a discussion going. Right? That's why we call them discussion post. But, again, we're going to look at writing and responding to discussion post here in the next few slides.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Students write discussion posts to…

  • Evaluate authors
  • Develop ideas and arguments
  • Show understanding of resources
  • Explore questions
  • All to prepare for papers

Audio: Students write discussion posts for a number of reasons here. right? One, it is to evaluate the author. Sure, you're looking at some of the minds within your field who are offering their take or their findings of their research, evaluating that and looking perhaps for gaps in research would be the next step there. Students write discussion posts to develop ideas and arguments. Yeah. This is a really interesting idea, because the conversations that arise from discussion posts are from intellectual conversation in general often have a way of sharpening our ideas and even refining it into something like an argument, right? Having an intellectual or informed discussion with a colleague about an idea can really tell you what you think about that idea in an interesting way. We use discussion post or students write discussion post to show understanding of resources. Yeah, to show that you've gained this knowledge and a discussion post in that context would be displaying this knowledge. And lastly, students write discussion posts to explore questions. Yeah, to look into these questions that are within your field and from the course resources perhaps offer some sort of solution to that, right?

Now, what maybe obvious here but maybe not, is that all of these intellectual activities really lead up to writing a paper. Right? This all have to do with having your ideas challenged, refining your ideas, and really coming to a point where you know what is out there that's said about your topic, and what you want to argue, or how you want to lend your voice to this larger conversation that goes on in each field. So, again think of it like this, think about the discussion post as in some ways, laying the foundation, this intellectual foundation for you to actually write a paper of your own and add your voice to this larger discussion.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: In the post….

  • Practice academic writing:
    • Make a claim
    • Organize logically & develop paragraphs
    • Support with evidence
    • Proof for grammar and APA
    • Avoid informal language
  • Test out ideas:
    • Reflect on your own experience
    • Apply the learning resources to a new context
    • Analyze and critique what you’re learning

More tips: “Writing and Responding to Discussion Posts”

Audio: Yeah, in a post, there are some other things going on here, right? In terms of practicing academic writing, how this relates to perhaps a larger piece, you're making claims. You're offering your opinion, right? Or the opinion that's based on the resources that you've encountered. You're going to organize logically and develop paragraphs. Yeah, this is still within a discussion post context here. You're going to craft full paragraphs. You're going to support your point with evidence. Absolutely. This is elemental in academic writing. We need to support our points with strong evidence so that the reader beliefs what we're talking about and recognizes that we are an authority in this topic area. It will help you proof for grammar and APA. Yeah, absolutely. This is kind of a low stakes way for you to try on using APA formatting or some grammar concepts that may not be super familiar to you, right? Before we go into a large academic essay, it's nice to be able to try on some of these rules if you don't know them by heart.

And practice academic writing, it also includes avoiding informal language. We want to speak with a scholarly authoritative tone. Yeah, as many things within academic writing, this builds your authority to the reader. It shows to the reader that you know what you're talking about, and they can believe what you're saying. Yeah. In terms of testing out ideas within a discussion post, it really gives you some space to reflect on your own experience. Whereas, your experience might be less applicable in a course paper, a discussion post lets you bring that in. That is a more anecdotal area that you can use your own experience in. Sure. Apply the learning resources to a new context. Absolutely. So, taking some of the resources that the professor has given you and applying them to new situations, the application of that knowledge is definitely something that happens within a discussion post. And it allows you to analyze and critique what you've learned. And this is, again, absolutely elemental thing within academic writing and academic thought. Being a critical thinker and analyzing the content that you ingest is what we do both in discussion post, but to a larger extent in course papers as well.

For some more resources about Writing and Responding to Discussion Post, you can take a look at this link in the bottom right hand corner here. This is another resource that’s offered by the Walden Writing Center. If you would like to get a little bit more in-depth with this specific idea, go ahead and check that out.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Think of posts as dipping your toes into the pool in preparation for jumping into your paper.

[Image of someone dipping their feet into a pool of water]

More tips: “Writing and Responding to Discussion Posts”

Audio: Yeah, think of a discussion post as dipping your toes into a pool in preparation for jumping into the water. Now, this might seem a little metaphorical. Right? And this picture illustrates that idea of dipping a toe. But this is really kind of what it is. Right? You're trying on these ideas, you're thinking through a specific bit of course content before you go on to lend your voice to this larger scholarly community. Again, at the bottom right here, if you’d like to delve further into the idea of writing and responding to discussion post, that is available for you right there. Feel free to click on that link, hopefully after this webinar.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Chat

Think about a time when a discussion post has been helpful to you in your thinking or writing process. Complete the following sentence:

The discussion post was helpful in my thinking or writing process because _____________.

Audio: Okay, then, let's talk again. I want to think about a time when a discussion post has been helpful to you in your thinking and writing process. Then, complete the following sentence. The discussion post was helpful in my thinking or writing process because... offer your interpretation there. What was helpful to you about it? I'm going to go on mute for a minute or two, and we'll come back and we’ll talk about this more as a larger group.

[Pause as students type]

All right. Cool. We have some of our first answers coming in here. The first, few of them have to do with gaining a new perspective. Yeah, this is what's really interesting about discussions and intellectual conversation in general is, it allows you to see what other people think about this and to try on their views, to think critically about them, and to even to respond to them. Sure. Yeah, I learned a lot from my classmates in terms of new ideas. Yeah, great. Absolutely!

I see another response here. It gave me an idea how to organize my thoughts. Sure. This is again a low stakes area for you to start getting a coherent organization to your thoughts. That's awesome! I see a few more people typing.

[Pause as students type]

I'm just going to give you guys a little bit more time for those of you who wish to participate.

Okay. Yeah, this has been some really good participation. So, thank you, guys. But I think overwhelmingly, I saw people were able to try on new ideas and new perspectives for a topic area. Which is what discussion in academic interchange or conversation is really all about. Some of the other points that I saw here that are really good is working with in-text citation and APA formatting. Absolutely. Or gave me an idea of where to start. Some much of writing, I think there's a real anxiety in writing around, where do I start? Where do I even begin to discuss this large idea that I have so many thoughts about? Discussion posts can kind of lead you into that. Right? Thank you, guys.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Continuum

  • Discussion Post: Post by Day 2 an evaluation of what you think is the most significant positive aspect and most significant negative aspect of Schmitt’s classroom management strategies. Give examples of where Schmitt’s methods might be effective in your classroom and why.

Application Paper:

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 3- to 4-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.

Audio: So, then looking at a bit of how to expand this. Let's take a look at couple of different assignment prompts here. The top one is about a discussion post. And this should be, for those of you who aren't new to Walden, who’ve been students for a while, this is going to sound kind of familiar. So, the prompt goes as follows. Post by day 2 and evaluation of what you think is the most significant positive aspect and most significant negative aspect of Schmitt's classroom management strategies. Give examples of where Schmitt's method might be effective in your classroom and why. So, what this discussion post is calling for is for the student to look at Schmitt's writing about classroom management strategies and to offer what they believe is the most significant positive and the most significant negative. Yeah, that seems pretty straightforward. Expanding this then into a paper that ask you to apply this knowledge the prompt changes quite a bit. Here's what an assignment prompt could sound like for a short essay that would ask you to expand upon this discussion post.

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 3 to 4-page paper that includes the following: An explanation of the method you would use to educate fellow faculty on your approach including how would you manage meetings? What materials you would provide, and how you would take resistance into consideration.

So, one thing that becomes clear here is that you need to expand on your discussion from the discussion post. The prompt itself goes into more depth. Instead of asking for significant positive aspects and specific negative aspects or significant -- excuse me, negative aspects. It's really getting into more details with that. It's asking how would you manage meetings? So that this could possibly be either/or. Right? What materials you would provide? So, it talks about preparation for these classroom management approaches. And, again, how you would take resistance into consideration. So, it's more nuanced, right? There's more detail that's required to answer the second prompt than there would be to answer the second. It's calling for more.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Research: Find more evidence

[Illustration of books in a library]

Audio: Okay. Before we look at research and find more evidence and returning to our research from a discussion post that we want to expand and do a course paper. I'm going to pause here and see, Kacy, Melissa, are there any questions that the group could benefit from?

Melissa: Sure. We actually had couple of questions come in regarding the length of discussion post. We had students wondering if there was a limit to word count on discussion post? Or how do they know if they’ve included too much in their discussion post? So, could you speak to maybe the length or content differences between posts and assignments?

Michael: Yeah, absolutely. So, how long should a discussion post be? I'm going to give you a very writing instructor answer here. It should be as long as it takes to fully discuss your point. Okay? [Chuckles] Now again, I know that's not kind of a concrete thing. But in a discussion post, you want to be more direct, more to the point, and get your ideas out there so that people can respond to them and you can respond to their ideas vice versa, sure. Discussion posts are going to, in general, have less detail, you're going to elaborate less on the ideas that you’re putting forth. When looking at a course paper, you're really breaking up parts of your discussion post and you're expanding upon them. Something that would be a sentence in a discussion post could easily be turned into a whole paragraph within a short course paper. So how long is too long? I would say if you're repeating yourself, if you find that you’re making the same point that you've already made. Or that you're just being overly wordy. Those are your indications that maybe you're getting too, you're getting a discussion post that's too long. Yeah, did that answer your question, Melissa?

Melissa: That did. Thank you. We have just one more question which is about the formatting of the discussion post. We had a question about how a discussion post should be formatted.

Michael: Okay. Yeah. There's some pretty significant APA guidelines when you're looking at writing an essay, right? You need to have a title page. You need to have page numbers. Your reference, entry list needs to be on a page of its own. Within the discussion post, kind of platform, it doesn't really allow for you to do that. Right? It doesn't give you a lot of space to include things like page breaks or a title page, or these kind of conventional formatting needs from a course paper. So, it's looser just in general. When I think about using APA in a discussion post as a writing instructor, my mind generally goes to citation and references. You still need to incorporate this kind of APA citation formatting and reference entry formatting into a discussion post. But the larger more general formatting things that you would apply to a course paper, you're not able to put them in essentially. So, I wouldn't worry too much about omitting those.

Melissa: Okay, thank you, those are all the questions we have for now.

Michael: Okay, great. Then I will move on.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: The Continuum

  • Discussion Post: Post by Day 2 an evaluation of what you think is the most significant positive aspect and most significant negative aspect of Schmitt’s classroom management strategies. Give examples of where Schmitt’s methods might be effective in your classroom and why.

Application Paper:

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 3- to 4-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.

Audio: As a reminder, we were looking at two different assignment prompts. And thinking about expanding our discussion post into an actual course paper, a short course paper.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Research: Find more evidence

[Illustration of books in a library]

Audio: From there, as our circle mentioned in the beginning of the webinar, you really need to delve in and find more evidence. You need to return to your research. In the writing, in the composition community, we talk a lot about research writing as being a really recursive or iterative process. Right? You are returning to your research at multiple times throughout your essay writing, or throughout your research process. You might start with a group of sources and then find that maybe half of them don't really speak to the topic that you're writing about. Then you return to your research and you find some more and you start writing your draft, and you find that hey, this is a really strong piece of evidence that I have here, or strong point that I’d like to make, but I have no evidence for it. And then you need to, again, return to your research to find something that supports that idea. When crafting a course paper from a discussion post, this works similarly well. You need to, again, return to your research and deepen your knowledge on the topic that you posted on for your discussion post.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Outline Discussion Post

Do a reverse outline of the discussion post where you make a bulleted list of main points.

Example:

  • Schmitt’s strategies, summary
  • Positive—creates trust between teacher and students
  • Negative—could isolate students

Ask yourself: What parts of my post could I use in my paper?

Audio: Yeah, outlining a discussion post. Yeah, do a reverse outline of a discussion post where you make a bulleted list of the main points. Reverse outlines are great, what you’re doing is you’re picking apart a discussion post or even a paper and looking at its main points. Similar to a traditional outline, you're looking at how these ideas work together in terms of their organization. A reverse outline as the title would suggest goes in reverse from a normal outline. Oftentimes you outline a paper before you write it. A reverse outline is done after you write it. When you’re trying to, once again, pull the main ideas out. An example of this is as follows. First paragraph or first few sentences of a discussion post is looking at Schmitt's strategies and summary of what Schmitt had to say.

Moving on, this hypothetical discussion post would then talk about some of the positive things. Creates trust between the teachers and students. And, again, talking about these classroom management strategies. And the discussion post could then end by talking about some of these negative, some of these significant negative attributes of Schmitt's theory of classroom management. Perhaps it could isolate students, perhaps it could isolate students yes. This is how a discussion post could look if we were pulling out some of the main ideas. Ask yourself: What parts of my post could I use in my paper? Absolutely. This format, this organization is really effective and could easily be expanded into a larger paper. As you're looking at crafting a academic piece, you know, a larger academic paper, this is kind of how -- excuse me. This can inform your organization. Starting with kind of a summary of Schmitt's strategies, then looking at a number of positive attributes of these strategies or of this theory, and then looking at some of the negative attributes. It informs a potential organization, if you were to expand it. That's why a reverse outline can be really useful when looking at a discussion post.

 

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Outline Discussion Post Practice

Sample paragraph:

I have used many of Schmitt’s (2016) classroom management strategies in my own classroom. One strategy that has worked well for me is allowing students to decide which assignment they will complete from a list of choices. This approach ensures students are engaged in the assignment while still maintaining high standards (Schmitt, 2016). I have observed a negative result of this strategy, however. Sometimes this strategy can isolate students since each student is working on a different project. Another strategy Schmitt recommended is sending summary reports home to students’ guardians. While this strategy creates more work for me, it also ensures students’ guardians are engaged in the classroom too.

Chat box: What are the main points of this paragraph that we

can keep aside for a later assignment?

Audio: Let's take look at this sample paragraph. I'm going to read this, but then once we're done in the chat box, I want you to really pick apart the main points that are here, right? The question that I want you to keep in mind as I read this discussion post is this. What are the main points of the paragraph that we can keep aside for a later assignment? So, yes, without, further ado.

I have used many of Schmitt's 2016 classroom management strategies in my own classroom. One strategy that has work well for me is allowing students to decide which assignment they will complete from the list of choices. This approach ensures students are engaged in the assignment while maintaining high standards. They have a hypothetical citation there. I have observed a negative result of this strategy. Sometimes, this strategy can isolate students since each student is working on a different project. Another strategy Schmitt recommended is sending summary reports home to students’ guardians. While this strategy creates more work for me, it also ensures the student's guardians are engaged in the classroom too.

So, again, in the chat box, let's talk about some of these main points. What are the main points of this paragraph that we can keep aside for a later assignment. What from this discussion post can we expand upon? I'm going to mute myself for a couple of seconds here and wait for you to offer your analysis.

[Pause as students type]

Awesome. I'm seeing some great responses here. If you're still working on this, no rush. By all means, take your time. I'm going to go on mute again. But, again, you guys are doing a great job!

[Pause as students type]

Okay, cool. I'm seeing great answers here, talking about engaging guardians. Talking about teaching methods here. Student engagement certainly is an idea that this gets at. Multiple strategies use as a subtopic for a final paper. Absolutely, that's a great way to do this. Classroom strategies, classroom management, students can be isolated. Sure. As I look at a paragraph like this. I think that there are really 3 main things that can be expanded upon here. One, is right at the beginning when they talk about Schmitt's classroom management strategies. In what follows they discuss two of these strategies, but as a reader, I'm thinking to myself I’d like to hear more about this. What other strategies does Schmitt have? Then we're looking at specific strategies, one about course assignments and giving the students choices about to choose an assignment from. Here, we see a positive and a negative. One, it can engage students more, because they can follow their interest. Two, it can isolate them, because each student is working on a different project. Yeah. The last thing I think can be expanded upon here is this second strategy of sending summaries home to a student’s guardian. This again has some positive and negative attributes. It talks about how the guardians or the student's support system at home is going to be more engaged in their learning but it's also more work for the teacher to do so. So, as I’m looking at these three, these would be the points that I would pick out to then possibly to expand upon. Good work, you guys. You guys most of them right off the bat.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Research: Identify Gaps

  • Review learning resources
  • Visit the Library
  • Follow the reference list of what you’ve read
  • Consider your own experience (as applicable)
  • Ask a Librarian: Library@waldenu.edu

Audio: So, from though then, as I've mentioned before, we need to return to our research to deepen our understanding. If to use our example of Schmitt's classroom management strategies, we need to learn more in-depth about these strategies and about some of the positive and negative outcomes of them. If I were to be researching this, I would go to the library and really look who else is studying these classroom management strategies. What do those studies find? Are these thought of as being positive? Are these thought of as being perhaps negative or less useful? To find this information though, you need to, again, return to your research and identify gaps. You want to review your learning resources before you do this, then visit the library, this is a great place to find academic scholarly research, which should always be the backbone of your academic argumentation. You can follow the reference list of what you’ve read. Oh, this is such a great strategy. A lot of the pieces that you're going to encounter as scholars have extended reference lists, right?

Where they layout the publication information of the sources that they use. These are just solid gold for doing research because you can take those ideas and look up the actual piece that the piece you're looking at used, and really engage with that piece then as well. It kind of can point you in the right direction for other voices within that conversation. Lastly, considering your own experience as applicable. Sure, your own experience can kind of inform your research. Yeah. As you can see on the right-hand side of this slide though, we have a link there to ask a librarian. This is something I really can't stress enough. Research librarians, think of them as professional researchers, right? When my in-person students come to me and ask for research help. I'm pretty good. I can't point them in the direction of some good resources. But the librarians at any university, particularly at Walden are going to be able to find you the best sources to use, within your topic area. They are experts at finding these. So, by all means, I would really encourage you to use research librarians. Again, they're pros at doing this and they can find anything for you. So, take advantage of them.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Research: Identify Gaps

Outline:

  • Student choice in assignment = engaged students
  • Student choice can also lead to isolation
  • Summary reports to guardians = engaged guardians
  • Summary reports = more work for the teacher

More Research:

  • How could I avoid student isolation when giving students choice in assignment?
  • Is there a way to make summary reports quicker to create?
  • Is there research to show how not using these strategies negatively affects student and guardian engagement?

Audio: Continuing our discussion about identifying gaps and expanding our research then, let's return to this kind of Schmitt's classroom management strategies. If we're looking at student choice in assignments, this can kind of relate to the idea of engaging students that can open up a further vein of research for you and potentially even a gap that have not been researched. Which is what we're always looking for to add our voice to these larger academic discussions. Student choice can also lead to isolation. So, this is another potentially a gap within the research. The only way to find out if it's a gap is to go and look at the research that's been done in this topic area, to actually pound the pavement and see what's been published out there. Summary reports to guardians engage guardians. Yeah, again, this works similarly well. Summary reports equal make more work for teachers. Yeah. Totally. These, again, can be potential gaps in literature. After more research, you know, looking at developing these research questions to guide our research. You can think about how can I avoid student isolation when giving students a choice in assignments? Yeah. This would be a perfectly good question to guide your research. As always, we want to start with research questions and look for answers to those questions. We don't want to start with a perspective thesis and then try to prove that thesis. We want to let our research guide our writing. Be open to where your research takes you. Another possible research question could be, is there a way to make summary reports quicker to create? Sure. This could be something that you then turn to the databases, turn to the librarians, and really try to find an answer to. Lastly, is there research to show how not using these strategies negatively affect students and guardian engagement? Yeah. Again, the point I'm getting at here is that from these specific main points in a discussion post, if you were to expand this into a larger research paper, you would then take some of these, or gather some of these research questions, maybe one, maybe two that are really good, and look for the answer to those to then inform your research as you move forward.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Explore: Generate more ideas

            [Image of a compass and a camera]

Audio: And this exploration, as I just mentioned is really the next step here, right? You need to generate more ideas, follow your research, see what's out there, explore the scholarly world as it relates to that topic.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Explore Ideas

Chat box:

What strategies do you currently use

to brainstorm, develop, and expand your ideas?

Audio: So, yeah, let's chat again. In the chat box, I want you to respond to this question. What strategies do you currently use to brainstorm, develop, and expand your ideas? So, once you've kind of got a notion in your mind of I want to write about this idea, how do you expand on that? How do you bring -- yeah, I'll just leave it there. How do you expand on that? Brainstorm and develop and expand those ideas to then put them into a larger paper. I'll give you guys couple of minutes to respond here.

[Pause as students type]

Okay. I'm seeing some really, really awesome answers come in here. I'm going to give you guys one more minute before I start discussing the trends I'm seeing for those who are writing. So, don't rush. You've got another minute.

[Pause as students type]

All right. Cool. I'm seeing really good responses here. One that particularly catches my eyes is about mind mapping and how it's a great approach because you break the idea into sub-ideas and look at the organizational principles and themes that emerge that can inform the structure of your paper. That kind of took the words right out of my mouth there, absolutely. Breaking things down into certain buckets, right? Mind mapping these things into subtopics can really help to inform your overall essay organization. Before this process, if you're earlier in the process, another response that really kind of caught my eye would be to Google search this topic. Google this idea and see what pops up. You know, although this isn't scholarly, and a lot of what you find might not be appropriate to use in an academic essay, it's going to give you a pretty good idea of some of the conversations that are out there in this topic area. That some of the things that come up in this Google search, this general open Internet search is going to be some of the things most likely that the scholars are actually writing about. The difference is the popular sources that you find on Google are going to be summaries of some of these larger conversations. While the scholarly sources you find at the library are going to be the people who are actually doing the research. They are actually lending their voice to this conversation. So, they're not commenting on the conversation, they are joining the conversation. There's kind of a big difference there. But, again, these are really good strategies. From there then, this general Google search, you can move into the library database and look for some evidentiary research or some research, some scholarly research, excuse me, scholarly research is the way to put that, that is addressing these same ideas that you found in a Google search. So, yeah, those are some great strategies. Thanks for participating, you guys.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Explore Ideas

Audio: Here are some other methods that some I've mentioned, some I haven't, about exploring your ideas. One, and this is one I love. I use all the time with my in-person students. Freewriting. Freewriting is simply sitting down and forcing yourself to write non-stop for 10 minutes. Now, Peter Elbow would say, that if you can't think of anything more to write, that you should just repeat the last word you wrote over and over again. Or write I have nothing to say. Or no, no. This is a good strategy in my opinion, because it kind of takes some of these ideas that are in your brain and gets them on paper without you having to worrying about some of the mechanical trapping of academic writing. When you're freewriting, you're not worried about where that comma goes, you're not worried about if I’m creating complete sentences or complete thoughts. This is not what you’re doing. This is not the focus is. You're just taking what's in your mind and getting it on the page. Elbow would say that freewriting is a vehicle to show us what we already know. It's a way of articulating our views on paper and getting them from in our head onto a page. I know we've spent a lot of time talking about this, but it’s very close to my heart. I would recommend freewriting to anyone, absolutely.

Outlining, or mind mapping very similar. Thinking about some of these subpoints and subtopics within this topic that you're working with. And seeing maybe how they can fit together. Sure. Take a break is another good way to explore these ideas. There could be kind of this like Eureka moment, right? Where you sit down to do something completely unrelated to writing, and you realize, that hey, I want to make this point. This is perhaps my strongest point. Or this is an idea I definitely need to expand upon in my research. Taking a break and moving away from your writing is a really good way to generate new ideas and to kind of recharge your batteries as a scholar. I've often found that my best ideas, my most poignant writing comes from a place when I'm doing something that has nothing to do with writing. Right? And I'm just doing that kind of intellectual work to be able to then return to my writing and articulate those on paper.

For some more or another couple of resources that is we have that discusses these kind of freewriting techniques are in the bottom right-hand corner here. We have one that talks about pre-writing techniques, taking the next steps and one that’s just a pre-writing page. So, it has number of other resources there. For those of you who are interested in kind of how these works and learning more about freewriting techniques, I would definitely encourage you to take a look at these. Walden has a number of resources to help you as you get started.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Explore Idea

New Paper Outline

Thesis: Schmitt’s (2016) strategies of student choice in assignment and summary reports lead to increased student and guardian engagement in the classroom.

  1. Student choice in assignment
    1. Summary, description (Schmitt, 2016; Carter, 2017)
    2. Advantages (engagement, better learning)
    3. Disadvantages (isolation)
      1. Mitigating isolation—Refer to new articles I found (Soto & Gonzalez, 2016)
  2. Summary repots to guardians
    1. Summary, description (Schmitt, 2016; Mathur, 2015)
    2. Advantages (engagement, better informed)
    3. Disadvantages (more work)
      1. Mitigating more work (Department of Education suggestions)

Audio: Exploring your ideas. So here, we have kind of a paper outline. And, we're going to return again to this Schmitt's theory or Schmitt's strategies of classroom management. To break this up into a larger, maybe end of the week style course paper, this is perhaps an effective outline for this. Thesis could be something like Schmitt's 2016 strategies of student choice in assignment and summary reports lead to increase student and guardian engagement in the classrooms. So, this is making the point that Schmitt's strategies lead to more engagement. Right? And what it's doing here, as you can see in the organization, is it's breaking these into two. It's breaking them up by allowing student choice and one by sending these reports home to the guardian. This is a perfectly good way to break this up. In both of these then, it's going to breakdown some of the advantages, some of the disadvantages, and it also includes some of the sources that this author is going to bring to these paragraphs. Yeah. This is a good way to go about outlining. I often encourage my students to include source material in their outline, because then you don't have to go searching for it when it comes time to actually write. I think part of the battle with writing is looking at things logistically, right? Saving yourself time becomes an important writing skill and a larger research piece. So, if you can do that by cataloging some of your sources in an outline, that's a great move and I would definitely recommend it. The other advantage that an outline gives you, it allows you to change things, big things, like organization or paragraph placement around in a really small low stake place. As I'm looking at this, if I wanted to switch these two paragraphs around and see if that was more or less effective for my overall argument, I can do that really easily. As opposed to when you write the whole essay out, you then need to, you know, work on your transitions and work on working this information that was once towards the end of your paper in towards the beginning. And this can be trickier, right? This can take longer to do that in an eloquent and succinct way. When you use an outline, it's just a copy and paste. You can easily do that and look at how your line of thought is being developed in that essay. So, I really like outlines for that reason.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Expand: Write!

Audio: As you write, you will expand on these ideas. Right? Offering your own analysis. Working with source material that supports your point. Showing the reader how you mean for them to interpret the source material. And really expanding on your ideas and what you think. This is what writing is really about. Right? We're elaborating on our views.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Write your Paper

  • Use your mind mapping, outlining, freewriting, notes, etc.
  • Be sure to include an introduction, body, and conclusion
  • Take time to revise and proofread
  • Return to your discussion post if needed
  • Ask your instructor questions

Learn more: Life Cycle of a Paper and Revising

Audio: In writing your paper, yeah, use your mind mapping, outlining, freewriting notes, etcetera. Once you turn to write, it doesn't mean that you have to throw your outline away. Right? You can always refer back to that. If you’re forgetting, what I was going to say in paragraph 3? I remember, I had something that I needed to do here, there you go, you can just look back at your notes, Right? And see exactly what you meant to accomplish there. Be sure to include an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. Yeah, this is good advice for any academic piece, especially, a course paper. You want to have a beginning, a middle, and an end for your reader. You want to lead your reader in with an introduction, show them the main argument at the end of your introduction and your thesis statement, then expand upon these sub points in your body and lastly lead the reader out in a conclusion giving them that kind of that circular feel that you’ve talked about this topic at length and I'm ready to not talk about it anymore, because I covered it fully. Take time to revise and proofread. Absolutely. Revision, proof reading, returning to your draft once you’ve got it on paper. This is how you make a good essay. I think students often think that writers will wake up in the morning and be really, really happy with what they have to say and be confident with their message and sit down from beginning to end and write this. But, this is really not how it goes. The best writers that you know the best writers that you read, return and revise and proofread at length. Sometimes for months on end. So, don't think that you need to write something perfect the first time. Be ready to revise and proofread.

 

You can return to your discussion post if needed, if you had like a really good point that you made there, that you think is getting buried as your drafting this larger piece, by all means return and you can always ask your instructor questions. They're going to be a good resource for you and for clarification. You know? But I'm sure that it would be okay to run some of these ideas by your instructor. They are going to be the authority in their field. Right? So, if you're thinking about does this point really fit within this discussion, that would be a question that you could ask your instructor.

For those of you interested in more and learning more about crafting a paper, we have a link here at the bottom right corner that talks about the lifecycle of a paper and another one talks about revising and some important things to keep in mind as you return to your draft to make it better.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Final Recommendation: Give yourself Time

  • Course resources
  • Begin: Discussion post and responses
  • Take the Next Step: Research, explore and learn
  • Expand: Write your paper
  • Instructor feedback

Audio: Final recommendation. Give yourself time. Time is the word that’s right back there behind the top little course resources box. Yeah. As I've mentioned, one of the big challenges of writing is logistical. It's thinking about time. It's fitting that in. So, in going from your course resources to your discussion post, to your research, and expanding into a paper to turn into your instructor, think about time here. Right? When can I find the time to do this? When am I fitting this into my life? And be ready to return to certain steps throughout the process to expand your knowledge base to remind yourself of where you wanted to go with this piece and then to eventually craft something that you feel strongly about and you feel is an effective piece of writing.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Activity & Chat

 

  1. Consider a discussion post you wrote recently--last week or the week before.
  2. Did you use it to develop ideas or complete that week’s paper?
  3. If so, how did you use it? If not, how could you use this webinar’s strategies to use it?

 

Audio: Okay. Lastly. Let's take about two to three minutes to do this one so that we have a little bit of time for questions at the end. But I want you to consider a discussion post you wrote recently, last week or the week before. Did you use it to develop ideas or complete that week's paper? If so, how did you use it? If not, how could you use this webinar, the webinar strategies, the webinar I’ve been delivering to use that, and expand that into your week's paper? So again, think about a discussion post that you crafted. Did you expand that into a paper? If yes, how? If no, how could have you done that? We're going to think about this and we'll be back in couple of minutes here.

[Pause as students type]

Okay, then in the interest of time, we're going to move on here. But I see many of you have never done this. You haven’t taken a discussion post and expanded it.  I’d recommend doing this. You're deepening your knowledge to do this. I'm seeing some people saying they would create an outline or return to their research before they do so. Yeah, this is kind of what this question was meant to get after. Returning to your research, deepening your knowledge about what you wrote about in your discussion post and then crafting that, picking that apart into subtopics and expanding upon those subtopics. Sure.

 

Visual: Slide changes to the following: Questions

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

Continue the conversation on Twitter with 

#WaldenU

Looking for more tips on writing a discussion post? 

Check out the recorded webinar “Writing and Responding to Discussion Posts” and “Life Cycle of a Paper”

Audio: So, if have your questions, go ahead and put those in the Q & A box at the moment. I'll field a couple of them in the last few minutes here in this webinar. If you have questions after the webinar, feel free to reach out to us at writingsupport@waldenu.edu. This is our general writing support email and we will respond to you with a thoughtful answer or perhaps a resource that can be helpful to you in exploring ideas of academic writing. For more tips, for more resources regarding writing discussion posts, you can take a look at the webinar on Writing and Responding to Discussion Posts. That would be a great one to listen to. Or Lifecycle of a Paper. I think both of these were linked to earlier in this webinar, but I'm going to pitch them again here because they're really good resources. And if this is something you struggle with or like to learn more about, I would point you in this discretion.

Melissa: Thank you so much.

Michael: Go ahead, Melissa. Sorry.

Melissa: We have just two questions for you if you have time.

Michael: Sure.

Melissa: The first one is about are there any, I guess, maybe not rules, but recommendations for how many sources you should use in a discussion post versus a course paper?

Michael: Sure. That's a great, great question. In looking at the place of a discussion post within a Walden course, oftentimes you're going to be using the course resources that were provided to you that week, right? You're going to be responding to, analyzing, critiquing those course resources. So, it's appropriate to kind of stay on just those course resources there, maybe bringing in one or two more resource that is you've done the research on yourself. As you're expanding into a course paper, you want to bring in more sources, right? You want to expand your knowledge in this topic area. I'm not going to give you a number, because that's just not my style. But I would say this needs to be significantly more. So maybe twice as many? Or maybe something like that for those of who you really want to pin this down. But, again, discussion posts are really meant to engage you with the course content and to cultivate a discussion with your peers and colleagues about that course content. When you're moving into writing a paper, you need to expand your resources and gather more, to become more informed on that topic.

Melissa: Thank you. And on the topic of expanding a post into a full paper, we had few questions come in about using a discussion post as part of a later assignment. Can students take a discussion post and recycle it as maybe the beginning or middle of some other assignment?

Michael: Thank you, Melissa, this is a good question. Right? But the answer is no. No, you can't. So, here's how this works, right? When you turn a piece of writing to a class for a grade, this is technically considered a publication, right? This is kind of on the books as it were as something that you've submitted. So, if you were to take that and recycle that, put that into a larger piece, not changing it at all or expanding upon it, that is considered a form of plagiarism, right? So again, if you want to, if you're going to use a discussion post in a course paper, you want to expand upon that and bring in more critical thought, bring in more sources and elaborating more on the ideas that you kind of touched on in your discussion post. I'll point you back to the slide about dipping your toe versus jumping in. This is a good way to think about this. Yeah. I'll leave it there.

Melissa: Okay, that's a great answer. Thank you so much for clearing that up. Well, Michael, I want to thank you for your time presenting tonight. This was such a useful webinar about developing a paper moving from your post to that course paper. And I want to thank everybody for attending. The recording will be part of our webinar archive if you want to come back and view this at a later date and as Michael said, if you have any questions, please feel free to use that email address writingsupport@waldenu.edu. Thanks! Have a great day, everyone.

[End Transcript]