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OASIS Writing Skills

Tutorial 1: Writing Goals & Planning

Title: A Reflective Thought to Begin…

Audio: Developing a clear, concise writing style is a challenging process and is one where personal anxieties play a large role. The following are anxieties that are specific to writing; click each number to discover the anxieties. 


Title: Important Details to Remember:

Audio: While scholarly writing can be a challenging process that takes time, patience, and persistence, there are a few important details to remember. Scholarly writing is built on common, foundational skills, like clear organization and strong use of evidence and analysis, and, therefore, can be learned with the right practice and support. Writing is also a process that is unique to every individual, so what areas will need attention and how growth will be achieved will vary from person to person. However, when it comes to beginning this process, you want to start with building a stronger sense of self-awareness and confidence, understanding your own writing process, and establishing a system of support to help you along the way.  


Title: Goal setting is a process designed to break down a larger objective.

Audio: Goal-setting can be a vital resource in advancing your knowledge of scholarly writing and overall writing skill development. Goal-setting is a process designed to break down a larger objective, like becoming a stronger scholarly writer, into manageable parts, including how to establish achievable steps within a reasonable timeframe. It is a model that addresses many of the challenges associated with writing development and provides a platform for overcoming them. For example, goal-setting concentrates on skills development and confidence-building over a less productive and often times more negative emphasis on writing deficiencies and inadequacies. Goal-setting, in this regard, is all about who you want to be as a writer. Goal-setting is also an exercise in managing expectations, so you establish not only a clear goal to pursue but also a specific plan of action, timetable, and supporting resources for your goal success. Finally, goal-setting creates the opportunity to share your goal and network with others, like faculty and Writing Center staff, who can provide an additional layer of support, so you feel connected and motivated throughout the goal process.  


Title: Benefits of Goal Setting

Audio: The benefits of goal setting are various and can have a meaningful impact on your writing and wellbeing. Click on each of the following images to learn more about benefits associated with goal-setting. 


Title: Gaps in the Goal Setting Process

Audio: Goal setting has many, healthy benefits to you as a writer. In fact, you may already be familiar with certain aspects of the goal-setting process. Click each arrow to learn what is commonly understood and misunderstood about goal setting.

Understood: Goal-setting is widely used in businesses and organizations as a means of professional development. As such, there are certain details that are commonly understood about goals. For one, people are often familiar with what a goal is, in that they know it’s an objective one sets and works toward in order to improve their skills as a professional or an individual. Similarly, many people recognize the general benefits of goal-setting and can even establish a general goal or set of goals.

Misunderstood: There are several areas of goals that are misunderstood and can ultimately lead to goals being unmet. For example, individuals often struggle to set clear goals that are achievable within a short or manageable timeframe. Likewise, they can have trouble determining the best place to start work on a goal as well as identifying a precise method for assessing their progress and holding themselves accountable. Locating related resources to support goal success is a vital step in the process; however, many individuals do not know where these resources and support systems can be found. They, in turn, may not receive any or useful feedback on their goal, or struggle with how to apply goal-related feedback to their own work. This module is designed to alleviate those stressors and inefficiencies in the goal process and introduce you to effective techniques and resources for setting and achieving your writing goals.


Title: Moving Forward

Audio: Scholarly writing does not have to be a stressful, overwhelming process. Goal-setting can be an easy, effective way to break the process of writing skill development down into more achievable parts. 

The other tutorials in this module will help you better understand how to set effective writing goals as well as establish a plan for how to achieve them.  You will also have the option to share your goals and plan with a Writing Center professional to gain further support and guidance. 


Title: Reflection Moment

Audio: As you prepare to set your writing goals, take a moment to reflect on your writing style and process. These questions can help you start generating ideas for a strong writing goal. You don’t need to submit your response to these questions in the module, but if you find it helpful, pull out a pen and paper to write down your responses; these responses can help you in future sections of the module.

Tutorial 2: Setting Effective Writing Goals

Title: Global & Specific Goals

Audio: Note that for this tutorial, we will focus on specific goals. However, global goals can be a great place to start as you then narrow to something more specific. We’ll focus on taking more global goals and narrowing them to fit a SMART framework.

If you’re not familiar with SMART goals, we encourage you to review the Academic Skills Center’s resources about SMART goals.


Title: Setting Effective Writing Goals

Audio: Writing goals that are too global don’t fit into the SMART framework, and thus can be harder to achieve. Click each global goal to discover it’s potential pitfalls. 

I want an error free paper: Wanting an error free paperis specific, but it’s not very measurable since “errors” is a little vague and subjective. This objective is likely not achievable since all writers make errors! It’s also relevant to writing a polished scholarly paper, but it has no clear timeline for when it will be achieved. 

I want perfect APA: I want perfect APAis a somewhat specific goal because APA encompasses so many aspects of writing, from formatting to tone to citations. This goal is likely not measurable since perfection is hard to measure. It’s potentially possible to achieve perfect APA, but perfection is subjective. A properly formatted APA paper is often a relevant and required component of Walden writing, but it remains unclear when this goal will be achieved. 

I want to be a strong scholarly writer: I want to be a strong scholarly writerisn’t specific enough because, like APA, scholarly writing could mean many things. It is likely difficult to measure “strength” in scholarly writing as well. This goal is likely achievable with more specificity.  Developing your scholarly writing skills is relevant to your growth as a scholar-practitioner; however, it would require a clear timeline for when and how this goal would be achieved. 


Title: Setting Effective Writing Goals

Audio: How can we break down these larger, more global goals into smaller SMART goals? Ask yourself some specifics about the global goals to help break things down. Click each question mark to discover a question about this more global goal that can help us narrow it down.


Title: Setting Effective Writing Goals

Audio: Answers to these questions might lead to a list of more specific ideas, like the following. Consider these ideas: What kind of SMART goal could you create out of one or a few of these ideas? 

After you have reflected, click Show SMART Goal below to see a sample SMART goal based on these ideas.


Title: Setting Effective Writing Goals

Audio: First goal: This goal is Specific because it clarifies what in particular the student wants to work on regarding scholarly voice. It is Measurable because it focuses on concrete, observable components of scholarly voice to look for. It is Achievable in that it has a timeline with steps and the specific components (avoiding slang and effective evidence) are concrete. This goal is Relevant in how it connects to specific aspects of scholarly voice. It is Timely because it has a concrete timeframe.

Second goal: This goal is Specific because it’s focused on one paragraphing tool the student wants to use. It is Measurable because the student can easily see if they are using the MEAL plan or not in their work. It is Achievable because they have a longer timeframe and it is a specific aspect of their writing.  It is Relevant because the MEAL plan is related to effective writing practices. It is Timely because it has concrete steps in a given timeframe.


Title: Setting Effective Writing Goals

Audio: There are other pitfalls to consider when setting your writing goals. Click on each type of pitfall to see an example of a goal that exhibits this issue. You will then have the opportunity to see revisions of these goals. 


Tutorial 3: Writing Goal Accountability Process

Title: A Look at the Big Picture

Audio: Goal-setting is a process that breaks down your larger writing objectives into manageable parts. What this process will look like varies from person to person and requires a different timeline and plan of action.  

This tutorial will walk you through important strategies to consider as you establish a plan for accomplishing your writing goals. However, it is important to remember that goal-setting is not about achieving perfection; it is geared toward healthy, successful growth and development of your writing skills. 


Title: Goal Accountability Process

Audio: Each step for goal accountability works in unison together and will be important for you to consider as you establish a clear plan for achieving your writing goals. This tutorial will help you by reviewing what each of these steps entails and demonstrating how they relate in creating a clear plan for goal success. We have placed these steps in a general recommended order for optimal impact; however, achieving your writing goals, like writing itself, is a process that is unique to each individual and may take reiteration and adjustment to complete. Therefore, you should feel confident to make these suggested steps fit your needs.


Title: 1. Scaffolding

Audio: Scaffolding requires you to think about how your larger writing goals break down into steps that can be completed as part of a series rather than tackling your goal all at once. Scaffolding is about identifying what steps you need to take first and which should be built into the process at a later stage. Scaffolding, in this regard, is an essential pillar in setting manageable expectations and achievable steps to growth and development. 


Title: 2. Adjustable Timeline

Audio: Goal accountability always requires a consideration of time, as you will want to establish a timeframe and deadlines for when certain steps should be completed. However, you want to remember that writing is a process that requires practice and patience. Therefore, you shouldn’t worry if you have to adjust your timeline. In fact, it is often best to revisit your action steps and timetable regularly to see any changes that need to be made. Click on Revised Timeline to see an improved timeline for this goal. 


Title: 3. Resources & Supports

Audio: It is extremely important to remember that you are not alone in the goal-setting and writing process. There are a variety of resources and support services designed to help you advance your writing skills. It is just a matter of taking the time to locate what those resources are or reaching out to establish a system of support. This strategy might include watching our “Welcome to the Writing Center” webinar to get a better understanding of what writing resources are available to you or networking with faculty, coaches, peers, and Writing Center staff to generate of support system that will help maintain accountability and provide feedback toward your writing goals. Another option would be to review each step in your goal plan and locate resources or supports that best fits that stage in the process. As you do so, be sure to consider your own learning style and what resources or services fit your individual needs. Click on Revised Timeline to see an improved timeline that includes Resources for this goal. 


Title: 4. Benchmarks & Rewards

Audio: Establishing clear benchmarks is a useful way to keep your goal process on track, just as rewards are effective in generating continued motivation and investment in your goals. Benchmarks and rewards should be scaffolded throughout the goal process and are often placed after a considerable step or series of steps have been achieved. However, don’t be afraid to experiment with size and duration of your benchmark and rewards, as it can be helpful to determine places where smaller versus larger benchmarks and rewards might apply. Click on each term to learn more. 


Title: Tools for Success

Audio: The Writing Center has a variety of tools designed to help you keep your writing progress on track. Click on each of the below resources to learn more.


Title: A Look Ahead: Goal Plans

Audio: Now that you are familiar with key strategies and tools for achieving your writing goals, you will be invited in the next two tutorials to start brainstorming and drafting your writing goal and plan for achieving it. At the end of the module, you will have the option to share this material with the Writing Center and enroll in a support program that pairs you with a writing instructor who will assist in providing goal-specific feedback and action steps. Here is a quick preview of our Goal Plan Program. 

Stay tuned at the end of the module to opt in to our Goal Plan Program. 

Tutorial 4: Identifying Areas for Growth

Title: Where to Start?

Audio: You may be wondering where to start regarding your writing goals: How do you know what might be good to focus on? We’ll help you think through this question and identify areas you can focus your writing goals in this tutorial. To start, take a moment to try one or both of these strategies to help you narrow down some topics. 

Note that faculty feedback will often be more global in nature, whereas Writing Center feedback may be specific. Both types of feedback are useful, but we’ll focus on shifting global goals to specific goals in this exercise. 


Title: Where to Start?

Audio: Let’s start with an example of how you’ll narrow your goals. For example, you might create a list of overall writing topics you want to work on; your list might look like this, with the general categories of APA, organization, and grammar. 

You then can write a more specific list of topics within these categories you want to work on. Click each general category to see a more specific list of topics. This is the process we’ll help you go through to determine more specific writing topics you can use to create a writing goal. Likely it will be helpful to focus on one or two of the specifics within these global categories for your goals.

Go to the next slide when you’re ready to begin! 


Title: Reflect to Identify Areas for Growth

Audio: To help you develop a list of topics you can use to create a writing goal, you’ll first identify a general category of writing that you want to work on. Then we’ll provide specific topics and resources to help you develop a list of more specific areas you want to work on. As you go through these resources, reflect on your knowledge, comfort, and goals relating to these topics; this will help you create a writing goal. 


Title: What Next?

Audio: Now that you’ve reflected on a few general writing categories and more specific topics within those categories, go through these steps to reflect and create a writing list you can use to create a writing goal. 

Tutorial 5: Create a Writing Goal & Enroll in a Goal Plan

Title: Congratulations! 

Audio: Congratulations! Now, it’s time to put all of your hard work into practice and set a writing goal for your future skill development. 

To begin, you will be asked a series of questions to help focus and narrow your writing goal. Keep in mind that the objective is to develop a clear writing goal that is manageable and achievable within a short timeframe. You will also consider how to scaffold your goal across a series of actionable steps that build toward your larger writing goal. This tutorial is most effective if you already have a broad writing goal or topic in mind. If you do not have a general area for writing improvement in mind, be sure to refer back to our optional “Identify Areas of Growth” tutorial.


Title: Create a Writing Goal

Audio: You’ve now identified a few writing topics you want to work on, which are displayed here. Reflect on these sub-topics, then click each question and respond to it on paper or in a Word document. Your response can be ideas and notes—anything you can think of—until you reach the Last Step, where you will write your writing goal! This writing goal should, ideally, be in 1-3 sentences. 

Take your time to write your writing goal. Once you have a writing goal you are satisfied with, continue to the next slide.


Title: Next Steps

Audio: Nice work! You’ve developed a writing goal, which you can now use to make progress on your writing skills. 

In the remainder of this tutorial, you will have the option to share your writing goal with a Writing Center Professional, selecting one of three options: First, you can receive a copy of your writing goal and related resources to help you achieve that goal. Second, you can also enroll in the Writing Center’s Goal Plan Program, which we’ll give more details about next. Finally, you can also proceed without sharing your writing goal or receiving additional resources.


Title: Writing Center’s Goal Plan Program

Audio: To help you decide if you’d like to enroll in the Writing Center’s Goal Plan Program, here’s a bit more about the program. 

First, it is entirely optional and free. The program is also completed in coordination with the Writing Center’s asynchronous paper review service, meaning you will be guaranteed four paper review appointments with the Writing Center as part of this program. The program is flexible, meaning we cater it to your specific writing needs and goals, and it focuses specifically on maximizing your goal success, giving you personalized feedback, support, and resources. Finally, this program provides you with an additional layer of support, motivation, and accountability to ensure you make progress on your writing goal, as you will receive additional resources between paper reviews to help increase progress toward your goals.

The last note about the Goal Plan Program is that it is only available to undergraduate and graduate students in their coursework at this time; if you are a doctoral student working on your capstone (your proposal or final chapters), you are not eligible for this program. However, we do encourage you to use this module to set a clear writing goal and learn more about actionable steps and resources related to your writing goal. 


Title: Writing Center’s Goal Plan Program

Audio: We have a few more details for you about how the Goal Plan Program works. Review these details, then continue to decide how you’d like to proceed!


Title: You have completed the module! [student chooses not to enroll in either option]

Audio: Thank you for completing the module! You have chosen not to enroll in the Goal Plan Program or receive resources to help you with your writing goal. If you would like to change your choice, choose below to go back to the Opt-In Menu. 

We hope you will find the writing goal you created helpful in developing your writing skills. Keep what you have learned about creating achievable writing goals in mind to create writing goals throughout your Walden program.