Panel Discussion and Q&A With Walden’s Form and Style Editors

FEBRUARY 26, 2019


>>:  Welcome back.  We are in our fourth session today.  We had three great sessions up to this point.  We had an opening sensation with Dr. Sarah transitioning from being a Coursework to a Capstone student.  So that transition become being an independent research student.

Dr. Joe talked about using the Walden template.  

(No audio).

>>:  I think Tobias' microphone went out.  So please give us a moment to get that up and running again.  Sorry about that.  Are you back?

>>:  Hey.  There you are.

>>:  You can ignore those slides.  We are using the Adobe Connect platform and we do our best to maintain connection.  But you saw how Dan swept in there.  We support each other.  Again, I thank everyone for presenting.  This afternoon for our final session myself and Dan and Tara will be hosting a Q & A.  In the Q & A box will be Steve and Sam.  Before we get to technical aspects because it's easier to have overlap in conversation, what I'll ask Dan to do is he will be our chief person to connect with Steve and Sam using that presenter note box if they are any questions from students.

So we will have time for answering general questions.  Dan, you will be our person to connect with Sam and Steve about any questions.  And share them with Tara and I.  Then if one of us is not talking, let's go on mute and there maybe an occasional pause between someone commenting.  Just a few housekeeping things.  Thank you to my managing colleague, Kelly, she has been cohosting this entire day and the person who set up this technology and taken care of it.  Thank you very much, Kelly.  We appreciate you.

A couple of housekeeping things in terms of the technology for today.  As long as it's maintained is follow along on the slides on the screen.  You can download the files from the files pod after the presentation.  Also in the web links box there were all links for our writing community, we have our writing kits, smart guides, links to webinars and templates, information about Word support.  Today we have a links to a survey we ask you to afterwards complete the survey.  We want to know what went well and what we can do better.

If you have any questions use the Q & A pod there.  For today all sessions are audio recorded and transcribed.  So as early as next week the transcription and audio recordings will be available for these sessions on the same page in the form and style website where you register for this section.

Finally, if you have any difficulties technically disconnect from the meeting and pop back in.

Okay.  That's all the housekeeping.  Today we have a discussion with the form and style editors.  I'll ask Tara to introduce themselves after myself.  I'm Tobias and I'm one of the managing form and style editors.  I've been at Walden 14 years.  Spent my first couple of years working in Student Success Advising.  I had fun there.  I just loved having that institutional knowledge and working with all of the student programs, start to finish, all the way to graduation and helping students find their resources they needed to get to the next stage or dissertation.  Got to work with HLA and admissions and writing center and all over the organization.  I loved it.  But I had the opportunity in 2007 to transition to become an editor and I jump on it.  I couldn't possibly be happier.  Honestly, I love every aspect.  Everyone on the list are the colleagues I work with, editors, it's almost an intimidating intelligent bunch of people who are kind and great communers.  But I love editing.  Every part.  I don't matter if I see the same issues everyday, I love working on them.  So I ask that Dr. Tara, please take a moment and introduce yourself.

>>:  Thank you so much.  This is Tara.  I'm really also just delighted to have this job and to work with students everyday and as an editor.  I really love it.  I've been here at Walden more than three years as a form and style editor.  I have a doctorate degree myself and aware of challenges and have a background in other roles in higher education faculty and research.  But I really love working on the editing team and happy to share my insight here with you today.  Thank you.

>>:  Tara, thank you.  I think Tara is modest.  She has communications from Chapel Hill and she is a bright and excellent educator.  We are lucky to have her.

Dan, would you mind introducing yourself, please?

>>:  Hi, I'm Dan.  I have now been an editor here at Walden for three and a half years.  It has been a great job.  I love every aspect of the job.  Going into documents, doing the line by line editing and working one‑on‑one with students.  Yeah., it's something I'm passionate about and awesome to be able to work closely with students and then my coworkers and faculty.

>>:  Thank you, Dan.

>>:  We are lucky to have you on our team.  Kelly and I often rely on Dan and he's always there.  Thank you very much, Dan.

What we will do is, Dan will be doing the usually double work here where he will look for presenter notes and make sure we are covering questions from the Q & A box that Sam and Steve are monitoring.

I think I have a few questions we can keep going.  I mentioned that I started out in Student Success Advising.  But while at Walden working in advising I was also getting a second master's degree in library information science.  I'm talking about the way I found myself as an editor, my route to becoming an editor.  While working as a library science student I found I focused on academic editing and librarian ship.  And really fell in love with navigating databases.  And positioned myself as being one of the experts in connecting a search for lit review and writing a lit review.  I was in the right place and time and was able to get this job as an editor.  I really would be curious if maybe we will have Tara go first.  Tara how did you end up finding your route to being an editor?

>>:  That's a great question for, to reflect on.  I completed my dissertation more than ten years ago and did that for a while as a professor and enjoyed it but it wasn't for me.  More teaching intensive school and wanted more variety.  I took time off and I thought writing has been a strength of mine, writing and editing.  Just throughout my years of education and other work experience.  And so I began to think about different areas, different ways that I can contribute using my background and strengths and just I found out about Walden through a graduate school classmate and here I am.  So that's been my pathway.  But I think that I've been well suited for it and enjoy it so it's a joy to come to work everyday doing something you feel well suited for.  I already new APA.  That was what I was familiar with in master and doctoral education and so sixth edition I didn't know it was a challenge but I was familiar with it.  So hope that answers your questions.  The.

>>:  Thank you very much.  Tara, you mentioned you came in with the knowledge of the fifth edition of the APA and now we are in the sixth edition.  But if you are a student during the transition from a different edition of the APA style guide, what we did last time was we took time ourselves to absorb those changes and we have a transitional period.  We spent I think 18 months where students were allowed to complete their Capstone manuscript or project study or dissertation or doctoral study using either the fifth or the sixth edition.  So they would pick and vote.  We set a hard deadline to at the end of date X everything had to be in the sixth edition.  The changes were not massively significant.  Couple of things that stood out, the headings changed.  The level the way they looked from bold and italics.  And what really changed was the plural of the word appendix was appendixes.  And in the sixth edition it became appendixes.  Dan, maybe you can tell us how you became an editor.

>>:  Sounds great.  I believe we have a question or two.  I'll respond here first and get to those.  Yeah, I came to editing through the world of writing centers, but more face‑to‑face writing centers.  So while I was working on my MFA I started doing classroom teaching and it was the first year composition classroom teaching.  And learning kind of feeling out that process and seeing if I wanted to dive further into that.  It wasn't exactly my thing.  I didn't know if I wanted to do that day in and out.  But I did love working with students on the writing, whether that was in face‑to‑face or whether that was responding to students papers that they were writing.  So I started working in The Writing Center at the ham listen university where I got my degree and fell in love with that work.  And then kind of continued that at another university here and even my role at Hamlin, turned into more from a graduate student working in the writing center to more of a full‑time role there.  And then I was lucky enough to find my way to Walden.  And moved more into just the editing aspect as opposed to the face‑to‑face sit down, or meetings with students.  And I found it's different, but it's I think equally rewarding.  I feel like I'm lucky because I get to spend all day reading and writing and responding to writing which are some of my favorite things to do.

So I feel like I did really find the perfect job for me.  So that's how I ended up here on the job.  I'll ask either Sam or Steve, are there any questions from students that you would want us to tackle here?

>>:  I would like to say a couple.  One I saw was doctoral students coming into the doctoral program and had some time out of college, they want to know will you offer this writing clinic going forward?  Are you going to do this again?

>>:  I will jump in, and this is Tobias.  Kelly and I talked about this in December, and we had different ideas how to go forward.  We were sold out on this experimental clinic.  We talked today over phone and Skype, it was going well.  We had over 200 students here today.  We are definitely going to do it again.  Kelly talked about different formats.  Something like this but highly instructive and almost one way, but we will also have writing labs coming up that might include a little instruction and then more time for students to actually do some writing in the lab.  It will be on their own so there's a lot of ways we are going forward.  We will most certainly be doing something like this.  That's a great question.

We will get a couple of more questions soon.  But I want to ask Dan first and Tara then, what is something you have learned about being a writer during your time as an editor?  Dan?

>>:  Um, I think, hmm, I think something that I knew, but, I mean, it really hit home, is kind of the importance of two facets of persistence and the importance of revision.  So I think those two things go hand in hand.  I think it's really easy, and it's not always really easy, but easier to sit down and type out stuff and get things out of your head or whether you know, I mean in that process can take a lot of forms, but I think where the realty challenge comes in working on a long project such as a dissertation is coming back to the table day after day or weekend after weekend an and really that it's hard for a piece of longer writing to be good or worthwhile unless you have really put that work in.

So writing to me really equates to hard work and time.  Like you really need to keep coming back and pursuing your goal.  It's not something you can sit down with and be done.  You can't ‑‑ almost impossible to get done with it quickly.  So and then I think as a younger writer the importance of revision I tried to be that person who would wait towards the end of a due date and then I would sit down and try to write that first draft and kind of just turn that in and that was writing to me was sitting counsel knowing generally what I thought about some things, writing something out and handing it in.  But when you get to something larger and multi‑stage like this, you know that's not really an option and revision you know to see students writing change from those first drafts or when you are working with students in a dissertation intensive to see them working on their whether it's their premise, prospectus and proposal and seeing the final study to see the changes and hard work that's gone in, that's one of the coolest thing about this job and one of the things I learned most from.

>>:  So everyone knows, I did not send these questions to Tara or Dan before the session.  So the answers you got were sincere and off the cuff.  So I'll apologize later for that.  Dan's response is terrific.  Writing is about persistence.  That's true.  We like our first draft to be our only draft or last draft.  But it really means, this sort of writing with a large scale project like a Capstone study that has so many different pieces, not just chapters, but within each chapters each section that requires a different sort of work.  Sometimes look at seminal or sometimes looking it's a peer review sources.  Sometimes it's conducting interviews or gathering data and analyzing data.  Independently summarizing things.  So many different facets.  It really is about persistence.  That's good to keep in mind as you are writing and revising, but persistence during the approval process.  We don't have control over that, but there's, you are not only researching writing, but you are working to gain your approval from a chair.  After you have satisfied that person you bring in a different person that has their own set of experiences and expectations and you have to get their approval. 

So then you combine them and then there's a third person.  Most committees are made up of three people and that's a major part of the earning of a doctoral degree, learning to navigate and negotiate with three people's approval you need.  Dr. Kelly who has her PhD in sociology from the University of Minnesota was a glut ton for academic punishment an and had five people in her committee.  Amazing. 

Before we answer a question from the students, Tara, what have you learned about writing from your time as an editor?

>>:  Just to reinforce persistence and revision, I knew about those, but maybe something you can forget and think it's just like Dan said you write something, turn it in and I'm over with it.  But that's not the way you can complete a Capstone study.  I think for all of those reasons Tobias mentioned working on a project over a long period of time, developing the skills and drafting what your community members and research partners, it takes those two skills.  So I knew about them and have a renewed appreciation for them.  When I have gone to residencies and especially doctoral intensives and seeing students how they manage those challenges by having schedule for writing, whatever that might be, and are strong habits for time management and organizing documents and things, I see that I'm impressed and wish I knew all of that when I was doing my own studies and things like that.  But those are things I knew about, but just didn't ‑‑ have a renewed appreciation being an editor.

>>:  That's great.  Time management really is an important skill to, if you already have it, but to build.  If you get a chance when you are in the process and have a dissertation chairperson ask them about their own experiencing writing their dissertation and how they managed their time and what skills they did.  Personally, I am a bit of a luddite.  Although I use the computer in a modern phone and things.  I like to write things down by hands.  I'm a notebook and note card person.  I use height lighters and paper clips and dog haired pages.  That's how I conducted research.  It all depends on what your preference is.  By coincidence someone asked about the process of completing the dissertation and if they are drawn to becoming an editor how do they go about it.

Dan mentioned he worked in different writing centers and was doing face‑to‑face work.  Tara was in the classroom.  I think there are a lot of ways you can find yourself in this work.  A facet of the modern economy really is internships.  Were which is interesting to think they are unpaid and you require more time.  But I think that finding those areas where you can volunteer to do editing or working with students who are writers, that might mean something for volunteering at a local university or even high or community center.  Getting experience under your belt.

Another good question, how does a student get feedback on an abstract before the form and style.  The abstract is interesting.  It's the beginning.  The one thing everyone will read for sure and make a decision whether they should keep reading your dissertation.  In terms of a Walden University student when you get published on ProQuest that's the one thing anyone will access for free and you want to include a lot of key aspects in your abstract.

We have a number of resources available in our form and style website about using how to write the abstract.  Kelly and I are working with the center for research quality and the chief academic officer reviewers who look at the abstract.  That's one of the final things that gets approved before you complete your study.

But, Tara, would you talk about how you guide students when they are, when you revise their abstract?

>>:  Sure.  Yeah.  So that's one of the key area that definitely we spend a lot of time on as editors.  I'm looking at different specifications and requirements.  But there's the formatting requirement and links requirements.  But the content of it I'm looking first your program template which we get from our website.  I open that and I got that in fronts of me even though I looked at it many times.  I like to have that in front of me to know the ordering of the abstract.  It's one of those essential piece of writing that readers will look at may be quickly and decide whether they want to open your PDF and review your document.  It's important.

But I look at in terms of the overall elect of it, make sure it's no longer than one page, indented correctly.  But then I go line by line and just looking at the clarity of it.  Does it meet the specific APA style requirements and Walden and APA requirements for the abstract.  There's different nuances.  So reading it line by line and seeing can I make it more concise or clear.  Maybe I'll make suggestions or maybe I don't see you have an idea that social change implications could be more clear or more direct so I make a comment in a side rather than doing a line tit edit.  But I spend a lot of time on it because it's so important so it's something you want to be, have revised over an amount of time and make sure it's currents based on your overall finished study.

>>:  Thank you very much.  Although I said it before, Tara emphasized it.  Have a look at the form and style website.  There's links in the web site box.  Look at the resources.  Everyone's is unique but there's things that the chief academic office can look for as they review it.  Your chair and committee are familiar with those.  Your editor is familiar.  So we will all help you hone the requirements for the abstract.

I have a few questions for Dan.  The first is about chapter five.  I know today we don't have students who are just dissertation students but doctoral study and project study students.  So in essence, although different Capstone studies are arranged differently in chapters or sections, and how many sections, a lot of the general content is the same.  Chapter one or the introductory portion of sect one is always an introduction where you familiarize your reader with the important aspects of your study, giving them a background, talking about the research, revealing research questions and methods, so there's always a literature review around that at the end of sect one or in chapter two.  Another thing that all man scripts share is the way that final chapter is summarizing everything up. 

So the question, Dan, is what is the correct verb tense to be used in chapter five, both for the literature and also the students research?  And then what kind of tone should the student be using in chapter five?

>>:  Okay.  I would say the verb tense because you are wrapping up and concluding the study you have conducted at that point, you will be using the past tense when you are referring to the results you came up with or the study you carried out.  Then also you always want to remember you will be using the past tense when referring to literature.  So in the results section are often students are comparing the results from their study to the results of maybe studies they look at in the literature review.  So you want to make sure to remember any time you are referring to other studies or previous research in the field that you do that in the past tense as well.

And then in terms of tone, I guess you want to maintain that scholarly tone.  You want to balk the fine line between making sure your permitting your results and your interpretation of them, how they compare with other results that have been previously found on the topic.  But you also wants to make sure you are not straightforwardly repeating things you have already presented in the earlier chapters.  Obviously there's some amount of repetition, but you don't want to use exact same quotes or paraphrasing of information from other studies.  You want to make sure you are providing results that are providing on an earlier chapter and interpret them in a new way that brings other information into it and not just simply repeating the same information that you have already provided in an earlier chapter section.  So that, yeah, I think making sure by the time you got to that last section or chapter in your study, I think it is hard to not get a little repetitive but make sure you are adding new information and looking at things from a slightly different angle and that will help you keep moving forward and not repeat a bunch of information and make the chapter maybe too long or repetitive.  So...

>>:  Excellent.  Keep in mind that, I'm sitting in Minneapolis, the northern part, western part where it's snowing.  Tara is in a whole different state and climate.  So we may overlap.  But, Tara, can you follow up that tone in chapter five?

>>:  Yeah.  Again, echoing what Dan said, I want to address the chapter five maybe section four of your study you will have some reflection on your learning or your development as a scholar or practitioner.  That part of your document you will get more personal, definitely in your tone.  So there will be more I statements.  So we encourage you to use the word I.  But there's a shift when you offer your reflections on your development as a scholar or practitioner in doing your doctoral work.  But at the same time you want to have that balance of it is still, this is still a scholarly work, still a grounded in rules of evidence and things like that.  So there shouldn't be a noticeable shift in tone when you do offer those reflections.  But, yeah, I want to add that.  My two cents on that aspect of writing that last section and bringing closer to your document.

>>:  Thanks.  Going back to what Dan said about persistence, this every chapter and section has a different section and tone so you are like the directer of a movie covering every aspect in this great big narrative.  And the nice thing is ‑‑ maybe challenging ‑‑ (lost audio).

>>:  We lost your audio again.

>>:  All right.  I'll jump in here and then Sam.  Is there any questions from students here that me and Tara could answer while Tobias figures out his audio here?

>>:  Actually, more comments than questions.  But I was looking at some of our resources and point out that we have a list of trends and editor questions on our writing committee, writing center community page.  So it's interesting to see some of these questions that come in.  Here as well.  I don't know if there are any we should address right now.  No questions at the moment.

>>:  I think one thing I will reiterate while Tobias gets back in here, I think one thing I didn't fully understand as I started this job and worked here for a few months is the breadth and depth of the resources available here to Walden students and Sam was referring to this.  If you go to the form and style if website to the regular writing center and the academic skills centers, there's so many resources and services available to you.  I really think it's a great use of your time probably the earlier in the process the better to really spends time going through those website and really seeing what is available to you as a student.  Because I think in many avenues there's help for specific needs whether it's quantitative statistics, help, or qualitative methodology help, and you know all sorts of writing help depending on what level or where in the doctoral Capstone process you are.

So I think that's important for everybody to get a hold, a grasp of what is out there and available to you.  Because I think if you are having questions or stuck, there's a resource out there that's available to you.  Yeah.  So...

>>:  I want to add a little more.  I think the web links we have are you maybe familiar with those links.  But definitely to just download those and bookmark them.  We recognize you are, we have a diverse audience, so you maybe in your Coursework stable or really new to Walden and in your first course.  Or you might be revising your Capstone study.  So you are at a different stage and different needs but you want to keep track of these resources.  Know that we are continuing to develop and revise our resources as our other units and library and advising and others at Walden too.  New resources, meaning new formats and things like that we want to be as helpful to students.

I think and hope you have gone to the doctoral Capstone form and style website.  Managing editors have taken that to focus on expanding that website and be a one stop for students who are particularly or especially in that Capstone stage so.  That site you learned earlier you can find the template there.  Different resources including smart guides, "how to" instruction sheets is that are helpful.  But also you can access our office hours and things like that.  And then doctoral Capstone form and style website has wonderful instruction on APA and scholarly writing or grammar.  As well as I go to that line editing I go to that website all the time and look at its instruction, pull up a copy links that I will insert in my reviews because I want to point students to those.  Just to know that you have all of these resources, keep track of them.  Don't get overwhelmed but know they are there for you.  And that you want to be not just reviewing them one time but keep going back to them as you develop your skills and then as you revise and improve your study to make sure it's completely accurate.  Just want to mention that. 

Last thing is I went to a brick and mortar school for my graduate degrees and it was a few years ago, but I just think at Walden the resources are phenomenal and just something you want to make use of as much as possible.  But, yeah, we can see if we have other questions here.

>>:  I've been messaging Tobias.  He's having issues getting back in.  He wants me to answer and ask you:  Is there one bit of advice you would give every student if you could?

I'm trying to think, for me, part would be really get familiar with all of those resources available to you.  But the other thing too would be as early on in the process, I would really figure out what your own personal writing process is.  Do some trial and error and try different things.  Some people block out their six hours on a Sundays and do all of their work for the week, just one day a week, and kind of need a big block of time to focus and do everything.  Other people can wake up in the morning and work for 20 minutes a day, half an hour, and that's how they move forward.  Other people find 15 minute pockets here and there and do it that way.  The real key is to find what works for you and keep at it and keep perfecting that.  Because somebody may tell you this is how I set up my schedule so I can finish my dissertation or doctoral study, but that doesn't mean it will work for you.  So really figure out what you need to do.  What keeps you moving forward, and just you know keep at it.

I would say the same thing in terms of working with your chair, faculty and everything.  You know make it clear what kind of support you need and develop that relationship so you get the answers to the questions you have and figure that stuff out as early as you can and go from there.  And you know, keep moving forward.

Tara, how about you, what do you think, advice you would give every student?

>>:  I think having that regular schedule is probably the most important component to finishing your study in a timely and efficient manner.  So I have been reading a lot of advice on the writing process particularly from popular writers like Steven King or John Grisham.  Everyone I read just says you can't, you rely on them used to coming to you with that great idea.  I'm paraphrasing.  Tell them where to find it.  You have to have that regular schedule.  And I agree with what Dan mentioned about that's one of the most important elements along with having good relationships, being open to feedback and then not comparing yourself to others.  That can be helpful in some ways, but probably debilitating in terms of your completing your work in the best way and feeling good about it.  I just think having the structured schedule in that regular commitment rather than binge approach is not helpful.  So when I was completing my dissertation there was a book popular at the time something like writing your dissertation in 15 minutes a day.  That's obviously a hook to get you to read it.  But the overall point of the book perform having that regular schedule maybe starting out small can be 15, 20 minutes block of time per day, but having a set schedule for or five days a week.  I know a lot of students work on their research and writing on the weekend when they have that time.  You want to have time during the week as well.  But that regularity allows you to get into the flow and think through problems and I think you will just make a lot more progress doing, having that approach.  That's I think is the biggest, et best advice, most important advice I have.

And then I think that you will be working on writing and then be as you are doing that developing your skills and working through problems as you do that.  Research or writing is, statistics and that kind of thing.  So yeah...

>>:  One last question Tobias wants us to touch base on is something that he said a lot of honest students are weary about, and that's about issues of plagiarism.  We as editors don't have a role working with that, nor do we really actively search out academic integrity issues.  Sometimes we do identify plagiarism.  So the question he want us to responds to is how do you as an editor respond when you suspect an academic integrity violation.  Tara, why don't you take that first.

>>:  Difficult question.  Thankfully not something I see a lot.  But there are different levels of plagiarism.  Sometimes it can be just an isolated instance in a manuscript where maybe I know that this content is somebody's verbatim expression and it's not in quotation marks.  Maybe the citation isn't accompanied by a complete citation.  So in that instance I'll just correct and leave a comment.  I have not encounter erred more serious cases that I have noted that there's obvious plagiarism in that case.  If I were to encourage that I would reach out to my managers for guidance how to, what kind of response is needed.  Fortunately, I think we have residencies and our other interactions with students as editors and colleagues and writing instructor side we talk a lot about proper note taking and developing that skill of paraphrasing.  And citation.  Those are just so important to have to build that skill.  So‑so I have not encounter erred plagiarism beyond I think just as an intentional issues with sometimes quotation or, yeah that's pretty much it.  So it's something I've been able to address, but I don't know if Dan, you have had another issue where you had to do something else.

>>:  I would reiterate it's very uncommon that I ever cross anything like that.  As you said most of the time it's just like closing out this direct quotation or making sure your paraphrasing more properly attributing a source.  I think if there's a larger issue with plagiarism, that's when I as an editor bring Kelly and our managing editors in and they will start a conversation with the chair and have a discussion then.  But as you said, it is very, very infrequency.  Usually as you said, just a maybe summarizing or paraphrasing kind of APA citation, attribution, things going on.

So we also have a lot of good information on plagiarism, summarizing, all on the form and style website.  With that I'm going to kind of close the whole clinic out here and this discussion out for the day.  Thank you so much for joining us whether it was just for this session or for all sessions throughout the day.

So please, complete our survey in that is on the web link box on the screen.  Please visit the form and style website as we have said throughout the day.  There's good resources and services there.  Just a reminder that the recordings and transcriptions for these sessions will be available on the form and style website next week.  So if you want to listen to something or look up a specific thing in the transcript, those should be up by next week or very shortly thereafter.

Thank you so much for your attendance.  It's been a pleasure.  And we look forward to working with y'all.  Thank you so much.  Bye. (end of meeting)