Writing essays services

The project, from start to uploaded finish, takes about three weeks.

The students spend the first two weeks planning and writ- ing writing essays services and the last week critiquing, revising, and uploading to the WebCT course I set up at the beginning of the semester. The WebCT course tool allows them to publish their work but avoids privacy issues since only members of the class have access to the pages. The advantages become almost immediately obvious as the students use their ability to add backgrounds, graphics, and im- ages to customize their portfolios. One student in my class cre- ated a jungle safari theme and carried it through the pages of the document as a symbolic representation of her journey through - 228 - Reading the Writing Process on the Web the semester. Another chose a brick wall background to empha- size his attempt throughout his writing to build a solid founda- tion for each essay.

In each case, the student had the opportunity to personalize her or his project to reflect personality and voice in novel ways.

Typical comments praise individual creative efforts while still identifying problem areas such as an insufficient number or idiosyncratic placement of navigational links, an important prob- lem in organizational cohesion that transfers directly to transitioning in more traditional print essays.

A project of this nature can only work as the culmination of an overall semester-long commitment on the part of both instruc- tor and students to exploring writing as an individual process unique to each student and writing situation. I believe that what my students gain in terms of insight into their writing and its effect on readers more than compensates for a few mechanical difficulties that are rela- tively easy to overcome.

I have constructed my own Web portfolio -229 - SUPPORTING PRACTICES along with students, focusing it on my controlling purpose for the course, which they also critique and compare with what they believed they have accomplished.

In addition to whatever specific changes my students make to improve their writing, they gain a coherent vision of themselves as writers and a plan for future development beyond their first-year writing experience.

Closure and Indeterminacy in Interactive Narratives. Writing with Power: Techniques for Mastering the Writing Process. AWP is a program designed specifically for first-year students who need additional attention to their writ- ing. The AWP classroom is designed to promote close interaction between students and instructors and therefore is capped at six- teen students. The University of Illinois is a Research I institution with a student population of approximately 37,000 (28,000 un- dergraduates and 9,000 graduate students). And as the university offers over 150 programs of study, the students I encounter represent a wide range of edu- cational experiences and interests.

Significantly, although they may come from very different communities and have very differ- ent academic experiences and goals, my students articulate the same feelings of insecurity about their writing essays services abilities as writers. I structure every course I teach around portfolios in an effort to create a space in which writing is approached as a process and -235 - 261 TEACHER RESPONSE AND ASSESSMENT attention to revision is privileged. I believe this concept to be at the center of learning. In an effort to create a space in which students actively par- ticipate in the making of knowledge, I require students to con- tinually draft and revisit (revise) between five to seven three-page essays throughout the semester before submitting their writing portfolio for a final grade at the close of the semester.

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Students understand that the portfolio grade counts for 60 percent of their final course grades (with daily assignments and participation constituting the remaining 40 percent). I use the verb per- form here intentionally, because when we assess, I think, we of- ten feel least like ourselves. While most of us receive training in many areas of course design and assignment development and feel as though - 236 - Taking Out the Guesswork we are perhaps better prepared teachers as a result, the teachers with whom I work (from new graduate student instructors to tenured professors) continue to describe feelings of isolation, confusion, and even despair when talking about assessment prac- tices.

How do we grade student writing in ways that are con- structive, consistent, fair, and meaningful to students? This question evokes another, equally challenging problem we face as college writing instructors. We must try to respond to student writing in such a way that students both understand and appreciate writing essays services what we are saying to them so that they have an idea of how they might revise their work in light of our comments and those of others.

The students know that I will then use their checklist to evaluate the portfolios at the close of the semester. Students repeatedly express frustration over seem- ingly arbitrary grades and unhelpful, incomprehensible, or even, at times, hurtful comments. I then ask them to list writing essays services what they perceive to be their strengths as writers, and I write their responses on the board. The class meeting ends with students drafting a statement of goals they would like to achieve over the writing essays services course of the semester, focusing on particular things about their writing they would like to improve. We resume this conversation often throughout the semester. At the time their first drafts are due (usually at the end of the second week of the semester), I distribute copies of a checklist I use as a complement to the marginalia and end comments I pro- vide in response to student drafts. Class time is devoted to discussing the various points listed on the checklist and the place each criterion inhabits on the hier- archy of standards listed.

Students usually ask a few general ques- tions about the response checklist on reviewing it but do not posit many queries about the significance of the particular points listed. Students have asked, for example, how closely I follow the checklist, but they usually do not question what is listed.

Both the students and I then use the response checklist as a standard to guide comments until the twelfth week of the semes- ter, when we turn our attention to assembling and revising the portfolios. By this time, students have drafted several essays, re- ceived multiple peer and teacher comments, and become inti- mately familiar with the checklist. Before they begin final revision work for their portfolio, I ask the students to use their experi- ences with the checklist to reflect on its effectiveness. This is an opportunity for the class to introduce revisions to the checklist before engaging in end-of-the-semester peer response and revi- sion and before submitting the portfolio for a grade. This activ- ity does more than provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their strengths as writers and to have those strengths reflected on the checklist. It is also the point when students start to realize the slipperiness and depth of terms such as clarity, audience aware- ness, and voice. This is what I believe makes the process worthwhile: students have taken on the responsibility of being accountable for the standards by which they will be assessed.

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