The biggest news, as you've no doubt noticed already, is that we've made major changes to the Writing@CSU site. Essentially, we've merged two related projects: the original Writing@CSU site has been redesigned to reflect the lessons learned from (and results of the usability testing studies we've conducted on) the Writing Studio. Rather than keeping the two sites distinct, we've updated the overall look and feel of the Writing@CSU site and changed the Studio's behavior so that writers are only required to login when they want to work on their writing, view a class page, view interactive instructional materials, or comment on another writer's work. In other words, if you want to view our links, send a draft to a writing center consultant, or view a writing guide, you don't need to login.
Hello "Collections" - Goodbye "Rooms" We've replaced the Writing Studio's "rooms" with our new Writing Collections. The Collections bring together the instructional resources for a wide range of writing processes, genres, and interests. For example, you'll find collections of resources for writing fiction, poetry, and nonfiction; collections for courses, such as COCC150 College Composition at CSU and Academic Writing at the University of Twente in the Netherlands; and collections of resources for writing in the professions and disciplines, such as our Business Writing Collection and our Writing in Engineering Collection. Because the collections are completely database-driven, we can easily create new collections. If you'd like us to create a collection for your discipline, for a course, or for a particular type of writing, please let us know.
Simpler, More Comprehensive Navigation Tools We've simplified the site's overall navigation and extended the ability to customize the look and feel of the Studio to the entire Writing@CSU site. The main menu, available throughout the site, is the primary means of moving throughout the site. You'll also find navigation headers and tables of contents in specific resources, such as the Writing Guides. In addition, in an effort to reduce the clutter on our pages, we're using "options" menus for many of the writing tools. These menus appear as small icons. You can open them by moving your mouse over them.
New, and Better, Writing Tools We've simplified the Working Bibliography and Notes tool, added the ability to link memos in the Ideas tool, and added a new Outlining tool.
Improved Course Management Teachers will find the updated Writing Studio class pages easier to manage. New features include the ability to hide and show assignments and writing materials and the ability to add links to all of the instructional resources on Writing@CSU.
Other changes to the "Manage this Class" page options:
"Make a Co-Instructor the Primary Instructor for this Course": After creating a class, an instructor can now hand over the course to another instructor using this option. The original instructor can then stay on as a co-instructor or remove themselves from the class altogether.
"View Forum Statistics": This new feature can be found in the options menu to the right of each discussion forum description on the "Manage Your Forums" page, and gives instructors access to forum statistics organized alphabetically by student last names: total posts, original posts, replies, average word length and total words.
New Help System We've updated the Help pages to reflect the changes on the site. You can view brief Flash video tutorials that illustrate how to carry out typical tasks.
We hope that these changes will make our site easier to use and, ultimately, help our visitors become better writers. We anticipate, of course, that there will be some adjustments as we move forward with this project. If you have any comments or suggestions, please don't hesitate to contact us.