Throughout the course of the semester, students enrolled in the RST work on awriting assignments carefully designed to help them prepare for CO130 (Academic Writing) or CO150 (College Composition). The students and their tutors will discuss the students' goals for the semester, based on the students' needs and interests. Each student will receive a form that will list some of the common goals for all tutorial students; to that, the student and tutor will add the goals that have been set. The student and tutor will be asked to sign the goals statement forms. Students in the RST should save the statement in their portfolio and use them to help measure progress during the year, but especially at midterm and final reviews.
To help students prepare for their next composition course, the tutorial typically focuses on the types of writing done in the first two essay assignments for CO150. At the end of the semester, the student and tutor will collect the pieces they agree are the strongest examples of the student's writing. The Writing Center Director will then read through this portfolio of your writing to look for evidence of writing strengths, including the following, specific features:
effective critical reading strategies,
accurate and concise summary of a piece of writing, using conventions of academic summary,
response to a piece of academic writing using well-developed, relevant examples from personal experience and outside reading, and
purpose, audience, focus, development, organization and coherence.
Other Goals to Consider
Although the Writing Center tutorial depends upon some common goals, students may have other concerns or desires for their writing and themselves as writers. Listed below are goals that past RST writing students have identified. Students are encouraged to think about their own writing and their sense of self as a writer and choose goals from the list below that speak to their needs.
My additional goals are to:
Enjoy writing more (or, at least, dread it less!).
Feel more confident about my own writing ability.
Be able to get started on a writing project more easily (i.e., avoid "writer's block").
Be (better) able to identify the purpose of a writing assignment and meet that purpose.
Be (better) able to identify the main point in my own draft and rewrite the draft to make the main idea clearer.
Be (better) able to develop my writing with specific, relevant examples.
Be (better) able to organize my writing so that it will be understood by a reader.
Be able to write sentences that are free from (most) mistakes in grammar, punctuation, etc.
Be able to anticipate how certain readers will respond to what I've written.
Be able to rewrite a piece to meet the needs of my audience.
Be able to share something I've written with a friend or another student, ask them useful questions about what I've written, and use their responses to revise my work.
Be able to identify problems in my own writing, before I turn it in.
Be able to improve my own writing, based on problems I've identified.
Defining Student Goals
Although check lists are convenient, they cannot do justice to the range of experiences and understandings with and about writing that people bring to a tutorial. To help students define and articulate goals on their own, the are asked to consider the questions listed below. After they work with the questions, students and their tutors can work to turn them into goals statements.
When you sit down to write, what goes through your head? Make a list of feelings and thoughts that you have at the start of assignments. Is there anything on this list that you would like to change?
What is the best experience you've ever had with writing (personal as well as academic), be it writing a letter to a friend, drafting a good paper, writing a poem that you've liked, or any other writing that you've done? What made the experience good and how did it happen? What was the essential
quality--recognition, clarity of thought, acceptance of your ideas, and so on--that made the experience good? How can you recapture that quality with different writing experiences that are yet to happen?
What do you like to read? What kind of writing do you like? List the qualities of writing that you like and try to place those qualities in your own writing.
What kind of writing do you do? If you only write essays for college courses, you've limited your options. What other kinds of writing would you like to try?
What are some of the ways you use writing to help you learn and communicate? Do you:
Keep lecture notes?
Keep notes on your reading?
Keep a journal?
Let yourself brainstorm and freewrite to generate ideas?
Use writing to figure out a problem (personal or otherwise)?
Write to request a job? money from home? undying devotion to the one you love?
Make a to-do list?
Make a shopping list?
Give directions to someone (a recipe, perhaps, or the best route to your house)?
How are these types of writing both alike and different from writing an essay for a college course? Which of these do you do particularly often or well? What quality does this writing have that you can adapt to your academic writing?