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Welcome to our News and Updates page. We'll use this page to keep you abreast of updates to the Writing@CSU site.

What's New in the Writing Studio: December 2014

Over the past year, we've seen continued growth in the use of the Writing Studio and the larger Writing@CSU site. It's becoming clear, however, that the need for this kind of resource is decreasing. Canvas and other learning management systems are becoming increasingly powerful. Publishers such as Macmillan and Pearson are developing flexible, targeted tools that support writers and writing instructors. And sites such as Google Drive and Google Sites have made the tools provided here less necessary.

As project director, I've seen changes in my professional life that have complicated my ability to support and improve the site. As Associate Provost for Instructional Innovation, I've been charged with responsibility for initiatives that are intended to bring improvements to Colorado State University's on-campus, blended, and online courses. Two groups on campus—the Institute for Learning and Teaching and CSU OnlinePlus—report to me. I've also been serving on the board of directors for Unizin, a collaborative effort among several major universities to develop and refine the technological infrastructure many of us will use on our campuses to deliver technologically enhanced instruction. These changes have meant that I have less time than I would like to continue to develop this site.

In response, I've turned to an idea I've been considering for a number of years: shifting the focus of the site from providing composing, communication, and class management tools for writers and writing instructors to offering open educational resources for the same community. The Writing Studio is part of a larger site, one that has since 1993 offered such resources. But these resources are difficult to customize for a given group of writers (a class, say, or a writing group). If we thought of the Writing Studio as a tool for providing a customizable and interactive textbook, however, it might provide a useful resource for writers and writing instructors.

Imagine a site that allows you to create your own textbook by drawing on peer-reviewed materials on a range of writing issues. You could embed videos within the site. You could add a blog, an ePortfolio, or a link to a shared document on a site such as Google Drive. You could embed a video from a site such as YouTube. You could link to Tumblr or other Web-based resources. You could add your own content. You could embed course management tools such as calendars, email lists, and assignments. You could view student progress and respond to their work. And, importantly, you could use the site in conjunction with learning management systems such as Canvas, Blackboard, and Brightspace.

The goal we're pursuing now, then, is one that will give writers and writing instructors the ability to create their own learning spaces. It will be one that continues the flexible, easy-to-use tools in the current version of the Writing Studio. But it will focus more strongly on instructional content and less on the tools as tools. When it's released, the new Writing Studio will add to the options for those who prefer to use (and perhaps to contribute to) the growing number of open educational resources on the Web.

If you are interested in joining me in this project, please let me know. I have no illusions about how difficult it will be to create the tools to make this idea possible. I actually attempted to start this project in 2009, but set it aside when the resources I had hoped to use were lost to budget cuts. In my new position, I have less time for this kind of work, but far more resources. With a community, it might be possible to make progress. I hope some of you will join me in this effort.

Mike Palmquist