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Workshops for DU Faculty

We're happy to do any of these workshops below—or workshops on other topics—for any group of 5 or more faculty. Just contact Doug Hesse at

Workshops for Faculty Across the Curriculum, Fall 2020

In fall 2020, the Writing Program is offering 50-minute practical workshops to help professors across campus with student writing in their courses. Each workshop, conducted online, will begin with a presentation of 15-20 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of conversation and specific questions from participants. Each will provide curated further resources. Each session will be limited to 15 participants to foster engagement.


Effective Online Practices for Student Peer Review

An effective learning activity is having students read and discuss one another's work in progress. Deriving from the academic mainstay of peer review for scholarly submissions, classroom peer review sometimes involves judging quality. However, more often--and generally more effectively--peer review means providing feedback: What's working well? What's confusing or undeveloped? What revisions are available? The online environment can make things more complicated--but also open some options. This 50-minute workshop will provide useful ideas and strategies for incorporating peer review activities in online settings across the curriculum. Led by John Tiedemann and Blake Sanz.
Thursday, 10/22 1 pm
Wednesday, 10/28 2 pm

Responding to Writing and Grading Through Canvas (Using or Ignoring Canvas Tools)

Once upon a time, responding to and grading student writing was pretty straightforward: collect physical papers, jot marginal comments, provide a final comment, and insert a grade. Sure, there were issues of What To Say and How To Say It, as well as endless issues of faculty time. But the actual medium of responding was clear. Most of us haven't handled physical papers in years, but with everything online--and usually in Canvas--there are lots of questions. Do I use speed grader? How? Do I annotate papers? Do I download and use track changes, then re-upload? Do I use rubrics? How do I know students are reading my feedback? And, universally still, how am I commenting effectively and efficiently online? This 50-minute workshop will explain the strengths and weaknesses of various approaches to responding to writing in online courses. Led by Geoff Stacks and Matt Hill.
Friday, 10/23 2 pm
Tuesday, 10/27 1 pm

Using Discussion Boards Effectively

Courses that take place significantly or entirely online have altered channels of exchange between students. One obvious solution has been discussion boards within Canvas. Many faculty have enjoyed considerable success with that feature. Yet many others wish the feature were more productive. Some students perceive discussion boards as "busy work." Many produce substandard contributions. Sometimes interactions among students are problematic or lacking. Atop everything is frequently the question from professors: "OK, what do I DO with the writing in these boards?" This 50-minute workshop will provide useful ideas and strategies for using discussion boards well. Led by LP Picard and David Riche
Friday, 10/30 11 am
Thursday, 11/5 4 pm

Making Good Writing Assignments

Good assignments not only contribute to student learning but also save professors time and energy, especially in teaching, responding, and grading. You'll learn principles for making effective writing assignments, illustrated by examples of good ones--and of ones that foster hair-tearing: students and your own.
Thursday, September 10, 11:00 am
Friday, September 11, noon
Wednesday, September 16, 10:00 am
Wednesday, September 23, 1:00 pm

Providing Feedback: Effectively, Efficiently

Probably nothing dismays professors more than the prospect of spending endless hours responding to or grading student writing--all the while worrying if they're doing any good. This workshop will teach practical strategies for responding efficiently and effectively to student writing. More isn't necessarily better.
Friday, September 11, 2:00 pm
Tuesday, September 15, 3:00 pm
Thursday, September 17, 4:00 pm
Friday, September 25, 10:00 am

Using Informal Writings to Teach Course Content--Especially Online

How can you use short, often informal and low-stakes writing assignments to help teach your course content? One of the tenets of Writing Across the Curriculum is that writing is a mode of learning: it's a high-impact practice that actively engages students. Even better news? These writings require little of professors in terms of response time or energy. Learn some assignment types and strategies.
Wednesday, September 16, 11:00 am
Tuesday, September 22, 11:00 a

Teaching Students to Use Sources More Effectively

Students are often pretty good at drive-by citations: merely dropping in quotations or references without making productive use of them, sometimes integrating them poorly into the surrounding text. This quick workshop provides resources you can use with students to integrate through analysis, synthesis, and commentary.
Thursday, September 24, 10:00 am
Friday, September 25, 11:00 am

Past Workshops

Call for Participants
Writing in FSEM: A Faculty Symposium

Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 9am - noon
$200 honorarium for participants

Application Deadline: Monday, November 24, 2014

The University of Denver Writing Program invites up to 20 DU faculty who are teaching First Year Seminars during fall 2014 to participate in a discussion of successes, strategies, and challenges related to student writing in their courses. Doug Hesse, perhaps joined by a colleague from the Writing Program, will lead this workshop, which will focus on issues and questions raised by its participants.

To those ends, all participants will address a set of questions by December 2 and provide at least one writing assignment from their course. (This will take 15 minutes or so, and the questions will solicit perceptions of student writing, insights about grading and responding practices and challenges, the nature of FSEM writing assignments, and so on.) We'll collate responses to identify common issues and opportunities.

In addition to some good camaraderie and, we trust, some useful advice and strategies, participants will also receive a stipend of $200 after completing all aspects of the symposium.

Please apply for a spot in the workshop by Monday, November 24, 2014.*

Questions? Please contact Doug Hesse or Teresa Finn.

*If there are more than 20 applicants, we'll accept them in order of application—with one proviso: we'll strive for some diversity of departments represented. In other words, if 20 philosophers all expressed interest and sent applications in early, we'd accept 2 or 3 of them in order to make room for the electrical engineers.

2013 Institute for Experienced FSEM and ASEM Faculty Writing Across the Curriculum: Current Research and Best Practices

June 17, 19, and 21—with homework
$1000 honorarium for participants

The University of Denver Writing Program invites DU faculty from all departments to participate in a week-long institute on student writing in content courses. Our focus will be on writing in general education courses such as FSEM and ASEM. The Institute, which will be led by Doug Hesse and other writing program faculty, is open to any DU professor who has taught FSEM or ASEM in the past two years and who plans to teach either course again in 2013-14.

Participants will read selected current research and teaching practice in writing across the curriculum. They'll meet three times, three hours each meeting, to discuss readings, discuss their courses and matters related to writing in FSEM and ASEM, and share work in progress. And they'll complete a brief writing project (about 5 pages) related to their course or to a topic related to student writing.

Participants who complete all elements will receive an honorarium of $1000 paid July 1.

For more information, please see the announcement flyer.

2013 Workshop for New FSEM Faculty: Assigning and Responding to Student Writing

Wednesday and Friday, June 12 and June 14, 9:00 am to noon
Chan Classroom, Anderson Academic Commons
$500 stipend for completion
Led by Doug Hesse, Executive Director of Writing

  • How can writing foster learning in FSEM?
  • How can I respond to writing effectively AND efficiently?
  • What are qualities of good—and bad—assignments?
  • What writing abilities do DU students bring from high school?
  • How does writing develop during the college years?
  • What are—and aren't—reasonable roles for disciplinary faculty when it comes to student writing?
  • What happens in WRIT classes after FSEM?

The Writing Program is sponsoring a two-day workshop to address these and related questions. We invite FSEM faculty who have not previously attended an ASEM or and FSEM workshop to attend. Because space and budget is limited, I'll give top priority to faculty who are teaching FSEM for the first time in fall 2013. However, if space is available after those interests are met, I'm happy to include veteran professors. I'll ask participants to compete brief readings before the first meeting and to complete a brief writing (drafting one or more writing assignments) before the second meeting. Participants will receive $500 upon completing the workshop.

To indicate your interest, by June 1 please send a quick email to Amy Kho. In the email, please include

  • your contact information,
  • the title of the FSEM you're offering in fall,
  • a note about how many times you've taught FSEM previously,
  • and a note about whether you've previously completed an FSEM or ASEM workshop (and, if so, how long ago).

The Writing Lunch: Quick Teaching Advice For Busy Profs

In 55 minutes.
With pizza.

The Writing Program will offer four 55-minute informal workshops, each of them twice. Our format will be pizza and fruit at noon, followed by a 15-minute presentation of practical advice (accompanied by handouts or resources), then 25 minutes for questions or discussion. All workshops will be held in the Nelson Hall Private Dining Room.

Responding to Writing While Saving Some Weekend

You assign a paper with a heavy heart, fearing that you've just simultaneously sentenced yourself to a weekend of grading. But not necessarily. This workshop focuses on responding effectively but efficiently.

Tuesday, October 9, 2013,  noon – 12:55 p.m.
Repeated on Friday, October 19, 2013, noon – 12:55 p.m.

Getting Students Beyond Drive-by Quotations and Haphazard Summary

So you've made an assignment that requires analyzing or synthesizing sources, but several students are unable to do anything substantial with the readings beyond stringing together summaries or quotations. What do you do? We'll provide some practical advice for helping students do more than haphazardly cite or share glib opinions.

Wednesday, October 17, 2013, noon – 12:55 p.m.
Repeated on Tuesday, October 30, 2013, noon – 12:55 p.m.

What Students Like Best about—and Learn Most from—Writing Experiences

Our five-year longitudinal research on 60 DU undergraduates yielded interesting findings about writing experiences they found most valuable. For example, "easy" doesn't necessarily equal "good" in their minds. We'll share some findings with you.

Tuesday, October 23, 2013, noon – 12:55 p.m.
Repeated on Friday, November 2, 2013, noon – 12:55 p.m.

Multimodal Writing Assignments: Beyond 12-Point Double Spaced Times

Traditional academic papers are the bread and butter of college writing, but they aren't the only kinds of assignments faculty might make to further teaching and learning goals. This workshop will present some ideas for incorporating visual or other elements in assignments, perhaps in pieces meant to be published digitally.

Wednesday, October 31, 2013, noon – 12:55 p.m.
Repeated on Thursday, November 8, 2013, noon – 12:55 p.m.