WAW Standing Group, CCCC 2018 Notes. Language Diversity and Academic Writing group.

During the WAW Standing Group meeting, our breakout group discussed:

The textbook: Language Diversity and Academic Writing by Samantha Looker-Koenigs

  • We recognized the diversity of scholars in the textbook as important. Some of us shared that our first attempts creating a WAW reading list for our students included mostly white men. More diversity of authors read in the classroom is needed.
  • The book includes excerpts rather than full articles because 1) Bedford had constraints about lengths, both for the textbook as a whole and for individual readings, and 2) because this allowed more readings to be included.

Literacy Narratives

  • This discussion began with a list of possible readings to use to frame the literacy narrative, especially one that addresses issues of language diversity. I, unfortunately, did not catch all of those readings. The two I did catch were Anzaldúa’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” and Alcoff’s “The Problem of Speaking for Others.
  • The latter reading is useful for moving away from issues of “linguistic tourism” in the class.
  • This idea of “linguistic tourism” framed some anxiety around asking students to engage in a literacy narrative that asks students to focus on their diverse language practices. Geoff mentioned hearing of an assignment where students were required to code-mesh, which included asking white students to use AAE. We all recognized this as a problem.
  • We discussed framing code-meshing for students using Canagarajah or Ashanti Young. In thinking about WAW approaches to language diversity, we discussed the necessity of helping students think about how academic writing already involves a meshing of codes, but that’s it important to recognize the difference in stakes for different language users.
  • It was shared by multiple people that literacy narratives often feel performative, with students engaging in transformation narratives articulating what they think the teacher wants to hear. Nick shared borrowing the “Theory of Writing” from Yancey et al.’s “Teaching for Transfer” curriculum as something students begin on the first day of class and repeatedly return to throughout the semester. This theory of writing asks students to explain what previous experiences informed their ideas about writing, so students engage in some of the same moves as a literacy narrative but in a more critical manner.

Approaches to Assignment Sequencing

  • Several approaches to structuring the course were discussed:
    • The way the textbook moves through thinking about issues of language and identity to academic writing.
    • Working backwards from that: starting with readings and discussion on the ways in which ideas of “good writing” are not stable but context-dependent. Once students recognize this, then moving to destabilize their notions of standard language.
    • Linking discussions of language diversity with discussions of the rhetorical situations. Students can begin by thinking about what type of language is appropriate for a text message and what type of language is appropriate for an assignment, and why.
    • Working towards discussions of language by beginning with discussions of nonverbal language (i.e. graffiti, body language, etc.) to think about how communication within culture and how those communicative norms change. This can then move to official signs (i.e. stop signs), as codes that are written for us, before moving to language as traditionally conceived. John Swales’ article on discourse is useful framing for this.
    • Beginning with a “language autobiography” rather than a “literacy narrative.” The first week of class is ungraded reflection where students talk about themselves as writers. Students then read the Thaiss and Zawacki article in the text book and think about how some of the things they’ve been taught to do in writing are indicative of the larger moves discussed here.

2018 CCCC’s Writing About Writing Sessions

2018 CCCC’s Writing About Writing Sessions



A.05 Ecologies of Learning in Writing about Writing (WAW) Programs Sponsored by the Writing about Writing Standing Group Kansas City Convention Center: 3501 C

Speakers: Sophia Bamert, University of California, Davis

Christopher Basgier, Auburn University, AL

Naomi Clark, Loras College, Dubuque, IA



F.01 Writing About Writing Development Group Meeting The WAW Standing Group’s meeting conducts the group’s business and lets members socialize and coordinate efforts in WAW pedagogy and research. Kansas City Convention Center: Bartle Room 2207 Standing Group Chair: Andrea Olinger, University of Louisville, KY

F.12 Naming What We Don’t Know: The Possibilities of Writing We explore the pleasures of pushing against our academic voices as we write about writing and bridge the personal with the academic. Kansas City Marriott Downtown: Colonial Ballroom

Chair: Chris Anson, North Carolina State University, Raleigh Speakers: Anne Ruggles Gere, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, “Writing about Developing Writers”

Nancy Sommers, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, “The Secret Life of Objects: Writing about Family”

Howard Tinberg, Bristol Community College, Fall River, MA, “Life Work: What, Why, and How I Write about Teaching”

F.19 Writing about Writing at the Community College: Transforming Practices for Diverse Student Populations Community college instructors discuss challenges and strategies for implementing WAW pedagogy in diverse two-year contexts. Kansas City Convention Center: Bartle Room 2209

Speakers: Angelique Johnston, Monroe Community College, Rochester, NY, “Introducing WAW through Multimodal Composing in Community College FYC”

Elizabeth Johnston, Monroe Community College, Rochester, NY, “Introducing Writing as a Public Act for Community College Students” Miriam Moore, Lord Fairfax Community College, Middletown, VA, “Teaching Integrated Reading and Writing: WAW Texts in ALP and ESL Classrooms”


I.06 Engaging Technical Writing: Exigencies and Positionality of Professional Writing in Writing Programs Misfit between WaW and technical writing courses; teaching technical writing “service” courses; TechComm researcher positionality in scholarship. Kansas City Marriott Downtown: Julia Lee A

Chair: Stacey Sheriff, Colby College, Waterville, ME

Speakers: Casey Akins, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, “Insider Positionality in Technical Communication Scholarship: A Quantitative Inquiry”

Lara Kattekola, LaGuardia Community College, CUNY, Long Island City, NY, “The Politics of Teaching the Black Sheep of the English Department (aka the Technical Writing ‘Service’ Course)”

Blake Scott, University of Central Florida, Orlando, “WaW in Professional Writing: Differing Exigencies, Expertise, and Techne”

I.23 Adaptive Languaging? What Writing about Multilingual Writing Can Teach Us about Transfer This interactive session invites participants to engage critical intersections of transfer studies and multilingual writing. Kansas City Marriott Downtown: Julia Lee B Speakers: Lindsey Ives, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL Katherine Silvester, Indiana University, Bloomington Emily Simnitt, University Of Oregon, Salem

J.46 Hitching Pedagogy and Studenthood: Graduate Student Research in a Writing about Writing Curriculum Graduate students share their experiences using research to make sense of, and intervene into, a writing about writing curriculum. Kansas City Convention Center: 2503 A

Chair: Christopher Basgier, Auburn University, AL

Speakers: Casey Kohs, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, “In the Margins: Student Notetaking and Reading Comprehension in First-Year Composition”

Kjerstine Trooien, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, “Attempts at Pedagogy: What Writing Center Techniques Can Accomplish in a Nontraditional Classroom”

MaKayla Valdez, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, “‘Big Picture’ Reading and Writing”

Ashleah Wimberly, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, “Teaching for Transfer Is Teaching for Metacognition” Julia Wold, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, “The Knowledge/ Argument Disconnect: Reading Strategies and Their Impact on Rhetorical Choice in Student Writing”



M.25 Digital Possibilities for Writing about Writing Pedagogies Speakers using WAW pedagogy with a multimodal focus navigate challenges associated with disabilities, digital composing habits, and conflict. Kansas City Convention Center: Bartle

Room 2215 B

Speakers: Geoffrey Clegg, Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX, “Writing about Disability, Writing about Writing: Paying Attention to the Composing Process of Disabled Writers in the WAW Classroom”

Christy Wenger, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, WV, “Beyond the Page: Using Social Media to Teach Threshold Concepts”


Writing About Writing Working Bibliography

If you would like to see any work not represented in this working bibliography, please send additions to geoffrey.clegg [at] mwsu [dot] com. I will update this as needed.

Articles and Books:

Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth Wardle. Naming what we know: Threshold concepts of writing studies. University Press of Colorado, 2015.

Adler-Kassner, Linda, et al. “Assembling Knowledge: The Role of Threshold Concepts in Facilitating Transfer.” Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer. Editors: Anson, Chris M., & Moore, Jessie L. Fort Collins, Colorado: The WAC Clearinghouse and University Press of Colorado, USA, Chapter 1, pp 17-48.

Adler-Kassner, Linda, John Majewski, and Damian Koshnick. “The Value of Troublesome Knowledge: Transfer and Threshold Concepts in Writing and History.” Composition Forum. Vol. 26, 2012.

Allen, Matthew, Mary McCall, and Gracemarie Mike. “First-Year Composition through a Global Engineering Perspective.” connexions 1.2 109-133 (2013).

Andersen, Rebekka. “Teaching Visual Rhetoric as a Close Reading Strategy.” Composition Studies 44.2 (2016).

Beemer, Cristy. “Sophists or SMEs? Teaching Rhetoric Across the Curriculum in the Professional and Technical Writing Classroom.” Teaching English in the Two Year College 44.2 (2016): 204.

Behm, Nicholas N., Gregory R. Glau, and Deborah H. Holdstein. WPA Outcomes Statement—A Decade Later. Anderson: Parlor, 2012. Web.

Bird, Barbara. “A Basic Writing Course Design to Promote Writer Identity: Three Analyses of Student Papers.” Journal of Basic Writing 32.1 (2013): 62-96. Web.

Bird, Barbara. “Writing about Writing as the Heart of a Writing Studies Approach to FYC: Response to Douglas Downs and Elizabeth Wardle, “Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions” and to Libby Miles Et Al., “Thinking Vertically”. College Composition and Communication, vol. 60, no. 1, 2008, pp. 165-171.

Carter, Shannon. “Writing about Writing in Basic Writing: A Teacher/Researcher/Activist Narrative.” BWe: Basic Writing e-journal, vol. 8-9, 2009, pp. 1.

Charlton, Jonnika. “Seeing is Believing: Writing Studies with ‘Basic Writing’ Students.” BWe: Basic Writing E-Journal (2009): 8-9.

Clark, Irene L., and Andrea Hernandez. “Genre awareness, academic argument, and transferability.” The WAC Journal 22 (2011): 65-78.

Devet, Bonnie. “The writing center and transfer of learning: A primer for directors.” The Writing Center Journal (2015): 119-151.

Dieterle, Brandy, and Stephanie Vie. “Digital First-Year Composition: Integrating Multimodality into a Writing about Writing Approach.” Journal of Global Literacies, Technologies, and Emerging Pedagogies 3.1 (2015): 276-289.

Downs, Doug. “Teaching First-Year Writers to use Texts: Scholarly Readings in Writing-about-Writing in First-Year Comp.” Reader: essays in reader-oriented theory, criticism, and pedagogy, 2010, pp. 19.

Downs, Doug and Elizabeth Wardle. “Reimagining the Nature of FYC Trends in Writing-About-Writing Pedagogies.” eds. Ritter, Kelly, and Paul Kei Matsuda. Exploring Composition Studies : Sites, Issues, Perspectives. Logan: Utah State UP, 2012, pp. 123-144.

Driscoll, Dana Lynn, and Jennifer Wells. “Beyond Knowledge and Skills: Writing Transfer and the Role of Student Dispositions.” Composition Forum. Vol. 26, 2012.

Driscoll, Dana Lynn. “Connected Pedagogy and Transfer of Learning: An Examination of Graduate Instructor Beliefs vs. Practices in First-Year Writing” Journal of Teaching Writing 28.1 (2013): 53-84.

Finer, Bryna. “Exploring Composition Studies: Sites, Issues, and Perspective.” Composition Studies 41.1 (2013): 157-61. Web.

Fishman, Jenn, and Mary Jo Reiff. “Taking it on the Road: Transferring knowledge about rhetoric and writing across curricula and campuses.” Composition Studies 39.2 (2011): 121.

Fraizer, Dan. “First Steps beyond First Year: Coaching Transfer after FYC.(First Year Composition).” Writing Program Administration 33.3 (2010): 34. Web.

Hardy, Jack A., Ute Römer, and Audrey Roberson. “The Power of Relevant Models: Using a Corpus of Student Writing to Introduce Disciplinary Practices in a First Year Composition Course.” Across the Disciplines 12.1 (2015): n1.

Hassel, Holly, and Joanne Baird Giordano. “Transfer institutions, transfer of knowledge: The development of rhetorical adaptability and underprepared writers.” Teaching English in the Two Year College 37.1 (2009): 24.

Hill, Heather N. “Tutoring for Transfer: The Benefits of Teaching Writing Center Tutors about Transfer Theory.” The Writing Center Journal (2016): 77-102.

Howson, Emily, Chris Massenburg, and Cecilia Shelton. “Reflections on Building a Popular Writing Course.” Issues 1.1.

Ihara, Rachel. “Student Perspectives on Self-Assessment: Insights and Implications.” Teaching English in the Two Year College 41.3 (2014): 223-58. Web.

Klausman, Jeffrey. “Review: Writing about Writing: A College Reader.” Teaching English in the Two Year College vol. 39, 2012, pp. 421-422.

Kraemer, Don J. “Just Comp.” Writing Program Administration 35.2 (2012): 85. Web.

Kutney, Joshua P. “Will Writing Awareness Transfer to Writing Performance? Response to Douglas Downs and Elizabeth Wardle,” Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions”.” College Composition and Communication 59.2 (2007): 276-279.

Looker, Samantha. “Writing about Language: Studying Language Diversity with First-Year Writers.” Teaching English in the Two Year College 44.2 (2016): 176.

McCracken, I. M., and Valerie A. Ortiz. “Latino/a Student (Efficacy) Expectations: Reacting and Adjusting to a Writing-about-Writing Curriculum Change at a Hispanic Serving Institution.” Composition Forum, vol. 27, 2013.

Miles, Libby, et al. “Commenting on Douglas Downs and Elizabeth Wardle’s” Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions”.” College Composition and Communication 59.3 (2008): 503-511.

Miley, Michelle, and Doug Downs. “Crafting Collaboricity: Harmonizing the Force Fields of Writing Program and Writing Center Work.” Writing Program and Writing Center Collaborations. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, pp. 25-45.

Nava, Angelica T. “Where Teachers and Students Meet: Exploring Perceptions in First-Year Composition.” Young Scholars In Writing 9 (2015): 119-127.

Nowacek, Rebecca S. Agents of integration: Understanding transfer as a rhetorical act. SIU Press, 2011.

Perrault, Sarah. “Course Description UWP 011: Popular Science & Technology Writing is a sophomore-level.” Composition Studies 40 (2012): 112-133.

Read, Sarah, and Michael J. Michaud. “Writing about Writing and the Multimajor Professional Writing Course.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 66, no. 3, 2015, pp. 427.

Reiff, Mary Jo, Anis Bawarshi, and Michelle Ballif. Ecologies of Writing Programs: Program Profiles in Context. Anderson: Parlor, 2015. Web.

Robertson, Liane, Kara Taczak, and Kathleen Blake Yancey. “Notes toward a Theory of Prior Knowledge and Its Role in College Composers’ Transfer of Knowledge and Practice.” Composition Forum. Vol. 26, 2012.

Ruecker, Todd. “Reimagining” English 1311: Expository English Composition” as “Introduction to Rhetoric and Writing Studies”.” Composition Studies 39.1 (2011): 87.

Samuels, Robert. “Contingent Labor, Writing Studies, and Writing about Writing.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 68, no. 1, 2016, pp. A3.

Sánchez, Fernando, Liz Lane, and Tyler Carter. “Engaging Writing about Writing Theory and Multimodal Praxis: Remediating WaW for English 106: First Year Composition.” Composition Studies 42.2 (2014): 118.

Scott, Tony. “Subverting Crisis in the Political Economy of Composition.” College Composition and Communication 68.1 (2016): 10.

Skeffington, Jillian K. “Enhancing Transfer from First-Year Composition: A Pedagogy of Shorter Essays.” Journal of Teaching Writing 27.2 (2012): 27-45.

Smitherman, Carey E., and Amanda K. Girard. “Creating Connection: Composition Theory and Creative Writing Craft in the First-Year Writing Classroom.” Currents in Teaching and Learning 3.2 (2011).

Sylvia, Cami, and Michael J. Michaud. “Looking Into Writing.” Composition Studies 43.2 (2015): 186.

Wardle, Elizabeth. “Intractable Writing Program Problems, Kairos, and Writing about Writing: A Profile of the University of Central Florida’s First-Year Composition Program.” Composition Forum, vol. 27, 2013.

Wardle, Elizabeth, and Doug Downs. “Reflecting Back and Looking Forward: Revisiting ‘Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions’ Five Years on.” Composition Forum, vol. 27, 2013.

Wardle, Elizabeth and Doug Downs. “Looking into Writing-about-Writing Classrooms.” First-Year Composition: From Theory to Practice, eds. Deborah Coxwell-Teague and Ronald F. Lunsford. Parlor Press, 2014.

Wardle, Elizabeth and Doug Downs. Writing about Writing: A College Reader, Bedford/St. Martin’s, Boston, 2014.

Wardle, Elizabeth. “Understanding “transfer” from FYC: Preliminary results of a longitudinal study.” Writing Program Administration 31.2 (2007): 65-85.

Wardle, Elizabeth. “’Mutt Genres’ and the Goal of FYC: Can We Help Students Write the Genres of the University?.” College Composition and Communication (2009): 765-789.

Wardle, Elizabeth. “Creative Repurposing for Expansive Learning: Considering ‘Problem-Exploring’and ‘Answer-Getting’Dispositions in Individuals and Fields.” Composition Forum. Vol. 26. No. 1. 2012.

Wardle, Elizabeth. “Continuing the Dialogue: Follow-up Comments on” Teaching about Writing, Righting Misconceptions”.” College Composition and Communication 60.1 (2008): 175-181.

Wardle, Elizabeth. “Intractable Writing Program Problems.” Composition Forum. Vol. 27. 2013.

Wells, Jennifer. “They can Get there from here: Teaching for Transfer through a “Writing about Writing” Course.” The English Journal, vol. 101, no. 2, 2011, pp. 57-63.

White-Farnham, Jamie. “Writing 302: Writing Culture.” Composition Studies 40.2 (2012): 92.

Yancey, Kathleen, Liane Robertson, and Kara Taczak. Writing across contexts: Transfer, composition, and sites of writing. University Press of Colorado, 2014.


Smith, Katie M. Transitioning to Writing about Writing: A Consideration of the Metawriting Teaching Approach at the University of Arkansas, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2014.

Pappas, Stephanie L. Research shows: Recasting Research Instruction in Writing-about-Writing Approaches to First-Year Composition, vol. 74, 2013.

Watson, Hilary. Writing about Writing: One Student’s Challenges Producing a Scholarly Personal Narrative Thesis and Applying the Outcomes as a Student Affairs Professional, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2016.

Goertel, James. Perception is Reality: The First Year Composition Student, Writing about Writing Discussions, and the Author-Informed Text, ProQuest Dissertations Publishing, 2016.


DEADLINE EXTENDED: MAY 4, 11:59 PM CFP CCCC 2018: Writing About Writing Standing Group Panel

Writing About Writing SG

Sponsored Panel:  Call for Proposals

2018 Conference on College Composition and Communication

March 14-27, 2018  // Kansas City, Missouri



Languaging, Laboring, and Transforming

The Writing About Writing (WAW) Standing Group and the WAW Steering Committee invite proposals for the 2018 WAW Sponsored Panel. The sponsored panel is guaranteed to be accepted to the CCCC program when the Standing Group submits it, and we are reaching out to the WAW community to identify potential presenters.

What kind of proposal fits the WAW Sponsored Panel’s goals?

We are interested in interactive panels as well as individual proposals. We are interested in proposals that help us extend the practice and impact of WAW pedagogy or research, particularly proposals authored and co-authored by new and emerging scholars in WAW. We are also hoping to include panels reporting on ongoing research into WAW programs and courses.  We invite proposals that embrace the 2018 conference theme of languaging, laboring, and transforming.

How will the WAW Sponsored Panel selected proposals be submitted to CCCC?

Sponsored Panels will be submitted by the WAW Sponsored Panel Committee through the regular CCCC proposal system, which is why we are asking for the same information as the online program proposal system.

To be considered for the WAW Sponsored Panel, proposals must be received before April 30 at 11:59pm.  Please send your proposal and relevant presenter/panel information through this form.

To be considered for the Sponsored Panel, please follow 4Cs guidelines when writing your proposal. In 1500 characters (including spaces) or 7000 characters (including spaces) for panel proposals, briefly describe the focus and purpose of your WAW presentation.

Be sure that your proposal considers the conference themes and the five main criteria as listed on the guidelines page: 1) how the proposal is situated in the field, 2) its main focus, 3) what is innovative and new, 4) how it is audience-oriented and/or transformative to a wide Cs audience, and 5) how it adds new or underrepresented voices or texture to the discussion.

This year, according to Program Chair Asao Inoue, there are no clusters, only hashtags.  All proposals need to have one to three  hashtags.  The hashtags are:

  • Pedagogy (#Pedagogy)
  •  Basic Writing (#BW)
  • Assessment (#Assess)
  • Rhetoric (#Rhetoric)
  • History (#History)
  • Technology (#Tech)
  • Language (#Language)
  • Professional Technical Writing (#PTW)
  • Writing Program Administration (#WPA)
  • Theory (#Theory)
  • Public, Civic, and Community writing (#Community)
  • Creative Writing (#Creativewriting)

If you have questions and/or concerns, feel free to email Lisa Tremain at:  lisa.tremain@humboldt.edu.


WAW Standing Group Meeting – Fri., 3/17

Please join us for the Writing about Writing Standing Group meeting at Cs!

WHEN: Friday @ 6:30-7:30

ROOM: C126
WHO: All are welcome, from newbies to experts

WHAT: Come exchange ideas about teaching, research, leading WAW programs, and other topics. And if you’ve attended any WAW-related panels at Cs so far, there will be time to share what you’ve learned. Afterwards, we’ll head to dinner at a nearby restaurant.

*More detailed agenda*

1. Updates on attendees’ WAW-related research and publishing projects

2. Small-group breakouts on topics the room will identify (e.g., teaching WAW to multilingual writers, WAW in STEM, What is WAW?, developing WAW-related research projects)

3. Elections of at-large members for Steering Committee
4. Discussion of ideas for developing our website

5. Attendees report on insights from WAW-related sessions at Cs

Hope to see you there!

-Andrea Olinger and Doug Downs, Co-Coordinators

Writing About Writing and Transfer Sessions at the 2017 CCCCs

I compiled a list of WAW sessions (Thurs-Sat.) at the CCCC’s and combined it with Kathleen Yancey’s Writing Across Contexts list of Transfer sessions. Please feel to check it out!


WAW Sessions


Thursday (3/16)


A.45 What Is Writing Studies Made of?

Tackling questions of structures and boundaries of the field: presenters explore disciplinary futures growing out of earlier alliances.

D 140

Speakers: Peter Campbell, University of Pittsburgh,

John Dunn, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti,

Cory Holding, University of Pittsburgh,

Bob Samuels, University of California, Santa Barbara, “Contingent Labor, Writing Studies, and Writing about Writing”


C.52 Content Conflict: An Argument for Alternative Approaches to “Writing about Writing”

An argument that supports the rhetorical dexterity of WAW but proposes alternative content that more fully considers the needs of students.

B 115


Erin Daugherty, University of Arkansas, “Writing Past Conflict, Writing for Your World”

Logan Hilliard, University of Arkansas, “Creatively Composing: Engaged Liberation in First-Year Composition”

Sam Morris, University of Arkansas, “Gladdening the Process: Voice, Social Identity, and Young Adult Literature”

Friday (3/17)    


I.49 Creating a Transferable Sense of a Writing Self: Findings from a Longitudinal Study of WAW

A longitudinal study of learning transfer from writing-about-writing courses shows transfer as a function of a writer’s sense of self.

F 151


Doug Downs, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Transfer or Transformation? Taking New Selves to New Sites of Writing”

Kim Hoover, University of Pittsburgh, “Kinds of Consciousness: Affect, Metacognition, and Cosmic Minds?” Miles Nolte, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Watch Out for That Exigence: What Military and Commercial Vessel Training Might Demonstrate about Facilitating Student Engagement in FYC”

Mark Schlenz, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Actualizing Selves in Universes of Discourse: Creativity, Identity, and Exigence in Metacognitive Transfer”


J.04 Qualitative Studies of Writing about Writing: Classrooms, Programs, and Trends

(WAW Sponsored Session)

Three qualitative studies of writing about writing focusing on an individual teacher, a program, and trends in US and Canadian pedagogy.

C 124


Rebecca Babcock, University of Texas Permian Basin, Odessa, “Conceptions of WAW: A Qualitative Study”

Cynthia Cochran, Illinois College, “Conceptions of WAW: A Qualitative Study”

Lena Harper, Brigham Young University, “Contextualizing Contrasting Perceptions of WAW Failure: A Case Study of a Stand-Alone WAWFYC Course”

Samuel Stinson, Ohio University, Athens, “Writing-about-Writing and Post-Departmental Support”

David Stock, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, “Contextualizing Contrasting Perceptions of WAW Failure: A Case Study of a StandAlone WAW-FYC Course”

Respondent: Doug Downs, Montana State University, Bozeman


K.10 Writing about Writing and Teaching for Transfer

Speakers consider the efficacy of Writing about Writing in multiple venues and genres.

A 103


Veronica Flanagan, University of California, Santa Cruz, “Teaching First-Year Composition in a College Core Course”

Joel Heng Hartse, Simon Fraser University, “Implementing a Writingabout-Writing Approach in a High-Stakes Foundational Writing Course”

Ariel Zepeda, California State University, San Bernardino, “Reimagining Transfer through Multimodal Re-mediation”


K.37 What’s New in WAW Is WA(M)W! Fostering Adaptive Transfer through Writing about Multilingual Writing

Invites consideration of Writing about Multilingual Writing as an innovative approach to language difference in transfer studies.

B 115


Lindsey Ives, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Katherine Silvester, Indiana University, Bloomington

Emily Simnitt, University of Oregon


FSIG.11 Writing about Writing Development Standing Group Meeting

The WAW Standing Group’s meeting conducts the group’s business and lets members socialize and coordinate efforts in WAW pedagogy and research.

C 126

Chair: Doug Downs, Montana State University, Bozeman

Speaker: Andrea Olinger, University of Louisville

Saturday (3/18)


L.27 Genre and Transfer

Presenters focus on graduate teaching assistant (GTA) training and understanding diverse genre approaches to teaching.

A 104


Melissa Bugdal, University of Connecticut, Storrs, “The Rhetorical Situation and Transfer of Writing Knowledge from Basic Writing to Writing in the Disciplines”

Katherine Fredlund, University of Memphis, “Writing about Writing Courses and the Graduate Teaching Assistant: Cultivating Disciplinary Understanding in a Diverse English Department”

Edrees Nawabi, Washington State University, “I Know You Are but What Am I? Engaging and Developing Students’ Sense of ‘Good Humor’”

Kristen Nielsen, Boston University, “Beyond the Essay, Beyond Montaigne: Reenvisioning Writing Conventions and Assignments”

2a. Transfer Sessions (From K. Yancey’s Writing Across Contexts blog)

Thursday (3/16)

A.14  Passion Cultivates Long-Term Transfer 

How does passion transfer to long-term literate habits? A theoretical explanation grounded on empirical research.



Barbara George, Kent State University

Melody Gustafson, Kent State University

Uma Krishnan, Kent State University

A.17 Tracing Transfer: Examining Teaching for Transfer in Three Curricular Sites

This panel presents the preliminary findings of a multi-institutional, multisite research project: the Transfer of Transfer Project.

C 123


Matt Davis, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Liane Robertson, William Paterson University

Joyce R. Walker, Illinois State University, Normal

Respondent: Kathleen Blake Yancey, Florida State University

B.16 Transitions and Transfers in Technical and Professional Communities

Explorations of transfer and transitioning into the workplace.



Brian Fitzpatrick, George Mason University, “Didn’t Get the Memo: Refining Professional Writing Transfer Strategies through the Study of Authentic Writing Spaces”

Jessica McCaughey, The George Washington University, “Didn’t Get the Memo: Refining Professional Writing Transfer Strategies through the Study of Authentic Writing Spaces”

CP Moreau, Carnegie Mellon University, “From College to the Cubicle: A Multiple-Voiced Inquiry into the Literate Practices of Recent College Graduates Entering the Professional Workplace”

Lisa Sperber, University of California, Davis, “Using Threshold Concepts in Writing in the Sciences and Health Sciences”

C.15 What Transfers? Developing Research Instruments to Assess Whether Comparative Genre Analysis Helps Students Transfer Rhetorical Knowledge across Contexts

Evaluating survey instruments designed to assess whether students are prepared to transfer rhetorical knowledge from FYC to future academic work.



Ana Cooke, Carnegie Mellon University, “‘Troubling’ Comparative Genre Analysis”

Danielle Wetzel, Carnegie Mellon University, “Do Students Perceive Comparative Genre Analysis as a Transferable Method?”Laura Wilder, University at Albany, SUNY, “Describing the Signposts That Signal Positive Transfer”

Joanna Wolfe, Carnegie Mellon University, “Does Comparative Genre Analysis Prepare Students to Analyze Unfamiliar Writing Prompts?”

E.30 Students as “Agents of Integration” and Social Change: Cultivating Transfer between the Classroom and Community 

Through studies of students’ co- and extracurricular community engagement, we explore ways to support transfer beyond classroom contexts.

Portland Ballroom 258


Sarah Hart Micke, University of Denver, “Students Teaching Writing: Cultivating Transfer in a Community Literacy Organization”

Megan Kelly, University of Denver, “Lessons from the ‘Campaign Toolbox’: What We Can Learn about Composition from Student Activist Organizations”

Heather Martin, University of Denver, “Self-Directed Service in the Composition Classroom: Opportunities for Agency and Transfer”

TSIG.11 Teaching for Transfer (TFT) SIG 

In this Special Interest Group session, we’ll introduce TFT quickly before breaking into small sessions addressing several issues, including misconceptions about TFT; TFT in FYC; TFT in upper-level writing courses; and specific adaptations to the TFT curriculum. In addition, we’ll forecast other opportunities to learn about TFT.


SpeakerKathleen Blake Yancey, Florida State University

Friday (3/17)

F.33 Teaching for Transfer beyond First-Year Composition: Professional and Business Writing

Presenters consider using teaching for transfer beyond first-year writing.



Jann Harris, University of Nevada, Reno, “Remixing the Old and the New: Cultivating the TFT Metaphor”

Patricia Jenkins, University of Alaska Anchorage, “Applying TFT to an Upper-Division Professional Writing Course: Broadening the Curricular Reach”

Cynthia Johnson, Miami University, “Broadening the Transfer Landscape: Cultivating Transfer-Focused Writing Curricula beyond Composition Programs”

Nicole Varty, Wayne State University, “Flexible Writing in Literate Ecologies: A Longitudinal Study of Student Writing Knowledge Transfer into, during, and after First-Year Writing”

F.51 Cultivating Transfer with the Teaching-for-Transfer Writing Curriculum: A National Multi-Institutional Study

This panel shares findings from a two-year and four-year college multiinstitutional study on the efficacy of the Teaching for Transfer curriculum.


Speakers: Sonja Andrus, University of Cincinnati/Blue Ash College, OH

Sharon Mitchler, Centralia College

Tonya Ritola, University of California Santa Cruz

Kara Taczak, University of Denver

Howard Tinberg, Bristol Community College

G.39 Cultivating Knowledge to Foster Program Development: Utilizing Data from a Five-Year Study of a Large Advanced Writing Program

The panel discusses a survey of more than 8,500 students in advanced writing courses, looking at issues of transfer, diversity, and WPA awareness.


Friday, 9:30–10:45 a.m.

Speakers: Dana Ferris, University of California, Davis

Hogan Hayes, California State University, Sacramento

Sean McDonnell, University of California, Davis

H.13 Change Agents in the Workplace: How MA Graduates Transfer Rhetorical Knowledge into Action

We will show how our MA alumni use the transfer of rhetorical and pedagogical knowledge as change agents in their workplaces.


Chair: Nancy Mack, Wright State University

Speakers: Melissa Faulkner, Cedarville University, “One MA Alum’s Experiences in University and Community Contexts”

Nancy Mack, Wright State University, “What Our MA Alumni Use Every Day: Transfer of Curricular Values”

David Seitz, Wright State University, “The Transfer of Rhetorical Knowledge to Create Workplace Change”

H.32 Sharing Threshold Concepts as the Foundation for Integrated Curricula, Collaborative Assessment, and Learning Transfer across Library-Writing Partnerships

IRB-approved study exploring co-teaching of shared threshold concepts for long-term transfer across writing programs and library sessions.


Speakers: Cooper Day, Texas State University

Brittney Johnson, St. Edward’s University

Moriah McCracken, St. Edward’s University

I.49 Creating a Transferable Sense of a Writing Self: Findings from a Longitudinal Study of WAW

A longitudinal study of learning transfer from writing-about-writing courses shows transfer as a function of a writer’s sense of self.


Chair: Doug Downs, Montana State University, Bozeman

Speakers: Doug Downs, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Transfer or Transformation? Taking New Selves to New Sites of Writing”

Kim Hoover, University of Pittsburgh, “Kinds of Consciousness: Affect, Metacognition, and Cosmic Minds?”

Miles Nolte, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Watch Out for That Exigence: What Military and Commercial Vessel Training Might Demonstrate about Facilitating Student Engagement in FYC”

Mark Schlenz, Montana State University, Bozeman, “Actualizing Selves in Universes of Discourse: Creativity, Identity, and Exigence in Metacognitive Transfer”

J.12 Transfer, Habits of Mind, and Threshold Concepts: Trends Redefining the Fields

Participants describe lines of inquiry that are becoming increasingly important to understanding student writing for the purposes of pedagogical, programmatic, and institutional accountability.


Chair: Kelsie Hope Walker, University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Speakers: Christopher Blankenship, Salt Lake Community College, “The Frame and the Foil: Integrating Threshold Concepts and Outcomes Assessment in First-Year Composition”

Meghan Dykema, Florida State University, “Communicating Disciplinary Knowledge through Accreditation-Based Writing and Learning Initiatives”

J.24 Cultivating (Meta)Transfer: Changing Individual, Programmatic, and Institutional Dispositions through a Revisioning of Stretch

Revisiting stretch with reflections on instructor and institutional dispositions, text analysis, and autoethnographic case studies.


Chair: Lisa Tremain, Humboldt State University, “Theoretical Implications of Meta-Transfer”

Speakers: Marianne Ahokas, Humboldt State University, “Disposition: It’s Not Just for Students Anymore”

Sarah Ben-Zvi, Humboldt State University, “In the Process of Transformation: Planning Our Future Research and Practice”

Kerry Marsden, Humboldt State University, “Institutional Dispositions: When the Deficit Model Is Transferred to Stretch”

Erin Sullivan, Humboldt State University, “Harnessing Constraint: How Disappointment and Frustration Fueled Our Reflection and Desire for Transformation”

K.10 Writing about Writing and Teaching for Transfer

Speakers consider the efficacy of Writing about Writing in multiple venues and genres.


Chair: Kenlea Pebbles, Michigan State University

Speakers: Veronica Flanagan, University of California, Santa Cruz, “Teaching First-Year Composition in a College Core Course”

Joel Heng Hartse, Simon Fraser University, “Implementing a Writingabout-Writing Approach in a High-Stakes Foundational Writing Course”

Ariel Zepeda, California State University, San Bernardino, “Reimagining Transfer through Multimodal Re-mediation”

K.14 Transfer’s Evolution: Changing Our Terms, Interrogating Our Methodologies for Studying Transfer

A roundtable discussion about the changing terms for naming and methodologies for researching transfer.

Portland Ballroom 258

Chair: Michael-John DePalma, Baylor University, Waco, Texas

Speakers: Anis Bawarshi, University of Washington, Seattle

Dan Fraizer, Springfield College, MA

Kali Mobley, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Mary Jo Reiff, University of Kansas, Lawrence

Jeffrey Ringer, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Alisa Russell, University of Kansas, Lawrence

K.17 Emergent Transfer in Action: Researching Transfer of Learning in Writing Centers

This panel will engage attendees in extended conversation to analyze potential moments of transfer in writing center consultations.


Speakers: R. Mark Hall, University of Central Florida

Bradley Hughes, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Rebecca Nowacek, Marquette University

Saturday (3/18)

L.27 Genre and Transfer

Presenters focus on graduate teaching assistant (GTA) training and understanding diverse genre approaches to teaching.


Chair: Denisha Harris, California State University, San Bernardino

Speakers: Melissa Bugdal, University of Connecticut, Storrs, “The Rhetorical Situation and Transfer of Writing Knowledge from Basic Writing to Writing in the Disciplines”

Katherine Fredlund, University of Memphis, “Writing about Writing Courses and the Graduate Teaching Assistant: Cultivating Disciplinary Understanding in a Diverse English Department”

Edrees Nawabi, Washington State University, “I Know You Are but What Am I? Engaging and Developing Students’ Sense of ‘Good Humor’”

Kristen Nielsen, Boston University, “Beyond the Essay, Beyond Montaigne: Reenvisioning Writing Conventions and Assignments”

Cultivating Change across Student Contexts: Transfer across Secondary and Postsecondary Composition Classrooms

This panel approaches long-term transfer skills across several levels of composition: early and late secondary, first year, and program-wide.


Chair: Brandon Abdon, The Advanced Placement Program, “Necessity of Transfer across Contexts”

Saturday, 10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

Speakers: Sheila Carter-Tod, Virginia Tech, “Weaving University Writing Program Outcomes into High School Writing Curricula”

Martha Davis, Norwalk High School, “The High School Side of a High School and College Collaboration”

John Golden, Portland Public Schools, “Alignment of Composition and Analysis Skills from High School to Higher Ed”

John Marshall, Riverpoint Academy, “Collaborating with ‘Beyond High School’ Stakeholders for Transfer of Composition Skills”

Mary Trachsel, University of Iowa, “The College Side of a High School and College Collaboration”

L.43 Bridging the Gap: Cultivating the Capacity to Create Transfer between High School Writing and FYW

This roundtable of high school and college teachers answers the question: how can we bridge the gap between high school and college writing?

Portland Ballroom 254

Speakers: Brianna Cline, Lake City High School

Caroline Hall, University of Idaho

Kirsten Pomerantz, Lake City High School

Gwen Reed, Lake City High School

Krystal Wu, Catlin Gabel, Portland, OR

Roundtable Leader: Barbara Kirchmeier, University of Idaho, Moscow

M.33 Video Pedagogy and Teaching for Transfer across Media

This panel investigates the role of video composition in teaching for transfer across assignments in first-year writing.


Speakers: Angela Berkley, University of Michigan, “Cultivating Real Audiences: From Viewers to Readers”

Catherine Jostock, Oakland University, “Research into Meaning: Primary Research in Video Composition and Its Relation to Problem Solving, Organization, and Self-Awareness”

Lauren Rinke, Oakland University, “Visual Analysis and Investigation: Cementing Rhetorical Appeals and ‘Real Life’ through Video Composing”

Crystal VanKooten, Oakland University, “Using Interviews and Observations to Look for Transfer across Media”table of high school and college teachers answers the question:

Come to a WAW Workshop at CCCC: Rethinking Technical, Professional, and STEM Writing Pedagogy through Writing about Writing

This year at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, one of the Wednesday afternoon workshops will focus on supporting instructors of professional, technical and STEM writing in redeveloping an existing course through the lens of writing about writing (WAW). Instructors from all institutional types are welcome, but instructors from 2-year colleges, including technical colleges and trade schools, are especially encouraged to attend.

Instructors need not have any prior experience with the writing-about-writing approach to teaching writing. The workshop will provide support for identifying the aspects of a WAW approach that are relevant to the participant’s institutional context and course curriculum and create a generative environment for reimagining assignments, assignment sequences, lesson plans or the whole curriculum.

We wanted to circulate this information as early as possible in the hopes that a cohort of instructors from your institution might be able to attend together.

Below you will find a sketch of the workshop schedule. Please feel free to contact Sarah Read (sread :at: depaul.edu) with any further questions about the workshop. We hope to see you in Portland this March!

Title of Session: Rethinking Technical, Professional and STEM Writing Pedagogy through
Writing About Writing

Short Description: Workshop participants will reimagine and innovate courses in STEM and
Professional Writing through the lens of Writing About Writing

Workshop at a Glance:

1:30 Introduction and Overview
1:45 Identifying Core Tenets of WAW
2:30 Acknowledging Local Situations for WAW: The Strong-Weak Continuum
3:15 Break
3:30 Profiling Courses: What Can WAW Look Like in STEM and PW Courses? Breakout Sessions.
4:00 Reimagining Courses: Working Groups
5:00 Showcasing Innovations

Writing-About-Writing in the Student-Centered Composition Research Classroom

This blog post provides observations from an expository writing and research class I recently taught using a WAW approach. In the class, I asked my students to read series of composition articles organized by topic, to help students acclimate to a shared research environment. These topics included the use of grading contracts in composition research, peer review in composition classrooms and in professional writing situations, and articles providing historical context for the field of composition.

The general theme of these articles was an application to classroom writing activities and writing pedagogy. WAW approaches to teaching composition allow students a wide opportunity to gain familiarity with elements of composition theory and to gain further experience and practice using WAW threshold concepts in classroom discourse. But students learning in WAW classrooms achieve even more when they take responsibility, not only to learn content, but in teaching their fellow students.

When teaching composition I attempt to help students claim power by co-teaching the WAW curriculum with them. In doing this I attempt to invoke principles of critical pedagogy, following the principles Shor suggests in When Students Have Power. Shor explores the benefits and pitfalls of designing courses with students taking a more direct role in decision-making that affects the class (e.g. meeting times, class assignments). I attempt to do this by dividing the class into workgroups—usually five groups of four students—and then assign specific days and articles for each group to cover.

Although they are still subject to instructor power in the classroom, students co-operating in teaching WAW articles have liberty to select whichever methods they would like to help present on their assigned readings for the week. I provide students examples of what previous classes have done for activities (e.g. handouts outlining the reading, lists of generative discussion questions). I then ask students to lead discussion using their own activities. Having used this approach during the past several years of teaching WAW, I have three observations:

1. Students who are responsible for teaching articles make significant reflection on those articles during low-stakes, informal writing assigned for those articles.

2. Students who are responsible for teaching articles also specifically refer back to earlier threshold concepts they taught while engaged in later classroom discussions covering new threshold concepts. Cooperating in work groups provides students the opportunity to develop what James Gee calls affinity groups, which foster an environment to discuss threshold concepts.

3. Students have an easier time identifying with composition theory as a result of teaching the content with their peers. Although this could be considered a graduate student effect, undergraduate students also show signs of showing greater identification with a WAW curriculum when they are not only positioned as composition researchers but as co-instructors. Pedagogically, I’m concerned not just that students identify with metacognitive concepts but that they are able to transfer this knowledge to other rhetorical situations for their own purposes.

Student Feedback and Response

I invited students to voluntarily provide feedback throughout the course and at the end of the semester by means of an informal survey. In this space I will focus on one aspect of feedback students provided: the difficulty in students making links between the WAW articles and formal course writing assignments. As is the case in many classes, students in this sectioned noted how they felt they had to read too many articles. While I had taken care to limit the total readings to what seemed manageable to me, I do intend to revise the reading list to reduce the total number of readings required with their feedback in view.

Nonetheless, perhaps the most important thing I learned in making this attempt to teach this course as a WAW course is to more closely integrate concepts from the reading into the required formal writing assignments. As a WAW approach, inviting students to use the writing concepts they have been reading about in their writing means giving them an opportunity to do just that in writing. That is because education, especially in a WAW classroom, is somewhat reducible to what transfers to other rhetorical situations and contexts. In this class, I submit, the general skills required to access research scholarship (rhetorical assessment of authorship and situation, summary, synthesis, reflection, analysis) are all skills tied into gaining access to other sites’ discourses.

With regard to the student-centric group work, students acknowledged in their feedback that they seemed to get along quite well with their peers. Additionally, each article that they read provided an excess of content for students to wallow in. I had required students to write informal writing assignments for each of the readings, but this time I missed a vital opportunity to have students connect their wallowing to formal writing assignments. That would have potentially allowed students to make more connections among the articles, the other formal writing they were doing, and the specific research goals I was asking them to achieve.

A perennial issue, peer review and feedback, made its presence known in discussions with students throughout the semester. Students commented to me that group presentations allowed the class to discuss WAW threshold concepts from the readings together, to better understand them. I find it likely that asking students both to write individually and to present as groups, to discuss threshold concepts, both made the process somewhat tedious but also effective. At the end of the class, the entire class looked for patterns in the survey responses they had voluntarily filled out. Several students at that time observed that though they had not always enjoyed the workload, they had gained knowledge about writing throughout the semester’s reading and writing assignments.

Samuel Stinson, a PhD student, is a teaching assistant at Ohio University.