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 Published on June 13, 2019 /  Written by and /  “[untitled]” by Vladimir Fedotov on Unsplash /  1

Why do we teach students how to write? Is it for their benefit or for ours? That’s a serious question—composition classes, and the five-paragraph essay, were initially invented as a service to teachers, not because students needed specific skills for life after college. How can we teach meaningful writing classes that are designed to address student needs beyond the classroom? To get help looking for an answer, I talk with Cheryl E. Ball about the ways she gets professional editing, modern publishing, and digital pedagogy to intersect. [A complete transcript of this episode is available.]

Back in 2012 and 2013, Cheryl wrote a three-part series of articles for Hybrid Pedagogy in which she introduces what she calls “editorial pedagogy” — a combination of the real work of the publishing process (which should teach authors how to write better) and the classroom environment (which should teach students how to write better, using “real-world” projects). Cheryl’s editorial pedagogy is a sensible approach, but it needs a bit of explanation. This episode dives in to how it works, what it looks like, and how it changes her teaching.

We also chat about the Vega publishing system, a massive multinational project to create a new open publishing system that supports multiple workflows, from double-blind review to the open mentorship approach. Along the way, we talk about assessment and (of course) outcomes.

This episode focuses heavily on composition and professional-writing courses, but Cheryl’s editorial pedagogy can be applied to any number of disciplines. It’s all a matter of using real-world experiences to drive student learning.

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  1. For this semester I designed a blended learning module for teaching 78 graduate computing students how to write a job application. This used a purpose deigned flexible teaching building just opened at the Australian National University in Canberra. The obvious reason for teaching students to write a job application is these students are about to graduate, and most will be looking for a job. STEM students who have learned to write impersonal technical reports are not good at writing about themselves,so need practice in doing this. The less obvious reason is to have them reflect on what they heave learned, how they learned it, what skills they will need to acquire for their career and how to get those. The materials are freely available, see How to Blend and Flip a Course for a Flatpack Classroom : https://blog.highereducationwhisperer.com/2019/03/how-to-blend-and-flip-course-for.html

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