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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.

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.