CCCC 2016 Presentation
“The Genre Project: An Interim Report on Collaborations between WPAs and Disciplinary Faculty about Genre and the Problem of Transfer”
This interactive roundtable reports on an ongoing project (supported with a 2014 CCCC Research Initiative grant) to study the problem of transfer from FYC to disciplinary writing courses at a large state university. We assume that rhetorical knowledge, including genres, transfers across contexts, but research about transfer is inconclusive. This project assesses which genres faculty assign at our institution, what genres they value, and what kinds of writing they expect from students.
First, our project adds knowledge about “where and how writing development occurs in post-secondary education.” We seek to identify what writing means to faculty, what forms are privileged, and how writing is tied to disciplinary learning. Second, we report on interviews and collaborations with faculty to understand “what conditions for faculty are crucial for fostering successful writing instruction” beyond FYC. More specifically, what do faculty need to know about assigning and evaluating writing in their content area? How can they build on what students learned in FYC?
We regard our research project as taking action. Our conversations influence how disciplinary faculty assign, support, and evaluate writing in content courses. We believe that changing the conditions for faculty—making them more aware of the value of genre-based assignments—will enhance the process of transfer. Students will be able to more readily match experiences with genres in FYC to writing assignments they encounter in disciplinary courses in their major.
Our session will be highly interactive. We will describe our study briefly, outline the structure of the session, and invite participants to tweet throughout the session. Roundtable speakers will present brief position statements (5 min. each) to explain preliminary findings or show data. These statements will provoke the structured activities and discussion (40 minutes total). We’ll give participants different prompts, including data summaries, debatable questions, or quotations from faculty interviews. After each speaker, participants will discuss these materials for short periods in small groups, alternating with time for brief reports, questions, or comments from the twitter feed. This format will allow participants time to think more deeply about our research project, to apply our findings to their own situations and institutions, and to formulate responses or questions about the topic of transfer.
CCCC 2015 Roundtable
This interactive roundtable will report on an ongoing project (supported with a 2014 CCCC Research Initiative grant) to study the problem of transfer from FYC to disciplinary writing courses at a large state university. We will address two types of risk: (1) changing program requirements and the undergraduate curriculum at our institution; (2) trying new methods: collecting large data sets; going beyond FYC to study the problem of transfer; interviewing disciplinary faculty about writing assignments.
Research on writing transfer has been inconclusive; although as teachers we trust that the skills we teach will transfer, there is scant evidence that students can apply what they have learned in FYC to other college courses. Some researchers (Beaufort, Bergman and Zepernick) argue that if students develop meta-level concepts (rhetoric, genre, discourse community) and are encouraged to apply them, they are better prepared to transfer knowledge from FYC to other courses. But applicability may also interfere with transfer if students cannot recognize comparable genres in later courses (Bergman and Zepernick, Devitt, McCarthy). Students must also be able to recognize when novel situations are similar to past writing experiences in order to apply genre knowledge. Given these findings, we are changing institutional conditions on several levels in order to promote transfer. These changes include (1) redesigning the mandatory FYC to be a genre-based WID course; (2) collecting data (N=240 syllabuses) to discover which genres disciplinary faculty assign at our institution, what they call them, and what they expect from students; and (3) having WPAs collaborate with faculty to redesign their courses to make genre explicit.
Our session will be highly interactive. We will open by listing key terms, asking participants to write briefly (5 minutes) about them, and inviting participants to tweet questions or comments throughout the session. Then roundtable speakers will present brief position statements describing elements of our research project, identify thorny problems in genre and/or transfer research, or explain preliminary findings. These statements (30 minutes total) will be provocations for the structured discussion (40 minutes). We will provide participants with different prompts, including data summaries, debatable questions, or provocative statements related to key concepts we introduced initially. In small groups, participants will discuss these materials for short periods, alternating with time for brief reports, questions, or comments from the twitter feed. This format will allow participants time to think more deeply about our research project and to formulate responses or questions about the topic of transfer.
Antecedent Genres in FYC: Do They Matter?
Presented by Jordynn Jack at the Conference on College Composition and Communication
Workshop: Genre in Action
March 13, 2013 Las Vegas, NV