Using the Writing Studio to Extend and Enhance the Environment of Your Writing Class Telecoop 2007
Who am I? • Jill Salahub, Editor/Programmer for Writing@CSU since 2004 • Began my work with the project as a C.S.U. graduate student in 2001 • I have used the site as both a teacher and a student
What is the Writing Studio? A Web site where writers can: • save work using various writing tools in a free, password-protected account • access more than 150 guides, interactive activities, and videos for writers • participate in Classes and Co-ops • create ePortfolios and Blogs • share and get feedback on their writing
Writing Studio Vision We think writing is best learned when it is an activity during class, rather than simply an object of study. The Writing Studio is our attempt to create a writing environment that is similar to the best types of writing classrooms. We hope that, as it develops, we'll be able to provide writers with writing tools, advice, information, and feedback that will help them become better writers.
Who can use the Writing Studio? • The Writing Studio supports writers and teachers regardless of institutional affiliation. We're committed to sharing our work with as many writers and writing teachers as possible.
The goal of today’s presentation? To introduce the various features and tools of the Writing Studio, including: • an overview of the Writing Studio’s origins and vision • a general idea of how to access and use the Writing Studio • a tour of what the site has to offer • my contact information so I can follow up with any lingering or emerging issues or questions
Our site development began in 1992 as part of our efforts to support W.A.C. efforts at our university. It was initially distributed as an application available to all students through our campus network in 1994.
In 1996, the materials were converted for use on the Web, where it began to be used by writers and teachers from outside our institution.
By 2000, the site exceeded 30,000 pages in size with more than 200 writers having contributed content.
The Writing Studio project, which allows writers to create and save work in password-protected accounts, began in as an idea 1999. The project began with a functional map of an idealized instruction environment, one in which writers could access instructional resources, communicate with and receive feedback on writing from instructors and other writers, access tools that support elements of the writing process, and save their work for later access.
In broad terms, the Writing Studio was initially designed as a collection of “rooms,” each of which could focus on a particular genre, discipline, or course.
In the summer of 2002, we created a second prototype of the Writing Studio that: • simplified the interface • provided multiple navigation options • implemented an expanded set of instructional materials, communication tools, and composing tools in each room
The second prototype also introduced instructor tools that provided students with the option of sharing their work-in-progress with an instructor. Once granted permission by a student, instructors could view and comment on work created by the student.
In December 2004, we announced the first public version of the Writing Studio. Any writer could create a Writing Studio account, regardless of institutional affiliation, and any writing teacher could become a Writing Studio instructor, a status that allowed them to create and manage classes.
In January of 2007, we released the latest major upgrade to the site, one that simplified the interface and incorporated a set of tools that reflected our students’ growing familiarity with and interest in social networking systems such as MySpace and FaceBook.
When you login to the Writing Studio now, you are taken to your “Writing Page,” where you can find your writing tools, your saved work, your classes and co-ops, and your blogs, among other things. As they can with MySpace and FaceBook, writers can also customize their spaces.
Some Usage Statistics In the last 12 months, the Writing@CSU site as a whole recorded more than 135 million hits from more than 3.8 million visitors – that’s roughly double the traffic the site received in 2004.
In the past 12 months, roughly 21,000 writers and 400 instructors have logged into the Writing Studio more than 750,000 times – an average of about 36 logins per account holder.
At last count, more than 30 institutions are hosting classes on the Studio. In the last year, writers from more than 900 institutions have logged into the Studio.