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K-State Today

October 21, 2014



Architecture professor conducts workshop at national teaching conference

By Mick Charney

Mick Charney, associate professor of architecture, conducted the workshop Hint Fiction, Vivid Grammar, and Word Clouds: Jump-Starting the First-Year Writing Imperative, at the 21st National Conference on Students in Transition, Oct. 18-20, in Denver.

Charney's workshop addressed issues associated with the design, management, and assessment of short, informal writing assignments in large, first-year lecture classes. Such courses are notorious for a virtual dearth of significant writing. 

Indeed, eight out of 10 new students are not required to write papers of substantial length in any of their first-year classes, yet it also is well known that if students do not practice writing, they will not improve. 

Nevertheless, that writing imperative can be jump-started with hint fiction, vivid grammar and word cloud exercises that are suitable for large, introductory lecture classes. While doubling as antidotes to the millennials' distractedness, these exercises take little time away from class, are easily assessed, engage the most jaded students, simultaneously reveal and dispel cognitive barriers, and leverage students' innate creative urges.