English Composition

How to Teach Writing Style in the Developmental Classroom

Written by Lawrence Barkley and Christine Sandoval, authors of Grammar and Usage, Naturally, 1st Edition   Writing style is born from the understanding of grammatical components: words, phrases, clauses. Author and satirist Jonathan Swift defines style as “proper words in proper places.” But how do we translate Swift’s simple observation into a notion our developmental students can understand? In our previous post, “Teaching Grammatical Terminology in the Classroom,” we argued that teaching grammar terminology empowers students and allows them to participate in the conversation on writing. If we as instructors take the initiative to teach grammar and grammar terminology Read More…


Why I Write: The Conference on College Composition and Communication

From April 6th through April 9th, the Cengage Learning English Team attended the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) in Houston. During CCCC, the Cengage Learning English Team attended sessions, led in-booth demonstrations, ran a Social Media contest, and hosted an event to engage with educators.

Composition educators at in-booth demos appreciated the new MindTap Mobile Handbook, which allows students to access MindTap on the fly. To educators, it’s clear; MindTap is developed with students at the core of what we do. From the research, to the resources to the technology, Cengage Learning believes in the power of writing. Read More…


Engaged with You at the Conference on College Composition and Communication

Are you one of the 84 writing instructors with part-time or adjunct status headed to the annual Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) as a Professional Equity Project (PEP) nominee? If so, we will be seeing you in Houston, Texas, on April 6-9!

Haven’t heard about PEP? Cengage Learning partnered with CCCC to give grants to adjunct instructors that help cover expenses for the annual conference, including paid registration, and a coupon for one CCCC membership.

Don’t forget to stop by Cengage Learning’s Booth 103 on Thursday morning to get your photo taken and pick up your Cengage Learning swag. When you visit with us, we’d love to hear more about your “why.” Why do you do what you do? Why are you an educator for Composition? Why is attending CCCC important to you? Why do YOU write? Read More…


Using TV in a Writing Course to Channel Students’ Skills

Guest Contributor: Audrey A. Wick, Blinn College (Texas). Writing instructors often struggle with how to best teach various modes of composition. And sometimes we can get pretty inventive. Just last week, I found myself explaining to students that, in order to effectively use the mode of description, they needed to slow down. They needed to focus, I insisted, on scene building. So I told them no dialogue, no characterization, no action. “It’s like Slow TV,” I reasoned. Blank stares. “Slow TV?” I prompted again. No one knew of it. So I showed a quick news clip from YouTube that described Read More…


Support Student Success in English Composition with MindTap

Do you find it challenging to engage the students in your English Composition courses? Try incorporating digital for a grade.

For many of today’s students, digital learning tools can make a strong impact on their level of engagement and success. According to a recent report, 74% of surveyed college students feel they would perform better if their instructors would use more technology.

Recent analysis of MindTap usage for all disciplines across the 2014-2015 academic year demonstrates that using MindTap can have a significant and positive impact on student learning and outcomes. Instructors who make MindTap count for at least 20% of their students’ score in English Comp see higher engagement and improved outcomes.

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First-time MindTap Users Share Best Practices

Cengage Learning wanted to understand the experience of first time MindTap users to identify best practices and opportunities for future improvement. To achieve this, Cengage Learning recruited four instructors and twenty students to participate in a semester-long journaling project for the Fall 2014 who documented their experience with MindTap throughout the semester. Both students and instructors completed bi-monthly journals.

Instructors provided insights on how they and their students were using MindTap’s tools and assignments, as well as what differences they noticed with regard to student engagement. Students provided insights into how they were using MindTap and if they found it beneficial to their studies. The courses taught during this study were English, History, College Success, and Western Civilization.

 

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The Use of Digital Learning Solutions for English Composition

In today’s ever-evolving educational landscape, it is essential for learning solutions providers to constantly seek out the voice of the instructor when developing content and supporting resources. In creating the new MindTap learning solution for the Composition discipline, Cengage Learning’s goal was to ensure the voice of the Composition instructor informed every decision.

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Finding a Fit for Feedback in a Field of Standards

Guest Contributor: Jason Chu, Turnitin. According to feedback guru Grant Wiggins, feedback “is central to all learning, whether by young students or veteran teachers.” In a session delivered during last year’s Student Success Week virtual conference (10/28-11/1/13) hosted by Turnitin, Wiggins drew attention to the importance of providing quality feedback—as a part of effective instruction–and how best to deliver “true” feedback to students. Last year’s Student Success Week conference was thematically focused on approaches to promoting and providing student feedback that is “feed forward” and formative, rather than “feedback,” which can often times have a post-mortem feel (that Read More…


Get Started on the InSite MindApp: How-To Videos

InSite from Cengage Learning is a fully integrated, productivity-enhancing classroom solution that delivers an all-in-one perspective on your students’ work. InSite is available as a MindApp within MindTap for Composition.

If you’d like some assistance in using the InSite MindApp in your course, review the videos in the playlists presented below.

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Communicating with Students in the Course of Writing

In today’s featured video, Robert Yagelski, author of Cengage Learning’s Writing: Ten Core Concepts and other texts, addresses the topic of communicating with students about their writing projects. He discusses his approach to evaluating students’ work, and shares how he uses rubrics in his writing classroom. In addition, he shares how he addresses students’ plagiarism (both intentional and unintentional) in his classroom.

What’s your process for communicating with students about their work? What are your strategies for evaluating students’ writing in a manner that spurs them on to success? Share your experiences, ideas, and suggestions in the comments.

  For other Read More…