Many of the following workshop suggestions are based on things that DSEM and WAC Writing Fellows have described faculty doing over the years or things they have done based on their training and reading. If you recognize a version of one of your assignments, you should know that your Writing Fellow recommended it to others as particularly successful, so thanks. I am collecting other activities so please feel free to share if you did something that works.


Each of these workshops invites you to divide the class into small groups although some may be organized in a round robin fashion as described in “Types of Workshops” (small groups are easier for you and the Writing Fellow to monitor). Begin class with a brief overview of the topic and, then in most cases it is advisable to discuss or work together through an example to show them what you expect. Then divide the class into groups and as they work or talk, you and the writing fellow should circulate between the groups offering feedback and answering questions. It may be necessary for one of you to sit with one group and model group work by prompting questions and asking for explanations, clarifications, examples etc., but in general the students should be responsible for their own work (see “Best Practices”). Leave at least five minutes at the end for the students to reflect and develop a plan of action for their own writing.

DSEM Workshops on paper drafts


Begin by providing a general overview of how and why you provide feedback on writing and explain how you organize that feedback (including the difference between a general, summative comment and short marginal comments and corrections); then go over what you are hoping the students will achieve as they use your comments to revise the paper (start by revising to address large content issues and organization, and only then moving to editing for style, tone, and correctness). Next hand back the papers with your comments on them and, for the bulk of the workshop have students working in groups of 3 or 4 to help each other develop a plan of action for revision. Each student reads your comments to at least 2 of their peers and then each of them writes an overall summary of the work that needs to be done to strengthen the paper. Each student should receive at least two summaries from peers and can then compare them, ask questions about anything that is unclear, and develop a specific revision plan, including an estimate of how much time to allow. Allocate the last ten minutes of the session for each student to write/type out a revision plan. You may ask them to share these via email/Moodle in advance of revision, or to hand them in with the paper. This allows you to see both how well they understood your comments and how well they were able to act on them.


Share the writing rubric with the class and discuss each category and any you have added. Put the students into groups of three or four and ask them to use the rubric to evaluate and provide feedback on each other’s drafts. Focus on no more than two or three categories (perhaps doing one workshop on content and another on writing skills for example). Return the papers to their author and discuss the evaluation and feedback. (You can also have them work in pairs and when they have finished move to a different pair. This allows more focused discussion but less space for two peers to disagree. You can allow them to select their own partner(s) or put students together based on their skills or topic.) This workshop also gives students the opportunity to ask you questions about how the rubric will be applied. At the end of the session, give the students five minutes to make notes about how (if) they intend to revise their papers based on this feedback.


Place the students in groups of four. Begin by reviewing the work that introductions do (use ppt or just explain), then provide a few sample introductions that do what you expect an introduction to do (perhaps in different ways, but not necessarily). Ask each student in the group to create an expected outline from that introduction and discuss their findings. Go over the introduction and outline briefly to be sure the assignment is clear, then ask students to do the same for their peers using the draft of the paper they are working on. Finally, each student looks at the outlines provided by his or her peers and either revises the introduction or uses the suggested outlines to review their papers and determine if they need reorganization. At the end of the session, give the students five minutes to make notes about how (if) they intend to revise their papers based on this feedback.


This is a silent workshop (no discussion or questions until the end.) Working in groups of four or five, ask each student to read the draft of one of their peers and on a separate sheet of paper create a skeleton (outline) based on the topic of each paragraph. Once that is complete they write what they believe to be the thesis at the top of the page. Next, they pass the draft and the sheet to the left and the next person reviews and revises the skeleton and thesis statement as necessary, reorganizes the list if the points seem to be more effective in a different order, and suggests any paragraphs that seem to be missing. Pass to the left again and the third student writes the transition used by the writer to move from one paragraph to the next or suggests a transition if there isn’t one or the paper has been reorganized. Return papers to the author and discuss the suggested revision, now the author may ask questions! At the end of the session, give the students five minutes to make notes about how (if) they intend to revise their papers based on this feedback.


Based on your review of the drafts, you may want to begin by reviewing Drew’s Academic Integrity policy, relevant sections from They Say/I Say, or the citation style you want the students to use (remember the Purdue OWL is a good resource here: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/). Working in groups, ask students to first highlight all of the ideas and words in their own drafts that come from a source (ideas in one color, directly copied words in another). Then pass the draft to the left (or right) and ask the student to use They Say/I Say to help them review how effectively the source material is incorporated into the text, both the way it is introduced and cited, but also the ratio of original to copied words. Students suggest more effective transitions for their peers and note whether the source is correctly integrated. Pass the draft to the left (or right) and the next student reviews the suggestions of the first and adds additional ideas (or suggests alternatives to those already suggested as appropriate).  At the end of the session, give the students five minutes to make notes about how (if) they intend to revise their papers based on this feedback.


Begin by discussing how paragraphs should work and the ways ideas flow from topic sentence through the paragraph. Warn students against just saying the same thing in several different ways, but help them see the need to develop ideas and to go deeper into the topic as the paragraph evolves. [use the handout or ppt if that helps]. Working in groups, ask students to share their drafts and offer revision on the ONE paragraph they consider to need the most revision. If three or four students work on each draft they might all select different paragraphs or several may look at the same one. At the end of the session, give the students five minutes to make notes about how (if) they intend to revise their papers based on this feedback.