Wednesday, March 30, 2011

SNL Students Wanted: Writing Fellows and Writing Tutors at UCWbL

If you're an SNL undergraduate or graduate student with strong writing skills, and you're interested in helping other students with their writing, this opportunity is for you! The University Center for Writing-based Learning is taking applications for writing tutors and writing fellows for the 2011-2012 school year. You will take a course to learn how to be a tutor and/or fellow, gain competence (L7 and H2X) or credit, and get paid! Applications are due April 18, so act fast! More info and the application are here:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thoughts on the L4 Competence: L4 Proficiency or Academic Writing for Adults?

by Joan Travers

Recently, we asked SNL student Joan Travers to share some thoughts about her choice to take the Academic Writing for Adults course over the L4 Proficiency Exam. Her reflection follows:

One of the things SNL stresses to students in introductory classes is the writing intensive nature of the program. Not only do all the classes rely on writing as the primary form of expression and evaluation but so do the experiential ILP’s. This can be exceedingly intimidating to an adult returning to school, especially if that student hasn’t spent time writing in several years.

As a returning student myself, I found this to be incredibly daunting. At one of my first meetings at SNL, I was told that my writing skills were sufficient enough to take the L4 proficiency exam. And while I liked the price and the limited time commitment of the exam, I opted to enroll in Academic Writing for Adults. If such a high premium was placed on writing then I figured I could use the practice. Even if my skills were believed to be up to par, at least I would understand for myself the expectations actually needed for success in a class designed to concentrate solely on writing and the writing process.

Since I had a limited background in writing, having taken a few creative writing classes in the past, I was not completely comfortable with all my writing skills. I lacked the ability to write research papers and how to cite properly. Through taking this writing class, I was able to learn and practice some of these skills. I also grew confident in my abilities to express my ideas at a level necessary for SNL. And I learned techniques to help me overcome some of my apprehension I’ve always had about writing, like procrastination and proofreading.

As an assignment for the class, I tried my hand at writing my first ILP. I turned to my creative writing background and used some of the new skills and techniques I learned in the course to write a paper about my interaction with physical science and the environment during a skydiving experience I had. I started by writing about my experience as if telling the story or events, and then applied some technical research to explain the events. I used this as an opportunity to develop my research and citing skills, using the feedback I received from working with my writing teacher. The end product was not only an ILP I could submit for an additional class credit, but also an example that I have the ability and know-how to complete a satisfactory ILP.

So while this writing course took longer than a proficiency exam and cost a bit more, the benefits were invaluable. I learned new writing skills and got constructive writing practice, but ultimately I gained the confidence to be a competent student at SNL. This course helped me to write better, but also to manage my time better and to understand and respect the process of learning.

Click here to read Joan's skydiving ILP. Her essay, "My Skydiving Mishaps: A Quick Lesson in Physics," won a Writing Showcase award in 2010. She plans to graduate in 2011 with a Focus Area of Wilderness Education.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Submit Your Best Writing to the SNL Writing Showcase by April 1!

The deadline for SNL Writing Showcase entries is quickly approaching. Please submit your best written work by April 1, 2011. Students can see previous winners and download the 2010-2011 application here:

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

MIT Open Courseware - A Resource for Students Interested in ILPs

Students interested in doing an ILP or an independent study might find some of MIT's Open Courseware (OCW) resources helpful. Their OCW Scholar courses are designed for students who have limited access to additional resources. Videos and simulations accompany many of the courses.

More information can be found here: