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Designing a Writing-Enhanced Course

Workshop by Dr. Brad Peters
Department of English, Northern Illinois University

Monday, May 19, 2014 from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm
Capitol Room, Holmes Student Center

Dr. Brad Peters
Dr. Brad Peters

In this daylong, interactive workshop, participants will focus on a course that they currently teach. Participants will engage in activities that help them decide what kinds of writing activities might best enhance the critical thinking they want their students to do.

** Please prepare written answers to the following questions and bring six copies to the workshop:

  1. What is the course you want to transform into a writing-enhanced course, and what kinds of writing do you currently include in the course?
  2. What are the main units or modules in your course?
  3. What are your main learning objectives (or chief concepts and principles) for the course?
  4. What thinking skills are especially important in your course—and crucial to your academic discipline?
  5. What are the most difficult aspects of the course, based on previous students' experience?
  6. What problems do students typically have with the writing tasks you set?
  7. What difference do you want your course to make in your students' lives?

 ** Also, please bring a sample of student writing from the course you hope to enhance

Brad Peters is Professor of English and the Coordinator of the Writing Across the Curriculum program at NIU. He designed and has directed the NIU Writing Center. Dr. Peters presents yearly workshops on using writing to think critically and has trained faculty in universities across the country. He teaches advanced writing courses where students get their work ready for conferences and into print. Dr. Peters’ research focuses on effective writing strategies and pedagogies. Participants who fully attend the all-day workshop will be eligible for a $250 stipend. Workshop participants who contribute a follow-up submission of student writing to the University Writing Project and a brief report will receive an additional $250 stipend, for a total of $500 for attending the full workshop and contributing to the writing project. The stipends are made available by the Office of Assessment Services.

The workshop will start at 8:30 am with check-in and refreshments and the program will begin at 9:00 am. The schedule will include lunch from 12 to 1 pm and mid-morning and mid-afternoon breaks. Tentative list of topics for the workshop include the following:

  • How to motivate students' critical thinking through writing.
  • How to use writing technologies to the best advantage.
  • How to design effective writing assignments.
  • How to give feedback to students that balances content and correctness.
  • How to manage the paper load efficiently.
  • How to create rubrics that enable students to grasp what you want them to do. 

Faculty Development and Instructional Design Center
Writing Across the Curriculum

Registration Information:

This workshop is open only to NIU faculty, instructors, and teaching staff (SPS and Civil Service). Registered participants will receive workshop materials, lunch, refreshments, and a certificate of participation. Seating is limited to 25 participants and advance registration is required. 

Registration Deadline: Friday, May 9, 2014. Registration is now closed.

Due to the expensive nature of the workshop and the advance notice needed for arranging materials, please register by the deadline and plan to attend the entire day. After submitting the online registration, if you do not receive a response within two working days, please contact the Center at

After you register, if you are unable to attend, please cancel your registration by May 12, 2014 at so that those on the waiting list may be given the opportunity to attend the institute or program costs can be reduced.

Last Updated: 07/16/2014