Teaching Writing Remotely

General Message: Resources and Best Practices

We are writing, as you make plans for moving your courses online, to share resources and best practices for online teaching and learning and to let you know how Writing@Bates can support you and your students.

As you consider, in the week ahead, how to make the transition online, you will likely encounter the following questions:

  1. How do I move in-class material such as lectures, demonstrations, slideshows, and guest presentations online?
  2. How do I move in-class activities such as problem solving, peer review, and discussions online?
  3. How do I move assignments and offer feedback online?
  4. What form will my writing assignments take in an online environment?

As you answer the questions above, we suggest consideration of the points below.

  • Consider the tools such as Lyceum, GoogleDocs, Zoom with which you and your students are already familiar and how you might expand your use of them to meet new needs.
  • Consider how important each of the materials, activities, and assignments are to you, your class, and your students. Weigh what you will migrate, what you will adapt, and what you might cut.
  • Consider the accessibility needs of your students in regard to their home technology and in regard to universal access to media by close-captioning.

Because an overwhelming amount of material is available, we invite you to contact us to set up individual meetings so we can help you think through the questions above and help you to access the resources you need to meet your needs.

As you know, ILS will be offering workshops next week 3.17, 3.18, and 3.20 in Roger Williams 105. RSVP here.

The Academic Resource Commons will remain available online to students for writing support (as well as content support), and will remain available online until regular class meetings are restored.

The Writing@Bates staff are available for individual consultations, and we have a total of fifteen years experience teaching online. Please email us:

Videos & Tutorials on Remote Teaching

Syllabus Design and Remote Learning

As we consider the extraordinary circumstances that we as educators find ourselves in, how can we design courses that take into the account the certainty that a least a portion of our students will be remote learners in the upcoming year? What can we take from our experiences implementing remote courses this spring? By honoring a few core principles in syllabus design, we can both make our courses more effective for remote learners, and make our courses more impactful and equitable for all students.

Video Workshop Handout (Word File) Video Workshop Handout (PDF)

ASSIGNMENTS FOR REMOTE TEACHING offers simple, robust strategies for engaging online learners during a time of crisis. This video is an adaptation of the first round of Zoom-hosted faculty support workshops Writing@Bates facilitated March 17-20, 2020.

Upcoming Workshops from Writing@Bates

“From Assigning to Teaching Writing”: Best Practices for Face-To-Face and Remote Teaching

In this interactive workshop, faculty from across and between the disciplines describe concrete practices they use to teach writing in FYS and W2 classes; Writing @ Bates staff pose questions to help participants apply these practices to their own classes with an eye towards the unique situation of remote teaching; and we conclude with a Q & A about the roles of writing in our classes and beyond. If you are able, please prepare by having a course or topic in mind as well as a general sense of your course outcomes.

Facilitator: Bridget Fullerton and Stephanie Wade

Date: Tuesday, May 26, 2:30-3:30pm https://bates.zoom.us/j/92732166897


Past Workshops from Writing@Bates

A Season for Humane Finals: Evoking Pete Seeger’s ecclesiastical refrains, participants in this Zoom gathering will consider together the turbulence of the current season and how we might carefully tend to its effects on our students in our final course assignments. Ideas about the benefits of formative (vs. summative) feedback and reflective writing will be offered as the group considers: What kinds of assessment is it “time” for? What purpose will our assessments serve? How might we set aside business as usual in these final moments to humanely build, mourn, and gather stones together with our students?

Facilitator: Bridget Fullerton

Dates: Tuesday, April 14, 3-4pm, Zoom Link: https://bates.zoom.us/j/310481660 

Wednesday, April 15, 10-11am, Zoom Link: https://bates.zoom.us/j/371622433


Effective Design and Redesign of Writing Assignments for Remote Learning

In this Zoom workshop, we will review strategies for designing effective writing assignments with particular consideration of the challenges and possibilities of teaching writing in remote environments. Using the PAGE guidelines (purpose, audience, genre, and expectations), we will review our expectations for students’ final projects and discuss opportunities to revise our expectations to promote student success during this time of disruption.

Facilitator: Stephanie Wade

Dates: Monday, April 13th, 3-4pm, Zoom Link: https://bates.zoom.us/j/9348198978

Thursday, April 17th, 10-11am, Zoom Link: https://bates.zoom.us/j/9348198978

Workshop slides available here

Please Share With Your Students About ARC Remote Support

As you get ready to launch your courses remotely next week, please make the following prose and link a prominent part of your redesigned Lyceum pages and/or other communications to students:

The Academic Resource is continuing to provide writing and subject-area tutoring, offered remotely. For most subject areas, students have the option of participating in live appointments, or sending in papers/assignments to receive feedback from tutors. All of ARC’s tutoring services for the remainder of the Winter 2020 semester can be accessed at ARC’s Remote Tutoring Page.