Network for Media Action

New National Conversation on Writing Site Now Available: Please join us as an advocate for writing

The Network for Media Action, a WPA initiative designed to help us shape and respond to media depictions of writing and writing instruction, is pleased to announce that its newly re-designed National Conversation on Writing (NCoW) site is now available at www.ncow.org.

Business Writing

Business Writing
(University of Illinois at Chicago)

When you write, what are you thinking about? Are you thinking about yourself and your text or are you thinking about your reader? These are just a few of the critical questions professionals should ask themselves before picking up a pen or e-mailing a business memo.

Business Writing, part of the UIC Business Communication Certificate Program, can help you build confidence in your writing by improving your audience awareness. In this class you will learn how to make words work harder and eliminate fuzzy thinking. You will also review various types of business materials such as e-mails, memos, letters and reports.

Letter to David Brooks in response to NYT Editorial

Here's the letter I sent (via e-mail) to David Brooks at the Times in response to his column:

Dear Mr. Brooks:
I am a teacher of first-year writing (aka freshman comp) and of teachers who teach first-year writing. I’d like to invite you to learn more about how composition instructors at my institution -- in fact, at many institutions around the country -- are working to address the growing inequality that you discuss in your column of 25 September.

I teach at Eastern Michigan University, a school of about 25,000 students located 45 miles west of Detroit. Many of our students come from the “bottom half”to which you refer. For these students, as others, a college degree is increasingly necessary to be considered a legitimate participant in American civic life.

Computer Grading - homebrewed

Story out of Columbia, MO:
A sociology prof has designed "SAGrader" software to cut down on redundant comments he has to make on student papers. He got NSF funding to develop it. Check out the "sophisticated" feedback the program can give students (after the prof manually programs the program).

Hopefully the below link will work -- it's an AP story linked on Netscape News.

Dennis Baron's Chronicle of Higher Ed column on the SAT writing exam

In case people missed it, here's a link to Dennis Baron's post to WPA-L that includes the column he wrote on the new SAT writing exam for the Chronicle of Higher Ed.:
http://lists.asu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0505&L=wpa-l&P=R1078&I=-3

Yankton Press and Dakotan Story on Machine Grading

Saturday, April 30, 2005 Story last updated at 12:32 AM on Apr. 30, 2005 Teachers Look To Computers To Critique Student Writing By: By MATT SEDENSKY Associated Press Writer Is at http://www.yankton.net/stories/043005/news_20050430022.shtml Reports on Ed Brent's SAGrader. Brent is in the Sociology Department at University of Missouri-Columbia. Here's a relevant excerpt:
Final papers are still handled by Brent and his two teaching assistants, but students are encouraged to use the professor's SAGrader program to give them a better shot of earning an A. "I don't think we want to replace humans," Brent said. "But we want to do the fun stuff, the challenging stuff. And the computer can do the tedious but necessary stuff."

Welcome to the Media Update Forum!

The media update forum is for media monitors and media responders to post what they're seeing or hearing and/or doing to respond to stories about writers and writing in mainstream media.

If you have an update, post it here! Let us know what you saw and/or heard and where, and whether you plan to respond to it.

If you've responded to a news story, let us know the focus of the story and what you did to respond. If possible, please also include a copy of your response so that others can see how you addressed the issue.