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Be concise!

What can any writer learn from a scientist? Be concise!

Check out Robert Day and Nancy Sakaduski’s Scientific English, A Guide for Scientists and Other Professionals (Oryx Press, 2011).  “The beauty of English,” they write, “is its ability, when properly used, to express the most complicated concepts in clear words” (x).

Here’s a quick preview of their tips on how to replace jargon and cut wordiness:

Instead of…                      Say…

a considerable amount of                       much

a considerable number of                      many

a decreased amount of                            less

a decreased number of                           fewer

a majority of                                               most

a number of                                                many

a small number of                                    a few

absolutely essential                                 essential

accounted for by the fact                      because

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Peer-to-peer learning

Goldie Blumenstyk writes about “What One Student Learned by Teaching His Peers” in this week’s Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Monmouth College Scholars Day 2016

Scholars Day is almost here! If you are participating in the poster session, check out the CAC resources on how to create an effective poster.

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Prompts & Feedback Workshop

Thanks to everyone who participated in last evening’s workshop on prompts and feedback! Thanks, especially, to Emily Rollie, Carina Olaru, and Kam Williams for helping to facilitate the conversation. You can find electronic copies of the handouts on the faculty resources page (see prompts and feedback; specific prompts can be found on the ILA and GP pages).

One favorite prompt from last night is Emily’s unessay–an assignment that challenges students to think creatively and critically. Carina also recommended The Craft of Research as a way to help students move from a question to a problem to an argument in the research process. Thanks again to everyone who made the workshop a success!

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What’s new about the MLA 8th edition?

Learn more about changes to MLA style, particularly with electronic sources, on the MLA website.

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Student Writing with Infographics

Ben Causey shares ideas for how you can use infographics to help students brainstorm or present their work in “Infographics: A fun, multimodal tool for student thinking and writing.” 

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“Having Access Doesn’t Make It Accessible”: Thinking about Audience in the Public Digital Humanities

“Going public means more than going digital and more than imagining an anonymous ‘general audience'” writes Cameron Blevins in “Going Public: The Primacy of Audience in Digital Public Humanities.” 

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Easter Break Hours

The Writing Center will be closed on Thursday, March 24th, and will reopen on Tuesday, March 29th.

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Peter Elbow’s “Contract for B”

Do you want to reward students’ writing process along with their final product? Gary R. Hafer reports on the benefits of using Peter Elbow’s “Contract for B” system, which he describes as “effort-aware grading” in his article “The Unexpected Benefits of Grading Effort and Habit.” A similar approach, based on meeting/exceeding set criteria but without the legal metaphor, is called Specification Grading.

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How I Write Podcast

What do scholarly writing processes really look like? Hilton Obenzinger tells us all the nitty-gritty details in his new book, How We Write.  CLICK HERE for the podcast version, which includes his interviews with leading researchers at Stanford.

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