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Work from Elon Research Seminar featured in journal

Projects studying the way students learn to write – and how lessons carry with them – is the focus of a special Composition Forum.

From left:Nora Bacon, University of Nebraska at Omaha; Regina Clemens, Oklahoma City University; Stacey Cozart, Aarhus University, Denmark; Diane Boyd, Furman University; Carmen Werder, Western Washington University; and Kara Taczak, University of Denver.


An online journal for educators who teach writing is now featuring the preliminary results of an ongoing Elon University research seminar examining the long-term effects of writing courses.

Composition Forum’s fall 2012 theme of “The Question of Transfer” dovetails with the theme of the Elon Research Seminar that began in summer 2011. Hosted by the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning and led by Associate Professor Jessie Moore, Elon’s seminar, “Critical Transitions: Writing and the Question of Transfer,” includes dozens of participants from 25 schools in the United States, South Africa, Denmark, Ireland and Australia.

Working in teams, professors seek answers to questions about the type of writing students learn. Research explores how social media may encourage student writing, how personal reflections on writing through audio-video journals impacts writing development, and even the term itself, “transfer,” as a description of ways students take what they learn to future classes and jobs.

The Elon Research Seminar launched in summer 2011 is exploring the question of writing and transfer.

“We’re excited because we already have so much material at the midpoint of the seminar, and we should have so many interesting results at the end,” Moore said. “Writing requirements in General Studies’ curriculums, including Elon’s, often are based on the assumption that students take what they learn in English 110 and carry it into their other courses, but we don’t have a lot of evidence to support that assumption. The seminar work will help us understand if and how transfer actually happens.”

Elizabeth Wardle, a professor from the University of Central Florida taking part in the seminar, served as guest editor for the Composition Forum issue. The online journal also includes video interviews with Moore and other seminar participants.

A broader conference to share completed research findings is being planned for summer 2013. A call for proposals will go out in October. Anyone with questions or interest in the seminar is asked to contact Associate Professor Jessie Moore at jmoore28@elon.edu.

Eric Townsend,
9/20/2012 2:42 PM