One last step, ….and congrats!

We have made it to the finish line of #WritingResearch.  What a wonderful seminar-style experience we have had.  A shout out to Marissa and Hailey for their excellent wrap up of our presentations with a comprehensive overview of “DH” – the Digital Humanities.  And I am so glad you were all able to be a part of the Spring Symposium last night.  I am sure it was worthwhile to catch a glimpse of the unique contributions that each student produced this year.  I also hope it opens up for all of you a sense of what is possible as you plan your own future work to wrap up your MA degree.

Last order of business – Your final contribution for this class will be your Writing Research Self Assessment.  Please submit this final reflection via email by Monday, May 15th.

It has been a pleasure to work with each of you this semester.  I count myself very lucky to have the opportunity to continue to learn and grow with each of you.  We will all remain in touch this coming academic year, despite the fact that my home address will be father away.  We are connected after all, and it is the 21st century.  My email will remain the same of course. 😉

Thanks for the continued inspiration.


Dr. Zamora


Wrapping up w/ #DH (-the Digital Humanities)

Hi everyone,

Thanks for a dynamic (and pleasurable) discussion last week on the role that narrative might play more generally in writing (academic, journalistic, scholarly, or otherwise).  The ability to create an engaging and meaningful story is a foundational skill that all writers need to master.  I think the critical readings from last week were an effective “loop back to basics”.  I sensed that you all enjoyed the revisitation as well.

For our final discussion this semester, we will hear from both Hailey and Marissa.  They are teaming up to present and overview of a writing studies methodological approach which has come to be known as “the digital humanities”.  They will guide our discussion with reference to two articles, and they will also have us explore a digital tool or two.

Please read and blog a reflection of their two reading selections:

With the remaining time left in class, I will be available for a “check-in” regarding your research proposal progress.  Remember, your research proposal assignment is due on May 8th.  This assignment is really just a “first stop ” along the longer journey towards your MA thesis.  The work you will complete here is not a “contract” for your future research (there is room for evolution and change).  But it is an important early step in a broader process that will build momentum as the time unfolds.
Monday May 1 is also the evening of the MA in Writing Studies program’s “Spring Symposium”, which will run from 4:30-6:30pm in Green Lane 306.  You will hear from each of the current graduates, who will be sharing a bit of their thesis work with friends and family.  Please consider bringing some food to make our gathering more celebratory!
There will also be a final self-assessment blog which will be due a week later (on May 15th).  We will not meet that night, but you will complete your overall work for the course with that last blog post.
See you on Monday!
Dr. Zamora

Thinking about Writing Fiction

Thank you to Stephanie for walking us through her two selected texts which focused on social action and activist-oriented learning: “Service and Self Renewal:  Service Learning as a Means to Invigorate and Renew Teachers” in The Activist Learner by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Whitney Douglas, and Sara W. Fry and “Principles for Practice:  What is Social Action?” by Jennie Fleming and Ian Boulton in Writing for Change: Boosting Literacy and Leaning through Social Action. It was a smaller group last week, but we still had a good discussion about how important this kind of learning is, and the particular challenges that are faced in different school contexts.  We considered how a specific locale and the resulting community often determines the extent (and nature) of socially committed forms of learning in a school district.  We also thought together about what is at stake when we teach children to be stakeholders in their own communities, and empower them to know what it means (early on) to make a difference in the world they live in.

I am glad that we were able to cover a thorough “walkthrough” of the procedures and expectations regarding a Literature Review for your formal Research Proposal.  You should all be working on your Lit Review at this stage.  Remember, we only have a few more weeks, and vetting materials that will influence your research is a time consuming (but also stimulating and pleasurable) part of the overall research process.

Next week, we will turn our collective attention to the writing process from a creative perspective.  Hope wanted to include some readings that helped us think through creative writing approaches a bit.  In selecting these texts to consider together, I hope we can broaden the discussion to include your own creative processes and share our individual creative approaches/methods.  Hope will lead us through the two articles (which are both broad and accessible):

The first text is by William Zinsser from his seminal book entitled On Writing Well.  We will read “Writing About People“.  (Harper Collins, 1998).

The second text is an excerpt from the well known writing textbook entitled Everyone’s An Author  by Andrea Lunsford, Michal Body, Lisa Ede, Beverley Moss, Carole Clark Papper, and Keith Walters.  We will read the section entitled “Writing A Narrative“. (WW Norton & Co: 2017).

Your blog for this week should consider these readings while also reflecting on how you generate your own creative work.  In addition, you should also include an update on your Literature Review progress.

Also, another reminder that our last meeting for class will be on May 8th, which is also the night of our Spring Symposium.  That is also the deadline for your research proposal.  In addition, you will also write a final “self-assessment”reflection, which will be due by Friday May 12th.

Enjoy the weekend.

See you Monday,

Dr. Zamora

Up next: Writing, Learning & Social Action

Thanks Katherine for an excellent conversation this past week.  Perhaps grounded theory seemed pretty complex/complicated while reading the Neff article, but Katherine effectively demystified the method by leading us through a collective penguin-cam watch.  Our resulting discussion was the opening of a grounded theory pathway for sure, and it became more apparent how one might proceed in the development of such a collaborative and fluid research methodology.  We were also able to consider writing behaviors in the context of participatory culture. Katherine’s  questions regarding the viability of this kind of writing in classrooms verses  outside of classrooms was an important moment in our shared reflections.  So much of the development of a writerly identity can happen outside of school.  And yet, the educational sector has not been able to grasp or harness such an important phenomenon.

For next week, we will think further about writing and social action.  Stephanie will lead us through two articles:

  1.  “Service and Self Renewal:  Service Learning as a Means to Invigorate and Renew Teachers” in The Activist Learner by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Whitney Douglas, and Sara W. Fry (pg. 110-122).
  2. Principles for Practice:  What is Social Action?” by Jennie Fleming and Ian Boulton in Writing for Change: Boosting Literacy and Leaning through Social Action.  (pg. 87-95)

Please read Stephanie’s selections and post a reflection blog about the two readings.

In the second half of class we will review the procedures and expectations regarding a Literature Review for your formal Research Proposal.  By now you should have developed an introduction to your research.  We can continue to work through your drafts of the introduction through peer review.  I will try to continue checking in with you individuals as we proceed in these final few weeks of class (during the second part of our class time).

Remember, your formal Research Proposal assignment is due on May 8th.  That night we will also have the MA in Writing Studies Spring Symposium Party:

Date: Monday, May 8, 2017 

Time: 4:30-6:30 p.m. 

Where: Green Lane 306 

We will celebrate your colleagues’ culminating MA research and their creative works.  As we will celebrate together as a special community, food and refreshments will be served (catered).  I hope you might also consider bringing something along that night as well to supplement/enhance our “Gourmet Dining” selections ;).

See you next Monday.

Enjoy the holiday weekend.


Dr. Zamora



Just a reminder…

Hi everyone,

What a great class discussion last week.  I liked our “cozy environs” down in the cafe.  And Mary Kate did an excellent job of walking us through an overall consideration of young adult reading and writing practices.  I know the Black article in particular will be an important methodology reference point for some of you moving forward.

Just a quick reminder regarding next week’s agenda:  Katherine will finally get the chance to walk us through her readings, so we will spend a bit of time thinking about “grounded theory” as well as “participatory culture” and writing practices.  Most of you have already read and blogged your reflection her two texts, but if not, now is your chance to catch up on that.  Here are the readings again:

“Grounded Theory: A Critical Research Methodology” by Joyce Magnotto Neff in Under Construction: Working at the Intersection of Composition Theory, Research, and Practice (Please note this reading is one chapter in the larger file you have access to via link – Chapter 9, pages 124-135.)

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century” by Henry Jenkins. (**Please read from page 7 to approximately page 21.)

In part two of class, please be prepared to speak about your Introduction to your research proposal.  You have been brainstorming this for a bit, but I hope that you have now all “turned the corner” and have formulated a solid version of a proposal introduction.  ***Please blog a link to your draft version of the Research Proposal Introduction , and be ready for some class peer review work on it.

See you soon,

Dr. Zamora


Moving forward…

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your patience. So it turns out that my own difficulty wasn’t a sinus or ear infection, but an emergency root canal was in order.  What a joy.  By next week I certainly hope we are “back in the saddle” again.  MaryKate will lead us in a discussion of young writers and their writerly identities via a discussion of critical literacy and fan fiction communities.

In the meanwhile, I hope you were all able to take the time during last class period to complete the required IRB certification online.  Please send me your certificate of completion via email, since it is a requirement for the completion of your MA degree in Writing Studies.

So for next week:

Please read and blog on MaryKate’s reading selections for next week:

Developing Students’ Critical Literacy: Exploring Identify Construction in Young Adult Fiction by Thomas W. Bean and Karen Moni

Online Fan Fiction, Global Identities, and Imagination by Rebecca Black

In addition, remember that you should be moving beyond the early brainstorming phase into a rough draft of the introduction of your research proposal.  Please complete that rough draft of your research proposal for next class, and we can proceed with initial peer editing phase and offer each other early feedback.

Take care everyone.

See you soon,

Dr. Zamora


Invention (& catching up with Katherine’s selections this week…)

Hi everyone,

Just a reminder as to our class plan:  We have Katherine’s readings slated for discussion on Monday (3/27), and then MaryKate will present a week later (4/3).

In lieu of the presentation planned last week, we did set a course for your early proposal work by discussing at more length the elements of a solid research proposal (Introduction, Lit Review, Methodology).  You have now all entered into the early “invention” or discovery phase of your research proposal.  Invention is another way of describing the early brainstorming jump-start to research.  Remember, you have a wide and open field to work with, but you do want there to be an inquiry regarding writing at the center of your work.

This week you should be brainstorming your thesis topic ideas – via generating lists, free writing through ideas, sketches & outlines, or “mind maps”, etc.  In the second part of class next week, we will discuss your brainstorming efforts and then try to move towards the early-draft phase of your proposal introduction.  For your blog post, please include and account of your “invention efforts” and write up your list of potential thesis topics.  You are welcome to include screenshots of pics of your invention notes or ideas/maps.

Enjoy the weekend and I’ll see you all soon.

Looking forward to discussing grounded theory and participatory culture with Katherine!


Dr. Zamora



Up and running again!

I am happy we are “back up and running” after what seemed like an especially long respite.  Thank you to Richonda for guiding us through an excellent discussion of the pedagogical articles entitled “Writing in High School/Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Directions” and “’How They Really Talk’: Two Students’ Perspectives On Digital Literacies In The Writing Classroom.”  By selecting these two readings you were all given a thorough glimpse into two distinct research models.  The Addison & McGee article entailed survey work and quantitive evaluation, while the scholarship by Amicucci offered a reference point for all of you regarding “case study’ research and methodology.  I enjoyed our overall discussion which provided many insights and new questions.  Your shared annotation work stands as an additional record of rich discussion.

The second part of class was productive as we “cracked open” the mystery of preparing a research proposal.  By walking through the official research proposal assignment, you all now have a working outline for what a formal research proposal entails.  Next week when we continue our work on your individual proposal preparation, we will discuss first steps in the process of developing a proposal.

Katherine will walk us though two excellent selections next week, highlighting both “grounded theory” as a methodological approach to writing studies research.  In addition, she will also have us consider the connection between “participatory culture” and writing practices.  Please read and blog your reflection on the following two texts (which can also be accessed from our Reading Roster):

“Grounded Theory: A Critical Research Methodology” by Joyce Magnotto Neff in Under Construction: Working at the Intersection of Composition Theory, Research, and Practice (Please note this reading is one chapter in the larger file you have access to via link – Chapter 9, pages 124-135.)

Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century” by Henry Jenkins. (**Please read from page 7 to approximately page 21.)

Looking forward to another great chat about writing studies research next week!


Dr. Zamora


Our plans for next week:

Hi everyone,

I hope you are enjoying the long weekend!  Just an update on our progress:

Andaiye kicked us off with an excellent discussion of empiricism & positivism vs. more intuitive/pedagogical approaches to writing research.  Our conversation was rich and interesting, and I think we were able to learn quite a bit about the broad range of methodological leanings (and the general attitudes about what those choices might mean in the context of an ever evolving academy).  Although Andaiye chose the Charney article with one understanding of what empiricism might entail, she then (ironically) discovered it had quite a different connotation than her first impression.  On the other hand, the “Out of Our Experience” article pairing did the trick in leading all of us to different angle by emphasizing experiential modes for research.  So in the end, the pairing was useful in drawing to our attention to a “writing research methods spectrum”.

For our meeting next week, Richonda will guide us through:

Joanne Addison and Sharon James McGee, “Writing in High School/Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Directions.College Composition & Communication 62:1 (2010) 

Amicucci, Ann N. “How They Really Talk”: Two Students’ Perspectives On Digital Literacies In The Writing Classroom.” Journal Of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 57.6 (2014): 483-491. ERIC. Web. 19 Feb. 2017. (*This article will be sent directly to you via Richonda by email.)

As always, please read and post a your blog reflection on the material for class.  Please note that the first article (Addison & McGee) can be read via by clicking on it from our Reading Roster.  Please annotate that one on  I look forward to another great conversation with all of you.


Dr. Zamora


After some delay….

To my fellow Writing Researchers,

After some delay, I have figured out I need a certain kind of software to convert our selected PDF files into “optically recognized text” in order for our group effort to work.  Apparently I need Adobe Acrobat Pro in order to do this.  So, I have made appointments and I have been waiting on OCIS for the past few days in order to load up this software onto my computer.  But they have not kept our scheduled appointments (As Richonda & Katherine taught me to say, I have been “keaned”).  So…I will go to the OCIS office rather than waiting on them on Monday.  In terms of moving forward, we will eventually have this PDF conversion issue resolved, but in the meantime, here is the plan:

We will read Andaiye’s two selected articles before class.  We will not be able to hypothes.isize them together, but we can still proceed “old-school”.  So please read :

Charney, Davida. “Empiricism is not a Four-Letter Word.” College Composition & Communication 47.4 (1996): 567-593

Sheila Clawson, Marion S. MacLean, Marian M. Mohr, Mary Ann Nocerino, Courtney Rogers, Betsy Sanford, “Out of Our Experience:  Useful Theory.” The Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 4  Date: 2003.

In addition, please blog about these two texts for class.  Andaiye will lead us through a discussion and a group consideration of these readings when we meet on Monday night.  We will also continue to discuss the selected readings for the remaining schedule, and start a plan for your research proposal work.

See you soon…

Enjoy the weekend!

Dr. Zamora


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