The TWP LAMP Initiative

The Bacca Foundation has given a $5 million gift for a new undergraduate program focused on building strong, contemporary communication skills in our students. The program, called Language Arts and Media Program (LAMP), will engage every first-year student in learning a broad range of communications skills for traditional and new media. The program also will fund development of new, upper division courses that build on this foundational training and allow students to deepen their understanding and practice of twenty-first century communication while at Duke.

The Thompson Writing Program will be at the center of this effort, given our strong commitment to undergraduate education, our history of innovation in writing pedagogy, and our interdisciplinary expertise that includes faculty teaching and scholarship related to new media, public scholarship, and oral communication.

Director of Outreach Jennifer Ahern-Dodson will lead the TWP LAMP initiative. She has been involved in a number of interdisciplinary initiatives focused on public scholarship at Duke, leads multidisciplinary faculty learning communities that explore pedagogical innovations in writing and undergraduate research, and teaches multimodal composition and digital storytelling in her Writing 101 course Writing for Change. She also developed the Faculty Write Program, which emphasizes communicating ideas across disciplines and collaborative learning.

Dr. Ahern-Dodson will work with three recently selected TWP LAMP fellows to research, design, implement, and assess innovations and adaptations that enhance students’ critical thinking and scholarship across a range of communication domains.

2014 TWP LAMP Fellows

Aria Chernik, JD and PhD in English, researches the intersections between critical media studies, multimodal communication, and public knowledge. Dr. Chernik co‐authored a grant entitled “Transforming Academic Writing in the Digital Age.” This grant, funded under the Humanities Writ Large initiative, established the TWP Digital Writing and Pedagogy Lab.  She currently is teaching a Writing 101 course entitled “Law in the Age of Twitter,” which considers the impact of Twitter and other social media sites on arguing for and enacting social change. Follow her @ariachernik.

Joshua Clark Davis, PhD in History, is co-director of Media and the Movement, a NEH-funded digital oral history initiative that will make dozens of interviews about journalism and the civil rights movement available through an online archive and a project website. In addition, he is an online contributor for Carolina Soul and The Huffington Post. Dr. Davis is currently teaching a Writing 101 course called “Public History Writing.” In this class, students write publicly about Durham’s local past in print and online forums, with the goal of contributing to community discussions about the city’s history. His students have collaborated with NCCU students to create “pop up” Durham history museums that foster community dialogue about Durham.

Mark Ulett, PhD in Biology, researches the history and philosophy of evolutionary theory, focusing on scientists at the turn of the 20th century who sought to expand Darwinism to include developmental causation. His recent work investigates the historical connections between those theorists and 21st century Evolutionary Developmental Biology. In his Writing 101 course “Darwinian Revolution,” students develop critical reviews of Darwin’s Origin of Species, analyze the Huxley-Wilberforce debate, and craft research essays on ethical issues in eugenics. Developing arguments in both writing and speaking is foundational to the course. 

Duke Center for Civic Engagement Studio Grant: A Collaborative Partnership between Durham Public Schools and the TWP

We are thrilled to share that the Thompson Writing Program has been awarded a 2013-14 Duke Center for Civic Engagement Studio Grant to create an immersive space in which we can explore the possibilities for long-term local partnerships centered on literacy and writing with Durham Public Schools (DPS). This work will build on the strong partnering with DPS in which Duke already engages. The work of this Studio will be highly collaborative, with participants from DPS, faculty in the TWP, and Duke graduate students and undergraduates. Our conversations will yield initiatives and programming centered on literacy and writing that might be course based and non-course based, and can operate across all levels of K-12 instruction. Join us for an open-to-the-public presentation and specific proposals for ongoing, sustainable partnership ideas on Tuesday, May 6th from 7-9 in the Franklin Humanities Garage.  You can see more details of the work at the Duke-Durham Writes Studio website, here.

Co-Conveners: Jennifer Ahern-Dodson and Denise K. Comer
Lead TWP Fellow: Nicolas Eilbaum

Humanities Writ Large Grant: Transforming Academic Writing in the Digital Age

We are delighted to announce that the Thompson Writing Program has been awarded a 2013-14 Humanities Writ Large Emerging Networks Grant to examine how digital rhetoric, public audience, and multimedia composition can be assessed and incorporated into what we understand to be “academic writing.” This grant will, in part, support a vertically and horizontally integrated Digital Writing and Pedagogy Lab to be housed in the TWP with the charge of cultivating curricular and pedagogical digital innovations within Writing 101 courses. The Lab will also establish the “Writing in the Digital Age Symposium” over the 2013-14 year for members of the Duke community to discuss ideas about digital writing and pedagogy with a nationally recognized scholar in this domain. This grant is a collaboration between the TWP and Duke University Libraries

Co-Conveners: Jennifer Ahern-Dodson and Denise K. Comer
Lead Librarian: Sara Seten Berghausen
Lead TWP Fellow: Aria Chernik

Grant to Explore MOOCs

Duke has received $25,000 in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a new project analyzing peer-to-peer interactions in introductory writing and chemistry Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).

The peer-to-peer interaction study will be led by Denise Comer, Director of First-Year Writing with Duke's Thompson Writing Program, and Dorian Canelas, a chemistry professor. Comer has taught one MOOC writing course through Coursera, the online education platform Duke has partnered with, and Canelas will teach a chemistry course using Coursera in the spring.

You can find more details here.

Innovations in First-Year Writing

Learn more about innovative undergraduate learning experiences in Duke's first-year writing seminars:

Joshua Clark Davis: Writing on Durham: History Museum Pop-up Event

Jennifer Ahern-Dodson:  Digital Storytelling for Critical Reflection

James Berkey:  Rare Book Room soldier letters and diaries

Nicolette Cagle:  Creating environmental education posters for the North 
Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill

Sandra Cooke: Global Awareness of Ocean Acidification

Sandra Cooke:  Ocean Acidification? Never heard of it!

Jonathan Dueck:  Online Public Writing

Nicolas Eilbaum:  Visiting farmworker camps and volunteer work with
Durham high-school students of immigrant background

Maral Erol:  Curating a Scoop-it website

Kathleen Millar:  Volunteering at Urban Ministries of Durham

Ami Shah:  Academic Blogging

Katya Wesolowski:  Radio Stories

Questions about a TWP event or news story? Contact the TWP at 919-660-4368.

July 2014

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