Connective Writing: A Video by Prof Ron

A video I made on connective writing, which means that our writings should be connected to the writings of others. New technologies make connective writing easier and more authentic than ever before.

Use Auto Text Expansion to Save Time When Giving Feedback or Writing Emails

“If you find yourself doing something over and over,” Omar tells me and the developers that work under him, “that is something you can automate.”

How often as teachers do we write the same comments again and again in feedback and emails? Maybe you have a document with common comments that you copy and paste from, but there is an easier way that will save time and allow you to give more detailed messages: text expansion. Mac computers have a built in text expander, but I use aText, which costs five dollars and is more convenient.

For a text expander, you enter codes and then type in the text that goes with it. I always use a semicolon at the beginning of my codes to distinguish them from ordinary writing. For example, I use  “;topic” for the subject line of an email: “English 214: Feedback on Your Topic Proposal.” As soon as I have written the code, the expanded text appears with a satisfying click. I love that click!

Continue reading “Use Auto Text Expansion to Save Time When Giving Feedback or Writing Emails”

Check Out the Class Blog for The Electric Word: English 214 2nd Year Composition

Please visit our class blog The Electric Word: English 214 2nd Year Composition at San Francisco State University. Also, check out these descriptions of and links to the students’ blogs.

Course Banner(Banner Image by Kenji Ikemoto)


The Electric Word: A Hybrid Second-Year Composition Course

English 214: Second Year Written Composition

Instructor: Ronald B. Richardson

The Electric Word: Class Blog

Descriptions of and Links to Student Blogs

Course Description

Welcome to the Electric Word: Second Year Composition! I look forward to the exchange of ideas with all of you as we explore reading, research, critical thinking, and writing in primarily digital environments.

A Hybrid Course: Half of the classes for this course will be face to face in a traditional classroom; for the other half, we will meet asynchronously online through iLearn, the course management system at SFSU. We will meet physically every Monday and half of the Wednesdays (see the course schedule). The other half of the Wednesdays and all Fridays will be online. When classes are online, students may complete the class work any time that day or earlier. Because of the hybrid nature of this course, students should be self-motivated and good at time management.

Continue reading “The Electric Word: A Hybrid Second-Year Composition Course”

Intensity and Sophistication: Basic Skills versus Transfer Level Composition

Students in pre-transfer and transfer-level classes need to develop similar skills: studying, reading, thinking, and writing. The principal distinctions are intensity and sophistication.

Basic skills students need training in how to be college students. To keep them in school, teachers should ask them to consider their motives, discuss reasons students drop out, familiarize them with support services, and require investigation of educational resources. Instructors need to teach how to stage tasks and manage time, working these guidelines into assignments. Transfer level students need the same, but instructors can spend less time on learner training and more on content.

Continue reading “Intensity and Sophistication: Basic Skills versus Transfer Level Composition”

The Draft is Obsolete: The Word Processor and the Writing Process

The concept of the draft is obsolete, in both academic and creative writing, if drafting is a process of rewriting a work anew, recreating and reforming what has already been written in a wholly new text. A “draft” these days is one point at which writing is saved or printed out. Writing now consists of changing a single, fluid text that grows, contracts and changes (as is happening to this post even now, if you could only see it happening as I do). Writing classes that teach first draft, second draft and final draft and do not show students how to use the word processor to revise a text are outdated.

Continue reading “The Draft is Obsolete: The Word Processor and the Writing Process”

Collaborative and Integrated Composition Classes (with New Media Support)


Scholastic writing used to be disconnected. From research: reading and writing took place in different spaces at different times. From other writers: writing was a solitary activity. From previous steps of the process: each piece of writing produced along the way was discarded. From a real audience: students wrote to prove something to a professor who claimed they were engaged in an imaginary “academic discourse.” From authentic purpose: writing ended up in the garbage can and all the student’s hard work, knowledge, insights and craftsmanship were wasted.

Continue reading “Collaborative and Integrated Composition Classes (with New Media Support)”

“Putting 2.0 and Two Together”: An Article — and a Response! — by Chris Gerben

I wrote this annotated bibliography for a class on using new media in composition classes, then posted it on my blog. To my surprise, Chris Gerben responded to the partial criticism in the last line, that he does not offer concrete techniques for the classroom. I contacted him and he gave me some very good ideas for using Facebook and blogs in the classroom. I urge you to look into other articles he has written and even to contact him for more ideas on using new media in the classroom. (Since I am moving this post to my teaching blog, I have copied and pasted those comments below.)

Continue reading ““Putting 2.0 and Two Together”: An Article — and a Response! — by Chris Gerben”