Today I talked Joe Essid and Brian McTague about their book Writing Centers at the Center of Change (Routledge 2020). We discuss about critical thinking through writing and we talk about what it is that's critical to writing.
Interviewer: What's the next big change you see coming?
Brian McTague: I don't know exactly what that's going to be, but I think it's going to have something to do with adapting what the previous 'normal' model was for writing centers into this new normal that definitely takes into account technology on a broader scale and how we communicate. You know, we can communicate face-to-face via technology, so does it have to be in person? One example from my own writing center: Over the last year we have done a lot of online-Zoom group workshops. And group workshops are something that we've always offered in person, and sometimes we'd get ten people, sometimes we'd get nobody. Now, we have a Zoom workshop, and we get up to eighty students, or actually, eighty participants, because there are also often some faculty and staff there, too. So to me, that shows that there's potential to learn a lot from what we've done well in this very challenging past year.
Joe Essid: Brian, that's grounded optimism. And I think it's something I will do on our campus, once I have the breathing space. That's a post-pandemic opportunity to begin to host some workshops, and use Zoom, because then faculty can attend them from home, students don't have to trek to a room that we have to book. So, I think our writing workshop program is going to move to Zoom, and I can bring in outside experts.
Daniel Shea heads Scholarly Communication, the podcast about how knowledge gets known. Daniel is Director of the Writing Program at Heidelberg University, Germany. Daniel's YouTube Channel is called Write Your Research.