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Workshops – Spring 2019

Download a pdf of our winter workshop descriptions and schedule. (Not all workshops are offered every quarter.)

Thirty 60-to-90-minute, hands-on topics are offered to resident students this term. Each workshop can accommodate 15-25 participants. Faculty and staff are welcome, too.

Registration for all workshops is handled through WCOnline. Use the drop-down menu to pick the Workshops Calendar, then advance to the appropriate date.

GWC Workshops – Develop critical thinking and good mechanics

GWC workshops quickly give you practical techniques and proven strategies needed for writing your coursework, thesis, and in professional life. Refresh fundamentals, sharpen critical-thinking skills, and learn academic writing norms.

Core workshops are offered to resident students every term in the Dudley Knox Library; other workshops are offered at least two quarters per year.

A dozen workshops have been recorded for distance-learning and hybrid-program students, or those who simply can't get to a session but need the information. Others are being added each quarter. Access recorded workshops and online modules here.

Dudley Knox Library Workshops – Develop research skills

The Dudley Knox Library offers three research-related workshops: Research Quickstart, Thesis Quickstart, and Citation Management with Zotero. Registration in WCOnline. See below for more information.

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Date: Wednesday, Apr 10, 1530-1700
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Stumped when you face a blank page? Acquire tried-and-true techniques for starting a paper: brainstorming, clustering, concept mapping, pre-writing, and outlining. Master practical methods to clear the cobwebs and stare down that blank page. By trying out the various techniques during the workshop, you will discover which ones work best for you.

Date: Monday, Apr 15, 1000-1130
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

If you daydreamed through the grammar lessons of your schooldays, take heart. Through clear and simple explanations, we demystify terms and concepts that seasoned writers take for granted, focusing on enhancing sentence structure including elements, patterns, and the active voice. Because Building Better Sentences focuses on making already correct sentences that much better, we recommend that you take (or request materials for) the Mastery Series (Grammar, Punctuation, and Clarity/Concision) beforehand if you want to refresh your comma use and more. That way, in just 90 minutes of this workshop, your ideas will shine through your sentences that much more brightly!

Date: Wednesday, Apr 17, 1000-1100
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Level II focuses on guided sentence-building practice, applying the toolkit acquired in Level I. Students who have taken Level I this term are automatically eligible. Students who have taken Building Better Sentences in the past or have yet to enroll should email the instructor for pre-class documents (see WCOnline calendar for instructor email address).

Date: Monday, Apr 29, 1500-1650
          Friday, May 3, 1000-1150
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Instructors: DKL staff

Learn how to use Zotero, a free tool that you can use to centrally collect, manage, and format your references in APA, Chicago, IEEE, and other citation styles. We will also show you how to use Zotero’s Word plug-in to cite while you write your papers or thesis. This workshop is “hands on,” so bring your own laptop! Workshop size is limited, and registration at least 24 hours in advance is required. After registering, you will receive an email with installation and setup instructions, which you will need to complete prior to the class.

Date: Tuesday, Apr 9, 1000-1130
Location:  Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor:  Dr. Sandra Leavitt

Constructing a research question is probably the most important task for any paper you write. An overly broad question becomes mission impossible, while an excessively narrow question won’t help fill the pages. Learn strategies for identifying answerable, interesting questions. A compelling research question will keep you motivated and your reader engaged.

Date: Thursday, Apr 18, 1530-1700
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Do your academic readings make you feel like an outsider? Don’t remain an unheard voice in the wilderness. Learn how to construct your paper as a "conversation with others." In this workshop, inspired by the popular writing book They Say/I Say, you will learn the basic methods that scholars use to engage with larger debates. Your readers will understand you better, and you will stand on equal footing with the writers in your field.

Date: Tuesday, Apr 16, 1300-1430
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Most graduate students will, at some point, have to deliver an oral report. Knowing what to say and how to say it is a challenge. Here, you'll learn to forge a powerful presentation, penetrate to the core of your subject, and pull it off in style. We will identify the elements of strong and weak presentations, suggesting ways you can improve your own oral communication.

Date: Thursday, Apr 11, 1000-1100
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Why explain a figure if it’s worth a thousand words? Master the art of knowing when and what kind of graphic—figure, diagram, or photograph versus a table—can clarify a process for the reader or illustrate an argument. Learn some guidelines for making effective visuals and explaining them clearly. By examining some student figures, you’ll see how color coding, consistent units of measure, and annotations help the reader appreciate the data’s meaning.

Date: Thursday, April 11, 1530-1700
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

You take notes and learn the subject matter, so why is it so difficult to communicate your knowledge during tests? And where does all the time go? Knowing a few key strategies can make all the difference. This workshop will provide you with winning techniques for studying more effectively, taking useful notes, preparing for exams, and performing better during tests; you’ll also receive practical, step-by-step methods for a "time investment" daily schedule.

Date: Tuesday, Apr 16, 1000-1130
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: John Locke

A master’s degree requires mastering a field, and that mastery is demonstrated in a literature review, a required component of most theses and many papers. It is not, as often believed, a multi-title book review. It is, rather, a comprehensive evaluation of the literature relevant to your research question. More than a summary, it identifies strengths and inadequacies in the existing literature, which dovetails with your goal of adding new knowledge to your field. In this workshop, you will learn how literature reviews are constructed and how to make yours justify your research.

Date: Friday, Apr 12, 1300-1430
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Learn which conventions are rules, NPS norms, and style tips, all of which will help you masterfully put your words to work for you! Excellent clarity and concision stands as the core goal at the graduate and professional level of writing, so we have put together some writing master tips to make your life easier and your writing sassier in just 90 minutes.

Date: Friday, Apr 12, 0930-1030
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Learn to master the core structure of language and, more importantly, how to put grammar to work for you! Topics include parts of speech, avoiding pronoun confusion, alternatives to "however" and "therefore," and, crucially, how to avoid fake news at the sentence level with tips to eliminate passive voice.

Date: Friday, Apr 12, 1100-1200
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Learn to master commas and quotation marks and, crucially, how to put semicolons to work for you! Many of us will admit that we got all the way to graduate school (in writing!) before we were advised that we could no longer sprinkle commas randomly like parmesan cheese whenever we wanted to pause; we now masterfully apply the ten comma rules, and so can you.

Date: Thursday, Apr 4, 1100-1200
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: John Locke

Academic or research-based writing is distinctly different from other forms of writing. Our primary purpose is to describe knowledge which, at the graduate school level, is most likely to address the logical connections between ideas. This calls for structured writing. This workshop will introduce the basic techniques that produce readable papers—comprehensive introductions, topic sentences, and embedding structure in language—and effective tools for composition. You will learn a systematic approach to learning, organizing, and writing that will focus your effort where it counts the most.

Date: Monday, Apr 8, 1530-1630
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

You’ve just received a prompt for a class paper.  You read it once, twice, and still can’t figure out what you’re being asked to do or what kind of paper you’re being asked to write. Sound familiar? This workshop will identify specific types of papers you may be asked to write at NPS and offer strategies for decoding and understanding instructors’ prompts.

Date: Friday, Apr 5, 1100-1230
          Wednesday, Apr 17, 1530-1700
Location: Dudley Knox Library, DKL 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructors: Dr. Sandra Leavitt & Greta Marlatt

You’ve all heard what you shouldn’t be doing: don’t violate the Honor Code, don’t plagiarize, don’t forget the rules of academic integrity. This workshop focuses on what to do to avoid these serious problems. We give you the skills to confidently incorporate others’ words, ideas, analyses, models, and images into your own writing. You will gain experience summarizing, paraphrasing, and incorporating quotes from source material.

Date: Tuesday, Apr 2, 1730-1900 [Reed 101/102, following Foundations]
          Friday, Apr 5, 0900-1030
          Monday, Apr 8, 1000-1130
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151 (except for Apr 2)
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

So much reading, so little time! Learn and practice NPS professor Zachary Shore’s method of reading at the graduate level for thesis content. This "search and destroy" technique allows you to comprehend and synthesize an author’s arguments in 15 minutes. Level I teaches the "search" half, how to quickly extract an author's thesis and structure from an academic article. Though this method may take months to perfect, once you do, the payoff is high in terms of comprehension, time saved, and enhanced critical thinking skills.

Date: Friday, Apr 26, 1000-1130
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

So much reading, so little time! Learn and practice NPS professor Zachary Shore’s method of reading at the graduate level for thesis content. This "search and destroy" technique allows you to comprehend and synthesize an author’s arguments in 15 minutes. Level I teaches the "search" half, how to quickly extract an author's thesis and structure from an academic article. Though this method may take months to perfect, once you do, the payoff is high in terms of comprehension, time saved, and enhanced critical thinking skills.

Date: Friday, Apr 5, 1300-1400
          Wednesday, Apr 10, 1000-1100
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Level II teaches the "destroy" half of Professor Shore's "search and destroy" technique. Learn how to critically examine a text for its strengths and weaknesses.

Date: Thursday, Apr 11, 1200-1250
          Monday, Apr 15, 1200-1250
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Instructors: DKL staff

Develop your research skills and learn how to use the library search, library databases, research guides, Google Scholar, and more!

Date: Friday, Apr 19, 1000-1100
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Overusing passive voice is one of the most common stylistic blunders in academic writing; it can be hard to identify and tricky to fix. At the same time, passive voice does have its uses. This workshop will explain what passive voice looks like and why in most cases active constructions are a better choice. Lessons and activities will show you how to transform passive-voice sentences and also identify situations when you might want to use them. You will leave with strategies to select the best possible verbs, to craft more interesting prose, and to express your ideas more clearly.

Date: Tuesday, Apr 9, 1200-1250
          Wednesday, Apr 17, 1200-1250
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Dudley Knox Library
Instructors: Glen Koué

Is it time to begin your thesis? Not sure how to start? This workshop will cover academic research and writing in general, as well as the specifics of the NPS thesis process. Learn how to navigate the process and launch your thesis with confidence.

Date: Friday, Apr 19, 1130-1300
Location: Dudley Knox Library, Room 151
Presented by: Graduate Writing Center
Instructor: see Workshops flyer (linked above)

Academic writing is your entry into an ongoing conversation, respecting what has come before you while also observing weaknesses in previous arguments and adding and responding to those arguments. This workshop concentrates on how the form of papers—from introduction to conclusion—can aid the clarity of your ideas. Additionally, we review the logical nature of argument, including tips on identifying and avoiding common fallacies and also how counterarguments and rebuttals can strengthen your argument.