Workshop Program

December 12

[Pre-workshop preparation: Read chapters 1-4 of Miller.]
8:30-9:00 AM
Opening Remarks, Introductions, Discussion of Personal Workshop Goals
9:00-9:20 AM
Where Are You with Numbers?

Background: In an reader review of Jane Miller's The Chicago Guide to Writing About Numbers, the reviewer makes the following observation: The one real weakness [of the book] comes from one of the book's strengths. Miller really does address number users of many levels of sophistication. She does realize that some people need to make sense of mileage comparisons and slanted percentages in the news and in ads, but others deal in z-scores, p-values, and wilder exotica. The problem is that the numerical novice and sophisticate are usually addressed in the same sentence, or at least paragraph. This may be a turn-off for people struggling with the basics, i.e. the people most in need of advice.

Discussion Questions for sharing at your table:
  • Where are you along the scale from "numerical novice" to "numerical sophisticate"?
  • Do your courses typically deal with numbers? At what level of sophistication?
  • If your courses typically don't deal with numbers, where and how might you introduce a numbers-oriented writing assignment into a course?
  • Where do you encounter numbers in your own reading and research?
9:20-10:10 AM
Suggested Principles for Designing Writing Assignments, John Bean

General Principles for Teaching Academic Writing in the Disciplines

Give Your Students a RAFT and a TIP
Examples of assignment handouts:

For further examples of quantitative writing assignments see the SERC web site Quantitative Writing.

10:10-10:20 AM
10:20-11:15 AM
Writing with Numbers at Seattle University: Some Pedagogical Experiments and Discoveries, John Bean

The 5th grade playground project
Assignment Decomposition One: Ping Pong Consultation (Acrobat (PDF) 10kB Aug8 08)
The Seattle University's economics department's recent assessment project (Acrobat (PDF) 8kB Aug7 08)

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM
Writing with Numbers at Carleton College: Discoveries from Portfolio Assessments, Neil Lutsky
Carleton's QR Assessment Rubric (Microsoft Word 71kB Dec7 09)

10 Foundational Quantitative Reasoning Questions

Discussion activity:
Read New York Times article "Maker of Lipitor Digs In to Fight Generic Rival" What kinds of concepts do students need to know in order to make sense of this article?

12:30-1:30 PM

December 13

[Pre-workshop preparation: Read Tufte. Begin designing your own assignment.]
8:45-9:35 AM
Finding Data: Session One, Kristin Partlo

Example of fine peripheral use of QR in The New York Review of Books
Where can students find data like this? Gould Library's General Data Research Guide
Writing with Numbers Workshop Data Guide

9:35-10:05 AM
Participant Exploration of Data Sources
10:05-11:15 AM
Visual Display of Data, John Bean

Tufte and the Great PowerPoint Debate
Assignment Decomposition Two: Telling an Energy Story (Acrobat (PDF) 79kB Aug8 08)

11:15 AM - 12:00 PM
Finding Data: Session Two, Kristin Partlo

Tips for Finding Data (Acrobat (PDF) 11kB Aug8 08)

12:00-12:30 PM
Participant Assignment Creation Session

December 14

[Pre-workshop preparation: Create assignment rough draft. Bring five copies to workshop. Wear really ugly socks.]
8:45-9:25 AM
Discussion of Scoring Rubrics, John Bean

Example Rubrics (Acrobat (PDF) 34kB Aug8 08)

9:25-11:30 AM
Participant Peer Review of Draft Assignments
11:30-11:45 AM
Further Support Available from the Writing Program and QuIRK, Nathan Grawe
11:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Workshop Assessment
12:00-1:00 PM
Lunch and Ugly Socks Competition