University of Toledo Writing Studio
Second Floor, Memorial Fieldhouse
What is the Writing Studio?
The University of Toledo Writing Studio is an innovative approach to first year writing. Started in 2011, the studio is a self-paced form of instruction that involves significant levels of peer and instructor review of writing. Instead of meeting in the typical two days per week classroom setting, Studio students meet either once or twice per week in small group settings (usually five to six students with one instructor). With the help of the instructor and peers, along with guidance from online sources, students create a plan for creating a writing portfolio for the semester. Students work with the instructor to establish workable deadlines, and are required to submit a full portfolio for review by no later than week fourteen of the semester (see Common Syllabi for more information on specific course requirements).
To summarize, the Writing Studio offers an environment where students:
- Choose the types of genres and topics of papers they will write;
- Can work at their own pace, submitting work throughout the semester for advice from peers and the instructor;
- Can submit their final portfolio anytime after week eight and before week fourteen of the semester;
- Meet with peers and the instructor in small work groups and online peer environments; and
- Have access to online resources related to writing genres, composing processes, and critical and rhetorical thinking skills.
Is the Writing Studio for me?
Since the Studio is an innovative environment, we have found that there are certain characteristics that can help a student succeed in a Studio class. These characteristics include:
- Strong time-management skills: Since students are asked to frequently work independently within their own set deadlines, strong time management skills and the ability to keep to a schedule are necessary for success in the Studio. Students who prefer to have deadlines scheduled for them by an instructor via a course syllabus may experience challenges in the Writing Studio.
- Ability to work well in small groups: Much of the instruction and feedback offered take place within small group environments; students who are unaccustomed to or prefer not to work in small groups may find this a challenge in the Writing Studio.
- Comfort with both offering and receiving feedback: One of the advantages of the studio is the chance to have a text read multiple times by multiple authors, leading to new insights and possibilities with the text. Students who are uncomfortable have their work reviewed consistently or who are uncomfortable reviewing and offering feedback to others may struggle initially in the Writing Studio.
What else do I need to know?
Over the past few years, we have surveyed students about their experiences in Studio courses. Below are some comments offered on these surveys; these comments are to help you better understand both the Studio environment and what will be expected of you in these courses:
- “Come to each meeting because face to face review and idea sharing is essential to creating a great paper”
- “Stick to your schedule”
- “Procrastination is not an option”
- “Always keep working on your paper and have something to show every week, because it helps you stay on track”
- “Be willing to help the others in the class, be open to change and be able to handle constructive criticism”
- “Make sure to ask questions in advance…don’t be close-minded to opinions and feedback you receive from your peers”