Reading and Writing in the Disciplines

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Reading and writing in the disciplines

Programming Overview

Reading and Writing in the Disciplines is a multiple certificate pathway designed to meet the ongoing needs of reading and writing instruction for all disciplines. As seen below, there are different types of programs to meet the different needs of our faculty.

You can earn certificates in:

  • Active Reading Online: Reading Apprenticeship (Attendance at four out of five synchronous workshops, one self-paced asynchronous workshop, final consultation, and teaching artifact required for the certificate.)
  • Faculty Book Club (Synchronous meetings on a new learning/literacy-focused book each semester. Attendance at all sessions required for the certificate.) 
  • Writing in the Disciplines (Attendance at five synchronous workshops, final consultation, and teaching artifact required for the certificate.)

This semester in Reading and Writing in the Disciplines!  

Writing in the Disciplines. A certificate program offering synchronous workshops on Threshold Writing Concepts, Feedback That Counts, Addressing Grammar Issues, Making Writing Matter, and Just the Facts. Register for each workshop below. 

Social Reading for Better Understanding. This hands-on workshop will help you introduce students to social reading, which can enhance peer-learning, knowledge building, and metacognition. You will also learn how to use Perusall, a social-annotation software now integrated into Canvas. Click here to sign up

Faculty Book Club. A semester-long dive into a monograph that helps promote good pedagogy. One meeting per month. Click here to learn more and sign up.


Reading and Writing in the Disciplines: Our Approach

Every year CETL receives many requests from faculty from all different disciplines for support and best practices on reading and writing instruction in their field. In response, our CETL Faculty Fellow for Reading and Writing, Dr. Margaret Finnegan, has helped us develop two new certificate series that will introduce you to best reading and writing practices. The workshops have a special focus on managing grading.

Dr. Finnegan has worked at Cal State LA for over 15 years and received her PhD in History from UCLA. Her work has appeared in American Quarterly, College Composition and Communication, The Los Angeles Times and other publications. She is also the author of Selling Suffrage: Consumer Culture and Votes for Women (Columbia University Press) and the middle-grade novels We Could Be Heroes and Susie B. Won't Back Down (both from Atheneum Books for Young Readers). With her diverse experiences and scholarly practice, Margaret has honed the best and most practical strategies to approach reading and writing at the university level.

We strongly encourage any faculty who assigns reading or writing in their class to join us in this important work!

Consults and Office Hours

To support faculty in completing this program Dr. Finnegan holds weekly office hours. Find her Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm in the CETL Virtual Support Room. You can also schedule an appointment with her or a CETL instructional designer by emailing us at

CETL Faculty Book Club Fall 2021 Certificate


BookClub badge an open book with a cup of tea


Enhance your professional development, have fun, and make some work friends! Join the CETL Faculty Book Club! Sign-up here!



The book 

This semester’s book club selection is The First Generation Student Experience by Jeff Davis. To maximize community building and minimize the demands on your time, we’re doing a few chapters per month.  E-copies are available for free through the Cal State LA library. But you are welcome to buy yourself a copy if you prefer a physical book. The exact reading schedule will be shared with those who sign-up for the initial meeting. 

The when 

Once a month. Wednesdays from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Meeting dates will be:

  • September 15
  • October 20
  • November 17
  • December 15

 More logistics will be discussed at the initial meeting.

The who 

You! In your favorite sweatpants with a cuppa in your hand! Whether this is your first semester here or you're a Cal State LA lifer, you are welcome to join us!

The place 

Your favorite Zoom background! You’ll be sent links before each meeting. And you will be enrolled in a special Canvas course to help keep track of our dates and communication. 

The incentive 

Fun! Conversation with people outside your bubble! And, oh fine, attend all the sessions and you’ll earn a CETL Faculty Book Club Fall 2021 Certificate. But, really, it’s about community. 

Writing in the Disciplines Workshops and Descriptions

This pathway consists of 5 workshops. All workshops are required. Workshops introduce best practices for assigning writing and addressing feedback and grading.

To complete the program and earn the certificate, faculty should expect to:

  • Attend and participate in all five workshops.
  • Incorporate best reading and writing practices into your syllabus/course schedule.
  • Incorporate best reading and writing practices into ONE assignment.
  • Conference at least once with CETL staff about what you've done. 

Threshold Writing Concepts

Threshold Writing Concepts

Threshold concepts get at the heart of not only what you know in a discipline, but how you think and act in one. Unpack key threshold writing concepts and learn how you can pair them with your disciplinary expertise to help students with metacognition, transfer of knowledge, and real-world writing situations.

Workshop Duration: 1.5 Hours

Register for Threshold Writing Concepts here

Feedback that Counts

Feedback that Counts

Drowning in papers? Learn best practices for responding meaningfully to student writers without sacrificing your sanity or assessment integrity.

Workshop Duration: 1 Hour

Register for Feedback that Counts here. 

Addressing Grammar Issues

Not your Grandma's Grammar WorkshopTired of playing the grammar cop? Drawing on meta-analyses of grammar and writing instruction, this workshop shares tips and activities for helping students (and graders) make peace with grammar conventions and instruction.
Workshop Duration: 1 Hour

Making Writing Matter

Creating Significant Writing AssignmentsResearch suggests that students find writing assignments meaningful when they foster personal agency, build social engagement, and provide opportunities for knowledge transfer. Learn how to design assignments that leverage these powerful factors and improve student learning.
Workshop Duration: 1 Hour

Just the Facts

Working with EvidenceAre your students struggling with choosing and using evidence? We’ve got you covered. This workshop provides active-learning strategies for helping students identify credible sources, select relevant evidence, and integrate quotations, paraphrases, and summaries into writing.
Workshop Duration: 1 Hour

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Active Learning Online: Reading Apprenticeship Workshops and Descriptions (Offered Spring Semesters)

Active Learning Online: Reading Apprenticeship Badge a puzzle with a book as a piece

This pathway consists of 6 workshops: One required Self-Paced Workshop and 5 Elective Active Learning Teaching Practice workshops. You'll need to complete the self-paced workshop and 4 of the 5 other electives before you can submit your final assignment and earn your certificate. 


To complete the program and earn the certificate, faculty should expect to:

  • Participate in at least 4 Active Learning Online: Reading Apprenticeship workshops.
  • Choose one of the RA strategies that you learn. 
  • Create a video of you introducing and then modeling the strategy.
  • Create a Canvas assignment or discussion board that asks students to use the strategy themselves.
  • Submit your completed work.
  • Do an exit interview/consultation with a CETL staff member.

Active Learning and the Reading Apprenticeship Framework

Threshold Writing Concepts

This Self-paced webinar provides an overview of the RA model and how we’ve internalized it at Cal State LA. Instructors will learn about the 4 dimensions of reading, and they will practice using one of our favorite Active Learning Reading techniques, the Think Aloud!

Workshop Duration: Self-paced

Creating Safe & Collaborative Learning Environments 

Feedback that Counts

Learn how to create classroom norms and a collaborative reading strategies list. These Reading Apprenticeship tools will increase the social and instructor presence of your classroom and contribute to a more inclusive classroom.

Workshop Duration: 45-minutes

Evidence Interpretation Charts

Not your Grandma's Grammar WorkshopThe Reading Apprenticeship take on double-entry notetakers, the use of Evidence-Interpretation charts promote active reading and meta-cognition. Learn how you can add them to your classroom.
Workshop Duration: 45-minutes

Getting the GIST

Creating Significant Writing AssignmentsHelp students retain and remember what they've read by helping them get the GIST. This great strategy for teaching paraphrasing can also be used by students to help them avoid plagiarism.
Workshop Duration: 45-minutes

Reading Strategically

Working with EvidenceThis workshop introduces a variety of strategies that will help students read actively, increase metacognition, and strategize on how to approach a text.
Workshop Duration:45-minutes

Talking to the Text, with Perusall!

Working with EvidenceIntroduces Reading Apprenticeship strategies for annotating texts using Perusall.
Workshop Duration:45-minutes

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A Showcase of Faculty Writing Assignments: Writing as Problem Solving (February 14-18, 2022)

Outstanding writing instruction happens on our campus every day, in every discipline. We want to celebrate it—and you! This February 2022, CETL will be hosting its first ever Showcase of Faculty Writing Assignments. This year's theme is Writing as Problem Solving. Send us the writing assignments you've created that help your students solve and interrogate real world problems.

Collected assignments will be shared in an online Showcase of Faculty Writing on February 14-18, 2022. All faculty in all disciplines will be invited to asynchronously review the submissions and, via Perusall, discuss a selection of especially noteworthy ones.

Interested in submitting? Here's the nitty gritty:

Who can participate?

You! If you assign any writing of any kind, you are invited to submit that assignment.

What exactly should you submit?

Your assignment should fit the following theme: Writing as Problem Solving. Read this if you're not sure what that means. Or just make sure that your assignment does the following:

  1. Highlights the unique ability your discipline has for solving problems. (For example, maybe people in your discipline—or people who graduate from your discipline—collect data and then write evaluations of that data to help create policy. Or maybe people in your discipline examine different kinds of texts and then write up their insights into those texts to expoes and/or rectify social or even personal problems. Do you have writing assignments that do something like that? Send them!
  2. Offers a meaningful writing experience. (In other words, no matter how long or short the assignment, it is likely to have personal meaning to the student. Personal meaning might come from assignments that:
    • Allow writers to explore something they find personally interesting.
    • Encourage writers to build knowledge they will probably want to share with others.
    • Help writers reflect either on how an assignment has made them change as thinkers or people, or how an assignment might prepare them for future tasks or roles.)

How do you submit your assignment?

  1. Complete the attached survey by January 24, 2022.
  2. The last question in the survey will ask you to upload your assignment submission.
  3. Your assignment should be written in the TILT format. (The TILT format is an evidence-based template for making assignments transparent to students. You can learn all about it and see a template here.)

Why should you participate?

  • You will be able to add your participation to your RTP file.
  • You will be able to get the recognition you deserve for doing outstanding work.
  • You will be able to grow your professional network and community, and after almost two years of remote learning, we need all the community engagement we can get.
  • It will be fun!

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