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A Tale of Two Websites: the PWR Intranet & TeachingWriting

Hands on laptop keyboard with TeachingWriting website on screen

In this age of both wisdom and foolishness, thanks to the redeeming wisdom of a committed portion of our tech-minded colleagues, we now have two sites to support lecturers; one is relatively new and the other has developed over the lifetime of the program. Through the worst of times and best of times, many individuals have contributed to the collective knowledge here. More recently, Christine has worked closely with Jenne to repackage and expand on these materials. Below, we’ll take a quick scan of the new PWR Intranet then look at the deep collection of pedagogical ideas archived in TeachingWriting.

I won’t offer a full review of these sites, but I will make something like a map that previews the resources available in this archeology of policy and pedagogy. I invite you to write me ( and let me know what your experience is with these sites. Get involved with this material; get lost; go down rabbit holes. Ask questions of it. You might even be inspired to add to it. 

Our first stop: The PWR Intranet

PWR Intranet Homepage

The “PWR Intranet” is a virtual PWR lecturer handbook, password-protected and exclusive to PWR. This site gives quick access to the nuts and bolts of resources you need, as it houses all policies & procedures along with the guidelines and forms you’ll need to get these Ps & Ps done. The homepage offers some quick links to items people are more in search of, and the top of the homepages features upcoming events and forms for easy reference. To make yourself acquainted with this helpful site, best to use the banner menu across the top of the home page to explore and poke around, interacting with key sections.

Starter Page for New Lectures: This page is super helpful for lecturers who need quick access to getting started in setting up in PWR (for instance, in relation to Calendly, Cardinal Key, contact lists, etc.). It also contains plenty of info of interest for returning lecturers. 

Roles and Opportunities: This section provides titles of lecturers and leaders in PWR and gives guidance to new roles you might like to take on as you engage with your career in PWR (such as Course Coordinators or teachers for the Leland Scholars Program).

Protocols & Processes: This section houses guidelines for what we do and how we do it as lecturers and instructional staff teaching required courses at Stanford (for instance, information about Annual Review, tutoring policies, or about leaves).

Class Admin & Policies: This section offers quick access to basics, such as what to do when you unexpectedly can’t make class and policies for incompletes.

Funding: This section details the funding available to support class activities and snacks, professional development (i.e. travel, research grants), and how to get them. These details are subject to change annually based on budget, so here you can ascertain the current state of affairs and how to work with the PWR Business Team to process funding.

Tech Resources: This section offers detailed descriptions of how to get technology resources (such as cables and cameras) and what to expect in our many versions of tech classrooms, how to use the tools there, and how to get more help. Jenne does her best to keep this info updated, as set ups in Wallenberg will change from time to time, but tech offerings evolve rapidly, so be patient if this site doesn’t always reflect those changes.

Our Second Stop: TeachingWriting

A long-established site offering a full range of ideas for anyone teaching writing at Stanford (and beyond), “TeachingWriting,” is designed largely as a public-facing set of resources which reflect how we approach writing. It breaks down descriptions of the PWR curricular structures and features a treasure trove of activities to add to your teaching and learning practices. It is a constantly developing and evolving site, so don’t be surprised if you come across a few pages under development as you browse.

PWR Guide: In many ways, this section serves as a full-service introduction for teachers new to PWR as well as to teachers outside of PWR who expect to teach courses that satisfy writing (WR) requirements — or teachers who are considering applying to work in PWR.

Teaching: This remarkably thorough section breaks down specific expectations for teaching in PWR at Stanford. In a sense, it offers both a practical guide to how to achieve the most basic functions and an overview of the teaching culture within our teaching group. It offers a section about Establishing an Effective Teaching Persona  and goes into the fundamentals of the rubric in the section labeled PWR Evaluation Criteria but also offers tips on Meeting with Students, Building a Lunsford Presentation, and  Using Student Samples. The list is long.

Classroom Activities: This section is exactly what it proclaims to be: a big database of activities, written by the teachers who have designed or modified them. In-class work and homework that scaffold the sequence of assignments. Overviews of these activities  are available to the general public visiting this site, but the handouts themselves are password protected and only available to PWR lecturers. These have been packaged to recommend which courses they fit best in, which weeks they might fit in the quarter, and which assignments they would support.  All the activities are protected by Creative Commons under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0, so be sure to provide attribution if you adopt or adapt them for your courses.

PWR News: This section archives the very newsletter upon which your eyes now feast. To get back to material you missed or revisit what you think you recall, this section may help.


Now that you’ve had the tour, consider interacting with the sites yourselves. Christine is inviting everyone to write with any suggestions or questions for continuing to develop our various sites. What’s more, you could publish descriptions of your own teaching activities and scaffolding in TeachingWriting. Or you might have an idea for collaborating on a new page to add to one of the sites. Reach out. These spaces are alive with material so find your own way to navigate all this great stuff. You can start just by talking to people about what it feels like to explore.

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