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Structures for Conference Sessions

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As a teaching moment, the structure of the PWR conferences is determined by your pedagogical objectives in relation to the student needs. Our PWR Commitment to students guarantees students three one-to-one 30-minute conferences with their instructor, aligned with the major assignments in the sequence. 

Within that guideline, here are some additional notes about PWR conference structures, beyond the variations discussed on the Best Practices page:

20/10 Model

20 minutes of conversation, 10 minutes of reflective writing & goal-setting. This model works best for conferences that focus on engaging with a student draft, rather than on brainstorming at early stages of a project.  Instructors ahead of time prepare marginal annotations for the draft; meet with the student for twenty-minutes of conversation about the draft; then spend the final 10 minutes of the conference writing a summation comment with a focus on takeaways for revision, either collaboratively with the student on a shared document, or in parallel with the student, who uses the time to write their own reflection/summation/revision plan.

Escalation of Agency Model

1 conference between instructor and student; a second conference between instructor and two students; a third conference between instructor and three students. NOTE: This model is being piloted in 2018-2019 by the Teaching & Tutoring Practices committee and is not recommended for general implementation until the results of this pilot have been shared. [Look for more information here at the conclusion of the pilot]

Group conferences

At this point, PWR’s Commitment is to provide each student the opportunity to meet individually with instructors.  Preferably, at this point, group conferences should function as supplements to the three individual meetings.  Some ideas for group conferences include:

  • A guided group peer review outside of class on a written draft, with the instructor facilitating the conversation between classmates
  • A small group dress rehearsal for a presentation, with the instructor facilitating feedback among classmates
  • A brainstorming session for a group of students for possible research topics or topic-related research methodologies for a PWR project

You’ll find that you’ll need to take a different pedagogical approach for group conferences, and that they might end up taking more time and labor than the one-to-one model.  See these best practices for group conferencing [coming soon].

Remote conferences 

Our commitment to student remains to give them one-to-one in person feedback on their work.  Except in cases with extenuating circumstances, PWR conferences need to be held in person; at this point, remote conferences should not be incorporated into the quarter as one of the three major instructor-student meetings, although they can function as a meeting option for conferences beyond the required three.  Extenuating circumstances might include:

  • Student or not being able to be present at a face-to-face conference because of travel or mobility issues (such as extreme weather or a broken leg) or recuperation from illness (if a student is actively ill, they should reschedule their conference).
  • Instructor not being able to be present at a face-to-face conference because of recuperation from illness (rather than an illness itself), unusual impediments to travel (such as car maintenance issues or extreme weather), or family emergency (such as eldercare issues, dependent illness, or unexpected childcare cancellation).  Please note that if you are ill, you should reschedule your conferences to a time when you are well enough to work.