Each semester, the Writing Center offers a variety of workshops targeting particular areas of need which have been identified by faculty, Writing Specialists, or students using the Writing Center. Most of these workshops are presented in seminar fashion for up to 15 students. All of our workshops are taught by Writing Center faculty or Writing Specialists.
Analyzing Writing Prompts
Do you have trouble understanding what a writing topic is asking you to do? Do you think you wrote a brilliant essay, only to find out you wandered off the topic? This workshop helps you read prompts with a focus, especially in timed writing situations.
APA Style: Creating a Reference Page
APA style is required in many majors, not just psychology. This workshop provides easy tips about creating a reference page that will be in compliance with the latest guidelines.
APA Style: Paraphrasing and Quoting
APA style is required in many majors, not just psychology. This workshop provides easy tips about in-text citation to ensure that your paper will be in compliance with the latest guidelines.
The Art of the Long Sentence
Expert writers know when to break out the long sentence—a sentence that engages the reader in an extended thought. Learn how to use parallelism and schemes of repetition to organize details into longer periods that allow your readers to process the details that make your argument strong. Bring to the workshop a paragraph or two from a draft you are currently developing.
Basic APA Style
APA style is required in many majors, not just psychology. This workshop provides basic information on in-text citation formats and reference lists to ensure that your paper will be in compliance with the latest guidelines.
Learn how to write well-developed, well-written body paragraphs that support a thesis statement and clearly explain quotes or other arguments. You will receive an accompanying packet of handouts on essay form.
Common Grammar and Punctuation Errors
Have you had an instructor comment that your essay has excellent content, but your writing is weakened by too many serious grammar errors? In this workshop, we will review some of the most common grammar and punctuation errors in student writing, including run-ons, comma splices, and general punctuation misuse.
Composing Effective Sentences
This is a hands-on workshop in focusing and developing sentences that both convey information concisely and develop your subject persuasively. You will learn how to shape sentences that focus your reader’s attention and distribute information within the sentence for maximum effect. Bring a draft you are currently working on to the workshop.
Creating your Educational and Professional Portfolio
Do you have a professional digital portfolio? If not, learn how to translate into written documents, and showcase on popular social media platforms, what you have accomplished during your course of study at SJSU into meaningful and persuasive resume and cover letter language.
Designing a Focused Cover Letter and Resume
So you're not getting anywhere with your current resume and cover letter? Using a focused job announcement, learn how to draft a job search outline and response by identifying the pyramid structure that most job announcements follow.
Essay Prompts and Time Management
In-class essay writing is intimidating for many students; however, successful in-class writing depends not only on your composition skills but also on your ability to analyze the prompt and manage your time properly. This workshop will focus on two interrelated topics: (1) understanding and critically analyzing essay prompts, and (2) using time management strategies for the various stages of the in-class, timed writing process (pre-writing, composing the essay, and editing/revising).
Etiquette for the Internet
All e-mails are not created equal. An e-mail to an employer or faculty member should be written in a different style and tone than one to a friend. This workshop will teach you appropriate "net etiquette."
Introduction to Essay Exams
Do you have trouble planning your in-class essays? Do timed essays leave you feeling disorganized and distraught? This workshop will help you develop a thesis based on your prompt and create an outline for your essay. Topics include time management, thesis creation, outlining, and paragraph construction. (Please keep in mind, while this workshop can help you prepare for the written part of the WST, it is NOT a WST workshop.)
Download a PowerPoint presentation: How to Excel on Essay Exams.ppt
LinkedIn Etiquette: Understanding the Impact of your Digital Footprint
Learn how to manage and optimize your digital footprint using common social media platforms. Learn the "dos and don'ts" of social media behavior; develop an understanding of the need to separate your professional and personal digital footprint.
LinkedIn Overview: Identifying and Selling the Brand of You
What is branding? Do you have a brand? We all do. Learn how to identify, develop, and sell the brand of you using LinkedIn tools.
Muscle Verbs for Good Writing
This workshop focuses on clear, concise, strong sentences. You will learn how to avoid replacing strong verbs with weak ones.
Optimizing your LinkedIn Summary and Profile
Did you know that the LinkedIn summary is the next generation cover letter? Discover what your summary really states about your skills, knowledge, and abilities; then learn how to optimize this free platform to sell the brand of you. Discover how employers use LinkedIn to find candidates and learn what you can do to increase your changes of being digitally noticed.
Paraphrasing can be both an effective way to show comprehension of an original text and an important technique to avoid plagiarism. In this workshop, we analyze and discuss effective ways to paraphrase. Participants also engage in individual and/or group practice to help them improve this valuable skill.
Perfect Verb Tenses
Do you ever get confused about the perfect tenses of verbs? This workshop will focus on past perfect (had + verb), present perfect (has/have+verb), and future perfect (will + have + verb). We will be looking at what these verb tenses represent and how they are applied as transitions to writing as a whole.
Professional Letters: Writing the Job Shadow Request, Cover Letter, and Thank-You Letter
Learn the five critical components of an effective job shadow request, cover letter, and thank-you letter and how to apply these concepts to your professional documents.
Reading for a Purpose
“Why do I have to read so much in my writing class?” This workshop will help you get more out of the reading you do in your writing classes. We will explore how to read for the specific purpose that the writer is addressing, and how to use that sense of purpose to recognize the strategies that the writer has used—strategies that you can activate when you write with a purpose.
Revising for Clarity: Subjects and their Verbs
Clear writing is presenting information so that it is easy for everyone to read and understand. Generally writing is considered clear and direct when there are identifiable subjects and verbs. This workshop will provide a step-by-step guide to untangling and revising unclear or convoluted sentences. We will focus on turning abstract nouns into concrete subjects and presenting crucial actions in verbs in order to make your writing clear and concise.
Selecting and Integrating Source Material
When reviewing outside sources for a research paper or analytical essay, how do you decide what information to include? And then, how do you go about integrating this material into your writing without the quotations appearing clunky, overwrought, or out of place? This workshop will help you learn how to select and integrate source material into formal writing assignments by exploring how to evaluate and introduce quotations and how to make analysis both clear and insightful.
This workshop teaches students how to create cohesion between sentences and paragraphs by using common transition words and highlighting key phrases.
Trimming the Fat: Writing Concisely and Avoiding Wordiness
Think about a tender, juicy cut of Filet Mignon, medium rare. Does anything ruin that first perfect bite like a mouthful of gooey fat? This experience is similar to that of a reader forced to read a sentence that sounds like this: “ For the first and earliest time in his short young life, Michael was experiencing and feeling the sensations commonly associated with love, an emotion he had never felt before.” It's a common misconception among beginning writers that using more words makes one's writing sound more intelligent. The opposite is true. The trick to good writing is to say as much as you can in as few words as possible. Trim the fat, leave the meat. This workshop will explore strategies for recognizing and removing this undesirable fattiness from your writing.
This workshop incorporates Latin and Greek roots to help you increase vocabulary, comprehension, and reading speed.
Writing under Pressure
Nervous about timed writing situations? Convinced you can't do it unless you had a couple more days and a 10 pound dictionary? In this workshop, you'll learn how to make a plan, use your time wisely, and most of all, approach the test with confidence and calm.
Writing with a Purpose
“I have all this stuff I want to say, but I’m just not sure how to structure it.” If you have done the research and sorted through all the information and have lots of ideas---but still no direction for your paper, pack up your notes and come to this workshop. We will explore the role that audience and purpose can play in helping you to imagine a useful structure for presenting that information to your audience.