Creating Connections Symposium
The Creating Connections symposium is an annual event each spring that brings together UCLA instructors (graduate students, faculty, and all others interested in undergraduate education) from around campus for conversation around teaching generally, and writing pedagogy specifically. Each year, the symposium is organized by students in the Graduate Certificate in Writing Pedagogy in consultation with faculty and staff in UCLA Writing Programs.
The 6th annual Creating Connections symposium on writing pedagogy focused on the theme Generating Text: Teaching, Writing, and Learning in the Age of AI, and was part of the campus-wide “AI in Action” series. The half-day symposium featured interactive workshops on using ChatGPT and similar technologies throughout the writing process as well as a roundtable discussion on the practical and ethical questions surrounding use of ChatGPT in the writing classroom. The 2023 symposium was held in-person, with some participants joining on Zoom to watch remotely. Materials from the workshops are available on the event webpage.
The 5th annual Creating Connections symposium on writing pedagogy featured some new takes on previous topics like contract grading and multimodal composition, while also moving into new territory with a session on neurodiversity and accessibility and a collaborative session (with the EPIC-Lang conference) on intersections of writing and language pedagogy. Given our emphasis on accessibility this year, most sessions were held in a hybrid format, with both in-person and Zoom options.
The concept for the 4th annual Creating Connections symposium in 2021, Back to
Normal, challenged the notion that there was ever a “normal” where writing and language instruction is concerned, and encouraged instructors to think beyond our habitual practices as we planned our return to campus. We offered two remote workshops: Session 1 focused on creating and assessing multimodal assignments, and Session 2 focused on community building and collaborative learning. Both sessions centered antiracist student-driven pedagogy. We also held a brief mixer after session 2 where participants were invited to share favorite pandemic teaching practices to take with us post-pandemic.
In 2020, as we all grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic, our Creating Connections symposium became a remote event comprising three workshops over three days. The three workshops all responded to the challenge of “teaching writing remotely,” focusing on teaching multimodal composition remotely, challenges to student learning and wellness during the pandemic, and creative approaches to assessment, feedback, and grading.
Our 2019 symposium kicked off with two panels on scholarly-teaching connections: the first was on teaching as research, and the second was on building writing communities. The afternoon featured a roundtable on inclusive writing pedagogy, followed by four hands-on workshops led by graduate students: writing to learn, mapping to write/writing to map, writing about data, and writing pedagogy and creative practice.
Our inaugural Creating Connections symposium featured a workshop on inclusive writing pedagogy and an interdisciplinary faculty roundtable on teaching writing in and across disciplines. The theme of writing in the disciplines carried into our graduate student-led afternoon workshop sessions, which addressed four topics—assignment design/scaffolding, peer learning, course design, and reading/writing connections—from multidisciplinary perspectives.