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. There are different types of programs for the different modalities and the needs of our faculty as seen below. 

You can earn certificates in:

  • Active Reading Online: Reading Apprenticeship (Attendance at three 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 all four sessions required for the certificate.) 
  • Writing in the Disciplines (Attendance at two synchronous workshops, three asynchronous workshops, final consultation, and teaching artifact required for the certificate. On hold until Fall 2021.)


This semester in Reading and Writing in the Disciplines!  

Starting this Spring 2021 Semester CETL's RWID team will be hosting a Book Club! Please see our details below.

We have concluded our ALORA Certificate offerings.  But, we are still offering a Social Reading for Better Understanding webinar this spring.  Click here to register

Workshop Description: Did you miss CETL's popular Talking to the Text workshop--or simply want to help your students learn to annotate more effectively? Sign up for our new Social Reading for Better Understanding workshop. This hands-on workshop will help you introduce students to social reading, which can enhance peer-learning, knowledge building, and metacognition.  


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 writing practices and provide tips for lightening the grading load. 

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 her middle-grade novel We Could Be Heroes is forthcoming 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 will hold weekly office hours in Spring 2021. Her hours will be Mondays from 3:15 pm to 4:15 pm all semester in the CETL Virtual Support Room. You can also schedule an appointment with her or a CETL instructional designer by emailing us [email protected]

CETL Faculty Book Club Spring 2021 Certificate


BookClub badge an open book with a cup of tea


Looking to enhance your professional development, have fun, and make some work friends? Join CETL’s inaugural Faculty Book Club! Sign-up here!



The book 

This semester’s book club selection is Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDonald. 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 paper copy. The exact reading schedule will be shared with those who sign-up for the initial meeting. 

The when 

One-hour commitment per month. For Java Lovers: Fridays at 10:00 AM

For the Happy Hour Crowd: Wednesdays at 4:00 PM 

More logistics will be discussed at the initial meetings on Feb. 3 & Feb. 5.  

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 each month. 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 four sessions and you’ll earn a CETL Faculty Book Club Spring 2021 Certificate for Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning. But, really, it’s about community. 

Active Learning Online: Reading Apprenticeship Workshops and Descriptions

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

This pathway consists of 6 workshops. One required Initial, Self-Paced Workshop and 5 Elective Active Learning Teaching Practice, or shorter workshops. You'll need to complete the one initial, self-paced workshop and 3 of the 5 other electives to qualify for the final practice and 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. You should embed the video you made into the assignment or discussion board. 
  • Submit your completed assignment or discussion board.
  • Do an exit interview/consultation with a CETL staff member.

Active Learning and the Reading Apprenticeship Framework (prerequisite for all workshops in this series, now self-paced!)

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 practice using one of our favorite Active Learning Reading techniques, the Think Aloud!

Workshop Duration: Self-paced 

Please click here to register for this workshop.

Creating Safe & Collaborative Learning Environments 

Feedback that Counts

This active webinar will introduce instructors to the best ways to make reading part of the culture of your course. In this demonstration and practice, we will model how to do a classroom community agreement and reading list, to provide appropriate and safe conditions for teaching reading.

Workshop Duration: 45-minutes

Please click here to register for this workshop.

Evidence Interpretation Charts

Not your Grandma's Grammar WorkshopThis active webinar will introduce instructors to a best practice for making reading into an active process of understanding and reflection. In this demonstration and practice, we will model how to use Evidence Interpretations Charts with readings; both individually and collaboratively.

Getting the GIST

Creating Significant Writing Assignments This active webinar will introduce instructors to the power and struggle of making summaries. In this demonstration and practice, we will model how to use the GIST summary strategy as a more dynamic and reflective way to summarize texts both with and for students.

Reading Strategically

Working with EvidenceThis active webinar will introduce instructors to the best ways to make reading an active process for students. In this demonstration and practice, we will model how to preview readings with your students as well as how to use reciprocal teaching to add to layers of understanding and reading accountability.

Talking to the Text, with Perusall!

Working with EvidenceThis active webinar will introduce instructors to a best practice for making reading an active and metacognitive process. This webinar explicitly focuses on highlighting the Expert/Novice divide when it comes to reading. This is also a great webinar to practice using the social annotation tool, Perusall!

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Writing in the Disciplines Workshops and Descriptions

This pathway consists of 5 workshops. All workshops are required but focus on techniques 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 (prerequisite for all workshops in this series)

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 use them—paired with your disciplinary expertise--to help students with metacognition, transfer of knowledge, and real-world writing situations.

Workshop Duration: 1.5 Hours

Feedback that Counts

Feedback that Counts

Drowning in papers? Learn best practices for responding meaningfully to student writers without sacrificing your sanity or writing integrity. Please bring a student writing sample to practice on!

Workshop Duration: 1.5 Hours

Not your Grandma’s Grammar Workshop

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) deal with grammar demons.
Workshop Duration: 1.5 Hours

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. Please bring a writing assignment that you think might be ready for updating.
Workshop Duration: 1.5 Hours

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: 1.5 Hours

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