Preparing My First Inservice

On February 18, I presented my first inservice (a staff professional development event for UCWbLers) about Using Assistive Technology in Writing Centers and, thankfully, I didn’t have much to do to prepare for the inservice. In WRD-582, Writing Center Theory and Pedagogy, I created an inservice as a part of my final research project for the class. When first creating the inservice, I was confused on what to include because I had only been to one inservice—was that enough to know how to make one myself?

When I created the inservice, I heavily relied on discussion and had one short activity at the beginning. In my mind, I thought discussion was the best way to engage with tutors; plus, everyone loves talking—they can’t hate discussion. However, once I had a meeting with Lauri, director goddess of the UCWbL, she shared her notes about my inservice. Lauri thought there were too many discussions and provided examples of what I could do in place of some of the conversations and demonstrations.

Her ideas help me see that discussions may not be the best approach to everything. In an inservice, diversity is more appreciated because it helps everyone focus, as well as challenges everyone to think in different ways. As I revised my presentation, I felt more confident with it because there were so many activities that would help tutors see the practicality of my topic.

I then had to work on revising materials. The first one I worked on was my agenda. I may have gone a bit overboard with my agenda—after each point, I underlined what time it should be when I got to that point, and at the end of the point, I wrote how long it should take in parentheses. I anticipated my frazzled self not knowing where to look on the page while giving the presentation, so I thought including two variations of time in different locations would improve my ability to find some amount of time that I could use to stay on track. I also bolded each of the activities or discussion points so that I would know when the tutors would be doing something:

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I also had to revise handouts consisting of an introduction to a mind mapping system, and a reference sheet to find speech-to-text and text-to-speech features on Windows and Macs.

While creating the handouts, I thought the worksheet would best serve tutors by showing them how to mind map, as well as what the different components would look like while mapping. For the reference sheet, I gave a step-by-step process for how to find the programs on the two operating systems.

I created those handouts so that tutors could take something tangible with them when they leave the inservice. It also provides an incentive for tutors to explore those materials in their free time.

After presenting my first inservice, I felt like tutors would benefit from the variety of activities and discussions, as well as the demonstrations of the assistive technology. I believe I constructed a helpful inservice that will benefit tutors and writers—I look forward to seeing tutoring using assisstive technology in appointments!

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Andrew D. says:

    I really like how you adopted the strategy of using a variety of methods, as well as providing tutors with something tangible. In other workshops I’ve attended–outside of the UCWbL–I’ve found that it’s hard to stay focused when there is only thing to focus on. It’s also cool how you ended up using your WRD 582 final project experience to continue holding inservices. If only I could have gone. I will certainly be on the lookout for next time, as I’m sure there’ll be plenty more haha. 🙂