Make progress on your assignments with the WDC!

Tuesday 29th October is shaping up to be an exciting day for us all here at the Writing Development Centre as it will mark the launch of our brand new ‘…with the WDC’ workshops. What makes the launch even more exciting is that it will introduce a brand new format into our range of provision. For these are workshops with a difference. Instead of spending most of the session sitting listening to one of us speaking, you’ll be able to bring your assignments along and use the time to make progress in a supportive, distraction-free environment. We’ll be on hand to provide you with a structured session, along with strategies and techniques you can try on your own work. You will also have the chance to reflect on and discuss your approach to studying and writing with your peers.

‘…with the WDC’ workshops will take place three times a week in the Writing Development Centre (we’re on Level 2 of the Philip Robinson Library, which is, somewhat confusingly, the entrance level). The sessions will run on a first-come, first-served basis so there’s no need to book; just turn up ready to make progress with your assignments. To do this, you will need to bring your work with you on paper or a fully charged laptop or device given that the sessions will not be taking place in computer cluster.

The sessions we have on offer for you this semester are:

Kickstart Your Assignment … with the WDC!

This session is for everyone who’s ever been given an assignment title and thought: “Where do I start?!” So, yes: this session is for everyone!! We’ll help to make this stage more manageable with a set of activities that will take you through: 

  • Narrowing the question down and finding ‘an angle’ 
  •  Analysing the question/task to work out what markers are looking for 
  • Planning your reading: considering what to read and how much to read!

Bring your current question/task along and get ready to kickstart your assignment!

This session will take place on: 

  • Tuesday 29th October: 10am-12pm 
  • Thursday 7th November: 2pm-4pm 
  • Tuesday 26th November: 10am-12pm 
  • Thursday 6th December: 2pm-4pm

Top tip! You may still like to attend this session even if you’ve already started your assignment. Our strategies and techniques can help you double-check that you’re on the right track and producing the best work that you can.

Strategic Reading and Notetaking … with the WDC!

Need to avoid getting swamped by your reading? Don’t fancy becoming a human photocopier? Want to read more critically? This is the session for you, with a set of activities that will take you through: 

  • Identifying your purpose – what are you reading for? – and the strategy to achieve it  Experimenting with critical reading techniques 
  • Reviewing your current notetaking strategy and experimenting with new ones
  • Remember to bring some of the reading for your current assignment! This session will take place on: 
  • Thursday 31st October: 2pm-4pm 
  • Tuesday 5th November: 10am-12pm 
  • Tuesday 12th November: 10am-12pm 
  • Thursday 28th November: 2pm-4pm

Write Here, Write Now! … with the WDC

Our regular writers’ group is here to: 

  • Provide you with a supportive, structured, distraction-free environment in which to get some work done 
  • Help you work towards a clearly defined writing goal for the session – such as drafting a particular section or achieving a specific word count 
  • Encourage you to reflect on your existing writing process and discuss your practice with peers
  • Highlight techniques and strategies that you can use to maintain your writing momentum – and help beat procrastination and writers’ block – beyond the session

You can use Write Here, Write Now! for any writing-related activity, including planning or outlining and editing and revising. Remember to bring your assignment materials and/or devices with you! These sessions will take place every Wednesday from 10am-12pm from 30th October to 11th December.

Editing Your Work … with the WDC!

You’ve got your thoughts down on paper and it all makes sense to you. But could someone else follow your argument? Does the structure flow? Are your points clear? Our editing session comprises a series of activities that will take you through: 

  • Writing for a reader 
  • Structuring paragraphs 
  • Transition and cohesion 
  • Ensuring relevance: need to know or just nice to know?! 
  • Unpacking and developing your points

Bring your current assignment and get ready to make it as good as it can be! These sessions will take place on: 

  • Thursday 14th November: 2pm-4pm 
  • Tuesday 19th November: 10am-12pm 
  • Thursday 21st November: 2pm-4pm

Refresh Your Revision Strategies … with the WDC!

How much am I expected to remember?! What are markers really looking for? Why isn’t it going in?! We’ve all been there. Take some of the stress out of exam season with our workshop, which features a set of activities that will take you through:

  • Establishing what exams are really testing
  • Selecting: what should be in your ‘Store Cupboard of Knowledge’?! (Don’t worry; we’ll explain!)
  • Memorising: evaluating your current approaches and considering new ones
  • Discussing and comparing revision strategies with peers

Bring your current revision notes along with you!

These sessions will run on: 

  • Tuesday 10th December: 10am-12pm 
  • Thursday 12th December: 2pm-4pm.  We’ll be running more revision sessions in January, along with sessions for Dissertation students throughout Semester 2.

Keep an eye on our website for further details. We’re really looking forward to launching these workshops and to welcoming you all along. If you have any questions about ‘..with the WDC’ or if you have any suggestions for future workshops you’d like to attend, don’t hesitate to drop us an email at

Write here, write now!

NOTE: these sessions ran in the summer of 2015 – we’d be happy to run another series if there’s demand!

Now that the semester has ended, and the long summer vacation has begun, the library has really started to quieten down. For those of you who are Masters students working on your dissertations or PhD students looking forward to getting some concentrated writing done over the summer, it’s a great opportunity to find some quiet study space now library seats are no longer in demand from undergraduates revising for their exams.

And yet… many of us find that lots of unstructured time is harder to work with, with no other commitments to break up the day or week, and little reason to do today what can be put off til tomorrow. It can be a struggle to find the motivation to work productively over the summer, and to develop a routine which will help you keep going. Writing can also be a solitary practice, and if there are no peers around to support us, cheer us on and keep us on track, we can start to flag. Those of us who encounter issues like writer’s block, perfectionism, procrastination or loss of focus or motivation in the course of our writing can feel particularly isolated during the summer.

If this is your experience, you might be interested in the initiatives offered by the Writing Development Centre and by Student Wellbeing.

The WDC will be running regular Write Here, Write Now! sessions over the summer. There aren’t formally taught workshops – they are simply a space during the day in which to sit down with others and create a productive and encouraging environment in which to get some focussed work done. The sessions are facilitated by the WDC tutors, but our role is simply to get you writing with a few quick warm-up exercises, and then to give you the space to write, together with others who are similarly focussed. This approach is based on the work of Rowena Murray, a researcher who has written a great deal on graduate student work, and similar sessions have been very popular at other universities. The WDC tutors will also be hosting writing clinics following these sessions, for quick queries and consultations alongside our usual tutorials which are still available over the summer.

Update! Write Here, Write Now sessions will run:

  • Tuesdays 2-4, Tees Cluster

  • Thursdays 10-12, Tees Cluster

  • between 21st July – 27th August

No need to book, just come along with something to work on! Of course, there’s no reason why you can’t set up your own writers’ groups with your peers – if you’d like to explore this, then here are our slides so you can see how we do it!

Student Wellbeing will be offering its ‘Want to Work group’ over the summer. This group is aimed at students who are struggling to move forward with their studies, for whatever reasons. These may include procrastination, difficulties concentrating/focussing or lack of motivation or/and interest. The group welcomes students who are stuck with part or all of their work. Rather than looking at study skills, the group will take a Solution Focused approach – exploring possible ways forward by identifying what works as opposed to what does not. Please contact Rob at if you’re interested – the group will run as soon as there are enough students signed up.

 Update! Want to Work group will run:

  • beginning 27th July, 2pm

  • running for 4 weeks

    See Wellbeing for more information including booking