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Student Learning Commons: Writing workshops


During COVID-19, Student Learning Commons services continue.
For the complete range, including consultations, support, workshops, handouts, and groups, see SLC services continue online.  


co-curricular record approved badgeThis is a list of all writing workshops offered by the Student Learning Commons. 

All SLC Writing Workshops are recognized on the Co-Curricular Record (CCR), an official University document that tracks students’ co-curricular involvement at SFU. Learn more about the Co-Curricular Record.  

See Upcoming workshops: Student Learning Commons for currently offered workshops.

For further information about SLC workshops and services, contact us.

Note: Are you a professor or program leader interested in requesting a writing workshop for your course or group? Fill in our survey to place your request. With sufficient notice, you can request any of the workshops below or a combination of topics customized to meet your students' needs.

Academic Writing Refresher
This workshop offers a quick overview of strategies and skills for successful writing, with returning/ transfer/ mature students in mind. 

Educational Goals: 

  • Gain an understanding of strategies and skills that support successful academic writing;
  • Be encouraged to ask questions to demystify expectations around academic writing;
  • Reconnect with writing best practices;
  • Learn where to find support throughout the writing process. 

Academic Writing Q&A... or Top Things to Know About Academic Writing
This 50-minute session reviews the top 5 things most useful to know about academic writing. The rest of the session is dedicated to answering your burning questions (no matter how basic or complex) about academic writing and writing in the disciplines. You’ll take away some answers, including where to find more help when you need it!

Educational Goals: 

  • Learn about the qualities unique to academic writing as a genre;
  • Have the opportunity to dispel some misunderstandings about academic writing;
  • Feel more confident about what academic writing is and what it isn't; 
  • Know where to find more help when you need it.

Analyze This! From Summary to Critical Writing
Have you been asked to write a critical analysis but aren't sure how to approach it? Each discipline has its own requirements, but some common strategies can help. This workshop begins with a refresher about effective reading and summarizing, then shows you how to employ critical questions to help you transition from summary to analysis.

Educational Goals: 

  • Gain an understanding of common strategies for approaching critical analysis which are transferable across disciplines;
  • Learn to differentiate between summarizing, paraphrasing, and critical analysis and understand the value of each in academic writing;
  • Understand how critical questions can be employed to transition from summary to analysis. 

Better Paragraphs: Strengthening Argument and Organization
Clear, well-developed paragraphs generally have a certain set of characteristics, and you can learn what those characteristics are as a way to strengthen your writing! In this workshop, learn more effective ways to begin your paragraphs, create better flow, and avoid common paragraph errors. Strengthening your paragraphs also helps to provide an overall sense of organization in your writing and ensure that your arguments are clear and well-supported.

Educational Goals: 

  • Gain an understanding of the characteristics shared by clear, well-developed paragraphs;
  • Learn about the relationship between strong paragraphs and overall flow, clarity, and argumentation; 
  • Understand the role of paragraphs as the "building blocks" of academic writing;
  • Be able to draft and revise paragraphs more effectively for clarity. 

Claiming your Voice as an Academic Writer 

This workshop was originally developed for the Indigenous Student Centre and focuses on two of the principles outlined in Dr. Gregory Younging's book Elements of Indigenous Style (2018). This workshop begins by recognizing that academic institutions operate within colonial frameworks and asks how students can claim their own voices -- and their own knowledge -- within those frameworks. While these questions are particularly relevant for Indigenous students, they also arise for non-Indigenous students whose lives and experiences push against the white, Settler, colonial perspective. 

Educational Goals: 

  • Discuss and challenge assumptions about the "academic genre" of writing;
  • Gain an understanding of the principles in Elements of Indigenous Style
  • Learn ways to frame your writing for your audience, without giving up your voice; 
  • Think about ways to approach writing assignments in an academic context, including ways that may challenge assumptions made within the assignment. 

Hot Tips for Revising
Congratulations--you've drafted your paper! What's next? This workshop overviews a technique of revising higher-order concerns, then looking at the finer details of your piece. You'll also learn more about common errors that can trip up even strong writers. 

Educational Goals: 

  • Distinguish between Higher and Lower Order writing concerns;
  • Learn revision strategies that help you focus on higher order concerns first;
  • Gain insight into common types of writing errors and learn to spot them in your own writing. 

How to Argue Academically
Effective argumentation is a core requirement of many writing assignments across the disciplines. Yet students are often unsure how to write a clear and compelling academic argument. It isn’t the same as arguing with your partner or your parents! In this 50-minute session, learn the particular rules governing academic argument as well as tips for developing and defending a solid argument in your written assignments.

Educational Goals: 

  • Gain insight into the components of an effective academic argument;
  • Learn how to develop an academic argument; 
  • Understand the requirement to defend an academic argument with information gleaned from research sources; 
  • Distinguish between academic argumentation and other genres of academic writing.

Structuring Ideas Through Grammar
Improve your writing by learning how different grammatical choices can help you present and develop your ideas. Students are encouraged to bring copy of a paper they are currently working on to apply the techniques to their own writing.

De-cluttering your Prose
"Too wordy. Redundant. Be concise." If you've ever received these kinds of comments on your papers--or if you just want to take your style to the next level--this workshop is for you! Learn techniques you can use right away to help you pare your prose and write with greater clarity, succinctness, and power. Who knows, you may just find that your writing starts to bring you more joy as a result! 

Educational Goals: 

  • Gain an understanding of concise writing; 
  • Learn practical strategies for revising your own writing, with a particular emphasis on concision;
  • Make connections between concision and clarity in your writing. 

Don't Plagiarize! Ethical Source Integration 

You know you are supposed to avoid plagiarism. And you also know that you need to use evidence in your paper to support your arguments. You just aren't entirely sure how to accomplish both things. This is the workshop for you! 

Come learn how to ethically summarize, quote, and paraphrase from your sources. Sure, this workshop will help you to avoid plagiarism, but more importantly, it will also help you to deepen your understanding of your source materials, and demonstrate that understanding in your own writing. 

Educational Goals: 

  • Gain an understanding of ways to effectively and ethically use source-materials in academic writing;
  • Learn strategies to clearly attribute materials that you are quoting or paraphrasing;
  • Gain insight into options for integrating source materials within paragraphs;
  • Be able to find resources for using a range of citation styles. 

Welcome to Writing @ University!
This 50 minute workshop offers you a chance to get a head start on what's expected for successful academic writing. Learn about resources to plan your assignment, create sound arguments, organize your ideas, edit your own writing more effectively--and find more help when you need it.

Educational Goals: 

  • Gain an understanding of the expectations for successful academic writing;
  • Learn about the process of writing from planning, through argument development, organization and drafting, all the way to self-editing;
  • Be encouraged to establish good writing habits;
  • Be introduced to additional resources to support you in your writing at university.