New Media Institute’s John Weatherford selected as a 2015-16 CTL Writing Fellow

John Weatherford, a lecturer in the New Media Institute, is the first Grady College faculty member to be named a University of Georgia Center for Teaching and Learning Writing Fellow.  The fellowship program supports a select group of faculty in their efforts to include more writing in their courses.

“John brings cutting-edge technology to the classroom every day, so his appointment as a CTL Writing Fellow will benefit students in so many ways,” said Charles Davis, dean of the Grady College. “He’s a writer and a technologist, and thus ideally suited for this excellent program.”

Established in 2007 by the Office of the Vice President of Instruction, up to twelve faculty selected as CTL Writing Fellows meet regularly to discuss the most effective ways to teach and respond to student writing.  Fellows each receive $1,000 to subsidize projects aimed at constructing courses or initiatives that will support student writing.

Weatherford holds both a bachelor’s and master’s in English from UGA and spent five years as an instructor in the English Department in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. His courses covered topics such as Digital Media Literacy, Documentary Filmmaking, Writing for Nonprofits, and TED Talks. Since joining the New Media Institute in 2014, he's developed courses on native iOS application development using Swift, Apple's newest programming language, and on new media photography. He also serves on the steering committee for TEDxUGA as Director of Production and Photography.

Weatherford co-founded and serves as CFO of the Calliope Initiative, a non-profit open-source software project that designs web applications for writing courses.

“I’m really convinced of the value of writing—no matter what you’re learning—as a way of reflection, of defining thought and increasing retention of what you’re learning,” said Weatherford.

Participation in the Writing Fellows program has given him the opportunity to think more broadly and look at how faculty across campus are using writing, even in non-writing focused disciplines, he added.

Weatherford plans to use the stipend to purchase large form factor tablets that have the capability of combined pen, voice and touch input.  He will use them to research new ways to provide enhanced feedback to students about their writing projects.   

“In the New Media Institute, we are always interested in investigating new technologies. We think it will be valuable for us to learn how to improve the feedback we give our students,” he explained. “I think a lot of computing and classroom work is going in this hybrid direction, where it’s not just text. Hopefully, providing feedback with these new tablets and software will offer about the closest thing you can get to sitting down next to a student to discuss a paper without them actually being there.”

To view lists of current and former CTL Writing Fellows, visit www.ctl.uga.edu/faculty/former-writingfellows.  The application deadline for the 2016-17 fellowship class is April 18, 2015.

Date: January 4, 2016
Author:  Stephanie Moreno, s.moreno@uga.edu
Contact:  John Weatherford, jwiv@uga.edu