Linda McCloud-Bondoc is the Academic Coordinator in charge of overseeing AU’s Write Site. As such, she supervises ?the entire range of Write Site services, which includes writing assessments, writing coaching, and selection and updating of online resources.? She is also ?responsible for collaborating with other departments at AU to develop appropriate writing resources and standards for use by students and staff.?
McCloud-Bondoc was hired as the part-time Write Site Coordinator in September of 2005, and maintained the position when it became full-time in 2007. Though she ?found out about the Coordinator’s position from an external, online ad,? her ?first contact with AU was as a student, many years ago.? While working on her undergraduate degree in communications, McCloud-Bondoc ?took an AU course in first year Economics and really enjoyed the independent study structure that AU offered.?
?I work from a home office in Calgary, and I make an effort to keep regular, 9-5 office hours,? McCloud-Bondoc says. ?It’s a habit I got into when I was doing my master’s thesis, and it works for me because I find I’m more focused and productive when I keep good boundaries between my work and personal life.?
?I usually start my day by checking my calendar for appointments or urgent projects that need work that day,? McCloud-Bondoc explains. ?If I have a RealTime coaching session, for example, I’ll meet with the student online via Elluminate, or I might attend a conference call with staff from EMD or SAS about a writing resource That’s in development. Then, once urgent matters are attended to, I might do a number of coaching sessions by email, or do some editing of a resource that is in production.?
?Because the Write Site does writing assessments for all MAIS students as part of their admission process, there might also be MAIS ELA assessments to mark and return. And, of course there are always the routine emails and inquiries and occasional crises to respond to. Every day is a bit different, and I really enjoy that,? she says.
When asked about her favourite aspects of the position, McCloud-Bondoc says that two things stand out. ?One is meeting with students in RealTime coaching sessions because this gives me an opportunity to connect person-to-person with the students. It also gives students an opportunity to ask questions?on the spot?about their writing. This, to me, is the ideal way to learn writing: interacting with a coach over a real writing assignment,? McCloud-Bondoc says.
?My other favourite part is working with other AU departments on systems and resources for the Write Site. This gives me a chance to brainstorm and problem-solve with some very talented people from across the university,? she explains. ?There’s nothing like the satisfaction of completing a collaboration like the Write Site Dropbox, which allows students to submit their assignments online, or the video paragraph resource, which helps students learn how to construct effective paragraphs.?
McCloud-Bondoc believes that the Write Site can provide great benefits to both students and their tutors. ?The coaching and online services? provided by the Write Site ?relieve faculty of some of the burden of teaching remedial writing while trying to teach course content. For example, if tutors or coordinators find that a student is hampered by poor writing skills, they can refer her to the Write Site for assessment, coaching or self-help resources. This leaves faculty with more time to focus on teaching the ideas and concepts in the course material.?
Students, meanwhile, are given ?a place to take their writing where they can learn by doing. In a non-threatening, low-stakes setting, coaches act as both ?friendly readers? and teachers, helping students to identify their unique patterns of writing errors, and thus teaching them to be better editors of their own work. Over a period of time, students at all levels of writing development learn to become better and more independent writers.?
?Most university teachers would agree that writing is an integral part of learning at university, so if students improve their writing skills, they will also enhance their ability to analyze and synthesize complex material,? McCloud-Bondoc notes. ?In other words, they will also improve their ability to learn.?
And AU is constantly striving to improve the services offered by the Write Site. In the next year, McCloud-Bondoc says, ?students can look forward to some new writing resources . . . as well as a new, more user-friendly Write Site, courtesy of the talented folks at the SAS Web Development Unit. we’re also working to make services more accessible to a greater number of students.?
Outside of work, McCloud-Bondoc tries ?to do something that takes [her] as far away from a computer as possible!? To this end, she does a lot of cycle touring. ?Last year, I did a weekend charity ride that took us through 200 kms of some of Alberta’s most beautiful foothills country. The back of a bike is absolutely the best way to really see the countryside!?
?I also enjoy photography and music, and at my ripe old age, I’ve just started to realize a lifelong dream to play the piano,? she says. ?And when I start to miss my computer too much, I do a bit of creative writing just to remind myself what it feels like to be a student of writing.?
?As far as professional development goes, I’m toying with the idea of returning to school for my doctorate in Education,? says McCloud-Bondoc, ?even though my husband covers his ears with his hands and makes ?nyah, nyah? sounds whenever I talk about it. Plans are still fluid at this point, but being the lifelong-learning devotee that I am, and working at AU, where I am surrounded by fellow devotees, I figure It’s only a matter of time. (Sorry, honey!)?