OU’s Soundings Series to present ‘Nuts and Bolts,’ a hands-on writing workshop

OU’s Soundings Series to present ‘Nuts and Bolts,’ a hands-on writing workshop
Crystal VanKooten
Crystal VanKooten, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric at Oakland University, is one of three OU faculty members who will be sharing tips and tricks for crafting Tweets, composing short pieces for blogs and creating soundbites at the March 7 Soundings Series.

Oakland University’s popular Soundings Series will return on Wednesday, March 7 with a hands-on writing workshop led by three successful and publicly engaged OU faculty members who will be sharing tips and tricks for crafting Tweets, composing short pieces for blogs and creating soundbites about your work.


“Audio and video recording technologies can be useful to professors and scholars who want to share and promote their work beyond OU, and videos or recorded soundbites can now be easily shared online, linked on a website, or posted to sites like Facebook and Twitter,” said Crystal VanKooten, assistant professor of writing and rhetoric.


VanKooten completed her Ph.D. in English and education at the University of Michigan in 2014, specializing in new media, audio-visual composition and writing pedagogy. She is an avid video composer herself, and she has used and developed many audio-visual, digital, and multimodal assignments in the writing classroom with students.


“Recording tools give us an opportunity to share and discuss academic work in a format that uses words but also tone of voice, pacing and other sounds to communicate,” VanKooten said. “This is important as we communicate about our work to different audiences online, audiences that may have varying levels of interest in or background knowledge about our areas of expertise.”


Joining Professor VanKooten at the March 7 event will be Holly Shreve Gilbert, adjunct instructor of journalism and Oakland Post faculty advisor; and Julia Rodriguez, associate professor and nursing, health sciences and scholarly communications librarian.


“I’ll be talking about the ways faculty can repackage their research for a lay audience — specifically in press releases and short feature pieces that cut right to the significance and impact of the findings,” Gilbert said.


Holly Gilbert

A professional journalist, Gilbert has been teaching writing and media design at Oakland University since 1994. She also serves as the professional adviser for the OU Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and is the chief curriculum adviser for the journalism program.


“Separating fact from fiction has never been more challenging, and that makes it even more crucial that science-based research and empirical knowledge reach a popular audience,” Gilbert said. “Although the landscape has changed, the media still play a central role in informing the public about what happens in the world. That can and should include the work of scholars and academics.”


Also at the Soundings Series, Rodriguez will be discussing why it’s important for researchers to use social media, how to be deliberate in the creation of their digital identity and how to get their work seen and shared by a broad audience.


Julia Rodriguez

“Social media tools facilitate knowledge exchange by spontaneously connecting scholars across institutions and disciplines and allow for greater dissemination of research and ideas while also providing opportunities for public engagement,” Rodriguez said. “The hands-on session will focus specifically on using Twitter to communicate one's research and connect with communities beyond academia and provide simple best practices for using this tool.”


Participants in the March 7 Soundings Series are encouraged to bring their laptop and/or smartphone to use for writing and recording.


“The purpose will be for attendees to come, write and record during the workshop, and walk away with useful pieces they can post on Twitter, blogs and websites,” said Leanne DeVreugd, program assistant for Women in Science, Engineering and Research (WISER) at Oakland University.


The hands-on event, entitled “Nuts and Bolts: Writing Tweets, Brights and Soundbites,” will take place from 3-4:30 p.m. in the Oakland Room at the Oakland Center. To RSVP, contact Devreugd at ldevreug@oakland.edu.


For more information about this and other Soundings Series events, visit oakland.edu/research/soundings-series.