Final Project, Spring 2009

The Bosporus Project, An Overview:

bosporus bridge

Unlike a normal "research paper," this project allows you to make a real difference in the field and, maybe, in our world. For several years, Turkish and Greek academics have reached across the very real geopolitical, cultural, and linguistic barriers separating their nations. Thus the European Writing Center Association began a series of conferences. I first traveled to Turkey in 2005 and 2006, where I met several faculty participating in this bridge-building.

Dr. Dilek Tokay of Bogazici University in Istanbul is the consummate bridge-builder and cosmopolitan. She loves the Bosporus as place and metaphor. In 2006 I attended the EWCA conference and compared notes with Lebanese, Greek, Turkish, and German colleagues about writing centers. After a session about the architecture of Writing Centers, I wanted to continue sharing ideas across space and cultures. One night, from the deck of a boat giving a dinner-cruise of the Bosporus, I looked at the giant bridges that connect two continents. Then the idea came to me.

Bosporus Project Wiki (opens in new tab or window)

Your Roles:
When you join the student wiki that is part of the project, you may edit or create your own pages. My previous Eng. 383 section prepared short research projects in writing.

Your goal will be bolder: to work with a few peers from the class to select a worthwhile topic for a short video. It should interest an international audience of writing-center professionals. Of course, the language of instruction is English at the schools where we are working. Thus ESL topics will be useful. Peer tutors are rare in Turkey; I do not yet know about other nations.

The project will consist of a prospectus I will approve, and then a final project consisting of words and video.

Prospectus :
Due-Date is shown on our reading schedule. There will be a one-letter penalty on the final project grade for a late or incomplete prospectus.

In the prospectus, posted to your wiki, briefly discuss in at least 300 words about the area of writing-center work you think will be valuable to our international audience. I plan to share your prospectuses with Dr. Nuray Grove, who will visit our class to discuss teach English to speakers of other languages. If you plan to conduct any interviews, you must include a few likely questions you will be asking.

Also include an annotated bibliography of at least three possible sources for the topic, at least two from outside of the class readings. Each annotation should sum up, in a sentence or two, the source's focus and findings, if one exists.

A Few Ideas for Possible Topics:

  • A single writing technique in peer tutoring (coaching someone on key ideas in an introduction, helping when a writer does not understand how to use our library's bibliography builder)
  • A more conceptual piece that looks inside a writing classroom during peer-review or discussion of any assignment, with voice-over about the concepts at work
  • A series of interviews with student writers about a specific topic.
  • An interview with a high-school instructor about an issue in writing classes at this level of instruction.


  • Short essay (1000 words or so)
  • An annotated bibliography of at least half a dozen items to guide others to resources they can use in their training programs, Only one of which can come from our course readings--this gets you to do research and learn more for your own future work as tutors and Writing Fellows.
  • A video (5 minutes or so) that will illustrate the concept. While the video-clips at "Training for Tough Tutorials" provide a model for how tutoring-related topics may work, they are not linear in the sense this project will be.

Your audience will be professional tutors in Europe. You won't be able to teach this audience much about our theory, but perhaps you can help by making some of the heuristics we use in our center accessible in short documents. Think of how Ryan and Zimmerelli do this in The Bedford Guide for Writing Tutors.

How to begin:
You will want to begin with a few Turkish University sites; you will also want to consult the following resources in print or on-line:

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