Winter 2018 Virtual Spotlight Sessions: Writing

Announcing the Winter 2018 Virtual Spotlight Sessions: Writing event sponsored by the CSST Steering Committee!

Dates: Monday, January 22 — Friday, January 26, 2018 (or Sunday, January 28 if your group chooses to work through the weekend)
Application Deadline: Monday, January 1
Application Link: (application deadline has past)

The VSS: Writing workshops are based on the fantastic Feminist Scholars Digital Workshop series, and we are incredibly grateful to the FSDW team, and Lori Beth De Hertogh, especially, for helping us start our own workshop series. Much of the content below is pulled directly from the FSDW guidelines.

What is Virtual Spotlight Session: Writing & How Does it Work?

Spotlight Sessions are an important part of the CSST Summer Institute. Our goal with the Virtual Spotlight Sessions is to capture some of the positive impact of spotlight sessions in events beyond the Summer Institute. The VSS: Writing workshops are our first foray into virtual events, and the goal is to enable participants to collaborate in small groups to exchange research projects (e.g., articles, chapters, syllabi, proposals) for feedback and peer review. Small groups are designed to be interdisciplinary and to encourage sociotechnical mentorship by bringing together scholars with varying levels of experience and expertise.

You are required to submit a draft of your project with your application, though you may update your draft before the workshop actually begins. The VSS: Writing organizing team will review applications lightly to ensure that applications contain drafts and that those drafts are related to sociotechnical research (broadly). If accepted, you’ll be placed in a small (4-6 people) group who will provide one another feedback on those drafts during the workshop. Each group will have an appointed leader whose responsibilities are outlined below. Do not be afraid to volunteer to be a group leader when you apply for the workshop – graduate students, especially, often make good group leaders.

The overall timeline is

  • January 1: Applications due
  • January 15: Groups finalized, Slack sign ups start
  • January 20: Group leaders make sure groups have a schedule and know their responsibilities
  • January 22: Workshop begins
  • January 26: Workshop ends (mostly)

How Much Does it Cost?


The VSS: Writing workshops are free to everyone who participates.

Who Should Attend?

Sociotechnical researchers who could use feedback on a current writing project and who are willing to provide constructive feedback to others.

What Do I Need to Bring?

  • a work-in-progress writing project (e.g., journal article, dissertation chapter)
  • a Google Drive account
  • a Skype and/or Google Hangout account

When & Where Does it Take Place?

Monday, January 22 — Friday, January 26, 2018 (or Sunday, January 28 if your group needs to work through the weekend). The majority of workshop activities will take place via Slack and Google Drive.

What if I have Questions?

Send them to Libby Hemphill. You can also access updates via Twitter under #CSSTVSSW

Guidelines for Group Leaders

  • Group leaders are responsible for helping manage the exchange of projects and for facilitating peer review. Leaders are also a resource for group members to go to with questions or concerns regarding peer review. Group leaders’ responsibilities include:
    • Ensuring that peer feedback is supportive and constructive.
    • Managing time to ensure that groups respond to everyone seeking feedback.
    • Answering general questions or concerns about the peer review process. All other questions should be directed to Libby Hemphill.
    • If group members decide to meet via Skype or Google Hangout, the group leader is responsible for coordinating meeting venues/times.

Guidelines for Manuscripts & Peer Review

  • Due to time constraints, please limit the length of work-in-progress projects to no longer than 8000 words. For longer pieces (e.g. dissertations, books) consider sharing key passages or excerpts. If you are sharing a multimedia project, consider how much of your project readers can feasibly review and respond to in one day.
  • If you do not have a project but would like to receive feedback on a project idea, consider sharing a list of questions you would like addressed. You might also share an outline of your project or a write-up that explains the project, its purpose, target audience, etc.
  • Share work-in-progress projects via Slack or Google Drive.

Guidelines for Writers

  • Prior to sharing your work, fill out the cover sheet for authors. As you do so, explain to readers your project, the kind of feedback you are looking for, and what you’d like to get out of the workshop. Keep in mind that readers are likely from disciplinary backgrounds different from yours and represent varying levels of experience and expertise.
  • It may also be helpful to share with reviewers what you are not looking for—e.g., grammar correction, feedback on formatting, style, etc.

Guidelines for Readers

  • Use a respectful tone when giving feedback. It’s fine to be critical, but do so in a supportive and constructive way. Remember that communication online can be perceived differently than in face-to-face settings.
  • Give advice on higher order concerns first. For instance, you might point to areas in the text where the writer’s ideas are unclear or confusing to you.
  • Give feedback on lower order concerns last. This includes feedback on grammar usage, punctuation, spelling, style, format, etc.
  • Provide feedback that reflects your perspective. You may not be familiar with the writer’s area of expertise or discipline, but your perspective is still valuable.
  • Offer a balanced combination of constructive criticism and positive feedback.