Writing and Communication Centre Workshops

The Writing and Communication Centre offers free online, asynchronous workshops for our UWaterloo students and postdocs on topics related to writing and communication.  

Find them on LEARN by self-registering for our course, “WCC Workshops.”  

These workshops will guide you through the writing process, whether you’re getting started on a writing project and need help planning, want to learn strategies for revising your own writing, or need guidance on how to share your ideas in presentations or online. We also have workshops that introduce you to different academic and professional genres, so if you’ve been asked to write something you’ve never had to write before, or workshops can give you the information you need to get started.  

All our workshops have been developed by our expert WCC staff and are designed to help you understand principles of communication, reflect on what it means for you as a communicator, and practice the skills you’ve learned.  

Accessing our workshops

To access our workshops, you'll need to self-register for “WCC Workshops” on LEARN.  

  How to self-register on LEARN: 

  1. Log into the LEARN website using your UWaterloo credentials 
  2. Click on Self-Registration in the menu at the top of the LEARN homepage 
  3. Scroll down to WCC Workshops and click on the link 
  4. Follow the registration instructions on LEARN 

Workshop Descriptions

Getting Started Workshops

Writing at the university level

This workshop is designed to help first-year students navigate the transition to writing at the university level. We discuss some common challenges and break down key differences between writing in high school and university. We also cover different academic writing genres, to give you a taste of what you might see in an assignment, and strategies for success.

Available on LEARN

Writing at the university level (STEM focus)

This workshop is designed to help first-year students navigate the transition to writing at the university level. We discuss some common challenges and break down key differences between writing in high school and university. We also cover different forms of writing to give you a taste of what you might see in a STEM assignment, and strategies for success.

Available on LEARN

Breaking down assignments 

This Writing and Communication Centre workshop was created specifically with first-years in mind. We've created a general guide to completing any university-level written assignment, followed by more specific guides for completing a lab report, a research essay, a reflection, a journal review, and a case study report. Depending on your discipline, you can pick and choose which guides are most relevant for you.

Available on LEARN

Your ideal writing process

This Writing and Communication Centre workshop was designed for first year students to help you decide which writing strategies and habits work best for you so you can forge your own path to confidently take on any writing assignment that comes your way.

Available on LEARN

From topic to thesis

This workshop helps you select an appropriate topic and teaches strategies for turning that topic into a thesis statement. 

Available on LEARN

Organizing your writing

This workshop helps you learn how to lay down the foundation of their paper with a focused thesis statement and how to construct a complete paragraph in an academic essay. This workshop also goes over transitions at the sentence-level, paragraph-level, and section-level. 

Available on LEARN

Getting it done: Productive writing strategies for big projects 

In this workshop for graduate students, you will learn what researchers who study the writing process have discovered about how to set goals, manage the moving pieces of a large project, and establish an effective writing practice. This workshop is for you whether you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of writing a dissertation or thesis, don’t know where to start, or have trouble getting started at all. First, you will reflect on your current writing practice to identify what adjustments might help you to make consistent, sustainable progress on your project. Then you will be introduced to a wide range of strategies for making those adjustments and have opportunities to practice them.

Available on LEARN

Design & Deliver l 

Preparing to deliver a dynamic presentation? This module explores how to organize your information in an engaging way so you can connect with your audience to help take the fear out of presenting! 

Available on LEARN

Design & Deliver ll 

Good visual design can have a big impact on how your audience responds to and understands your ideas. This module covers how to make decisions about what kind of visual support to use, teaching some basic visual design principles, and helping practice making an engaging, coherent slide deck using the Assertion-Evidence Model to support your presentation. 

Available on LEARN

Group Communication  

Want to improve your group communication skills? This workshop looks at methods to conduct group work effectively, and problem-solving techniques for different group dilemmas. 

Available on LEARN

Basics of Podcasting 

Working on a podcast? Podcasts are a great way to communicate information as people prefer to listen rather than read. This module covers the basics of podcasting. 

Available on LEARN

Public Scholarship Online 

Want advice on how to be a public scholar? This module focuses on how you can use Twitter as a quick and easy way to start experimenting with new language, personas, and audiences. 

Available on LEARN

Research Workshops

Be sure to also check out the Library’s online workshops which will help you with your research.

How to read for research

This workshop helps you learn how to read strategically and critically, and how to take notes for research. 

Available on LEARN

Writing to learn

This WCC workshop is designed to introduce students to a learning strategy called Writing to Learn. We’ll cover what “Writing to Learn” means, how it’s helpful, when it can be used, and how you can apply it to your studies to help you succeed.

Available on LEARN

Research statements for academic job applications

This asynchronous workshop module that will introduce you to the research statement: a genre often required as part of application packages for tenure-track faculty positions. You'll learn what information the research statement needs to contain, see sample structures you might use to organize your document, and get a sense of what this document needs to accomplish.

Available on LEARN

Say it in your own words: Paraphrase & summary for undergraduate students

Paraphrasing and summarizing are a crucial part of academic integrity. The Say It in Your Own Words: Paraphrase & Summary for Undergraduate Students module can help you learn skills on how to integrate research into your own work for improved credibility by: 

  • Teaching you how to use citations to engage in conversations within research communities. 
  • Helping you understand the difference and utility of paraphrasing versus summarizing. 
  • Teaching you how to integrate sources into your writing. 

Available on LEARN

Say it in your own words: Paraphrase & summary for graduate students

Paraphrasing and summarizing are a crucial part of academic integrity. The Say It In Your Own Words: Paraphrase and Summary for Graduate Students modules can help you enhance your skills on how to integrate research into your own work for improved credibility by:  

  • Helping you recognize the distinct roles of effective summary, paraphrase, and direct quotation. 
  • Helping you apply strategies to paraphrase and summarize at the word and sentence levels. 
  • Teaching you how to write a complete in-text citation by applying signal strategies. 

Available on LEARN

Revising, Editing, & Polishing Workshops

Getting and giving feedback 

Peer review. Love it or hate it, it's part of the writing process for academic, professional, and business writing. This Writing and Communication Centre workshop was designed with first year students in mind. We'll teach you how to get the most out of your review sessions so you can improve your own writing.

Available on LEARN

From big picture to final details: Revising and editing your academic paper 

You have a paper to hand in and have written it completely. The bulk of the work is done! But how do you make sure that your paper is well-written and that it’s ready to submit? If you are publishing an article, how can you revise it so it’s ready to go to peer review? This workshop will take you through the full revision and editing process—from the “big picture” revisions to the sentence-level final details—to help you construct a strong, concise, and well-organized paper that resonates with your audience.

Available on LEARN

Grammar Studio Series (Parts 1, 2, and 3) 

Explore the ways that words and phrases fit together. Build simple and complex sentences. Learn how to spot your own mistakes. Make your writing flow.

This three-part series* welcomes undergraduate and graduate students at all levels of experience to explore the mechanics of English, experiment with how its pieces fit together, and correct mistakes and misunderstandings on your own.

  • Workshop 1: The most common grammar trouble spots
  • Workshop 2: Advanced sentence structure and punctuation
  • Workshop 3: Clarity at the sentence level

*These three workshops build on each other. For best results, we recommend taking them in order.

Available on LEARN

Science Communication Workshops

Introduction to STEM writing 

Effective communication in STEM writing requires you to consider your audience, context, and purpose. In this workshop, you will apply these basic rhetorical elements to lab reports to examine the structure and purpose of each section, which serve as building blocks for further writing in STEM. Additionally, you will learn strategies for incorporating quantitative data into your writing to further support your findings. This workshop is for students who have no prior experience with writing lab reports and students who want to refine their writing skills to prepare for a research-based thesis.

Available on LEARN

Writing with quantitative data 

This workshop helps you learn how to integrate quantitative data to help you create a comprehensive story with your writing. 

Available on LEARN

Principles of Clarity in Scientific Writing 

The best scientific writing is clear, concise, and easily comprehended by its intended audience. Learn skills for writing in the sciences, including identifying and correcting common errors to write with precision and fluidity. You will work through several examples to apply the skills you learn in the workshop.

Available on LEARN

Science Communication Workshop Series

Science Communication is the communication of technical information from an expert to non-expert audience. This series of workshops helps students understand what Science Communication is, how and why they should engage in it, where they might find it, and how to create their own effective communication depending on purpose, audience, and context. 

Available on LEARN 

Written Genre Workshops

Writing a Policy Brief 

We're going to teach you what policy briefs are and how to write them, so that you can feel confident writing policy briefs in both academic and professional contexts.

Available on LEARN

Critical Analysis  

We're going to teach you what critical analysis is and how to do it, so that you can feel confident engaging with texts and sharing your ideas. 

Available on LEARN

Writing an Op-Ed  

We're going to teach you strategies to engage your audience, structure your argument, and integrate analysis into your op-ed to help you craft a piece that is both persuasive and exciting for your audience to read.

Available on LEARN

Statements of Positionality  

Statements of positionality are increasingly common requirements in academic writing, from dissertations to journal articles to job applications. You may also hear them referred to as “reflexivity statements” or “social location statements.” 

No matter what you call them, statements of positionality are about communicating the relationship between the researcher and the research – specifically, how the researcher's lived experiences and position in the world influence this relationship. 

We at the Writing and Communication Centre have designed this workshop to teach you what a statement of positionality is and how to write one, so that you can feel confident sharing your positionality with your readers as an emerging scholar in your field.

Available on LEARN

Graduate Literature Reviews A: Organizing Research 

Literature reviews are a keystone of academic writing. This workshop will show you how to set up a methodical process for your literature review. It will guide you through developing a research question, establishing a search strategy, taking effective notes, and organizing your research so that you are ready to write. Workshop activities are focused on applying the strategies the workshop introduces to your own work.

Available on LEARN

Graduate Literature Reviews B: Writing It 

You’ve already conducted an effective search process and taken effective, well-organized notes using the strategies from Literature Review Part A. Now in Part B, learn to situate your research within the body of existing related scholarship. This workshop will help you move from taking notes to drafting your literature review. You will learn how best to organize and present the research so that your literature review highlights your contribution to the field and fits the conventions of your own discipline.

Available on LEARN

Tri-Agency Scholarships 

This workshop walks you through how to plan and write the critical research proposal portion of your SSHRC, NSERC, or CIHR application. It includes a discussion of the key components of research proposals and will also learn how to communicate your research plan and your credentials with confidence and clarity.

Available on LEARN

Writing and Articulating your Diversity Statement 

This 45-minute module is a collaboration between the Writing and Communication Centre and the Centre for Career Action. By completing it, you'll learn about diversity statements as a genre, reflect on your own commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion, and practice articulating that commitment both in writing and in an interview or networking situation.

Available on LEARN