While the 2011 Summer Institute may be drawing to a close, for Chippewa River Writing Project participants, the writer’s journey is far from over. To many of these writers, E-Anthology is a tool that will help carry their experiences at the SI forward into the months to come.
Developed in 1997 by a group of teachers through the Dakota Writing Project, E-Anthology was adopted into the National Writing Project site in 2003. Today, it offers more than 2,500 participants from over 100 local writing projects continual opportunities for growth and collegiality. The purpose of E-Anthology is multifold. Various forums allow writing project participants to share “day in the life” snapshots of their summer institute experiences with colleagues across the nation, as well as participate in pedagogical discussions concerning both teaching and writing. For many of the CRWP participants, however, one of E-Anthology’s most attractive features is a forum that allows members to share and respond to personal pieces of writing they wish to develop further.
“I more accurately define myself as an Internet ‘consumer’ than ‘producer’,” confesses CRWP co-director Liz Brockman, “but posting on the E-Anthology makes me a producer–at least this once!”
This experience was shared by CRWP teacher participant Jennifer McDougall, who used E-Anthology to help polish her final portfolio project for the SI. Receiving feedback from other NWP members on a personal narrative she had posted allowed McDougall to view her writing in ways she had not previously imagined.
“I was a little hesitant at first,” McDougall admits. “I started reading and responding to pieces I saw posted from colleagues I was familiar with. Once I got more comfortable, I picked a piece and just put it up there. I asked for suggestions to improve it, and I really got some good feedback from someone I didn’t know in Pennsylvania.”
McDougall’s experience highlights what, perhaps, E-Anthology does best: it offers participants new avenues for growth both personally and professionally.
“It makes this community we share a lot larger,” McDougall observes. “I love what we’ve been doing here at the Summer Institute, and this made the picture even bigger and more meaningful. These are the kinds of sites that keep up going.”
For more information on the E-Anthology, or to learn how your site can participate, check out the National Writing Project’s website.