Corpus and Repository of Writing

In May of 2020, Crow members Ashley Velázquez, Hadi Banat, and Shelley Staples hosted a workshop with Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) faculty and students. Originally, our workshop was intended to be held during TESOL’s International Conference in Denver, Colorado. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, we were not able to attend TESOL this year, but we were able to continue our Outreach efforts by advertising our workshop with interested parties. To our delight, several folks at MSU Denver were excited to participate in a virtual workshop with us to learn more about Crow’s online corpus and how our corpus can be used for innovative teaching and research, teacher-training, and its usefulness for Writing Centers.

Slide from our presentation, reading "Using the Corpus and Repository of Writing for Teaching and Research." Two images: concordance lines showing a query for "research," and a cartoon of people of diverse ages, genders, and races saying "Hello" in multiple languages.
“Using Crow for Teaching and Research,” our slide deck

In alignment with our goals for our ACLS Digital Extension Grant, outreach efforts this year have primarily focused on expanding our corpus to include representation of multilingual writers to a new population of heritage Spanish writers at the University of Arizona while also reaching out to other institutions that serve this population of students. MSU Denver is a newly designated HSI, or Hispanic Serving Institution, so it was fitting that we were able to introduce Crow to this particular audience.

Our workshop with MSU focused on both teaching and research. Unlike past workshops, we focused on building an explicit relationship between teaching and research that was accessible to those who have little to zero experience with corpus linguistics. Additionally, unlike other workshops, our audience members, except for one, were all teachers in training and writing center tutors in training, enrolled in the RIDES program. Finally,  we were invited to conduct this workshop as part of a mentoring course for the RIDES program. Until now, the majority of our workshops have been held at, or alongside, conferences (excluding our workshops at Wright State University and Universidad de Sonora). 

We introduced our online corpus by starting with a few simple searches and introducing participants to the various filtering options and asked participants to examine the different information available during these searches while also demonstrating the connection between our corpus and our repository. After demonstrating a few searches, we asked our audience to think of how we might use such searches (e.g., transitions and synonyms) for developing classroom and tutoring-specific activities. For example, for synonyms, we may want to help students develop their vocabulary by noticing nuanced differences between near synonyms like important and significant. Teachers can help students discover and notice these differences by providing authentic examples of these synonyms in use and guiding them with questions and corpus-based activities. 

Finally, we introduced the audience to the repository interface features and the metadata pertaining to the pedagogical materials we are collecting. For example, workshop participants explored the repository searchability tool and filters to look for specific pedagogical materials pertaining to certain assignment genres of interest. By going through metadata filters such as institution, year, semester, course type, modality and length, they got a better sense of the variety in pedagogical materials across Crow sites. We then demonstrated some searches with the repository, focusing specifically how assignment handouts, syllabi, rubrics, and classroom materials may be used during a tutoring session in the writing center and for the purposes of tutor-training. 

What did we learn from hosting the workshop?

The writing center tutors in training at MSU Denver will be part of the RIDES program, a writing center intervention that supports culturally and linguistically diverse students with practical language skill instruction, sometimes not prioritized in a writing center consultation. The audience of tutors were not familiar with corpus driven methods as pedagogical interventions. The time we spent introducing data-driven learning (DDL) pedagogical activities helped them consider nontraditional activities they can use in writing center consultations. One such activity is our “Transition words” activity. This activity introduces students to a variety of transition words and walks them through the process of noticing the types of transition words used, where they’re located in sentences, and the structures used with each transition word. 

Our main takeaways as Crow researchers and teachers keen on sustaining outreach to diverse audiences at Hispanic Serving Institutions are the following:

  • Novice Corpus Users: Continue expanding our reach to audiences who do not have prior experience with corpus linguistics and make corpus-based pedagogical approaches accessible and approachable to nontraditional audiences like writing center tutors, teachers in training, and under-represented minorities.
  • Scaffolded Workshops: Develop a series of workshops, specific to the needs of  novices in corpus linguistics, that scaffolds corpus-based teaching and research. This  may be a beneficial step towards unpacking threshold concepts and making corpus linguistic methods less intimidating.
  • Undergraduate Audiences: Strategically reach out to undergraduate students and make our workshops accessible to this population. This is especially relevant since Crow has experience with working with undergraduates on our research team.
  • Teachers in Training: Explore opportunities to work with teachers in training who may not have sufficient TESOL or TESL background and training. Sometimes lack of training is due to lack of resources, and this realization further helps us address the ACLS funded outreach goals for Crow. 
  • Writing Center Directors: Build relationships with writing center directors who are keen on introducing new pedagogical interventions for writing center consultations and in tutor training programs. Writing center tutorials usually focus on tutee writing, so shifting the paradigm towards mentor texts could be a beneficial intervention with tutees who need more language instruction support. This paradigm shift honors descriptive vs. prescriptive approaches and defies the deficit model in tutoring multilingual writers. 

We thank Rachel Hawley for inviting us and helping us attract an audience. We look forward to applying what we’ve learned to our next workshops. 

We are pleased to share that Crow researchers will be hosting a series of workshops targeted at teacher-scholars who, like us, value inclusive approaches to studying and teaching writing. These free hands-on workshops will be held on Zoom, making them accessible to people across the globe.

Our first workshop, “Corpus Data Scraping and Sentiment Analysis,” will be hosted by Adriana Picoral, PhD, assistant professor of data science at the University of Arizona. 

Flyer for Crow workshop Nov 10, 2020
Workshop flyer. PDF also available.

Corpus Data Scraping and Sentiment Analysis
Saturday, November 7, 10am to 12pm (Arizona Time/MST)

In this workshop, we will scrape Amazon for reviews using the rvest R package to build a corpus of product reviews. We will then do some sentiment analysis from a critical perspective. We welcome to this workshop corpus linguists that are not yet familiar with R but interested in expanding their coding skills.

Register through Zoom. For more information, please contact Dr. Picoral.

Future workshops will include other subject matter including grant writing, developing distributed teams, applying for dissertation fellowships, building learner corpora, and more. Got a workshop suggestion? Let us know!

This is the first in a series of posts where Dr. Swatek will share the work she’s doing with the Scholarly Communication Research Group in Poznań, Poland.

Grant writing is a process that is notoriously difficult: even if you have a team of the best writers working on your grant, the chances of winning are slim. As a member of the Crow team, I have witnessed or participated in a few grant writing processes. This proved to be a very useful experience as I neared the completion of my academic studies at Purdue.

Dr. Aleksandra Swatek, on interview day at the National Science Center

In January 2019,  I was getting ready for graduating from the Second Language Studies program that was my home for five years. It was time to face the inevitable transition to Poland, a plan that I had from the very first year of my PhD. As a Fulbright grantee, I knew that my mission was to come back to my country one day, to share what I learned. 

Throughout my graduate education, I always closely monitored the Polish higher education news, academic job market, and development of grant schemes that might provide me with employment. In May 2019, with the end of my program in sight, as most of my cohort was going through the gruelling process of academic job market searches in the USA, I was trying to plan for the unknown politics and process of the Polish academia. The most viable path was securing my own funding for academic work. This blog post, which will be the first of a series, describes my process of selecting and applying for the Poland National Science Center Sonatina grant, which is funding my current project. 

Finding Opportunities 

There are two main funding agencies in Poland for supporting academic research: the National Science Center (NSC) and The Polish National Exchange Agency (PNEA). They offer grant opportunities for early career scholars, with some programs targeting scholars educated abroad. NSC is a well-established institution, founded in 2011, with grant schemes with multiple editions and rules that remain steady from year to year. The PNEA is a new agency, whose grant schemes are constantly being improved and altered to better serve the mission of internationalizing and promoting Polish science abroad. This poses a challenge for anyone who wants to apply, and proved to be an obstacle for me—as I chose one of the grant programs, the rules changed in the edition I was planning to apply, completely altering my plans. 

Networking

Quite early in the process of analyzing possible opportunities from both agencies, I realized I needed a host institution willing to partner with me. My MA studies in Poland were focused on philology, meaning the small academic network I developed in the past included scholars working in completely different areas. To find the right fit for my current research—in terms of program, people, and environment—I had to reach out to scholars I have not worked with previously.

None of my very limited connections closely followed research on Polish scholars and academic writing in English. This led me to the blog Warsztat Badacza (Researcher’s Craft) written by Dr. Emanuel Kulczycki. The blog often featured summaries of research articles related to academic research evaluation and productivity of scholars from Poland and other European countries. Although his work was not exactly focused on writing research, it helped me understand the structural issues related to academic publishing in the region. I reached out to Dr. Kulczycki in the summer before my graduation, while I was in Poland visiting family in June 2019, and met up with him for coffee. As we talked about our own careers and interests related to academic writing and publishing, it became clear that I would fit well into the Scholarly Communication Research Group at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. 

Initially, I wanted to apply for a grant for returning Polish scholars, but as the program opened in February 2019, the rules changed and I was no longer eligible to apply. Dr. Kulczycki suggested instead the Sonatina grant from the National Science Center. It was February, and the deadline was March 15th. At the same time, I was working on finishing my dissertation. It was a very tight timeline for conceptualizing, drafting, revising, and submitting the proposal. 

Grant Writing & Feedback

The grant proposal delineated a project that aligned with my dream research agenda: to examine second-language (L2) writing practices in Poland. Within the larger research agenda, I decided on the most viable and interesting project: the writing practices of early-career scholars in four academic disciplines in social sciences and humanities. While there is a sustained research inquiry into practices of early-career scholars in the United States or China, there has been no research done in the Polish context. Using the knowledge and skills gained in the graduate programs at UMaine and Purdue, I designed a mixed-methods study that will allow me to examine the motivations and skills of early career scholars in terms of their academic writing in English.  

In the process of drafting the proposal, I relied on the feedback from Dr. Kulczycki, Dr. Aleksandra Kasztalska (my longtime friend and academic research collaborator, able to read both English and Polish text), Dr. April Ginther (the co-chair of my dissertation and my advisor), and my partner Dr. Robert Ariel (who has a keen eye for academic writing). The final version was also read by Dr. Michelle McMullin, who provided comments from a more rhetoric and composition perspective. With a tight deadline, I knew I was also putting some strain on the circle of people who were giving me feedback.

Sonatina proposals go through two levels of review before they reach the final stage. The first round of reviews was completed by anonymous internal reviewers, who reappeared in the interview stage to ask questions. The second round of reviews came from four anonymous international scholars. The range of depth and scope of the review in that round was disparate, with one of the reviewers providing very short, negative feedback, and another one providing thoughtful, enthusiastic feedback. In the whole process, I was aware how unlikely it was that my project would be reviewed by anyone who studies writing from an applied linguistics perspective, especially one situated in the North American tradition. Reaching a non-expert audience was always on my mind, but seeing how researchers from other fields read and commented on the project was enlightening. 

Grant Interview 

The National Science Center requires pitch-style interviews as the final stage of the process. The most difficult part of this was not knowing who would be part of the interview panel, specifically what disciplines would be represented. This goes back to the most important information for any communication event: knowing your audience. Polish academia is still somewhat foreign to me. Despite growing up in Poland and spending time getting my first MA degree in the country, my familiarity with academics from social sciences and the humanities is scant, especially in a non-teaching context. 

Ahead of time, I decided to present my work in English, my academic first language, and to take questions in Polish. In that process, in a very tangible experience, I felt what it means that academic language is not native to anyone, but rather, it is learned and experienced. My Polish presentations are not as confident and fluent as the ones in English, where I have a linguistic repertoire to talk about research in my field. 

What proved very useful was when Dr. Kulczycki shared with me his own experiences of interviewing for the Sonata grant and his approach towards the interview. As I prepared for the presentation, which summarized my project and also the key critical feedback from reviewers alongside my responses to the critiques, I felt grateful to have access to this information. There is very little to no information about how the whole experience looks like or what are the approaches for the pitch. Having access to materials from grant winners in other editions was invaluable. However, this can only happen within a trusted network, as these materials are closely guarded, constituting what Swales called “occluded genres” (2004). 

When I learned that my grant project was funded, I was overcome with joy. I felt also a deep sense of gratitude that I will have the opportunity to share my knowledge with others, to “give back” to my country in the Fulbright spirit.  

Pandemic beginnings

At the time my grant project started on April 1st (no joke!), the Coronavirus pandemic had taken a full hold on Polish life. Nobody was prepared for that turn of events. So my plan to move to Poznań from Kraków was delayed until August 1st. As I started the grant project which will last three years, I decided to spend the time on dive into the literature around early-career scholars, the geopolitics of academic writing (especially in the lesser explored contexts), and issues of linguistic variation in corpora of academic publications from different disciplines. As I finish this blog post, I am sitting in my office at Międzychodzka Street in Poznań, and my first month in the institution is nearing end. I am looking forward to what this chapter in my academic work will bring. 

Seminar day in the Scholarly Communication Research Group: The readings on institutional isomorphism were also discussed using genre theory. From left: A. Swatek, Z. Taskin, E. Rozkosz, M. Holowiecki, K. Szadkowski, J. Krzeski, F. Krawczyk. Photo: E. Kulczycki.

In summer 2020, a group of Crow researchers attended Teaching and Language Corpora 2020 (TALC 2020). We hosted an online workshop and delivered several individual presentations. (More on the latter in a follow-up.) Here, we’ll offer a summary of the workshop, and share some thoughts about our preparation, too. 

The goal of our workshop, “Designing pedagogical materials using interactive data-driven learning (DDL) with multilingual learner corpora,” was introducing the Crow and MACAWS platforms, and demonstrating how both can facilitate what we call “interactive data-driven learning (iDDL).” We wanted to offer attendees a chance to work hands-on with our tools, ask questions, and get help as needed. So we assembled a big team: Ashley Velázquez, Shelley Staples, and Ola Swatek (for Crow), and Aleksey Novikov, Adriana Picoral, and Bruna Sommer-Farias (for MACAWS).

Slide from TALC presentation showing the Crow team members present and the logos of our sponsoring agencies.
Slide from TALC presentation showing the Crow team members present and the logos of our sponsoring agencies.

Crow and MACAWS both include learner corpora built from student texts at our partner universities. Crow focuses on composition in English, and MACAWS on written and oral assignments from Portuguese and Russian foreign language programs at the University of Arizona. Crow includes not only student texts, but a repository of the pedagogical artifacts that shaped them. We’ll be adding a repository to MACAWS in the future. 

What we shared at TALC

After introducing the Crow and MACAWS platforms, we introduced the concept of iDDL, which is our method for integrating concordance lines in a scrollbar format into online pedagogical materials. That allows snippets of Crow or MACAWS data to be embedded in online platforms like Google Sites or even learning management systems like Brightspace. 

We then asked attendees to pick one of three breakout rooms: English to work with Crow, or Portuguese or Russian for MACAWS. In the breakouts, we shared iDDL examples, then gave participants the opportunity to try activities they might use with their students. Participants then had time to build their own activities with help from Crow and MACAWS researchers. 

We’re quite pleased with the results. Thirty-eight people attended, representing at least 12 countries. Our platforms worked well, and in the breakout rooms, attendees were able to use Crow or MACAWS successfully. We got a lot of great feedback about design decisions we’ve made, and ways to tweak our iDDL implementation to make it more flexible and robust.

Preparing this workshop

Hosting online workshops is challenging! Our preparation was extensive: we met multiple times to develop the materials and plan activities. Even though we had hosted workshops before, and were able to draw on that work, we had to test our ideas carefully to ensure participants would have a smooth experience using Crow or MACAWS to work with student texts. 

With the help of other Crow and MACAWS researchers, we rehearsed the workshop and made revisions to both content and presentation—twice! Both times, we had to rethink some of our expectations for keeping things organized and on track. For example, actions which might seem easy — like asking for help — could actually be a challenge. We had to think about the ways participants would be switching between our examples, the videoconference channel, and Crow or MACAWS platforms.

Screencap from Zoom videoconference for TALC testing
Crow researchers help the TALC team test their approach to populating breakout rooms and assisting attendees during the workshop.

This led us to develop a detailed plan to ensure participants navigate the activities we planned. We assigned team members to different roles:

  • Presenting the content we wanted to share
  • Assigning and moving participants to breakout rooms
  • Facilitating activities in breakout rooms during the create-your-own-activity phase
  • Fielding any requests for help from participants
  • Keeping track of time in the introductory, breakout, and wrap-up sections of the workshop
  • Facilitating conversation throughout

We also carefully scoped activities. What seemed to us, at first, like a very small amount of content actually offered a rich and in-depth experience for our attendees, and we’re using what we learned as we get ready to host other online workshops this fall. 

Again, we thank the organizers for the terrific work they did to host TALC 2020. We hope to attend next year as well — hopefully in person this time!

With my colleagues Dr. Michelle McMullin (North Carolina State University) and Dr. Bradley Dilger (Purdue University), I am presenting our experience report on grant writing at the SIGDOC 2020 virtual conference (Oct. 5-9, 2020). 

Our experience report examines how grant writing helps students to meaningfully engage in the project management and technical communication skills needed to sustain practical and ethical professional development. Our designed case study demonstrates this practice and its successes in Crow, an interinstitutional and interdisciplinary research team. Read the experience report or watch this video summary:

SIGDOC 2020 Experience Report Video

Our work responds to a crucial exigence about designing antiracist pedagogy in large research teams, undergraduate and graduate studies in US higher education. You can also have access to the content of this work on SIGDOC’s conference website as well as have the chance to engage with other excellent presentation and proceedings content that peer contributors have shared.

We promised to more often share APPLAWS posts — a celebration of the team’s Awards, Publications, Plans, Leadership, Achievements, Wooots, and Surprises. Here we go!

Hadi Banat (UMass-Boston)

Dr. Hadi Banat relocated to Boston to begin his appointment as assistant professor in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he will direct their ESL program.

Hadi writes: “I sincerely thank Bradley Dilger who supervised my dissertation defense and deposit this past summer. He and Michelle McMullin also did a wonderful job mentoring me to write for a tech comm audience during our writing group meetings in May and June while collaborating on the SIGDOC 2020 manuscript, “‘Initiating and Sustaining Student Professionalization through Grant Writing.’”

Mariana Centanin Bertho (Arizona)

Mariana Centanin Bertho developed an online course for the Portuguese Language Program. This intermediate level course focuses on the development of learners’ production of a variety of non-academic written and oral texts, such as podcasts, short movies, movie reviews, social media posts, etc. The learning objectives are also to expand learners’ vocabulary to cultural and social topics beyond their personal life, such as migration and racial issues. The course also includes data-driven activities developed with MACAWS.

She attended talks and workshops promoted by LAEL (PUC, Brazil), including Shelley Staples’s talk, Adriana Picoral’s talk and workshop, and Larissa Goulart’s workshop.

Adriana Picoral has extensively helped me with the procedures of processing MACAWS data,” wrote Mariana.

Jianfen Chen (Purdue)

Jianfen Chen worked as a Crow RA for summer, focusing on the Ciabatta project and assisting with grants and other projects. Her academic blog entitled “The Assemblage Rhetoric of Face Masks in COVID-19 in China” was included in the Blog Carnival 17 of Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative (DRC). She has been selected as a DRC Graduate Fellow for 2020–21.

Bradley Dilger (Purdue)

Dr. Bradley Dilger concluded a four-year term as director of Introductory Composition at Purdue, and co-authored a conference presentation:

Smith, A., Bay, J., Clark, A., Mast, E., Elvir, O., Chernouski, L., & Dilger, B. (2020, July.) Teaching students to seek answers to their questions: Writing programs as incubators for undergraduate research. Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) Biennial Conference, West Lafayette, IN. (Online.)

Jie Gao (Fudan University)

Dr. Jie Gao relocated to Shanghai, China to begin an appointment as Lecturer at the College of Foreign Languages and Literature, Fudan University.

Jhonatan Henao-Muñoz (Arizona)

Jhonatan Henao-Muñoz was a research assistant in two projects, one on UX Research Methods in the Department of French & Italian, and the other on Translation in the School of Government and Public Policy, at the University of Arizona.

Aleksey Novikov (Arizona)

Aleksey Novikov authored three conference presentations:

Novikov, A. (2020, July). Lexico-grammatical Development of Russian Learners. Teaching and Language Corpora (TaLC). Perpignan, France (online).

Novikov, A., Picoral, A., Sommer-Farias, B., Swatek, O., Velazquez, A., & Staples, S. (2020, July). Designing Pedagogical Materials Using Interactive Data-Driven Learning with Multilingual Learner Corpora. Teaching and Language Corpora (TaLC). Perpignan, France (online).

Bertho, M., Novikov, A., Picoral, A., Sommer-Farias, B., & Staples, S. (2020, May). Taking Flight with MACAWS: Learner Corpus Data from and into the Classroom. Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy (CERCLL). Tucson, AZ (online).

Aleksey praises Shelley Staples and Adriana Picoral for “continuing to be my mentors in most things I do.”

Emily Palese (Arizona)

Emily Palese started a new position as the Graduate Assistant Director of Global Foundations Writing, providing teacher support and developing curricula for the University of Arizona’s global microcampuses. She received the Carter Travel Award and the Graduate Center’s Professional Development Award.

Emily is nearing the end of data analysis for her dissertation and is focused on drafting and revising her research findings. She has three (of seven) chapters drafted, and partial drafts of the remaining four chapters. Despite the pandemic, she plans to defend in April 2021.

Kevin Sanchez (Arizona)

Kevin Sanchez wrote for Pine Reads Review. He writes, “I would like to shoutout Shelley Staples for being such a positive and encouraging figure who is always willing to provide useful feedback and advice.”

Hui Wang (Arizona)

Hui Wang joined the Crow team! (Welcome, Hui!) She accepted a fellowship in the Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) program at University of Arizona.

Ali Yaylali (Arizona)

Ali Yaylali coordinated the Crow high school workshop group during the summer, and published a book review:

Yaylali, Ali (2020). [Review of the book Learner corpus research: New perspectives and applications, by V. Brezina & L. Flowerdew, Eds.]. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 25(2), 235-240. https://benjamins.com/catalog/ijcl.00027.yay

Ali also attended a LAEL workshop on Stanford dependency parser and some other presentations offered by LAEL. He also attended the REMOTE conference on online teaching at Arizona State University. He completed two short online courses on teaching online and online discussions. Finally, he completed two MOOC courses on Python programming (introductory and data analysis). As a service, he worked as a reviewer for AAAL 2021.

Last year, the Crow team grew a lot… and we accomplished a lot! Though we did not publish an APPLAWS post: a celebration of the team’s Awards, Publications, Plans, Leadership, Achievements, Wooots, and Surprises.

We’ll be doing these more often from now on!

Dr. Hadi Banat (Purdue)

Dr. Hadi Banat finished his PhD degree in English with a dual concentration in Second Language Studies and Rhetoric & Composition, and defended his dissertation, “Assessing intercultural competence in writing programs through linked courses” on May 14, 2020. In Fall 2020, he will be joining UMass Boston’s English Department as a tenure track assistant professor in Rhetoric and Composition and Director of the ESL program.

Dr. Banat earned one grant and prepared five conference presentations: 

  • Sims, R., Banat, H., Panahi, P. L., Tran, P. M., & Dilger, B. (2020, January). Transculturation in Introductory Composition. Center for Intercultural Learning Mentorship, Assessment, Research (CILMAR) Special Initiatives Grant. $10,000.
  • Banat, H., & Panahi, P. (2020, March 25-28). Inclusive internationalization: Developing intercultural competence in writing programs [Conference session]. CCC Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. (Conference Canceled) 
  • Palese, E., Banat, H., & Staples, S. (2020, March 31-April 3). A web-based archive of pedagogical materials for professional development [Conference session]. TESOL Conference, Denver, Colorado, United States. (Conference Canceled)
  • Banat, H. (2019, November 13-16). Transitional genres in professional writing [Conference session]. The Symposium of Second Language Writing, Phoenix, AZ, United States. 
  • Tran, P., Panahi, P., Banat, H., & Sims, R. (2019, November 13-16). Pilot results of a mixed-methods study on developing intercultural competence through first-year writing courses [Conference session]. The Symposium of Second Language Writing, Phoenix, AZ, United States. 
  • Shin, J., Velazquez, A.J., Yalyali, A., Palese, E., Lan, G., Banat, H., & Staples, S. (2019, November 13-16). Using a learner corpus and a repository of pedagogical materials for L2 writing research and teaching [Conference workshop]. The Symposium of Second Language Writing, Phoenix, AZ, United States.

He helped to coordinate Crow’s SSLW 2019 workshop, which was an outreach event as part of a conference, and the virtual 2020 TESOL co-sited outreach event with Ashley Velazquez and Shelley Staples. Dr. Banat also participated in a job market workshop series at Purdue, hosted by Dr. Nush Powell and Bradley Dilger.

Crow researchers Emily Palese, Ashley Velázquez, Hadi Banat, Ji-young Shin, Ge Lan, and Ali Yaylali at SSLW 2019.

Dr. Banat would like to give a GIGANTIC shout to Bradley Dilger, who mentored him “from A-Z throughout my job market season, in addition to continuous guidance in the Transculturation Lab.” He gives a big shout to Ashley Velázquez and Michelle McMullin who read and gave feedback on job materials and also to Shelley Staples for providing guidance during the decision making process.

Mariana Centanin Bertho (Arizona)

Mariana Centanin Bertho was recently awarded the CERCLL (Center for Educational Resources in Culture, Language and Literacy) Graduate Fellowship for one of the terms of the academic year 2021 with the project “Supporting oral production and comprehension of L2/L3 Portuguese learners.”

On May 18, 2020, she presented the webinar “Taking Flight with MACAWS: Learning Corpus Data from and into the Classroom” with the MACAWS Team.

Marina wrote, “I would like to highlight Adriana Picoral for her mentoring introducing me to MACAWS and helping me out with my own research project.” 

Chen Chen (Arizona)

Chen Chen accepted an summer internship at Middlebury College as Middlebury Language Instructor. In AY20–21, she will be a Chinese Language TA at Arizona. 

Chen won a College of Humanities Graduate Research Grant and participated in an Arizona Python workshop. 

She would like to recognize mentoring from Shelley Staples, for helping her achieve her internship goals, Aleksey Novikov, for walking through the process of data management, and Adriana Picoral, for help with python questions. 

Jianfen Chen (Purdue) 

Jianfen Chen concluded Spring 2020 as a graduate tutor in the Purdue Writing Lab, where she was recognized as Graduate Tutor of the Spring Semester! She will be working as a graduate teaching assistant teaching ENGL 106 of First Year Composition in Fall 2020 at Purdue.

She won travel grants from Purdue Graduate Student Government ($500), the Department of English ($250), and East Central Writing Centers Association (ECWCA) 2020 Travel Award ($200).

Jianfen also won the Crouse Promising Scholarship Award ($5,000) in Professional Writing. 

In addition to co-hosting a workshop on Writing in Plain Style at the Purdue Writing Lab, Jianfen prepared three conference presentations: 

  • Chen, J., Steinman, A., and Agnew, A. (2020). Embracing language differences & breaking down institutional barriers: A recognition of cultural influence. 2020 Conference of East Central Writing Centers Association (ECWCA 2020). Indianapolis, IN. March 5-7, 2020.
  • Chen, J. (2020). Writing in web 2.0 setting: A student’s project experience of building a chatbot using Chatfuel. 2020 CCCC Annual Convention (conference canceled due to COVID-19). Milwaukee, WI. March 25-28, 2020.
  • Chen, J. (2020). A comparative and multimodal rhetorical analysis of news reports on US and China trade war.  Annual Conference of Association of Teachers of Technical Writing (ATTW 2020) (conference canceled due to COVID-19). Milwaukee, WI. March 24-25, 2020.

She would like to thank Bradley Dilger, Hadi Banat, and Jie Gao for reaching out to help her get familiarized with Crow, and Adriana Picoral and Larissa Goulart for their help with programming learning and questions.

Nina Conrad (Arizona)

Nina Conrad was awarded a Predoctoral Research Grant from the University of Arizona Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute. She also published one article and prepared three conference presentations: 

Nina participated in the workshop “Identifying and Reporting the Societal Impacts of Your Research” at the University of Arizona. 

Of Crow mentoring, she wrote, “Aleksey Novikov helped me a lot with using AntConc to create materials for the CUES project, and Emily Palese was very helpful during the early phases of the project. It was also great to work in the lab together before social distancing!”

Ryan Day (Purdue) 

Ryan Day (Purdue) accepted a Spring 2020 Civil Engineering internship with the US Army Corps of Engineers. He presented at two conferences and published his research as well: 

Bradley Dilger (Purdue) 

Bradley Dilger (Purdue) is concluding his rotation as director of Introductory Composition at Purdue and pausing #wpalife for sabbatical leave. With Crowbird Hadi Banat, he won a special CILMAR grant for Transculturation, funding summer research. He conducted expert evaluations with Ji-young Shin at SSLW 2019 in Tempe, Arizona.

Bradley prepared three conference presentations: 

  • Baird, N., Blythe, S., DePalma, M., Prior, H., Ringer, J., Wilson, J., & Dilger, B. (2020, March). Coding as common ground: Making adaptive transfer visible. Conference on College Composition & Communication, Milwaukee, WI. (Cancelled.)
  • Wooten, C., Babb, J., Saidy, C., Baird, N., Dilger, B., & Ritter, K. (2020, March). Rethinking our commonplaces: Learning from first-generation students in writing programs. Conference on College Composition & Communication, Milwaukee, WI. (Cancelled.)
  • Yan, Y., Gao, J., & Dilger, B. (2020, March). Linking a corpus & repository for research, teaching, & professional development. (Workshop.) Purdue Digital Futures Symposium, West Lafayette, IN. (Cancelled.)

Mark Fullmer (Texas)

Mark Fullmer (Texas) published a software patent: Parkhurst, E.S, & Fullmer, J.M. (2020). Method and System for Rewriting Gendered Words in Text. US 2020/0117706. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Larissa Goulart (Northern Arizona)

Larissa Goulart (Northern Arizona) won the National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations (NFMLTA) travel grant, the AZTESOL Outreach and Communication Grant, and NAU’s Graduate College Award. She also published one article and prepared seven conference presentations:

  • Goulart, L. & Matte, M. (2020) “Formulaicidade em Livros Didáticos de Português como Língua Adicional”. III Simpósio Sobre o Ensino de Português como Língua Adicional. Coimbra, Portugal (Cancelled due to COVID-19)
  • Goulart, L.  (2020) “Investigating register variation in English as a Second Language Writing: A key-feature analysis”. Inter-Varietal Applied Corpus Studies, Limerick, Ireland (Cancelled due to COVID-19)
  • Goulart, L. (2020) “Analyzing the use of lexico-grammatical complexity features in L2 writing across registers”. American Association of Applied Linguistics, Denver, CO (Online due to COVID-19)
  • Goulart, L. (2020) “Exploring Academic Portuguese using Lexical Bundles”. 9th Annual Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics Conference, Phoenix, AZ (Cancelled due to COVID-19)
  • Goulart, L. (2019) “Understanding L2 university writing: a lexico-grammatical analysis across registers”. Symposium in Second Language Writing, Tempe, AZ.
  • Goulart, L. (2019) “What’s in a graded reader? Analyzing grammatical complexity in GRs”. AZTESOL, Flagstaff, AZ.
  • Goulart, L. (2019) “The use of collocations across proficiency levels”. GSAAL Conference, Flagstaff, AZ.

Larissa defended her dissertation proposal and became ABD! She also won the AAAL Graduate Student Award

Larissa recognizes these Crowbirds for their mentoring: “Aleksey Novikov and Adriana Picoral have helped me every step of the way with my coding questions. I have been working on the NAU header with Aleksey. He has taken the time to explain to me what every line of the code does. Adriana has also helped me improve my coding skills and gave advice on my research projects.”

Jie Gao (Purdue)

Dr. Jie Gao (Purdue) completed her Doctor of Philosophy at Purdue! She defended her dissertation, “Linguistic Profiles of High Proficiency Mandarin and Hindi Second Language Speakers of English.” 

She served as Crow research assistant at Purdue in Spring 2020, and won the Purdue College of Liberal Arts Scholarship (AY 19–20) for $1,000.

Dr. Gao worked with Ryan Day to complete an interview about her studies in the Second Language Studies program at Purdue — and really enjoyed it! Ryan’s spotlight was published on the Crow website.

Hannah Gill (Arizona)

Hannah Gill (Arizona) presented at the GPSC Student Showcase with Kevin Sanchez, winning second place for her section! She also began work on her senior honors thesis.

Hannah spotlighted the mentoring of Emily Palese, writing, “Emily helped me in so many ways this last semester and since I started in the lab: she is kind and willing to give guidance, help, and support. She is a huge reason for why I have continued with the repository and I am thankful for her continued mentorship :)” 

Jhonatan Henao-Muñoz (Arizona)

Jhonatan Henao-Muñoz (Arizona) served as graduate assistant for Critical Service Learning & Community Outreach in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese at the University of Arizona, from Fall 2019 to Spring 2020. He has accepted a teaching assistantship in the Department of French & Italian as French Instructor for Fall 2020. 

He was elected to serve as the College of Humanities Representative at the Graduate & Professional Student Council. He was awarded a National Center for Interpretation Research Fellowship in May 2020, won a National Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations (NFMLTA) Travel Grant, and won other three awards: the Department of French & Italian’s Loyal A. T. Gryting Memorial Award, the Department of Spanish & Portuguese Graduate Fellowship Award, and the Graduate College Fellowship Award by the Department of French & Italian. 

Jhonatan prepared two conference papers: 

  • Henao-Muñoz, J. (2020, February). Translation Technologies in SLA: An Overview of the Last Decade’s Research 2009 – 2019. Paper presented at the meeting of 19th Annual Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Interdisciplinary Roundtable, Tucson, AZ.
  • Henao-Muñoz, J. (2020, July). Editing Effectiveness in Intermediate Spanish Level Courses: Face-to-face [F2F] peer-editing vs. Self-editing using Online Translators [OT]. Paper presented at the meeting of 102nd American Association of Teachers of Spanish & Portuguese Annual Conference, San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Cancelled due to COVID-19)

He participated in four Arizona conferences: 

  • 2020 Intercultural Conference by CERCLL (volunteer and participant, Spring 2020)
  • 2nd Arizona French Conference by Department of French & Italian (volunteer and participant, Spring 2020)
  • Student Research Showcase by Graduate and Professional Students Council (GPSC),  (volunteer, Spring 2020)
  • #TDM2019 Taller de Maestres by the Critical Service Learning & Community Outreach of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese (organizer and participant, Fall 2019)

Jhonatan also participated in three Arizona workshops: “Disability Culture,” by the Disability Resource Center, Safe Zone Training, from LGBT Affairs, and “Introduction to Python,” by the School of Information. 

He would like to highlight the mentoring of Shelley Staples: “She has been a supporting mentor during this complicated semester, her understanding and considerate way of being have helped me determine my scholarly and professional path.”

Alantis Houpt (Arizona)

Alantis Houpt (Arizona) served as Crow intern in Spring 2020. She would like to thank Aleksey Novikov for helping her become successful in processing data that comes to our Development team.

Ge Lan (Purdue)

Dr. Ge Lan (Purdue) defended his dissertation, “Noun phrase complexity, academic level, and first language background in academic writing,” on April 8, 2020. He served as Crow research assistant at Purdue in Fall 2019. He is now on the job market and is making progress on job searching. More to update in the near future!   

Michelle McMullin (NC State)

Dr. Michelle McMullin (NC State) completed her first full year as an assistant professor of English at North Carolina State and became one of the principal investigators of our project. 

Aleksey Novikov (Arizona)

Aleksey Novikov (Arizona) served as Crow research assistant in AY19–20 and will continue that work in AY20–21. 

He won a National Council of Less Commonly Taught Languages (NCOLCTL)  dissertation research grant ($2,500) and a Second Language Acquisition & Teaching (SLAT) travel grant ($500).

Aleksey prepared two conference presentations:

  • Novikov, A. (2020, February).  MACAWS Russian: Corpus Design and Creation of Usage-inspired Pedagogical Materials. American Association of Teachers of Slavic and East European Languages (AATSEEL). San Diego, CA.
  • Yaylali, A., Staples, S., Novikov, A., Palese, E. (2019, November). Bridging L2 writing and academic vocabulary through corpus-based activities. Workshop presented at Arizona TESOL Conference, Flagstaff, AZ.

In Fall 2019 and the beginning of Spring 2020, he visited preceptorship and English Graduate Union (EGU) meetings, as well as individual preceptor classes, to introduce Crow to preceptors and instructors.

Aleksey defended his dissertation proposal, “Syntactic and Morphological Complexity Measures as Markers of L2 Development in Russian,” in Fall 2019.

He wrote, “Adriana Picoral has been a tremendous help with scripting. Shelley Staples has obviously been a great mentor for the writing of my dissertation and other Crow-related things.” 

Emily Palese (Arizona) 

Emily Palese (Arizona) continued working as the Graduate Assistant Director in Arizona’s Writing Program. She applied for six grants, awards, and or fellowships, winning the Linda Waugh grant and the Cheryl Walsh Professional Growth Award from AZTESOL. Emily is waiting to hear about UA’s ReaP grant and the Zukowski/Faust Mini-Grant from AZTESOL. She finished collecting data for her dissertation (expected defense: April 2021). 

Emily attended a workshop on designing prompts held by UArizona’s Office of Instruction and Assessment (OIA). She also completed the Writing Program’s Online Writing Instruction Bootcamp, so she’s now qualified to teach online. 

Emily has appreciated Ashley’s Writing Accountability Facebook group! Thanks for keeping us writing and motivated, Ashley!

  • Palese, E., Banat, H., & Staples, S. (2020, March 31-April 3). A web-based archive of pedagogical materials for professional development [Conference Session]. TESOL Conference, Denver, CO, United States (Conference Canceled)
  • Palese, E. (2020, March 27-31). Your essay must [will?] be 4-5 pages: Moves and modals in writing assignment prompts [Conference Session]. AAAL Conference, Denver, CO, United States. (Conference Canceled)
  • Palese, E. & LaMance, R. (2019, November 13-16). Challenging dominant discourses in SLW courses: Students’ changing perceptions of their English use [Conference Session]. SSLW Conference, Tempe, AZ, United States.
  • Shin, J., Staples, S., Velazquez, A., Banat, H., Yaylali, A., Lan, G., & Palese, E. (2019, November 13-16). Using a learner corpus and repository of pedagogical materials for L2 writing research and teaching [Workshop]. SSLW Conference, Tempe, AZ, United States.
  • Yaylali, A., Novikov, A., Staples, S., & Palese, E. (2019, November 1-2). Bridging L2 writing and academic vocabulary through corpus-based activities [Workshop]. AZTESOL, Flagstaff, AZ, United States.

Adriana Picoral (Arizona)

Dr. Adriana Picoral (Arizona) earned her PhD in second language acquisition and teaching from the University of Arizona, defending her dissertation “L3 Portuguese by Spanish-English bilinguals: copula construction use and acquisition in corpus data,” on February 13, 2020. Dr. Picoral has accepted a career track assistant professor in data science position with the School of Information at the University of Arizona, starting Fall 2020. 

Dr. Picoral served as an Arizona data science ambassador and worked extensively with R-Ladies Tucson, being awarded an R Consortium Vector level grant in February 2020, and organizing workshops as well. She was on the organizing committee for the Women in Data Science (WiDS) Tucson conference, held on April 17, 2020.

Dr. Picoral won the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) Outstanding Research Assistant award. 

She would like to highlight the mentoring and advising of fellow Crowbird Shelley Staples.

Randi Reppen (Northern Arizona)

Dr. Randi Reppen (Northern Arizona) had five refereed publications in AY19–20: 

  • Pan, F. Reppen, R. & Biber, D. (2020). Methodological issues in contrastive lexical bundle research: The influence of corpus design on bundle identification. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 25, 2 214 – 228.   https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.19063.pan
  • Biber, D. Reppen, R. Staples, S. & Egbert, J. (2020). Exploring the longitudinal development of grammatical complexity in the disciplinary writing of L2-English university students. International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, 6(1), 38 – 71. https://doi.org/10.1075/ijlcr.18007.bib
  • Reppen, R. & Olson, S. (2020). Lexical bundles across disciplines: A look at consistency and variability.  In U. Römer, V. Cortes & E. Friginal (Eds.) Advances in corpus-based research on academic writing: Effects of discipline, register and writer expertise. 169 – 182. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. https://doi.org/10.1075/scl.95.07rep
  • Reppen, R. & Vlach-Simpson, R. (2020). Corpus linguistics. In N. Schmitt & M. Rodgers (Eds.), An introduction to applied linguistics 3nd edition. 89 – 108. New York: Routledge.
  • Reppen, R. & Chen, M. (2019). A comparison of lexical bundles in spoken courtroom       language across time, dialect, & register. In T. Fanego & P. Rodríguez-Puente (Eds.)       Corpus-based research on variation in English legal discourse: Looking back and looking forward. 105 – 122. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Dr. Reppen also published a four-level grammar course: 

  • Reppen, R. (2019). Grammar and Beyond Essentials Level 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Reppen, R. (2019). Grammar and Beyond Essentials Level 2. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Reppen, R., Blass, L., Iannuzzi, S., & Savage, A. (2019). Grammar and Beyond      Essentials Level 3. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Reppen, R., Bunting, J. & Diniz, L. (2019). Grammar and Beyond Essentials Level 4. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kevin Sanchez (Arizona)

Kevin Sanchez (Arizona) presented at Arizona’s Spring 2020 Teaching Symposium and the Graduate & Professional Student Council’s Student Showcase, where he won second place in the “Communication & Expression” category. He also won the Hattie Lockett Award for poetry, and became a Fund for Education Abroad scholar. Kevin also became a College Reading & Learning Association (CRLA) Level 1 certified tutor. 

Ji-young Shin (Purdue)

Ji-young Shin (Purdue) won an external dissertation grant from Language Learning and 2020 International Language Testing Association Graduate Student Award. At SSLW 2019, she co-hosted a Crow workshop and conducted expert evaluations of the Crow platform with Bradley Dilger. She prepared five peer-reviewed presentations. 

  1. Shin, J. (2019, September). Investigating sources of rater (dis)agreement in a local ITA speaking test: A mixed-method approach using multilevel modeling and semantic network analysis. Paper presented at 2019 East Coast Organization of Language Testers conference, Washington DC.
  2. Van Moere, A., Wei, J., & Shin, J. (2019, October). Resolving mis-triangulations between CEFR and the Lexile Scale by using both test scores and expert judgment. Paper presented at 2019 Midwestern Association of Language Testers conference, Bloomington, IN
  3. Shin, J., Staples, S., Velazquez, A., Banat, H., Yaylali, A., Palese, E. (2019, November). Using a learner corpus and a repository of pedagogical materials for L2 writing research and teaching. Workshop presented at Symposium for Second Language Writing, Tempe, AZ.
  4. Shin, J. & Wei, J. (2020, March). Investigating differential functioning of reading items for English native speakers and English foreign language students: Triangulating results from statistical analyses of test scores with content review of items. Paper accepted to Language Assessment Research Conference. Provo, UT. Conference Postponed.  
  5. Shin, J. (2020, June). Investigating invariance in the relationships between English fluency construct, oral proficiency, and intelligibility across different L1 groups: A multi-group SEM study. Paper accepted to Language Testing Research Colloquium. Hammamet, Tunisia. Conference Postponed. 

Shelley Staples (Arizona)

Shelley Staples (Arizona) was appointed Associate Director of L2 Writing in the  University of Arizona Writing Program. She continued her 2019–22 Center for University Educational Scholarship (CUES) Distinguished Fellowship.

Dr. Staples published four papers and chapters: 

  1. Biber, D., Reppen, R., Staples, S., Egbert, J. (2020). Exploring the longitudinal development of grammatical complexity in the disciplinary writing of L2-English university students. International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, 6(1), 38-71. 
  2. LaFlair, G., Staples, S., & Yan, X. (2019). Triangulating corpus linguistics and language assessment: Using corpus linguistics to enhance validity arguments. In P. Baker & J. Egbert (Eds.), Using corpus methods to triangulate linguistic analysis. New York,  Routledge. 
  3. Lan, G., Lu, Q., & Staples, S. (2019). Grammatical complexity: What does it mean and “so what” for L2 writing classrooms? Journal of Second Language Writing, 46, 1-7. 
  4. Yan, X., & Staples, S. (2019, early view). Fitting MD analysis in an argument-based validity framework for writing assessment: Explanation and generalization inferences for the ECPE. Language Testing. 

She prepared ten peer reviewed presentations:

  1. Banat, H., Velázquez, A., Staples, S. (2020, April). Crow Information Session (Virtual Event in coordination with TESOL 2020).
  2. Gray, B., Staples, S., Egbert, J., & Biber, D. (2020, March). Investigating lexico-grammatical complexity in L1 and L2 university student writing across genres, disciplines, and levels. Paper presented at American Association of Applied Linguistics, Denver, CO. (Conference canceled).
  3. Staples, S., & Picoral, A. (2020, March). Citation classifiers for academic writing in L2 English: Prediction and explanation for form and function. Paper presented at American Association of Applied Linguistics, Denver, CO. (Conference canceled).
  4. Staples, S., & Tardy, C. (2019, November). Genre classification of student writing: Methods and insights. Paper presented at Symposium for Second Language Writing, Tempe, AZ.
  5. Ghanem, R., Edalatishams, I., Huensch, A., Puga, K., & Staples, S. (2019, September). The effectiveness of digital tools in the analysis of spoken discourse: Towards a protocol for pronunciation corpora. Paper presented at Pronunciation and Second Language Learning and Teaching, Flagstaff, AZ.
  6. Shin, J., Staples, S., Velazquez, A., Banat, H., Yaylali, A., Palese, E. (2019, November). Using a learner corpus and a repository of pedagogical materials for L2 writing research and teaching. Workshop presented at Symposium for Second Language Writing, Tempe, AZ.
  7. Yaylali, A., Staples, S., Novikov, A., Palese, E. (2019, November). Bridging L2 writing and academic vocabulary through corpus-based activities. Workshop presented at Arizona TESOL Conference, Flagstaff, AZ.
  8. Gray, B., Staples, S. & Egbert, J. (2019, July). Developmental complexity in BAWE: Comparing L1 and L2 English writers. Paper presented at Corpus Linguistics, Cardiff, Wales.
  9. LaFlair, G., Staples, S., & Yan, X. (2019, July). Triangulating corpus linguistics with other linguistic research methods. Paper presented at Corpus Linguistics, Cardiff, Wales.
  10. Staples, S., Venetis, M., & Robinson, J. (2019, July). Using MDA for corpus-based discourse analysis: Variation in language use across patients and providers in the context of breast cancer surgery. Paper presented at Corpus Linguistics, Cardiff, Wales. 

Dr. Staples was shortlisted for a journal award, the International Language Testing Award for Best Article of 2018, for “Using corpus-based register analysis to explore the authenticity of high-stakes language exams: A register comparison of TOEFL IBT and disciplinary writing tasks” (published in Modern Language Journal 102.2).

Dr. Staples would like to praise the mentoring of Adriana Picoral and Mark Fullmer, for their help developing her skills in Python scripting. 

David Stucker (Purdue)

David Stucker (Purdue) completed his BA in Professional Writing and began a full-time technical writing position at Photon Automation. He had a short fiction piece selected for the Purdue University Student English Association’s Bell Tower magazine. He wrote, “Bradley Dilger is pretty awesome.”

Aleksandra Swatek (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland)

Dr. Aleksandra Swatek (Adam Mickiewicz University) began an appointment as Research Assistant Professor on April 1st, 2020 in the Scholarly Communication Research Group at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland. This position is funded through the competitive Sonatina Grant from the Polish National Science Center (US$170,000 for three years) that will fund a three year research assistant professor position. During that time, Dr. Swatek will conduct research on early career scholar EFL academic writing in humanities and social sciences in Poland. This grant also funds a 6-month research stay at the University of Arizona as a visiting scholar. She will work with Dr. Staples on the corpus part of her research project and participate in the Arizona Crow lab life.

Between October 2019 and March 2020 she worked as Horizon2020 EIC Accelerator grant writer at GAEU Consulting, Kraków, Poland. She continues to advise on scientific communication projects at Colibrí Innovation, especially for deep tech and life science startups from Europe and the USA.

She would like to give a shout out to the summer corpus research reading group for wonderful conversations.

Ashley Velázquez (Washington, Bothell)

Dr. Ashley Velázquez (Washington, Bothell) completed her first full year as an assistant professor in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences and became one of the principal investigators of our project. 

She prepared two conference presentations:

Yuwei Wang (Arizona)

Yuwei Wang (Arizona) began working as a teaching assistant in the Chinese language program at the University of Arizona. 

She also worked as a co-PI with Chen Chen to build a Chinese learners corpus in the University of Arizona, and this project is granted by the College of Humanities Graduate Research Grant.

She praised Aleksey Novikov’s mentoring: “He helped me a lot in introducing every facet of Crow, and guided me through the process of data processing with all the patience and endeavor.”

Yiqiu “Echo” Yan (Purdue) 

Yiqiu “Echo” Yan (Purdue) served as an undergraduate researcher for Crow, performing data analysis and web development. She also served as Conference Intern for the Department of Consumer Science, completed a summer internship in the Arriagnew Relationships and Close Connections Lab (ARCC), and created an undergraduate research project “Mapping Postcolonial Literature.” 

This semester, Echo graduates with her BS in Consumer Sciences from Purdue. In Fall 2020, she will begin graduate school in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas, Austin.

Echo won seven awards and scholarships: 

  • University of Texas, Austin New Scholar Fellowship 
  • National Retail Federation Foundation Top 10 Student Ambassador Grant
  • First Baptist Church Music Intern Fellowship
  • Purdue Office of Undergraduate Travel Grant
  • Purdue Musical Organization Scholarship 
  • Purdue Office of Undergraduate Research Scholarship
  • Purdue University Dean’s List Honor Award
  • Purdue Krannert Management Solutions Challenge Team Fourth Place

She prepared two conference presentations: 

  • Yan, Y., Gao, J., & Dilger, B. (2020, March). Linking a corpus & repository for research, teaching, & professional development. (Workshop.) Purdue Digital Futures Symposium, West Lafayette, IN. (Cancelled.)
  • Yan, Y. (2019, November). Mapping postcolonial literature. (Poster.) Purdue GIS Day Conference, West Lafayette, IN. 

Echo praised four Crowbirds for their mentoring: 

  • Bradley Dilger: Remarkable mentor that is always supportive of my decisions. He always goes above and beyond to advance my research career and also gives me inspiration to become a better person.  
  • Dr. Jie Gao: I learned so much from Dr. Gao in professional development. She taught me how to master conference presentations. 
  • Dr. Ge Lan: Dr. Lan taught me to look at research in a comprehensive way. I gained valuable insights from him on qualitative research methods. 
  • Dr. Hadi Banat: Hadi is a professional and caring mentor to have in the team. He always coordinates the researchers together as a whole. I have so much to learn from him as a professional researcher and educator.  

Ali Yaylali (Arizona)

Ali Yaylali (Arizona) passed his comprehensive exams and began working on his dissertation proposal.

He prepared five conference presentations:

  1. Yaylali, A. (2020, April 17-21). Common core state standards: A corpus-assisted historical discourse analysis of media representation. [Poster session]. AERA Meeting, San Francisco, CA, United States. (Conference cancelled)
  2. Yaylali, A. (2020, March 27-31). Representation of the common core in media: A corpus-assisted discourse analysis [Conference session]. AAAL Conference, Denver, CO, United States. (Conference cancelled)
  3. Yaylali, A. and Luong, N. (2020, January 23-26). Intercultural competence through decolonizing curriculum and privileging of diverse epistemologies [Roundtable session]. Intercultural Competence Conference (ICC), Tucson, AZ, United States. 
  4. Yaylali, A., Staples, S., Novikov, A., Palese, E. (2019, November 1-2). Bridging L2 writing and academic vocabulary through corpus-based activities [Conference session]. AZTESOL Conference, Flagstaff, AZ, United States. 
  5. Shin, J., Staples, S., Lan, G., Banat, H., Palese, E., Yaylali, A., Velázquez, A. (2019, November 13-16). Using a learner corpus and a repository of pedagogical materials for L2 writing research and teaching [Workshop session]. Symposium of Second Language Writing (SSLW) Conference, Tempe, AZ, United States.

Ali also coordinated Crow’s 2019 AZTESOL conference workshop

He was awarded a travel award ($100) from Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT), another travel award ($750) from the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC), and one ($300) by his department at the College of Education.

Ali attended conference workshops at AZTESOL and SSLW. As a board member in AZTESOL, he also led a conference planning team and organized the 2020 AZTESOL Regional Conference at the University of Arizona — his first time leading a group of people for organizing an event on campus.

As he worked on the workshops, Ali benefited a lot from the mentoring of Dr. Shelley Staples, Emily Palese, Aleksey Novikov, Ji-young Shin, and Dr. Hadi Banat. He wrote, “I learned a lot about material development as a group and coordinating a workshop as a group. It provided great experience and concrete demonstration of how Crowbirds can accomplish a lot together.”

The Trump administration has resumed its cruel, racist attacks on international students by establishing rules which make it nearly impossible for them to study in the United States should precautions related to COVID-19 result in more online instruction. My fellow Crow PIs and I are contacting our legislators to ask that they intervene. 

Each of us is sharing the letter below, and we’ve encouraged Crow researchers to do the same. If you’d like to borrow from our letter to write your own #StudentBan letter or op-ed, be our guest. We suggest you review the helpful suggestions regarding effective lobbying created by Chris Marsicano; they guided our work here, and we thank him for sharing.

Update, July 9: Glad to see Purdue and Michigan State filing amicus briefs in support of the Harvard/MIT lawsuit seeking to stop the new rules from moving forward.

Our letter to lawmakers

Dear Senators and Representatives,

I am one of the leaders of Crow, the Corpus & Repository of Writing, an inter-institutional research team that studies writing using computer-based tools. We collect student writing, process it, and create searchable databases that enable data-driven research. Learn more at writecrow.org. Today we write regarding the rules the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) plans to publish for Fall 2020 (link below). 

We are sure you realize the many contributions that international students make to higher education: tremendous intellectual engagement, diversification of communities, and tuition revenue. More concerning, however is the open hostility these proposed rules demonstrate toward international students who are already affected personally and professionally by the consequences of COVID-19. The increased uncertainty imposed by these rules, when travel, funding, and educational plans are already precarious is unacceptable.  

Our research project depends heavily on international students. They contribute much of the writing that we study, and many of our researchers are international graduate students. The proposed rules ignore the terrible consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak for students. Insisting on a stable face-to-face model for higher education creates a situation where students and faculty may have to compromise public health and personal safety in the name of regulatory compliance. Institutions will be discouraged from moving courses online even if common sense demands it. Given the terrible problems faced by our communities in Arizona, Texas, Florida, and other states, this is simply unconscionable. 

Crow research has already been slowed by the COVID-19 outbreak. These rules threaten to bring it to a complete halt. We ask that you pressure SEVP to modify these rules to offer all higher educational institutions the flexibility they need to meaningfully include international students in courses and research, whether online, face-to-face, or hybrid, for all of the coming academic year.

Please ensure more stability for our universities and our students. Thank you for your time.

Dr. Bradley Dilger, Purdue University
Dr. Shelley Staples, University of Arizona
Dr. Randi Reppen, Northern Arizona University
Dr. Ashley Velázquez, University of Washington
Dr. Michelle McMullin, North Carolina State University

This week, Crow researchers finalized the addition of 1,174 texts from Northern Arizona University to the Crow corpus. We’re thrilled to say this means we’ve hit two milestones:

Ten million words and ten thousand texts! To be exact, 10,905 and 10,155,120, respectively.

Why is this important? As we’ve previously shared, Crow members are constantly trying to improve the code used to process new files into the Crow dataset, and the addition of the NAU texts was another opportunity to improve our scripts and documentation. With the help of Adriana Picoral, Aleksey Novikov and Larissa Goulart have made changes to scripts we use to add demographic headers and de-identify texts, catered for the original NAU file structure, created by Shelley Staples and Randi Reppen in 2013–2014.

The NAU files were collected from English Composition classes taught between 2009 and 2012 to both L1 and L2 English students. Therefore, with the addition of these files, Crow now has L1 English assignments that can be explored through the Crow interface.

From a corpus linguistic perspective, this also means that now Crow contains a larger set of examples to identify patterns of learner language use. This is especially important for the study of word combinations, such as collocations and lexical bundles, as these combinations are identified based on frequency. 

Of course, this process wasn’t simple: each of the 1,174 texts had to be organized by course, assignment, first language (L1), and other metadata represented through shortcodes in each text’s filename—all part of Crow’s existing corpus design.

Subsequent steps in the preparation process were streamlined through automation tools the Crow team has developed. These include the ability to bulk convert files to plaintext format and remove non-ASCII characters, assist in de-identifying personal information, and to represent metadata in a machine-readable document header format. (These tools are open-source and available, and documenting how to use them is part of our ACLS-supported outreach work.)

Integrating the NAU texts alongside those from Purdue and Arizona also allowed us to navigate a common corpus-building challenge when materials are heterogeneously sourced: divergent metadata.

In particular, the NAU texts present information not yet represented in the other institutions’ texts —students’ L1–but simultaneously omit metadata for standardized test scores, college and program information, and gender identification.

Put one way, the Crow dataset is further evolving into a corpus consisting of multiple subcorpora.

So we had to take extra care that differences in the metadata were correct, rather than a result of miscategorization or human/machine error. We thus took this opportunity to build better auditing tools: we added a process for doing a “dry run” of the import of the texts into our online database which would report what new metadata would be added, as well as how many new texts were omitting metadata:

Screengrab clip of “dry run” for text processing with Crow corpus processing software. Shows computer program running at command line, ending in screen that reports database changes and the number of texts to be added to the corpus. 

From this report we could easily tick our acceptance criteria checkboxes (“Yes, we expect all 1,174 new texts not to have gender data”; “Yes, we expect a new category of L1 to be added”) before performing any database changes.

With the up-front work of standardizing the NAU texts to match Crow’s corpus design conventions, the final step of making those texts visible and searchable in our online interface was a (relative) snap. The consistent, machine-readable nature of the corpus records meant everything “just worked”!

Are you interested in using the Crow corpus for your research? Let us know!

Thank you to Larissa Goulart, Aleksey Novikov, Randi Reppen, Shelley Staples, Adriana Picoral and Mark Fullmer for helping us reach this important milestone, and Larissa, Shelley, Mark, and Bradley Dilger for this writeup.

Congratulations to Dr. Hadi Riad Banat, who defended his dissertation, “Assessing intercultural competence in writing programs through linked courses.” Dr. Banat’s committee was Purdue professors Dr. Tony Silva, Dr. April Ginther, Dr. Margie Berns, and Dr. Bradley Dilger.

Dr. Banat begins an appointment as assistant professor at the University of Massachussetts, Boston in Fall 2020.

From upper right: Dr. Hadi Riad Banat, with committee Dilger, Berns, Silva, and Ginther.