Reader Project Special Event: One-Offs

Feb 28 to March 16, 2014

A special opportunity for undergraduates to get feedback on a draft from a member of their target audience

Where: You arrange the meeting–in person, by Skype, by phone–at your convenience

When: Anytime between Feb 28 and March 16, 2014

Who can participate? Students: all Duke undergraduates; Readers: Duke alumni and employees

About: For this year’s Duke Writes event, the Duke Reader Project will try something new — “One-Offs.” Participating students will have an opportunity to “test drive” a draft of a writing assignment by getting feedback on their draft from someone with expertise in the field. Readers are asked to describe their reactions to the drafts in relation to their expectations for the type of writing the student is attempting. Normally, only students enrolled in Reader-Project-designated courses can participate in the Reader Project, and students have a multi-step sequence of interactions with their volunteer readers. In contrast, these One-Offs will be open to all Duke undergraduates and students will sign up only for a single interaction with a volunteer.

If you have questions about this event of the Duke Reader Project, contact Cary Moskovitz at

Students *

Who can participate?   Any Duke undergraduate student who would like feedback on a draft of a class or extracurricular writing project. That said, signing up is a commitment: please do not sign up unless you plan to show up with a fully fleshed-out draft to bring to the meeting.

How do I sign up?   Please sign up by March 3rd!

What’s involved?  When we send you the information for your reader, immediately email them to arrange a time and method to meet. Then, after you and your reader introduce yourselves, you will present your draft and explain the writing task to your reader: the purpose, the target audience, and any information about a real or hypothetical context that would help your reader give useful feedback. You might also note any particular concerns you want the reader to keep in mind. Readers will do a “think-aloud response” — reading your paper aloud, stopping frequently to comment on their reactions to what they read in relation to their expectations. Finally, we ask that before you move on to whatever is next in your day, you take three minutes to complete our online survey so we can find out how the experience was for you as a participant.

Volunteer Readers *

Who can be a One-Off reader?   Any Duke alum or employee (current or retired from Duke) with a graduate degree and at least 5 years of relevant experience in any field they list on the sign-up form. Readers must be available–either in person or by Skype–to arrange an approximately 45 minute conversation over the week of Feb 28 to March 7.

How do I volunteer?   Sign up using your regular Volunteer login. If you’ve misplaced, or never seen an email with your personalized link, click here and follow the instructions to have it sent to your email.

What’s involved?   Students will present you with a draft of a paper they are currently working on or a project outline. They should brief you on the piece — the purpose, the audience, and any real or hypothetical context. They might also note particular issues they would like you to address in your comments. After that it’s simple: do a “think-aloud response.” Just read the paper aloud, stopping frequently to comment on your reactions to what you are reading. Imagine yourself reading the document not as a school assignment but in a professional setting or published contexts. We encourage you to see these guidelines to doing a think-aloud response (where you can also hear recorded examples) prior to your sessions. Finally, we ask that before you move on to whatever is next in your day, you take three minutes to complete our online survey so we can find out how the experience was for you as a volunteer.

Instructors *

Will your students likely have reasonably complete drafts of a course writing assignment by the end of February? Are they attempting a type of writing that exists outside of the classroom setting? If so, some of your students might benefit from participating in this event. If you are interested in recommending this opportunity to your students, please contact Cary Moskovitz to discuss the background readers would need to be a good fit for the writing your students are doing; this will help us recruit readers who are a good fit for your students’ work. Please note that because this is a small-scale pilot, we may only be able to accommodate a few of your students.