Connecting Inside Course Work to Community of Writing Events

Connecting Inside Course Work to Community of Writing Events

noticing who is invited

In college classrooms, students can learn alongside each other, ask questions, form networks, and drive inquiries. However, for many who are incarcerated, this kind of critical approach to learning is possible only if educational programs exist inside the walls, facilitating interaction face-to-face.

The asynchronous learning enabled by networked technologies (including but not limited to the Internet), which has facilitated access to higher education for so many across our state, is needed inside carceral contexts as well.

collaborative design

Reflecting on this need, Chris Lott, Kendell Newman Sadiik, Jessica Armstrong, and Chris Beks from eCampus and Sarah Stanley, Lacy Simko, and Sean Namei from UAF English connected the annual Fairbanks Community of Writing event to the required research assignment of Area 111X.  Teaching a collaborative community-based research project s in the context of Area-111X checked several motivational boxes:

    • a course completion requirement involving research;
    • a social purpose for education as a process embedded in a social network;
    • a shared space for the university team and FCC educational staff to experiment and reflect on what is working for incarcerated student collaboration;
    • through the CoW event, connecting an informal network of volunteers and community organizers.

Months of classes and hours of inside-out collaboration had passed, the day of our event was here, October 20 9 am. Student Lions Patrick, Nastasia, and Chris negotiated their work schedule to volunteer their Saturday setting up the Area 111X booth after listening to the collaborative inside vision. Chris Lott who had moved to Seattle recently surprised us that morning–he couldn’t miss this!

The Area 111X booth asked writers to reflect on “what does success mean to you” after they invited writers to first share a story about a time they felt successful. An earlier cohort of the course had reasoned and argued that the booth should be about success as well as defining what success for this project would be. (25 responses).  but the design cohort had to operationalize that goal, creating an inviting, not too school-like, booth to encourage mindful reflection.


Over 100 people showed up and over half of those who attended participated in Area 111X course research project. Writers like Patrick wrote throughout the event, carefully articulating what they have learned and want to share about success.

CoW is an Annual Event. Writers of all ages and experience levels can find advice and resources at the Community ofWriting event hosted by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Department of English at the Noel Wien Library. Learn more at

Success Poem (by a writer in yellow)

The journey of success can be both a satisfying and difficult endeavor, nevertheless, success can be accomplished by whoever. Whether it be far or near success is only temporary if you cannot adhere. Where talent is needed persistence is there, for talent is an entity if persistence is feared. Strive to do your best and never settle for less, that is the embodiment of success. When you know you have failed and hate to profess never fret move on to the next. The enemy of success is insecurity and doubt, being confident in your ability to succeed is what success is about. Success is always there you just have to seek it out failure is not an option, success is the only route.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *