Producing an Online Undergraduate Literary Magazine: A Guide to Using Problem-Based Learning in the Writing and Publishing Classroom

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Amy L Persichetti


This article will illustrate how a problem-based learning (PBL) course (Savery, 2006) can be used in a writing program as a vehicle for both creative and preprofessional learning. English 420: Writing, Publishing, and Editing is offered every fall, and its counterpart, English 423: Writing, Publishing, and Editing is offered each spring. The courses, positioned at the end of a sequenced series of prerequisite writing courses, provide a creative, applied writing experience that offers students professional practice through producing the digital version of Cabrini College’s literary magazine, Woodcrest. In the 2012–2013 school year, the English Department ran its first cycle of this model, which, at the time of this writing, is in its third year. Three successive Gold Medal ratings of our online literary magazine (2012–2013, 2013–2014, 2014–2015) by the Columbia Scholastic Press Association (CSPA) and a Gold Crown Award (2013–2014) suggest that problem-based learning, when used to cultivate an authentic online literary publication, familiarizes students with the life cycle of creative projects and enhances their writing. Writing students benefit from experiencing the interdisciplinary, collaborative, and student-driven work that problem-based learning prioritizes. This article will provide many resources to illustrate how PBL can be used when transitioning a literary magazine from print to online in a class-based setting.

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