Here's some of the information we supply our
students. Read through it to get a better understanding of how our workshops
Terms of Service
What is a workshop facilitator expected to do?
Here's a description of what the position entails:
Creating and maintaining a complete 4-, 6- or 8-week curriculum on a
Providing all workshop materials to attendees on a scheduled basis
Providing prompt feedback and responses to all submitted
assignments, questions and comments from workshop attendees
Maintaining goodwill between Coffeehouse for Writers and its members and workshop attendees
Seizing opportunities to promote Coffeehouse for Writers and its workshops
Your Workshop Proposal
If you've come this far, you should have received approval to submit your
workshop proposal. (If not, please see Becoming A Facilitator.) Before you
begin preparing your workshop proposal, we suggest you read our Frequently
The key to
joining the Coffeehouse team is a well-written proposal. Here's what you'll
need to include.
- A cover letter, introducing your ideas for the workshop and how you plan to teach it, including: the frequency of
assignments (no less than one per week); any materials you will require students to purchase; the frequency
of lessons and handouts (no less than one per week); and why you feel your workshop is marketable to an audience of novice writers.
- A course syllabus. Please use one of our current syllabuses as a template, since we require our facilitators to use the same format.
Visit the Writing Historical Fiction workshop and
the Writing for Magazines workshop for good examples of course syllabuses.
IMPORTANT NOTE: By preparing a proposal, you are not automatically guaranteed a spot in our course lineup. If you are in doubt about your subject matter, and whether it will work in a Coffeehouse for Writers forum, please query first with your ideas BEFORE sending a proposal. If we request a complete proposal based on your idea, remember that all proposals are requested on an approval basis.
Your Workshop Syllabus
The syllabus is the key ingredient to creating your workshop.
Essentially, it's an outline of your course that includes a summary of the
workshop, a week-by-week outline of lessons you'll be teaching, and the
final objective of the course. The primary purpose of a syllabus is to
communicate to students what the course is about, why the course is taught,
where it is going, and what the students should be able to accomplish once
they've successfully completed the workshop.
Your syllabus should include:
The Course Title
Make sure your title is not too long. Catchy titles that hook a
prospective student's interest are terrific, but the title should never be
so vague that the student has no idea what the course is about.
(Including your email address so students can contact you for further
course information is optional.)
Make the introduction for your course syllabus vibrant and enthusiastic
. . . and short and sweet (100 words is ideal). Since this is the paragraph we will use to promote your workshop, it needs to "sell." Remember to write tight--short and punchy is
Each week should include lesson titles and a brief summary of the
Required Materials or Prerequisites
We prefer that our facilitators not require the purchase of extra
materials unless absolutely necessary. Course materials should ideally be
written by the instructor. If you do require a text purchase for your
workshop, the text should act as a supplement, not primary lesson material.
All texts should be freely available (in hard copy, not e-book format) from
Prerequisites aren't usually necessary except in the case of an advanced
workshop where a basic workshop might be recommended. Some instructors also
require students to have stories or other writing samples prepared for
submission by the first day of class.
The course objective tells the students what they should have learned or
accomplished by the end of the course. Be specific! A poorly written
objective is vague: "Students will learn to craft better short
stories." A well-written objective explains exactly what a student
should be enabled to do or understand by the end of the course:
"Students successfully completing this course will understand the basic
mechanics of short fiction, and be able to write a complete rough draft of a
Don't use your objective to promise more than you can deliver. A basic
level student probably won't be able to craft a story that will be ready for
publication, but will understand all the elements of a good short
story, and be ready to begin practicing them.
Your bio should include information about yourself and your writing
accomplishments. Please take the time to craft your bio carefully, and be
sure to include significant publishing credits (include links to websites of
publications if you have them) as well as any applicable
education. If you have a long list of publishing credits, feel free to
summarize, but don't forget to include any major publications by name. Hit
on the highlights!
When You're Ready...
Save your proposal as plain text (.txt) or rich text format (.rtf). Please
don't write your proposal in an email message. Take the time to
carefully craft and proofread your proposal in your word processor before
Send your proposal as a file attachment to Jennifer
Brown Banks, at [email protected]
Tips for Your Proposal
As you write your proposal and prepare your
syllabus, take time to browse through the current Coffeehouse for Writers
workshops, and the site in general. Get a feel for our style.
With the exception of our more business-like
courses, we like to maintain an upbeat, casual and friendly tone--never dry
and clinical. But please don't equate "casual" with
"sloppy." Your proposal should be professional, and never laden
with spelling and grammar errors or jargon.
Proofread your syllabus carefully, and try to
look at it from a student's perspective. Have you been clear enough about
the benefits a student will receive through taking your workshop? Have you
told the student what to expect, and what he or she should understand or be
able to accomplish after successfully completing the course?