Shelley Staples

Associate Professor, English
Associate Professor, Second Language Acquisition / Teaching - GIDP
2019 CUES Distinguished Fellow

Note: Title was current at time of award and may have changed.

Harnessing Computational Models to Advance Excellence in the Teaching, Learning, and Assessment of Writing

This project harnesses the power of corpus linguistics, a computational social science approach to big data, to develop materials for Foundations Writing classrooms, with an emphasis on improving instruction for student writers for whom English is an Additional Language (EAL). The project draws on the Corpus and Repository of Writing, a collection of EAL student writing assignments produced as part of Foundations Writing courses (at UA, ENGL 106, 107, 108) and associated metadata (e.g., student’s country of origin, intended major). The materials development process will engage current instructors in a cycle of identifying student learning needs in relation to language, using the corpus to identify patterns in student writing that can be incorporated into instructional materials, piloting the materials, and evaluating student performance in relation to academic writing goals. Since the Foundations Writing classroom serves as a bridge to students’ writing in their majors, this project is expected to impact other types of student writing.  In particular, the materials development process also serves as a model for university courses (including UArizona Global courses) that include writing as part of classroom assessment, such as writing intensive courses in students’ majors and language courses.

Key contributors to this project include Anh Dang and Hui Wang, PhD Candidates in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT). Past contributors to this project included Dr. Nina Conrad, PhD in SLAT 2022; Dr. Aleksey Novikov and Dr. Emily Palese, PhD in SLAT 2021; and Alantis Houpt and Kevin Sanchez, BA in English 2021.


Dang, A., Conrad, N., and Staples, S. (2022). Adapting Corpus-Based Materials for Online Teaching in L2 Writing CoursesSecond Language Writing News: The Newsletter of the Second Language Writing Interest Section of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

Velázquez, A., Conrad, N. Staples, S., & Sanchez, K. (2020). Applying learner corpus data in second language writing courses. Second Language Writing News: The Newsletter of the Second Language Writing Interest Section of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)


MAR 2023: Exploring L2 students’ writing performances and perceptions of corpus-based materialsTeachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Conference, Portland, OR.

MAR 2023: “How is it done?” A qualitative analysis of using corpus-based materials to teach L2 writing. American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Conference, Portland OR.

SEP 2022: Expanding the Impact of Corpus Linguistics in the ClassroomAACL 2022: 15th International American Association for Corpus Linguistics (AACL) Conference, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona.

JUL 2022: Learner corpora and Data-Driven Learning: moving toward an additive approachTaLC 2022: 15th Teaching and Language Corpora Conference, Limerick, Ireland.

APR 2022: Enhancing the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning through Mentor-Supported Research Design, CUES Inside UAZ-Funded Scholarship Series, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.

DEC 2021: Enhancing Pedagogy with Data-Driven Learning: Student Writing as the Site and Source for Instructional Change, CUES Inside UA-Funded Scholarship Series, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (Virtual).

APR 2021: Integrating National Guidelines in Foreign Language Teaching: The case of Arabic Dialects, CUES Inside UA-Funded Scholarship Series, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (Virtual).

APR 2021: Building Genre Awareness through Data-driven Learning in L2 Writing Classes (Digital paper presentation), BALEAP Conference 2021: Exploring Pedagogical Approaches in EAP Teaching, British Association for Learning English for Academic Purposes; with Nina Conrad

FEB 2021: Using Corpora for Pedagogy and Research (Invited talk), Second Language Studies Corpus Lab Kick-Off Event: Using Corpora for Pedagogy and Research: Projects from the Corpus and Technology Enhanced Language Learning (TELL) Lab, Michigan State University (Virtual). 

OCT 2020: Designing Pedagogical Materials for Academic Writing Using Interactive Data-driven Learning (iDDL) (Digital paper presentation), CATESOL 2020 State Conference, California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languageswith Aleksandra Swatek, Ashley Velazquez, Ji-young Shin

JUL 2020: Designing Pedagogical Materials Using Interactive Data-driven Learning (iDDL) with Multilingual Learner Corpora (Workshop), 2020 Teaching and Language Corpora (TALC) Conference, Perpignan, France, with Aleksey Novikov, Adriana Picoral, Bruna Sommer, Ashley Velazquez and Aleksandra Swatek.

JUL 2020: Building Data-Driven Learning (DDL) Materials with Teachers of Second Language Writing: Bridging the Research/Teaching Gap (Digital paper presentation), 2020 Teaching and Language Corpora (TALC) Conference, Perpignan, France. 

APR/MAY 2020: Using the Corpus and Repository of Writing for Teaching and Research (Series of two webinars for Metropolitan State University, Denver), with Ashley Velazquez and Hadi Banat.

Broader Engagement

2024-2026: Understanding Community College Instructors’ Perceptions of Corpus-informed Writing Instruction, Conference on College Communication & Composition (CCCC) Research Initiative Grant, $5,250.

2019 CUES Distinguished Fellows