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Students Undertake Project-Based Learning to Improve YSW Website


What makes an effective website for an undergraduate research journal? That’s a question both past and current editors of YSW have been considering as we work to improve the digital presence of the journal. 

In his recent Computers and Composition article, “Spanning Student Networks: Designing Undergraduate Research Journal Websites to Foster Student–Student Mentoring,” former YSW editor Doug Downs studied the digital presence of YSW using social and actor-network theories. Downs talks about how undergraduate journals mainly should be for networking among undergraduate students. Downs argued that this networking was not really occurring through the website because it did not facilitate author interaction, or share author information like photos, biographies, or contact information. I had the pleasure to meet Doug Downs at the Naylor Workshop this year, and he recognized that YSW has made strides when it comes to our digital and social media presence, mainly through this blog and our more frequent use of social media.

Yet, the current editorial team is still trying to improve the way we promote and network the contributors to the journal. That is why recently we are focusing on revamping our website, and undergraduates at York College of Pennsylvania are helping with this project. 

Some of this work is being done by students in a Publications Management course, taught by YSW Production Editor, Travis Kurowski. This course focuses on the publication process. Students in the class work on The York Review, which is a student-run literary publication that covers a ton of topics. Two students in this class, Eva Savill and Khiara Moore, are working to make specific recommendations to improve our website.  Eva is an Assistant Editor for the print version of The York Review and is a Senior Professional Writing major with a Creative Writing minor. She works on promotion for The York Review while also managing and editing submissions. Khiara is a Literary And Textual Studies major. She is an assistant editor for the print of The York Review. They both believe that the undergraduate students should be the first thing you see on the Young Scholars in Writing website. They are working on a way to show who the undergraduates are when clicking on our website and their articles, so people can engage and get a sense of the journal with a focus on the undergraduate contributors.

Additionally, Emma Simpson and a group of other undergraduates are conducting a project for their Digital Writing Class where they are doing a project serving as digital content creators for different clients at the institution, and we are lucky to be one of the clients. Emma Simpson is majoring in Human resources and Professional Writing at York College of Pennsylvania. Emma's team is focusing on creating a template for social media to help create a more cohesive brand for YSW’s social media. Emma so far has made a couple of templates that can be filled in with information about authors and their photos. Emma has also created a couple of posts that can be filled in with information about the journal accepting submissions. Emma's team has also been working on making a link tree for social media bios so that the blog site and submission link is more accessible from platforms like Instagram and Facebook. We are excited to see Emma and her team's end results. 

For Young Scholars in Writing, our mission is to promote undergraduates through our journal and website. Young Scholars in Writing wouldn't be here without undergraduates and their efforts, both in publishing research and in helping run the journal itself. We can’t wait to show more of the work of undergraduate students through a better and clearer lens. 


Blog post by: Kameron Cherry, YSW Intern and senior at York College of PA, expected to graduate in May 2022. Cherry has a major in Professional Writing and Literary and Textual Studies.