I first met Ms. Oh at the Writing Center where we worked together as writing tutors and where she exemplified the tenants of one-on-one teaching. Later I had the pleasure of being a student in her Creative Nonfiction Workshop. In the past few years that I have known her, I’ve witnessed her help students gain confidence, articulate ideas, acquire strategies, and learn the skills to effectively navigate their own writing process. Ms. Oh has the ability to offer insightful feedback without forcing her opinions about how a student should develop a piece. This gift is a reflection of her philosophy as writer and a writing teacher: the ultimate control of a piece belongs to the author, and the best education occurs when a student is fully engaged in their own process. Her ability to engage her students in critical thinking makes her invaluable as an educator. Ms. Oh’s availability to her students promotes ideal student work. An essay I work shopped for her class, “Good Neighbors,” was selected for presentation and publication in UAA’s Student Showcase Program, where I was the sole award recipient of the English students. While I was working on this piece, Ms. Oh offered detailed feedback on multiple drafts that encouraged me to work hard at perfecting and elevating my language; she asked the kind of perceptive questions that led me to my own conclusions about what best serves my work. In addition, she was present during my presentation where her support and encouragement gave me great confidence. I recommend Leslie Hsu Oh to you without reservation. I cannot emphasize enough the value of educators like Ms. Oh and the importance of the subject matter she teaches. Leslie Oh and the creative writing classes are valuable assets to the English Department and to the University’s student body.
~Mary Harris, President, Sigma Tau Delta, English Honor Society and Editor, Understory:
In 1998, Leslie taught public health at Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare. In 2007, after earning her MFA, she began teaching creative writing and computer information and office systems at the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has also taught for 49 Writing Center and Anchorage School District, Advanced Academy Writing Institute, and Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference. Now, she’s joining Write Like a Honey Badger.
Student Feedback on online CWLAA260A: Introduction to Creative Writing:
• I am absolutely amazed with everything I learned this semester in my CWLA A260 course. I really appreciate the chance to have taken this class and learn the key components to apply in my writing. I didn’t think a web based course would have provided as much what felt like “hands on learning” as it did. I thought you were (professor) there every step of the way to walk us through the assignments, and I am very grateful for that. The helpful e-mail and black board reminders were wonderful. I honestly don’t have anything I would change. I also loved receiving criticism from other students as well as providing it. I think the structure of this class is amazing and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
• What I loved most about this class was the teamwork and constructive criticism I got from the classmates who looked at my work. I liked how we got to share our writings and do stuff on discussion board. I found it very refreshing and admittedly, I was constantly checking my blackboard on my iPhone for new comments on my blogs, I was that excited.
• I enjoyed receiving feedback from other writers! I don’t usually give my writing to my friends because I worry too much about what they think of me, or that they’ll be a bit biased because we’re friends. Sharing with people I don’t know very well was very refreshing, and it allowed me to get honest and unbiased opinions and criticism. I can’t think of anything that would improve the course significantly, I enjoyed it plenty as is.
• I have learned from this class how to inform myself as a writer. I am still totally impressed with all the websites from other authors we were assigned for homework. I have become more open and vocal about what I want to do with family and friends around me. This has led those whom I trust and respect in my life giving me information too. What I most enjoyed from this class was the chance to write. It may seem odd to read that but it’s true. This is a big step for me in my personal growth. I also enjoyed the blog prompts and how my mind could go in so many directions trying to land on “the” idea to write about. I like the set-up of the BB site; most personal and easiest one I have interacted with. I enjoyed the student feedback and how I improved through the semester with giving the feedback as well. I enjoyed joy I haven’t felt in decades because I was putting action to my dream. I enjoyed the course and have already been recommending to some friends to take this class…and how glad they were to know it was online!
• I learned so many things, technique, the voice of innocence, the voice of experience, how to describe. Each assignment gave me something new to apply to my writing. I had never taken a creative writing class in college and have focused mainly on technical writing as a paralegal student. I was able to explore my creativity and give new styles of writing a go. I learned a great deal about dialogue writing and it amazes me how much emotion and life you bring to a story with just a conversation. The greatest thing this class has taught me is the value of criticism. Reading the comments of my peers and teacher has helped me to grow as a writer this semester. It isn’t very often that you get weekly feedback on you writing! I learned so much about my own writing and what I need to improve it from reading the comments I received. I will try to apply the advice I have received and strive to become a better writer.
• First off I would like to start with thanking you for offering this class. I feel that I have grown a lot as a writer. I say that even though it is not anything I ever viewed myself as, that is until I took this class. I learned an almost overwhelming amount of information regarding creative writing. I learned a good amount about how to develop characters, plots, paint the scene, and even how to sell my works. The most enjoyable thing about this class was the selected readings. Every week I got introduced to a new author, sometimes more. And for a one semester class that is pretty impressive.
• My writing has really been elevated because of this class and has also given me a new view on the world of writing. In some strange way this has made my whole college experience a lot more enjoyable than it was before.
• I really like the fact you covered many different exercises because we are all on different levels of writing. All of comments on my posts from the other classmates really helped me with my revisions. I feel a second set of eyes and suggestions are more than beneficial to writing. This works for me overall and I hope to use these skills in my career later on. Overall, this has been a wonderful and enjoyable class. Thank you!
Student Feedback on campus-based CWLAA260A: Introduction to Creative Writing:
• Leslie Hsu Oh was my first CWLA teacher and she cares so much about her students, making them just as much of a part of the class as the books we have to buy. I have taken this class twice now and it continues to be the best class I have ever chosen to take.
• Loved this class. We had an awesome instructor, great material to read from. Also, Leslie’s relationship with other writers and their willingness to visit our class was a wonderful and rare experience.
• I love this course; the teacher and the way she taught got me lovestruck, and I would take the course again if I had the means to! This was a wonderfully taught course, and I learned an incredible amount I honestly didn’t think I would have before.
• This class was worth the money for both tuition and books. That is the first time I have been able to say that for any class. I have loved other classes, but not continued to study subject after the class. I will continue to study in this field because of this class.
• I found this course to be fulfilling. It was a break from my general field of study and am glad to have taken it. I believe the multiply genres helped me to both better understand each genre and which one I preferred to write. Also this course has helped me understand my academic voice and how my creative voice affects my academic voice. I think it was wonderful!! Morning pages were a life saver.