Outlines/Reverse Outlines

What worked best as you sought to help students learn course content through writing?

After teaching this course with a W focus twice, I discovered that having students complete a reverse outline of an article and then summarize it in text encourages them to read the article more carefully, paying attention to style, content, and structure. Students then use this as a model to guide their own writing. Saethre, ANTH425, F12

What worked best as you sought to help students learn to be more effective writers?

Short in-class writing assignments have helped. I also share the strongest essays (with student's permission) and share model essays from previous semesters so they can see what's expected of them. I find that they will rise to the occasion. I think they appreciate clear expectations; Interestingly, I have found that some students are better at writing outlines and doing Power point presentations, which also require writing, than writing essays. So I have added a variety of writing assignments that allow them to demonstrate their understanding of the material. Auman, COM460/ACM460, F12.

Having the students turn in a thesis and outline to me and providing them feedback at this critical juncture in the writing process helped them turn in more polished papers. Unfortunately, I found that in an online class, having students complete peer reviews for each other is a rather cumbersome process. While beneficial, many students don't take advantage of the option, so it is likely that I will discontinue that in favor of continuing to provide very detailed feedback to the students on the track changes tool in Microsoft word as well as using a writing rubric for both the midterm and the final papers. Mironesco, WS384/POLS384, F12.

Please explain any changes you plan to make in the W aspect of your class.

Since I first applied for a W focus, I have added a reverse outline to the reading response but reduced the total number to keep the number of pages constant. I have also added a project abstract and preliminary bibliography to ensure that students begin their projects in a timely and suitable manner. Sathre, ANTH425, F12.