Short written assignments

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

Writing reports help to aid students to think more clearly on the subjects they are facing (physics experiments in our case), and to understand the purpose of them better. Matsuno, PHYS274L, F12.

Multiple short writing exercises that offered more regular opportunities to integrate content into writing (ideally, every 2-3 weeks). When I assign essays that serve as an overview of larger spans of course material, there is less of an opportunity to include as much specific content. Brown, HIST417, F12.

A series of three writing assignments with revisions spaced evenly throughout the semester. Chin, ICS461, F12.

Homework questions on topics covered recently/about to be covered in class. Thau, SPAN351, F12.

The study of history is an exercise of interpretation. I believe that intensive writing can most effectively help the students think critically and better articulate their ideas. So I ask my students to do different types of writing assignments, ranging from the lower-stakes writings to the higher-stakes ones. Wang, HIST411, F12.

Regular, critical response papers that asked students to engage and analyze the assigned readings. Njoroge, HIST476/AMST440, F12.

'Writing assignments, with specific questions, in which students need to demonstrate that the material (e.g. concepts) has been understood. Springer, SOC100, 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.

In-class writing assignments and text power point presentations. Garrity, BUS209, F12.

I now spend at least an entire class session or a good chunk of one talking about when, where, and how they write. I find that when we treat writing as a skill that needs to be developed then we make writing less scary and something they can do. I also break the big assignments down into its parts and walk students through each stage in the process. Aikau, POLS390, F12.

Essays on Spanish cultural topics. Organization of thesis statements, body and conclusion. Thau, SPAN351, F12.

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

The number of assignments I give is greater (five short essays). Also, I am asking students to prepare questions for course discussion and counting these as part of their writing assignments. I want them to view their essay writing, and crafting questions for class discussion, as a paired endeavor in communicating their own ideas and shaping discussion and debate. Brown, HIST417, F12.