Strategies for Mid-level Writing-Rich (W-R) Courses

Goal:
Instruction in a mid-level W-R course introduces students to the academic writing of a discipline and gives students opportunities to improve their writing over the term of the course.

Requirements:

  1. The instructor dictates the length and type of writing assignments for the course based on best practices of a particular discipline.
  2. The instructor guides students in their development as writers and does not simply assign writing for students to complete.
  3. In each assignment, the instructor identifies a specific audience and valid purpose.

Achieve these writing requirements by:

  • Calculating writing as a large component of the final course grade: However, promote the relationship between writing and learning rather than emphasize total page count
  • Scaffolding or sequencing writing projects: Assign smaller writing experiences and explain how each experience builds on the other so students learn to transfer writing skills from assignment to assignment
  • Instructing and assigning a variety of writing: For each writing experience, guide students in understanding the content, style, design, and organization of writing
  • Clarifying assignment expectations: Give students an assignment sheet that defines and explains the writing project and a rubric that clarifies how their writing will be evaluated
  • Implementing classroom collaboration: Spend class time preparing students to complete the assignment, discussing writing in progress, and engaging in collaborative efforts
  • Emphasizing the composing process: Separate assignments into sections (e.g. prewriting, drafting, revising, editing) so students understand that writing involves stages of learning
  • Integrating information literacy into the writing process: Guide students in understanding the sources, formatting, and citation conventions typical of the discipline
  • Providing opportunities for feedback: Give students feedback and advice throughout the composing process, and allow students to engage in peer feedback in or out of class
  • Including student evaluation: Require students to evaluate the course’s writing component at the end of the term

These guidelines support the undergraduate college’s goals for written communication: Consider audience and purpose; Use evidence effectively; Apply critical reasoning and creativity; Choose appropriate language and style; and Follow the conventions of a particular discipline