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C OMPOSING W RITING A SSIGNMENTS Kevin Eric DePew Writing Tutorial Services English Department September 11, 2008 What are my goals? Always start with your course goals, then ask… How will writing supplement or facilitate these goals? What type of writing will best fulfill these goals?

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C omposing w riting a ssignments l.jpg

COMPOSINGWRITING ASSIGNMENTS

Kevin Eric DePew

Writing Tutorial Services

English Department

September 11, 2008


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What are my goals?

Always start with your course goals, then ask…

  • How will writing supplement or facilitate these goals?

  • What type of writing will best fulfill these goals?


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Start with your goals

Typical goals for academic writing include…

  • knowing course content

  • applying course content

  • learning how to research in the field

  • being critical of or scrutinizing material

  • demonstrating correct grammar and format


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Students’ perception

How should students perceive writing?

Writing = Assignment = Grade

OR

Writing = Communication = Participating in the Field


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Writing to learn & Learning to write

  • W2L–Writing helps students’ cognitively process course material

    • Examples –summaries, demonstrations of application, reports

  • L2W–Learning the writing conventions of a specific discipline

    • Example – explicitly teach students the mechanics and format of the genres in your discipline


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Goals determine your tasks

  • Use your goals to determine what tasks students should accomplish

    • comprehension  summarize, explain, describe, define, discuss, illustrate, review

    • application  design, demonstrate, develop

    • critical  analyze, evaluate, defend, compare, contrast


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Assignment sheets

  • Consider the following elements for your assignment sheet…

    • Purpose: Student should understand why they are doing the assignment

    • Preparation: How should students prepare to write? Where will the information come from?

    • Writing: Explains what they are writing

    • Assessment: How will you grade the paper?


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Format of an assignment

  • Use document design principles to make your assignments easier to read

  • This is a professional document, not a manuscript

  • You can view document design principles at http://www.odu.edu/~kdepew/pwprinciples.pdf


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ESL students

  • Be culturally sensitive

  • Provide opportunities to write about home issues when appropriate

  • Determine how important correctness is to you


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Assessing your own assignment

  • Assignments clear to you may be confusing to students, especially those new to the university or discipline

    • Get students to read assignments in first week; allows you to revise assignments to your student audience

    • If students do not meet your expectations, reread your assignment before you assess


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Your Turn

Take some time to examine your own assignment

  • What are your goals for the course?

  • What is the purpose of the writing assignment ?

  • How does the assignment help fulfill the course goals?


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Peer Review

Give your assignment and responses to a partner; as the partner consider how a student would read this.

  • Is the purpose of the assignment clear?

  • Are the instructions written clearly?

  • What questions do you anticipate the students will ask?

  • Is the document easy to read and navigate?


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