How to design writing intensive assignments
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How To Design Writing Intensive Assignments. Workshop Purpose. The purpose of this workshop is to introduce faculty members to some of the foundation issues associated with designing assignments for writing intensive courses.

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How To Design Writing Intensive Assignments

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How to design writing intensive assignments

How To Design Writing Intensive Assignments


Workshop purpose

Workshop Purpose

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce faculty members to some of the foundation issues associated with designing assignments for writing intensive courses.

With participants’ assistance, we will try to identify course specific assignments during the workshop and ensuing discussion.


Identify the assignment purpose

Identify the Assignment Purpose

What is the purpose of the assignment? Do you want students to:

  • define and apply a word or term?

  • understand and describe a procedure?

  • evaluate the effectiveness of an approach?

  • take a position about a controversy and provide evidence to support that position?


Identify the intended audience

Identify the Intended Audience

The instructor can share information to help students identify and learn who are typical audience groups in the discipline. The instructor can also help students learn about the various needs and expectations of these different audience groups.

Doing so can help students better understand what forms of writing are appropriate and why.


Identify the assignment goal s

Identify the Assignment Goal(s)

Do you want students to achieve practice and improved information literacy because they have to incorporate information from multiple credible sources and correctly cite information?

Do you want students to be able to identify relevant information and correctly quote, summarize, or paraphrase this information?

Do you want students to know the difference between a peer reviewed article and a general periodical article?


Attach value to the assignment

Attach Value to the Assignment

If students perceive or attach value to an assignment, they are more likely to be engaged.

Can the assignment be designed to reflect “real life” in terms or context students can relate to?

Example: Having students discuss and write about the textbook market, helps them to understand (if not appreciate) why their textbook costs as much as it does.


Consider enlisting assistance from others

Consider Enlisting Assistance From Others

The instructor does not have to know everything. Call upon others with specialized knowledge who can complement your skill or content knowledge.

Example: UHH Librarians routinely visit classes and tailor research presentations to students. They can demonstrate library tools that students can use to organize and manage research material necessary to complete the assignment.


Typical writing intensive assignments

Typical Writing Intensive Assignments

There is no such thing.

It is true that there are typical assignment forms, but some assignments are more appropriate in one discipline than others.

What follows are some suggestions. Consider adopting these assignments if these are appropriate to the discipline you teach in.


The term paper is not the only assignment

The Term Paper Is Not the Only Assignment

While the term paper (aka research paper) is a common assignment, it does not have to be the only writing assignment students work on.

If it is the typical assignment for the course/discipline, then consider doing the following:

  • provide students with a clear purpose

  • help them identify the intended audience

  • break the assignment into several shorter tasks with clearly stated (and reasonable) deadlines

  • provide opportunities for instructor feedback and revision throughout the assignment


General suggestions

General Suggestions

  • Provide students with a range of assignments and activities which are informal and formal

  • Provide students with a range of assignments that vary in length

  • You do not have to grade (or score) every piece of writing. Even on informal writing like journal entries, however, consider writing at least one comment about a statement or idea so students see you are paying attention to what they write

  • Students must learn to accept their responsibility for achieving error-free writing. You do not have to accept writing which is full of errors.

  • If you are going to identify errors for students, focus on one paragraph or section only. Use that as an example of the type and amount of errors the student now has to examine the rest of his or her paper for.


Other resources

Other Resources

As I work to build a UH-Hilo inventory of examples of Writing Intensive assignments, faculty are welcome to view the resources provided to members of the UH system on the Manoa Writing Program website:

http://www.mwp.hawaii.edu/

Additionally, here are some Teacher Resource links to other detailed handouts and examples:

http://www.mwp.hawaii.edu/resources/wm1.htm

http://www.mwp.hawaii.edu/resources/wm2.htm

http://www.mwp.hawaii.edu/resources/wm4.htm

http://www.mwp.hawaii.edu/resources/wm8.htm


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