COMPOSINGWRITING ASSIGNMENTS 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?
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
Students’ perception How should students perceive writing? Writing = Assignment = Grade OR Writing = Communication = Participating in the Field
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
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
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?
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
ESL students • Be culturally sensitive • Provide opportunities to write about home issues when appropriate • Determine how important correctness is to you
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
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?
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?