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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Teaching With Writing

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Campus Resources

A new resource from the WAC Clearinghouse, REx: The Research Exchange Index. ´╗┐Designed to raise the visibility of research activity in writing (distinct from scholarship about writing), REx solicits short-form reports from writing researchers at all career stages and around the world, focusing on projects dating from 2000 to the present. REx1, the first REx publication, is a searchable database of researcher-authored, peer-reviewed reports on contemporary research. It features contributions from more than 60 colleagues reporting on 80 individual research reports.´╗┐

A listicle from Paul T. Corrigan and The Writing Campus: Error in Student Writing: A Balanced, Developmental Approach

From Eli Review comes Teaching Revision: Helping Students Rethink Their Writing. It includes strategies for revision in the classroom, motivating students beyond line-edits, and why this kind of feedback can be so useful in the writing process. 

For now, the WAC Clearinghouse houses an excellent Teaching Exchange, which includes articles about teaching writing, sample syllabi, formal writing assignments across the disciplines, lesson plans, class activities, and faculty tip sheets for a variety of writing activities. 

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Designing Effective Writing Assignments

 How Do I Design Effective Assignments? 

A priority in facilitating effective student writing is to design assignments that don't overwhelm students and overburden faculty. You can instead: 

  1. Prioritize which writing skills you value as you design your assignment
  2. Communicate those priorities to students clearly, giving them time in class to practice the skills
  3. Give them feedback as they practice those skills, incorporating a chance to participate in peer review

Design Assignments that Isolate Specific Skills

Writing instructors tend to find it helpful to scaffold, or sequence, writing assignments that break reading, analysis, and writing into component parts. Students then practice developing a mastery of each area, building throughout the semester towards more comprehensive writing tasks. 

Use Frequent, Short Assignments and Writing-to-Learn Activities

The more writing tasks that students participate in that are short and designed to engage them in learning skills for the larger projects the better. Students get more opportunity to practice what might be basic skills and with feedback, they can refine their approach from assignment to assignment. This strategy works well across the disciplines because instead of a 10-20 page term paper, students practice the writing skills that matter to the faculty, and in the discipline. 

For further information, please look at the resource on Learning Principles offered by Carnegie Mellon. 

Other Resources

Bedford Bits: Ideas for Teaching Composition

Writing Commons: a free, global, peer-reviewed, open-education resource for college-level writers, college faculty, and the everyday writer.

On Teaching Grammar 

A series of [PDF] Interactive Techniques (161 KiB) for writing to learn and group activities. 

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