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Writing Assignments

Students may need help with writing basics, and even good writers don’t know how to write for your particular discipline. Professors can create writing assignments to help students engage in different types of learning, and can use different media to encourage sensitivity to audience and purpose. Feedback on writing assignments is also a critical teaching skill. These resources will provide helpful ideas for how to use writing assignments in teaching without becoming overwhelmed.

Creating Assignments

MIT’s guidelines for Creating Writing Assignments

What should you think about in designing a writing assignment?  Auburn’s Office of University Writing provides this helpful Outline for Creating Writing Assignments.

What Makes a Good Writing Assignment?  (links to multiple resources from Colorado State)

For teachers and students – Duke’s writing center lists 37 types of writing in Genres of Writing, and provides specific tips for each one.

Creating Engaging Writing Assignments (video)

Writing to Learn (video) (when your purpose is content rather than communication)

Writing doesn’t have to be an individual assignment.  This article discusses one history professor’s transformation of his research seminar into a collaborative group project.

Want to craft a writing assignment that also requires research? CTE's page on Research Assignments has suggestions.

New Media

Here’s some information about Using Blogs in a Course and even a rubric for evaluating student blogs.

These articles consider different ways to use class wikis to teach writing – one emphasizes technology, and the other the collaborative writing process.

Or teachers can use Wikipedia itself to teach the rules of writing for a mass audience, as one professor narrates in Are We Ready to Use Wikipedia to Teach Writing? (a little dated as Wikipedia itself has changed, but the basic idea still works).

Providing Feedback

Commenting on student writing is also a skill that can be honed. These are some suggestions from Carnegie-Mellon’s Eberly Center for Teaching Excellence.

The Idea Center suggests some Strategies to Improve Student Writing.

Miami University's Howe Writing Center offers suggestions for Conducting Peer Reviews.

SMU's "W" Requirement for the University Curriculum

Want your course to satisfy the Writing proficiency requirement for SMU’s University Curriculum? Check out the explanation here (log-in required).