Center for Teaching and Learning
Writing-enhanced courses provide students with an opportunity to develop their skills for writing in the discipline. Per Academic Council (August 10, 2017), “the assessment of writing skills in these … courses should count for at least 20 percent of the final grade.” Below, students will find resources for the development of their writing, and instructors will encounter resources for the teaching of writing. For more information, please contact Dr. Gray Kane.
Becoming a Better Writer
- Identify key features in examples from the discipline.
- Jot down ideas before you start writing.
- Respond directly and fully to the writing prompt.
- Use outlines to determine the best sequence for ideas and information.
- Know that the revision process involves resequencing information, dividing the topics from one paragraph into multiple paragraphs, combining topics from multiple paragraphs into one, elaborating with examples or research, deleting unnecessary sentences or paragraphs, writing new paragraphs, or making other significant changes.
- Treat writing as a process of multiple revisions over multiple days or weeks.
- Unless instructed otherwise, avoid referring to yourself or drawing the readers’ attention to you as the writer; make the assigned topic the sole focus of the writing.
- Request the grading rubric and review your work with it.
- Exchange papers with classmates and offer each other suggestions.
- Visit the Writing Center at least twice for each major writing assignment.
- Assign the Little Seagull Handbook and adopt its free corresponding online component, InQuizitive for Writers. The hardcopy of the textbook costs $26.25, the digital copy $15. InQuizitive provides students with quizzes and quality feedback on faculty-selected grammar topics, finding sources, evaluating sources, synthesizing ideas, integrating sources, MLA Style, and APA style. The system is responsive, so its questions target the specific issues that students are having within each topic. InQuizitive also automatically imports quiz grades into Canvas. For more information, contact DSU’s Norton representative, Lydia Warren.
- Join the DSU membership for TextExpander. TextExpander allows everyone who teaches writing-enhanced courses to copy and paste their commonly repeated feedback into a database and attribute a text shortcut, like “;concise,” that will trigger and insert the larger comment into any software, including Word documents and Canvas. All faculty who teach writing-enhanced courses may have access to the database, with the ability to utilize other people’s writing feedback. The software can simultaneously save faculty time and improve the quantity and quality of feedback on students’ work. For more information, contact Dr. Gray Kane.
- Provide students with the rubric prior to their writing the assignment. Here are example writing categories for rubrics.
- Go over key features in an example of quality writing, and then facilitate a discussion on how to improve another less-exemplary work.
- Schedule due dates in stages so students think of writing as a process.
- Provide students with written feedback on a rough draft, and use the rubric so they can see how it works.
- Avoid red ink or red font for your feedback; students can associate the color with emotions and miss the constructive content.
- With your first comment, acknowledge something positive in the students’ writing.
- When providing written feedback, circle/highlight and annotate examples of problems—not every instance of a problem—and list your top 3-5 suggestions for improvement.
- Design opportunities for students to apply the rubric to each other’s rough drafts and discuss their work in small groups or pairs.
- Encourage students to visit the Writing Center.