Conceptual Ladders: Steps to Understanding through Writing

When students recall the definition of a concept or apply a formula or principle to a problem, we are presented with a challenge. While their answers may be correct, how do we know whether they have a developed sense of the concept or can simply provide solutions in clearly defined contexts? Similarly, while students may recall learning about a concept, method, or tool in a prior course, is remembering a topic the same as conceptual understanding?

Collaborative Writing: Lessons from Multi-Authored Scientific Research

Among the many reasons to assign collaborative or team-based writing to students is that it models the collaborative and team-oriented academic fields and workplace contexts where they hope to work. Three Minnesota researchers in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior and colleagues from four other institutions recently described work in their discipline to promote meaningful authorship in massively multi-authored scientific papers.

Freshest Fruits: Getting the most from peer response

The Writing Across the Curriculum program offers many resources on peer response as an effective strategy for improving student writing. Students become more effective readers and writers when they can engage each other with formative feedback. At the same time, instructors may be challenged to find time to assign and implement peer response activities in their courses, especially if those courses have large enrollments.

Ready, Set, Comment

The final weeks of the semester can be a period of frenzied production as students prepare drafts of their final projects—proposals, essays, presentations, etc.—with hopes of receiving guidance from their instructors and teaching assistants before turning in final versions. While intentionally scaffolded assignments can do much to support students through the process of completing a final project, they do not alleviate the need for timely feedback.