Browse online resources for integrating writing into courses across disciplines: assignments, rubrics, discipline-specific resources and more.
How can I use writing in my course?
While all instructors want students’ writing to be clear, coherent, and insightful, what counts as a feature of good writing can mean very different things depending on the discipline and course context.
The syllabus serves as the official document for your course and must include mandatory content, specified on the University Policy Library Page. Beyond detailing the nuts and bolts of course policies and procedures, the syllabus is also an excellent place to provide students with useful information about the kinds of writing they will practice in your class, the relevance of writing to your discipline or field, and the resources available to support them.
How can I build effective writing assignments?
One of the best ways for students to determine what they know, think, and believe about a given subject is to write about it. To support students in their writing, it is important to provide them with a meaningful writing task, one that has an authentic purpose, clear guidelines, and engages students in their learning. In this section, you can read about key principles of assignment design, review examples of effective writing assignments, and use a checklist to guide your own designs.
A helpful checklist to guide you through the stages of assignment design.
Effective writing assignments, aligned with core learning goals, can help students build on their prior knowledge, apply key concepts introduced in lectures, labs, readings, and discussions, and anticipate future learning.
Incorporating informal writing activities into our classes can lead to enhanced thinking and learning, improved writing, and less time spent commenting on and grading finished projects. Because few of us have class time to spare, we’ll take a look at brief activities designed to (1) help students develop and distill their writable ideas and (2) provide targeted revision practice that they can apply to their works in progress.
Providing students the opportunity to write with and about data will allow them to use their computational and analytic skills to inform and persuade. On this page, we identify strategies for helping students develop effective habits for writing with data.
How can I help students improve and revise their writing?
Commenting on student writing is among the most important tasks for any instructor who uses writing. Whether the writing is short or long, formal or informal, a work-in-process or finished product, students learn both course content and writing habits through the process of revising their own writing.
Like writers who are native to English, multilingual writers continue to develop written fluency as they move forward in their majors and chosen fields. Unlike native writers, though, some multilingual writers may retain (by habit or choice) features of their native or preferred languages in their English writing.
Models of effective writing can increase students’ awareness of the ways experts and practitioners organize and present knowledge in their fields and disciplines. This page offers guidelines for selecting, annotating, and using models of writing in your class.
Peer response workshops—activities in which peers read and comment on each other's drafts or ideas—enable students to get quick, direct, and timely feedback on their works-in-progress. While feedback is beneficial to the writer, research has also shown that peer response benefits the peer reader as well; the act of carefully reading another student’s work fosters the capacity to detect, diagnose, and improve one’s own writing.
Giving students protocols to follow during peer response workshop sessions can keep pairs or groups focused and on task. For workshop sessions that are intended to extend for more than a few minutes, consider providing guidelines (what to comment on) and procedures (how to do so). These protocols can be used, adapted, and combined to fit most writing contexts, whether you’re teaching a large- or small-enrollment course, and working in an onsite, online, or hybrid environment.
This resource page offers a number of suggestions for how to support students in their development as writers and thinkers through the act of reflection.
This page offers suggestions for why instructors might consider using conferencing in their classes along with practical strategies for integrating conferencing into assignments and course designs.
How can I grade writing with fairness and efficiency?
Instructors can combine a number of strategies to overcome challenges and create systems for grading that can be efficient, fair, and beneficial for student learning.
An overview of grading rubric types and guidelines for their development and use.
Grade norming can help ensure fairness and consistency in evaluating student work across multiple sections and with multiple instructors.
In classes with large enrollments and multiple sections, faculty members will often coordinate the work of teaching assistants as co-instructors; as lab, discussion, or recitation section leaders; or as reader/graders. Each of these roles requires careful coordination between teaching staff on expectations for writing and strategies for writing instruction.
For faculty members and teaching assistants, dealing with a seemingly endless volume of student work is one the most challenging facets of teaching with writing. Careful planning can allow you to both maximize your time and provide useful feedback.
Undergraduate students face a challenging terrain when writing with sources. Finding, evaluating, organizing, synthesizing, and documenting sources are complex, interconnected activities central to academic writing.
Plagiarism is a challenging topic in the context of writing instruction. Academic integrity is a cornerstone of higher education, and violations of academic integrity policies are considered severe breaches of community standards.
Colleagues from across academic disciplines ask about strategies they can use to address problems related to grammar, usage, style, and mechanics in student writing. On this page, we begin by considering pragmatic goals before listing strategies that allow instructors from across the curriculum to address sentence-level issues within diverse course and disciplinary contexts.