About the Seminar
Across the curriculum, faculty assign writing, seeking to deepen student learning and help students practice the communication skills central to specific disciplines and professions. Many find, however, that achieving the student outcomes they hope for is not always easy, and that the process can create a challenging workload for them as teachers. Research in writing pedagogy and the writing-across-the-curriculum movement has identified principles and strategies for assigning, responding to, and discussing writing with students in ways that elicit students’ strongest work, promote metacognition and skill development, and ensure that writing activities directly support content learning goals.
Drawing on this research and demonstrated best practices, with an emphasis on the social science and masters-level contexts, the seminar on Effective Writing Pedagogies in Public Affairs responded to interest among faculty at the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs in deeper exploration of teaching writing. Over two days in the January 2019 intersession, faculty convened to engage with resources, reflect together on their practices, and apply strategies to their course materials and plans. Specifically, these sessions emphasized:
- Designing purposeful writing assignments that support deep learning
- Integrating scaffolded, low-stakes opportunities for students to practice skills and revise texts
- Providing productive feedback without increasing the grading load by using techniques such as a single-point rubric, comment bank, and facilitation of meaningful peer review
- Supporting all students, including multilingual ones, in developing targeted discipline- and genre-specific writing skills
The group reconvened several times over the Spring 2019 semester to engage with additional areas of interest that emerged during the January sessions and reflect on their implementation of new strategies in their courses.
- Sample Low-Stakes and Scaffolded Writing Activities
- Strategies for time-efficient formative feedback: Sample Single-Point Rubric and Sample Comment Bank
- Strategies for teaching genre-specific writing skills: Sample Functions and Features Chart
- Very Short Guides to Fundamentals of Prompt Design, Designing Documents for Students, High-stakes and Low-stakes assignments, Formative and Summative Feedback, and Responding to Student Writing
- The Elements of Teaching Writing: A Resource for Instructors in All Disciplines by Katherine Gottschalk and Keith Hjortshoj. Seminar participants read portions of this accessible and practical guide; we recommend it as one of the best ways to get started, and are happy to provide you a copy upon request.
Be in touch!
If you’d like to learn more about the seminar, or for consultation and support on writing in your course, be in touch.