Teaching with Writing

In the Mud: Swine Writing Marathons

Introduction I first learned of writing marathons when Amy Lannin, Campus Writing Program Director, hosted one during our MU National Day on Writing activities. She took students all around campus and asked them to walk about the various landmarks, stop, observe, listen, and write. This activity intrigued Dr. Tim Safranski, who was then a member…

I can do the science, but someone please help with the words! Finding guidance in Trees, Maps, and Theorems

EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION – SHORTCOMINGS IN SCIENTIFIC WRITING Engineers are known for their technical skills, critical thinking, and problem solving. What engineers are not known for is the ability to speak and write well. This stereotype could be due to the intense coursework and hours spent studying, not making room for them to develop communication and…

Developing Inclusive Approaches to Russian Civilization Courses

In our small Russian Studies program we teach a number of courses that serve the larger campus community. Two such courses make up a two-semester large-lecture Writing Intensive “Russian Civilization” sequence. I have taught both semesters of this course for a total of eight semesters since coming to MU in 2008. I lecture, lead (and…

Navigating One’s Writing History: Remarks on Teaching and Writing

Because I am Chair of the English department, you might imagine that I was a person who was born with a book in her hand, who loved writing papers in college, who always got A’s in her English classes – but none of those things are actually true. The first time I wrote something that…

Designing Writing Assignments To Promote Critical Thinking–A Critical Thinking Approach

As teachers who use writing assignments to help students learn course material, we hope that students think critically as they complete our assignments, and we expect that they are learning from their writing. But what does critical thinking really mean in the context of their writing and the assignments we provide? What are students doing when they think critically to complete our assignments, and how does it help them learn things that are relevant to our courses?

Using Outlines to Teach Critical Thinking

Most of us spend our years of doctoral and post-doctoral training learning how to do research in our fields. Many of us serve as teaching assistants during this time, and some of us have the primary responsibility for a class. Still, when we begin faculty positions, we often feel ill prepared to take on teaching multiple classes a year. And if we are asked to teach a writing-intensive (WI) class, we may feel an added sense of bewilderment.

Student Writing Before—and in Addition to—WI Courses

Many faculty are understandably curious about the writing instruction students will receive as students here. To earn an undergraduate degree at MU, every student is required to take three writing courses: English 1000 followed by two WI courses, one of which must be at the upper division level in the major. ENGL 1000 is overseen by the Composition Program in the Department of English, while the WI curriculum is overseen by Campus Writing Program.

Instruction on Scientific Writing & Authoring, Scientific Peer Review, and Publication Ethics: An Assignment-Based Curriculum

In this post, I describe a writing-intensive and assignment-based curriculum that instructs students on best practices in writing a scientific paper and about the scientific publication process and scientific peer review.

Teaching Writing Using Rubrics

Evaluating student writing can be difficult, and assuring consistent grading from one assignment to the next and between various faculty/TA graders can be particularly challenging. You might ask, why is this? Many factors contribute to the issues we face when evaluating student writing.

Intentional Ambiguity in Assignment Design

When deciding to incorporate writing into a course, most instructors have learned that this is not as easy as “I’ll just assign an essay.” For many, the first step is to determine what the learning objectives are for the writing assignment: what do you want your students to get out of writing this paper?