The memo is a standard genre for communicating information internally or externally to a group. While its format is fairly simple, the content can be used to teach critical thinking. A memo can be used to:
- Gather and summarize initial research.
- Address an issue or problem the student will face in class or in a given project.
- Draw attention to some point or issue the student wishes to write about in a paper.
- Identify potential responses the student will write about in a paper.
And, in turn, this work can be used as an in class document (rather than pretending to write to an imaginary audience) relevant to broader work occurring throughout the semester:
- Memos to instructors can outline problems or projects students will address.
- Memos can be written to classmates or instructors regarding the completion of a project (with summary, outline of issue, and recommendation).
- Memos to classmates can be used for peer review in lieu of students marking each other’s work.