Recommended for mid- to late semester
Students work with concepts from two disciplines, or two branches of the same discipline, using one to explore the other, or examining and discussing them in ways that reveal contrast, similarity, cause-effect, problem-solution, or other relationships. Students may investigate how solutions in one field illuminate problems in another, how work in one field is changing the way questions are asked in another field, and so on.
Some instructors use special formats to guide this kind of writing, asking students to write dialogues, conduct debates, or use other structures that make the dialogic nature of the task more obvious.
Average Length: 5-10 pages. Synthesizing two or more disciplinary concepts will usually require extra space.
The demands of this kind of assignment make it likely that students will produce rather meandering rough drafts, which will benefit from substantial editing for thought and clarity. Schedule at least one full week after you have commented on drafts for students to revise. This type of assignment is also a good candidate for peer review as a whole class or in online forums.
In addition to clarity of writing, grading criteria for this kind of assignment should address the extent to which students demonstrate their understanding of concepts in both disciplines, the accuracy of their conclusions, and their ability to find creative, non-obvious questions or answers.