Treat formal writing assignments as a process, and build their writing and re-writing into your course schedule. Here are two possible schedule for integrating writing projects: one for a small-section Signature Course (UGS 302), and one for a larger, lecture-format course (UGS 303).
Informal, in-class writing, and/or short (1-2 page) reflective or responsive assignments (reading responses, summaries, reactions to lectures, etc.).
Students may be given an overview of all the writing projects for the semester.
First writing project: 3-5 pages, representing students’ first serious efforts at engaging with the main course concepts.
Provide an assignment sheet with all necessary details, and introduce the criteria you will use to grade the project.
Discuss the grading criteria in class, and examine model responses to the assignment.
Students turn in a proposal, outline, thesis statement or other “focusing” assignment for first writing project.
Instructor provides brief directional feedback (cautions, suggestions, encouragement) and returns to students by the next class period.
Spend five or ten minutes of class time pointing out common problems—either content-related, logical, or mechanical.
Students turn in draft of first assignment for instructor feedback. Students read one another’s papers and offer constructive criticism. For more details, see Peer Review .
Instructor returns drafts, with comments, for revision.
Final drafts due; second writing project assigned. The second assignment might be longer, require more complex thinking, or cover multiple course concepts. It may ask students to incorporate ideas or sections from their first project.
“Focusing” assignment for second project due, if required. If used, instructor returns by the next class period.
Drafts of second assignment due. Instructor feedback and peer review as for project one. Drafts returned for revision within the week.
Final draft of second project due. Third project assigned (longer than the first or second, and requiring more synthesis, independent research, or analysis).
Discussion of or feedback on focusing assignment for third project, if used (you can have students work together on their thesis statements, for example).
If students are working independently, it is a good idea to schedule in some “checkpoints”— have them informally describe where they are in their research and writing, give them a chance to talk about problems or questions, and so on.
Drafts of final project due; peer review and instructor feedback provided. Drafts are returned for revision within the week.
Last-minute opportunities for asking questions, editing and proofreading.
Final projects due. Students discuss or write a short in-class reflection about the class and their writing projects.
In a large-section UGS 303, build short writing assignments into your everyday class structure, with one or two slightly longer projects.