The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
Skip navigation links

Scheduling Writing Assignments Through the Semester

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).

UGS 302 Sample Schedule

Weeks 1-2

Assignments & Activities

Informal, in-class writing, and/or short (1-2 page) reflective or responsive assignments (reading responses, summaries, reactions to lectures, etc.).

Optional Activities

Students may be given an overview of all the writing projects for the semester.

Week 3

Assignments & Activities

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.

Optional Activities

Discuss the grading criteria in class, and examine model responses to the assignment.

Week 4

Assignments & Activities

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.

Optional Activities

Spend five or ten minutes of class time pointing out common problems—either content-related, logical, or mechanical.

Week 5

Assignments & Activities

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 .

Week 6

Assignments & Activities

Instructor returns drafts, with comments, for revision.

Week 7

Assignments & Activities

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.

Week 8

Assignments & Activities

“Focusing” assignment for second project due, if required. If used, instructor returns by the next class period.

Week 9

Assignments & Activities

Drafts of second assignment due. Instructor feedback and peer review as for project one. Drafts returned for revision within the week.

Week 10

Assignments & Activities

Final draft of second project due. Third project assigned (longer than the first or second, and requiring more synthesis, independent research, or analysis).

Week 11

Optional Activities

Discussion of or feedback on focusing assignment for third project, if used (you can have students work together on their thesis statements, for example).

Weeks 12-13

Optional Activities

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.

Week 14

Assignments & Activities

Drafts of final project due; peer review and instructor feedback provided. Drafts are returned for revision within the week.

Week 15

Assignments & Activities

Last-minute opportunities for asking questions, editing and proofreading.

Last Class Day

Assignments & Activities

Final projects due. Students discuss or write a short in-class reflection about the class and their writing projects.

UGS 303 Sample Schedule

In a large-section UGS 303, build short writing assignments into your everyday class structure, with one or two slightly longer projects.

Weekly Assignments

  • Each Monday: Turn in your “I Still Don’t Know . . .” paragraph, in which you ask questions about parts of the reading you don’t understand.
  • Each Wednesday: Spend last five minutes of class writing a three-sentence summary of the day’s lecture. Turn in before leaving.
  • Each Friday: Submit three short-answer questions and answers, for possible inclusion in next week’s quiz.

Week 2

Assignments & Activities

Read rough drafts of your thesis-building paper in your discussion section.

Week 3

Assignments & Activities

Thesis-building essays due.

Week 14

Assignments & Activities

Post opening paragraph of your Disciplinary Dialogue on the class Blackboard forum, and comment on the work of at least three fellow students.

Week 15

Assignments & Activities

Disciplinary Dialogue due.