Designing a Writing-Integrated Course
- Writing-integrated instruction designs writing assignments that are directly related to central course concepts
- Writing-integrated instruction asks students to write frequently in un-graded as well as graded formats
- Writing-integrated instruction scaffolds writing tasks in ways that build the skills students need to write with success for graded course work.
Four Common Writing Integrated Assignment Structures
Term Project Model
Here the course features a single major writing project focused on questions or concepts central to the course itself. It builds student ability to complete the assignment successfully by integrating into the course structure a series of low stakes papers sequenced so as to prepare students for the project's demands. Students may also be asked to rewrite based on peer and/or instructor feedback. A portfolio can be used to manage the low-stakes papers.
Sequenced Short Paper Model
Here the course sets up a sequence of 2 to 4 shorter (3-4 pp) high stakes papers, each focused on some course feature--like a set of essential questions basic to the course, or a skill sequence, or some sort of progressive conceptual complication. Low stakes papers can be deployed for engagement and skill building for each of the high stakes assignments. A portfolio can be used to manage the low-stakes papers.
Select, Develop and Re-write Model
Here a sequence of short, low stakes papers leads to the selection of one such paper for development into a longer paper. Often combined with peer review and rewriting exercises. A portfolio can be used to manage the low-stakes papers.
Here the high-stakes work is solely on exams--either in-class or take-home--and low stakes papers prepare students for exam writing. At course end the low stakes papers can be submitted to a portfolio accompanied by a self-reflective and self-assessing essay.