Are you eager to enhance the writing abilities of your students? The best practices below will assist you in integrating writing pedagogy into your courses. They flow from the Wise Writes Faculty Fellows program, where you can join your colleagues in learning about infusing writing excellence into your curricula.
What practices and policies do you recommend for a a good writing course?
Research in writing theory has identified the following six factors, which most instructors already do, as essential to improving both instruction and student writing quality and, in turn, grading ease. These are required policies for any course that is designated as “writing intensive” under the Wise Writes plan.
- Provide students a syllabus with explicitly stated Learning Outcome related to Writing and specific penalties or remediation policies for poor writing performance.
- Provide students at least one assignment guide in which the purpose, audience, and minimum writing and research requirements are explicitly stated in writing in advance.
- Provide students 50 minutes (1 class or 5 ten minute talks) of instruction about writing skills (Must be listed on the course syllabus or schedule).
- Provide students some form of grade instruction and/or a rubric in advance which is used in grading of at least one assignment.
- Require a total of 20 pages of writing (in class and out and formal and informal combined all can count to this total) all semester PLUS add at least one additional page (400 words) of writing.
- Require all students to provide a draft, get feedback (Faculty, peer editor, or the Writing Center), and revise at least one assignment prior to submission for grading (must be listed on syllabus or assignment).
Do I have to be teaching a writing course now or next semester to join Wise Writes?
If you aren’t teaching a course this semester, Wise Writes is still perfect for you! You would be right at home in the Faculty Writing Fellows Program. You will learn all the things you need to consider when developing a writing intensive course and have the opportunity to hear from others currently teaching writing courses.
Can I still join Wise Writes if I have been teaching for years and feel like I am doing fine? How can you help an expert?
Short Answer: If you are already doing a lot of writing and writing instruction then joining Wise Writes is a perfect way to get recognized (and paid) for your efforts. Research about writing is always evolving too so hopefully you may learn a few new strategies for improving writing especially using technology. At minimum you will be able to join and lead a community of fellow writing teachers eager for your expertise.
Long Answer: The goal of Wise Writes is to share a clearly defined campus-wide standard for what “writing intensive” means. This program creates a minimum teaching standard for courses that want to be called writing intensive. Faculty who sign up for Wise Writes learn a common vocabulary and share practices to improve writing instruction and the process of student writing.
Depending on what you are already doing in your class you may make only minor changes or this may be quite experimental for you.
Even if you aren’t making considerable changes in your teaching, through the workshops you will gain a community of fellow teachers committed to improving writing. You will have an opportunity to see good writing and good writing practices in multiple disciplines, which should provide useful strategies and resources and help you clarify what matters in your own discipline.
What if I can’t attend all the workshops or need to come late/leave early?
Wise Writes is not an individual tutorial program. Workshops are done in groups because discussion among disciplines is part of the QEP’s goals of fostering campus-wide writing discussion. Anticipate most workshops to be a full 60 minutes in length. You are expected to attend the entire workshop as scheduled. Stipends and make-up workshops will not be provided for those who leave early or miss scheduled workshops unless there is an emergency situation. If you can’t attend a scheduled workshop contact firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
If you know in advance you will not be able to participate, please apply for a subsequent year.
If you don’t have time for workshops now, be aware I am also happy to do workshops or lectures in your class even if you are not a part of Wise Writes.