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Writing Across the Curriculum

Starting From Scratch:
How Informal Writing Prepares Students to Write and to Learn

Wednesday, October 11, 2005


“I conclude that merely writing about biology does not necessarily ensure that students learn about biology.”   —Randy Moore

When confronted with a writing assignment, students often complain that they don’t know how to get started.  Or they memorize information but don’t know how to apply it.  No matter the discipline, short, carefully-integrated writing assignments can help students retain concepts and develop their thinking skills, and can help them find their way to a topic.  In this workshop, we’ll review types of informal writing and writing-to-learn assignments, examine sample assignments, and discuss strategies for teaching students their effectiveness.

1:15-1:20   Introduction and Welcome
Dr. William Burgos, WAC Director
1:20-1:35 What is the purpose of a short writing assignment?  Is there a purpose?
1:35-1:45   Under- and Over-worded Writing Assignments
1:45-1:50 Randy Moore:  “Does Writing About Science Improve Learning About Science”
Handout:  Moore’s doubts, his study, & his conclusions.
1:50-1:55  Robert H. Frank:  “Students Discover Economics in Its Natural State”
Handout:  Frank discusses a writing assignment from his introductory economics class.
1:55-2:25   Informal Writing Assignments – Overview and Samples
2:25-2:35  Explaining the Informal Writing Assignment to Students
2:35-2:55  Brainstorming Informal Writing Assignments & Small Group Discussion
2:55-3:00 Concluding remarks/Surveys


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