Presented in collaboration with the Northeastern University Writing Program
Northeastern can be proud that it places extraordinary emphasis on writing. In addition to two required courses in the English department, students are required under the Core to take two writing-intensive (WI) courses in their majors (one of which is normally the capstone). But while WI courses are on the books, to date faculty across the disciplines have received little formal assistance in integrating writing into their courses. And while faculty are of course experts in their disciplinary content and often quite accomplished writers themselves, many would benefit from assistance and practice in teaching with writing—including designing writing assignments, handling the “paper load,” providing targeted and timely feedback, designing peer review activities, assessing writing, and the like. Indeed, in a 2010 survey of faculty across the university who were involved with WI courses in their departments, the following, among others, were identified as particular challenges: “handling the paper load” (77.4%); “developing strategies for responding to student writing” (67.7%); and “grading student writing fairly and effectively (58.1%). Faculty are hungry for support in their efforts to teach WI courses. With Northeastern’s invigorated commitment to assessing student learning, the time could not be better to help them develop and share their expertise in teaching with writing.
- To create a robust culture of writing at Northeastern
- To provide support for effective teaching with writing in the disciplines
- To provide a supportive structure for departmental and interdepartmental teams to undertake a replicable inquiry process in which they will: (1) learn about teaching writing with the guidance of Writing Program faculty, (2) build their collective expertise in teaching writing; (3) develop and pilot an instructional and/or curricular innovation for WI in their major(s); (4) assess the effects of their innovation; and (5) share the results of their projects, and an action plan based on those results, with their departments and with the campus community
Facilitated by Neal Lerner, English Department faculty member and Director of the Writing Center.
Wednesday, September 18, 12:00–1:30 PM: Incorporating writing into your teaching & designing effective writing assignments.
We’ll articulate and share the learning goals we have for WI courses, determine patterns in those goals across disciplines, and begin to describe activities and assessments for students to achieve those goals. Next, we’ll move from articulated course goals to designing the informal and formal writing tasks that help students achieve those goals. Participants will be presented with examples of writing assignments across the disciplines for analysis and inspiration. Register for this workshop
Friday, October 11, 12:00–1:30 PM: Responding to your students’ writing and effective use of peer review.
Participants will be presented with various strategies for giving feedback to student writing, and we’ll discuss the merits and usefulness of these approaches. We will also practice giving feedback with examples student texts across the disciplines. Then, we’ll watch a brief video from MIT on the use of peer review for students to give feedback to each other’s writing, and then articulate principles of best practice. Register for this workshop
Monday, November 4, 2:00–3:30 PM: Evaluating student writing and managing the paper load.
We’ll examine several samples of student writing (and the assignments for which they were written) to articulate criteria for success for these tasks. We’ll also discuss which criteria are specific to individual tasks or disciplines and which are generalizable. Next, we’ll work with example writing assignments and student samples to develop rubrics or evaluation guides. We will also discuss the pros and cons of using rubrics, particularly in regard to managing the paper load. Register for this workshop