Writing Enriched Curriculum

Principles

  • Where writing in the disciplines supports learning of discipline-specific arguments, concepts, vocabulary, and conversations students can put to direct use; learning of grammar, random vocabulary, and free writing “skills” likely does not
  • From the first semester, writing in the disciplines makes available disciplinary fundamentals for the BA thesis in the last
  • Instructors identifying where and how writing best addresses their lessons typically develop a far richer and more satisfying understanding of both
  • Disciplinary assumptions and expectations identified collectively contributes mightly to coherence, continuity, and collegiality
  • Writing instruction is typically more complex and demanding than disciplinary experts might achieve on their own; the development of roadmaps, exercises, tutors, etc., likely requires skilled programmatic assistance

Curriculum Design and Planning

Innovative program development is best done iteratively, collectively and over time

  • Writing description evolution illustrates how faculty and student description of writing goals develops over time and from very general assumptions towards teachable, measureable specifications
  • Problem set annotation (Guide) illustrates an evolved, disciplinary specification (engineering) of problem elements as the basis for report writing instruction (disciplinary-specific genres)
  • Detailed 5-minute class and homework lesson plans to be added here

Sample writing goals (Writing for Management at UMN Carlson)

  • Articulates a clear position in a central thesis
  • Employs key disciplinary theories, concepts, and/or evidence in justifying analysis, conclusions, and recommendations
  • Bases argument and conclusions on situational and/or organizational context
  • Identifies an organization's key competencies using an analytical framework
  • Recognizes and addresses counterarguments or alternatives
  • Uses effective, valid data/evidence that is relevant to audience concerns
  • Sequences most important arguments first
  • Is designed for easy reading (skimming, headings, bullets)
  • Avoids unnecessary words; is succinct/concise
  • Uses direct, plain English
  • Uses an engaging style, such that the reader’s attention is sustained
  • Summarizes ideas, texts, or events appropriately
  • Communicates information using graphics and/or visuals that are appropriate to the audience and content
  • Integrates source information (whether textual or graphic)
  • Uses correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation
  • Uses correct citation formatting

Implementation Planning

Faculty evolution, writing specification, and preparation of 5-minute class and homework lesson plans require systematic development

  • Needs Assessments Faculty and coordinators gather student writing samples and , identify disciplinary and departmental goals, and in the process clarify aims
  • Design At a minimum, faculty and coordinators will need to meet at least four times over four months to brainstorm, draft, and revise lesson plans and department strategy

Implementation Organization

  • Pilot Planning and Approval Departments meet with institution-wide coordination for pilot approval
  • Pilot Implementation Over two semesters, implement plans, collect and evaluate student writing examples, evaluate effectiveness
  • Pilot Assessment and Revision Departments meet with institution-wide coordination for assessment and revision
  • Plan Approval Governing board supervises all stages, and eventually, plan approval

Institutional Support

Support Parameters

  • Establishing institutional writing framework
  • Translating institutional goals into discipline-specific goals
  • Defining evaluation rubrics
  • List of best practices
  • List of 5-minute writing workshops
  • List of tutorials to address core writing difficulties/goals
  • Website of discipline-specific real world writing samples
  • Specification of discipline-specific citation format

Research Assistant Responsibilities

  • Supervises creation of support parameters
  • Creates online tutorials
  • Creates website and links to relevant external sources
  • Meets with instructors and students to evaluate student and instructor in refining rubric menu for specific courses
  • Helps plan best practices workshop, including use of rubric, hands-on activities/assignments

Academic Writing Guides

Writing Enhanced Curriculum Programs