The next assignment might be a progress report (or a series of progress reports), and the final assignment could be the report or document itself.For humanities and social science courses, students might write a proposal requesting approval of a particular topic, then hand in an annotated bibliography, and then a draft, and then the final version of the paper. A variation of the previous approach is to have students submit various sections of their final document throughout the semester (e.g., their bibliography, review of the literature, methods section).This page contains four specific areas: Creating Effective Assignments Checking the Assignment Sequencing Writing Assignments Selecting an Effective Writing Assignment Format Creating Effective Assignments Research has shown that the more detailed a writing assignment is, the better the student papers are in response to that assignment.
Other questions might suggest a procedure to follow. To learn and demonstrate the procedures, practices, and tools of your field of study? Is the assignment sequenced so that students: (1) write a draft, (2) receive feedback (from you, fellow students, or staff members at the Writing and Communication Center), and (3) then revise it?
The questions posed should require that students assert a thesis. Such a procedure has been proven to accomplish at least two goals: it improves the student’s writing and it discourages plagiarism. Does the assignment include so many sub-questions that students will be confused about the major issue they should examine? What is the purpose of the assignment (e.g., review knowledge already learned, find additional information, synthesize research, examine a new hypothesis)?
Selecting an Effective Writing Assignment Format In addition to the standard essay and report formats, several other formats exist that might give students a different slant on the course material or allow them to use slightly different writing skills. Journals have become a popular format in recent years for courses that require some writing.
In-class journal entries can spark discussions and reveal gaps in students’ understanding of the material.
Sequencing Writing Assignments There are several benefits of sequencing writing assignments: 1.
Sequencing provides a sense of coherence for the course. This approach helps students see progress and purpose in their work rather than seeing the writing assignments as separate exercises. It encourages complexity through sustained attention, revision, and consideration of multiple perspectives. If you have only one large paper due near the end of the course, you might create a sequence of smaller assignments leading up to and providing a foundation for that larger paper (e.g., proposal of the topic, an annotated bibliography, a progress report, a summary of the paper’s key argument, a first draft of the paper itself).The Center has yellow forms that we can give to students to inform you that such a visit was made. A series of reading and writing assignments may be linked by the same subject matter or topic.Students encounter new perspectives and competing ideas with each new reading, and thus must evaluate and balance various views and adopt a position that considers the various points of view. In this approach, students’ assignments move from less complex to more complex modes of discourse (e.g., from expressive to analytic to argumentative; or from lab report to position paper to research article). In this approach, students create drafts for different audiences, moving from personal to public (e.g., from self-reflection to an audience of peers to an audience of specialists).This approach allows you to give students guidance and also discourages plagiarism. It mirrors the approach to written work in many professions.The concept of sequencing writing assignments also allows for a wide range of options in creating the assignment.Having students write an in-class entry summarizing the material covered that day can aid the learning process and also reveal concepts that require more elaboration.Out-of-class entries involve short summaries or analyses of texts, or are a testing ground for ideas for student papers and reports.Although journals may seem to add a huge burden for instructors to correct, in fact many instructors either spot-check journals (looking at a few particular key entries) or grade them based on the number of entries completed. Students can define and defend a position on an issue in a letter written to someone in authority.Journals are usually not graded for their prose style. They can also explain a concept or a process to someone in need of that particular information.Assignment sheets should detail: Providing questions or needed data in the assignment helps students get started.For instance, some questions can suggest a mode of organization to the students.