Writing in First-Year Seminars

Integrating Writing

Assigning Writing

Assigning Research

Peer Review

Responding to Writing

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Purpose refers to why a piece of writing is being written. Paradoxically, if your students' sole purpose in completing a writing assignment is to receive a high grade by impressing you as an instructor, you will probably be disappointed in the work they turn in. More earnest students might accept the vague notion that engaging in writing will "be helpful later on," but general academic growth as a purpose does little to provide direction for a particular assignment. Students who write to gain a better grasp of class content, to further explore issues raised in class, to respond to class readings, or to add their voices to a debate surrounding a specific subject will find the writing process more satisfying and will likely produce writing that reflects their engagement. As instructors, we can structure classroom discussions and assignments to encourage such purposes for writing. It's important that we ask ourselves the purpose for any writing assignment and articulate that purpose to our students, both in class and in the assignment description.

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