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Why Include Writing in My Courses?

Research has shown that writing is a highly effective mode of learning across all disciplines that can help your students.

  • Engage more deeply with course material
  • Think critically & solve complex, discipline-specific problems
  • Meet learning outcomes & retain course content
  • Seek advice & feedback about their learning
  • Become more proficient thinkers and communicators in their future careers

Including meaningful writing assignments in your course can also help you, the instructor to:

  • Gauge how well your students are grasping course material
  • Have livelier & more thoughtful class discussions
  • Get to know your students better

For more information, please see the following research studies:

  • Drabick, D.A.G., Weisberg, R., Paul, L., & Bubier, J.L. (2007).
    Keeping it short and sweet: Brief, ungraded writing assignments facilitate learning.
    Teaching of Psychology, 34(3), 172-176.
  • Hynd, C., Holschuh, J.P., & Hubbard, B.P. (2004).
    Thinking like a historian: College students' reading of multiple historical documents.
    Journal of Literacy Research, 36(2), 141-176.
  • Patterson, L.M. & Slinger-Friedman, V. (2012).
    Writing in undergraduate geography classes: Faculty challenges and rewards.
    Journal of Geography, 111(5), 184-193.
  • Quitadamo, L.J., & Kurtz, M.J. (2007).
    Learning to Improve: Using Writing to Increase Critical Thinking Performance in General Education Biology.
    CBE - Life Sciences Education, 6, 140-154.
  • Reynolds, J.A., Thaiss, C., Katkin, W., & Thompson, B.J., Jr. (2012).
    Writing-to-learn in undergraduate science education: A community-based, conceptually driven approach.
    CBE - Life Sciences, Education, 11, 17-25.

Writing Activities & Assignment Ideas

Grading & Responding to Student Writing

Motivating Students to Read, Write, & Revise

Working with Multilingual Writers

What is Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC), and How Does it Benefit Students?

According to the Statement of WAC Principles and Practices, endorsed by the International Network of WAC Programs (INWAC),

WAC refers to the notion that writing should be an integral part of the learning process throughout a student’s education, not merely in required writing courses but across the entire curriculum. Further, it is based on the premise that writing is highly situated and tied to a field’s discourse and ways of knowing, and therefore writing in the disciplines (WID) is most effectively guided by those with expertise in that discipline. WAC also recognizes that students come to the classroom with a wide range of literacy, linguistic, technological, and educational experiences, but that all students can learn to become more proficient writers.

WAC as an initiative can be transformative for learning, teaching, and research. For students, WAC promotes engaged student learning, critical thinking, and greater facility with written communication across rhetorical situations. For teachers, WAC promotes thoughtful pedagogy and curriculum design as well as community among faculty that transcends disciplinary boundaries. For researchers in writing studies and across the disciplines, WAC promotes cross-disciplinary scholarship on teaching and learning, as well as scholarship on the values and ways of thinking in the disciplines and the ways those ideas and actions are communicated in writing.

Read the entire Statement of WAC Principles and Practices

Additional Information about WAC

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