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Writing Across Disciplines

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Requiring students to articulate a plan that includes self-appointed deadlines raises awareness of project and paper goals, task descriptions, and when to begin writing the document. Professor has the opportunity to provide guidance on how best to shape plans that will meet course learning outcomes. When students review their progress and plans, they often adjust their schedules to meet their final deadline. A good alternative to a reflection paper is to have students learn about memo-writing, a skill that will be useful in professional non-academic settings.

Our colleagues at Purdue have an organized discussion on writing memorandums:. Professor has an opportunity to encourage further development or a major revision of the document or project before the final submission. Abstracts and Artist Statements are often confused with brief introductions or summaries without conclusions.

A good way to raise student awareness is to provide samples as an exercise for students to articulate the differences between introductions and abstracts. The following links have samples and discussions for you to adapt:.

Requiring students to focus on page papers in their core classes emphasizes the expectation of writing skills in their disciplinary fields. Ask students to apply the course readings to their original designs, research, arguments.

Professor provides feedback throughout the semester. Professional presentation include companion pieces which provide contextual information for the presentation A professional presentation can include slides, a portfolio, or behavior at professional meetings and conferences. The following are examples of required work that encourages our students to move beyond their homework and to begin synthesizing their new knowledge for different kinds of presentation materials.

Professors have the opportunity to provide feedback on how the student is presenting their work. Media and Writing The following list are ideas that many of your students have experience with or know about.

By encouraging students to consider using the following media in addition to their writing, your writing assignments become practice for future nonacademic work. Re-read your text and underline all claims and make sure there is evidence for each claim all figures and tables have a reference references for each piece of evidence - articles, websites and opinions.

It should be clear in the text what are your own thoughts and what are those of another person. Tips on how to Structure an Assignment Outline: Before you start to write your assignment it may be a good idea to write an outline for your assignment which includes the main points you will be discussing. This will i save you time ii help you organise your ideas iii enable you conduct efficient literature searches iv help you divide up your word count between different sections.

These would usually be included in paragraphs. This is especially important as you write the middle part of your assignment. As a general rule, discuss each main point of your assignment in a different paragraph. Try and build your arguments by including evidence and opinions from different sources and different perspectives so that you present a clear, unbiased picture.

If you want to include your opinion, then do so indirectly. Paragraphs are preferred to bullets and numbering in academic writing and this will allow you to discuss each point further. It is vital that your assignments reflect that you have a clear understanding of a particular topic which has been gained from multiple sources and that you are able to identify weaknesses and strengths objectively.

Finally you must show that you are able to apply this knowledge practically. Including examples in your assignment is a useful way to demonstrate all of the above. Ensure that the word count of your assignments are not far below or far above the suggested word count and as mentioned earlier, drawing up an outline can help you avoid both these situations. Inclusion of tables and figures: Tables and figures can very effectively convey information to the reader without affecting your word count but do not include more than 2 of these.

This is your final chance to impress the reader so make it powerful. Tips on taking an Evidence based and critical approach to academic writing Here are some tips about how to take an evidence based and critical approach to writing your assignment: Re-read the question - you may find it helpful to rewrite the question in your own words.

For example - my claim: I think that the infant mortality ratewill be reduced by training community health workers to educate parents about fever management Think about how you know that your claim is correct? Is it your opinion? This process assists students in uncovering relationships that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

Providing students with a scenario or problem and asking them to respond using course concepts will help students recognize the real-world applications of what they are learning. A math class, for instance, might provide a situation that would require using a formula learned in class; students should also explain their process. Similarly, an architecture class on design and function might ask students to consider a particular space — a building on campus perhaps — and detail how its plan and use reflect the material being taught.

This assignment takes an imaginative approach and asks students to assume the personae of particular theorists or critics. You might ask students to assume the persona of one particular theorist and project how he or she would address a specific situation or another theorist. Fostering a dialogical framework, a student in a government class might adopt the position of John Locke, for example, and engage with Filmer.

Or for an economics class, a student may become John Maynard Keynes and address his particular response to an economic argument at odds with his tenets. Or you may wish to assign critical positions within a contemporary debate in the field.

This assignment asks students to delineate a key term that the course embraces. Assigned early on in the course, this assignment can furnish a foundation for the presentation of material throughout the semester. Later on in the semester, you might ask students to return to their initial definition essays and assess how their understanding of the concept has shifted.

When a term is a contested one in the field, this assignment can also serve as a means of engaging students in debates within a given discipline. For example, you might ask students to consider how the ways participants define the term shape their arguments and approaches to a topic. You might also have students define a key concept or concepts for audiences outside your given field. The exercise itself helps students distinguish between opinions rendered in the piece and their own assessments.

Purpose To generate material for class discussions; to obtain a sense of what ideas, theories, and relationships need clarification. You might consider taking a creative approach to formulating questions. For example, an art history course might ask students to imagine that they are curators in charge of construction an exhibit of western art from and to describe what works studied in the course they would include and why. Similarly, a literature course might pose the following scenario: Identify three or four texts that must be included in the anthology and explain why.

Field reports allow students to practice research methods of observing, note taking, and interviewing commonly used, for example, by sociologists, anthropologists, and investigative reporters. Attending to these reports as written documents helps students gain a better understanding how particular disciplines organize and present the findings, how they describe their methodologies, and how the overall presentation of material can enhance or diminish the credibility of the document.

This assignment can take many forms. You might ask each student to compile his or her own glossary of key terms over the course of the semester. The results would be useful for exam review. Near the end of the semester, you might ask students to reflect on how their understandings of these terms have shifted as the semester progressed. This assignment can serve several purposes. For one, it enables students to gain practice in writing collaboratively — a prime form of writing for many professions.

Second, asking students to distribute their reports as part of a presentation encourages classroom exchange and peer learning. Third, designing a group report assignment that requires some sections to be written individually can help you assess the specific performance of each student. Asking students to record regular reflections about class discussions, lectures, or readings creates an exploratory space for students to examine their learning process over the course of a semester.

Instructions about how you will grade these entries will shape the function and quality of these entries. You might decide to furnish a list of weekly topics or approaches. For example, you might instruct students to converse with a text, to detail their understanding of specific concepts, or to apply the course material to external situations. Some of the more formal assignments e. Attending to these reports as written documents helps students gain a better understanding of how particular sciences organize and present their findings, how they describe their methodologies, and how the overall presentation of material can enhance or diminish the credibility of the document.

This assignment can be developed in several ways depending on your purposes. You might ask students to respond to a general interest issue by offering their specialized knowledge. For example, students in an environmental science course might supply their insights about the environmental effects of plans for a new highway.

This assignment can help students develop their persuasive skills and strengthen their mastery of course material. For example, you might suggest that students consider what facts or perspectives a particular reading overlooks and then ask students to insert these omissions into the original material.

In some cases, you might also require students to analyze how these additions alter the original argument. This assignment asks students to find a newspaper commentary piece and discuss how course concepts relate and could be applied to the information and opinions offered.

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Assignments vary, and different instructors want different things from student writers. Therefore, the advice here may or may not apply to your writing situation. Finally, handouts can give only a fraction of the customized guidance that an individual conference with a Writing Center instructor can provide.

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Tips on writing assignments: Listed below are a few tips to writing your assignments. You may already be familiar with most of these points but it will be good to remind yourself of these points before you write up your assignment for credit. You can follow the steps below, and before you hand in your assignment, complete the checklist.

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