Arts and Humanities

The Fifty-Word Assignment

Author: 
Professor Charles L. Cohen
Description: 
Professor Charles L. Cohen introduces and explains goals for his 50-word “Minor Writing assignments.” For these assignments, students write a single sentence, no more than 50 words, in response to challenging questions the professor poses.

Seeking the holy grail of an exercise that teaches writing, advances critical skills, adds only a modicum of time to students’ weekly work load, and requires even less time/student to evaluat

Short, Informal Writing Assignments in a Literature Course

Author: 
Sherry Reames
Description: 
Professor Sherry Reames offers a great mix of activities and assignments that teach invaluable skills to students learning how to write about literature.

Because there were nearly 200 students in the class this spring, Professor Reames broke students into two groups, each of which were required to turn in responses on different days (usually Wed and Fri of the same week).

Weekly Assignments in Theatre and Drama and History of Science

Author: 
Karen Ryker, Michael Shank
Description: 
Professor Karen Ryker and Professor Michael Shank use weekly writing assignments to encourage student engagement and to stimulate class discussions. "The Journal" and "The Weekly One Pager" are two examples of these types of assignments.     

The Journal  

Strategies for Working with Multilingual Writers

Author: 
Writing Across the Curriculum
Description: 
Based on teaching experience and research in applied linguistics and writing studies, the following strategies are best practices to follow when working with multilingual students at any stage of the writing process.

Preparing students for writing assignments

Burning Questions--Why Your Students Should Have Them

Author: 
Matthew Pearson
Description: 
Encouraging your students to write about issues that genuinely interest them is one of the best ways to help students to learn new things in your course and to write high-quality papers.

One of the challenges facing any instructor is trying to pinpoint why some papers are compelling and pleasurable to read, while others are difficult to get through, or simply not that exciting to read. Often, a central reason for less-than-stellar writing is that a few students do not have a genuine interest in their topics and a desire to know more about it.

Daniel Hausman's Model Philosophy Paper

Author: 
Daniel Hausman
Description: 
On the Web site for his course on Contemporary Moral Issues, Professor Daniel Hausman offers students general commentary on their first papers and illustrates his points with a model paper.

On the Web site for his course on Contemporary Moral Issues, Professor Daniel Hausman offers students general commentary on their first papers and illustrates his points with a model paper.

A Comm-B History 200 Syllabus

Author: 
Charles L. Cohen
Description: 
In the following syllabus, Professor Charles Cohen introduces his course, articulates his goals for his students, clarifies the place of a Writing Fellow in a Comm-B course, and outlines his paper assignments. Under "minor assignments", note how Professor Cohen gives a series of 50 word (that's right. . . only *50* word!) writing assignments. These assignments not only mean less grading time for the professor and TAs; they force students to gain the invaluable skill of writing to the heart of the matter on a particular topic.

This course is intended to make you into an historian—which is not the same thing as knowing where Nathaniel Bacon slept or how many commas Hamilton used in the 27th Federalist Paper.

The required readings consist of two packets designed specifically for this course. They are available from the Humanities Copy Center, 1650 Humanities Building:

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