Social Sciences

Informal Writing Assignments

Brad Hughes, Martin Nystrand, Paige Byam, and Tom Curtis
The assignments below are generally short, informal, perhaps ungraded writing assignments that instructors might consider adapting to their classes. Students often appreciate the opportunity to explore their thoughts on paper in such a way that relieves the pressure of a longer, more formal writing assignment.

The Question Box

Sequenced Assignments with Different Forms of Media

Greg Downey, Library and Information Studies
Taught by Professor Greg Downey, this hybrid in-person/online course gives students the chance to experiment with personal publishing tools such as weblogs and video podcasts.

The Information Society: Hybrid In-person/Online Course Syllabus

Sequencing Different Genres of Writing Assignments in a Women’s Studies Syllabus

Caitilyn Allen, Plant Pathology, UW-Madison
Professor Caitilyn Allen’s writing-intensive Women’s Studies syllabus includes her expectations for polished and revised drafts as well as overviews of the various papers she assigns throughout the semester.

Women’s Studies 530: Biology and Gender


Instructions for a Final Portfolio in a Sociology Course

Tona Williams, Sociology Department, UW-Madison
Having students submit all of their written work for the semester gives this instructor a chance to review each student's progress and remember her feedback much more specifically, all of which she considers when she's determining a final grade.

Instructor: Tona Williams
Lecturer: Prof. Gerald Marwell
Sociology 210--Survey of Sociology


Instructions for Final Portfolio in Sociology




Having Students Do Self-Evaluations of Their Writing and Speaking

Professor Virginia Sapiro, Gender and Women's Studies and Political Science Department
This kind of self-evaluation from students helps instructors evaluate students' work and encourages students, as this professor explains, to take responsibility for their own learning.

Self-Evaluation in Women’s Studies 640 



STUDENT’S NAME: _______________________________________________ 


Responding to Student Drafts Using Audio

Annette Vee, English Department, UW-Madison
TA Annette Vee offers an alternative to written feedback on student drafts. She advocates recording audio feedback to achieve a conversational, engaged, and still-thoughtful exchange with students.

It's relatively easy to record an audio file and send that to your students as an attachment to an email, to post that file to your course management software or course website.

Directing Peer Review Toward Global Writing Concerns

Professor Colleen Moore, Psychology Department, UW-Madison
Professor Colleen Moore directs students to answer questions that are listed in order from global to local concerns, modeling for students a smart method for responding to writing.
Peer Review Instructions<

Preparing for Effective One-on-One Conferencing

Dawn Biehler, Department of Geography
Instructor Dawn Biehler provides a timeline for preparing for conferencing, as well as advice for how to make the most of the conference time you have with students.

One-on-one conferencing yields the best results if you

Organization Issues

Professor Robert Hawkins, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, UW-Madison
Professor Robert Hawkins’ handout offers specific advice to students on organizing paragraphs and making transitions. 
Paragraph unity.
Ideally, every sentence in a paragraph should contribute to developing some central idea.

Making a Sociological Argument: Orienting Students to a New Field

Greta Krippner, Sociology Department, UW-Madison
Greta Krippner offers explicit advice for introducing students to the discipline of sociology. Specifically, Krippner offers guidance for coaching students to make a sociological argument, find a sociological research question, and read quantitative journals.

Of course the method of presentation must differ in form from that of inquiry.”   (Karl Marx, 1867)


Syndicate content