Social Sciences

From Topic to Thesis

Author: 
Tisha Turk, Gender and Women's Studies, UW-Madison
Description: 
Students may do a good job of coming up with a suitable thesis or argument, but how can instructors help students to move beyond the obvious or the ordinary? In this handout, instructor Tisha Turk shows her students what she’s thinking as she reads their ideas to help them understand reader expectations

A well-constructed thesis statement helps hold an essay together by showing the reader where the paper is going to go.

Motivating Students to Grow as Writers

Author: 
Sara Lindberg, Psychology Department, UW-Madison
Description: 
How do you increase student motivation to write and give tough critical feedback on writing? Instructor Sara Lindberg gives concrete tips based on her experience teaching in Psychology 225.

There are several things you can do to help your students cope with critical feedback—a necessary evil in the writing process.

Helping Your Students Improve Their Writing and Their Learning

Author: 
Brad Hughes, UW-Madison WAC Program
Description: 
Here are some suggestions, based on research and experience, for improving your students' writing--and for improving the experience you have assigning, reading, and responding to it.

While many of these principles and techniques take time to implement, and some may be logistically impossible in large classes, they have proven successful here and at many other schools in courses

A Sequence of Formal and Informal Assignments

Author: 
Colleen Moore
Description: 
Before and during the time her students begin work on their 10-15 page research papers, Professor Colleen Moore assigns eight shorter papers that encourage students to engage in critical thinking, careful reading, clear summarizing, and in-depth analysis. Moore's sequence initially builds from informal to formal writing and from simpler to more complex rhetorical tasks, enabling her students to practice and build their writing skills. While students are researching and writing their term papers, her assignments push students to stay engaged in the writing process and make it possible for her to give them feedback on their work in progress. Note also her very clear and explicit instructions and goals for students in each assignment.

Course goals:

 

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  

A Collaborative Term Project and Oral Presentation in Consumer Science

Author: 
Irena Vida
Description: 
Professor Irena Vida explain the requirements of a group term paper and presentation. Note that although she gives no explicit directions regarding how the group should divide responsibilities, she does ask students to report back on the contribution of each group member to the final project.

This team project assignment consists of a descriptive and historical account of a major U.S. retail chain with store branches in at least 10 different states.

Writing Assignments in Anthropology 490

Author: 
Karen Strier
Description: 
Focusing on the point, structure, audience, topic, and format for course papers, anthropologist Karen Strier advises her students about writing the one and five-page papers for her writing-intensive senior seminar.

This is a writing intensive course, which means frequent writing assignments, lots of feedback, opportunities to work on both the content of your papers and how you communicate your knowledge and i

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