Sciences and Engineering

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

Using Rubrics to Teach and Evaluate in Biology

Janet Batzli and Michelle Harris, Biocore Program, UW-Madison
This detailed rubric is not only designed to help connvey evaluation criteria to students and to help make feedback across sections of a large course consistent, but it's also clearly designed to help students learn the genre of an experimental research report in biology. 

Receiving Feedback

Writing is a process and even very experienced writers spend a lot of time rewriting.  Your TAs will give you feedback and suggestions on your papers to help you in this process.  Note, however, that it is not their responsibility to point out every flaw or to revise your papers for you.  Revising is your responsi

Peer Assessment of Research and Review Teams

Brian Manske, Biology 152, UW-Madison
When students work regularly in groups, some instructors find it helpful to have students assess each group member's contributions.  Here's an example of that kind of assessment, from Biology/Botany/Zoology 152 at UW-Madison.

Biology 152: Research and Review Team Peer Assessment Rubric


Bio152 Learning Goal - Develop and apply collegial etiquette and project management skills

Offering Students Encouragement As They Revise

Ann Burgess, Biocore Program, UW-Madison
In the following email sent to all students in a large course, Dr. Ann Burgess—former director of the Biocore program—encourages Biocore students to keep working on their revisions, even when they feel overwhelmed by criticism.
Re: Enzyme Catalysis Paper

Biocore Students:

Helping Your Students Improve Their Writing and Their Learning

Brad Hughes, UW-Madison WAC Program
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

Sample Rubric for Problem Reports and Reflections in a Math Course

Jamie Sutherland, Mathematics Department, UW-Madison
In this example, the instructor carefully explains the purpose of two different kinds of assignments and uses the rubric to identify the specific traits of strong papers.

Math 130 Sutherland

Lecture 1&2 Spring 2005


A Guide to Writing in Math 130


Syndicate content