Formal Assignments

A Sequence of Informal and Formal Writing Assignments in a Psychology of Religion Syllabus

Colleen Moore, Psychology of Religion, UW-Madison
As her students work toward a 10-15 page research paper, Professor Colleen Moore assigns 8 shorter papers that build from informal to formal writing and simple to complex rhetorical tasks, enabling her students to practice and build their writing skills.

Psychology of Religion 411

This course examines religions and religious phenomena from the point of view of empirical psychology. This is a Level III (Advanced) Psychology course that assumes some sophisticated background in either psychology or religious studies.


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


Sequenced Graded And Ungraded Writing Assignments In A Writing-Intensive Literature Syllabus

Lynn Keller, English, UW-Madison
This sample syllabus shows how Professor Lynn Keller assigns ungraded, low-stakes journal writing in her writing-intensive literature course to let her students develop their ideas before they turn them into a high-stakes, graded essay.  

Modern American Literature Since 1914


Time and Place: 2:30‑3:45 110 Noland
Office hours: Tuesday 1:00‑3:00 and by appointment
7131 Helen C. White Hall, 263‑3794


Course Description:

A Writing Portfolio Project in Math 130

Brad Franklin, Mathematics Department, UW-Madison
In this course for math-education students, students do a series of various writing assignments throughout the semester, culminating in this portfolio of their written work.

A Portfolio Project in Math 



Sample Evaluation Criteria for Papers in a Philosophy Course

Jocelyn Johnson, Philosophy Department, UW-Madison
This kind of rubric, from an undergraduate philosophy course on contemporary moral issues, not only emphasizes the traits of successful papers but also, with its continuum for each trait, gives students a quick visual sense of strengths and of areas to improve.  Notice that the instructor gives open-ended comments as well.  And notice the excellent explanations of the evaluation criteria--some terms, like "orginality," need explanining within the context of a particular course and particular assignment.

Sample Paper Evaluation Sheet in Philosophy



Name:_________________________________  Topic:_______________________________________________




Creative Writing Assignments in African Languages and Literature

Linda Hunter
The following examples from Professor Linda Hunter's course illustrate how innovative writing assignments can be incorporated into a class.

There will be five exercises in writing, which together will count for 20% of the final grade.

Writing Assignments for Non-Majors in a Communication-B Course

Shannon Skelton
The following assignments engage students in course content in creative ways that play to students’ interests and strengths.

I am under no illusions about why students enroll in my Comm-B section of Introduction to Theatre and Dramatic Literature.

Writing Assignments in Anthropology 490

Karen Strier
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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