Writing Across the Curriculum/Using Writing/ Designing Writing Assignments


Writing is a way for students to develop and use their critical thinking skills as well as to demonstrate learning. The links below provide ways that writing can be used both informally and formally throughout the college curriculum and include specific methods for handling all aspects of the writing process from assignment-making to responding and grading. The final link for faculty is a mega-site that brings together the writing research and scholarship of recent decades and its application in writing programs on campuses throughout the U.S. The last two links on this page provide online writing resources for students.


For Faculty

An Introduction to Writing Across the Curriculum, compiled by Kate Kiefer (Colorado State University).
This site provides an inclusive guide for those who want to better understand the principles and practices of writing across the entire academic community. Includes links to other writing resources for students and faculty.

Integrating Writing into Your Course (University of Wisconsin-Madison).
Contains detailed information on such practical topics as designing effective writing assignments; conferencing with students; responding, evaluating, grading; and using student peer review. Includes a link to WAC materials by discipline.

Writing for Learning—Not Just for Demonstrating Learning,” Peter Elbow (University of Massachusetts, Amherst).
A primary figure in the WAC movement, Peter Elbow describes several methods using writing as a tool for learning plus a range of techniques for responding to these writings and grading them.

Improving Student Writing,” David W. Smit, Kansas State University. (IDEA Paper No. 25, September 1991.) Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
This paper argues that in order to improve student writing, all college teachers must teach writing more often and more effectively. Discusses ways to promote writing with informal writing to learn activities, including examples of these, and effective methods for teaching formal writing using a wide variety of writing forms.
Strategies to Improve Student Writing by David Smit, Kansas State University (IDEA Paper #48, 2010).
Maintains that students do not write well enough to meet faculty expectations because they write very little in school.  Presents methods for having students “write rhetorically” and stresses the need for writing across the curriculum.

Responding to Student Writing,” Speaking of Teaching, Stanford University Newsletter on Teaching, Vol. 3, No. 3, Spring 1992. Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
Specific methods for commenting effectively on student papers.

Pedagogical Theory and Practice: Responding to Student Writing,” compiled by Phyllis Frus. (University of Michigan, Sweetland Writing Center, March 1999, Vol. 2, No. 3). Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
Based on recent research and theory on writing instruction, this publication describes effective methods for commenting on student papers. Concludes with a list of recommended web sites for further information on responding to student writing.

Writing Across the Curriculum at George Mason University. An informative site with many practical ideas for all aspects of teaching with writing. Includes resources and practices for teaching with writing in all curricular areas, links to writing guides for numerous disciplines, advice and materials for preventing or dealing with plagiarism, and links to a wide variety of WAC resources online.

Teaching Writing as a Liberal Art: Ideas That Made the Difference,” Toby Fulwiler (University of Vermont). Adobe Acrobat/PDF.
A pioneer of WAC programs, Fulwiler discusses15 ideas about teaching writing that have significantly influenced writing instruction over the past few decades.

Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum, Third Edition,” by Art Young.
This entire book by a well-respected leader in the field of writing across the curriculum is available online in PDF format. Offers a comprehensive guide to faculty who teach a “writing-intensive” course in their discipline or who decide to include student writing in their courses. Also a resource for English Departments and Writing Programs.

WAC Clearinghouse (Colorado State University).
A comprehensive mega-site drawing together scholarship and resources for all aspects of Writing Across the Curriculum. Contains links to online articles in 5 journals and 4 book series plus multiple online resources for faculty in all disciplines. Includes the full text of several influential WAC books as Adobe Acrobat/PDF files and links to a variety of successful WAC programs in colleges, universities, and community colleges throughout the U.S.

Back to top


Assessing Writing

Principles and Practices in Electronic Portfolios:  A CCCC Position Statement, November 2007.
This CCCC position paper, presents principles and best practices in the use of e-portfolios for writing instruction.

Assessing Writing.
A refereed international journal on all aspects of assessing written language.  Subscription required. Sample issue free online.

Written Communication VALUE Rubric

Back to top

For Students

The Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL).
Comprehensive writing resources for faculty and students.  See suggested resources for Non-Purdue Instructors and Students for links organized around The Writing Process, Rhetoric and Logic, Essay Genres, Style and Language, and Citation. Also offers information and a vidcast overview of Writing Across the Curriculum.

Writing in College: A Short Guide to College Writing,” Joseph M. Williams and Lawrence McEnerney (University of Chicago).
This is a concise guide for students to help them write more effectively in college.

Students may also find useful “Grammar Resources on the Web” from the University of Chicago Writing Program.

Back to top

Michigan State University Resources

Writing Center

Back to top