Writing Across the Curriculum

Writing Across the Curriculum


Model 3: WI Courses Emphasizing Writing-to-Learn

Writing-to-learn strategies help students understand course content. Students write primarily for themselves; they write about what they think, what they understand, and what they do not understand in the course material. These strategies work in all subject areas; in fact, empirical studies suggest that students benefit more from writing-to-learn assignments than from any other kind of writing.

Students should write a minimum of 50 to 60 pages of reflective writing in a writing intensive course. The following writing-to-learn assignments or variations of them would be acceptable uses of writing to learn in a WI course:

  • The use of a journal in which students write responses to various reading assignments (50-60 pages of reflective writing checked periodically by the instructor)
  • OR, the use of note cards by students during class to record answers to various kinds of questions the teacher asks (this must be done regularly to be effective) in addition to out-of-class journal pieces written in response to selected reading assignments
  • OR, a split-entry journal in which students summarize a reading assignment on one side of the page and write a personal response to the reading on the other side of the page (50-60 pages of such reflection checked periodically by the instructor)
  • OR, any other comparable set of assignments designed to employ writing as a method of reflecting on required material totaling 50-60 pages of unedited reflective writing.