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Articles on Writing Across the Curriculum - General


Ackerman. John M. "The Promise of Writing to Learn." Written Communication 10.3 (July 1993): 334-370.

Ackerman summarizes the history of WAC as adaptation of English model of language education, and then examines the proliferation of write-to- learn/WAC assumptions and practices (e.g., discipline-general models with centralized writing courses vs discipline-specific writing in many depts). Discusses theoretical warrants for writing as a unique mode of learning (as this idea is connected to WAC): writing is unique, writing forces integration/synthesis of ideas, writing promotes a detached critical perspective, and writing can be an introduction into a discourse community. Then reviews 36 research studies of writing to learn, finding mixed results of writing on retention and understanding of the written-about material later.
Anderson, Worth, Cynthia Best, Alycia Black, John Hurst, Brandt Miller, and Susan Miller. "Cross-Curricular Underlife: A Collaborative Report on Ways with Academic Words." College Composition and Communication 41.1 (February 1990): 11-36.
This article summarizes a research project conducted by Susan Miller and 5 of her writing students to determine the relationship between how learning is defined in "college writing" and how learning occurs in other introductory level courses. The most useful concept that the students applied from the writing course was the audience-centered approach. Most found that learning a teacher's expectations and values improved student performance. In addition, they suggest teaching notetaking skills. Their findings also showed that most students learn independently in other courses, as opposed to the interactive format of the writing class.
Bazerman, Charles. "Discourse Paths of Different Disciplines." Draft of presentation at MLA convention, 1982.
Refers to and summarizes Bazerman's 1981 article. Then relates those findings to what student writers need to know in writing in discplines: e.g., students writing in these disciplines need to understand these rhetorical moves in order to make the moves themselves. Students also need to see how writing in a discipline reflects thinking in that discipline; how writing is problem solving; how controlling one's own writing process relates to the kind of writing one produces.
Bean, John. "Write to Learn Tasks." Workshop materials from U. of Missouri- Columbia workshop, January 1988.
Describes types of assignments that can be used in a variety of disciplines. Lists 8 general principles that should be followed in designing assignments. Describes how assignments should be presented to students. Also includes an example of guided journal assignments for a psychology class.
Bean, John C., Dean Drenk, and F.D. Lee. "Microtheme Strategies for Developing Cognitive Skills." eaching Writing in All Disciplines. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 12. Ed. C. W. Griffin. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1982. 27-38.
Describes the microtheme: a writing assignment designed to generate a very short essay. Microtheme assignments should have leverage: they should require a lot of thinking before a little writing. Justifies use of microthemes (quick to grade, promotes growth of specific types of thinking skills). Describes several categories of microthemes and grading criteria.
Bergman, Charles A. "Writing Across the Curriculum: An Annotated Bibliography." Writing Across the Curriculum. Current Issues in Higher Education (American Association of Higher Education monograph) 3 (1983-84): 33-38.
Lists approximately 48 articles, books, or issues of journals that deal with WAC. From the ERIC database.
Bertch, Julie and Delryn R. Fleming. "The WAC Workshop." New Directions for Community Colleges 73 (Spring 1991): 37-43.
Provides general guidelines for planning a WAC workshop. Discusses the participant's role, how to recruit participants, logistics for planing and scheduling the workshop, and some details of suggested workshop content. Specifically, the author encourage workshop topics such as the theoretical basis of writing-for-learning movement; how to design assignments to produce appropriate thinking skills; writing as process; and group and individual projects for faculty to develop useful assignments for their own courses. In addition, Bertch and Fleming provide a short list of potentially useful types of writing assignments gathered from the WAC literature.
Berthoff, Ann. "Speculative Instruments: Language in the Core Curriculum." The Making of Meaning: Metaphors, Models, and Maxims for Writing Teachers. Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook, 1981. 113-126.
Claims that teaching writing is teaching critical thinking. Three key points about this relationship are: observation is central to all disciplines, and learning to observe is learning to think critically; learning terms of art is learning concepts of a field; and all disciplines use rhetorical ideas of invention and disposition (organization). Discusses four uses of language in all disciplines: speaking, hearing, reading, writing. Can use writing to relate other aspects of language use in a course together (e.g. to relate lectures to texts).
Blair, Catherine Pastore. "Only One of the Voices: Dialogic Writing Across the Curriculum." College English 50.4 (April 1988): 383-395.
This article is part of the discussion about where WAC programs should be housed. Blair argues that WAC programs should not be housed in English depts. Instead, WAC should encourage dialogue among faculty from different disciplines, talking as equals. Administratively, a committee approach (made of faculty from a variety of depts) is suggested. For a contrary opinion, see Louise Z. Smith's article.
Bleeker, Gerrit, and Dev Hathaway. "Portfolio Assessment of Student Writing." Manuscript copy of conference paper on portfolio assessment at Emporia State University.
Summarizes a portfolio assessment project at Emporia State University. Portfolios were collected from 25 randomly chosen freshmen and sophomores, and evaluated by three faculty from different disciplines. Same faculty also evaluated writing samples from a standardized competency exam. Concluded that portfolios have advantages over standardized tests: they're longitudinal, not one-shot; they show strengths and weaknesses; they show writing for non-composition courses and different types of writing; encourages cooperation among faculty in different disciplines, is cost-effective, and may be fairer to minorities.
Bridgeman, Brent, and Sybil B. Carlson. "Survey of Academic Writing Tasks." Written Communication 1 (1984): 247-280.
Questionnaire responses from faculty members in 190 academic departments at 34 universities were analyzed to determine the writing tasks faced by beginning undergraduate and graduate students. In addition to English, six fields were studied: electrical engineering, civil engineering, computer science, chemistry, psychology, and MBA programs. Results indicated considerable variability across fields in the kinds of writing required and in preferred assessment topics.
Capossela, Toni-Lee. "Writing Across the Core Curriculum with Sequenced Assignments." No citation.
Describes a series of writing assignments that is sequenced from less to more complex rhetorical tasks.
Carpenter, C. Blaine, and James C. Doig. "Assessing Critical Thinking Across the Curriculum." Assessing Students' Learning. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, no. 34. Ed. J. H. McMillan. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1988.
Defines critical thinking. Discusses several standardized tests to assess critical thinking. Then outlines efforts to define, assess, and teach/strengthen critical thinking at several colleges and universities.
Carson, Jay. "Recognizing and Using Context as a Survival Tool for WAC." WPA: Writing Program Administration 17.3 (Spring 1994): 35-47.
Carson offers suggestions on how colleges and universities can keep their WAC programs active at their universities by integrating WAC programs into the organizational structures of the specific institution: form WAC study groups; lobby for departmental status of program; and reward faculty for participation in WAC program. Carson also stresses the importance of maintaining accurate records of all communication and events for the program; these records will allow you to create a history and fully evaluate the program.
Connelly, Peter J. and Donald C. Irving. "Composition in the Liberal Arts: A Shared Responsibility." College English 37.7 (March 1976): 668-670.
This article describes summer seminars on writing that were held at Grinnell. Each seminar was attended by 6 faculty from various departments and led by 1 English faculty member. In each seminar they discussed the purpose of papers the assign, and analyze samples submitted by each participant in hopes of improving assignments, and getting colleagues to share responsibility for writing. In these seminars they use a standard composition text to develop a common vocabulary. They also developed a list of danger signals in student prose writing, as well as definitions for five types of writing assignments: journal, epistle, note, essay, and report.
Cornell, Cynthia and David J. Klooster. "Writing Across the Curriculum: Transforming the Academy?" WPA: Writing Program Administration 14.1-2 (Fall/Winter 1990): 7-16.
WAC programs are struggling for survival, even though no one doubts the educational value of these programs, because they force the institution to reexamine its identity, and cause conflicts due to faulty assumptions about the educational process. Ultimately, WAC proponents are asking the academy to transform itself and shift the emphasis from research to teaching.
Davis, David J. "Eight Faculty Members Talk about Student Writing." College Teaching 35.1 (1987): 31-35.
Studied 8 faculty members at a large Midwestern state university, all of whom use writing in their courses. Interviewed the faculty members, sat in on their courses, and collected syllabi, papers, etc. The professors expressed similar attitudes about the importance of writing for clear thinking. Their assignments varied. Few discussed writing in class or held individual conferences. All were frustrated by students' poor writing skills. All felt a lack of institutional rewards and a lack of support by administration.
Dick, John A. R., and Robert M. Esch. "Dialogues Among Disciplines: A Plan for Faculty Discussions of Writing Across the Curriculum." College Composition and Communication 36.2 (May 1985): 178-182.
In the context of planning and organizing linked courses between English department faculty and faculty in other disciplines, this article discusses the questions about writing in a discipline that an English department person might want to ask. Answers to questions about nomenclature, audience, purpose, stylistic conventions, and contexts help faculty on both sides understand the writing better. Then use similar questions and ask professors as students, to discover professors' expectations about student writing.
Donlan, Dan. "Teaching Writing in the Content Areas: Eleven Hypotheses from a Teacher Survey." Research in the Teaching of English 8 (Fall 1974): 250-262.
Describes a survey study of K-12 teachers' use of writing assignments. Results: upper level grades get longer writing assignments. Shorter assignments made more often than longer ones. Assignments tend to be frequent; certain types of assignments more frequent than others. Results also describe commenting/grading practices and responsibility for teaching writing.
Eblen, Charlene. "Writing Across the Curriculum: A Survey of A University Faculty's Views and Classroom Practices." Research in the Teaching of English 17.4 (December 1983): 343-348.
Surveys 266 faculty at Univ. of Northern Iowa. Results: faculty viewed overall quality of ideas, organization, and development as more important than grammar or coherence. Biggest problems with student writing: faulty logic, inappropriate order of ideas; and poor mechanics.
Emig, Janet. "Writing as a Mode of Learning." College Composition and Communication 28 (Feb. 1977): 122-127.
Argues that writing is a unique mode of learning. Although similar to talking, writing is different in that it is an artificial technology. Describes unique correspondences between writing and learning: both are multirepresentational, integrative, self-rhythmed; in both cases feedback (immediate and long-term) is important; and for both, connections are important.
Ernst, Karen. "Art in Your Curriculum." Teaching Pre-K-8. October 1985. 32-33.
Ernst gives an overview of her own art classroom technique. A workshop approach to teaching art in grade school takes away emphasis from producing "art" and places more emphasis upon the thinking and learning necessary for creating art. Students are asked to write about what they learn, thus enabling the teacher to gain insight into their progress and the motivations behind their choices in subject and medium.

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