|Reflecting on Teaching seminar is Oct. 20|
The second Reflecting on Teaching seminar of the semester, "Effective Writing Assignments: Save Time, Increase Student Engagement and Learning, and Put Some Fun Back into Teaching," will take place Tuesday, Oct. 20, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Red River Valley Room of the Memorial Union.
Many teachers ask their students to write in the courses they teach, and they do this for many good reasons. However, most writing assignments have at least three major challenges. First, it is difficult for a teacher to create writing assignments that are both engaging for the student and closely connected to the desired learning outcomes of the course. Second, reading and responding to student writing can be quite time consuming. Third, because it can take so much time to respond to student writing, teachers sometimes lose their enthusiasm for assigning writing.
We will attempt to provide solutions to these difficult problems; we believe that our proposed solutions have the potential to save time, increase student engagement, and add a much needed human element to teaching. We will do two things in this seminar. First, we will each talk about a writing assignment that we have given and discuss what we think worked, as well as what we think did not work. Diane Darland (Biology) will present a writing assignment used in a science class and Scott J. Baxter (University Writing Program) will present an assignment used in a humanities/social science course. After that, we will offer several suggestions for crafting effective assignments. All faculty who attend will leave with a handout or two with practical guidelines for assigning writing in their classes as well as examples of well written assignment sheets.
While we are happy to share our experiences and advice with the seminar participants, we certainly do not know what would work well in every possible teaching situation. For this reason, at least half of the seminar time will be devoted to questions and discussion. We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and concerns with the seminar participants.
Please register by Friday, Oct. 16 at noon to attend and reserve a lunch. Visit the Office of Instructional Development online (www.und.edu/dept/oid) to register. For information, call Jana Hollands at 777-4998 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
-- Anne Kelsch, Director, Office of Instructional Development, email@example.com, 777-4233