This summer the Resources Working Group (Shelley Manis, Julie Babcock, and Naomi Silver) created several new faculty and student resources to address challenges raised by people across the university.
One common faculty request was help integrating written argumentation into their disciplinary courses without drawing attention away from learning course content. In response, the working group created two new comprehensive resources: “Teaching Argumentation” and “Teaching Project-Based Assignments.”
“Teaching Argumentation” offers strategies for leveraging writing to deepen content-based learning. It includes an overview of argument’s basic elements, sketches of the most common types of arguments, consideration of how argumentation is used to forward academic knowledge across disciplines, and concrete strategies for practicing argument building in the classroom.
“Teaching Project-Based Assignments” provides insight into designing writing assignments that encourage students to pursue answers to authentic, real-world questions in which they have both an educational and a personal stake. Based on recent research pointing to the crucial role of problem solving in student learning, it offers an overview of general principles of effective practice across disciplines as well as scaffolded classroom strategies to help faculty design and cultivate effective assignments. Like the “Teaching Argumentation” Resource, “Teaching Project-Based Assignments” guides instructors in integrating meaningful writing-to-learn into their content-based courses.
In addition to these fully developed resources, the working group updated existing resources in response to campus climate issues and shifts in pedagogical practices. A new section in “Giving Feedback on Student Writing” offers advice on “Responding to Student Self-Disclosure of Trauma” that makes suggestions for ethical response to the person’s experience as well as to the student’s writing. A new section has been added to “Using Blogs in the Classroom” on “Generating and Facilitating Effective Blog Conversations.”
Finally, the group created three new student resources and combined and updated some existing resources to account for evolving scholarship. The new resources are “How Can I Create a Strong Thesis?,” “How Can I Write More Descriptively?,” and “How Do I Incorporate a Counterargument?” The updated/combined resource is “How Do I Incorporate Quotes?,” which addresses both integration of research and citation practices.