MWrite Faculty Seminar
In big introductory classes where hundreds of students are enrolled, M-Write is changing the way they learn. Now in its second year, M-Write, funded by one of U-M’s Third Century grants, an NSF grant, and funds from the Keck foundation, is incorporating writing into students’ learning experiences. Several times each semester students in statistics, economics, biology, chemistry, and material science engineering are required to write about key concepts in the subject they are studying.
These prompts or assignments, which are written by the professors give students an opportunity to show what they are learning in a form other than a multiple-choice test. For example, students in economics are asked to read a short article in the Wall Street Journal and then write an economics-informed explanation of how the USDA could react to an overproduction of milk and cheese. Students write their response and upload it to an automated peer review tool. This tool distributes the paper to several other students, and the author, in turn, receives papers from several classmates. Each student in the class reads papers from several peers and, using a rubric prepared by the professor, provides feedback on how the author might improve the response. Then all students in the class revise their original responses and submit a final version.
Writing Fellows, students who were successful in the course in a previous semester, and who have received training in writing from Sweetland, provide support to students in the course. They help explain prompts, show students how to negotiate the peer review tool, explain what helpful peer review looks like, and offer suggestions for ways of using peer feedback in writing revisions. At the discretion of the professor, Writing Fellows also monitor student performance throughout the writing process.
In fall 2017, a new group of faculty are participating in the inaugural M-Write Seminar. They are learning about the program, developing prompts, and planning to implement M-Write in their courses in either winter 2018 or fall 2018 semesters. Within the year students in physics, astronomy, health sciences, mechanical engineering, and biophysics will have the opportunity to write about what they are learning. For further information about M-Write, visit the M-Write section of our website.
2017 M-Write Seminar Participants
Jimmy Brancho, Sweetland
Adam Eickmeyer, HSSP – Health Sciences Scholars Program
Ingrid Hendy, Earth & Environmental Science
Tim McKay, Physics
Jim Penner-Hahn, Chemistry/Biophysics
Perry Samson, School of Information
Angela Violi, Engineering
Kimberly Frauhammer, School of Information
Joseph Meadows, Chemistry
Peter Meisenheimer, Engineering
Tom Finzell Physics
Qi Wang, Engineering
Yi Wang, Earth & Environmental Science
Gere, Anne Sweetland
Sano, Larissa Sweetland