writing

Critical Thinking Skills for Academic Writing: Three Activities

If you’re like the majority of college instructors, you teach critical thinking skills in your course. However, you might also be looking for some additional ideas and activities that help students build those skills. In Think About It: Critical Skills for Academic Writingauthors John Mauk, Jayme Stayer, and Karen Mauk help students learn how to recognize and understand the techniques and strategies performed by skilled academic writers, and then execute and develop these techniques in their own work. The three activities below, taken from this book, can serve as writing prompts that get students thinking—and writing—critically and creatively. After students complete the writing Read More…


Exercise to Engage Students: No Whistle Needed!

Guest Contributor: Audrey A. Wick, Blinn College (Texas). When my freshman students need to take a break from writing, I suggest that they exercise. When my fitness students need a break from exercising, I tell them to try writing. I may be one of the only cross-over writing/fitness instructors in the nation: at my college, I teach both College Composition (for our Humanities department) and Pilates (for our Kinesiology department). And what my experience in both has uncovered is that there are some light cross-over tips from fitness that can absolutely benefit reluctant, unmotivated writers. So take a deep breath Read More…


Using Pop Culture in the Classroom

Guest Contributor: Audrey A. Wick, Blinn College (Texas). Writing instructors have a tremendous opportunity—maybe more so than instructors in other disciplines—to weave current, exciting content into the classroom through assigned readings, writing prompts, video instruction, visual examples, and technology tools. Still, we want to be mindful of integrity of our subject matter as we do so. But who says we can’t stay true to our discipline and have fun in the process? Here are a few simple ways for a writing instructors to add “pop” to their curriculum using pop culture. Have students explore websites, Twitter feeds, Facebook postings, and Read More…


Writing a Research Paper: Nine Tips for Student Success

Both instructors and college students often complain that students are not as prepared to write college-level research papers as they should be upon graduating high school. Some students struggle with the mechanics of research, citations, and grammar. Others struggle to understand the difference between a research paper and a summary or personal essay.  This can be daunting for new and experienced writers alike. Share these tips with your students to keep them focused as they embark on the process of writing a research paper. (They can also be printed as a reference!) Read More…


Top Ten Tips: How to Craft Effective Peer Review Questions

When it comes to peer review work in the classroom, everyone stands to benefit. The owner of the paper receives another perspective and a much-needed “second pair of eyes” for catching grammatical errors. The student reviewers have the opportunity to fine-tune their editing and comprehensive reading skills. If these revisions are handed in, even the instructor may enjoy observing each student’s unique thought process via the edits and comments.

Most students will appreciate the provision of guidelines or sample questions to kick off their peer review process. Whether online or in person, this will help to ensure their revisions are insightful as well as courteous. Read More…


Communicating with Students in the Course of Writing

In today’s featured video, Robert Yagelski, author of Cengage Learning’s Writing: Ten Core Concepts and other texts, addresses the topic of communicating with students about their writing projects. He discusses his approach to evaluating students’ work, and shares how he uses rubrics in his writing classroom. In addition, he shares how he addresses students’ plagiarism (both intentional and unintentional) in his classroom.

What’s your process for communicating with students about their work? What are your strategies for evaluating students’ writing in a manner that spurs them on to success? Share your experiences, ideas, and suggestions in the comments.

  For other Read More…


Getting Students to Love the Revision Process

Guest Contributor: Jenny Billings Beaver, Rowan-Cabarrus Community College (Concord, North Carolina). Oh no, they didn’t often comes to mind when a rough draft comes through as ‘final draft’. I cannot tell you often I would stress ‘process’ when teaching composition. I used to post notes, send reminders, lecture, assign readings…everything I knew to do to make sure students understood that the rough draft is and should not be the final draft. How did students expect their first and only draft to be their best work? I have always wanted my students to look forward to the revision Read More…


Collaborative Learning in the Writing Classroom

When students collaborate, they have the chance to learn from one another, grow from hearing each others’ perspectives, and dive into deeper learning. For these reasons (and more), collaborative learning practices have beneficial applications in the writing classroom. Through collaborative learning activities, students can receive feedback on their papers and hone their ability to give valuable feedback. And, in the long run, they can also develop the ability to reflect upon, evaluate, and improve their own writing. In today’s featured video, Dr. Robert Yagelski, author of Cengage Learning’s Writing: Ten Core Concepts and other texts, describes what collaborative learning means to him. You’ll also hear Read More…


InSite™ Leads to Improved Writing Skills

InSite is an online writing instruction application dedicated to improving students’ writing skills and is used to support writing instruction and practice. The development of effective writing skills is widely recognized as one of the most important college outcomes, and it is widely believed that using digital learning tools to support post-secondary instruction improves student engagement and ultimately increases student learning. This study examined the effectiveness of a Cengage Learning post-secondary digital instructional tool, InSite for Composition, an online learning solution dedicated to improving students’ written communication skills.  Read More…


Aplia Helps Karen Hackley’s Students “Connect the Dots” Between Reading and Writing

In this success story, you’ll discover how Karen Hackley of Houston Community College used Aplia to promote proficiency, reinforce her classroom discussions and activities, and keep students involved and on track in her Integrated Reading and Writing course. You’ll also see how Aplia can help you reinforce key concepts, help students hone fundamental skills, and demonstrate the connection between reading and writing.
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