1. Students will write a minimum of 20 pages (about 6000 words), some of which may be informal, but a majority of which must be revised, polished, and intended for an educated readership.
Different kinds of writing serve different kinds of purposes. For example, "writing to learn" assignments are designed primarily to have students grapple with course concepts in order to engage them more fully. They might consist of reading summaries or responses, course journals, or answers to specific questions. They might even be assigned in class, during the first ten minutes to help students focus on the topic of the day or during the last ten minutes, to formulate some ideas about the preceding hour. These and other informal writing assignments might be relatively short, single draft assignments, receiving brief comments and graded holistically.
More formal writing assignments put a premium not on the student as learner but on the student as communicator of ideas to various audiences. The stakes are higher in this kind of writing—everything counts—so students tend to have longer to produce these assignments, which almost always require multiple drafts. Given the extra time and significance of these writings, faculty generally respond more fully to them and occasionally comment on a draft before the final version is due.
The faculty development in writing seminars for ASEM courses will provide numerous options for assignment making. However, here are some scenarios:
- At the beginning of every class meeting, Professor Whitt has students turn in a one-page response in which they comment on what they found most interesting, puzzling, or disturbing about the readings for that class meeting. She writes a brief reaction on each of them and assigns a rating from one to three. Professor Whitt also assigns two five-page papers, one in week 5, the other in week 10.
- Professor Becker has his students keep a media log, in which each week they summarize and analyze at least two television episodes, YouTube videos, or films related to his course content. Students post their logs on the class Blackboard, and every two weeks, they write a comment on someone else's posting. Becker has a final 10-page paper due at the end of the course. Students turn in a draft in week 8.
- Professor Kvistad wants to focus on more extended, formal writings in her course. Accordingly, she assigns three seven-page papers, due in week 4, 7, and 10.