Writing expands students’ understanding of subjects and continuous practice helps them later in life to communicate and work through issues. Research also has demonstrated that when students write across many subjects – science, math, history and not just their English class – their knowledge and the understanding of a topic increases.
“Just 5 minutes of writing on a topic per week (45 min per semester) produced significantly higher scores on test items than did the same amount of time spent thinking” (174). Similarly, Rivard & Straw (2000) found that students who discuss and write about science concepts retain their learning longer than those who do not.” (Source)
Faculty may not even realize they are helping their students grasp subjects when they assign activities such as asking students to write a problem statement or annotations or even requesting students to create an outline.
In fact, the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Clearinghouse says instructors don’t have to be grammar experts when giving writing assignments. “Not at all! If you assign write-to-learn tasks, you won’t want to mark any grammatical flaws because the writing is designed to be impromptu and informal. If you assign more polished pieces, especially those that adhere to disciplinary conventions, then we suggest putting the burden of proofreading squarely where it belongs—on the writer.”
If you want to help your students improve their writing or maybe faculty want to get some ideas on how to incorporate writing assignments in classes, make an appointment with NVC’s Multidisciplinary Writing Center’s new coordinator, Kate Fischer.
The MWC – formerly called Writing Across the Curriculum – is a campus-wide initiative helping with any writing assignment outside the English department. Their tutors assist with scholarship and application essays, cover letters, discussion posts, outlines and much more.
This summer, students have a chance to win $50 just by completing a tutorial at the MWC and entering to win. If students can’t make it in person, they also can assist students via Zoom. To learn more about their services and hours in Juniper Hall, room 216, visit their web page at https://www.alamo.edu/nvc/academics/tutoring-services/wac-lab/