Eleven Washington State University faculty members are at work on special plans for the coming year: assigning and evaluating their students’ writing assignments in new ways.
As invited participants in the inaugural WORD! Faculty Fellowship Program—called “Word! Fellows”—the professors spent 12 weeks as learners themselves. In weekly workshop sessions, the experienced educators from several disciplines—most of whom teach large classes—were challenged to think about how to help students write as members in their disciplines.
Now that the workshops have ended, WORD! members like Paul Buckley, associate professor of chemistry, are crafting new student writing assignments for fall.
“Before WORD!, I thought writing lab reports was a pretty straightforward task for students, but now I’m more aware that I can phrase writing assignments to be more understandable to STEM and non-STEM students and encourage them all to experiment a little more with how they express things,” he said. He said it will be important for him to explain the changes to his teaching assistants who help with grading.
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