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Responding to Student Papers

Date: Tuesday March 15, 2011

For additional workshop details, please click here.


Greg Colomb, Professor of English; Director, Academic & Professional Writing

The recent public notice of findings by our colleague Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum only reminds us of what we have long known, that students learn better when they write and that our students do not write enough. Unfortunately, one of the least yielding limits on how much students write is the labor available to respond to that writing: we only assign as much writing as we have time to grade. In two sessions, we will look at three strategies for getting students to write more and to learn more from that writing: (1) how to respond more effectively in less time; (2) how to orchestrate responses to student writing that cost us little; and (3) how to motivate students to write without any organized response from us.

Session One: The Assignment

We cannot respond to student writing effectively and efficiently unless we first create effective and efficient assignments, ones with clear learning agendas and carefully targeted challenges. In this session we will discuss ways to analyze and design assignments that improve students’ learning without requiring responses that cost us more time than we have to give.

Session Two: The Response

In this session we will discuss ways to do a better job marking papers in less time. We will look at three interrelated issues: (1) why typical responses are costly for faculty but of limited value to students; (2) what strategies for responding to student writing advance which specific learning goals; and (3) how to choose which kinds of responses are best suited to a specific assignment and its role in the overall progress of the course.

Sponsored by the Teaching Resource Center

For additional details, and to Register, please click here.

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