WID Teaching Resources for Faculty

Writing in the Disciplines (WID) faculty and WID GAs are among GW’s most innovative teachers, crafting and revising assignments to immerse students in the ways of thinking and writing in their respective fields. This page gathers some of their wisdom, along with that of others working with writing across the university curriculum. While these resources are aimed at supporting WID faculty and GAs, they can be useful for teaching writing in any GW course.

In addition to written resources, the WID Program offers individual consulting, faculty workshops and GA workshops, listed on our News and Events page when available. Questions about WID workshops and other resources? Please email [email protected] or contact the WID director or deputy director

The University Writing Program's Writing Center serves student writers at all levels and at all stages of a writing project. Visit the Writing Center website for guidelines and information.

 


Step-by-Step Guidance

Helping students generate meaningful responses to peer drafts is probably the most frequently asked question about teaching WID courses. Browse this list for ideas and best practices.

Addressing plagiarism is important, but often complicated by students’ varied educational backgrounds and understandings of what counts as intellectual property. We recommend the Purdue OWL's resources and approach: 

Proofing and polishing a final draft is a far more difficult task than many of us understand. How many of our editors have found simple errors in submitted drafts? Moreover, students learning a new mode of writing will often see their grasp on grammar fall a part a bit, at least in drafts. This task is compounded for students writing in a second (or third) language.

A key value of GW’s WID program is that writing is a lifelong learning project, and that students will attend to that growth in writing throughout their time at GW. Working with them on style and grammar — as it matters for your discipline — is part of the work of WID.

We recommend first distinguishing between style and grammar. First-person pronouns and passive voice are not grammatically incorrect, but each may be poor style in some genres of some disciplines. For grammar, focus mainly on errors that create confusion or factual errors, along with specific ones that form a pattern the student can learn to identify and address.

Highlighting one example and asking the student to find others can be a productive approach. Scheduling a specific due date for the penultimate draft, then assigning students to do one last round of proofreading before turning it in is also a good practice. We should always consider carefully our expectations for 100 percent error-free prose, except where it might be imperative for that situation — e.g., a press release or a public brochure.

The Purdue OWL's resources on proofreading may be helpful to students:

WID Handbooks by Topic Area

Visit the WID Studio blog for guides written by GW faculty members for specific fields including business, economics, physics, history and much more.

 

Visit the WID Studio Blog

 


More Tips on Writing Across the Curriculum 

Colorado State University's Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Clearinghouse shares similarities with GW's WID program, with WAC emphasizing writing-to-learn in any area of the curriculum, and WID focusing on specifically disciplinary forms of writing. But they share much in their approaches to pedagogy. The WAC Clearinghouse gathers the knowledge of the oldest professional organization of faculty teaching writing at every level of undergraduate education. See especially:

Topics on the WAC's faculty tip sheets page include:

  • Alternative Paper Assignments
  • Building Written and Oral Communication Into Your Classroom
  • Grading Rubrics
  • How to Manage Grammar
  • Not Your Usual 3- to 5-Page Paper
  • Peer Review
  • Preventing Plagiarism
  • Sequencing Writing Assignments
  • Service-Learning: Reflective Writing in Science and Engineering
  • Techniques to Encourage Revision
  • Using Reflective Writing in Service Learning
  • Using Writing in Large Classes
  • Writing Business Reports
  • Writing Lab Reports

WAC and other organizations produce open source books that are applicable to teaching writing across many disciplines.

Finally, the Purdue OWL is an incredibly rich online student guide to grammar, style, citation styles and writing best practices. They also include numerous tips for writing instructors.