Grants for the Study of Writing in the Disciplines

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Now showing 1 - 20 of 28
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    Students of Color in the Writing Classroom: An Annotated Bibliography
    (University of Minnesota, 1992) Evans, Carolyn; Miller, Carol
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    Writing to Learn Mathematics: An Annotated Bibliography
    (University of Minnesota, 1994) Ganguli, Aparna; Henry, Richard
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    Outside the Lines but on the Page: Perspectives on Writing in an Individualized, WritingIntensive Baccalaureate Degree Program
    (University of Minnesota, 1994) Nereson, Sally; Leyasmeyer, Archibald; Warren, Kent
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    Writing in Service-Learning Courses
    (University of Minnesota, 1994) Kassner, Linda Adler; Collins, Terence
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    Writing Theory and Practice in the Second Language Classroom: A Selected Annotated Bibliography
    (University of Minnesota, 1994) Homstad, Torild; Thorson, Helga; Grimstad, Karen; Wakefield, Ray
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    Writing-Intensive Courses: Possible Criteria, National Patterns, and Resources
    (University of Minnesota, 1994) Bridwell-Bowles, Lillian; Kuhne, Michael; Cullen, Elaine; Lynch, Kimberly; Olson, Mark
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    Tutoring via Telecommunications
    (University of Minnesota, 1997) Graves, Michael; Duin, Ann Hill
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    Using Writing-to-Learn Activities in the Foreign Language Classroom
    (University of Minnesota, 1996) Homstad, Torild; Thorson, Helga
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    Direct vs. Translated Writing: What Students Do and the Strategies They Use
    (University of Minnesota, 2000) Cohen, Andrew D
    This study explored an alternative approach to short essay writing on language assessment tasks. Thirty-nine intermediate learners of French performed two essay-writing tasks: writing directly into French as well as writing in L1 and then translating into French. Two-thirds of the students did better on the direct writing task across all rating scales; one-third, better on the translated task. While raters found no significant differences in the grammatical scales across the two types of writing, differences did emerge in the scales for expression, transitions, and clauses. Retrospective verbal report data from the students indicated that they were often thinking through English when writing in French, suggesting that the writing tasks were not necessarily distinct in nature. Since the study was intended to simulate writing situations that students encounter in typical classroom assessments, the findings suggest that direct writing may be the most effective choice for some learners when under time pressure.
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    The Challenge of Cooking for Chefs: Writing in the English Major
    (University of Minnesota, 2001) Leyasmeyer, Archibald; Atkinson, Beverly; Gordon, Christine Mack; Nereson, Sally
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    An Assessment of the Writing of Undergraduate Computer Science Students
    (University of Minnesota, 2002) Nurkkala, Tom; Gini, Maria
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    Writing Across the Curriculum: Where Does Horticultural Science Fit In?
    (University of Minnesota, 2002) Zambreno, Karina; Hoover, Emily; Anderson, Neil; Gillman, Jeffrey H
    In Fall 1999, the University of Minnesota implemented a Writing-Intensive requirement for undergraduates. As part of the requirement, students must take one upper division Writing-Intensive course in their major. The Department of Horticultural Science offers an Environmental Horticulture major which currently has only one Writing-Intensive course in its entire curriculum. Teaching faculty was interviewed and syllabi were reviewed to gather information on what types of writing are currently being assigned and to discuss where more Writing-Intensive courses should be placed in the Environmental Horticulture curriculum in the future. These surveys and interviews revealed that the majority of classes assign formal writing and that the majority of the faculty review or are willing to review a draft of an assignment, two key components of the Writing-Intensive requirement. Informal writing assignments are less common, indicating a deficient area of the curriculum. With slight modifications, many classes in the Environmental Horticulture curriculum can meet the requirements to become designated as WritingIntensive. Faculty agreed that Writing-Intensive courses should be placed in upper-level, smaller classes that place less emphasis on production techniques or plant identification.
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    An Investigation of the Importance of Domain Specific Knowledge for Writing Proficiency
    (University of Minnesota, 2003) Bart, William M; Evans, Karen M
    A current question in cognitive psychology concerns the role of domain-specific knowledge for the development of thinking skills. This study addressed a related question of whether having the content knowledge of educational psychology is a good predictor of writing competency within the domain. Seventy undergraduate and post-graduate subjects enrolled in an introductory educational psychology course were assessed for content knowledge and also produced a writing sample evaluating an article in the discipline. For the entire sample, content knowledge and writing proficiency were not significantly correlated. For a sample of ten high knowledge subjects and ten low knowledge subjects, results were inconclusive. Using the scores of one rater, the ten high subjects had significantly greater writing competency scores than the ten least knowledgeable subjects. Using the scores of the other rater, this difference did not occur. Certain factors, however, may have confounded the results, in particular, the fact that subjects were engaged in acquiring domain-specific knowledge rather than employing already established knowledge bases.
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    Not Just Junk on the Web: How Online Writing Assignments May Benefit Student Writing
    (University of Minnesota, 2003) McNaron, Toni; Miller, Carol
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    Literacy and Minnesota’s Academic Culture: A Case for Institutional Change
    (University of Minnesota, 2003) Bridwell-Bowles, Lillian
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    What Students Can Tell Us about the Multicultural Classroom
    (University of Minnesota, 1992) Miller, Carol; Evans, Carolyn
    This interview project examined the experiences and perceptions of African American, Native American, and Hispanic students in composition classes at the University of Minnesota. Our objective was to collect primary and secondary data which provides clearer information about the performance of students of color as learning writers. This data should subsequently suggest accommodations by which, as individuals and as members of distinct minority cultures, students of color might be better served by University writing programs. The project was undertaken in two complementary stages. The first stage, which built upon the principal investigator's previously completed review of research pertaining to minority student achievement in general, sought areas of overlap between that body of research and current writing theory more specifically focused on the performance of students of color. This phase of the project—identification of mutualities by which these two bodies of research might inform one another—flagged circumstances relevant to "minority" student writers and created a context of inquiry enabling development of interview instruments to learn more about these problems and to identify potential solutions. The second stage of the project involved a series of progressive interviews of native-speaking students of color drawn from composition classes in the College of Liberal Arts. To refine the interview instrument of twenty-four items (with additional follow-up questions), an initial set of interviews was conducted with a pilot group of students of color who had already completed the two-course composition sequence in the General College. The instrument itself included questions which asked for 1) self-awareness assessment of students' writing histories, processes, and overall competencies; 2) consideration of the activities and character of their completed composition classes; and 3) speculation about the nature and demands of academic writing and about any impact on students as learning writers resulting from contentions of cultural experience and the dialectics of the academic community. The project generated thirty-one interviews and an annotated bibliography of selected literature on minority student performance and composition. Analysis of the data shows that students do not receive significant writing practice in high school. In addition, several areas of mystification for students surfaced. For example, students had misconceptions about what made writing good and how they could become good writers. They overemphasized surface writing features, such as grammar and punctuation. Also, students were often confused about course objectives and assignments. Overall, however, students found writing practice, feedback from instructors, and response from their conference group members to be beneficial and useful. We must continue to conduct both qualitative and quantitative research in how diverse populations learn. We also need to re-examine our pedagogical objectives and instruction strategies. What multicultural classrooms need ultimately are new paradigms that negotiate cultural transactions rather than cultural assimilation.
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    Interdisciplinary Writing through Multidisciplinary Writing
    (University of Minnesota, 1993) Prell, Riv-Ellen; Farrell, Amy; Kilde, Halgren
    This study proposed to restructure the course, American Everyday Life, by integrating writing assignments with course content and encouraging students to write in a variety of genres which would directly imitate the ones under study. Students were asked to use reflective as well as critical and theoretical approaches to the writing assignments. Writing was tied to a variety of research designs: historical, ethnographic, and cultural and media criticism. The class was designed to teach students how to integrate theory with ordinary experience with the hope of deepening their ability to read critically and to reason. One of the more striking findings of the research occurred within the first week of the course. Seventy-five students had enrolled with five on a waiting list. After receiving the course syllabus which outlined the writing requirements, students began a mass exodus from the classroom. By the second week of the term, fewer than thirty students remained in the class. Approximately sixty students who had expressed interest in the class left when they learned they would have to write papers, none of which were major research papers, all of which were topical and lively. We learned that writing is not a good way to attract students if one seeks high enrollments. Students were less concerned about what they had to produce than by the number of pages required. Short papers were tolerated; papers of ten pages were extremely upsetting. Throughout the term, students frequently questioned the need for writing in a course that was not about composition. We attempted to integrate writing into the class by devoting one of every four class sessions to peer conferencing. Students resisted showing others their drafts and expressed discomfort with critiquing others' papers or asking others to comment on their work. However, students were greatly appreciative of any feedback they received on their drafts. Students wanted drafts required, but they found the process of writing, reading, and showing drafts to their peers very distressing. We had also developed a questionnaire designed to elicit information about students' perceptions of writing and themselves as writers. We concluded that writing and attitudes about writing were closely linked to how writing is presented and the frequency with which it is required, that student authority is very much involved in the process of self-evaluation about writing, that students are more inclined to use passive than active strategies in their writing processes, and that students have difficulty seeing themselves as central to the writing process. The first lesson that we learned from this challenging, exciting, depressing, and thoroughly interesting project is that we will never teach without assigning writing. However, we have also learned that we must consider the nature of our assignments more carefully for them to be effective. We concluded that it is better to require a few papers and to incorporate more informal writing, particularly short in-class papers and journals. We have also concluded that to integrate theory and experience, writing and reasoning, requires assigning less reading and using that reading more carefully, covering less material to deepen understanding and engagement.
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    Using Intensive Writing-to-Learn as a Means of Reducing Limitations on Learning in Large Classes
    (University of Minnesota, 1997) Thomas, Ruth; Peterson, Debbie
    This project seeks to explore the feasibility and effectiveness of shifting from teaching with a heavy reliance on dialogue toward emphasizing intensive writing-to-learn activities as class size increases. In order for learning that is deep and lasting to occur, students must have opportunities to be engaged in thinking about and with the concepts they are learning and to connect them to what is already familiar and to what is of personal interest and import. Dialogue is a medium through which this kind of processing of ideas can occur. Meaningful dialogue is more easily incorporated in smaller classes than in larger ones. Because writing-to-learn, like dialogue, provides the opportunity to be engaged in thinking about and with the concepts that are being learned and to connect students to what is already familiar and to what is of personal interest and import, and because writing can be done with varying degrees of independence, it has potential to serve functions in large classes similar to those which dialogue serves well in smaller classes. The purpose of this project is to explore the incorporation of intensive writing-to-learn in a course that is too large for in-class dialogue to be the central medium for thinking. More specifically, this project explores intensive writing-to-learn as a medium in a large class for making students' own thoughts front and center, for using content as hypotheses to be examined and critiqued, for actively involving students in the learning process, for confronting students with views that contradict their own, for ensuring deep processing of concepts, for personalizing learning in a way that can foster students' self-understanding and personal growth, and for getting students to accept responsibility for directing their own learning. Six writing-to-learn approaches were identified that were consistent with the above purpose. Guidelines for each approach were developed. The 72 students in an upper division child psychology course on relationships and development were given the opportunity to choose one approach that they would use throughout the course. The reason for asking students to continue to use the same approach was to facilitate comparison of the students' work across time. Seven writing assignments were required in addition to an essay final examination. Students were also given the opportunity to do an eighth assignment as extra credit, which most of them did. Students' writing was responded to each week in a style that was intended to reflect a teacher-as-collaborator role in which respectfulness, acceptance, understanding, empathy, invitations to elaborate, and requests for clarification characterized the responses. With the students' permission, their writing assignments were duplicated for later analysis. Analysis is designed to reveal the degree to which each of the following are reflected in the writing assignments: depth and insight, a questioning and critical stance toward content, a stance of being responsible for and directing one's own thinking and learning, confronting and wrestling with and coming to terms with views that are contradictory, deep processing of concepts, new understandings that reflect a revision of prior views in a synthesis of new information and prior knowledge, and reflection of feelings. Implications of this project concern the depth of learning that can be accomplished in large classes, relationships between the nature of various writing-to-learn approaches and learning outcomes, and practical concerns regarding the use of writing-to-learn in large enrollment classes.
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    Incorporating Expressive Writing into the Classroom
    (University of Minnesota, 1996) Hoover, Emily; Foulk, Doug
    The goal of the project is to follow up the original research we conducted on expressive writing (see abstract in 1992-93 grants) by authoring and testing a "how-to" manual designed to facilitate instructor application of this effective learning strategy. We have written a prototype manual and distributed it to faculty in the Department of Horticultural Science for review. Based on the feedback we have received, we are revising the manual for submission to the Center of Interdisciplinary Studies of Writing. To further disseminate the information, we are scheduling seminars in departments within the College of Agriculture.