Debby Ellis Writing Center

Planning Writing In Your Course

Choosing an Approach to Sequencing

Before you decide on a sequence, you’ll need to determine what the major writing assignments for your class will be.  The following questions are designed to help you decide what types of writing might work best for your class.

1.  How will writing help you achieve your course goals?  

  • Do you want students to write to facilitate discussion?
  • Do you want them to write to critically engage with course texts?
  • Do you want them to write to reflect on course discussions or key concepts?
  • Do you want them to write to communicate an understanding of information?
  • Do you want them to write to learn the common types, or genres, of writing in your discipline?
  • Do you want them to write to conduct and communicate original research?

The Teaching Commons at DePaul University has a chart that matches assignments to learning goals that you may find useful as you plan your assignments.

2.  What skills or knowledge do you want students to build through writing?

  • Do you want students to demonstrate mastery of one particular genre (for example, the lab report) or do you want to introduce them to a number of different genres common to your field, or some combination of the two?
  • How much will you want them to conduct original research? 
  • How do you want them to present this research?
  • How much responsibility will students have for shaping their own writing projects?
  • Do you want students to work on producing one complex piece of writing over the course of the semester, or do you want them to produce several shorter pieces of writing?

We hope these questions will help you establish the major writing assignments for your course and consider the help your students will need to complete these assignments.  The following pages offer five possible approaches to sequencing writing.  Please feel free to combine these approaches – it may be useful to incorporate more than one in your course.  We include them only as possible models, not as inflexible categories. 

 

Next: Iterative Sequencing