An Online Pedagogical Resource and Community of Practice for Writing Instruction and Assignments

An Online Pedagogical Resource and Community of Practice for Writing Instruction and Assignments

  • Professor Andrea Williams, Coordinator, Writing Instruction for TAs (WIT) program, Faculty of Arts and Science

Abstract

Strong reading and writing skills are essential for success in university and beyond, yet many students arrive at university
unprepared, due to both changing literacy practices and internationalization. Faculty are often unsure of how to best support their students’ reading and writing development in addition to the many other skills they must teach. Developing effective assignments that address reading and writing requires time and expertise and faculty sometimes lack support to do this. Because writing
assignments and activities are usually stored behind password-protected sites, they remain largely inaccessible teaching resources that are seldom shared within or across units. Moreover, effective assignments, rubrics, and activities that support student writing development are often lost when faculty move on to teach other courses or leave the institution, which leaves few available models
on which instructors can build and innovate.

The aim of this project is to create a community of practice (CoP) focused on assignment design that will build and sustain an open-access educational online resource to support student writing across the disciplines. This CoP will take the form of a multidisciplinary faculty group engaged in innovative assignment design. This group will contribute to and help curate instructional materials for a database of undergraduate writing assignments and activities from across the curriculum. The
resources in this database will exemplify best practices in teaching information literacy, reading, writing, and multimodal literacies. The database will not only serve as a resource for instructors from across the university but also provide data that can be analyzed to learn about patterns and trends in undergraduate writing and innovative assessments and instructional activities related to writing at the University of Toronto.