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Faculty Support for WI Courses


Writing Across the Curriculum - Faculty Support for WI Courses

Working with faculty partners across the curriculum, the University Writing Program has created this online resource. Whether you are a faculty member teaching “writing-intensive” courses, or simply want ideas for ways to design and integrate more effective writing assignments into your course, these materials are intended to support your efforts.

As you look through the syllabi and assignments you’ll notice how faculty colleagues have worked to design consistent, engaged writing activities that help students become critical thinkers and active agents in their own learning. Handouts present focused summaries of writing-related research. Scholarly articles provide more engaged focus on writing research, theory, and practice.

Many of these materials were revised in the context of a “college partnership,” a major Writing Across the Curriculum initiative which strives to 1) learn more about how writing is integrated throughout college and program curricula and 2) develop communities of practice around writing engagement. If you have an interest in other kinds of resources, please contact us using the message box at the bottom of this webpage.


Sample Assignments & Syllabi

Kate Gleason College of Engineering

BIME 391: Biomechanics & Biomaterials Lab

This is one of our writing intensive courses.  There are a couple types of technical writing in the course; I’m focusing on executive summaries and lab reports.  The syllabus explains the purpose for each of these as well as their formats.  I have included my rubric for the exec summary as well.

Materials shared by Jennifer Bailey

BIME 391 Syllabus (Spring 2018)

BIME 391 Executive Summary Rubric


BIME 491: Quantitative Physiological Signal Analysis Lab

This is a class with primarily scientific notebook assessments, except for one early lab where I am looking for deeper understanding, so I assign a discussion paragraph.  Lab reports are assigned for the second half of the semester where the labs are not as cookie-cutter.

Materials shared by Jennifer Bailey

BIME 491 Syllabus (Fall 2017)


ISEE 684: Engineering and the Developing World

The Tech of the Day Sustainability Final Analysis is the third assignment in a series and serves as the final exam for the course.  It gives the students a chance to review all the topics we discuss throughout the semester, apply them to a technology that they have researched and presented in previous assignments, and then, based on their analysis, give a final verdict on the sustainability of that technology for use in developing countries.  For me as the instructor, it is a way to assess how well they have understood and integrated the course material into their thought processes.  It also helps students to practice making and articulating an argument regarding a technical question that has no correct answer. 

Materials shared by Sarah Brownell

Tech of the Day Sustainability Final Analysis


MECE 301: Engineering Applications Laboratory

This course is structured as an introductory project for the first four weeks, with individual homework assignments, and then ten weeks as a group-based, open-ended, analyze-build-test-reflect main project. The latter is documented through RIT's wiki system available at the following link:

RIT's wiki MECE -301 Engineering App Lab

Because of the more subjective nature of the main project, the rubric is less detailed across the various criteria, but well-developed for the highest level anyway. 

Materials shared by John Wellin

MECE Syllabus (Fall 2018)

Homework 01

Homework 02

Homework 03

Homework 04

Initial Presentation definition

Main Project Descriptions

Final Presentation Definitions


MECE 348: Contemporary Issues in Mechanical Engineering (Energy and the Environment)

Materials shared by Rob Stevens

MECE 348 Syllabus (Fall 2018)

MECE 348 Schedule (Fall 2018)


Helpful Links

Innovative Learning Institute at RIT

Teaching and Learning Services

       Teaching and Learning Services (TLS) partners with RIT faculty to improve and expand their students’ learning experience with on-campus, online, and blended courses. TLS supports faculty in designing courses, applying appropriate academic technologies, developing media, and using classroom technology resources. TLS also fosters experimentation with and adoption of emerging modes and models of teaching and learning, contributing to cutting-edge research and interdisciplinary collaboration at RIT.

RIT Assignment Library

RIT's General Education Assignment Library

      The General Education Assignment Library contains samples of assignments created by RIT faculty to assess General Education Student Learning Outcomes. Assignments are collected and shared by the Office of Educational Effectiveness     Assessment to support the teaching of General Education courses. This library allows RIT faculty to browse assignments by outcome, discipline, or method; review pedagogical and assessment guidelines by outcome; and view assignments that can be used to assess multiple outcomes.

Academic Integrity & Plagiarism

What is Plagiarism?

      This link helps define and contextualize plagiarism while providing resources for both faculty and students. Part of RIT’s own site dedicated to academic integrity.

WAC Clearinghouse

      The following description is taken from the “About” section of the WAC Clearinghouse webpage:

             The Clearinghouse is widely regarded as the leading Web site supporting the use of writing and speaking in courses across the curriculum. The Clearinghouse publishes articles and books of interest to the writing-across-the-curriculum community, provides a wide range of Web-based resources for instructors who wish to use writing in their courses, and supports research in the use of writing to support learning and teaching. In 2017, the Clearinghouse recorded more than 2.7 million visits to the site from more than 1.1 million distinct visitors and saw more than five million documents (primarily books, book chapters, and articles) downloaded.


    The “world’s most accurate online grammar checker” is a quick and easy writing-enhancement tool for writers of all levels of expertise.

Writing Guides

      One of the web’s best sites for all things writing-related. Unbelievably vast library of resources and instructional material covering everything from mechanics, grammar, and punctuation, to research methods and citation formats, as well as help for English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors, tutors, and students.

     User-friendly, online version of the best-selling book by Richard Bullock. Highlights include templates and worksheets, complete MLA and APA guidelines, glossary of key terms and concepts, and Writing Toolbar.

Scholarly Articles

Resources & Support for Writing – Intensive Faculty



Assignment Design

Gardner,Traci.(2008). Designing Writing Assignments.Urbana,IIII:National Council of Teachers of English

(This lnks to WAC Clearinghouse with access to a PDF of the entire book digitized by Colorado State University Libraries)

Abstract: Effective student writing begins with well-designed classroom assignments. In Designing Writing Assignments, veteran educator Traci Gardner offers practical ways for teachers to develop assignments that will allow students to express their creativity and grow as writers and thinkers while still addressing the many demands of resource-stretched classrooms. Gardner explores how to balance pedagogical and curricular goals with the needs of multiple learners while managing everyday challenges such as mandates, testing, and the paper load. She uses her classroom experience to provide ideas on how to effectively define a writing task, explore the expectations for a composition activity, and assemble the supporting materials that students need to do their best work. This book includes dozens of starting points that teachers can customize and further develop for the students in their own classrooms.


Addressing Grammar & Mechanics

Hartwell,P.(1985). Grammar, grammars,and the teaching of grammar, College English,47(2),105 - 127


Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing Students

Strassman, B.K., & Schirmer, B. Teaching writing to deaf students: Does research offer evidence for practice? Remedial and Special Education, 34(3), 166-179.

Abstract: The purpose of this review of the research on writing instruction with deaf students was to determine which findings offer evidence for effective practice. The authors used a framework of critical elements developed from research on hearing writers as a set of findings to which they compared the findings with deaf writers. They identified 16 studies of writing instruction over the past 25 years. Research on approaches for teaching writing to hearing students fell into four categories: teaching the process approach, instruction on characteristics of quality writing, writing for content learning, and feedback. Although all of the studies on teaching writing to deaf students fell into one of these categories, outcomes were equivocal and the evidence for practice is at best promising. They conclude that rigorous research is acutely needed so that writing instruction can be better informed by research findings.

Albertini, J.A., Marschark, M., & Kincheloe, P.J. (2015). Deaf students’ reading and writing in college: Fluency, coherence, and comprehension. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 21(3), 303-309.

Abstract: Research in discourse reveals numerous cognitive connections between reading and writing. Rather than one being the inverse of the other, there are parallels and interactions between them. To understand the variables and possible connections in the reading and writing of adult deaf students, we manipulated writing conditions and reading texts. First, to test the hypothesis that a fluent writing process leads to richer content and a higher degree of coherence in a written summary, we interrupted the writing process with verbal and nonverbal intervening tasks. The negligible effect of the interference indicated that the stimuli texts were not equivalent in terms of coherence and revealed a relationship between coherence of the stimuli texts, amount of content recalled, and coherence of the written summaries. To test for a possible effect of coherence on reading comprehension, we manipulated the coherence of the texts. We found that students understood the more coherent versions of the passages better than the less coherent versions and were able to accurately distinguish between them. However, they were not able to judge comprehensibility. Implications for further research and classroom application are discussed.


Providing Feedback

Sommers, N. (1982). Responding to Student Writing. College Composition and Communication, 33(2), 148-156.

In the early 1980’s, Sommers and a few of her colleagues researched the “commenting styles of thirty-five teachers at New York University and the University of Oklahoma, studying the comments these teachers wrote […], and interviewing a representative number of these teachers and their students” (149). Major findings include that it is difficult for students to reconcile their own goals as writers with what they understand to be their teachers’ expectations for the text, and that “most teachers’ comments are not text-specific and could be interchanged, rubber-stamped, from text to text” (152). Keeping these things in mind, Sommers suggests that “[w]ritten comments need to be an extension of the teacher’s voice—an extension of the teacher as reader” (155), and that successful, generative feedback will help students to recognize the inherent value in revision, to understand the revision process as an exercise in discovery.

Annotation by David Yockel, Jr.

Straub, R.E. (2002). Reading and responding to student writing: A heuristic for reflective practice. Composition Studies, 30(1), 15.

Sommers, N. (2006). Across the Drafts. College Composition and Communication, 58(2), 248-257.

Abstract: In returning to a topic that has captured my imagination for over a quarter of a century, I'm also returning to a topic that is part of our collective imagination, with so much scholarly attention paid to it that if you search "responding to student writing" on Google, you arrive in 2.7 seconds at the first of about 230,000 entries (Harvey 44).1 Our collective interest in responding, I suspect, is deeply professional and personal. With the leisurely perspective of time, and with the collection of over six hundred pounds of student writing, five hundred hours of taped interviews, and countless megabytes of survey data, my fellow researchers and I have witnessed the wide range of comments that students receive, not just in one course or from one teacher, but over four years and across the disciplines.2 To see these comments through the eyes of college students is a kaleidoscopic experience: papers never returned; papers returned with bewildering hieroglyphics-dots, check marks, squiggly or straight lines; papers with responses that treat students like apprentice scholars, engaging with their ideas, seriously and thoughtfully.


Peer Review

“No One Writes Alone: Peer Review in the Classroom – A Guide for Students” (YouTube video)

“No One Writes Alone: Peer Review in the Classroom – A Guide for Instructors” (YouTube video)

These videos help to demystify the peer review process while cultivating a critically-engaged community of practice in the classroom.

Both videos published by MIT Comparative Media Studies/Writing (2011)

Jensen, E.B. (2016). Peer-Review writing workshops in college courses: Students' perspectives about online and classroom based workshops. Social Sciences, 5(4), n/a.

Abstract: Peer-review workshops are commonly used in writing courses as a way for students to give their peers feedback as well as help their own writing. Most of the research on peer-review workshops focuses on workshops held in traditional in-person courses, with less research on peer-review workshops held online. Students in a freshman writing course experienced both a classroom based writing workshop and an online workshop and then took a survey about their experiences. The majority of the students preferred the online writing workshop because of the convenience of the workshop and being able to post anonymous reviews. Students whom preferred the traditional in-person writing workshop liked being able to talk with their peers about their papers. This research article focuses on the students’ responses and experiences with traditional and online peer-reviews.



Löfström, E. & Kupila, P. (2013). The instructional challenges of student plagiarism. Journal of Academic Ethics, 11(3), 231-242.

Abstract: The focus of this article is university teachers' and students' views of plagiarism, plagiarism detection, and the use of plagiarism detection software as learning support. The data were collected from teachers and students who participated in a pilot project to test plagiarism detection software at a major university in Finland. The data were analyzed through factor analysis, T-tests and inductive content analysis. Three distinct reasons for plagiarism were identified: intentional, unintentional and contextual. The teachers did not utilize plagiarism detection to support student learning to any great extent. We discuss the pedagogical implications and suggest that the contextual reasons for plagiarism require focus primarily on study strategies, whereas the intentional reasons require profound discussion about attitudes and conceptions of good learning and university-level study habits.


(Team-Based) Collaborative Writing

Bush, J. & Zuidema, L. (2013). Professional collaborative writing: Teaching, writing, and learning—together. English Journal, 102(4), 107-110.

Abstract: Individual writing still comprises a majority of the writing people do. And, as people have come to know, writing as an individual certainly isn't simple. It requires carefully considering the audience, purposes, genres, available means of persuasion, complications --and interpreting these and other factors as part of the process people use to complete their writing tasks. Collaborative writing is accomplished through the work of two or more team members. But not all writings completed by an authoring team are collaborative. Some group-authored documents are actually segments completed by individual authors and pieced together consecutively, with each author retaining responsibility for his or her contribution. The process of writing is both complicated and enhanced by the collaboration that occurs, and, although this makes for great challenges for teachers, it also presents many opportunities. By complicating the act of writing, collaborative writing also gives them the chance to teach students academic teamwork.


Working with Multilingual Writers

Matsuda, A. & Matsuda, P.K. (2010). World englishes and the teaching of writing. TESOL Quarterly, 44(2), 369-374.

CCCC Statement on Second Language Writing and Writers (2014)