University Writing

Resources || University Writing

How to Use this Page

Below are resources that University Writing has developed to support students and instructors across the disciplines in their writing and writing instruction. We define writing broadly, so you will find resources on ePortfolios, visual design, professional communication, and presentations in addition to traditional writing tasks like reflective writing, literature reviews, peer review, and editing and proofing.

Please use the keywords on the right-hand side of the page or the search bar above to navigate these resources. If you would like to use these resources in your course, please follow the Creative Commons information located at the bottom of each resource. If you plan to use the source in its original format, we ask that you leave the University Writing branding intact.

We are always seeking to improve. Please take a moment to offer us feedback by completing this brief survey.

Tagged Entries: Faculty

Effective Writing Assignments

Whether they’re high stakes or low stakes, writing assignments are more effective when faculty articulate clear expectations, explain necessary steps, detail the rhetorical situation (i.e., audience, purpose, and genre), and name criteria for evaluation. Such assignments set students up for success by leaving the guesswork out of assignment basics so they can focus on more substantive matters such as analysis, evidence, and working with sources. Use the resources below to design writing assignments with these features in mind. After you’ve designed your writing assignment, check out our section on scaffolding assignments and writing-to-learn assignments 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Amy Cicchino, and Amber Simpson 

Faculty who want to integrate writing into their courses can use high stakes assignments, low stakes assignments, or some combination of each. This handout defines each kind of writing and explains how you might integrate it into your course 

This handout introduces you to effective writing assignment design using principles from transparent assignment design and The Meaningful Writing Project 

Once you have a draft of your assignment sheet, you can use this self-assessment worksheet to reflect on how well your assignment is achieving the principles in the handout above 

Once you have a draft of your assignment sheet, you can work with a colleague in your department or institution and use this peer assignment worksheet to get feedback on how well your assignment is achieving the principles in the handout above 

Refresh your writing assignment by asking students to address a new audience, purpose, genre, or medium of communication as they explain their knowledge of content. This handout will explain what it means to create a new rhetorical situation for your assignment 

This worksheet will help you compare the existing and redesigned assignment across elements of the rhetorical situation, like audience, purpose, genre, language, organization, and content. While not every rhetorical element needs to change in your redesign process, you should reflect on how changes need to influence scaffolding activities and evaluation criteria 

This handout will help you think through the process of converting an online multiple choice test into a writing assignment 

This handout provides an overview of different kinds of rubrics you might want to use, as well as ways of describing performance levels. It also includes advice for developing a successful rubric 

Faculty and Staff ePortfolios

ePortfolios can benefit faculty and staff as they develop their professional brand and communicate their values and work to different stakeholders. An ePortfolio can be one way to tell your professional story through sharing artifacts related to your research, teaching, and service. Use the resources below to help you begin developing an ePortfolio. Be sure to also review our ePortfolio pages that have general information for ePortfolio creators. 

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino 

This worksheet will help you begin developing your personal brand statement 

This worksheet helps you select and contextualize artifacts through reflective writing 

Feedback: Responding to Student Writing

Research shows that students benefit from timely feedback on their learning based on the specific learning goals that guide a writing assignment. Use these resources to learn strategies for writing feedback, tips for rubric development, and how to manage the labor of writing response.  

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino, Christopher Basgier, and Margaret Marshall

Research shows that students benefit from timely feedback on their learning based on the specific learning goals that guide a writing assignment. Use these resources to learn strategies for writing feedback, tips for rubric development, and how to manage the labor of writing response 

This handout provides an overview of different kinds of rubrics you might want to use, as well as ways of describing performance levels. It also includes advice for developing a successful rubric 

This handout details a range of strategies that you can use when working with students’ writing, whether you're providing feedback, grading final drafts, or staring at a large stack of papers 

This handout will help you think through the process of converting an online multiple choice test into a writing assignment 

Grants

Grants are a difficult genre for anyone to learn. A straightforward technical description of the proposed project simply won’t do the trick. The resources below will help you consider how to tailor your project to a request for proposals (RFP), consider your audience, and manage the process. 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier  

This handout compiles common tips and advice related to grant writing 

This worksheet helps you reflect on what you already know about grant writing and begin by analyzing a model excerpt from a grant. 

IRB

To conduct human-based research, you need approval from Auburn’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). These resources will help you learn about IRB applications and offer tips for creating clear, effective IRB materials.  

Materials designed by Lucus Adelino, Christopher Basgier, Amy Cicchino, and Niki Johnson

This handout will define terms that appear in the IRB application form.  

Writing a successful IRB protocol is more than just filling out the form; it requires dutiful attention to your audience and your purpose. This handout has tips to help you write your IRB protocols more effectively 

These practice worksheets help you review and give feedback on a sample IRB scenario. By analyzing these samples, we hope you learn strategies for writing and revising your own application and protocols

This worksheet will help you give feedback to someone else’s IRB protocol

Learn more about Auburn’s IRB by visiting their website, which contains guidelines, application forms, sample information letters and consent documents, and more. 

Peer Review

Peer review can be an effective means for engaging students in writing projects. In peer review, students give one another feedback on a draft of a writing project, or a portion of a writing project, using a set of clear criteria as a guide. 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Amy Cicchino, and Amber Simpson 

This handout will introduce you to peer review and help you learn how to develop a successful peer review for your course 

This handout will help you articulate the role of peer review in your course, both for yourself and for your students. This page includes a set of questions about the role of peer review in your course, and the reverse describes the elements of effective peer feedback 

This resource will help you facilitate a successful peer review across four modalities: online (asynchronous), online (synchronous), hyflex, and in-person with safety protocols in place 

This brief handout can communicate peer review guidelines to your students 

Dr. Djibo Zanzot developed this writing-to-learn prompt and peer review protocol for his Honors Organismal Biology course 

Personal Brand

Your personal brand is a representation of your work that tells your professional story. Taking time to reflect on and develop your personal brand can help employers, review committees, and graduate schools know who you are, what you do, and what you value. The resources below will introduce you to personal brand and help you begin to develop a personal brand statement. 

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino, Layli Miron, and Megan Haskins

This handout explains what personal brand is and why it matters

Once you’ve reviewed the Personal Brand Handout above, use this worksheet to help you begin drafting your personal brand statement 

This worksheet helps faculty and staff consider their professional brand and develop a brand statement 

Reflective Writing

Reflective writing helps you critically think about your learning, respond to new knowledge, connect your learning experiences, and consider how new knowledge aligns to your professional and developmental goals. Use the resources below to learn more about reflective writing, including how to design reflective writing prompts.

Materials designed by Amber Simpson, Animal Sciences Academy Team, Christopher Basgier, ePortfolio Project, Heather Stuart, Lindsay Doukopolous, Margaret Marshall, and Parker Wade

This handout provides a brief introduction to reflective writing along with sample questions that can support reflective thinking

This handout introduces you to the six Rs of reflection: reporting, responding, relating, reasoning, reconstructing, and repackaging. Bain, J., Ballantyne, R., Mills, C. & Lester, N. (2002) labeled these levels with the mnemonic “5 Rs of reflection.” We have added a sixth level to this framework to account for the way reflection moves into other genres, such as an ePortfolio or personal narrative

This handout will take you through a heuristic process aimed at developing an effective reflective writing assignment for students keeping in mind the expected learning outcomes

Reflection can take many different forms, and any number of strategies can help you support students’ reflective practices. This handout lists various prompts and questions you can adapt to your specific course context and objectives

This handout is meant to inform you on the benefits of using reflective writing in lab contexts

This worksheet guides you in using expressive writing for self-discovery. You will learn about different types of expressive writing, such as answering prompts or making gratitude lists, and can complete several reflective prompts.

This handout gives three example reflective writing assignments from different disciplines, each fostering a different goal related to reflective practice

This worksheet will help you consider questions that are important as you develop a reflective writing prompt for your course

Once you’ve developed your reflective writing prompt, this peer reviewguide can help you get feedback.

This worksheet provides examples of student reflections in need of feedback and guidance which you can use to practice providing feedback that helps students improve their reflective writing

This rubric was created as part of our ePortfolio Project. However, you can use or adapt it to assess reflective writing in ePortfolios

Research Abstracts

One type of academic writing is research abstracts, which are important distillations of academic research. In many fields, they are used as conference proposals, and they appear in journal articles to help readers understand the research and decide if they want to read further. Use these materials to better understand research abstracts and begin creating your own research abstracts. 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Layli Miron, and Megan Moeller

This handout introduces you to abstracts, or the summaries that typically begin a kind of research writing 

This resource was designed to introduce readers to abstracts within the College of Human Sciences, in fields such as Nutrition, Hospitality Management, Consumer and Design Sciences, Human Development and Family Science, and Global Education 

This worksheet will help you analyze example abstracts from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds 

This worksheet features four abstracts accepted into Auburn’s 2018 Research Symposium, which you can analyze to identify the six components of an abstract 

Scaffolding Writing Instruction

Scaffolding is a means of breaking down assignments or tasks into manageable chunks in order to promote student learning and success. A well-scaffolded writing assignment should help students understand your expectations, learn course content, communicate with audiences, and write with a purpose in mind. These resources will help you develop scaffolding writing assignments in your course. 

Materials designed by Travis Adams, Christopher Basgier, Margaret Marshall, Alyssa Pratt, and Djibo Zanzot 

This handout details three approaches to scaffolding you might use in your course: checkpoints, parts of the whole, and upping the ante 

This handout presents two example assignments aimed at evaluating students’ prior knowledge in a particular area. By determining prior knowledge, you can get a better idea of the support students will need as they complete future assignments related to content knowledge and writing in your course 

This worksheet will help you identify and define a difficult concept, and then map different levels of understanding for that concept. You can use these definitions as a basis for crafting your effective assignments 

This handout presents two activities that would help students in scaffolding a research paper. The first one focuses on breaking down the big goal in a series of small tasks so as to provide students with direction. The second one will help you map the syllabus timeline according to the learning required for assignment completion 

This handout includes a range of writing assignments and activities you can ask students to complete in your course in order to promote their learning. Many of these assignments can have high stakes or low stakes versions 

Writing-to-learn prompts can help you design writing prompts to reinforce content learning in your course. Be sure to check out our section on writing-to-learn. 

Writing Letters of Recommendation

Writing letters of recommendation can be a challenging responsibility for faculty and staff. Use these resources to help you construct letters of recommendations for college or graduate school, scholarships, certain jobs, and elsewhere. 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier

This handout will help you write powerful letters of recommendation  

Writing as a High Impact Practice

High impact practices (HIPs) have been shown to increase student persistence and engage students in deeper learning. Writing is a key aspect to high-impact teaching and learning.  Use the resources below to learn more about the role of writing in HIPs. 

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino

This handout will introduce you to high-impact practices.  

We have a significant number of resources related to ePortfolios on our site. ePortfolios have been called the eleventh high impact practice 

Writing-to-Learn

Writing-to-learn activities are low-stakes writing prompts that help students engage with content knowledge, think critically, and practice applying their learning. Use the resources below to learn more about writing-to-learn and how it might play a role in your course.  

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Alyssa Pratt, and Djibo Zanzot 

This worksheet is designed to help you understand some of the features of an effective writing-to-learn (WTL) prompt. Remember that these features are not necessarily a checklist: some prompts will include and exclude different features depending on what is appropriate for your course and field 

This handout includes a range of writing assignments and activities you can ask students to complete in your course in order to promote their learning. Many of these assignments can have high stakes or low stakes versions 

This worksheet will help you identify and define a difficult concept, and then map different levels of understanding for that concept. You can use these definitions as a basis for crafting your writing-to-learn assignments 

ePortfolios: Using ePortfolios in your Course

Faculty interested in learning more about ePortfolios and learning should reach out to universitywriting@auburn.edu in addition to exploring the resources below. These resources can either be moved directly into your course as instructional material or will discuss teaching and feedback strategies for ePortfolios. In addition to these resources, we encourage you to visit AAEEBL’s Digital Ethics Principles for ePortfolios, which University Writing was active in creating. 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Amy Cicchino, Megan Haskins, Margaret Marshall, and Heather Stuart

This sample curriculum for a 15-week course introduces students to ePortfolios and Professional Brand. It includes a syllabus, course calendar, and ePortfolio assignment sheet

This handout will introduce your students to ePortfolios 

This handout answers Frequently Asked Questions about ePortfolios your students might have 

Use this quiz and analysis activity to help your students test and apply their growing knowledge of ePortfolios 

This handout has a list of low-stakes activities that can help you develop ePortfolio thinking in your courses  

This worksheet will help you as a teacher reflect on what students are and are not doing in their ePortfolio reflective writing and identify appropriate next steps in adapting your pedagogy  

This scavenger hunt activity will take students through exploring an example ePortfolio and analyzing the choices the ePortfolio creator has made 

This worksheet is designed to draw your students’ attention to the ways in which an ePortfolio is designed and arranged to tell a particular story to a specific audience 

This worksheet can guide students in a peer review activity as they offer each other feedback on their ePortfolios

This checklist guides your students in evaluating the accessibility of their ePortfolio sites by reviewing content and digital design.

This worksheet helps ePortfolio creators move from peer review feedback to revision plans

This formative ePortfolio rubric can be used to help students self-assess where they are in the ePortfolio process as they create and refine their ePortfolios. You can also use this rubric to give them in-process feedback 

This summative ePortfolio rubric can be used or adapted to evaluate student ePortfolios at the end of the ePortfolio creation process. We encourage you consider which competency level best fits your context for teaching and learning 

We encourage you to respect your students as creators and authors by not using their ePortfolios in your teaching, marketing, or assessment procedures without their explicit permission. This is the form we’ve developed to retrieve and track student permission. This is not the same as IRB approval through your institution, which you will need to conduct research on students ePortfolios. This form can be personalized to include information about your department or program and completed by students for a record of ePortfolio permission 

ePortfolios: What is an ePortfolio

An ePortfolio is a personal website that communicates one’s professional identity and experiences to a public audience, such as employers, graduate schools, or review committees. The resources below will help you learn about ePortfolios and introduce you to the process of developing an ePortfolio.   

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino and Heather Stuart

Learn about ePortfolios: 

View this short Introduction to ePortfolios Video  

View this longer Introduction to ePortfolios Video  

This handout will introduce you to ePortfolios 

This handout answers Frequently Asked Questions about ePortfolios  

Use this quiz and analysis activity to help your students test and apply their growing knowledge of ePortfolios 

Tour of Example Student ePortfolio with Anna    

You can see more examples of ePortfolios by visiting our ePortfolio gallery