University Writing

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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.

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Tagged Entries: Peer Review

Delivering Oral Presentations and Visual Design

In order to effectively share our research findings with others, we must be able to deliver presentations clearly and impactfully. These resources include tips about oral and visual communication as well as visual design principles that will help engage and inform your audience. 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Katharine H. Brown, Amy Cicchino, Carly Cummings, Megan Haskins, Layli Miron, Annie Small, Heather Stuart, and Parker Wade 

This brief handout outlines elements of oral communication 

Once you have a draft of your oral presentation, this peer review worksheet can help you self-assess or get feedback 

This handout will help you decide the best way to visually represent your data 

This handout introduces you to four principles for visual design: contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity 

This worksheet is meant to help you put together a presentation. It has been designed for students in aerospace engineering 

This handout will introduce you to scientific posters and analyze example posters

This worksheet will help you self-assess a draft of your scientific poster or gather feedback from a peer

This worksheet is designed to help you articulate how you “see” visible materials and what you expect students to do with visible materials in your courses 

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 


Emails can be tricky to write because they are a professional form of communication that demand concise, careful wording. The resources below will help you learn about emails, gain tips for writing effective professional emails, and avoid common email pitfalls.  

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino, Tricia Dozier, Megan Haskins, Layli Miron, Annie Small, and Heather Stuart 

This brief handout offers tips for considering your audience as you craft professional emails 

This quick checklist is an easy reference as you are preparing professional emails 

This worksheet guides you in analyzing example emails written in challenging contexts 

This worksheet contains two sample emails that are effective and professional 

This worksheet will help you consider the rhetorical situation as you draft a mock professional email 

This worksheet will help you rewrite three example thank you letters 

Finalizing Your ePortfolio

Before you publish, use these resources to review and revise your ePortfolio. 

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino, Heather Stuart, and Savannah Harrison

Once you have completed a draft of your ePortfolio, this worksheet can help you get feedback from professors, mentors, supervisors, family members, or peers

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

This checklist will help you self-assess whether additional changes need to be made to your ePortfolio before it is published 

This checklist helps you evaluate the accessibility of your ePortfolio site by reviewing your content and digital design.


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, Megan Haskins, and Lauren Schlosser

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 handout moves to a larger scale, aiding in the creation of mission and vision statements focused towards student organizations

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

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. 

Scientific Posters

Scientific posters communicate research in a visually engaging way and can be paired with an oral presentation or audience discussion. Posters can be designed for other experts in your field or for interdisciplinary or general audiences who are outside of your field. In either case, it’s important to critically consider your audience, purpose, content, and layout. Use the resources below to plan, draft, and assess your scientific poster.

Materials designed by Katharine H. Brown, Amy Cicchino, and Carly Cummings

This handout will introduce you to scientific posters and analyze example posters

This worksheet will help you self-assess a draft of your scientific poster or gather feedback from a peer

The Writing Process

This section contains resources for getting started on your writing and revising your writing over time for effective organization, flow, transitions, and editing and proofreading.

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Jordan Beckum, Katharine Brown, Amy Cicchino, and James Truman

This worksheet helps you apply reading like a writer to your work by inviting you to examine written artifacts from a writerly perspective by paying attention to features like structure, key terms, signposting, and verb use

This handout offers strategies and techniques for generating and organizing writing ideas

This handout breaks down the writing concept of “flow” at the whole text, paragraph, and sentence level

This handout provides an overview of strategies that different writers have found helpful as they make global changes to their writing

This handout provides an overview of useful strategies for making global revisions to a manuscript and an action plan

This handout invites readers to compare an excerpt from a dissertation to an excerpt of the same material, rewritten for nonspecialist or "general" audiences

This worksheet invites writers to plan a piece of writing for a general audience by leading them through the elements of the rhetorical situation.

This handout provides an easy reference list of common transitional words and phrases

This handout explains the difference between proofing and revision processes

This worksheet will help you apply the paramedic method of editing to improve sentence-level clarity

This worksheet lets you practice applying editing and proofreading strategies to sample text through two activities

This handout suggests ways in which writers can practice critical thinking while using generative artificial intelligence

This worksheet invites users to plan the elements of a successful prompt for generative artificial intelligence

Writing a Fulbright Application

Writing an application for a Fulbright is a particular writing situation. To meet the expectations of this audience and context, you need to adjust your writing strategies based on the Fulbright organization and its mission. Written components include the Abstract, Host Country Engagement, Plans upon Return, Statement of Grant Purpose, and Personal Statement. If you would like additional information on the Fulbright process as an Auburn student, please contact the Honors College. 

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino and Annie Small  

Personal Statements 

This handout provides an overview for the Fulbright personal statement 

This brief handout has brainstorming questions to help you start your Fulbright personal statement draft 

This worksheet has open response questions that can help you consider your personal brand in your personal statement 

Once you have a draft, this worksheet will help you peer review or self-assess your personal statement to identify potential areas for revision 

Statement of Grant Purpose 

This handout provides an overview for the Fulbright Statement of Grant Purpose and includes prompts to help you begin your Statement of Grant Purpose draft 

Once you have a draft, this worksheet will help you peer review or self-assess your Statement of Grant Purpose to identify potential areas for revision 

Open Responses 

In addition to the formal written documents, Fulbright applicants have to complete three open response prompts: the abstract, host country engagement, and plans upon return. This handout provides an overview for these open responses and prompts to help you begin drafting them 

Once you have a draft, this worksheet will help you peer review or self-assess your open response sections to identify potential areas for revision 

ePortfolios: Using ePortfolios in your Course

Faculty interested in learning more about ePortfolios and learning should reach out to 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