A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication (and technical writing).

Writing Across the Curriculum

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Back to the Future: Instructional Practices and Discourse Values   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

When I think of writing-across-the curriculum—especially when asked to look toward the future, I am drawn to looking back to my initial involvement in WAC in the mid-1970's.

Herrington, Anne J. LLAD (1997). Articles>Language>Writing Across the Curriculum


The Canisius Project: From Field-Work To Classroom   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

In the Canisius Project for Writing Across the Curriculum, we have studied the writing worlds of business, social services, science and technology, and 'public life' (the media, public relations, law, fund raising, and the like). For all these fields, our research has followed the same basic pattern. We begin with an initial interview, using a questionnaire which asks about the range of tasks, the problems, the methods, and the significance of the person's work world writing. Then we collect a portfolio of the person's writings. As an ideal, we request at least one sample of each kind of writing, with several samples of the most frequent and important kinds. After studying the portfolio, we return for a taped interview which focuses on specific features of selected pieces of writing. At the end of each research sequence, we hold a workshop which brings together researchers, faculty from the relevant departments, and as many as possible of our work world writers. Near the end of the workshop, the group defines some of the goals and methods most important for an upper level writing course which is to be aimed at, but not restricted to, business majors, or social science majors, or science majors, or humanities majors. (The groups of majors correspond to our research sequences: business, social services, science and technology, and, for want of a better term, public life.)

Schroeder, Melvin W. and Kenneth M. Sroka. JAC (1981). Articles>Education>Writing Across the Curriculum


Classroom Discourse and Writing Across the Curriculum  (link broken)   (PDF)

A table that displays aspects of developing knowledge that is personally and professionally useful.

Young, Art. Wordsworth (2001). Presentations>Education>Writing Across the Curriculum


Culture Shock: Teaching Writing within Interdisciplinary Contact Zones

To help writing faculty learn the language of discourse communities across campus, we conducted faculty interviews as a first attempt to describe knowledge about disciplinary cultures, specifically with regard to writing. Based on the data received from the interviews about disciplinary definitions and characteristics of good writing and how writing is learned, we advocate (a) awareness: recognizing that the particular beliefs and practices of a discipline may differ from those of other disciplines; (b) knowledge: learning about others' values, particularly regarding the definition and practice of writing; and (c) skills: altering perceptions and even communication strategies based on awareness and knowledge. Our interview data suggest that when writing faculty limit cross-disciplinary discussion to characteristics of good writing only, discipline stereotypes are reinforced, and communication may be restricted. However, when writing faculty discuss learning-to-write strategies with faculty in other disciplines, the results reveal commonalities about writing ideology.

Brammer, Charlotte, Amare, Nicole, and Campbell, Kim Sydow. Across the Disciplines (2008). Academic>Education>Writing Across the Curriculum


Language Connections: Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum   (peer-reviewed)

Language Connections, originally published by NCTE in 1982, focuses on general language skills teachers in all disciplines can use 'to enhance student learning and, at the same time, reinforce the more specific language skills taught by reading, writing and speech teachers' (ix). The 12 chapters address issues including journal writing, problem solving approaches to writing, transactional writing, writing to learn, reading processes, and conferencing. An annotated bibliography is provided.

Fulwiler, Toby and Art Young, eds. Academic.Writing (1982). Books>Writing>Writing Across the Curriculum


The Limits of the Apprenticeship Models in WAC/WID Research

One of the most significant developments in writing research over the last twelve years has been the large number of naturalistic studies of writing in the disciplines (college-level) and in the professions (non-academic writing). A number of these are based on the metaphor of apprenticeship, most recently the theory of 'cognitive apprenticeship' drawn from research in situated cognition. The learning and teaching of students in schools or colleges, as well as workers in non-academic settings, is compared to the learning and teaching of apprentices in pre- or early-industrial societies, who learned on the job while doing progressively more complex and central tasks, under the watchful eye of a master or expert. A central advantage of the apprentice metaphors is that it allows us focus on actions and motives that the official school curriculum and traditional theories of education (and their metaphors of 'banking' or 'transmission') find it difficult do discussthe 'hidden curriculum' that many have studied. Yet metaphors of apprenticeship--drawn from earlier versions of capitalism--are, I would argue, severely limited in their capacity to explain the ways newcomers learn new genres in late capitalist work environments, to theorize, in other words, the relation between formal schooling and industrial society. I want to suggest here three basic ways that theories based on the apprentice metaphor are limited.

Russell, David R. Iowa State University (1998). Articles>Writing>Writing Across the Curriculum>Tropes


A Proposal for the Marriage of Technical Communication and WAC/WID   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

Traditionally, Writing Across the Curriculum/Writing In the Disciplines have focused almost exclusively on preparing students to write in an academic environment in general and within their major disciplines in particular. Technical communication programs, on the other hand, focus almost entirely on preparing students to write for the world of work. A common concern among students, some professors, and many businesspeople is the lack of professional writing preparation that students receive within the university curriculum unless these students take courses in our programs. Even WAC/WID administrators are quick to note the need to find ways to integrate professional writing into some writing intensive courses. This presentation examined ways in which technical communication programs can revitalize writing-across-the-curriculum and writing-in-the-disciplines programs to the advantage of all concerned by working with WAC/WID administrators to design communication programs that integrate technical/professional into the curriculum at the senior level. Thus, technical communication programs can become the bridges that prepare students to enter the world of work with writing skills that are the focus of our programs.

Bosley, Deborah S. CPTSC Proceedings (2000). Articles>Writing>Writing Across the Curriculum


Strengthening Programs for Writing Across the Curriculum   (peer-reviewed)

This collection of thoughtful, thoroughly grounded essays explores the design of writing-across-the-curriculum programs in new and maturing programs. The collection also contains an appendix listing the results of the first comprehensive survey of writing-across-the-curriculum programs in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada.

McLeod, Susan H. Academic.Writing (1988). Books>Education>Writing Across the Curriculum>Writing


Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum, Third Edition   (peer-reviewed)

Teaching Writing Across the Curriculum, presented here in its third edition, provides a comprehensive, accessible discussion of teaching writing across the curriculum. Written by one of the leaders in the field of writing across the curriculum (WAC), it offers a brief introduction to WAC and then discusses how writing can be used to help students learn and communicate. Art Young writes that this book can 'serve as a guide to teachers who have been assigned or who have volunteered to teach a required 'writing-intensive' course in their discipline as well as to faculty who themselves decide to include student writing. whether occasionally or frequently, in their courses.' In addition to serving as a guide for teachers of WAC courses, this book also serves as an invaluable resource for faculty in English departments and writing programs.

Young, Art. Academic.Writing (1999). Books>Writing>Writing Across the Curriculum


The WAC Journal   (peer-reviewed)

Welcome to The WAC Journal, a national peer-reviewed journal on writing across the curriculum, published by Plymouth State College. The WAC Journal is an annual collection of articles by educators about their WAC ideas and WAC experiences. It is a journal of practical ideas and pertinent theory. We welcome submissions from all WAC scholars. The WAC Journal is available in print and online versions. To obtain a printed volume of the journal, please view our subscription information.

WAC Journal, The. Journals>Writing>Writing Across the Curriculum


WAC Meets TAC: WebCT Bulletin Boards as a Writing to Learn Technique   (PDF)

Fall of 2000 seemed like the right time to introduce more technology into my undergraduate course Applied Child Development. Several forces came together to lead me to this decision. NCATE had encouraged teacher preparation courses to make more use of technology. The friendly folks at Information Technology Services were offering summer workshops on introducing WebCT into classes. The Computer Advisory Board (CAB) or the Technology Across the Curriculum (TAC) group—I’ve forgotten which, and I’m not sure I know the difference—was offering bribes, I mean honoraria, to people to make such innovations. And I was recovering from the experience of trying to teach the quietest group of students I’d ever encountered in one classroom, a group I had come to affectionately refer to as 'mime school.'

Miller, Robert S. WAC Journal, The (2002). Articles>Education>Writing Across the Curriculum>Online


The Wonder of Writing Across the Curriculum   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

The main reason I got involved with writing across the curriculum fifteen years ago was administrative and related to campus politics. The main reason I have stayed actively involved in writing across the curriculum for fifteen years is personal and related to my teaching. Quite simply, I am a better teacher because of writing across the curriculum. So while motivations and intentions are messy things to characterize, for me the combination of administrative and teaching responsibilities and personal and public desires have led to most of my professorial life being engaged in writing across the curriculum — in my own classroom and on my college campuses — first at Michigan Tech, and now for six years at Clemson University.

Young, Art. LLAD (1994). Articles>Rhetoric>Writing Across the Curriculum


Writing Across the Curriculum in International Contexts: An Introduction   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

As is the case with the first-year composition class, we tend to think of WAC programs as an exclusively U.S. phenomenon, or at least a North American phenomenon.

McLeod, Susan H. LLAD (2001). Articles>Education>Writing Across the Curriculum>International


Writing Across the Curriculum: A Guide to Developing Programs   (peer-reviewed)

Addressing the design, funding, operation, and underlying pedagogical principles of WAC programs, this comprehensive collection of essays offers important advice to WAC program designers and teachers. In 12 chapters, the contributors to this important collection discuss issues including program design, writing in the disciplines, writing to learn, writing-intensive courses, and the relationships among WAC programs, first-year writing programs, general education, and writing centers.

McLeod, Susan H. and Margot Soven, eds. Academic.Writing (1992). Books>Writing>Writing Across the Curriculum


Writing Selves/Writing Societies: Research from Activity Perspectives   (peer-reviewed)

This is the first in a series of online books sponsored by the WAC Clearinghouse. The chapters in this edited collection consider human activity and writing from three different perspectives: the role of writing in producing work and the economy; the role of writing in creating, maintaining, and transforming socially located selves and communities; and the role of writing formal education. The editors observe, 'The activity approaches to understanding writing presented in this volume give us ways to examine more closely how people do the work of the world and form the relations that give rise to the sense of selves and societies through writing, reading, and circulating texts. These essays provide major contributions to both writing research and activity theory as well as to the recently emerged but now robust research tradition that brings the two together.'

Bazerman, Charles and David R. Russell. Academic.Writing (2002). Books>Writing>Writing Across the Curriculum>Rhetoric


Writing to Learn in Mathematics   (PDF)   (peer-reviewed)

The majority of people, mathematicians included, think that writing out formulas is exactly what we call writing in mathematics. I was guilty of the same preconceptions before I started to work with the Writing Across the Curriculum Project at Medgar Evers College. The definition of writing to learn that we use at MEC helped me come up with the idea that served as the basic principle for my further experiments and conclusions as I implemented writing to learn in mathematics.

Flesher, Tatyana. WAC Journal, The (2003). Articles>Scientific Communication>Writing Across the Curriculum


Writing to Learn Quantitative Analysis: Doing Numbers with Words Works!   (PDF)

While all institutions of higher learning value writing, each institution manifests its values in different ways. Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has established an Office of Campus Writing, with a Director to design and offer faculty development opportunities to integrate writing more meaningfully and more effectively in the curricula of the 21 academic and professional schools that comprise the campus. One major faculty development offering is the annual two-week intensive Summer Faculty Writing Forum. This Forum accepts up to 15 faculty each year from schools and disciplines across the campus. These faculty, more used to the role of writing to demonstrate learning, investigate the capacity of writing to communicate learning, enhance learning, improve critical thinking, and reflect upon and evaluate learning. They design writing assignments, develop rubrics, and explore how to respond to written work more effectively. Upon completing the Forum, all faculty are asked to apply what they have learned to their own teaching, and to disseminate successful applications among their colleagues. This article focuses on the three-semester application of one Forum participant, an application that has evolved into a research project that clearly demonstrates the power of writing-to-learn to improve student understanding of quantitative analysis. It traces this evolution through e-mail exchanges between a professor of Computer Technology (Bob) and the Director of Campus Writing (Sharon).

Hamilton, Sharon and Robert H. Orr. WAC Journal, The (2002). Articles>Writing>Writing Across the Curriculum


Writing To Learn To Do: WAC, WAW, WAW, Wow!   (PDF)

I've heard lots of reasons offered for the surprising success of WAC over the last 27 years. But you know, the I think it's the acronym. WAC. Have you ever had colleagues good naturedly kid about the acronym. 'This is WACy!' There is something a little crazy about this whole thing.

Russell, David R. LLAD (1994). Articles>Education>Writing Across the Curriculum

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