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Teaching.Writing.Learning. Institute 2014

Teaching. Writing. Learning. Institute:  21st-Century Approaches & Assignments

On Friday, September 12, we* held a workshop on developing writing assignments that engage students in challenging and meaningful ways.  See below for



Jason Lovorn, “Writing in a Material World:  Writing Contexts, Service-Learning, and Student Engagement”

This interactive talk explored how the material contexts of writing assignments can have pronounced effects on ways in which students engage their work. We looked first at theoretical perspectives that draw attention to materiality and consider possible applications to pedagogy.  More specific to writing classes, we examined the strong roles that writing prompts play in shaping student writing.  Then, moving beyond the confines of the classroom, we considered ways in which the material world of service-learning enables students to become more engaged writers.


Melanie Hundley, “Re-Imagine Writing: Digital and Multimodal Possibilities for Academic Writing”

This interactive talk examined the idea of academic writing, its purposes, and its familiar formats.  We then asked what happens when an academic writing task is shifted from page to screen—how do the possibilities for academic texts change?  How do academic arguments shift in structure and organization as they move to different formats?  We looked briefly at theoretical frameworks for reshaping texts and explored several examples of academic texts.  We then created a practice digital analysis of a text.  After this exploration and text creation, we discussed guidelines for creating digital and multimodal student tasks.  We considered the role of the writer, the purpose of the writing, and the ways in which alternative structures can provide multiple opportunities for student learning.


Join the Working Group

We will hold a breakfast meeting on Friday, October 3 from 9-10am in the Community Room of the Central Library.  At that time, you can join groups, learn about some additional platforms available for multimodal composition assignments, and begin to discuss the assignments you might be considering. Please email Elizabeth Covington at to let us know if you will attend this meeting.

T.W.L. is putting together an archive of innovative writing assignments that will be available in January 2015. We would love it if each group could contribute one or more assignments to this archive.

Teaching. Writing. Learning. is a campus collaboration of the Center for Teaching, the Writing Studio, the Jean & Alexander Heard Library, the English Language Center, and the Curb Center to sponsor resourceful experiences for anyone who teaches writing at Vanderbilt. *