Topic or topic range

    Topic should be clear 
    Should be in an area of debate in order to generate material for writing 
    Should allow student to focus in on something


    Student should have some sense of the investment of the audience in this topic 
    How much does the audience know about this topic

Purpose of the assignment

    Purpose needs to be clear—what kind of writing (persuasion, directions, explanation)     
    Connection to course goals 
    Practice of academic skills (see process steps) 
    Connection to real life 
        Writing about service learning 
        Writing about real problems in real world 
        Ability to teach from some expertise 
    Example: you are an advice columnist writing to a young couple who have argues over a     
    topic. Decide who is right but help them feel OK.

Steps of the assignment (staged assignments)

    Explain what steps the student should go through in assignment completion 
    How to narrow topic and find sources 
    How to evaluate sources 
    How to summarize, refer to sources 
    Style sheets 
    Skills of argumentation 
    Writing process as a process


    Best given as word count so that students have no motivation to mess with the margins and 
    the font


    Specify format (margins, spacing, header with student name, page numbers, font type and 

Sources to be used

    Style sheet to be used if references are made

Grading criteria

    Students can create their own grading rubric or you can choose one

Positive and negative examples

    Provide short examples and more than one good one 
    Good example should be varied—don’t squelch student creativity and originality 


    What things are open for the student to choose and what things are not

Level and genre

    Level of vocabulary and analysis 
    Genre of writing

User-test the assignment by doing it yourself