The Research Assistants worked in collaboration with our lead researchers and professors Joe and Jason this past week on creating and using 6 criteria to rate short papers of the professor’s student’s work. They were rated in 6 criteria: purpose, focus, structure, style, analysis, and clarity.
Each of the research assistants as well as Joe, graded roughly 30 papers throughout these guidelines. The RAs found that this process actually helped significantly to improve their own writing. It certainly did for me. I learned a lot about what is expected and what sort of guidelines I should be following in even a short and simple college paper. Two of the criteria that helped me improve my writing significantly was structure and focus. While rating, these two criteria went hand in hand. If the student did not have a strong focus, the structure of their assignment would fall apart. I learned of the importance of this focus and how strong having a good focus can make a piece of writing. Structure builds into focus, in that, the structure of your topic and transitional sentences will heavily impact the focus of the writing.
This study relates to the WRC because we take a design-thinking approach to our research. It’s important to us that we have explorations from all levels of academic experience. We found through this rating project that a learning to write can happen through this different style of teaching. Thanks to the design-thinking approach of the Collaboratory, something interesting and unexpected happened while we were rating student writing samples.
This entry is written by Nathan Ernst.