What is informal writing?
Informal writing activities are designed to help students “think on paper” about course concepts. Such activities could include journal writing, free writing, speculative writing, brainstorming, and listing. These writing activities may be short, in-class exercises and may be ungraded or scanned quickly for content only. Minimum standards of writing proficiency need not apply to all writing-to-learn activities.
What purpose do informal writing assignments serve?
Informal thinking-on-paper exercises (heuristic writing) are important in a Writing Across the Curriculum course because they emphasize the power of writing to explore, to question, to discover – in short, the ability of writing to help people think. Of course, thinking should also take place in the formal writing, but there the finished product tends to be valued more highly than the process of creation. Informal, in-class writing exercises, on the other hand, emphasize writing as a learning skill – a technique to actually stimulate thought and to try out ideas in a risk-free situation.
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