Why do students need to acquire proficiency in formal writing?
Formal writing is fully revised and processed writing that producing a finished product written for a specific audience, and thus prepares students for effective communication in the academic and professional worlds they will encounter after Buffalo State. Evaluation according to minimum standards of proficiency applied to final products of this writing is important to help students understand what level of competence in writing is normally expected from a college graduate and assure the faculty that we are turning out literate students.
What types of writing constitute formal writing assignments?
Many types of writing assignments can meet the “W” requirements for formal writing, including, but not limited to: term papers, book reviews, lab report discussions, short essays, article summaries, reports, micro-themes, and annotated bibliographies. Again, “W” courses are not “term paper” centered. Rather “W” course instructors are creative and flexible in devising writing assignments which will challenge students to think and write about course materials in interesting and meaningful ways.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of short vs. long papers?
Instructors are encouraged to use a series of short assignments which incorporate elements designed to facilitate critical thinking and writing rather than one long assignment, so that students can improve their writing skills over a period of time. If long papers are assigned, they are to be dealt with in a series of drafts. Common sense and research on the writing process both support this recommendation.
What is the rationale behind this approach?
“W” courses are intended to give students the opportunity to learn to write more effectively and to operate more effectively as scholars as well as to learn specific subject matter. Writing is a skill; writing improvement occurs over time and with continual practice. Short assignments, or the multiple drafts, must be evaluated so that the student learns what was done well, what was done poorly, and how to improve.
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