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Articles on Writing Across the Curriculum—Humanities

Listed below are articles from the Campus Writing Program library. Short summaries and citations are provided when available.

Leahy, Richard. "Microthemes: An experiment with very short writings." College Teaching, 42:1 (Winter 1994), pp. 15-18.

Disusses the technique of using microthemes in teaching a Western World Literature course at Boise State University in Idaho. Reading and grading the microthemes; Advantages and disadvantages of the technique; Students' assessment of the technique. (Abstract provided by EBSCO Host).  Full text can be found at:

Lucid, Robert F., and Elaine P. Maimon. "Humanities Across the University (HATU): Connections with Writing Across the University (WATU)." No citation.

Proposes a program of humanities across the university: assignments that question the philosophical and epistemological bases for the subject matter of another course. For example, they propose to bring humanities-type questions into non- humanities courses, enable humanities instructors to visit non-humanities courses and guest-lecture, establish humanities lab sections for technical courses, and add courses that explore the humanities connections of technical courses.

North, Stephen M. "Writing in a Philosophy Class: Three Case Studies." Research in the Teaching English 20.3 (Oct. 1986): 225- 262.

North examines 3 students' experiences in a philosophy course. He looks at their writings for the course, reviews interviews with them, and descibes course syllabus and materials. He studied the students' understanding of the context of the class, the discipline of philosophy, and the idea of a liberal education. North also argues that a hermeneutical method of studying student writing gives access into the student's view of the world.

Procter, Kenneth. "Writing in Art History: An Instrument for Teaching Course Content." Issues in Writing 2.2 (1990): 117-127.

Argues for the use of writing assignments, particularly sequenced assignments, in art and art history courses. Using writing assignments can teach course content, while (as a secondary goal) improving writing skills. He presents three example assignments in an appendix.

Scheinberg, Cynthia.  "Cognitive Apprenticeship as Pedagogical Strategy: Introducing Conversacolor."  The National Teaching and Learning Forum. 6.12 (2003): 1-4.

Cognitive apprenticeship refers to guiding novices to understand abstract concepts through concrete examples.  In-class discussions usually offer this apprenticeship through engaging in the readings and course concepts, but these discussions neglect discipline-specific writing.  Conversacolor provides a pedagogical technique for structuring class discussions in such a way as to make students aware of the structural aspects of idea development.  Students are given colored cards that represent different types of statements (new idea, transitions, clarification, etc.) and must categorize the statements they make according to the cards in their hand.    The visual aid helps students understand  the role of discourse mapping that differentiate expert from novice writers in the discipline.

Werne, Stanley. "Taking Rough Drafts Seriously." Teaching Philosophy 16.1 (March 1993): 47-57.

Werne describes his use of rough drafts and peer review in a philosophy course. Argues for the use of writing in philosophy courses, and describes details of how rough drafts are used: how to get students to take them seriously, what to get the peer reviewers to do, what actually happens during a rough draft work session. Summarizes students' reactions to the practice.

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