All students at UCI must complete a lower-division writing requirement, but they may not have completed this before taking other classes that require writing assignments. There are a few factors that instructors should consider when their students have not yet completed their lower-division writing requirement, such as students’ understanding of citation use, peer-reviewed sources, and academic voice. Here are some steps to help students be successful with academic writing:
- Familiarize Students with Discipline-Specific Writing Guidelines – share specific rules for your discipline such as citation style and formatting. Point students to additional resources on campus such as the Center for Excellence in Writing and Communication. This helps students focus more on the task versus trying to figure out proper formatting and also helps them to avoid plagiarism.
- Incorporate Drafts and Peer Review – give students opportunities to revise their papers after receiving feedback. Make peer review part of the revision process by having students share their drafts in small groups and receive additional feedback from each other. This helps students improve their writing while also recognizing writing as a process.
- Share Examples – offer examples of successful writing assignments from earlier courses and discuss why they are successful. This helps students recognize academic writing conventions and better understand how to approach their writing assignments.
- Define and Discuss Plagiarism – be explicit about what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it. Recognize the difference between misusing sources and cheating – students are still learning citation styles. This helps students clearly understand definitions of plagiarism and the importance of citing their sources properly.
The following links provide more information on assisting students with academic writing: