Authors & Contributors

Adjusting WID Tasks to Your Teaching Context

As teachers determine goals for writing and their time commitment, they discover an entire spectrum of writing they might assign in their classes. Your decisions will be based on complex factors, but the simplified grid below can point you toward additional materials that might be most useful to you as you plan your writing component for each class.

Use this grid to suggest which kinds of writing might be most appropriate in your classes:


to help students learn foundational concepts

to check students' understanding of material

to practice critical thinking, reading and writing

to practice writing conventions of the discipline

Level of students

mostly freshmen and sophomores

mostly majors

mostly senior majors

Typical enrollment

over 75


fewer than 35

Possible assignments

  • writing-to-learn prompts
  • reading journals
  • lab or field notebooks
  • response papers
  • real writing tasks for audiences students will write to as professionals in field
  • academic papers based on journals in the field
  • library or other source-based writing

Of course, teachers often assign a combination of write-to-learn activities as well as formal research essays.