The Benefits of Co-Writing with Students

winding staircaseMairin Odle figured out one way to solve one core issue of teaching excellence across the university curriculum: how do students learn to write well in their discipline? Dr. Odle’s solution is to co-write alongside her students through a series of essay-related assignments. She writes that “Major writing assignments in this course are scaffolded, meaning that students first submit a topic proposal, then complete a bibliography, partial drafts, a peer review, and ultimately a final draft.” I can see so many benefits for students and faculty.

Student benefits

  • The often daunting task of writing is broken down into doable pieces.
  • Assembling the pieces makes the end-of-term busyness more manageable.
  • Seeing faculty model research removes at least one mystery of the academy.
  • Witnessing faculty struggle with writing uncovers another mystery.

Faculty benefits

  • Academic integrity issues are reduced if not eliminated.
  • In-class time is spent reviewing the skills of your discipline.
  • Greater student engagement usually makes teaching more enjoyable.
  • You get more time to write. How good can it get???!!!

Read more about Mairin Odle’s approach to co-writing.