Episode 9: Writing Across the Curriculum in the Age of AI

Guests: Emily Hall and Angela Zito

In this episode, we talk about writing with Emily Hall, Director of Writing Across the Curriculum and the Undergraduate Writing Fellows program at UW-Madison, and Angela Zito, Director of Writing Consulting at Albion College. They provide insights into how writing can promote learning and a sense of belonging for students, and they share advice for instructors looking to craft transparent and meaningful writing assignments. We also explore the impact of AI on how instructors and students think about and engage in writing.

See the transcript for this episode.

The L&S Exchange Podcast is brought to you by L&S Teaching & Learning Administration and produced by the Instructional Design Collaborative. This podcast is recorded on ancestral Ho-Chunk land, a place their nation has called Teejop (day-JOPE) since time immemorial.

Join the Conversation

How did this episode make you think? What’s on your mind about inclusive teaching? Leave us a message on Spotify for Podcasters, respond to a poll using the Spotify app on your mobile device, reply with a comment at the bottom of this post, or send us an email. We may ask to feature your contribution in this or a future episode.

Conversation Starters

  1. What types of writing are most common in your discipline? How do you incorporate these types of writing in your course? How do students perceive these types of writing?
  2. Consider a large assignment or evaluation in your course. What small, low-stakes writing activities could you use throughout your course to help students build the knowledge and skills needed for that larger assignment?
  3. Angela states that writing is necessarily subjective. How can you help students understand the subjectivity of writing while still providing transparency in your assignments and evaluations?
  4. In this episode, we learn that students find writing assignments more meaningful when the assignment aligns with their aspirations. How might you incorporate writing from different genres into your course to meet student interests and goals?
  5. What effect do you think AI will have on students’ relationships with writing? How might AI open up possibilities for inclusive teaching?
  6. What story from your own experience with writing could you share with students to help them in their writing processes?

Further Reading & Resources

In this episode we mentioned, were inspired by, or wondered about the following resources and topics.

  • The Meaningful Writing Project gives insight into what students think about writing and what assignments they find most meaningful.
  • UW-Madison offers abundant resources for students, instructors, and community members engaging in writing.
    • The Writing Center offers virtual and in-person individual appointments, writing groups, and workshops on professional and academic writing for students. Writing Center instructors also work with individual instructors across campus to design and co-teach writing lessons for their courses.
    • The Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) program supports the incorporation of writing into courses across all levels and all disciplines. Instructors can attend a workshop, schedule an individual consultation, or browse the faculty sourcebook.
    • The Undergraduate Writing Fellows program prepares selected students from a wide range of majors to serve as peer writing tutors, who work with faculty and students on writing in courses across L&S.
    • The Madison Writing Assistance (MWA) program offers free, one-to-one writing support across a variety of genres for community members at libraries and neighborhood centers throughout the city and online.
  • Low-stakes, formative writing assignments can guide students through the writing process in manageable stages, help students develop deeper understanding of course material, and provide students and instructors with feedback on student learning. The Center for Teaching, Learning & Mentoring shares information and advice about identifying potential assessments.
  • Angela describes how instructors can use the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework to make writing assignments more inclusive. Learn more about UDL in the book Reach Everyone, Teach Everyone: Universal Design for Learning in Higher Education, available online through the UW Library and authored by Thomas J. Tobin, Teaching and Learning Consultant at UW-Madison.
  • Emily and Angela talk about the value of transparency for student learning and inclusion. Check out the IDC’s Guide to Transparent Canvas Assignments and Grading for tools that can help instructors achieve transparency.
  • As AI evolves and new tools emerge at a rapid rate, UW-Madison Information Technology has released a Statement on the use of generative AI that can help guide your use of these tools. In addition, the IDC’s Guide Considerations for Using AI in the Classroom can help you plan and implement classroom activities that help students explore, discuss, and practice responsible use of AI.
  • Looking for your next novel to read? Emily Hall recommends The Candy House, by Jennifer Egan.

Production Credits

Producer: David Macasaet
Associate Producer: Molly Harris
Audio Engineer: David Macasaet
Audio Editor: David Macasaet
WiscWeb Administrator: Molly Harris
Post-Production & Studio Support: Erika Schock
Development Producer: Jonathan Klein
Planning Group: Jonathan Klein, David Macasaet, Molly Harris, Laura Schmidli, Erika Schock, Antonella Caloro
Social Media Support: L&S Strategic Communications
Executive Sponsorship: Shirin Malekpour

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