Writing Across the Curriculum

This workshop introduces instructors to the principles of WAC (Writing Across the Curriculum) pedagogy. At the core of these pedagogies is the idea that students do not just learn to write, but also write to learn – continuous writing practice helps students not only improve their writing skills, but also better understand course material. In this workshop, we will explore ways in which we can bring writing into classrooms across the disciplines to create inquiry-based learning environments and encourage active engagement with course material. We’ll look at key WAC practices including scaffolding for high-stakes assignments using low-stakes writing, practicing minimal marking, and using rubrics when grading.

This workshop was offered in Fall 2018 as an in-person workshop at the Graduate Center, CUNY during Pedagogy Day. The workshop and materials were developed by Kaitlin Mondello and Charles Raffaele.


All materials on this page and in the linked google folder are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA) 4.0 International Public License, unless otherwise noted.

This folder contains outreach materials, workshop plans and slides.

Materials Folder: Writing Across the Curriculum Workshop

Workshop Plan

5-10 mins.

  • Introductions
  • Hand out TLC handbooks
  • Intro to WAC
  • Questions

25 mins. 

A. Free-write (10 mins.): What do you see as the role of writing in this course?

Volunteers to share? (Discussion writing to learn)

B. Assignment design (15 mins):

  • low vs. high stakes
  • Scaffolding (drawing)
  • Where you invest time
  • Example of scaffolded assignment
  • Set up to have them imagine an assignment
  • Think/pair/share (short)

30 min. 

A. Rubrics [15 min.]:

  • Show holistic and analytical rubric examples (one at a time on screen?) for same assignment, and ask them which one they’d rather receive a grade from as a student
    • Given an analytical rubric, what number of categories as appropriate
  • have them compare example rubrics of Generic and Task-Specific types, even if doesn’t lead to particular one-or-the-other recommendation
  • Give blank rubric-assignment for them to take home and do on their own (‘Feel free to adapt this’)

B. Giving of feedback [15 min]:

  • Give example markings on same student writing from Bean and have them compare
  • Coaching
    • Show examples of feedback on students’ papers, have them discuss
    • Getting away from ‘justifying the grade’ with feedback, and towards ‘hierarchy of concerns’
      • Free-write on _________

Review/Questions (7 min.)

WAC closing (1 min.) – what do all these elements have in common? (echo opening)

Review slides & Questions

3 activities:

  • scaffolding assignments using low-stakes writing
  • minimal marking
  • rubrics


  • TLC’s Guide to WAC/WID
  • Peter Elbow, High Stakes and Low Stakes in Assigning and Responding to Writing
  • Art Young, Teaching WAC
  • John Bean, Engaging Ideas


  • General WAC handout (basics summarized, and list of resources)
  • Scaffolding drawing
  • Example rubrics for activity
  • Rubric template