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Writing Across The Curriculum (WAC)

Writing promotes learning in any discipline

“When we create a world where there is union between theory and practice, we can freely engage with ideas.”   -bell hooks


  • Writing promotes learning at all stages in any discipline
  • Integration of writing and writing process promotes student participation and engages students as critical thinkers
  • Effective writing instruction integrates disciplines
  • Opportunities to write in every class develops good writers
  • By practicing the thinking and writing conventions of an academic discipline students begin to communicate effectively within that discipline


  • Increased ability to better judge how well a student is grasping the information
  • Writing can be used to initiate discussion, reinforce content, and model the method of inquiry.
  • Writing to learn activities encourage reflection.
  • Students will learn more content and will leave the classroom better prepared to face thinking and communication challenges:
    • To communicate information
    • To clarify thinking
    • To learn new concepts and information


  • Increased critical thinking abilities
  • Better able to analyze content and produce richer understandings of materials and concepts
  • Writing can help students discover new knowledge—to sort through previous understandings, draw connections, and uncover new ideas as they write.
  • Assigned writing in all classes helps students to retain their writing skills.
  • Helps students learn what writing looks like in their fields.


Writing-to-learn fosters critical thinking and learning. It is writing that uses impromptu, short/informal writing tasks designed by the teacher and included throughout the lesson to help students think through key concepts and ideas. Attention is focused on ideas rather than the correctness of style, grammar or spelling. It is less structured than disciplinary writing. This approach frequently uses

  • journals

  • logs

  • micro themes

  • responses to written or oral questions

  • summaries

  • free writing

  • notes

  • other writing assignments that align to learning ideas and concepts


When writing to demonstrate knowledge, students show what they have learned by synthesizing information and explaining their understanding of concepts and ideas. Students write for an audience with a specific purpose. Products may apply knowledge in new ways or use academic structures for research and/or formal writing.

Examples include essays that deal with specific questions or problems, letters, projects, and more formal assignments or papers prepared over weeks or over a course. Students adhere to format and style guidelines or standards typical of professional papers, such as

  • reports
  • article reviews
  • research papers

These should be checked before being submitted by the student for the correctness of spelling, grammar, and transition word usage.



In an effort to assist fellow faculty members in their encouragement of the ethical use of sources and avoidance of plagiarism, the Aultman College WAC program has put together this video to help guide faculty through the process of defining, preventing, detecting, confirming and reporting plagiarism.

Detecting Plagiarism (Video)



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