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University of Washington Office of Educational Assessment

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The University of Washington (UW) Interdisciplinary Writing Program (IWP) provides five-credit expository writing courses each of which is linked to a discipline-based lecture course. Students enroll in both the writing and discipline-based courses, and complementary assignments allow them to improve their writing skills within a subject area of their own particular interest. In Winter and Spring of 1998, the UW UWired program sponsored a pilot program adding librarian-taught class sessions to existing IWP courses. These sessions focused on the use of information resources in the context of student research for writing assignments. Post-course questionnaires were composed primarily of items drawn from the Flashlight™ Current Student Inventory.1 Students indicated that they had gained skills that were transferable to other research activities and that they were using, and evaluating, a wider variety of information resources than previously. Students had had little prior experience with on-line research, and rated the instruction very highly. These outcomes suggest that the UWired/IWP collaboration meets a particular instructional need. A focus group of IWP instructors and administrators, held at the end of Winter quarter, discussed effective instructional approaches in the context of the UWired/IWP collaboration, and suggested that course portfolios might be used to encourage faculty participation in teaching partnerships. Based on the feedback received from both students and faculty, the UWired/IWP collaboration provides a promising avenue to instruct students in the use of information resources. Specific next steps might be the development of 1) a set of common topics of instruction to be used in each of the UWired sections of English 197/198 (without inhibiting instructors' input and creativity), and 2) a range of class learning activities for each topic to facilitate increased participation by librarians throughout the UW Libraries. Common topics would ensure not only a more consistent level of student outcomes, but also allow for more focused evaluations.


Composition (Language arts); Creative writing (Higher education); Information resources; Library resources


Library and Information Science | Other Education | Reading and Language | Rhetoric and Composition




OEA Report 98-9

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