University Writing

Resources || University Writing

How to Use this Page

Below are resources that University Writing has developed to support students and instructors across the disciplines in their writing and writing instruction. We define writing broadly, so you will find resources on ePortfolios, visual design, professional communication, and presentations in addition to traditional writing tasks like reflective writing, literature reviews, peer review, and editing and proofing.

Please use the keywords on the right-hand side of the page or the search bar above to navigate these resources. If you would like to use these resources in your course, please follow the Creative Commons information located at the bottom of each resource. If you plan to use the source in its original format, we ask that you leave the University Writing branding intact.

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Tagged Entries: Effective Communication

Academic Writing

Academic writing is a unique type of writing and can vary across disciplines. Use these materials to better understand the elements of academic writing, such as voice, disciplinary writing, and college-level writing. Reading academic sources is an important part of learning how to write in your discipline. For tips on how to engage with reading these sources, see our section on Reading Difficult Materials 

 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Amy Cicchino, Megan Haskins, and James Truman

 

This worksheet is designed to help incoming first-year college students learn a bit about writing at the college level. There are also scenarios where students can consider what they would do in difficult writing situations 

The handout breaks down some implicit expectations related to academic voice, such as when and how to use first-person writing, jargon, style, and sentence variation 

This worksheet invites you to revise a piece of writing by paying attention to its voice within a sample paragraph 

This brief handout provides some examples of academic voice from various disciplines 

This worksheet provides excerpts from disciplinary writing and asks participants to guess the disciplinary context for the writing. By doing this, we hope you will begin to see how different disciplines structure and style their writing 

This worksheet helps you apply reading like a writer to your work by inviting you to examine written artifacts from a writerly perspective by paying attention to features like structure, key terms, signposting, and verb use

This worksheet is meant to help graduate students approach writing their first manuscript by making explicit options for manuscript section organization and looking at examples 

This handout invites readers to compare an excerpt from a dissertation to an excerpt of the same material, rewritten for nonspecialist or "general" audiences

This worksheet invites writers to plan a piece of writing for a general audience by leading them through the elements of the rhetorical situation

Accessibility and Writing

As you write and communicate with others, it is important that you consider accessibility, or the ability for diverse audiences to engage with your writing. The commitment to accessible and inclusive practice is ongoing and demands recursive critical reflection, education, and feedback, but we hope these resources get you beginning to think about diverse readers and audiences for your work.  

 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Katharine Brown, Amy Cicchino, and Layli Miron.

 

This guide articulates University Writing's practices for accessibility and inclusivity. We use this guide for internal training within our program

This handout guides discussion facilitators in enacting inclusive practices like inclusive introductions, rapport building, and strategies for encouraging conversation

This handout helps mentors learn how to build mentor-mentee relationships that take accound of meaningful differences across race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, sexual identity, and academic major 

This handout helps writers create accessible Word and PDF documents with an emphasis on visibility, audibility, and mobility  

This checklist helps you evaluate the accessibility of a specific form of digital writing, ePortfolio websites, by reviewing the accessibility of your content and digital design.

Delivering Oral Presentations and Visual Design

In order to effectively share our research findings with others, we must be able to deliver presentations clearly and impactfully. These resources include tips about oral and visual communication as well as visual design principles that will help engage and inform your audience. 

 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Katharine H. Brown, Amy Cicchino, Carly Cummings, Megan Haskins, Layli Miron, Annie Small, Heather Stuart, and Parker Wade

 

This brief handout outlines elements of oral communication 

Once you have a draft of your oral presentation, this peer review worksheet can help you self-assess or get feedback 

This handout will help you decide the best way to visually represent your data 

This handout introduces you to four principles for visual design: contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity 

This worksheet is meant to help you put together a presentation. It has been designed for students in aerospace engineering 

This handout will introduce you to scientific posters and analyze example posters

This worksheet will help you self-assess a draft of your scientific poster or gather feedback from a peer

This worksheet is designed to help you articulate how you “see” visible materials and what you expect students to do with visible materials in your courses 

Email

Emails can be tricky to write because they are a professional form of communication that demand concise, careful wording. The resources below will help you learn about emails, gain tips for writing effective professional emails, and avoid common email pitfalls.  

 

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino, Tricia Dozier, Megan Haskins, Layli Miron, Annie Small, and Heather Stuart 

 

This brief handout offers tips for considering your audience as you craft professional emails 

This quick checklist is an easy reference as you are preparing professional emails 

This worksheet guides you in analyzing example emails written in challenging contexts 

This worksheet contains two sample emails that are effective and professional 

This worksheet will help you consider the rhetorical situation as you draft a mock professional email 

This worksheet will help you rewrite three example thank you letters 

Job Materials

Applying for a job can be difficult, and it is important to know how to effectively present yourself in a job application process. Use these resources to help you develop crucial job materials, such as personal brand statements, resumes, and cover letters. As you are developing your job materials, you may want to consider your personal brand, or the story that you are telling through your materials. 

 

Materials designed by Amy Cicchino, Autumn Frederick, and Megan Haskins 

 

These worksheets will help you locate and analyze a job ad in your field 

This handout provides an overview for resumes and curriculum vitaes (CVs) 

This worksheet provides an overview for and helps you begin to draft a cover letter 

This brief handout provides an overview of professional bias 

Professional Writing

Often, new professionals encounter unfamiliar or complicated communication situations. These resources will give you strategies for analyzing and responding to situations like creating professional plans and protocols, drafting an inquiry email, and polishing your professional writing. 

 

Materials designed by G. Travis Adams, Lucas de Almedia Adelino, Christopher Basgier, Jordan Beckum, Layli Miron, and James Truman

 

This handout will help you identify the rhetorical situation—or the purpose, role, audience, resources and constraints—of professional communication situations 

This activity invites you to participate in a realistic workplace scenario involving written communication  

This worksheet will help you apply the paramedic method of editing to improve sentence-level clarity 

This handout offers strategies for working with writing at its proofing or near-final revision stage of development 

Reading

Carefully and critically reading is an important part of being a successful student and professional. Reading can help you understand important information and learn more about how a particular kind of writing is created.  

 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Katharine Brown, Margaret J. Marshall, and James Truman

 

This handout guides you through “reading like a writer,” an analysis strategy developed to help you think about the choices the writer made 

This worksheet helps you apply reading like a writer to your work by inviting you to examine written artifacts from a writerly perspective by paying attention to features like structure, key terms, signposting, and verb use

This handout provides you with tools you can use to make sense of difficult reading material by engaging in active reading 

This worksheet will help you make important observations about a text before you begin reading it by previewing 

This handout gives a broad overview of academic scholarship and strategies that you can use to actively read the major parts of an academic research publication 

This worksheet introduces you to a says/does outline, which can help you understand why and how a writer communicates their ideas 

Scientific Posters

Scientific posters communicate research in a visually engaging way and can be paired with an oral presentation or audience discussion. Posters can be designed for other experts in your field or for interdisciplinary or general audiences who are outside of your field. In either case, it’s important to critically consider your audience, purpose, content, and layout. Use the resources below to plan, draft, and assess your scientific poster.

 

Materials designed by Katharine H. Brown, Amy Cicchino, and Carly Cummings

 

This handout will introduce you to scientific posters and analyze example posters

This worksheet will help you self-assess a draft of your scientific poster or gather feedback from a peer

The Writing Process

This section contains resources for getting started on your writing and revising your writing over time for effective organization, flow, transitions, and editing and proofreading.

 

Materials designed by Christopher Basgier, Jordan Beckum, Katharine Brown, Amy Cicchino, and James Truman

 

This worksheet helps you apply reading like a writer to your work by inviting you to examine written artifacts from a writerly perspective by paying attention to features like structure, key terms, signposting, and verb use

This handout offers strategies and techniques for generating and organizing writing ideas

This handout breaks down the writing concept of “flow” at the whole text, paragraph, and sentence level

This handout provides an overview of strategies that different writers have found helpful as they make global changes to their writing

This handout provides an overview of useful strategies for making global revisions to a manuscript and an action plan

This handout invites readers to compare an excerpt from a dissertation to an excerpt of the same material, rewritten for nonspecialist or "general" audiences

This worksheet invites writers to plan a piece of writing for a general audience by leading them through the elements of the rhetorical situation.

This handout provides an easy reference list of common transitional words and phrases

This handout explains the difference between proofing and revision processes

This worksheet will help you apply the paramedic method of editing to improve sentence-level clarity

This worksheet lets you practice applying editing and proofreading strategies to sample text through two activities