Eleven Key Writing Products for College and Career
Which student products can take LDC classrooms closest to the work called for by college assignments and common career demands?
Here’s a short list, developed in collaboration with Dr. Barrie Olson, of key products that LDC tasks could ask students develop, along with a description of the kind of work students will do.
Naturally, some of the products can overlap as well as be assigned separately. For example, a literature review can be a distinct college-syllabus expectation and it can also become part of a proposal or the introduction section of an IMRaD report. Similarly, a response paper may be a briefer form of critique/evaluation/review.
It’s listed separately because it appears so often as a college assignment and also because many careers include regular requests of the form, “Can you check this report out and tell me if it’s helpful?” Overall, each product was selected based on confidence in its value for students as they pursue higher education, employment, and civic participation as adults.
In the list above, the products are shown in approximate disciplinary clusters. Literary analysis and rhetorical analysis are classic assignments for English classes, just as lab reports are staples of scientific work and IMRaD reports a standard for upper level work in the sciences. The list intentionally puts argument essays and explanations at the end because they’re closest to the “plain vanilla” option in task design and least likely to pull students towards thinking distinctive to a specific field.
The LDC draft “Product Typology for LDC Teaching Tasks” describes these products and identifies current Good to Go and Exemplary tasks that fit each type, including links to each listed module.
Those links show:
- 37 tasks with argument essays as the writing product
- 28 explanation tasks
- 16 literary analysis tasks
- 7 rhetorical analysis tasks
However, there are just four modules that fit any of the other seven types:
- Rethinking Ophelia calls for a literature review
- Building Bridges and Fire Down Below: Effectiveness of Antacids ask for lab reports
- Effect of Algal Blooms on Marine Ecosystems develops a research report combining secondary sources and lab observations.
That means LDC is wide open for great new work on those products, and on proposals, IMRaD reports, response papers, and critique/evaluation/review assignments. For younger students, that work may involve just a few features of each type of work, rather than a full and formal attempt to create a complete version of the product.
The “Product Typology” is also still in draft form, exactly to invite partner thoughts and comments on how well it captures the most important products for career and college work. Holding the list to 10 or 11 entries is an important priority, but some of the entries may still need another tweak based on your feedback.
If you have questions and suggestions, please do share them with Danielle, LDC’s Manager of Professional Learning (firstname.lastname@example.org).