Writing-to-Learn _ Formal Writing

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					Sample Handout                                                                                 Beck & Kopp

                             Writing-to-Learn & Formal Writing
 This is a writing emphasis course. That means that you will be doing a considerable amount of writing as a
primary means of achieving course objectives. Throughout the course, you will be asked to do two very
different types of writing: writing-to-learn and formal writing. In general, writing-to-learn is used as a tool of
thinking and learning, while formal writing is a tool of communication with others.

 PURPOSE: To help you learn the content of the course. The stakes are usually quite low.
 AUDIENCE: Yourself (and, possibly, others very familiar with your subject & purpose, such as your
           classmates & instructor).
 EXAMPLES: Journals, logs, reading notes, marginal notes, concept maps, mind maps, hierarchical trees,
           field notes, to-do lists, outlines, informal messages and letters, early drafts of formal writing.
 PROCESS: Whatever is quick and efficient.
 CORRECTNESS: Irrelevant—only what is necessary for understanding.
 EVALUATION: Exploratory writing is not meant to be judged as a well-written display of knowledge; it is
             effective if
              it helps you explore and develop your thoughts and feelings;
             it helps you recognize what you know;
             it reveals what you don't know or are confused about;
             it stimulates further reflection and dialogue;
              everyone who needs to read it (primarily you—the writer) can understand it.

  Formal Writing
  PURPOSE: To give form to your knowledge and skills and communicate them to others.
  AUDIENCE: Your professor and/or other readers, such as peers in the profession or general
  EXAMPLES: Academic & scientific papers, business letters and memos, reports, reviews,
            informational articles, brochures, etc.
  PROCESS: Extended over time, involves discovering ideas, analyzing the audience and context for
           writing, researching, planning, , drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading.
  CORRECTNESS: The writing must follow the conventions your audience expects, including spelling,
                 punctuation, grammar, proper format and style.
  EVALUATION: Formal writing is meant to be evaluated by the audience, who will usually look for
              clear organization and train of thought,
              adequate development of ideas,
              clear reasoning,
              effective engagement with and guidance of the audience,
              an appropriate tone and a respectable written persona
              concise and coherent prose,
              conventional spelling, punctuation, formatting, etc.
              informed use of disciplinary conventions (such as documentation style, tables
                and figures, etc.).