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Teaching Writing, Better

Annual Writing Matters seminar helps BYU faculty improve how they teach writing.

Think only humanities majors need to know how to write? Think again.

From June 24–28, 2023, twenty faculty members from across campus gathered for the annual Writing Matters Summer Seminar hosted by the Writing Across the Curriculum Program. The seminar helped faculty redesign writing assignments to meet the changing needs of their students. This year, the seminar brought together faculty from disciplines such as chemical engineering, accounting, nutrition, plant and wildlife science, and English to address shared teaching needs.

As always, the seminar focused on strategies for responding to student writing, creating meaningful writing experiences, and utilizing the Research and Writing Center to help students learn more effectively in coming semesters; however, this year the seminar also focused on how to incorporate ChatGPT and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into writing courses. The seminar’s coordinator for the last five years, Professor Brian Jackson (Rhetorical Theory and Criticism), says, “The biggest question for all of us with any new technology is, is it aligned with the values that we have? Or is there a misalignment?” Jackson and other organizers discussed how AI can fit into BYU’s values and developed creative adjustments to curriculum so that students can learn how to use AI while still learning how to write.

Hands writing on a notebook with a pen.
Photo by Karolina Grabowska Via Pexels

As the coordinator for the Writing Across the Curriculum Program, Jackson works closely with faculty to help them improve how they teach their students to write. The Writing Matters Seminar has been around for two decades, and its importance has only grown with recent developments in technology and writing. Jackson said, “This seminar is an opportunity for faculty to use research-based outcomes and actually learn how to teach writing more effectively. I’m proud of that and excited to be a part of that.”