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Chemistry

Some examples of how we have integrated writing into our courses through WIT:

Participating in WIT since 2009;
LWTA Alex Stewart
  • Every chemistry student in a specialist, major or minor program (around 120 in total) now participates in a WIT course. 
  • In some of these courses, students are required to write laboratory reports in the style of research articles, as if they were going to be submitted to a chemistry academic journal.
  • Our first-year course for physical science students (CHM151Y: Chemistry - The Molecular Science) is now a WIT course so we can begin to teach students writing skills early in their academic careers. Many of these students enroll in one of our programs and reflect on their first-year experience with WIT (in CHM151Y and BIO120H) as being a crucial part of their development as scientific writers.
  • We have integrated writing into 300-level courses such as CHM379H where students write an abstract for a research conference and receive guidance on writing and delivering a formal oral presentation. 
  • We have found an effective way to support student writing is to require a “no-stakes” draft report for their first experiment at the beginning of each semester. Each report is heavily critiqued by each TA to clarify expectations, a strategy that has been universally praised by students in WIT evaluations.
  • We have developed assignments to teach students how to correctly reference the primary literature, and interactive workshops in September and January provide opportunities for TAs to interact with students in an informal environment where students can ask questions of TAs and each other about effective writing.
  • Grading rubrics have been devised for TAs to assign marks for writing quality as well as the level of the science presented in each report. 

 CHM Courses that have participated in WIT:

  • CHM317H
  • CHM338H
  • CHM343H
  • CHM348h
  • CHM379H
  • CHM151Y

 Resources: