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Scaffolding and Skill-building in the First-Year Courses 

The Department of History has targeted two gateway courses, HIS102 and HIS109, and second-year courses, HIS241 and HIS242, to participate in WIT. In the first-year courses WIT support has been focused on scaffolding the writing assignments and developing skill-building exercises in tutorial related to critical reading of primary source documents and analytical and argumentative writing.

Participating in WIT since 2012

Students in HIS109 write weekly precis of the readings, which give them practice in the key skill of summarizing. Before WIT, students wrote a final essay, many of which were not at the expected university level. Since the course has turned the major writing assignment into a scaffolded, three part assignment consisting of outline, annotated bibliography, and final essay, TAs have noticed an increase in the quality of the essays and a decrease in cases of plagiarism.

In HIS102, students get practice in tutorial doing a “document analysis” as well as a library skills exercise before they must complete the assignment on their own. In the second term, students develop a research question and outline for an essay, which they turn into an essay at the end of term.

HIS Courses that have participated in WIT:

  • HIS102Y
  • HIS109Y
  • HIS242H