How to engage students with writing—a toolkit

The purpose of this toolkit is to help McGill instructors to integrate more writing in their courses, regardless of discipline or class size. It includes guidelines on how to design assignments that are more interesting for you and your students and ideas on how to assess student work and provide comments in efficient ways.

It also contains a section with example assignments from McGill professors together with some ideas on how these assignments could be adjusted to different contexts.

A Note from the Director of the McGill Writing Centre

Why would I want to integrate writing in my courses?

Design of Writing Assignments

What are the characteristics of engaging assignments? What should I consider when designing an assignment?

Commenting on Student Work

How can I improve the feedback process? What makes feedback effective?


How can I grade more efficiently? Should I be using a rubric? If so, how do I design a rubric that works for me?

McGill Examples

View sample assignments from McGill professors, complete with comments from the professors and some ideas on how to adapt the assignments to different contexts (different disciplines, class size, etc.).


Bean, J. C. (2011). Engaging ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom. (2nd ed.) San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Graff?, G., Birkenstein,?C., & Durst, R. (2011). They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing with Readings. (2nd ed.) New York: Norton.

McGill University is located on land which has long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous peoples, including the Haudenosaunee and Anishinabeg nations. McGill honours, recognizes and respects these nations as the traditional stewards of the lands and waters on which we meet today.
  • 199791052 2018-01-19
  • 3841501051 2018-01-19
  • 88641050 2018-01-19
  • 2208601049 2018-01-19
  • 645661048 2018-01-19
  • 6868071047 2018-01-19
  • 5952951046 2018-01-19
  • 161941045 2018-01-19
  • 7034231044 2018-01-19
  • 2404261043 2018-01-19
  • 8542431042 2018-01-19
  • 381111041 2018-01-19
  • 2756591040 2018-01-19
  • 3998601039 2018-01-19
  • 7944111038 2018-01-18
  • 7356631037 2018-01-18
  • 9198791036 2018-01-18
  • 6797081035 2018-01-18
  • 2518051034 2018-01-18
  • 8543801033 2018-01-18