Writing Activities


Writing activities allow students to reflect and process the material they are studying, and they provide a way for the instructor to evaluate the students’ understanding of the course material. There are a wide range of writing activities available in the online setting, from minute papers to research papers. Online courses provide students with readily accessible opportunities to draft their papers with easy access to peer review as well as online access to writing lab tutors in the UF Writing Studio (http://writing.ufl.edu/writing-studio/) and through Smarthinking. In addition, instructors can require students to submit papers to Turn It In for an originality review.

Best practices

  • Written essays
  • Canvas Tools
    • Discussion Boards
    • Collaborative/ Peer Editing
    • Rubrics
  • Self-evaluation
  • “Minute” papers can be used in a number of ways
    • Before a lecture, reading, discussion board or assignment to activate the student’s prior knowledge of the subject
    • After one of the above activities to allow the student to summarize what was just learned and ask questions about points that are confusing or things they would like to learn in addition to the material covered
  • Timely, relevant feedback from subject matter expert
  • Rubrics
  • Online journaling


  • Bartlett, M. G., & Morrow, K. A. (2001). Method for assessing course knowledge in a large classroom environment: an improved version of the minute paper. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 65(3), 264-266. This article reviews the use of minute papers in large class settings.)