Geoff Keston

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Robert Ricketts

Second Advisor

Jeremy Szteiter


Higher education students write in many courses, but often as only a small part of a class and without guidance about how to use writing to learn. This paper describes the design of a dedicated course, Writing to Learn, in which students practice many genres and study the science of learning. A focused approach to using writing as a way to learn aims to give students extensive and diverse practice, which isn’t done in many published case studies. And making ideas from psychology, neuroscience, and the theory of pedagogy a part of the course content shows students why and how particular writing activities aid (or fail to aid) learning. The instructor and students will test concepts and practices from the literature and suggest changes, thus taking on the role of action researchers contributing to the field. This document contains (i) a synthesis paper with a literature review explaining the thinking behind the course and (ii) a course outline with assignments, discussion topics, and in-class activities. While created to be used for an undergraduate general education or graduate interdisciplinary course, these materials can be remixed and repurposed for other classes under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial 4.0 International License.