The spring 2016 Writing in History motto is “Beyond One and Done.” Far too often we treat writing as a single straight-line journey from blank page to finished paper. College professors often inadvertently reinforce this view by assigning a paper, giving a grade, and then moving on without requiring students to rework the assignment based on feedback. Students get used to not revisiting their written work, and thus they do not learn the crucial skill of applying feedback to their work and also appreciating that even critical comments are vital to developing and improving their writing. In actuality, writing is a process of many paths involving not just getting words down on the page, but editing, revising, deleting, re-writing, and numerous drafts both before and after copious feedback. It is that feedback that is crucial to crafting a final version of a paper. No author can write one draft and be done. Rather, we should all move “Beyond One and Done” and embrace multiple drafts with feedback as part of our writing process.
Best, Dr. Ferdinando