As your students begin submitting midterm and final papers, consider having them complete a Cover Memo along with their paper. Cover Memos are a short set of questions that invite students to think meta-cognitively about their writing, hopefully helping them process and learn more from the experience. It can also guide the responses you give to each student’s writing, which may decrease the amount of time you spend responding to student paper.
• Describe what are you trying to accomplish with this paper? What do you want the reader to take away from this paper? How do you hope the reader will be changed after reading your paper?
• What do you think are the biggest strengths and weaknesses of this piece of writing right now? What do you like about it? What did you struggle with as you wrote it? What areas do you want the reader to pay special attention to as he or she responds?
• What kind of feedback would be most helpful to you at this stage?
Here are some additional questions to consider:
• What was your experience writing this paper? Which aspects do you feel good/confident about? Which aspects do you feel concerned /less confident about?
• How did you use the feedback you received from your classmates?
• If you could start this assignment over or if you had further time to develop it, what would you do with it?
• What was your drafting and revising process like? On which aspects of this assignment did you spend the most time?
• What kind of feedback would you like from me?