This writing course focuses on the creation of complex, analytic, well-supported arguments that matter in academic contexts. Students work closely with their peers and the instructor to develop their written prose. Readings cover a variety of different genres. I have a hypotheses for this course. Any student writing can be greatly improved with the fulfillment of three aspects:
This is based on the results of a current study in which researchers determined that the single, most important aspect of writing improvement involved a single professor/teacher with whom the student worked closely. I work closely with students one-on-one and we all work together. Also, I have conducted my own research during two writing-across-the-curriculum institutes at the University of Michigan. Across many disciplines, professors were polled about student writing and stated three complaints:
- the correct level of aid
- the correct type of aid
- total student commitment to the first two points.
- the writing was not clear
- the writing did not have the depth needed
- the writing was not interesting.
Thus, much of this course involves changing these claims and improving the three aspects below.
- Clarity: thesis, rhetorical strategies, transitions, sentence structure, syntax, grammar, punctuation, diction.
- Analytic Depth: inclusion of more than one type of evidence, analysis of evidence types, rebuttal, counter argument, preliminary investigation, further investigation, hedging, revision, perspectives on evidence, initial and final interpretation.
- Reader Interest: nuance, detail, overall texture of the writing, appeal types (emotion, values, logic and facts, character, humor), larger issues that connect to the original idea.
The work that we will do involves enhancement of the above three aspects. Thus, students are encouraged to form a hypothesis about their own writing skills early in the academic term. Also, hypotheses will be developed about our readings, surveys, experiments, and other subjects. These will also be revised throughout the academic term due to different types of evidence and analysis. This student-based research places the student in the center of the research and enhances ownership of the investigation and the writing process. Part of our evidence may include: essays, short stories, film, field trips, experiments, surveys, case studies, others' research, Internet searches, and personal anecdotes. It is also fun.
In-class writings, peer critiques, and six papers: one page, two pages, two pages, three pages, five to six pages, seven to eight pages.