First Year Writing

English 125: Writing About Writing

I designed this “Writing About Writing” first year composition course in order to encourage students to reflect on and practice writing processes and strategies including taking authoritative argumentative stances, using evidence to support those stances, and making substantive revisions to their work. Students begin the course researching and reflecting on a topic of personal importance, a topic they presumably have some degree of prior knowledge, expertise, or interest in. During this Social Significance Argument assignment, students also keep a Process Log, tracking their writing processes and making sense of new strategies for writing that the course introduces, including prewriting exercises, drafting, and peer review. After reflecting on their writing processes throughout the first assignment, students make use of sources from the field of composition and rhetoric to analyze their own writing process and to make an argument about writing processes in general. This Arguing About a Process assignment again allows for students to develop expertise, take an authoritative stance, and to introduce researched academic sources as evidence.

Next, in the Writing About a Genre assignment, students think more about writing in various contexts and discourse communities and compose an argument about a particular genre of writing—conducting a rhetorical genre analysis and using their analysis as evidence. This assignment encourages students to think about how they can use the knowledge gained about writing processes and strategies in this first-year writing course to help them with writing in any discipline, context, or genre. Finally, students compose a Literacy Narrative Snapshot Video in which they describe and make sense of a meaningful reading, writing, or discourse community experience in their lives. This final assignment allows for students to pool together knowledge about processes, genres, and argumentative strategies learned throughout the course and to leverage this knowledge about writing in their future writing contexts.

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