Designing Your Course

First-Year Writing

First-Year Writing courses introduce students to the academic argument. After reading a variety of texts, students are led through a process-approach to writing academic arguments on a broad range of topics. Assignments will engage students in issues of significance to academic or public audiences, and will require students to move beyond reflection on personal experiences, particularly as the courses progress.

Please note: all faculty are required to use Canvas, at least minimally for announcements, posting of grades, assignments, and syllabi.  I encourage greater use for your convenience. However, you must at least set up your Canvas class so that your students can be notified in the event of an emergency or a last-minute change. Canvas online help is available in the site itself or here. Note that the Office of Information Technology also provides complimentary Canvas training, instruction, and resources.

**Sample Syllabi now available on the Syllabi Basics - Requirements & Options page.** 

WRIT 105 College Writing I

  • Three essays and one final reflective essay for a total of approximately 6000 words of formal, edited prose, plus one multimodal composition as per instructor assignment specifications.
  • Revision, typically three drafts.
  • Regular instructor feedback on drafts; evaluation of and feedback on final drafts.
  • Documented essay (which is NOT a ten page term paper; see web site for guidance).
  • Assignment and use of a reader and handbook (see Text Selection Guidelines) unless by permission of FYW Director.
  • Instruction in basic research techniques and more particular attention to teaching writing without plagiarism, i.e., summary, paraphrase and direct quotation. (Note: New Student Experience class instructors send students to library for a basic tour; 105 instructors should schedule a directive research class.)
  • Review of MLA citation requirements from Works Cited page to introduction of quotes.  MLA documentation should be required for all three essays; for the documented essay, students should not receive a passing grade unless and until they have appropriately documented the submitted essay.
  • Portfolio due during final exam week.
    • Portfolio is variously defined but minimally must include additional re-writing of two or more of the three required essays, including reflective essay. Portfolio is graded and is part of the final grade.
    • Portfolio is in lieu of final exam.  This is not an exam course.
  • Instruction and practice in peer review.
  • Regular reading of intellectual prose on a variety of issues.

WRIT 106 College Writing II

  • Three formal essays and one final reflective essay for a total of approximately 6000 words of formal, edited prose.
  • Revision, typically through three drafts.
  • Regular instructor feedback on drafts; evaluation of and feedback on final drafts.
  • Documented essay.  See above. (Frequently instructors choose to provide students with secondary sources so students can focus on the effort to integrate these sources rather than finding appropriate sources—which is hard to do in literature.)
  • Regular practice in MLA citation work, from appropriate in-text citation to correct Works Cited pages for all essays.  Brief introduction to the conventions particular to citing literary texts.
  • Portfolio (see above).
  • Instruction and practice in peer review.
  • Diversity of literary texts (see Text Selection Guidelines).
  • Three genres—poetry, fiction and drama.
  • Introduction of literary theory or criticism.
  • Diversity of writers—by race, class and gender, canonical and non-canonical.
  • Required attendance at a Live Lit (or equivalent) event.

Paper Evaluation

End-of-Semester Assessment

  • When determining final grades instructors should be mindful that final grades need to reflect summary judgments of student writing.  Thus students who end the semester writing at a C level, should receive a C, perhaps a C+, and so on (lower grades may result from failing to fulfill requirements such as attendance and the like). Our grades are read by students and subsequent professors as indicators of students' writing abilities and therefore need to be indicators of just that—not students' effort, cooperativeness, or class participation. These successful student behaviors are very important—and valued—and they should improve writing over the course of the semester, resulting in improved final grades. Refer to Grading Policy for detailed descriptions and explanations of final grades.