Informal Writing (25% of grade)

C    Weekly:  Journal writings in response to readings.  Undergrads, 2-3 pp.; grads, 3-4 pp.  I expect you to respond to all readings in a journal kept in Word.  You will “hand in” assignments to the Discussion Board the Sunday before the assignment is due.  I expect you to read through some of your classmates’ responses and respond in depth to one of them.  Questions to bear in mind throughout are

1.      Do your own experiences with learning to write or teaching writing jive with the reading?

2.      What are the implications for how you teach writing?

3.      Where do you see disagreements among the authors?

4.      What is the meaning of theory?  What makes it worthwhile or not?

C   Reflect on own processes of writing as one way into the theory statement (but pushing that understanding through various structured experiences during course, such as collaborative writing)


Formal Assignments (60% of grade)


Weeks 2-3:  Write your own literacy narrative and reflect on the nature of the literacy you claim, what you value about it, and how you learned it.  4-6 pp.


Weeks 5-6:  Group presentation on one aspect of the writing process, to include handouts, presentation of the issues, short bibliography, and implications for teaching.  I would prefer that you work in groups diverse by student status and or teaching interest.


Weeks 7-10

Choose one of the following (all are about 3-4 pp.).  All require applying the concepts/theory of one writer in a conscious, documented fashion.  In consultation with me, you may create your own topic.

C   Create an ideal response to a set of three student first drafts of various levels and assignments and articulate the theory to justify your work (see Gradatorium at Rutgers Writing Program website) (may be done as a website).

C   Research how students make sense of and use comments on papers through interviews with your own students.

C   Keep log of comments on your papers that you find helpful and unhelpful and why; write a brief analysis of your findings.

C   Analyze error in a real student’s work.

C   Analyze a transcript of a tutoring session.

C   Create, use, and reflect on a sequence of assignments.

Graduate students’ mini-research projects will entail reading one source beyond the assigned readings.


Week 8:  First draft of your own theory of composition and implications for teaching or tutoring.  Requires sources.  4-5 pages 


Weeks 11-14

Do one of the following.  Each requires documenting the sources of your thinking.

C   Evaluate a writing textbook for the implicit composition theory (undergraduate).    

     2-3 pp.

C   Write a formal response to the thinking of one author, like Harris, Newkirk, Moffett, Elbow (undergraduate or graduate).    4-5 pp.

C   Write a critique of an editorial that makes a claim about how writing should be taught (undergraduate).  2-3 pp.

·     Explore an issue on the wpa listserv.  Identify the different positions, relate them to authors we’ve read, and take a position after analysis (graduate).  4-5 pp.


Week 15

Last week:  Final draft:  your own theory of composition and implications for teaching or tutoring.   4-6 pages undergraduate (at least 3 sources representing differing perspectives), 6-8 pages graduate (at least 6 sources representing differing perspectives)


Total Writing for Formal Assignments

Undergraduate:  13-19 pp.

Graduate:            17-23 pp.


Class Participation (15% of grade)