|Instructor Info:||Daniel Block|
This writing intensive course develops the communication skills that are necessary for college-level work. The class takes its premise from Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein’s They Say / I Say, which argues that writing well means entering into conversation with others. As Graff and Birkenstein explain, “the underlying structure of effective academic writing… resides not just in stating our own ideas, but in listening closely to others around us, summarizing their views in a way that they will recognize, and responding with our own ideas in kind.” In other words, good writing negotiates a balance between self-expression and effective communication.
To better explore the social activity of writing, students collectively select discussion topics that matter to them. The semester builds towards in-class debates that dramatize the give-and-take of academic arguments. In preparation for this work, we spend the first weeks of the semester studying essays by well-regarded writers and developing a shared vocabulary for analyzing the components of academic writing. Subsequent class meetings address the skills that are essential for persuasive writing, including experimenting with different ways to respond, assembling a critical conversation, seeing the other side’s point of view, and assessing the effectiveness of one’s argument. Special attention also devoted to self-identifying common compositional errors, micro-editing, and properly documenting the use of outside sources.
NB: Asterisks (**) indicate that the reading is posted to Moodle. Print out a hard copy of each e-text and bring it to class on the assigned day.
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