“Writing Communities” – Composition as Collaboration
Classroom Location: College Library Media Studio, 2252A Helen C. White Hall
Discussion Times: MWF 12:05-12:55
Office Location: 7157 Helen C. White
The primary goal of this course is to consider how composition practices—be they related to formal academic essays, musical lyrics, or the combined visual and aural dimensions of film—allow people to change the world around them. Writing is a social act that allows us to reach out to existing communities as well as to generate new communities of our own.
In English 100, you will develop your composition skills while connecting the questions you confront in your day-to-day lives to your own experience as a student on this campus. You’ll expand the vocabulary you use to analyze visual culture, you’ll reflect on your unique writing process, and you’ll identify and explore a research question that matters to you. You will develop the formal, academic writing skills that you will use in your college courses, but you will also experiment with making arguments in a podcast recording and a brief audiovisual film.
Some of the questions we’ll consider:
- What are our responsibilities as creators? Is there an ethical dimension to artistic production—(including writing)?
- What are the boundaries of artistic influence? What counts as a tribute to or a remix of someone else’s work and what counts as appropriation or theft?
- What choices do you make in your writing? How do these choices vary in formal and everyday contexts?
- How do you write differently for different audiences?
- What are the differences between genres? (Written, spoken, visual, digital, and beyond?) How can we use different types of media to connect with people in different ways?
- How do common narratives influence the way we see the world? How can we work with and against these traditions?
- How does new media change the way we interact with one another? What are the opportunities and pitfalls this creates?
- What are some strategies you can use to ensure that your writing sounds professional in formal contexts? How do you write an email to a professor you’ve never met? How should you frame a cover letter for a job or internship?
Please see the Course Syllabus page for specific details about E100 projects and requirements. Feel free to explore the rest of the site and to look through some of the writing resources listed on my multipurpose Teaching Page for more information.
Do note that some of the details contained in the course calendars and writing projects on this page are likely to change before they are assigned. I will provide access to the password-protected sections of this site during class. I’m looking forward to a wonderful semester, and please feel free to contact me to set up a meeting if you have any questions before the year begins!
Site Resources: a Note for Instructors
Teaching is a collaborative effort. The resources on this page that are listed under my own name fall under a Creative Commons Non-Commercial Share Alike license, which means that other instructors are welcome to use and adapt my handouts and assignments for their own work as long as they provide attribution and license the adapted material according to the same Creative Commons principles that permit my own work’s distribution. (That is, as long as they make the resource freely available for others to adapt under the same non-commercial, attributive license.)
This said, many of the handouts on this page have been developed in coordination with other instructors. If a resource appears on my site that gives credit to another instructor, it means that this instructor has granted me permission to reuse, modify, and expand upon their words and ideas in my courses. If you are interested in using an assignment or handout of this type, please contact me so that I can provide you with information about the elements of the assignment that are my own (and thus freely shared) and with contact information for the resource’s original or co-creator so that the they may have a fair say in the use and distribution of their work.
Header: W crest on Agricultural Hall, Photo by Jeff Miller, 2016 UW-Madison, University Communications © Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
Main: Sifting and Winnowing Plaque, Photo by Jeff Miller, 2016 UW-Madison, University Communications © Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System