Department of Writing, Literature & Publishing
WR101: Introduction to College Writing
Writing is a way to gain access to texts and ideas. This is the viewpoint that motivates WR 101. In four major writing assignments, as well as individual and group writing tasks, students engage texts, analyze rhetorical situations, and enter into academic discourse with other writers.
Through peer reviews and collaborative exercises, students come to see writing as a process and to understand the act of writing as a means of participating in a broad intellectual world. The goal of the course is to enable students to:
- Work with a range of texts, media, and cultural practices to come to terms with significant issues through analysis and interpretation.
- Understand how academic and intellectual discourse operates as a conversation in which writers forward and counter what others have written in order to locate their own rhetorical stance.
- Identify and work with rhetorical strategies that are typical of the reasoning in academic and intellectual writing, e.g., putting issues in context, stating propositions, giving reasons, evaluating evidence, justifying assumptions, negotiating differences, and pointing out implications.
- Recognize that writing is a process by learning to offer useful suggestions for other students’ work in progress. And in turn, they will design effective revision strategies by reflecting critically on work in progress.
To foster a supportive teaching environment, all WR 101 sections use a common syllabus as well as the following common textbooks:
A Short Course in Writing by Kenneth Bruffee features an emphasis on constructivist reading and writing, sequenced and formal writing exercises, and collaborative exercises designed for in-class use.
Reading Culture by Diana George and John Trimbur asks students to examine how culture organizes social experiences and shapes our identities. From analyzing texts and historical documents to conducting fieldwork and mini-ethnographies, students are invited to actively investigate culture using cultural studies methods.
Rewriting by Joseph Harris draws the college writing student away from static ideas of thesis, support, and structure and toward a more mature and dynamic understanding. Harris wants college writers to think of intellectual writing as an adaptive and social activity and offers them a clear set of strategies—a set of moves—for participating in it.