Over the years that I’ve been teaching first-year composition, I’ve come across many students who have felt both anxiety and frustration about their transition from high school/every day writing to college writing. For some, this transition is rife with confusion, as students try to navigate one teacher’s expectations from another. For other students, college writing is really all about pleasing their professors and moving on, never really finding their own voice as writers or the confidence to write outside of the classroom. In any event, the notion of writing for the university is something that needs to explored and studied.
Given this context, the purpose of this assignment is for you to create a text that introduces your potential readers/users to the characteristics of academic writing in a general education courses or within a particular discipline. In other words, now that you are close to completing the First-Year Composition sequence and have also taken other courses where some form of writing was required, you are more equipped to help students who are interested in understanding the complexities of academic writing. Essentially, you need to help them understand what it might mean to write with authority and then to provide them with useful advice about how to gain this authority.
Given the aforementioned purpose and context, I’d like you to think about what your text should look like. What genre will it be–could it be a letter, a memo, a traditional essay, a brochure? How should it be organized so that your readers will pay attention and get the most out of it? What tone should you take? How can you gain credibility with your readers? (word length should be between 900-1000 words).
Ultimately, your text will be effective if it accurately and thoughtfully draws on what you have learned and communicates that knowledge usefully to college students.
As alluded to above, your audience for this paper is comprised of college students who are about to take general education courses or who have just declared their major.
For this assignment, you will use as research the following:
- You will interview someone currently in any academic department and ask them about the kinds of writing he or she assigns students in that discipline.
- You might also ask them how they might define good writing in their field.
- You might also ask them of any “unwritten” rules within respect to writing within their department.
Three readings from this module explore writing in academic settings. Please refer to these readings as you plan/draft your paper.
Be sure to include at least three readings that have been provided or from sources that you find on your own. Additionally, you need to use your knowledge that you gained from the interview to ensure that your paper meets the needs and concerns of that specific audience.