background

Designating a course a W1

When you request a W1 writing designation for a course on the Garnet Gateway, you will be given the following information and be asked to respond to the questions below.

To qualify for designation as a W1 writing attentive course, a substantial amount of the course must adhere to the five principles of writing at Bates:

1. Writing is taught, not just assigned.
2. Writing assignments of varying scope or genre are a significant portion of
the coursework.
3. Students have multiple opportunities to revise their writing.
4. Faculty members give feedback on writing, commenting on rhetorical
issues in addition to content.
5. Research skills and scholarly citation practices are taught, not just
assigned.

To prepare your W1 writing course, please see the resources Writing Attentive Courses on the Dean of the Faculty’s Teaching and Advising site and/or contact “Writing at Bates” at writing@bates.edu.

In addition to these broad pedagogical considerations, faculty and the First-Year Seminar and Writing Committee adopted a commitment to specific writing goals: Inquiry, Argument, Evidence, Organization and Style. While the FYS/W Committee does not expect that each objective will be explicitly addressed in a W1 Course, the committee considers the W1 classroom a logical place to integrate discussions, exercises and assignments that might address multiple goals throughout the semester as appropriate to the course.

  1. A.     INQUIRY

Goals for student learning about Inquiry:

  • Learn what kinds of questions scholars ask
  • Recognize that writing, thinking, and research are ongoing processes and become accustomed to rethinking and deepening their ideas

Pedagogical approaches for teaching about Inquiry:

  1. To cultivate attention toward the process of writing, a W1 course asks students to write a number of assignments that may vary in length, scope, and approach; these assignments might take the shape of several short but interrelated essays, sequenced assignments, or a longer writing project completed in stages, with an end result of approximately fifteen pages of finished formal writing. Informal writing—assignments that are short, often done in-class, and often ungraded—also helps students improve their writing process.
  2. To encourage students to “rethink and deepen their ideas,” a W1 course asks students to revise their writing in response to comments from other readers (instructor, peers, writing assistants, and others). Revision should be built into the majority of assignments but might take a number of forms: graded or ungraded rough drafts, further revision of graded work, or commentary and revision on sections of a longer work (introduction, thesis, or annotated bibliography, for example). Commentary can likewise come in a variety of forms: written feedback from instructors; electronic feedback from instructor or peers; individual conferences with instructors, writing assistants, or others; or peer review between classmates.

Inquiry Response: Please describe the number, type, and general outline of the writing assignments as well as the approach to commentary and revision you are planning for your course.

B. ARGUMENT
Goals for student learning about Argument:

  • Think about the ongoing conversation they are entering as scholars
  • Develop a question or position, articulated as a thesis statement, guiding idea, or opening question

Pedagogical approaches for teaching about Argument:

To help students improve their critical thinking skills and their ability to create and support a line of thinking, a W1 course engages students in the relevant scholarly conversation, as both readers and writers. Doing so might entail such assignments as critically evaluating the argument of course texts, discussing the questions asked in a particular field or about a particular issue, creating and defending an original argument, and exploring differing viewpoints.

Argument Response: Please describe the ways in which you anticipate that your course will ask students to critically assess their own arguments and the arguments of others.

  1. B.     EVIDENCE

Goals for student learning about Evidence:

  • Have a command of one or more scholarly research strategies
  • Read and evaluate sources critically
  • Choose appropriate sources to support their own arguments

Pedagogical approaches for teaching about Evidence:

  1. To help students more skillfully locate and use information, a W1 course asks students to develop their research skills, both in the use of library or electronic resources and in the responsible use of sources within their own writing. Use of library resources might entail an assignment-specific session in the library or an introduction to the research methodology of a particular field or fields; responsible use of sources within their own writing might entail discussion of citation formats, quoting and paraphrasing, and plagiarism.
  2. Students benefit from having a style, citation, or research guide to consult, not only during their W1 course but throughout their college career. Recommended guides at Bates include The Pocket Style Manual (Bedford/St. Martin’s) and Writing with Sources (Rowman and Littlefield), as well as discipline-specific guides such as MLA, APA, or Chicago. The Director of Writing, the Coordinator of the Peer Writing, or one of the Writing Specialists can suggest other guides best suited to your course.

Evidence Response: Please describe specific research-related activities as well as the style guide, reference, or web guide you will use or assign for this course.

D. ORGANIZATION
Goals for student learning about Organization:

  • Understand the ways in which various components of organization guide the reader and strengthen an argument

Pedagogical approaches for teaching about Organization:

In the spirit of “teaching writing, not just assigning it,” W1 courses typically incorporate some discussion of the practice of writing, whether sentence-level (such as grammar or mechanics), paragraph-level (such as transitions or development), or essay-level (such as introductions and conclusions or ordering of evidence). These discussions might take place on a regular basis (for example, a 30-minute period set aside each week), or they might be scheduled to correspond with various stages of an assignment.

Organization Response: Please describe how you anticipate covering issues of organization.

E. STYLE AND CONVENTIONS
Goals to student learning about Style and Conventions:

  • Appreciate the careful crafting of language and understand common conventions

Pedagogical Approaches for teaching about Style and Conventions

To foster awareness and discussion of style, W1 courses often include readings from different genres or ask students to write for a variety of audiences. In some W1 courses, faculty members have used papers from their own past to illustrate their growth as writers and their emerging sense of style. Resources available to your class to supplement class discussion include workshops led by the Director of Writing or the staff of Writing at Bates (writing professionals and peer writing assistants); numerous teaching materials from Writing at Bates are also available for your class.

Style Response: Please describe how you anticipate covering issues of style.

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