The W2 at Bates
What is a W2?
Courses at the W2 level are focused on helping students to find their voice within their chosen field of study. Students in W2s learn about how knowledge and understanding are communicated in major disciplines or interdisciplinary programs. Under the mentorship of a member of the faculty they develop a comfort and familiarity with the way that scholars and professionals in the disciplines construct knowledge. W2 courses orient students to the unique and often idiosyncratic expectations for communication that exist within every academic discipline, preparing students to produce scholarship within their major.
Why do we offer W2 classes?
Decades of research and experience illustrate that writers need continued support beyond high school and beyond their first semester at college, into their upper-division classes, and often into the workplace, graduate school, and beyond. One reason for this is that writers typically regress when they face new challenges. This is especially true for writers in W2 classes at Bates, where students encounter more complex material, often with disciplinary-specific terminology, and more specialized genre expectations. To navigate these challenges, writers need to focus their attention on understanding the material, terminology, and genre expectations, which often leaves less attention for organization, development, syntax and other aspects of writing. In addition, writers need to access prior knowledge, assess how it applies to new situations, and adapt and extend this knowledge to fill in gaps in some cases. Because we all have limits to how much we can cognitively process at a time and because the stress of these challenges can change our brain chemistry in ways that slow down cognitive processing, learning to write in new situations take time.
What do our W2 classes do?
Our W2 classes address this need by creating space for explicit instruction about and practice in disciplinary-specific genres of writing, which includes:
- Ways of reading and evaluating evidence.
- The creation of research questions.
- The development of methods for answering questions.
- Processes for drafting, working with feedback, revising, and editing documents.
- The ethical implications related to citation practices, experimental design, genre selection, and rhetorical moves.
Rhetorical Approaches to Writing
What is Rhetoric?
Rhetoric offers a useful way for approaching writing by providing a framework that encourages writers to access, assess, and adapt prior knowledge and by providing a guide to the expectations of new situations.
Rhetoric is typically understood as three overlapping categories.
Different rhetorical situations–the purpose, the audience, and the context–determine the ways writers successfully earn trust (character), show what is at stake (emotions), and make clear claims with good reasons and reliable evidence (logic). Because novice writers may find these different expectations confusing, we can reduce confusion by illustrating how these expectations relate to disciplinary and extradisciplinary ways of thinking.
Rhetorical rubric is one tool for helping writers see the features of successful writing in different genres.
Workshops for W2 Classes
We can customize these slides and handouts for you and your students and can help facilitate workshops on these and other topics.
- Active Reading, Rhetoric, Writing + Research Processes
- Research Questions, Preliminary Research, Gallery Walk
- Academic Honesty
- Peer Review
- The POP: Provisional Outline with Post-Its–an activity for developing and revising drafts
- Proofreading + Editing
Faculty Development Resources
Resources that Support Faculty as Teachers of Writing
Open Access Writing Resources
You might use selections from these free resources to provide support for writing in your classes. We can help you select appropriate material and integrate in into your classes.
Composing Spaces: Open Source Writing Textbook
- Chapters writen for college students about aspects of writing
- Writing tips
- Resources about research
Writing Tutor Resources