About Writ 1110
Live Online Undergraduate Rhetoric Course taught at Bowling Green State University.
WRIT 1110 Seminar in Academic Writing provides students a foundational understanding of reading and writing for academic purposes. Students engage in readings from multiple genres, develop strategies for creating effective written arguments, and reflect on their writing with an eye toward transferring knowledge about writing to new situations. Using a workshop approach, students build confidence as readers, writers, and critical thinkers by taking on writing projects that have meaning to them personally. Working together, students and faculty explore understandings of how writing works in academic contexts through the process of composing writing that includes, but is not limited to, digital, visual, and narrative expository texts. ePortfolio-based.
Student Written Description:
WRIT 1110 is more than just a required class! It is a community. During this semester you will engage in different projects or essays that will test and increase your overall knowledge of a writing course. You will learn about things you most likely haven't heard of such as discourse communities, as well as rhetorical situations. Though it may take some time to fully understand everything we’ll be going over, we will do it in fun ways that will hopefully stick in your mind. You will do different projects such as the Literacy Narrative Essay, the Remix project, and The Discourse Community Project, and the e-Portfolio. These projects will teach many things about writing but more importantly about yourself! You will write different essays than you have ever done before, they are more than just research papers. You will also participate in the occasional stretching as a class.
My teaching philosophy in the writing classroom is built on three key objectives: build community, encourage creativity, and collect feedback. While all three concepts are important, both feedback and creativity relate back to community building. Many students come into the writing classroom with emotional baggage about writing. Building community throughout the semester is crucial for your students’ success. Your students must know that you are their advocate. And while part of your role as a teacher is to make sure your students know you support them it is also to create an environment where the students support one another.
In order to build a community in a classroom, you need to encourage creativity in your classroom. Students’ most positive experiences with writing are often associated with creative writing. While the aim of your classroom may not be creative writing, the positive associations with creative writing are often related to opportunities your students had to express emotions, original thought, and explore their interests. These opportunities can easily be involved in your classroom.
Collecting feedback is a crucial part of effective writing instruction. The online classroom is constantly involving and starting a dialogue channel with your students early on means that you can design the course together. Feedback should be gathered in both casual and formal manners, from small in-class discussions, personal conferences, to surveys.
The beginning of a course is the most critical time for community building. I ask my students to post videos introducing themselves and to write me a letter of introduction. My first week is always casual, and I think laughter and a sense of play are invaluable. If possible, I break my classroom into cohorts. One day a week we meet as the entire group, but the other days I meet with a smaller group of students. And I involve breakout rooms in all my zoom classes. Students will discuss readings, work on google docs, and brainstorm together.
As for encouraging creativity in my classroom, I have my students to do low stakes free writes. I usually connect the prompts to assignments. However, I make sure that the free writes also have a personal aspect to them. And I offer all my students the opportunity to make their projects multi-modal and involve pictures related to their writing if relevant.
Lastly, every month, I collect feedback from my students. During one of the classes where I have both cohorts, I have students take 20 minutes to discuss how they are doing and how the class is going for them. Afterward, we do a share-out in class. I also schedule one on one conferences with my students around every major assignment.
By focusing my classroom instruction on community building, encouraging creativity, and collecting feedback, I am able to create a classroom where students are engaged and invested. When students are engaged and invested, they produce work that of which they are proud. They show up to class, and they grow as writers and readers. We create a classroom that feels human and connected despite being online. And as the teacher, I am able to create personal relationships with my students and create a learning experience that is meaningful for us all.
Sample Lesson Plans and Activities
My WRIT1110 course is an online synchronous course of 25 students. We meet on Mondays as the entire class, and then in smaller cohorts on Wednesdays and Fridays. Our course is structured around 4 major assignments, with many supporting projects and free writes in between. The course is taught on Zoom, and almost every class involves 1 to 2 break out room activities in small groups. I believe it is important for students to see each other's work, and do informal writing activities, so many of these break out activities involved writing on google docs. Each unit, students have a personal conference with me, and we have a check in class, where we talk about how the course is going, and how we are doing. I do my absolute best to foster conversation and a sense of community. Here are a couple lessons plans that I believe exemplify what a normal day in WRIT1110 looks like.
At the end of this course, I have students take a moment to reflect on their class experience.
"Some of the most meaningful experience that I learned in this course is that writing is not just an essay that have 5 paragraphs and has all of the elements of an academic paper. What I learned is that writing is everyone and anything can have an impact on how your message is convey. This really was shown in the remix assignment. In that assignment I remixed my writing to be a video. This just shows how writing can be in any form. "-Anonymous
"As far as meaningful experiences, I managed to make a few friends in the class thanks to the breakout rooms which made the class much more personal than typical online classes. I also found the professor to be generally very reasonable and compassionate towards students as well as passionate about the subject she teaches which always makes a class feel better to be a part of.
I am a computer science major so my writing will mostly be for other classes in the future but if I were to become a software developer there is a need to writing to describe the functions and reason for a program to a client or whoever it may be for. I will mostly take away the ability to be more concise in my writing so that the most important details are easily understood and there are not distractions from them."-Anonymous
"One of my most meaningful experiences in this course has just been having you, Hannah, such a positive professor. When we were are all tired in class, you made us get up and stretch! The positivity in this class encourages me to keep moving forward. Aside from the overall vibe, your feedback has helped me a lot. I have never received feedback that ACTUALLY helped in past classes. So the feedback is great."-Anonymous
" I think the most meaningful experience in this course was being able to have open conversations with the other students in the class. I think this is the most "connection" I have had in a class online so far. I have made a few friends in this class particularly that we bring out of the class as well. My major is integrated language arts, I am studying to be a language arts or English teacher. Writing will obviously help me beyond belief with this. As an English teacher writing is going to be one of the most important aspects of doing so. I will be taking away a lot of the teaching styles that were used in this class as well as my actual writing improvement. Being able to connect with the professor and feeling comfortable asking questions is super important especially for online classes. We all felt comfortable asking questions and talking to the professor so I was able to greatly improve my writing skills by taking their advice as well as the student's advice during peer reviews. "-Anonymous
"My most meaningful experience in this class has been the peer reviews. The peer reviews and having real constructive criticism being told to my face I feel has helped me a lot. Even the non verbal peer review session we had was good to me. Getting real criticism back from your peers definitely helps me shape my paper a little better then what I have done in the past.
I will be majoring in marine biology so I will most likely be writing plenty of scientific articles. I will be taking away the creative aspect that I have learned from this class knowing that the only writing style isn't just an essay format. This class has overall benefitted me a lot and I hope to continue to grow in my writing capabilities. "-Anonymous