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Teaching Archive

Since as a program we are invested in crafting smart engaging assignments that allow students to learn about writing, we want to make these materials more visible. The samples of teaching materials archived here have been chosen because they are provocative, useful, engaging, interesting. We will add to this archive of assignments and other teaching materials regularly. 

Seminar in Composition

For his SC Honors course, Paul Kameen explains, "I used sequences of shorter 'exercises' to lay the foundation for each of the essays. This is the sequence from the final unit of the course. I now use this approach and, often, this unit in all my SC sections." This sequence asks students to write a series of 1-2 page responses to specific moments in Martin Heidegger's "Memorial Address," before ultimately composing a longer essay derived from those initial Heidegger-inspired writings.

This assignment sequence from David Bartholomae includes a series of writing prompts for engaging with Ben Lerner's "Contest of Words," as well as reading exercises to help students work with more difficult passages in Lerner. Professor Bartholomae has also shared his Lesson On The Comma in a number of composition courses and graduate seminars.

Seminar in Composition: Service Learning

This Mark Kramer assignment focuses on the “expert voice relying upon a list” form utilized in essays like Lars Eighner’s “On Dumpster Diving” and Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Here, students adopt this form to make a claim about their service experience or about the context in which they volunteer.

Seminar in Composition: Film

As students gather from reading David Foster Wallace’s “Authority and American Usage,” a review needn’t be a simple affair. In this assignment from Gordon Sullivan, students compose a film review that, following Wallace, evaluates a particular work (a horror film) while also saying something about a larger, related topic or topics.

Written Professional Communication

This assignment from Steve Fine prompts students to consider what constitutes a working “professional” and how their written communications differ from more familiar, academically focused writing. Students learn that writing is part of the job description for engineers, nurses, psychologists, scientists, probation officers, lawyers, sales managers, educators, and others, and that writing properly and well contributes to career success. 

Writing for the Public

How do you craft a text so that a reader will enjoy reflecting on a mystery? What counts as a mystery? How can one balance trying to get “the feeling” of wonder into the text while still teaching readers something about the issue at hand? Kerry Banazek invites students to consider these questions as they compose in the vein of Volovoski, Rothman, and Lamoth’s The Where, The Why, and The How.

Persuasive Writing in Advertising and Fundraising

In this final, collaborative assignment from BK Klein, students plan and execute a multi-document, multimodal advertising campaign for a client of their choice.

Writing for Change

In this course, students "study and compose writing related to civic advocacy, group solidarity, social critique, and/or social justice." For this assignment, Peter Odell Campbell asks students to idenitfy a persuasive goal and critically plan and draft a visual argument—which may include text, bodily performance, objects, and/or images—that attempts to fulfill that goal. As part of their plan for the visual argument, students must utilize enthymeme as an argumentative strategy, following Cara Finnegan's "The Naturalistic Enthymeme."