Monday, December 7, 2009

Notes toward a writing course plan

Preliminary notes toward a course plan and syllabus. I started to blog my thoughts ~ a theory of applying Standard Writing and basic rhetoric as well as combining writing disciplines to teach advanced writing ~ academic, business, technical writing under the same umbrella, likewise applied and meta writing.  

1. Application
Writing the Application or Cover Letter

2. Introductions: 
personal writing and writing the personal statement

3. Individual Goal Setting
Have students set own goals for writing class, discuss assignments, portfolio; decide which writing mode (general writing/personal communication, academic, business, techical, timed essay writing they will focus on)

Writing assignment:
a) post to discussions about writing goals
b) submit proposal for projects (assignments) for achieving writing goals; use project proposal format

4. Thinking about writing:
Kinds or modes of writing based on purpose: informative, persuasive, expressive, personal, private. Which do you use and when? How does purpose affect style and organization?

Writing assignments: 
a) start a writing or learning reflection journal to write about writing
b) post to Discussions on individual learning styles, application to writing, and how students feel about writing

Writing assignment/ prompt: 
Describe how you feel about writing. Do you enjoy or dread writing? Did a particular incident, experience or situation influence the way you feel about writing?

5. Writing Areas

  • General writing and personal communication
  • Academic Writing
  • Business Writing
  • Technical Writing
  • Writing Timed Essays: essay questions in exams and standardized tests that will be machine scored, TOEFL and IELTS prep

6. Voice and audience

7. Topics - Parts of the Process

  • Mind-mapping
  • Outlining
  • Sentences
  • Paragraphs
  • Introduction
  • Body
  • Transitions
  • Conclusion
  • Support (filling in the canvas): specific examples, facts/data, anecdotes, descriptions, concrete details, citations from sources

8. Stages of the Writing Process:

  • Pre-Writing
  • Drafting
  • Revision: Writing Groups and Peer Review
  • Revision: Universal level for content and organization

9. Rhetorical Models: Organization models or types of essays / straight and mixed

  • Narrative
  • Descriptive
  • Process Analysis
  • Compare / Contrast 


  • Politics and the English Language, George Orwell (1946) essay on basic rules for clear writing
  • check blogs and online publications for articles (essays) about writing, writing and the internet, etc
  • readings on specific topics according to students' interests and writing goals

Sample Writing Assignments


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