WRIT 1122

What is WRIT 1122?

WRIT 1122 teaches strategies that are vital in writing for well-educated readers, primarily in situations that require you to present and justify positions. The course teaches rhetorical analysis and practices, the effective use of readings and source materials, and techniques for generating, revising, and editing texts produced to meet specific situations. WRIT 1122 provides sustained practice in writing, with systematic instructor feedback, that results in at least four finished and polished papers, totaling some 20-25 pages by quarter's end. Students will additionally complete several informal or drafting exercises.

Goals of WRIT 1122

  • Demonstrate practical knowledge of the concept "rhetorical situation," through the abilities both to analyze and to write effectively in different kinds of situations

    A rhetorical situation has a purpose, an intended readership, and a writer. Situations are embedded in contexts, which bring certain expectations by readers of textual conventions, what will count as effective rhetorical moves, genres. (For example, arguments about individual privacy rights in 2000 differed from those in 2002.) No single course can teach students to be effective in every possible rhetorical situation. However, a course can—and should—teach students the need to adjust for writing situations, and students should demonstrate their grasp of that concept, including by producing pieces of writing that would be successful in different ones. 

  • Demonstrate proficiency with basic elements of rhetorical analysis (such as logos, ethos, and pathos) in a range of texts, and the application of that facility in their own writing

    Teachers of WRIT 1133 should expect students to come to their classes 1) knowing the terms logos (including assertions, evidence, and logical arrangements), ethos (the type of persona the writer creates and projects for his or her reader), and pathos (strategies for eliciting emotional or affective responses) and 2) having some experience with rhetorical analysis. As a result, students completing 1122 should be able to discuss and write meaningful things about strategies that writers have employed in particular rhetorical situations (both what and why), even to point out the weaknesses, limitations, or critiques of their choices. Of course, there are many layers and complexities for each of those terms, centuries of rhetorical theory. The point is not to bury students (or teachers) with all the nuances and complexity, although some teachers may choose to include more than others. The point is to give them some theoretical knowledge (and associated techniques) and the opportunity to practice it. 

  • Demonstrate the ability to produce writing that effectively provides evidence and reasoning for assertions, for audiences of educated readers

    While 1122 broadly teaches rhetorical analysis, it privileges logical reasoning, for two reasons. Logical reasoning is privileged in academic writing (a practical reason), and civic society would be better served by discourses in which claims were supported with evidence and reasoning (an ethical and idealistic reason). As a result, a substantial amount of writing for the course should be for "educated" (even idealized) readers. 

  • Demonstrate the ability to incorporate and attribute or document source material in rhetorically effective ways

    Students in WRIT 1122 should come to understand the rhetorical uses of sources—to enhance ethos, to add support, to generate contrasting ideas, etc.—as well as the ethical. Effective rhetorical use of sources also includes providing clear, in-text attributions for public and professional writing, following conventions for in-text citation and bibliographic pages in academic writing, and incorporating quotations effectively. The emphasis in 1122 is on using sources (summarizing, paraphrasing, critiquing, synthesizing) rather than finding sources. As a result, teachers may find it most productive to have students work with "given" readings—and with one or two source materials—rather than on extensive "found" sources.

  • Demonstrate the ability to use feedback to revise their own writing and the ability to provide useful feedback to others

    As the features of 1122 and 1133 make clear, all elements of composing are important. This goal underscores the revision as a key skill to be developed/demonstrated in the course. Revisions are changes to a text that would change the summary (or propositional content) of that text. Because much writing occurs in collaborative contexts, it's also important for students to develop abilities to give productive help to others. 

  • Demonstrate the ability to edit and proofread their writing

    Texts that have errors in word choice, spelling, grammar, conventional usage, or punctuation significantly compromise the ethos of their writers and may even cloud meaning. Texts whose style, voice, or register is inappropriate to the rhetorical situation at hand also compromise ethos. Students unable consistently to produce generally well-edited or proofed texts have not accomplished this goal.