Click on the links in the assignment types drop-down menu to view assignments across all topics  grouped by the assignment types explained below.

About Assignments

We design our assignments around a skeletal form that is shared by every section of College Writing 1.  The content of each course varies with the topics, so the assignments vary accordingly, too, with this structure in common. The program asks each instructor to use a “Course Overview” that makes this sequence evident. The overviews are designed to emphasize particular elements of writing and demonstrate how writing assignments give students practice with these elements. In addition, the overviews demonstrate how the goals that students achieve in earlier reading and writing assignments enable them to meet the requirements of later, more complex assignments.

Students in this course write four formal essays, of which at least three resemble essays that they would write in a General Education course.  One of those essays entails original research, and all of them enable students to practice a writing process that includes pre-drafts and revisions.  Students’ written and oral conversations with each other and their instructor inform those revisions.

The assignments can be sequenced in one of two ways.

Option 1: All four formal assignments give students practice in common forms scholarly writing.

Essay 1: Analyze a single primary source to support an arguable thesis.

Essay 2: Develop an argument to analyze the tension you see between two sources (either two primary sources, or one primary and one secondary).

Essay 3: Use a secondary source as a lens to analyze a primary source, and support your thesis with evidence.

Essay 4: Develop an analytical argument using original research that includes both primary and secondary sources.

Option 2: Three of the four formal essays give students practice in scholarly writing.  The fourth gives students an opportunity to present scholarly evidence to an audience that is specified (e.g., readers of The New Yorker; policymakers considering an issue of relevance to the course; scholars in the field of anthropology).

Essay 1: Analyze a single primary source support an arguable thesis.

Essay 2: Use a secondary source to analyze a primary source, and support your thesis with evidence.

Essay 3: Develop an analytical argument using original research that includes both primary and secondary sources.

Essay 4: Present your research within the conventions of a particular genre (e.g., an annotated bibliography, an op-ed piece, a review essay, a personal essay) that is particularly relevant to the course topic.

Ground Rules for the Assignments

  • Every assignment enables students to write a wide variety of theses.  Binarisms (pro/con; compare/contrast) and leading questions are eschewed.
  • Every assignment asks students to go beyond descriptive theses.  The imperative to write a thesis with a motive is clearly stated.
  • Assignments are reducible to a single sentence.
  • Every assignment articulates the need for evidence and analysis.
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