Writing@CSU: Composition Teaching Resources

Week 1: Monday, August 26th - Friday, August 30th

Goals for this Week

You have eight primary goals for this week:

  • Take care of the administrative work of making sure students are enrolled in the course and aware of your course policies.
  • Introduce the overall goals of CO150 and make sure that your students understand those goals and how the sequences of activities, homework, and assignments will help them reach those goals.
  • Provide students with an overview of the primary concepts that will be used in the course:
    • the writing situation model, which highlights the text, writers’ purposes, readers’ needs and interests, limitations and opportunities, and social/cultural/historical contexts
    • the notion of writing as participating in a conversation, with attention to the need to be accountable to what others have written and the need to offer something new to the conversation
    • the role of public discourse in society and the obligation to understand the complexity of the writing situations shaping public discourse
  • Introduce students to the key instructional resources they will be using during the course, including the Prentice Hall Guide, the SyllaBase course page (https://writing.colostate.edu/syllabase/), Writing@CSU (https://writing.colostate.edu), and Research Assistant HyperFolio.
  • Assign a homework assignment, which students will post to the Class Discussion Forum on their SyllaBase course page. You should read the work produced by your students with attention to their overall writing abilities. If you find students who have what appear to be fairly weak writing skills, pay particular attention to subsequent homework and, if appropriate, meet with them and develop a plan to enhance their writing skills. You might suggest that the student work with consultants in the Writing Center or you might set up individual meetings during your office hours.
  • Introduce students to critical reading strategies.
  • Assign the first Portfolio.
  • Introduce students to summarizing. As you do this, address the concept of “objectivity” in summarizing and discuss three types of summaries: main point, key point, and outline summaries. However, it’s critical that students understand that “objectivity” in an absolute sense is difficult, if not impossible to attain, since the purposes for summarizing will vary from writer to writer. It is more appropriate, as a result, to discuss the concept of “fairness” in summarizing. Students should strive to fairly and accurately convey the ideas and information in a text that are most appropriate given their writing situations (purposes, readers, etc.). Consider, for instance, two writers who are summarizing a particular scientific report about recent advances in cloning. One writer is interested in what the study has to say about the potential for applying these advances to a commercial venture. The other is interested in the specific data discussed in the report. The two summaries, as a result, would vary significantly, even though both might be fair and accurate. Be sure to consult the teaching guide on summarizing and responding at https://writing.colostate.edu/guides/teaching/summaryresponse/.

Activities for this Week

Detailed lesson plans are available for the first four weeks of the course. Beginning in the fifth week, you will be expected to choose activities from a set of suggested activities and/or develop your own activities that will help you and your students achieve the course goals for a specific week.