Introduction to Writing Studies

“This class was difficult and sometimes the reading material was dense, dry, and not very interesting. However, the professor transformedthe class. She helped everyone reach key concepts, and even made the classes fun enough that some students (including myself at times) become passionate about the subject material. Without Professor Lueck, I would not have enjoyed this class. While it is a lot of work, and I wish I took it at a time in my schedule where I was less busy, the professor got me through it.” -Introduction to Writing Studies student, 2018

Course Description:

English 16 is an introductory course in the English major and an advanced writing course. The course both tours key questions and concepts currently driving conversations/practices in the field and enriches the writing processes/experiences of students, focusing on analysis, argumentation, and research strategies.

The first part of English 16 will introduce key ideas and questions from the field of rhetoric and composition, such as error, modality, etc. From there, we will organize the course by chronologically tracing a series of disciplinary “turns,” or shifts in values/ideologies/investments that have shaped the field’s dominant research methods over the last fifty years, considering both what these different methodological focuses reveal about writing itself and what they reveal about the discipline that studies it.  You will use your own writing practices, processes, and communities as a “case study” to apply the methods and methodologies we learn. Through these case studies, you will come to better understand key issues and questions in writing studies…and also gain insights into yourself as a writer, thinker, and language user. 

Major Assignments:

  • Literacy Explorations: You will compose four short Literacy Explorations (1000-1500 words) throughout the quarter. The Literacy Explorations are typically due before midnight on four different Mondays uploaded to Camino as either a Google document, Word document, OpenWord document, PDF or video file. The Literacy Explorations will correspond to our readings for that week, inviting you to apply what we are reading to your own literacy experiences. In each, you are expected to engage closely with the course reading(s) to explore these applications and the insights they provide. The topics of these Explorations are as follows:
  1. Literacy Narrative- narrate your own experience of literate culture/learning, using this narrative to reflect closely and carefully on a key term(s) or idea(s) from our course thus far and to forward your understanding of yourself as a writer.
  2. Literacy Self-Study- study your own writing practices using the Thnink-Aloud Protocol and coding methods described in our readings and write up your findings in an IMRAD format.
  3. Literacy Autoethnography- identify a group of which you are a member and write an autoethnography of that group’s literacy practice and culture as a “discourse community.”
  4. Literacy Archive- curate 5-7 artifacts (texts, images, objects) that represent your writing process. Digitize them, provide image descriptors for each, and write an accompanying essay that describes what insights about your writing process/writerly self these artifacts provide (and what is not captured by this method).
  5. Multimodal Narrative- Compose a brief (1-2 minute) video that “re-mediates” the insights from one of your previous explorations.
  • Group Research Presentation: You will work in teams of 3-4 members to learn more about a text or concept related to our class. You will work with me in advance to identify sources and develop a presentation plan. On your assigned presentation day your team will prepare and deliver a collaborative, short presentation that informs the class community about what you have learned and engages the class in a productive activity. The group will submit a brief literature review of the sources consulted to inform their presentation, which makes an argument as to how we ought to value or make use of that research. I will provide feedback on the literature review and return it to your group for revision, which must be completed and resubmitted within one week of your presentation.
  • Sustained Research Project: Mobilizing new knowledges about writing studies that you have developed over the course of the term (and perhaps sparked by your collaborative research projects) you will conduct a more specific, sustained research project that helps deepen your understanding of a particular area, concept, issue, methodology, etc. in writing studies that you find compelling. We will work closely with our librarian instruction team to develop an inquiry (using the BEAM model of research as a guide) which you will pursue in weeks 7-10 of the quarter. You will produce: 1) 200-300-word proposal that reports on very initial research, identifies components of BEAM you hope to use in your project, and questions/problems you hope to work on, 2) a 200-word description of two sources (one 200-word description for each source), including its BEAM utility, 3) 2500-3000-word essay (or equivalent multimodal project) that presents sources you encountered including use of Background, Argument, and Method sources to better understand an Exhibit source.
  • ePortfolio: You will build a professional website using an open-source platform, useful to you in showcasing your work in English 16 and other critical classes you experience at SCU. This professional website should include: 1) a short biography, rhetorically crafted to highlight particular aspects of your expertise and abilities within your landing page, 2) a current CV or resume, including significant school- or course-based experiences, 3) an introduction to your Literacy Explorations reflecting on what insights can be looking at these Explorations as a corpus, and 4) a presentation of your research project, introduced with a literature review and including your own metacognitive commentary about your processes and the important strategies that helped you complete the tasks