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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

Core Writing Seminar Criteria & SLOs

CW Description

Core Writing (CW) seminars help students improve their skills as writers and develop an effective writing process.  Students will grow as writers by building effective reading and writing toolkits. They will also reflect on their existing assumptions about writing and their writing habits. Students will think about the role writing plays in their lives and communities, as well as become familiar with the expectations of academic writing. Assignments encourage student choice and give students opportunities to write about issues that matter to them. CW courses will help students develop a recursive writing process in response to feedback from individual and group conferences with the instructor, tutors, and classmates. Core writing is designed to help students successfully transition to college-level writing and to strengthen skills necessary for success in WAYS 102: College Writing Seminar.

CW Criteria

Instructors of CW courses:

  1. Provide explicit instruction in reading and writing about texts, examining how authors make claims and support those claims with reasons and evidence.  Maps to SLO #1
  2. Teach students about the expectations of academic and other kinds of writing by providing opportunities to examine and practice both “life writing” and the types of writing typically assigned in college courses. Maps to SLO #2
  3. Teach writing as a multi-stage process for developing and communicating ideas by encouraging self-reflection and by providing regular opportunities to engage feedback from peers, instructors, and tutors.  Maps to SLO #3
  4. Discuss plagiarism and provide instruction in incorporating information through summarizing, paraphrasing, quotation, and citation. Maps to SLO #4
  5. Teach effective sentence and paragraph structure and the standard usage expected of college-level writers. Maps to SLO #5
  6. Teach students to see acts of writing as an attempt to help readers understand, believe, and act – to clarify shared viewpoints, introduce new ideas, and sometimes to change perspective. Maps to SLO #6

CW Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Identify how an author shapes written language to communicate complex information, perspectives, and arguments.
  2. Distinguish between the conventions of formal and informal writing, as well as between life writing and academic writing.
  3. Use a multistage writing process (including self-reflection) to develop and communicate ideas.
  4. Integrate outside information through summary, paraphrase, quotation, and in text citation.
  5. Employ conventions of standard English, including sentence and paragraph structure, punctuation, and verb tenses.
  6. Use writing to help readers understand, believe and act– to clarify shared viewpoints, introduce new ideas, and sometimes to change perspective.

Guidelines for CW Assignments and Instruction: Required in all Core Writing Courses

  1. Three separate essays of variable length (with at least one essay of at least 1100 words) each taken through a multi-stage writing process. No essay assignment should exceed 8 pages. Additional informal writing exercises as assigned by the instructor.
  2. Reflective assignments for each of the essays. 200 words addressing the following: How did I fulfill the assignment and how could I have done better? What was my process?
  3. Final portfolio. Due during finals week. Includes:
    1. Revised versions of the 4 essays.
    2. A 700-word reflective cover essay, in which students briefly describe the good choices they made to fulfill each assignment and what writing skill or insight they learned from each essay. (Students may choose an alternative audience for this reflective essay, including their parents (effective for some children of immigrants), previous teachers, younger sibling or friend getting ready for college, student taking the course in the future...)
  4. Provide regular opportunities for students to engage feedback from peers and the instructor. Build in student interactions with the Writer’s Block and/or recitation tutors.
  5. Provide explicit instruction to help students develop their conceptual knowledge about the writing process, including the thinking and action associated with each stage.
  6. Provide instruction to help students develop skills in reading for writing, including analytic reading, notetaking, vocabulary development, and informal reader response.
  7. Common writing process text, Little Seagull. Please tell your students not to sell this book back as they will need it for WAYS 102.

Recommendations for CW Assignments and Instruction: Suggestions to consider

Examine successful writing by other SUNY Potsdam students and provide opportunities to talk with those students about their choices and strategies

Provide opportunities to practice writing in which students describe and reflect on their personal experience.