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Teaching Archive

Since as a program we are invested in crafting smart engaging assignments that allow students to learn about writing, we want to make these materials more visible. The samples of teaching materials archived here have been chosen because they are provocative, useful, engaging, interesting. We will add to this archive of assignments and other teaching materials regularly. 

Seminar in Composition

In this assignment from Dan Barlow, students compose a staged dialogue that positions their ideas about hip hop and culture alongside those articulated in Tommie Shelby’s “Social Identity and Group Solidarity” and M. K. Asante, Jr.’s It’s Bigger than Hip Hop. These essays are later performed in class, converted into audio essays, or recorded as part of a group media project.

In this assignment sequence from Lauren Campbell, students revisit earlier essays that they have written in response to Susan Griffin’s “Our Secret.” Here, they preview and remediate their observations by composing a trailer for their Griffin essays using pictures, video, music, or other audio.

In this video essay assignment from Lauren Hall, students extend Laura Kipnis’s definition of “critical practice” and examine such practices as they encounter them in their everyday lives.

In this assignment from Peter Moe, students consider the performative nature of language in Brian Doyle’s “Joyas Voladoras.”  Focusing on specific lexical, syntactic, or organizational moves, they consider the effects of Doyle’s language (rather than its meaning), as well as what is gained (or risked) through specific breaks with convention.

Seminar in Composition: Service-Learning

This Mark Kramer assignment focuses on the “expert voice relying upon a list” form utilized in essays like Lars Eighner’s “On Dumpster Diving” and Peggy McIntosh’s “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” Here, students adopt this form to make a claim about their service experience or about the context in which they volunteer.

Seminar in Composition: Film

As students gather from reading David Foster Wallace’s “Authority and American Usage,” a review needn’t be a simple affair. In this assignment from Gordon Sullivan, students compose a film review that, following Wallace, evaluates a particular work (a horror film) while also saying something about a larger, related topic or topics.

Written Professional Communication

This assignment from Steve Fine prompts students to consider what constitutes a working “professional” and how their written communications differ from more familiar, academically focused writing. Students learn that writing is part of the job description for engineers, nurses, psychologists, scientists, probation officers, lawyers, sales managers, educators, and others, and that writing properly and well contributes to career success. 

Writing in the Legal Professions

This J. D. Wright assignment is designed to give students a preliminary opportunity to perform legal analysis on a very limited and simple set of facts and rules.  After completing, receiving feedback on, and revising their work on this assignment, they will go on to analyze a much more richly complex and realistic simulated dispute.

Writing for the Public

How do you craft a text so that a reader will enjoy reflecting on a mystery? What counts as a mystery? How can one balance trying to get “the feeling” of wonder into the text while still teaching readers something about the issue at hand? Kerry Banazek invites students to consider these questions as they compose in the vein of Volovoski, Rothman, and Lamoth’s The Where, The Why, and The How.

Persuasive Writing in Advertising and Fundraising

In this final, collaborative assignment from BK Klein, students plan and execute a multi-document, multimodal advertising campaign for a client of their choice.