Outline of Requirements for wr 100 & wr 150 Version: 2013-06-17 Contents



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WR 100 & WR 150 Requirements 2013-2014


Outline of Requirements for WR 100 & WR 150

Version: 2013-06-17

Contents
I. Introduction
II. Requirements for WR 100

A. Core Skills and Points of Knowledge

B. Course Requirements

C. Additional Requirements for Instructors

D. Evaluation
III. Requirements for WR 150

A. Core Skills and Points of Knowledge

B. Course Requirements

C. Additional Requirements for Instructors

D. Evaluation
IV. Program Requirements
I. Introduction
This document establishes a framework of requirements designed to promote and maintain an appropriate consistency across WR 100 and WR 150 sections while also accommodating a range of teaching styles and seminar topics. Please read it in its entirety as you prepare your classes for AY 2013-2014.
Note that we have combined the course requirements documents for WR 100 and WR 150 by combining them into a single document. This change reflects the fact that these courses are a sequence and makes explicit the relationship between these courses (their parallel structure, how WR 150 should build on WR 100).
The framework established by this document is not a template detailing what you should be teaching week by week. For specific advice, suggestions, guidance, and sample materials (syllabi, class activities, assignments, etc.), see the Teaching Resources section of the WPnet. There are also many people in the program with whom you can discuss your teaching:


  • the program’s director and associate directors: Joe Bizup, Chris Walsh, Maria Zlateva

  • the curriculum coordinators: Gwen Kordonowy, Sarah Madsen-Hardy

  • chairs and members of the Curriculum Committee: TBA

  • your peers and colleagues

We also urge you to review the companion to this document, the Requirements for WR 097, WR 098, and WR 100 ESL, available on the WPnet. The reason for this prompting should be obvious: if you know what students are doing and learning in these ESL courses, you will be better prepared to teach these students when they arrive in your own classes.


Changes for AY 2013-2014: Last year, we streamlined the portfolios by establishing new minimum requirements for their contents, expanded the ways in which instructors could tailor their courses to their seminar topics and teaching styles, and (in response to concerns about unrealistic student expectations) created some standards for timeliness of written feedback.
For AY 2013-2014, we have made only small adjustments to the course requirements themselves. These include the following:

  • increasing the minimum number of artifacts (other than the final papers, which must be included) in the final portfolios to five

  • allowing students the option of reflecting on their development throughout the WR sequence in their portfolios

  • modifying our terms for the parts of an introduction, to be consistent with the terms in Turabian

  • refining the absence policy very slightly in an attempt to reconcile it with the College’s request that instructors not penalize students for health-related absences. (The College adopted this position in 2009, in response to the outbreak of the H1N1 flu. Quite reasonably, the College did not want students attending class while sick, thereby endangering the rest of the community.)

The biggest change for AY 2013-2014 is that we have adopted Kate L. Turabian’s Student’s Guide to Writing College Papers, 4th edition, as a required text in WR 100 and WR 150.


Turabian’s Student’s Guide to Writing College Papers: There are a number of reasons we believe having a common book will improve the WR 100/150 sequence. Over the past several years, Writing Program faculty have raised concerns about the consistency of what our students are learning across our many sections. Typically, these expressions of concern have come in the form of complaints that students entering WR 150 do not always know what they need to know to take that course. The main reason we are adopting Turabian is to address this issue: we hope that having a common book will create a more coherent WR curriculum and will facilitate students’ transition from WR 100 to WR 150.
Here in detail are the reasons we are adopting this book:

  • The book is consistent with the dialogic or conversational model of academic writing and argumentation that is foundational to our curriculum. It is thus consistent with the other books the Writing Program recommends: Graff and Birkenstein’s They Say/I Say, Williams’s Style, and the various Hacker handbooks.

  • The book covers in an integrated fashion the major skills we teach in WR 100 and WR 150: argument, reading/literacy/research, style/grammar/usage/mechanics.

  • Having a book that spans WR 100 and WR 150 should facilitate students’ transition from the former course to the latter.

  • Having a common book will help to foster a common vocabulary among our courses.

  • The book is affordable: $10-15 in paperback. Since it can be used for two courses, it's a real bargain.

  • The book is, as its title announces, a guide. That means you can dip into it as suits the occasion. The book’s chapters do not have to be—and probably should not be—taught sequentially.

To facilitate the program’s transition to Turabian, we are adding teaching materials to the WPnet that go with the book, and we will host one or more “Turabian Round-Tables” in August and in the fall, at which teachers can share their ideas for using the book.


Experimentation and Innovation: Our curriculum must continue to evolve if it is to remain fresh, stimulating, and relevant. The Writing Program is committed to providing its faculty with opportunities to experiment and innovate. The most visible manifestation of this commitment is the WR X initiative, through which instructors propose and teach experimental courses. But that does not mean that opportunities for innovation are limited only those involved with WR X. All instructors are encouraged to experiment and innovate, to try new things with the aim of making their teaching and courses better. If you would like to try out an idea that would require you to depart from the requirements outlined in this document, please discuss your plans with one of the curriculum coordinators or with one of the directors.
Parts II and III define the requirements for WR 100 and WR 150 respectively. Part IV enumerates some additional requirements common to both courses. Requirements are presented in the main text, while recommendations, suggestions, and explanations are presented as endnotes.
Parts II and III each have the following sections:
A. Core Skills and Points of Knowledge: Describes the core skills, experiences, and points of knowledge students should acquire in the course. These skills, experiences, and points of knowledge complement and elaborate on the Course Goals enumerated in the syllabus template.
Although they vary in topic, all sections of WR 100 and WR 150 have certain goals in common. In WR 100, you will develop your abilities to

  • craft substantive, motivated, balanced academic arguments

  • write clear, correct, coherent prose

  • read with understanding and engagement

  • plan, draft, and revise efficiently and effectively

  • evaluate and improve your own reading and writing processes

  • respond productively to the writing of others

  • express yourself verbally and converse thoughtfully about complex ideas.

In WR 150, you will continue developing all of these abilities while working intensively on prose style and learning to conduct college-level research.


B. Course Requirements: This section outlines the concrete work required of students in the course. These requirements are framed broadly, so that you may instantiate them as appropriate to your individual section or sections.
E. Evaluation: This section presents your options for the weighting of various elements of the course in the calculation of final grades.

II. WR 100 Requirements
II.A. WR 100 Core Skills and Points of Knowledge
This section identifies a core set of specific skills and points of knowledge that students should bring with them from WR 100 to WR 150. As such, it complements and elaborates on the list of course goals that must be included in every WR 100 and WR 150 syllabus (see templates). That list is presented in language crafted to be accessible to students and other members of the BU community. The points in this section may be understood as a gloss on the first three goals in that list:

  • craft substantive, motivated, balanced academic arguments

  • write clear, correct, coherent prose

  • read with understanding and engagement


Argumentation: Students should understand that the purpose of most academic arguments is not to “win” but to further the “conversation.” In less metaphoric language, they should understand that the goal of most academic writing is to contribute to the collective understanding of some group of interested if perhaps skeptical readers. By the end of WR 100, students should know the main elements of an argument: claim, reasons and evidence, and acknowledgment and response. These terms are the working vocabulary we use to talk about argument in our courses. Students should be able to define and identify these elements and to deploy them to rhetorical effect in their own papers. Instructors may also introduce students to the concept of warrants.1 See Turabian chapters 5, 6, and 9.
Reading: Students should receive significant practice reading, especially reading pieces that make sustained arguments. Students should understand the difference between reading for understanding and reading for engagement, and they should receive significant practice reading in both of these modes.2 See Turabian chapters 1, 4, and 5.

Summary and Analysis: Both writing and reading can be facilitated by summary and analysis, which students should understand and practice. In WR 100, students should develop their abilities to summarize things they have read accurately and at varying lengths. In addition to writing stand-alone summaries, students should also learn to incorporate summary into their longer papers. Analysis means, broadly, to take something apart to see how it works. We want students at least to hear this term in WR 100 because teachers in all disciplines regularly use it without much explanation. The specific modes of analysis you emphasize in your course will depend on your particular seminar topic. 3 See Turabian chapter 9.
Problems: The conversational model of academic writing and argument presupposes that writers are addressing problems or questions, which they must convey to their readers. In WR 100, students should therefore learn to think in terms of problems and questions rather than in terms of topics. Students should learn to develop interesting and viable writing projects. They should understand that the problems and questions they pose to themselves dictate the projects they take on and, ultimately, the shape of the arguments they write. See Turabian chapters 1, 2, 3, 6, 12, and 13.
Introductions: Students should know the pattern of the standard academic introduction: common ground, current situation, or background, problem statement or question, claim or promise of resolution. Students should also receive significant practice writing introductions that adhere to this pattern.4 See Turabian chapters 6, 7, 12, and 13.
Genre: Students should understand that texts have forms that have evolved or have been designed to facilitate certain reading practices. By the end of WR 100, when students encounter a text, they should habitually ask themselves how the text is structured and what reading practices that structure encourages and supports.5 See Turabian chapter 4.
Writing with Sources: The conversational model of academic writing implies that students should be working with both primary and secondary sources from very early on in the WR 100/150 sequence. At least one WR 100 assignment should require students to select the sources they use in their papers from a larger group of sources (see the requirements for paper 3 below). You should familiarize your students with the difference between primary and secondary sources. You are also encouraged to use the BEAM/BEAT nomenclature (background source, exhibit/exhibit source, argument source, method source/theory source) to teach and describe the different ways in which sources can be used.6 See Turabian chapters 1, 2, 4, and 5.
Style and Usage: Sentence-level style and usage are important concerns in WR 100 and WR 150. Currently, Writing Program faculty address these issues in a variety of ways: by teaching grammatical and stylistic principles that allow students to identify and revise sentences that are unclear and to control the flow of information from sentence to sentence; by using grammatical and stylistic terms and concepts to analyze passages in readings; by working intensively with students on their own writing, both in class and in conferences and comments. The goal when addressing style and usage should not be merely to get students produce papers that are free of error but rather to help them write fluidly and even elegantly, with a sense of purpose and voice. The program recommends that in the first half of WR 100, instructors focus on developing students’ knowledge of the seminar topic and on developing students’ skills in organization and argumentation. To allow for this focus on such “mid-level” issues, instructors should refrain from over-emphasizing sentence-level style and usage in the first half of WR 100. We offer this guidance not because style and usage are unimportant, but because sentence-level issues can be addressed more efficiently and effectively when students have an understanding of the contexts in which their sentences appear. For a full explanation of this recommendation, see the document What to Teach When, a.k.a. the timeline, on the WPnet. For guidance on sentence-level issues, see Turabian chapter 14.
Drafting and the Writing Process: The ideas that writing is a process and that this process can be taught and learned are fundamental to our curriculum. Students need to be given opportunities in class to share their work in progress and to receive feedback from other students in the class. It is part of your responsibility as a Writing Program instructor to teach students how to give productive feedback and how to make productive use of the feedback they receive.7 See Turabian chapters 2, 6, 7, 8, and 10.
Common Vocabulary: To promote consistency across sections and to facilitate students’ transition from WR 100 to WR 150, please be sure that your students are familiar with the common terms below. The best way to ensure that your students become familiar with these terms is to adopt them as your own and to use them in your teaching. You are encouraged but not required to use the terms in brackets.
Common Terms

Argument terms (explained in Turabian chapter 6):



  • claim

  • reasons, evidence

  • acknowledgment and response

  • (warrant)

Introductions (explained in Turabian chapter 7):



  • common ground, current situation, or background

  • problem statement (situation + cost) or research question

  • claim

Note: Different Little Red Schoolhouse publications (Style, The Craft of Research, Turabian’s College Student’s Guide) use slightly different terms for the parts of an introduction. Any of these terms are acceptable. To date, our program has preferred:

Common Ground / Problem Statement (Situation + Cost) / Claim

But Turabian uses a slightly different language:



Current Situation or Background / Research Question / Significance / Answer

You may use either of these nomenclatures.


[Analysis]
[Genre]
[Project]
Summary
Sources—conventional terms

  • primary

  • secondary

Sources—functional terms (explained on WPnet)



  • [Background source]

  • [Exhibit / Exhibit source]

  • [Argument source]

  • [Method source / Theory source]


II.B. WR 100 Course Requirements
Self-Assessment: Within the first two weeks of the semester, all students must submit written self-assessments in which they take stock of their abilities as readers and writers and set some learning goals for themselves. This assignment is an occasion to introduce students to the kind of reflective yet public writing they will do in their final portfolios (see below) and to invite them to take responsibility for their own educations. The assignment is also intended to provide you with information about your students’ abilities and goals and to help to establish a baseline for the Writing Program’s curricular assessment. You have three options for this assignment:

  • Option 1: Self-assessment essay/letter: Students write essays or letters in which they take stock of their abilities as readers and writers and establish some learning goals for themselves.

  • Option 2: Self-assessment essay/letter & diagnostic essay: Students write brief essays (possibly in-class) engaging with a short passage/exhibit relevant to the course. Students then write self-assessment essays/letters as above, but also commenting on their diagnostic essays or drawing on them as evidence.

  • Option 3: Self-assessment essay/letter & sample paper: Students submit a sample paper from a previous high school or college course. Students then write self-assessment essays/letters as above, but also commenting on their sample papers or drawing on them as evidence. If possible, students should submit source-based academic arguments as sample papers. Some students, however, may not have such papers available and will therefore have to submit papers in other genres.


Three Major Papers: In WR 100, students must complete three polished papers totaling 5,000-6,500 words (15-20 pages). We have specified paper lengths in the aggregate so that you can structure your assignments to best suit your class and the needs of your students. Ordinarily, papers should increase in length as the semester progresses. The final version of each paper should be a polished piece of academic prose.
Paper 1: Academic argument in which the student analyzes or interprets a single exhibit in order to engage another argument or position. This other argument or position may be from a published source (i.e., argument source), but it may also be something generated by the class itself (e.g., a summary of a position articulated during a class discussion, a position offered by the teacher in the assignment sheet, a view of a peer from a discussion board or blog posting). To execute this assignment successfully, students must (1) summarize and present the positions to which they are responding, (2) advance positions or claims of their own, (3) support those positions or claims through the analysis or interpretation of particular exhibits.8
The final version of this first paper should be submitted for a grade no later than the end of the fourth week of the semester.
Paper 2: For the second paper you have two options:9

  • Option 1: Source-based academic argument: Academic argument using at least two sources, at least one of which is an exhibit and at least one of which is an argument source. If appropriate, you may require students to work with background/fact or method/theory sources as well.

  • Option 2: Paper in alternative genre: A paper in a genre other than the conventional sourced-based academic argument (e.g., imaginative dialog, personal essay, ethnography, memoir, review). If you choose this option, your assignment should be structured and framed so that it contributes to the course’s overarching goal of teaching students to write source-based academic arguments. If you choose this option, please notify the Writing Program of your choice by emailing your assignment sheet to wpadmin@bu.edu.


Paper 3: Academic argument using at least three sources, at least one of which is an exhibit and at least one of which is an argument source. If appropriate, you may require students to work with background/fact or method/theory sources as well. To begin to prepare students for WR 150, this assignment should also require students to choose the sources they will use in their paper from a larger array of sources. You should provide at least some of these sources. You may also require or encourage students to do a limited amount of additional research. We recommend that you assign an annotated bibliography as an exercise in conjunction with this assignment.10
Exercises (In-Class or Take-Home): Exercises are short, low-stakes assignments or activities. Students are expected to complete exercises as assigned. As a teacher, you can use exercises for a range of purposes:

  • to teach or reinforce specific reading, writing, and speaking skills

  • to structure students’ engagement with the course materials

  • to frame or prime class discussions

  • to provide opportunities for metacognitive or reflective work

  • to help students plan their papers (e.g., précis, outlines, project plans, annotated bibliographies)

  • to facilitate drafting, revision, and workshopping.

This list is not exhaustive. Exercises need not receive formal grades. If you do grade exercises, they should cumulatively count for no more than 10% of the course grade.11
Library Orientation (OPTIONAL): Some teachers may want to consider conducting a library orientation in WR 100. The library is crucial to the intellectual culture of the university, and introducing it to first-semester students can help integrate them into that culture. The orientation should familiarize students with the library’s physical layout and introduce them to the various ways in which information is stored, organized, and accessed. For additional information, consult the handout on the WPnet.
Conferences: You are required to hold one formal, individual conference with each student. You are encouraged to hold multiple conferences (individual or group) with your students if you find conferences an effective way to teach. It is acceptable to hold conferences with students to discuss their work in progress in lieu of writing extensive comments on drafts.
Attendance and Participation: Attendance and participation are important for any number of reasons: Students need to be present and engaged if they are to learn the course material and receive sufficient instruction and practice in writing and reading. The WR 100/150 sequence plays an important role in acculturating students to college, and they should learn that attending and participating in class is crucial to their success. WR 100 and WR 150 are seminars, which means that each student’s attendance and participation is important to the other students’ learning.
Final Portfolio: Each student must submit a final portfolio demonstrating his or her progress toward the course goals. These portfolios have two related purposes. First, the portfolios provide students with an opportunity to reflect on and synthesize what they have learned in your class, which increases the likelihood that students will be able to transfer what they have learned to other contexts. Second, the portfolios allow the program to collect and review samples of actual student work in conjunction with the annual curriculum assessment.12
The final portfolio must contain at least (1) an introduction in which the student assesses his or her progress toward the course goals and broader development as a writer, (2) final versions of the three major papers, and (3) 5-7 additional selected artifacts (e.g., drafts, exercises, notes) documenting the assertions in the introduction. Please note that these requirements are minimum requirements. Instructors are welcome and indeed encouraged to do more with the portfolios if they wish.
You are responsible for developing your own portfolio assignment. For examples, see the WPnet. You may collect portfolios from your students in whatever form you wish: on paper, as .pdf documents, as Word documents, or in Digication.
You may allow students who have taken other WR courses (WR 097, WR 098) to reflect on their development over the series of WR courses they have taken. This option acknowledges the fact that our courses form an integrated sequence.
We encourage you to require students to provide captions for each of the artifacts they choose to include. We also encourage you to use Digication. A finding from the 2013 curriculum assessment is that students who used captions and students who used Digication generally produced better portfolios than those who did not.
A sample of students’ final portfolios will be collected by the Writing Program for assessment at the end of the semester. You must submit these portfolios to the program in electronic form. Instructions on how to submit portfolios for assessment will be provided in a separate memo.
Note: We are currently reviewing ways in which either Digication or Blackboard might be used to facilitate the collection of student work for the program-wide curriculum assessment. Collecting materials through one of these platforms would relieve instructors of the burden of manually submitting portfolios for assessment to the Writing Program, and it would greatly reduce the time and effort the administrative staff must spend preparing the assessment sample. We expect that we will require all instructors to use one or the other of these platforms, beginning in the Fall 2014 semester.
II.C. WR 100 Evaluation
Weighting of Coursework in Final Grades:

  • Major Papers (distributed across three papers): 70%

  • Portfolio (introduction, framing, selection, organization, etc.): 10%

  • Discretionary: 20%

The discretionary 20% can be distributed as you choose. Options include



  • grading the self-assessment (up to 5%)

  • grading participation (up to 5%)

  • grading exercises (up to 10% total)

  • increasing the weights of the major papers (up to 90% total)

  • increasing the weight of the portfolio (up to 15% total).

The principle informing these weights is that grades should be determined primarily by the quality of students’ writing. In essence, we teach the process but grade the product.


Grading Portfolios: When grading the portfolio, you should not re-grade work that has already been graded. The 10% allocated to the portfolio is for those elements unique to the portfolio: the introduction, any additional framing (e.g., annotations, captions), the selection and arrangement of artifacts, the organization of the portfolio, etc. The weight you assign to the final portfolio should be commensurate with the portfolio’s prominence in your class. For most sections, the portfolio should count for 10% of the final grade. If the portfolio plays an especially significant role in your course, you may increase the weight of the assignment to 15%.
Grading Attendance: Attendance should be accounted for as outlined in the syllabus template. You should not penalize students for health-related absences.13
Grading Participation: Participation may be accounted for in one of two ways: (1) as part of the final course grade (up to 5%) or (2) as an after-the-fact adjustment to the final grade (+/- one third of a letter grade). These two methods are mutually exclusive. If you opt to assign participation an explicit weight, you should not also make an after-the-fact adjustment. Likewise, if you opt to make an after-the-fact adjustment you should not also assign participation an explicit weight.14
III. WR 150 Requirements
II. Core Skills and Points of Knowledge
WR 100 begins by focusing on “mid-level” or “text-level” issues, such as reading, argumentation, and organization. As it progresses, it comes increasingly to emphasize “low-level” or “sentence-level” issues, such as sentence-level style and usage and local coherence in passages and “high-level” or “discourse-level” issues, such as research, genre awareness, and information literacy. WR 150 should build on the skills and knowledge students develop in WR 100 (e.g., problem statements, summary, acknowledgement and response) while giving increased attention to both “sentence-level” and “discourse-level” aspects of writing. In particular, WR 150 should build on what students learn in WR 100 while introducing them to college-level research and research-based writing. Likewise, while WR 100 aims, especially early in the semester, to help students develop and expand their repertoires of reading and writing skills, WR 150 aims, especially as the semester progresses, to give students opportunities for practicing choice and judgment. For additional information about WR 100 and the progression from WR 100 to WR 150, see the WR 100/WR 150 Timeline.
Problems, Reasons and Evidence, Acknowledgement and Response: While WR 150 builds on all aspects of WR 100, it is particularly important to continue developing students’ abilities to imagine interesting problems to address and to explain these in their papers (i.e. standard introduction) and to continue emphasizing reasons and evidence and acknowledgment and response. See Turabian chapters 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and 9.
Research and Information Literacy: Research, narrowly construed, is the act of locating and accessing information; construed more broadly, it is also the ability to formulate interesting questions and problems and to develop deliberate strategies for answering or addressing them. Information literacy is the ability to read, understand, engage with, and use the information one locates and accesses. In WR 150, students should learn not only to locate information but, more importantly, to develop interesting projects to pursue. Students should also come to understand that texts have forms that have evolved or have been designed to facilitate certain reading practices. By the end of the WR 100/150 sequence, students should habitually ask themselves how a given text is structured and what reading practices that structure encourages. See Turabian chapters 1, 4, and 9.
You are encouraged to have students compile and share annotated bibliographies of their research findings and/or of the materials you assign. You are encouraged to have your students collaborate in their research and to contribute their findings to a class “archive” (which could also include materials made available by you). Use of electronic bibliographic tools such as RefWorks or Zotero (individual and/or class site) is encouraged.
Prose Style: The course requirements for WR 100 ask instructors to emphasize content, organization, and argumentation in the first half of the semester and, by corollary, to refrain from emphasizing matters of sentence-level style until at least midway through WR 100. The reason for this recommendation is that sentence-level issues are addressed most effectively when students have a grasp of academic argumentation and principles of organization. In WR 150, students should have significant opportunities to work intensively on their prose style. They should also develop an understanding of the principles of citation and receive practice with at least one citation format.15 See Turabian chapter 14.
III.B. WR 150 Course Requirements for Students
Self-Assessment: Within the first two weeks of the semester, all students must submit written self-assessments in which they take stock of their abilities as readers and writers and set some learning goals for themselves. In WR 150, the self-assessment should facilitate students’ transition from WR 100 to WR 150. Remember that most students taking WR 150 in the spring will have written lengthy portfolio introductions only a month earlier. You therefore need to ensure that the self-assessment you assign for WR 150 is not redundant. Indeed, you may invite students to draw on their final portfolios from WR 100. Our recommendation is that you emphasize the forward-looking aspects of this assignment. What goals do they want to set for themselves now, in WR 150?
Three Major Papers: In WR 150, students must complete three polished papers totaling 5,500-8,000 words (17-25 pages). With the possible exception of the second paper (see below) these papers should be academic arguments involving at least three sources, at least one of which must be an exhibit and at least one of which must be an argument source.
Paper 1: Expertise and Transfer: The first paper should be similar in kind to the second or third paper in WR 100. This paper has two main purposes. First, it gives you an opportunity to introduce students to your course topic, to begin establishing the foundation of expertise on which they will draw in their later research papers. Second, it gives students and opportunity to transfer what they learned in WR 100 to the new context of WR 150. Use this assignment to help students apply and use the skills they developed in WR 100 in the new context of your WR 150 class. Remember that writers’ competence declines when they move from an area of relative expertise to an area of relative ignorance (i.e., from writing about a topic they’ve spent 14 weeks thinking about to writing about a new topic for a new teacher). You can imagine this assignment as a reprise of paper 2 or paper 3 from WR 100. It should be about the same length and have about the same degree of scaffolding or constraints. In this paper, students should be writing largely about materials provided by the instructor. Little if any “outside” research should be required for this paper. If you wish, you may give students the option of using outside materials and ask them to do some modest work in the library or with online databases in anticipation of later assignments.
Paper 2: Transition: Paper 2 is a transitional assignment that prepares students for the third paper, the capstone assignment for the WR 100/150 sequence. Your assignment can have some scaffolding, but you should also give your students increased latitude to define and shape their own research and writing projects. If you have not yet done so, you should introduce students to library/database research, and you should create opportunities for students to practice selecting materials to use in their writing from the array of materials at their disposal (those assigned by you, those they have found through their own research). As for the second paper of WR 100, you have the option of assigning a source-based academic argument (option 1) or a paper in an alternative genre (option 2). Whichever option you choose, this paper should involve some research and should play the transitional role described above. If you choose to assign a paper in an alternative genre, please notify the Writing Program by emailing your assignment sheet to wpadmin@bu.edu.
Paper 3: Capstone: This paper is the capstone paper for the WR 100/150 sequence. It should be an academic argument requiring significant outside research and should be roughly 2,500 words in length. Students should have significant latitude in defining their research and writing projects. At this point in the semester, you should be introducing few if any new concepts or skills; rather, the emphasis should be on helping students integrate and apply the concepts and skills they have learned over the entirety of the WR 100/150 sequence to produce a substantial, researched academic argument.
Exercises (In-Class or Take-Home): As explained in the WR 100 requirements above, exercises are short, low-stakes assignments or activities that need not receive formal grades. In the context of WR 150, one sort of exercise is worthy of special note: the annotated bibliography. Because WR 150 emphasizes research and information literacy, annotated bibliographies can be especially valuable.
Library Orientation: You should schedule at least one class visit to the library. The orientation should familiarize students with the library’s physical layout and introduce them to the various ways in which information is stored, organized, and accessed. For additional information about the library orientation and about connecting with your assigned reference librarian, consult the handout on the WPnet.
Conferences: Same as WR 100.
Attendance and Participation: Same as WR 100.
Final Portfolio: Same as WR 100, with the exception that you can allow students the option of reflecting on their development over the entire WR sequence.
III.C. WR 150 Evaluation

Weighting of Coursework in Final Grades:

  • Major Papers (distributed across three papers): 70%

  • Portfolio (introduction, framing, selection, organization, etc.): 10%

  • Discretionary: 20%

The discretionary 20% can be distributed as you choose. Options include



  • grading the self-assessment (up to 5%)

  • grading participation (up to 5%)

  • grading exercises (up to 10% total)

  • increasing the weights of the major papers (up to 90% total)

  • increasing the weight of the portfolio (up to 15% total).

The principle informing these weights is that grades should be determined primarily by the quality of students’ writing. In essence, we teach the process but grade the product.


Grading Portfolios: WR 150 portfolios should be graded in the same fashion as WR 100 portfolios. See the WR 100 requirements for details. For most sections, the portfolio should count for 10% of the final grade. If the portfolio plays an especially significant role in your course, you may increase the weight of the assignment to 15%.
Attendance: Attendance in WR 150 should be assessed as it is in WR 100. See details above and in the syllabus template.
Participation: Participation in WR 150 should be assessed as it is in WR 100. See details above and in the syllabus template.
IV. Program Requirements
Syllabus: You should provide students with a detailed syllabus that describes the course goals, outlines course policies and grading practices, and identifies due dates for readings and major assignments. Certain sections of our syllabi, such as the statement of course goals, will be common across all sections. Please see the syllabus template for additional information about this requirement.
Assignment Sheets: You should give students a detailed assignment sheet for each major paper. These assignment sheets should have the following sections:

  • Goals or Purpose: What specifically are students supposed to learn or learn to do as they write this paper? Use this section to frame the assignment in terms of the course goals.

  • Prompt, Tasks, or Questions: What specifically are students supposed to do? This section should be relatively succinct. Save commentary for the Notes/Comments section.




  • Formatting and Submission Instructions: How long should the paper be? What documentation format should students use? What are the due dates for drafts and for the finished version? How should the paper be submitted (hardcopy, Blackboard dropbox, Digication)? Etc.

  • Notes or Comments (Optional): Use this section to offer additional suggestions, explications, or elaborations.


Feedback: You are obligated to provide timely, formative feedback on at least one draft of each major paper. You are obligated to provide your students with timely, written, summative feedback and grades on the final version of each of the three major papers. It has come to our attention that students have varying and sometimes unrealistic expectations for how quickly instructors should provide feedback on papers. We therefore encourage you to include a statement in your syllabus that tells students explicitly how soon they should expect feedback from you once they submit a paper. The general expectation is that drafts will receive feedback within one week of submission and that final versions of papers will be graded and returned within two weeks of submission; in the syllabus template’s suggested paragraph devoted to this matter, we have left blank the exact time frames you may want to announce to your students.16
Syllabus Review: All WR 100 and WR 150 syllabi will be reviewed by the Writing Program to ensure that they have implemented these requirements in a reasonable fashion. You should submit your syllabus for Fall 2013 to the Writing Program by August 13, 2013. Deadlines for submission of syllabi for Spring 2014 will be announced in a separate memo.
Curriculum Assessment: At the end of the semester, the Writing Program will solicit selected students’ final portfolios as part of its curriculum assessment. Instructors will receive a list of names from the program and will be expected to submit portfolios to the Writing Program as instructed.
Office Hours: As a BU faculty member, you are required to hold a minimum of one office hour per section per week. During weeks when you have a significant number of conferences with students, you may reduce these open drop-in hours, but please don't eliminate them altogether. You must submit the Directory and Office Hours Form to the program by August 13, 2013. If you have an office, you must post your name and office hours in the space provided by your office door.

Notes

1 This taxonomy (claims, reasons and evidence, acknowledgement and response, warrants) is explained in Booth, Colomb, and Williams’s The Craft of Research, 3rd ed., and in Turabian’s Student’s Guide to Writing College Papers, 4th ed.


2 In choosing your readings, you should be guided by the principles of reasonableness and proportion. In general, when it comes to assigning readings, less is more. Fewer and shorter readings treated in depth are generally better than more and longer readings treated cursorily. In asking that you give your students opportunities to read sustained arguments, we are not asking that you inundate your students with lengthy scholarly articles. We are asking that you give your students practice in the sort of reading they are least practiced in. Students must know how to read sustained arguments if they are to understand and engage with secondary sources in almost any field, but this kind of reading is new to many entering college students. It is therefore something they should learn and practice in WR 100 and WR 150.


3 Summaries are not merely a way to gauge whether students have understood what they have read; they are also the basic building blocks of source-based writing. The act of acknowledging and responding to another view, for example, depends on the ability to summarize that view. Students often regard summary—mistakenly—as something they covered in high school. When teaching summary, therefore, it is important to show students that the seemingly humble act of summarizing in fact entails a quite complicated array of rhetorical choices. One of the challenges of teaching “analysis” is that it is difficult to explain in the abstract. Moreover, faculty across the disciplines habitually use the term without explanation, as if its meaning were obvious. We therefore recommend that you demonstrate and model analysis concretely in discussions, class activities, and homework assignments. We also recommend that you help your students understand that different modes of analysis are used in different disciplines. For example, “close reading” is a mode of analysis that figures prominently in critical and humanistic disciplines, but that is used less extensively in the social and natural sciences. These disciplines, conversely, make use of modes of analysis (e.g., various statistical methods) that are used only peripherally in critical and humanistic disciplines.


4 We ask you to teach the standard introduction in WR 100 for several reasons. First, it complements the course’s emphasis on problems and questions. Second, the pattern is fairly constant across contexts, making it easy for students to grasp. Third, the pattern of the standard introduction is common in all forms of argumentative writing, from op-eds to scientific papers. It is therefore one of the most transferrable things we can teach.


5 This explicit concern with genre emerged from conversations that took place in the faculty seminar on genre (Spring 2010) and in the Curriculum Committee in 2010-2011. The intention in making genre an explicit concern of WR 100 is to help our students become more capable readers and writers. If students recognize that texts have forms that facilitate certain reading practices, then students will be better able to understand and engage the texts they read and better able to shape and respond to the expectations of their audiences in the texts they write. For most of you, meeting this learning outcome will simply mean making more explicit things you are already teaching your students about reading and about texts.


6 For additional information about this vocabulary and its relationship to the conventional terms for sources (primary, secondary, tertiary), consult the WPnet. You can find a full account of this nomenclature in Bizup, Joseph. “BEAM: A Rhetorical Vocabulary for Teaching Research-Based Writing.” Rhetoric Review 27.1 (2008): 72-86.


7 The Writing Program mandates very few teaching techniques. However, it is essential that students have repeated opportunities to share their work in progress with their peers and to receive feedback from them. The standard ways of providing these opportunities are through workshops or peer review. Why this insistence? Writers don't write in vacuums; they write for audiences. Giving students the opportunity to test their papers with actual readers should therefore lead to better final papers. But even when it doesn’t, workshopping or peer review still has value because it helps students learn how to give and receive feedback productively. Required group work helps teach students to collaborate appropriately and effectively. Consult the WPnet for more information about group work and peer review/workshops and for sample exercises.


8 The goal of this first assignment is not necessarily for students to engage explicitly a published secondary source (i.e. argument source); it is for students come to understand that arguments are inherently dialogic. We also offer the following additional observations and suggestions: (1) The argument source should motivate but not not dominate or overwhelm the paper; the bulk of the paper should be devoted to the student’s interpretation of the exhibit. (2) If you do choose to use a published argument source, it need not be a full-blown, peer-reviewed scholarly chapter or journal article. It simply needs to be a piece of text that articulates a claim or position to which they can react or respond. It is absolutely fine to use non-peer-reviewed or popular sources as argument sources. It is also absolutely fine to use excerpts—even as short as a paragraph—taken from longer sources.


9 We are continuing to offer the option of a paper in an alternative genre, for two reasons. (1) Feedback gathered in 2010-2011 from the Curriculum Committee, the Writing Board, and others indicated that the standard sequence of three academic arguments can feel repetitive to students. (2) Having students work in multiple genres may help students learn to write academic arguments, because working in multiple genres will draw their attention to the fact that there are different genres of writing, each with its own uses, requirements, and features.


10 We make this recommendation for two reasons. (1) An annotated bibliography exercise can help your students in the process of selecting sources to use in their papers. (2) Such an exercise will prepare students for WR 150. Note too that annotated bibliographies require extensive use of analytical summaries. An annotated bibliography assignment will therefore draw on and reinforce one of the fundamental skills students should be developing in WR 100/150.


11 This restriction on the cumulative weight of the exercises reflects the fact that the exercises are means rather than ends. Students who take the exercises seriously can be expected to write better final papers and to make more progress toward the course’s learning goals. Moreover, students’ final portfolios should include selected exercises as supporting artifacts. Their work on the exercises will therefore be reflected, albeit indirectly, in both the grades they receive on their papers and in their portfolio grades.


12 The curriculum assessments conducted during the summers of 2010 and 2011 suggest that some students are treating the portfolio introductions as course evaluations. That is not their purpose. The portfolio instructions should call for assessments of students’ development as writers, using as evidence the writing they have produced over the course of the semester, and perhaps other writing as well. You are also encouraged to give students a degree of latitude in their introductions. The requirement that they reflect on their progress toward the course goals is not intended to keep them from addressing other issues of interest or concern to them: their progress toward the personal goals articulated in their self-assessments, insights about their writing that do not fit under any particular goal, shifts in their perspectives toward college and academic work, reflections on the topics or themes of the seminar, etc.


13 The policy in the syllabus template was created by the Curriculum Committee for AY 2011-2012. We have added the caveat that you should not penalize students for health-related absences in response to the College’s desire not to incentivize students to come to class sick and thereby put others at risk.


14 The advantage of giving participation an explicit weight is that the explicit grade signals that participation is important. The disadvantage is that this method requires you to render specific judgment on the participation of each student; there is no “neutral” option. What grade do you give for adequate participation? The advantage of treating participation as an after-the-fact adjustment is it relieves instructors from the obligation of rendering such judgments in most cases. Adequate participation is expected and therefore warrants no adjustment. Adjustments can be reserved for cases in which participation is truly superior or inferior. This practice is consistent with the principle that students’ grades should be determined primarily by the quality of their major papers and portfolios.


15 Indeed, in AY 2012-2013, we have reduced the minimum required word-count/page-count for finished work in WR 150 so that students can give increased attention to local matters of style.


16 Formative feedback is feedback that has as its primary purpose helping students improve the quality of their papers or writing. Summative feedback is feedback that is primarily evaluative. Its purpose is to provide an assessment of the paper and to justify the grade. The conventional way of delivering both sorts of feedback is through marginal annotations and written comments. But formative feedback can be delivered in other ways as well, such as in student conferences or in voice recordings provided to the student. You may hold conferences (individual or group) to discuss students’ work-in-progress or give your students audio comments in lieu of providing extensive written comments on drafts. Because summative feedback is evaluative, it should be presented in written form. The rule against grading drafts follows from the principle that students’ grades should be determined primarily by the quality of their finished work.



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