English 521:
Composition Theory and Pedagogy

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Final Project Guidelines:
Writing Course Syllabus

The final project for this course is, simply put, a detailed syllabus for a writing course. You should consider this assignment to be the culminating assignment in the course, one that, ideally, grows out of the work you do for the other course assignments and one that is facilitated by our work together throughout the semester.

We will spend a good deal of class time later in the semester working together on this project, and many of the assigned readings and in-class activities will relate directly to this assignment.

The assignment is relatively straightforward. It has two main components:

  1. a syllabus for a writing course;
  2. a justification for that syllabus.

Your syllabus should include descriptions of all the major components of the course, including

  • texts
  • course reading and writing assignments
  • assessment methods
  • and classroom activities.

In addition to a general description of these assignments, you should include one or two sample writing assignment prompts that you would actually distribute to your students. Also include lesson plans for at least two classes.

Finally, include a general week-by-week outline that provides a sense of the overall structure of the course.

Your justification for your course should include discussion of each of these components, grounded in the theoretical assumptions/positions about writing and teaching that inform your view of the teaching of writing. Articulate the specific goals of your course and how those goals relate to your view of the place of writing instruction in education. Discuss each of the major components of the coruse in view of these goals. Your justification should make clear your basic philosophy of writing and how that philosophy informs the course you have designed.

The writing course you create can be any kind of composition course (rather than a "creative writing" course) at the middle school, high school, or college level or for an adult education program. In a sense, you are being asked to define what "composition" means to you and how it might be enacted in your own classroom.

This assignment will vary in length from student to student, depending upon the nature of the course you design, how you organize your syllabus, and the level of detail you include for each component of the course, especially your sample writing assignments and lesson plans. But the justification for your course should be at least 1200 words and very likely longer. Let me know if you have any questions about these guidelines.

Like the other writing assignments in this course, this one should be submitted electronically as a Microsoft Word document or a Rich Text Format document.

Various parts of this assignment will be due in draft form in the latter part of the semester:

  • A statement of purpose for your writing course will be due on November 20th.
  • We will work on writing assignments in class on November 27th.
  • We will work on lesson plans on December 4th.

The finished final project is due on December 14th.

Return to Writing Assignments page.