Writing and Critical Inquiry (WCI) emphasizes intensive practice in academic writing as well as writing in other rhetorical contexts. In all sections of WCI, students are required to complete three major writing assignments. Below, you will find information on the three formal writing assignments and other course requirements. The specific format, length, and subject for the assignments will vary according to instructor.
Three Major Writing Requirements
1. Writing to explore or inquire into one’s experience of a problem, idea, concept, question, or issue.
For this writing assignment, students will write about a specific subject in terms of their own experiences. The goal is for students to arrive at a greater understanding of the subject through the process of reflecting and writing about it. Main question: What is my experience of this issue?
2. Writing to analyze a text, idea, experience, event, or phenomenon for an academic audience.
For this writing assignment, students will examine what others have written about a subject or topic explored in the course. Students will consider issues of authorship, purpose, audience, and context and how these issues affect the way readers understand an author’s message. Main question: What have others written about this issue?
3. Writing to participate in a conversation about a relevant question or problem.
Through this writing assignment, students will learn how to engage in an academic conversation about a subject explored in the course. Students will identify authors and texts that have offered ideas and raised questions about a topic related to the subject, and they will examine their own ideas and questions about this topic and add their own voice and perspective to this ongoing conversation. Main question: What can I contribute to the conversations about this issue?
Collaborative Group Project
The collaborative project is intended to be a vehicle for students’ critical reflection on their experiences in this course as writers, readers, thinkers, and researchers. The focus of the project will be on what the students learned about writing and critical inquiry and how their learning might apply to their intellectual work across the university curriculum and beyond. The project will culminate in a presentation to the class related to writing as a process of academic inquiry. These presentations, which can take a variety of forms and incorporate various media, represent a collaborative inquiry into the nature of writing in general and into specific aspects of writing that students explore. This project includes both a written component and an oral presentation.
This course involves required readings of various kinds, which may include peer-reviewed scholarly articles, essays, fiction, online postings, reports, and multimedia texts. Reading assignments are designed to give students the opportunity to analyze the various rhetorical choices writers make and to provoke critical thinking and response.
Students will be required to engage in research, which includes finding, evaluating, and using appropriate source materials located through various research tools, including scholarly databases. Students will also learn how to properly integrate and cite their research in formats such as MLA and APA styles.
Students are expected to participate in various small- and large-group discussions and make a formal oral presentation as part of the final collaborative group project. Other presentations and oral communication requirements may be assigned by individual instructors.
Because WCI is inherently collaborative and interactive, all sections of the course have strict attendance policies. Failure to attend class can undermine a student's ability to achieve the goals of the course. Students should expect to attend all class meetings and should make sure they are familiar with their instructor's attendance policy.