Welcome to Writing 1010
Writing 1010 is designed to prepare students like you for the kinds of reading and writing that you will do as a member of an academic community. We begin by embracing the idea that writing in academic settings is about joining an ongoing conversation. We focus on developing the tools and literacy practices that students will need in order to fully participate in the research, projects, and conversations that are important in their individual disciplines. In other words, even though you have been reading and writing for most of your life, the kinds of reading and writing required in a university setting are different.
Importantly, learning to the reading and writing genres and expectations doesn’t mean giving up the important literacy practices of home. Rather, it means developing new ways of using reading and writing that are connected to the values and goals of the university in general and the student’s academic major, more specifically. Writing 1010 provides students with a set of foundational practices that allow them to join this new academic conversation, practices that can be adjusted to suit the purposes of different fields/majors as students progress through their studies at the U.
When academics write-up their research, or when they decide what to research, they are contributing to a body of arguments about the same topic. In order to do that, scholars:
- “listen” to the conversation that other people are already having,
- identify the various perspectives and voices contributing to the conversation,
- articulate the conversation in their own words,
- synthesize the various voices in the conversation,
- identify a gap in the conversation--an argument that hasn't been made or is weak, or an approach that is missing,
- doing research that helps fill the gap, and
- contribute an argument of their own that is based on research (rather than opinion).
And of course, this cycle happens over and over again as the conversation develops.
Writing 1010 focuses on points 1-4 (leaving 5, 6, and 7 for Writing 2010), reading, summarizing, and synthesizing academic arguments, helping students develop dexterity with reading, paraphrasing, and using quotations.
Students will also learn about their chosen or potential major, collecting data about that major. This research project focuses on primary data, and it helps connect students with their major and with the topics and practices valued in that major.
The assignments in WRTG 1010 are structured to teach students to:
- read and comprehend academic arguments,
- summarize academic arguments,
- synthesize (combine) ideas and arguments,
- understand academic argumentation in terms of complexity rather than opinion (like/dislike; agree/disagree),
- use the generic conventions that structure academic writing in appropriate ways and places, and
- write an academic report.
Along the way, students work on these capabilities:
- strategies for reading long, complicated texts
- sentence structure, paragraph structure, and argument organization
- critical reading skills
- drafting tactics
- revision strategies
- vocabulary for evaluating writing (yours and others)
- invention techniques (the process of coming up with an idea to write about)
The assignments in Writing 1010 prepare students for success in WRTG 2010 and other courses that they will take at the University of Utah. There are lots of small assignments that prepare students to complete two kinds of papers.
For the first assignment, students write a narrative about an experience with literacy that stands out in their memory. It could be a positive experience or it could be a negative experience. What is important is that it shaped how the student feels about reading and writing as they begin college. This assignment acts as a bridge, connecting life outside the university with life inside the university.
Being able to summarize other people’s arguments is an essential part of reading and writing at the university level. The summaries we will write in WRTG 1010 are different than others students may have written. In this summary, you need to summarize the author’s argument, not just his or her words, or an article, point for point. That is, you have to make sure that you represent the big picture of the argument and it’s supporting evidence so that a reader of your summary really understands the argument. This process requires a thorough understanding of the argument and recursive reading process that helps students to really engage with academic prose style. Students also develop quotation, paraphrasing, and summary abilities.
Major Literacy Practices Report
For this assignment, students work with other members of the class to make an initial foray into primary research, by doing a mini-ethnography on their major. The focus of the report is how the discipline uses and values reading and writing. Students apply what they have learned about literacy in the course, and what they have learned about joining a conversation, by researching their experiences as an undergraduate at the University of Utah. They collect data, in the form of information about the major, requirements, types of assignments taught, uses of writing in course-work, advertised events, etc. The goal is to figure out how people in the community that makes up your major use reading and writing—what are the literacy practices of the major? It also gives students the opportunity to meet and meet with administrators, faculty, and other students, who make up the community.
*These are the standard assignments. Individual instructors’ syllabi and assignments may vary. Students need to make sure they are reading the full instructions that instructors provide for them in class.