About three-quarters of Georgetown students take a first-year writing course (another quarter test out through AP or International Baccalaureate exams), so you can assume that most of your students have taken a course designed to help them think strategically about writing and prepare them to write in varied genres and styles. Georgetown’s first-year writing course, WRIT015: Writing and Culture Seminar, emphasizes four core ideas about writing:
We approach writing as a matter of critical thinking and problem solving, and we aim to prepare students to write in any context and about any content. In our courses, students practice developing a piece of writing from initial ideas through research, planning, and revision. We also emphasize thinking about the purpose, audience, and context for writing, so students learn to make smart choices about how to address different situations.
Because WRIT015 faculty are trained in the Humanities and/or Writing Studies, we’re not experts in writing in your discipline. Faculty with expertise in the disciplines teach students how people in their fields organize and present arguments, how to use and cite evidence, and the particular genres they use. Faculty have created online guides to writing in many disciplines. We’ve posted links to many of these here.
As you teach your students about how to write in your field, you can build on what students learned in WRIT015 in several ways:
- Make clear the audience, purpose, and expectations for your assignments
- Use course readings as models by drawing students’ attention to how the writers use standard practices in your field
- Give students opportunities to practice writing about the content of your course before they take on more formal assignments
- Require students to read and discuss drafts of each other’s papers; they’ll learn how to improve their own work by seeing what other students have done
- Respond to students’ writing in ways that help them learn
- Encourage students to discuss drafts of their papers with peer tutors at the Writing Center
- If students have difficulty with grammar and editing, check out our resource page for online sources that might help them
Finally, remember that we’re here to help. We’re happy to chat with you about your course or assignments, develop workshops for faculty in your program, and prepare in-class workshops for your students.
Have a great semester!
Director, Georgetown University Writing Program