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ERIC Number: EJ1097737
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 4
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0007-8034
Five Hundred Pages and a Topic of Her Own: Successfully Designing an Advanced Writing Course on 19th Century British Women Novelists
Phillips, Amy Criniti
CEA Forum, v38 n2 Sum-Fall 2009
During the fourth year of Amy Phillips' teaching assistantship in the spring semester of 2008, she was asked to teach a 300-level advanced writing course in which she was given the creative freedom to design the syllabus, choose the textbooks, craft all assignments, and organize the course content. However, there was one stipulation: the course, which was cross-listed with the Women and Gender Studies program, had to focus on the general topic of women and gender. In order to begin this task of designing her first 300-level writing course, within the requirements provided, Phillips used several of the strategies for course design offered by Linda B. Nilson in her book, "Teaching at Its Best: A Research-Based Resource for College Instructors." Firstly, she adopted a "course design by objectives" approach, which advocates "starting the course design process with what you want your students to be able to do by the end of the course" (Nilson 17). With respect to composition, Phillips wanted the culminating assignment in the class, or ultimate learning objective, to be a literary research paper (approximately 15-17 pages in length) that allowed each student to engage with a topic of his or her choice and design. Having established the larger goals of the course, she considered the following questions: How can one design an advanced writing course that enables students to achieve both community goals--in which all students learn and use the same writing skills--and individual goals--in which each student can apply those writing skills to a project that allows him or her to explore personal interests? How can one best use class time to create a foundation of writing skills and gender-based content while allowing students to develop independent critical thinking and writing skills? How can one successfully devote equal time to developing the topic of gender while focusing on the necessary advanced skills of composition, research, argument, and organization? In this essay Phillips outlines the manner in which she designed a course with such a specific focus on both content and rhetoric; discusses the structure of the course itself; and addresses the necessary recommendations she would make if given the opportunity to teach this course again.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A