Brooklyn College Writing Across the Curriculum

Roadmaps for Writing

Welcome to the Brooklyn College WAC Program web page that supports our “Roadmaps for Writing” seminar, which will help participants rethink the ways that student writing can be used to meet course goals.


1) WHERE: The workshop will take place in the State Lounge on the fifth floor of SUBO (the Student Union Building). SUBO is located directly across Campus Road from Whitehead Hall.

2) WHAT TO BRING: Please bring a printout of a syllabus of a course that you will be teaching this fall or sometime in the future, and which contains written assignments that you might consider reworking.

3) WHAT TO READ: Please pick one article linked below that is most interesting to you and read it before April 26:

a. Peter Elbow, “High Stakes and Low Stakes in Assigning and Responding to Writing
For those of you with less familiarity with Writing Across the Curriculum, this piece is a great introduction to some key concepts from one of the most influential thinkers in the movement.
b. Peter Kittle, “Transforming the Group Paper with Collaborative Online Writing
This piece has some good suggestions for those of you who are thinking of trying collaborative writing in online spaces or have already done so.
c. Kline Capps & David Vocke,  “Developing Higher Level Thinking Skills through American History Writing Assignments” While specific to American History, many of the ideas are applicable to disciplines across the social sciences and humanities.

4) HOMEWORK OVER THE BREAK: If you don’t already have them, please come up with three-to-four writing objectives for a course that you will be teaching soon (by writing objectives, we mean skills or concepts that you hope students will have mastered by the end of the semester specifically through the course’s written work). We encourage you to post them as a comment below accompanied by a brief description of the course.

5) SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: We encourage you to provide a brief discussion point in response to one of the above essays that you read as a comment below. We also strongly encourage you to share any links for articles, exercises, or syllabi that demonstrate innovative thinking about how to incorporate different modes of written work into a course, or that present interesting ideas for discrete writing assignments. We have found that starting the conversation online beforehand really helps to make the overall workshop more effective.

We look forward to seeing you all on April 26! And please do not hesitate to drop us a line if you have any questions or concerns.
Kathleen Dunn –
Brendan O’Malley – bo’

4 Comments so far
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in almost all of my courses i try to get students to build on their on individual experiences through successive levels to the more or less global plane. in these workshops i have been using my “there to here” essay about how the students themselves and/or their families came to nyc as start for studying ‘the peopling of nyc’ which is a macaulay honors college seminar that has as one group project the construction of a website or wiki that represents both the individual and group work of the students. as is most of the classwork, these projects are collaborative in one way of another. although the courses have been pretty successful, the most difficult task (for me) is getting students to read, and then critically comment upon the work of their fellow students. they have no problem critiquing and criticizing mine btw. some of these projects reside at yearly variants of: i recently published an article on my visual/virtual pedagogy a draft of which i can share “Diversity and Urban living: Ethnic Crossroads – Visualizing Urban Narratives,” Orte der Diversität: Formate, Arrangements und Inszenierungen. Edited by Cristina Allemann-Ghionda / Wolf-Dietrich Bukow, Wiesbaden, Germany: VS Verlag, 2010: 93-112.

Comment by Jerry Krase

I teach Core 1220 – The History of the Modern World Since 1500. My writing objectives for the class are 1) a short 2-3 paper analysis of a primary document; 2) ability to write a thesis statement; 3) write a 4-5 page thesis-driven paper using a primary document(s) as evidence. I break down these two assignments by 1) having them fill out a primary document analysis worksheet; 2) discuss and write out practice thesis statements; 3) a proposal worksheet that asks them to state their thesis, how they will break down their argument (what point(s) each paragraph will make), topic sentences for each paragraph, what evidence they will use to back up their points, etc.

Comment by Susanne Eineigel

The Research Methods class that I have been teaching for the past two semesters has a set of very clear goals. By the end of the course students should be able to:

•Formulate research problems and hypotheses
•Design and conduct psychological research
•Write a research manuscript in APA format
•Prepare and present an oral research report
•Identify threats to validity and reliability of research

Comment by Joanna Serafin

I teach English 1, so writing is central to the goals for my class. Here are some general goals, which have some overlap:

-Students will take their written work through multiple stages, with an emphasis on revision.

-Students will practice and perfect strategies for close reading, distilling an author’s argument and main points and analyzing the author’s techniques.

-Students will engage in peer editing and apply that critical analysis to their own work.

-Students will strengthen organization and clarity in their written work.

Comment by Heidi Diehl

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