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Course (Re)Design

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How is basic writing defined, and by whom? What should happen in classes for students called “basic writers,” and why should those things happen? What’s at stake – for institutions, for instructors, and for students – in various definitions of basic writing? These questions wound through the work of our Winter 2008 section of “Teaching Basic Writing at the College Level” at Eastern Michigan University. Stemming from work exploring responses to these questions by researchers in the field, we have developed wiki modules focusing on five broad areas, each of which is anchored in responses to these questions based on that work. They include:

  • Innovative approaches to working with students in basic writing classes, including using different genres and text types;
  • Strategies for working with students placed in basic writing classes, including students with learning disabilities, work with reading, and work with writing centers;
  • Issues of assessment, including assessment for placement and commenting on student work;
  • Issues surrounding technology in the basic writing classroom, including the use of computers and ePortfolios; and
  • Developing alliances in and from “basic writing” classes, including alignment between secondary and post-secondary classes and alliances within the post-secondary context like learning communities.

Class researchers have situated their particular work within the context of their responses to questions about what should happen in courses labeled “basic writing,” why, and how in order to clearly articulate connections between their thinking and best practices in composition and rhetoric research. We hope that these modules continue to extend the ongoing conversation featured on CompFAQ and elsewhere about working with students in classes labeled “basic writing” and about the institutional complexities of this label.

Linda Adler-Kassner|April Baker-Bell|Evelynn Benn|Cristin Bobee|Deb Caton|Dave DeBaker|Ryan Flaherty|Stacey Gray|Sarah Navin|Frank Perkins|Dina Sowers|Daryl Szymanski|Mike Tolinski|Amandine Williams-Abraham|John Yohe

Effective Assessment and Feedback in Basic Writing Courses

Rethinking and Redesigning Basic Writing Courses

Effective Teaching Strategies for Basic Writing Courses: writing centers, multigenre essays, reading practices, and practices for working with students with learning disabilities

Technology: Using Computers in the Basic Writing Classroom
Technology: Electronic Portfolios in the Basic Writing Class

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Page last modified on May 25, 2008, at 01:08 PM