College Writing 1, A Critical Thinking and Writing Course
by Lee Ann Mortensen, Professor at Utah Valley University
|UVLink||The Persuaders from PBS (it's all about rhetoric)||PBS's Frontline videos online||
For New Mac Users (in LA 027, 029)
|For New Windows/MS Word 2007 Users (choose "Windows" on the right)||New York Times||Writing Tools|
You might think experienced writers have a magic gift, but what they really have is an awareness of some important writing concepts. For instance, experienced writers know that a writing project often begins with an interesting question or problem, and a desire to think deeply about that problem's complexity--and often, the more "educated" you are (the more you read widely and watch stimulating media), the easier it will be to think complexly. Experienced writers also know that complex dilemmas are usually more interesting to read about (especially for college audiences) than mere vitriol (if you don't know this word, practice being an experienced writer and look it up). Experienced writers know readers want to be at least a little bit surprised as they read, which often means the writer also has to be open to surprise--as Robert Frost says, "No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader" (Preface to Collected Poems, 1939). Experienced writers know there are many rhetorical strategies (look up "rhetoric" now) that can be used to appeal to (or enrage, or entertain, or persuade, propagandize, or even merely inform) diverse audiences. Experienced writers also know there are many different processes that lead them into a "final" draft, including talking in groups to hear a wider range of opinions, freewriting to help see more complexly what they really think, researching to find out what knowledgeable (and not so knowledgeable) experts are saying, writing a detailed draft with exploration in mind, getting feedback on the writing to see how they can improve, and a lot of revision. In this general education course, you'll be doing all these things to improve your writing and your education.
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