The subject of this course is writing. One of the goals of this course is to help you to develop the ability to read, think, and write critically. Over the course of this semester we will learn to ask good questions and critically engage a range of ideas, beliefs, and arguments. Through a range of writing practices, classroom activities/discussions, and group work, as well as revision and editing activities, you will develop your own writing style, composing texts with intelligence, energy, and flavor.
In this course we will explore the role of science in society by reading short- and long-form science essays and science blogs, listening to radio podcasts, and watching multimedia narratives. We’ll read and hear about the brain and pain, the nature of insight, and the evolution of morals. We’ll learn to summarize, paraphrase, and analyze texts by identifying the main claim or thesis, supporting claims, and types of evidence that provide structure and substance of good, persuasive writing. And last but not least, we will learn how to conduct research, how to properly cite your sources, and why skilled research matters.
A guiding principle of this course is that writing is persuasive: it has a purpose, takes a position, follows a particular line of reasoning, is supported by evidence, exhibits a voice and style, and invites a reader’s response. Through active reading, understanding the composition process, and your own writing practice you will learn why good writing is persuasive. In writing you will engage the ideas of others, and respond with your own views. In this way we will approach writing as a social act, a shared conversation. By posting to our class blog and discussion board, and tweeting about our course, you will participate in forms of digital communication that are increasingly prevalent in our 21st century world. By participating in the conversation(s), you will play an active and empowered role in shaping ongoing public debates and dialogues.