Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2023

Course Description

“Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.”
—Matthew Arnold

Despite the recent explosion in AI-assisted composition and the market shift toward economic and STEM-based fields, people are writing now more than ever. AI will change human writing, but it will not replace it—all jobs, regardless of field, require strong written and verbal communication skills and will continue to do so even as the future of work changes. Literacy is at an all-time high across the globe, and workplace surveys reveal that the world communicates via writing around 50% of each workday. Around 75% of project or team communication takes place via workflow apps and shared documents, email, and group chat. In both personal and professional realms, we are expected to produce emails, reports, essays, web content, speeches, marketing materials, grant proposals, opinion pieces, articles, brochures and pamphlets, social media posts, summaries and paraphrases, walk-throughs, job applications, and countless other formal and informal pieces of writing. In this class, we will address questions like: what are the basic skills needed to produce high-quality writing in all of these formats? How do the skills gained by writing college essays translate to workplace writing? How can we find space to be creative in the world of work? Is there such a thing as a “well- written email”? What are your personal strengths and weaknesses as a writer and how can you improve your writing process? How do we determine structure, audience, and purpose quickly for a given kind of writing even if we’ve never been asked to produce it before? What’s the difference between a workplace deadline and an essay due date? How will computers and multi-model or visual composition continue to change the future of writing?

Student Outcomes

What will I learn in this class?

Like all W courses, this course is a general education course with a focus on the writing process. The majority of our assignments will be practical writing exercises. All gen ed courses, regardless of their home department or program, share common goals. By the end of this course, you will be better able to:

  1. Clearly express your ideas and the ideas of others to varied audiences, both in writing and orally.
  2. Identify the requirements of a new writing style or format that has been presented to you and produce a clear piece of writing in response.
  3. Understand writing projects as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, summarizing, analyzing, and synthesizing sources.
  4. Possess flexible strategies for generating ideas, drafting, proof-reading, editing, and revising.
  5. Understand how to document both primary and secondary sources and why that is important.
  6. Develop capacities for clear, thorough, and independent thought that demonstrates the ability to analyze arguments on the basis of evidence and to understand the value and limitations of multiple types of evidence.
  7. Be passionate about writing as a means for thinking, communication, expression, and action.