Along with understanding the principal themes of Writing 140, students will also find it useful to understand the instructional approaches that will be followed in their composition section. Unlike many content courses that must, because of their large enrollments, depend primarily upon lecture-based pedagogy, the Writing Program stresses dialogue as the basis for instruction. This means that students are expected to participate fully and responsibly in the discussions and activities of their writing class, not only in terms of interactions with their instructor but also with their classmates.
To encourage dialogue and interaction, the Writing Program uses the writing workshop as the principal mode of instruction. Since writing is something we do, not just something we need to know about, writing workshops will allow students to practice the skills they are expected to master. During workshop sessions, students will participate in a variety of reading and writing activities—discussing topics, generating ideas, drafting and revising essays, and analyzing their own writing and that of other students. Although occasional brief lectures may be used to present specific material, the majority of class time in Writing 140 will be spent in workshop sessions, so students should come to class each day prepared to participate, not just listen. To participate effectively, students should plan to keep up with the readings and other homework, have their drafts and other writing projects ready on time, and come to class prepared to raise questions and exchange ideas with their instructors and other students.
Along with their participation in writing workshops, students will also take part in five writing conferences of various kinds. Some of these will be one-to-one conferences with their instructor; others may be group conferences in which the instructor meets with several students together. In either case, the objective is to increase the feedback that students receive on their writing and to offer further opportunities for dialogue and interaction. An additional forum for instruction and interaction is provided by the Writing Center, where students can go to receive assistance on any aspect of the writing process.