Composition II (ENC 1102) Workshop Model (WM) introduces students to the field of rhetoric and provides students with an opportunity to analyze, research and compose arguments through a workshop model approach. This course emphasizes a variety of teaching modalities and learning spaces by negotiating not only the traditional classroom space, but also one-on-one, small group and online spaces/literacies. ENC 1102 focuses on the ways writers gain "agency" via argument, negotation, and reasoning. The workshop model course structure prepares students for real world experiences through their practice and response in variable learning environments.
The course focuses on "agency" as a theme because effective writing is a form of power. To have an impact on their readers and positively influence the world, writers need to be able to cogently discuss complicated matters, advocate necessary changes, negotiate differences, and construct proposals for change. In academic contexts, writers gain agency by understanding the elements of effective argument and negotiation. Writers gain agency by understanding the needs and concerns of their audiences and by following the conventions for conducting inquiry and citing sources. Agency in this sense also indicates knowledge of available resources and the acquired ability to find, analyze, and integrate these resources into our communication tasks. In academic contexts, agency is not always political or personal--though it can be. For example, in the sciences or social sciences, writers can gain agency by writing a convincing argument about a chemical, biological, physical process. Writers can gain agency in the humanities by helping disputing parties negotiate conflicting interpretations of something.
To help students gain agency as academic authors, the major projects in 1102 emphasize analyzing arguments from a rhetorical perspective (Project 1), developing arguments and negotiating differences (Project 2), and using writing to effect change (Project 3). Below is a summary of major course activities:
- Students write three major projects. Students will write a reflective response after each writing project that summarizes their writing process as well as the relative argument, persuasion, and rhetorical principles they have learned.
- Students participate in at least two peer review activities/writing project, which will provide them with the opportunity to provide constructive feedback in response to their fellow classmates’ writing.
- Students complete homework,discussion board posts, and class work that support their success with each of the three major projects.
- Students will conference weekly with their instructor (and peer groups) during the semester.
Resources and Context
The division of time for such a model incorporates approximately one-hour/week of class time and one and one-half hours/week of individual and group conferences. Group conferences may also include instructional time. Such a workshop model offers more attention to peer review and increased opportunities for students to receive individual attention through one-on-one teacher-student conferences and teacher-student group conferences.
As students take courses in various disciplines, they are introduced to multiple genres, from brief in-class written exams to research reports, lab reports, medical narratives, business reports, legal briefs, field notes, and more. As such, being an effective writer is tied to the ability to assess each communication situation for purpose and audience. Depending on the writing’s purpose and the intended audience, writers make appropriate choices as to whether they should employ the first-person or the third-person point of view and whether evidence should be based on experience or on textual research. They also make choices as it relates to document design and accepted documentation style.
“I liked that we met as an entire class once a week, but saw the small group meetings as more beneficial as we were able to ask more specific questions and get specific feedback from the professor…it allowed me to get to know my professor more as well as my peers, and gave us a chance to interact more than we could as an entire class.”
“I find it very beneficial being in this [workshop] model. By being not only a traditional classroom, but also one-on-one, and in small groups is a refreshing change and helps me understand projects more in depth.”