CAS WR 151

Writing, Research, & Inquiry with Oral and/or Signed Expression

Like the First-Year Writing Seminar (WR 120), Writing, Research, & Inquiry will help you cultivate skills and habits of mind essential to your academic success and to your future personal, professional, and civic life. Like WR 150 and WR 152, this class will build on what you learned in WR 120 by providing you with a solid grounding in college-level research. Distinguishing WR 151 from these other classes is the emphasis we will put on oral/signed expression. Like writers, speakers and signers face a range of questions. Who is my audience, and what kind of expression does the occasion call for? How should I structure my presentation to engage, inform, persuade, and even entertain my audience? How can I clearly express my ideas both in oral/signed communication and in written form? In this class we will review general principles about how to address such questions, and we will put those principles into practice as we read, talk, and write about our topic.

Course Objectives

You will receive three Hub units for this class: Writing, Research and Information Literacy, and Oral/Signed Expression.

You will develop your abilities to
• ethically and strategically search for, differentiate between, and select both scholarly and non-scholarly sources in oral/signed and written formats and read or listen to them with understanding, engagement, and critical judgment.
• express yourself orally and converse thoughtfully about complex ideas, appreciating and exploiting the essential connections between oral and written communication.
• understand research as a process and engage a range of sources in order to address research questions and to communicate findings in the form of responsible, considered, and well-structured verbal arguments.
• communicate clearly and coherently in a range of genres and styles, using different media and modes of oral, signed, and written expression as appropriate in order to participate in communities of learning.
• plan, draft, rehearse, and revise efficiently and effectively, and help your peers do the same by responding productively to their work.
• reflect on how research, reading, oral and signed expression, writing, and editing practices differ for different audiences, genres, and purposes in order to evaluate and improve them.

Instructional Format, Course Pedagogy, and Approach to Learning

Although they differ with regard to their subject content, all WR seminars share common goals and proceed through a sequence of assignments that emphasize a process of planning, drafting, and revising informed by feedback from your classmates and instructor. You will reflect on your approach to this process so that you can adapt it to future occasions. The seminar will also give you opportunities to engage in focused scholarly inquiry and conversation. To cultivate your skills in Research and Information Literacy, you will undertake a sustained research project, exploring new ways to find, evaluate, and engage with information from different sources and in different formats. Instruction in oral/signed expression aims explicitly at making the resources of writing available to speech/signing and vice versa: students will learn to infuse their writing with the liveliness and urgency of oral exchange and to develop an oral style commensurate with the thoughtfulness of their reading and writing. Assignments with an oral/signed component will contribute to research and writing activities (and make up at least 20% of a student’s final grade). The number, type, timing, and grade percentage of individual assignments will be determined by the instructor, but over the course of the semester, each student will receive explicit instruction and be responsible for demonstrating proficiency in each the following five areas.

Elocution
Students will demonstrate the skills needed to communicate effectively in a range of contexts. These skills include confidence, pacing, volume, enunciation, eye contact, and a varied vocal and gestural delivery.

Extemporaneity
Students will be able to speak or sign well in unscripted situations. An ability to improvise is key to succeeding in such crucial tasks as job interviews and oral defenses, where one doesn’t always know the next question or topic. More immediately, seminar students must be able to “think on their feet” to carry on discussions in real time, ask follow-up questions, entertain opposing views, and engage in sound debate without the luxury of long reflection or editing.

Leadership/Authority
Drawing on the expertise they have gained from their individual sustained research projects, students will share their findings in a variety of ways throughout the semester, including an assignment wherein each student must lead at least 15 minutes of class time on his or her own. Students will demonstrate their expertise by fairly and comprehensively reporting research without plagiarizing, by showing an original response and argument related to the topic, and by helpfully answering questions and persuasively addressing concerns from classmates and the teacher.

Retrieval
Students will correctly summarize or quote from material from previous lessons and readings without slides or note cards. Activities could range from simply answering a teacher’s questions to recitation or declamation assignments for which students are required to memorize a text completely. Students will practice oral retrieval throughout the semester.

Reflection
Students will regularly reflect on and evaluate their peers’ and their own performance on oral and signed tasks. In addition to a significant end-of-semester reflection as part of the Final Portfolio, reflection tasks may include having students fill out forms or rubrics for peer review of classmate presentations as well as assessing video recordings their own presentations.

Book an Online Writing Consultation

Writing Consultants are available for online tutoring for all CAS WR classes. Appointments can be booked online. Appointments will be held online only until further notice.
 
Learn more
 

WR Transfer Credit

Did you take or are you planning to take a writing class at another school? You may be able to receive WR transfer credit for it.
Click here

Alumni Writing Awards

CAS is now accepting nominations for its annual Alumni Awards for Writing Excellence. This year alumni donors will recognize four outstanding student papers: two in the Humanities, one in the Natural Sciences, and one in the Social Sciences. Contest information