Sample Assignments

Assignments in WRI 1000 and 1100 are built around our shared course outcomes. Here is a sampling of what those assignments could look like.

Rhetorical Knowledge

This outcome asks that students consider the complex relationships between audience, purpose, and genre while using the kinds of writing that communicate knowledge and ideas in various disciplines. To this end, in WRI 1000 and/or 1100, students may

Read an article and then identify the moves the writer makes that are different than what they’d see in a piece of writing from another field or another genre.  Consider why the writer makes these moves, what the moves allow the writer to do, what the moves keep the writer from doing, and what (if anything) students can take from how this article is written and apply to their own writing.

Carolyn Miller defines genres as “rhetorical ways of acting in recurring situations.”  Read an article  and then identify the situation the writer writes in.  Consider how the form this writing takes helps the writer respond to that situation.  Why does the writer write in this manner, instead of some other way?

Write something that imitates the form of a piece of writing  as closely as possible.  Afterword, write a two-page analysis of their own writing identifying specific moves they made that were unique to this genre of writing, explaining why these moves are useful in this writing situation.

Critical Inquiry

This outcome asks that students understand the kinds of questions, problems, and evidences that are important in the discipline and genre they’re writing in, and that they also work with disciplinary research materials, both primary and secondary.  To this end, in WRI 1000 and 1100 students may

Read a text that draws on a wide range of different types of research.  Classify a handful of citations from the article, answering questions like: is it primary or secondary?  Who is its audience?  What tier journal is it?  What type of review or vetting process did the article cited undergo?

Conduct a Google search and a search on a database of the same topic.  What does each produce?  Students compare the results from each search, evaluating the sources and asking in what circumstances the results from one search would be preferable to the other.

Read a dense article.  As a class, walk through reading it: how to read the title, the abstract, the section headings, the bibliography, the author biographies.  Consider various strategies for reading, such as skimming, or reading the introduction and conclusion first, or using the bibliography to situate the writer within the field.


This outcome asks that students develop a writing project through multiple drafts, using writing as a tool for the discovery, refinement, and communication of ideas.  To this end, in WRI 1000 and 1100 students may

Write a proposal that identifies a topic, the student’s personal interest in the topic, an issue within the topic, what others have said and are saying about the topic, and a hypothesis of what the student thinks she’ll find upon researching the topic.

Share their own processes for writing.  What do you struggle with and why?  What writing challenges are unique to this field?

Read a peer’s paper first as a Believer—someone who is interested and generous, someone who always wants more—and then a second time as a Doubter—someone who finds fault in and pokes holes through the writing.  Revise based on this two-fold feedback.

Write an essay where you analyze your own writing, noting the significant revisions from draft to draft and placing those revisions in relation to the course outcomes.


This outcome asks that students produce writing that is suitable for the field, occasion, or genre in its use of claims, evidence, structure, diction, and citation.  Also, students will understand how conventions for structure, style, and citation vary among genres and among disciplines. To this end, in WRI 1000 and 1100 students may

Find an author who publishes both for the academy and in the popular press.  Compare the writer’s style and use of conventions.  How does the writer change what s/he does stylistically in response to different rhetorical situations?

Revise and edit a paper using the strategies from Greene and Lidinsky’s From Inquiry to Academic Writing. 

Work through the exercises in The Little Seagull.