Guidelines for Writing a WRTG 105 Description

What to know before you begin conceptualizing your course description:

  • The greatest challenge of teaching WRTG 105 lies in integrating the course theme and writing content and communicating that writing is not only the primary focus, but also an exciting intellectual area. The description is your first conversation with your students about how course theme and writing work together.
  • Your unique course description instantiates the general WRTG 105 description developed by an interdisciplinary group of faculty.
  • Undergraduates constitute your primary audience; their parents, college faculty, and administrators are your secondary audiences.

Before writing your own description, familiarize yourself with the general description of WRTG 105, as well as the individual section descriptions listed on the Registrar’s course site.

Key Questions Your Description should Answer for your Student Audience

  • How do writing, reading, and argument help students develop and explore interesting questions?
  • How well does your course theme engage students from different disciplines and allow exploration from different disciplinary perspectives?
  • Does your theme allow students to make connections across course readings and think deeply?
  • How does the course theme help students develop as academic writers?
  • How does your particular description enact the goals established in the general WRTG 105 (or 105E or 105A&B) course description and related learning objectives?
  • How does your course description help students see the range of texts they will encounter, along with a few specific examples?
  • Does your description model the kind of writing you would like to receive from your students?

See also information on selecting themes.

Common Problems

  • Limiting your theme to your own research interests: this can make it very hard to create space for authentic student inquiry, to select appropriate readings, and, more generally, to avoid developing a content course with writing—as opposed to a theme-based writing course.
  • Using highly technical or abstract language that is not well suited to your audience.
  • Suggesting that your course has two separate and unrelated topics, writing and your theme.

How to Begin

One way to approach the course description, and your course in general, is to brainstorm a few related questions or problems that might outline the broad focus of your class.

Before you begin writing your course description, take a look at a variety of current course descriptions. Take note of what is similar across disciplines, find one that you like, and decide what it is you like about it.

For consistency, all descriptions should:

  • Include a statement about peer response, reflection, revision, and the required 8-10 page argumentative research paper. To help establish a common language around the writing process, please use the following terms:  "peer feedback” or “peer response”; “reflection", "self-reflection”, or "writer reflection"; and "8-10 page argumentative research paper”.
  • Identify text genres (, scholarly articles, films, fiction, philosophical tracts) and at least few representative texts so that students can learn a bit about course content.
  • Be no more than 200 words.