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Teaching Guide for New PWR 1 Instructors

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The guide below is designed to provide a starting point for new lecturers who want quick access to the resources for teaching PWR 1; it consolidates many of the links on Teaching Writing, Canvas, and external websites that you would find helpful to refer to during your first quarters teaching in PWR (and even in years to come!).

Teaching overview 

New lecturers teach PWR 1 for their entire first year.  You’ll teach two sections of the same theme across fall, winter, spring (if you want to change up your theme for spring quarter, you can, though that decision needs to be made in early January).  Sections are each capped at 15 students; each section meets for 110 minutes, twice a week. Helpful links:

Developing your course theme and description

You develop your course theme out of conversations with the Associate Director and PWR 1 course coordinator.  To market your course, you’ll compose a written description and, time permitting, will either submit a still image to accompany your written description or a short 2-minute video.  As part of writing your course description, you’ll create brief sketches for each of the major assignments. Helpful links:

Designing your course syllabus and schedule 

As you design your syllabus for the course, you’ll want to pace your course to move the students from analysis to research in keeping with the required assignment sequence.  Since PWR is a course that focuses on helping students grow as writers, assigned theme-based reading is capped at 75-100 pages a quarter.  Students will do much more reading related to their research projects on their own. It's important that you set up a clear class infrastructure and consistent mode of communication with their students; lecturers should use Canvas, our learning management system, as their class hub. Helpful links:

Designing the Rhetorical Analysis assignment

For the rhetorical analysis assignment, students should perform an analysis of a single short text, whether that text be written, visual, audio, multimedia, etc.  As with all PWR assignments, the rhetorical analysis should include a draft phase (where they receive instructor feedback) and a revision phase.  We recommend that you allow student choice for the text they analyze, whether that be from a library or menu of approved texts that you supply, student free-choice (with approval) of a text they find on their own, or some combination of these approaches.  Ideally, you’ll want to spend the first 3 weeks of the quarter on the rhetorical analysis. You’ll want to design a clear, thoughtful, and thorough assignment sheet that includes key information including evaluation criteria.  Helpful links:

Designing the Texts in Conversation (TiC) assignment  

Designing the Research-based argument assignment

Designing effective learning experiences for students

PWR classes rely on an active learning principle; class activities should have clear learning objectives and should be designed to scaffold the major assignments during the quarter.  During weeks 4 to 6, lecturers also collaborate with librarians to focus on students’ information literacy and to develop effective research strategies. Helpful links:

Holding office hours and conferences

PWR lecturers teaching two sections in a quarter hold 3 hours of office hours a week.  In addition, we meet with students three times over the course of the quarter for 30-minute one-to-one conferences, one for each major assignment.  While you cannot cancel class when holding conferences, you can slot your conferences during your office hours, as long as you remain available by appointment to students who might want to meet outside of conference.  PWR lecturers structure their conferences in many different ways, but no matter what is to create an individualized learning moment for the student. Helpful links:

Providing Feedback and Assessing Student work