WAC Weekly Highlight: ENG 1101: Composing Abstractions

This week’s WAC-friendly highlighted assignment

Professor: Matthew K. Gold

Course: ENG 1101: Composing Abstractions (https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/groups/eng-1101-composing-abstractions/)

Assignment: (https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/abstractions/2012/09/11/class-notes-91112/)

Students were asked to jot down  a number of adjectives and sensory experiences that define New York City in their lives.  They then split off into groups where they shared their lists, and based on their collective sensory experiences devised an imaginary structure or place in the city.  Students then composed a descriptive paragraph proposing the building/creation of their site in NYC.  Over the next two days, each group revised their proposals and posted them on the site blog.

What WAC principle(s) does this assignment exemplify?

The principle of scaffolding (building up from a small assignment to a larger one) is demonstrated by asking students to first compose a  list, followed by a short composition that incorporates contributions from each group member.  This is taken a step further as each group must then revise their original draft and subsequently post in on the course blog.

Each group’s work showed evidence of revision (organization/content was clear and relevant, general lack of typo/grammatical errors).  Each group focused on a unique sensory experience and devised a  creative and original  means of enhancing (or avoiding) those sensory experiences.  For example, one group proposed a sky gliding exhibit, highlighting the ability to experience NYC’s beauty from above in contrast to doing soon the ground (which has the unfortunate effect of seeming dirty).  A very novel idea from this and many other groups!

How might this type of assignment be used in other courses across the curriculum?

Other courses may want to consider a similar format in which instead of asking students only for a final product, require them to demonstrate their progress towards their final project with smaller assignments.  This will also help students digest potentially challenging course material and organize their thought process for their final drafts.

Class Notes – 9/11/12

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