WRIT 150: Writing and Critical Reasoning–Thematic Approaches (Technology and Social Change)

Course Description and Objectives

Most people write to do something—to enter the “conversations” of a variety of communities, and to share ideas and perspectives that may shape or change what is already known. In WRIT 150, we will analyze and practice the different skills and strategies that writers use to fulfill such writing goals in several different argumentative and analytical contexts. Instead of focusing only on the final texts that are produced, we will also focus on exploring developing processes of writing, including how to find and develop new ideas that might be of interest and value to certain communities (invention strategies, research strategies, and audience analysis); how to explore these ideas and “wrote to learn,” experimenting with a variety of writing features and techniques (drafting); how to adjust or change our drafts and ideas based on others’ responses to our texts (revision); and how to present out ideas in the forms that our readers expect and value (style, documentation, editing, and proofreading).

We will discuss and practice these skills and explore how such processes of writing and critical reasoning overlap, double back, and repeat. By the end of this course, you should have a better idea of the writing process broadly as well as a clearer articulation of what works for you in your own writing process.

In addition to developing these writing skills and processes, this course focuses on the ways in which we conduct critical analysis. As part of a university academic community, we are challenged to delve deep into the issues that we encounter in the world and in our academic disciplines. We will use a variety of approaches for developing critical reasoning skills in this class, including participation in scholarly conversations with multiple sources and perspectives in order to develop new knowledge.

Technology and Social Change

This thematic will promote the development of strong writing and critical reasoning skills by providing an opportunity to examine the way technology affects our personal, civic, and social lives. We might be accustomed to thinking about technology in terms of increases in power, knowledge, and convenience in our daily lives.

But if we think of technology as just a tool—something we use to control or explore territory, to accomplish a task or answer a question, we might miss how at the same time our tools are in a sense using us, fundamentally changing the human experience.

Technology is changing the way we define foundational cultural terms, such as “truth,” “happiness,” and “freedom,” and therefore has an enormous impact on the way we work, live, love, and die. Is technology making us better informed? Better citizens? How has technology changed the idea of happiness? Are we more or less alone? This course will investigate philosophical and ethical questions such as these that technology raises.

Relevant Course Materials (PDF format)

Syllabus

Writing Project One: Analyzing the Role of Social Media in Cultural Activism

Writing Project Two: Distinguishing Humanity from Technology

Writing Project Three: Conflicts of Technologies in Argument

Writing Project Four: Predicting the Future through Science Fiction