WRTG 3030 Writing on Science and Society: Topics in Writing

Instructor Contact:

Christina Eisert

Email: Christina.Eisert@colorado.edu

About the Course:

As a future scientist, engineer, or researcher, you will be expected to write and speak clearly to people outside your field.  The purpose of this course is to teach you techniques for writing analytical and argumentative essays, to develop critical thinking skills, and to examine ethical issues in science and to conduct oral presentations.  To this end, the final project for this course is to create a document related to your field that can stand on its own in the real world. Students may pick a single Research Topic to pursue throughout the semester. All assignments can be related back to the Research Topic. Alternatively, students may pick a new topic for each assignment.

Understanding the genre characteristics of your discipline’s discourse community will help you to communicate on a deeper level within your field of study, allowing for more productive critical and creative/divergent thought–and potentially providing access to the spontaneous bursts of sudden insight that lead to innovation within a discourse community.

Through selected reading and writing assignments, students consider ethical and social ramifications of science policy and practice. Focuses on critical thinking, analytical writing, and oral presentation. Taught as a writing workshop, the course addresses communication with professional and non-technical audiences. May be repeated up to 6 total credit hours. Approved for GT-C03. Approved for arts and sciences core curriculum: written communication.

The course includes interactive workshops and analysis of visual rhetorics, including websites, podcasts, video clips, cartoons, and other visual media. Students will post comments on each other’s papers; I will assign groups with different roles for each student; these roles will shift each day.

In addition, technology allows us to analyze the visual rhetoric components of the course. In both large and small group settings, we may critique video streams, isolate individual frames for analysis, and integrate text within the visual media.

WRTG 3030 is designed to extend a student’s rhetorical knowledge by requiring the student to:

Use texts from rhetoric, discourse studies, communication, or related disciplines to extend understanding of rhetorical concepts to the discipline that is the focus of the course.

Develop sophisticated strategies for critical analysis of disciplinary or specialized discourse.

Learn more sophisticated ways to communicate knowledge to appropriate audiences.

Apply reflective strategies to the synthesis, communication, and creation of knowledge.

Extend a student’s experience in writing by requiring the student to: Hone recursive strategies for generating ideas, revising, editing, and proofreading for disciplinary or specialized discourse.

Critique one’s own and other’s work, including the work of professional writers and/or scholars.

Extend a student’s critical and creative thinking by requiring the student to:

Reflect on the implications and consequences of context.

Incorporate alternate, divergent or contradictory perspectives or ideas within one’s own position.

Extend and complicate the consequences of the stated conclusion.

Teach a student how to use sources and evidence by requiring the student to:

Select, evaluate, and synthesize appropriate sources and evidence.

Use discipline-appropriate criteria to evaluate sources and evidence.

Extend a student’s application of composing conventions by requiring the student to:

Select and adapt genre conventions including structure, paragraphing, tone, mechanics, syntax, and style for disciplinary or specialized discourse.

Use specialized vocabulary, format, and documentation appropriately in more extensive or in-depth writing projects.

Course Prerequisites: N/A


By the end of the course you should be able to:

Exhibit a thorough understanding of audience, purpose, genre, and context that is responsive to the situation.

Create and develop ideas within the context of the situation and the assigned task(s).

Apply formal and informal conventions of writing, including organization, content, presentation, formatting, and stylistic choices, in particular forms and/or fieldsCritically read, evaluate, apply, and synthesize evidence and/or sources in support of a claim.

Follow an appropriate documentation system.

Demonstrate proficiency with conventions, including spellings, grammar, mechanics, and word choice appropriate to the writing task.

Required Texts:


Grading (out of n points): 85

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


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1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
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Boulder, Colorado