WRIT 102 Resource Guide


This guide is for first time instructors and was created in response to suggestions by former instructors. It has three primary functions.

Assignment sheets, rubrics, and other materials will be in the Assignment Library.

Handbook Replacement

Because WRIT 102 no longer uses a handbook, we thought this guide would be helpful to new instructors for collecting resources that they could use in the classroom.

See Also

Two open educational resources that you can use in addition to this guide.

Troubleshooting Guide

The committee also drew on their experiences in the 102 classroom to pull together a troubleshooting guide about areas we noticed that our students consistently struggle with.

Class Management

Because new instructors sometimes find it challenging to pace out a class meeting, we have created detailed class plans that should give you a rough idea of how long different class activities might take. These instructional guides are not mandatory; we invite you to modify any materials based on your comfort and your learning goals for each class.

How to Use this Guide

Includes a weekly and daily calendar for both MWF and T/R classes. It will also reference documents in the assignment library as well as links to Open Educational Resources in Excelsior OWL and Marc Watkins’s WRIT 102 OER Collection.

Classroom Management

Contributed by Charlsie Haire

  • Although students are very proficient at using SnapChat and Instagram, they may not be able to submit an assignment to the correct submission box on Blackboard. It’s worth spending two minutes of class to show them exactly where to submit each major assignment.

  • Many international students may not know how to paraphrase appropriately but are usually aware of this weakness. Some domestic students may not know how to paraphrase either but are more prone to think that practicing this skill is a waste of time. Explaining your rationale for repeating something that students may or may not have learned in high school may increase their motivation for completing activities like this.

  • Students may be vocal about their frustrations with class activities and grades during class, which is not an ideal time to have a discussion about such matters. To avoid this, consider adding a clause in your syllabus expressing that you value their thoughts/opinions/suggestions/questions about grades and activities but to come to your office if they’d like to have discussions about these topics.

  • College students still use the “my dog ate my homework” excuse, but now it’s the “I left my homework in my dorm” excuse. You don’t have to make an exception to accept late work for this excuse.

  • There will always be one or two students who come to office hours every time you offer them. These students either want you to do everything for them or are “straight A” students who have a question about a comma.

  • Have an activity/assignment or two ready to post to BB or send to a colleague in case an emergency prevents you from attending class on short notice. You could have a “back-pocket” activity/assignment for each theme or could have a few “general” back-pocket activities such as creating effective titles, practice with citations, etc.

  • You probably care more about some students’ progress than they do. Try to find a balance between “hand-holding” and teaching them to be responsible.

WRIT 102 Units

  • Analysis: Even though students completed an analysis assignment in 100/101, some students may still think the first assignment is a summary. It’s helpful to have a “summary vs. analysis” day during this unit.

  • Synthesis: Spending a good bit of time looking at sample papers for the synthesis assignment is a good idea, as many students will think they understand the assignment description but may not.

  • Research: As tempting as it may be, you can’t try to talk about every bit of a paper in a 15-minute conference.

  • Multimodal: This assignment doesn’t have to be complicated.

  • CPB: Ensuring that you save enough time at the end of class for CPB posts or that you begin classes with these will reinforce the value of reflection and will also lead to fewer missed posts on the CPB. Be sure that you emphasize that this is a semester-long project at the beginning of the semester.

Feedback on Papers

Providing effective feedback is an ongoing challenge in the writing classroom and there are a number of scholarly essays that explore this area. Novice writers often resist revision. You will find that students may change surface level errors when pointed out and will seem unwilling or unable to change deeper, global concerns. Part of this resistance is seeing first draft as “last draft.” I often tell students that good writing seems like no effort at all and so students strive for a perfect first draft without understanding the process that went into it. You can then imagine that they often feel like failed writers because their first drafts are so weak (the essay, “Shitty First Drafts,” might help alleviate this approach). Students will probably also not understand a number of your comments and will look at the feedback you provide as a code to be deciphered in order to “give what the teacher wants.” Be mindful of this as you leave comments on the paper and try to be consistent in what you say, referencing terms and lessons from class (to create a shared vocabulary).

It’s always good to give some kind of feedback on student writing during the process. You can do a full draft with comments or you can spotcheck different areas like thesis, introduction, etc. During the research paper, however, you should conference with students and review a draft, checking for issues with sources. This a good time to review the draft for any potential plagiarism problems.

The style of commenting may depend on the needs of the student. Some students will need more directive comments (specific suggestions for how to revise a sentence or paragraph) to help them improve. Others thrive on facilitative comments (open-ended questions to get the student thinking about their paper). Some are overwhelmed with the number of comments while others like a lot. You might consider asking students for what kind of comments they like.

Consider this question when commenting on student papers: What was the student trying to achieve and how can my comment help them achieve that? Focus on your student as a writer.

Good practices

  1. Make the reading of comments be a reflective practice. Students often receive their graded papers and then do not read the comments. In fact, Underwood & Tregidgo (2006) recommend that grades and comments be given separately. Students see comments as a justification for the grade rather than help with future writing situations. These authors offer a number of good practices in their conclusion.

  2. Students like positive comments, and it has been shown that such comments make students feel better about writing in general. Their writing, however, does not show much improvement. In summative comments, it’s a good idea to provide a good comment that acknowledges their work.

Underwood, Jody S., & Tregidgo, Alyson P. (2006). Improving student writing through effective feedback: Best practices and recommendations. Journal of Teaching Writing, 22(2), 73-97.

Pacing of the Semester

WRIT 102 is a fast-paced class. It is tempting to spend more time on the analysis and synthesis units as some students will still struggle with these concepts. However, you will need a full month for students to work on the research paper and the last projects — the multimodal and final epilogue reflection — should be given sufficient instruction and process time. It’s the experience of the WRIT 102 curriculum committee that assigned readings will occur more frequently in the first half of the class; the second half of the semester will focus on the students’ research and writing. You may find that you aren’t assigning much from the textbook at this point. Below is a recommendation for how many class periods to devote to each unit.

Days per Unit



























  • Library Day: 1

  • Conferences: 1

Pacing of the individual class sessions

If you don’t have a lot of experience running a classroom, one element that will take time to become comfortable with experience is understanding how long activities will take in a class. Aim for two activities in a 50 minute period and 3 activities in a 75 minute period. Your mileage will vary, of course, depending on the class personality. It’s important to mix up the activities to keep students fresh and attentive. Sitting for a 50 minute lecture is nobody’s idea of fun. Mix up the time with presentations, videos, group work, in-class drafting and reflective writing. The calendars in the assignment library will give you some idea of how you can structure a class.


Writing is personal and can make us feel vulnerable so students will often view your grading as highly subjective (and may also see it as a comment on how you feel about them). So, it’s important to provide and reference some kind of grading rubric throughout the writing process. There are rubrics provided for each assignment that align with WRIT 102 learning outcomes. You may modify them, but keep in mind the goals for each assignment as you do.

Introduce rubrics early, perhaps in conjunction with a sample paper. Have students use the rubric to assess the writing. Make it clear throughout the writing process the areas you will be assessing specifically for the assignment and model this through a sample paper. Always give a copy of the rubric (printed or digital) to the student in addition to the feedback (though these do not have to be delivered at the same time).

It’s important to return papers with feedback as soon as you can. Aim for a week after you have received the paper but not more than two weeks. Students will need the feedback to help them with their current writing task. If you find you are spending too much time on papers, how much feedback are you leaving?

See Also

Calendars and best practice guides for individual assignments are located in the WRIT 102 Assignment Library