Course Handouts, Videos, and Assignment Instructions

My curriculum design in Composition 1 and 2 is motivated by the lack of proper and thorough instruction I received in persuasive and research writing throughout my secondary, undergraduate, and graduate career. I give my students carefully constructed assignments that provide scaffolding for the next assignment, and the next, and the next, until by the end of the semester they are writing complex, cohesive, clear papers demonstrating mastery of a subject area and original, critical thought. Each assignment is presented with an assignment description that serves as the rubric for that assignment (100% is divided by the number of required elements described by the rubric). I do not care about formatting, punctuation, spelling, or grammar except in certain assignments, such as the annotated bibliography or the final draft of any assignment requiring more than one draft.

I did a great deal of reading on language acquisition and skills mastery while preparing for my doctoral research. My conclusion is that, in a composition classroom, the best way for me to improve my students’ reading and writing skills is to model certain skills and formats and then get the students to read and write as much as possible, using the skills and formats I have modeled. Specific instruction and practice in skills (“skills and drills”) can be provided by the college Writing Center.

Any handout that is not attributed to another originator in print on that handout or in its listing on this page is my own original work.

How We Make Knowledge

Introductory Materials

How We Make Knowledge Videos and Handouts


Field Analysis Assignment Materials

Family Story Assignment Materials

Personal Narrative Assignment Materials

Group Work Materials


Reading and Taking Notes

Introductory Materials

Strategies of Proficient Readers from Classroom Strategies for Interactive Learning (see Course Texts)

How to Read a Book from Paul N. Edwards, School of Information, University of Michigan (used by permission)


Dogs Decoded, a documentary film that uses the same outline as a formal research paper, providing good practice in identifying key ideas and supporting testimony

How to Read and Take Notes on Cerulli Assignment Description

Response to Graff and Birkenstein Assignment Materials

Response to Hayakawa Assignment Materials


What Plagiarism Is (and Isn’t) and How to Avoid It


Bare-Bones MLA Paper Format, given in formats for various operating systems. I also provide one in RTF, which is not recognized or accepted by WordPress.

Bare-Bones Paper Format Instructions for Students

The PDF file is only for reference. Compare the PDF file to the file that opens on your computer to make sure the formatting of the other file remains correct.

Download whichever attached file (.docx, .doc, .rtf) works your computer. Test it on your computer to make sure it opens and still looks like the PDF. Post a copy of your downloaded file in the correct place on Blackboard (this is so  students will post their writing in a format my computer can read).

Basic Paragraph Format

Transitions and sentence templates are included in the back of Graff & Birkenstein (see Course Texts). I also connect students with good websites for transitions:

Notes for Creating a Research Plan


Introductory Materials

Ethos pathos logos handout


Persuasive Letter Assignment Materials

Audience Analysis and Persuasion Strategy Assignment Materials

The Research Process

Composition 1

Introductory Materials

Assignment Descriptions

How to Write a 150-Word Reflection

How to Write an Autoethnography

Sample Student Work

“What I Learned” 5-Paragraph Essay Assignment Materials

Composition 2

Introductory Materials

The Re-Vision Cycle

Notes for Creating a Research Plan

The Beginning of the Research Process

Evaluating Study Strength

A Scholarly Paper vs a Non-Scholarly Paper

How Do You Know If It Is a Scholarly Paper?

Examples of Scholarly Papers

How Do You Know If It Is NOT a Scholarly Paper

Examples of Non-Scholarly Papers


Research Plan Assignment Materials

Primary Text Analysis Assignment Materials

Audience Analysis and Persuasion Strategy Assignment Materials

Research Proposal Assignment Materials

Annotated Bibliography Assignment Materials

Tentative Outline Assignment Materials

Research Paper Draft 1 Assignment Materials

Research Paper Draft 2

Research Paper Draft 3

Research Paper Final Draft


One response to “Course Handouts, Videos, and Assignment Instructions

  1. This is AMAZING! Seriously, you should write a course manual. I am currently advising thesis students on autoethnography and your post has been very helpful. I was trying to find your BBPF template, but was unable to locate it. Is it possible to use it? Thank you!!

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