In the second half of my Freshman Writing Seminar (FWS), we began reading excerpts from critical texts such as Jacques Derrida’s Différance, Edward Said’s Orientalism, and Michel de Montaigne’s Of Cannibals. These texts challenged the students to think about difference beyond the literary texts they were previously exposed to, and to gauge the academic register of literary criticism. The prompt also asks the students to bring in an external resource, which is a way to introduce research and using secondary resources that would be useful later for their final project.
In my FWS, I try to vary the kinds of the feedback that I provide on student work because students will respond differently to each kind. A rubric is a great way to set expectations for the quality of work from the very beginning of the course. The rubric for writing that I have created is based off a set of skills I want the students to learn in the course . It evaluates student writing on a spectrum, with (-) meaning that the element is lacking, (–>) meaning that the student is headed in the right direction, and (+) meaning that the element is present. As a format of feedback for my students’ first essay, I also employed in during a peer revision assignment for essay 2.