Sunday, August 31, 2014

Beginning of fall semester

Next Wednesday (9/3) will be the first day of classes, and marks the beginning of my fourth year teaching at Northeastern University. Time flies! This semester I'll be teaching two courses that are somewhat new to me: an advanced writing course for students in the business school and a new advanced writing course focusing on interdisciplinarity.

The first course isn't completely unfamiliar to me because most of the previous advanced writing courses I've taught have been largely (though not exclusively) populated by business majors. I'll be a bit more focused on some business-related genres, though, than on the kinds of academic genres I used to teach.

In the second course, we'll be focusing more on academic writing. This course will ideally be populated by students from a lot of different majors (though it looks like in one section of the two sections I'm teaching, most of the students are from the business school--more on the reasons for that later). Students will start out by investigating their disciplinarity discourse communities and sharing with their classmates the discourse conventions of those disciplines. Then we'll move from there into working with classmates from a different major on an interdisciplinary research project. We'll be trying to figure out how to go beyond the conventions/discourses/blinders of our individual disciplines in order to investigate topics or problems that themselves aren't limited to one discipline. This course is new--in the past, there was a general course in writing in the disciplines, but the focus wasn't so much on interdisciplinarity.

For both of these courses, I'm teaching the multilingual sections (traditionally called the SOL [Speakers of Other Languages] sections, for people whose native languages aren't English). In the past, there wasn't a multilingual section of the business writing course, but we found that most of the students in the multilingual sections of the general course were business majors, so we decided to open a special course for multilingual business majors. There's only one section for that course, though, which is why, I think, the interdisciplinary course is populated primarily by business majors (who might be surprised by the focus of the course--we'll see...).

We'll see how these courses go. Perhaps I'll post more about them later...

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