Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Heads-Up on New Course Templates

The templates for all courses have been revised (http://www.wcsu.edu/writing/mfa//course-templates.asp). If you are a returning student, please be sure to familiarize yourself with the templates before meeting with your mentor(s). The primary change is that each course now has recommended amounts of reading and writing, an element that many students have requested.

These new guidelines are not intended to discourage creativity in syllabus composition. If you have good reason to veer from the recommendations, just make a case for it in the syllabus. For example, I was happy to approve a syllabus for the Genre History, Criticism, and Theory course last year that used a single textbook. It was a 500+-page textbook anthology of important essays in poetics, and the student analyzed and wrote about every essay in the book, a significant amount of dense work. Similarly, to cite an example I’ve used before, if a student were to identify and catalog every allusion in Ulysses or tracking and cataloging historical and cultural references in Moby Dick, the student would be doing significantly more work than reading and reviewing the collected works of Jonathan Safran Foer. So be creative, but in the absence of inspired creativity, use the guidelines.

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