The courses you take across Roger Williams University—from General Education, such as CORE 103, to your major—all share at least one common denominator: they are designed for you to learn a specific content. ACCTG 201: Accounting I: Financial, for example, teaches the fundamentals of accounting, with an emphasis on the use of economic data in the decision-making process; CNST 100: Introduction to Construction Management analyzes the cultural context of construction, emphasizing its centrality in the evolution and expansion of the built environment. At the heart of the learning outcomes for these and every other course is the presumption that you will learn the content delivered by those courses. The same is true for courses offered by the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition. We design our courses to provide opportunities for you to engage—to analyze, apply, and adapt—content knowledge from the field of Writing Studies.
The Writing Program at RWU aims to help students acquire the content knowledge—and strategies for applying that knowledge—to write purposefully, incisively, and ethically. WTNG courses at the 200-level support this goal by extending opportunities for students to practice this kind of writing in response to problems that matter for academic, professional, and public audiences. This textbook, written collaboratively by several faculty members in the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition, follows the Writing Program’s learning outcomes by organizing the textbook’s content into six knowledge domains:
- Content Knowledge
- Writing Process Knowledge
- Rhetorical Knowledge
- Genre Knowledge
- Discourse Community Knowledge
- Metacognitive Knowledge
The essays that follow unpack some of the concepts, theories, and approaches developed by teacher/scholars in the field of Writing Studies. Some of these concepts date back thousands of years while others have been developed within the last decade. All are relevant for readers and writers seeking to understand how to communicate with others. Because this course is meant to help you extend your writing experiences beyond the classroom to professional and public situations, the authors of these essays—as teachers and scholars in this writing program—have framed their work to suggest some of the ways the concept, theory, or approach might be usefully applied in a variety of contexts, purposes and audiences.
This book, then, outlines the content knowledge we want you to learn in this class, and explains why.