students writing

Writing Courses Fall 2019 – Winter 2020

Our WRIT courses are small classes mostly run as workshops. All WRIT courses at the 1000 and 2000 level are capped at 25 students; LIBR 2100 at 30 students. 3000 and 4000-level courses have no more than 20 students. These small classes let your professors give you individual attention and plenty of feedback on your writing.

Writ 1120 students (1)

WRIT 1120: Writing Theory and Practice / half unit

Half (0.5) unit — Fall or Winter term

In this course, you will approach writing from a rhetorical perspective: that is, writing is not just a matter of following a series of rules or applying a set of templates. Instead, writing involves making choices that are appropriate to the situation. Assignments will include, but also extend beyond, traditional academic writing. You will get practice in drafting and substantial revision as well as editing and polishing. Issues of academic integrity and accurate citation will be addressed in the process of developing research-informed papers.

This course is the foundation of the Writing Minor; it is recommended that you take 1120 before you attempt any other WRIT or WRIT/ENGL courses.

In WRIT 1120, you will be challenged and assisted to develop new strengths, whether or not you consider yourself to be a “good writer “already. This course is not “remedial;” it is university-level. There is a firm exit standard: all students must demonstrate the same minimum competence in university-level writing in order to pass the course. To help you and your professor understand the challenges ahead, you will be asked to write in the very first class, for an entry benchmark. That is the purpose of the Calendar note which reads “A writing exercise will be assigned in the first class. Students whose performance is judged inadequate will be strongly recommended to withdraw from the course.”


01F Monday & Wednesday 9:00-10:15 TBA

02F Monday & Wednesday 10:30-11:45 TBA

03F Monday & Wednesday 4.30 – 5:45 TBA

04F Tuesday & Thursday 10:30-11:45 Dr. Nathaniel Street

05F Tuesday & Thursday 3:00 – 4:15 Dr. Anna Smol

18F TLCOL Wednesday 6:00-7:15 TBA


06W Monday & Wednesday 9:00 – 10:15 TBA

07W Monday & Wednesday 10:30-11:45 TBA

08W Tuesday & Thursday 9:00-10:15 TBA

09W Tuesday & Thursday 10:30 – 11:45 TBA

19W TLCOL Wednesday 6:00 – 7:15 TBA

This course is the foundation of the Writing Minor; it is recommended that you take 1120 before you attempt any other WRIT or WRIT/ENGL courses.

ENGL/WRIT 2220 Writing to Influence / half unit

Winter term 01W Tuesday and Thursday 1:30 2:45 Dr. Nathaniel Street
Fall term 18F TLCOL Wednesday 6:00 – 7:15 TBA

Pre-requisite: WRIT 1120 or five units of university study.

If you are taking this course in the Writing Minor, you are recommended to complete WRIT 1120 first.

This class will take Aristotle’s definition of rhetoric as “an ability, in each case, to see the available means of persuasion” as a starting point for theorizing and practicing the persuasive power of writing. We will study rhetorical concepts and techniques — such as invention, kairos, ethos, stasis, and topoi — for discovering, creating, and analyzing rhetorical argument. Students will do this by learning the theory and history of these concepts, practice using them to analyze the rhetorical power of example texts, and mobilize them in their own writing. This work will culminate in a semester-long research project written for a popular audience in the spirit of essays written for publications like The Walrus, The Atlantic, or The New Yorker.

ENGL/WRIT 2221 Creative Writing/ half unit

Fall term
Monday and Wednesday 4:30 – 5:45
Instructor: TBA

Pre-requisite: 0.5 unit of English at the 1000 level or permission of the instructor.

If you are taking this course in the Writing Minor, you are recommended to complete WRIT 1120 first.

A study of lyric and narrative thinking via specific writing assignments in poetry, fiction, and/or nonfiction, in a workshop environment. Reading and written discussion of (and visits by) contemporary writers is central to the course, with peer-reviewed literary journals drawn on as texts and to establish standards.

WRIT 2222 Introduction to Editing/half unit

Winter term
Tuesday and Thursday 9:00 – 10:15
Instructor: TBA

Pre-requisite: WRIT 1120 and ENGL/WRIT 2220 or permission of the instructor.

An introduction through workshops and case studies to the history and practice of text editing, from manuscript analysis, structural and stylistic issues to copy editing and proofing galleys, in a range of genres: literary, scholarly, scientific, and popular. Students will have access to manuscripts and editing professionals. Based on the Professional Editorial Standards of the Editors’ Association of Canada.

ENGL/WRIT 3221 Creative Non-Fiction/half unit

Fall term
Tuesday and Thursday 1:30 – 2:45
Instructor: Dr. Nathaniel Street

The ancient Greeks commonly combined rhetorical instruction with athletic and musical training, which were often done in the same room in sync with each other (the aulus and lyre players would keep a beat so that students could literally stay in rhythm with each other). This educational strategy deliberately weaves bodily movement, sensation, voice, and mind. This may seem strange to us today because the Greeks, unlike us moderns, were hesitant to make any strong division between the mind and the body. It made sense for them to train the brain like it was a muscle and the body like it had an intellect. For these reasons, ancient rhetorical training was primarily driven by exercises, especially imitation, repetition, and adaptation. When written, these exercises were called the progymnasmata, which included fables, maxims, ekphrasis (vivid descriptions that entice the senses), refutations, encomiums and invectives (speeches of praise and blame), and personification. The purpose of these exercises wasn’t so much to teach these specific genres of writing, but to train aspiring rhetors in a wide range of rhetorical moves and techniques (in the same way one would teach bodily moves and techniques); and, more importantly, to develop an agility in using those moves so that students would be comfortable mobilizing them when the situation called for them.

In keeping with, and relying on, the tradition of the progymnasmata, this course is aimed at developing your rhetorical facility with creative nonfiction writing, especially in the areas of style, invention, and arrangement. The course will be driven by workshops and, especially, writing exercises that will help you learn how to make a wide range of stylistic moves and train you to adapt those moves based n the specific needs of your writing situation. This will involve a lot of writing; but we will practice writing as an embodied and spatial act. We’ll write in response to objects, visual-art, music. We’ll not only write a variety of genres, but mediums as well. Assignments will be of two kinds: 1) a series of medium-length works that will be drafted and refined for submission and 2) a series of short, generally in-class, writing exercises. Taking this class will help you cultivate habits of writing that will carry over to all arenas of life where writing is important, including academic, personal, and professional arenas.

ENGL/WRIT 3330 Myths and Theories about Writing / half unit

Winter term; section 18W
Wednesday 7:00 – 8:30
Instructor: Dr. Nathaniel Street

Is writing just second-rate speaking? What does it mean to be an author? Does writing communicate and, if so, what? And what is writing, anyway? Beginning with Plato’s Phaedrus, wherein Socrates warns that writing will degrade “living” thought, this class tackles several cornerstone assumptions — or are they myths? — about writing.

This class is structured as an extended meditation on the question of writing. At all points, we could reduce the class and its texts to a handful of simple questions: what is writing? how does it work? how does it affect us? Our course texts will engage these questions from a variety of angles that take into account the mythos of writing. We will treat myth in several ways: as false beliefs about writing that must be re-considered, as legendary points of origin that need to be sifted through, and as a kind of power that must be articulated. We’ll do this by discussing key philosophical and literary texts in class, but you’ll do much of your thinking-work by writing through the texts and the problems and theories they engage Thus, part of the class’ goal is to both theorize and perform the mythological and thinking power of writing.

WRIT / COMM 3512 Scientific Writing/ half unit

Instructor: Dr. Tess Laidlaw (Communication Studies)

An examination of writing in science and technology with particular emphasis on the development of high-level skills in writing and editing documents for a variety of science and technology audiences. Students will build on their previous writing skills and science background to analyze audience needs and write and edit a variety of communication pieces.

LIBR 2100 Introduction to Research in the Information Age / half unit

Prerequisite: recommended that students have completed one term of study
An introduction to research including frameworks for the organization of information in print and online; critical strategies for acquiring, evaluating and communicating information; and ethical and legal (intellectual property, copyright, plagiarism) obligations of using information. Information sources across various disciplines, formats and media will be considered.

PLEASE NOTE: This course is taught by Library faculty. Look under “Library” (LIBR) and not WRIT in order to register for the course.