The study of voice is an enormous topic. In this course, we will explore voice through different disciplines, methodologies, and creative activities. Because our approach is unique, lecture presentations and discussion sections are essential for your development and success in this course—there is no textbook that you can read to “catch up” on what we will do together. Readings will sometimes illuminate concepts and ideas and develop our understanding, or they will supplement unit themes through a variety of approaches. We will read texts, articles, creative works, watch videos, and listen to music and to podcasts. Taking on these materials seriously will contribute greatly to your gains from this experience. As part of the course we will consistently turn your understanding towards practical applications that help develop skills and preparation for broader academic and career ambitions.
Preparing for Lecture
Lectures will be critical for introducing the unit’s theme, presenting examples to consider, and for integrating ideas explored in the given readings. You will be expected to read anywhere between 10-25 pages a week. Reading assignments should be completed in advance of the week’s lectures. Complete your readings by Monday so you come to class with background and ideas. We will often provide guidance for how to prepare each week, along with directed questions to help stimulate thought processes and discussion. We encourage you to take notes from your preparation, and to highlight sections or passages from the readings that seem key to your understanding, and to bring those to class. This course encourages you to be an active learner. When possible, in lecture we will engage you in active reflection, ask you questions, and on occasion, have you share thoughts or talk out ideas with other students. Come to lecture well prepared, and be ready to listen and engage!
Preparing for Section
Weekly Sections will provide you a community for close discussion. In section, we’ll engage you in a variety of activities that will contribute to your learning, expose you to different kinds of writing and reflection that will help in the production of projects for this course. These will include short writing exercises, creative responses, discussion, collaborative work, and more. Before each unit, you will receive instructions for your section activity preparation. Please prepare your section work by the end of Monday, in advance of your section meetings. Come to section with ideas, an open mind, and be ready to discuss and engage!
The course activities, assignments, and final project are designed to be broad and diverse, with the aim to expose you to a variety of analytic methods for critical thinking, and a range of academic, public, and creative writing platforms for you to learn and to apply to future academic and professional experiences. You will have several opportunities to work in pairs and small groups in effort to expose you to the importance of collaboration, a skill we often miss during our college classroom experience which can often be singularly driven. Working with others forces us to listen and to communicate, but it also reveals our need to recognize difference, to respect individual identities, and to develop empathy. As part of your on-going work and final project, you will also develop an electronic portfolio (e-portfolio), which will serve as a personal showcase and archive of the work you have achieved in this course, but will also provide material you can extend to other learning, career, and creative porfolios you will produce in the future.
Section Writing and Activities
Our aim in our weekly sections is to present a diverse set of activities to engage you in both large and small group discussions, and to allow for collaborative relationships to develop among your section community. Our goal is to expose you to a range of different writing and conceptual exercises that can serve as models, and can be adapted to your larger e-portfolios, but might also serve as skills you can hone in your career futures.
You will prepare two larger assignments that form the major pillars of this course, and that allow you to develop a range of skills—conceptual, analytical, creative, and pragmatic—that you will integrate into your final e-portfolios.
The first assignment will ask you to listen to non-traditional voices, and through observation, analysis, and some reading, you will produce two short but contrasting pieces of writing crafted for a public audience (e.g., blog, vlog, short journalistic article, academic writing piece). The goal of this project is to expand our notions of “voice” through new knowledge acquired in the course, and transfer those ideas into writerly formats that are produced for different publics.
The second assignment will be collaborative. You will work with a partner or small group, and your first task will be to find a location in which you can listen to and interact with many forms of voices. With your partner or small group you will keep a reflection diary that responds to and reflects on a number of questions. These will form the basis for co-writing an academic, but general interest article on your experience. The goal of this project is to foster the kind of listening, communication, and collaboration we frequently encounter in work and personal settings.
Final Project and E-Portfolio
After engaging you in an expansive range of course materials, your final project will be primarily a writing-based activity that will allow you to draw from a range of knowledge you’ve acquired, in order to focus specifically on a single aspect that spoke to you most. You are encouraged to build upon models presented throughout the quarter (in cases discussed in lecture, or through section activities and diverse writings) as a means through which you can develop, extend, or challenge your ideas. You can think of this final project as an expansion of something shorter you completed earlier in the quarter, though we are open to a number of different creative outcomes. One expectation will be to have you consult a working bibliography of additional sources from which to build your project; we will require at least one new source in addition to those from the class that you will work with, not just as a piece to reference, but as something that helps spawn or shape your ideas.
In addition to the final project, we will have you prepare a short reflection piece as a blog post, that has you consider the value of preparing and completing this final project, and how theorizing voice in this work could be extended to your own world, your current student experience, or your future goals.
You will work closely on this project with your section instructor during the last third of the class, so that we can support the process, and help guide your development. We will want you to include this final project, and reflection piece into your e-portoflio, and you will integrate any of the lessons you might draw from the academic work for this final assignment into creative or conceptual features of your portfolio.