A Guide to College Writing

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2016-02-01
  • Publisher: Pearson
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For courses in first-year composition and rhetoric.


A refreshing new choice that addresses writing in all college-level courses

A Guide to College Writing is both an excellent introduction to college writing for composition courses that emphasize writing across the curriculum (WAC), and a writing guide for use in any college course.  The text does not teach any one form, but rather how to observe, analyze, and reproduce the forms and intellectual strategies of whatever the students might be asked to read and write. Students are walked through the writing process, beginning with shorter, lower-stakes “microtheme” assignments and scaffolding toward longer, sustained formal projects typical of their discipline. Throughout, students learn how to use writing as a learning tool.


Also available with Pearson Writer

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Note: You are purchasing a standalone product; Pearson Writer does not come packaged with this content. Students, if interested in purchasing this title with Pearson Writer, ask your instructor for the correct package ISBN and Course ID. Instructors, contact your Pearson representative for more information.

If you would like to purchase both the physical text and Pearson Writer, search for:

0134266439 / 9780134266435  A Guide to Writing in College Plus Pearson Writer — Access Card Package

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  • 0134186443 / 9780134186443 A Guide to Writing in College
  • 032197235X / 9780321972354  Pearson Writer — Valuepack Access Card

Author Biography

Chris Anson is Distinguished University Professor and Director of the Campus Writing and Speaking Program at North Carolina State University, where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in language, composition, and literacy and works with faculty across the curriculum to reform undergraduate education in the areas of writing and speaking. Before moving to NCSU in 1999, he spent fifteen years at the University of Minnesota, where he directed the Program in Composition from 1988-96 and was Professor of English and Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor. He received his Ph.D. and second M.A. in English with a specialization in composition studies from Indiana University, and his B.A. and first M.A. in English from Syracuse University.

Chris has received numerous awards, including the North Carolina State University Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professor Award, the State of Minnesota Higher Education Teaching Excellence Award, the Morse-Alumni Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education, and the Governor's Star Service Award for his service-learning work at Minnesota. He was an NCTE Promising Researcher Award Finalist and has received or participated as a co-principal investigator in over $1.8 million in grants.

An avid writer, Chris has published 15 books and over 110 journal articles and book chapters and is on the editorial or reader's boards of ten journals, including College Composition and Communication, College English, Research in the Teaching of English, Across the Disciplines, Written Communication, Assessing Writing, and The Journal of Writing Assessment. He is currently working on research exploring the effect of teachers' oral screencast responses on students' understanding and improvement of their writing.

Chris has given over 550 conference papers, keynote addresses, and invited lectures and faculty workshops across the U.S. and in 29 other countries.

Chris has served as Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (2011-14; Chair, 2013) and as President of the Council of Writing Program Administrators (2002-2005) and spent seven additional years on the WPA Executive Board. He has also served on the CCCC Executive Committee (1993-96 and 2011-14) and 11 other CCCC committees, as well as several NCTE committees. He chaired the NCTE Assembly for Research in 1992-3 and was program co-chair of the NCTE Global Conference on Language and Literacy in Utrecht, Netherlands. He chaired the WPA Task Force on Plagiarism and the WPA Task Force on Internationalization, and formed the MMLA's Writing-Across-the-Curriculum section.

Table of Contents


Writing to Learn, Learning to Write

Why This Book?

What’s In This Book


1.  Writing Across the Curriculum—and Why You Should Care

Writing in College

Writing Across the Curriculum and in the Disciplines

Encountering New Writing Contexts


Working in Different Communities of Practice

Teachers’ Use of the Instructional Design Model

Putting It into Practice


2.  Low-Stakes Writing and Why Should You Take It Seriously

What Is Writing to Learn?

Low Stakes and High Stakes Writing

Academic Journals or Learning Blogs

How to Use Academic Journals or Learning Blogs

Forums and Dialogues

Putting It into Practice


3. Microthemes and Why They’re So Powerful as Tools for Learning

What’s a Microtheme?

Unpacking the Microtheme and Other Short Assignments

What’s the Form?

What’s the Purpose or Goal?

What’s the Level of Formality?

Who’s the Audience?

The “Structure of Activity”

Critical Thinking

It All Starts with Facts: The Power of Description

Taking Things Apart: Analysis

Putting It All Together: Synthesis

Reaching Informed Judgments: Evaluation

What Does It Mean?:  Interpretation

Varieties of Microthemes

Putting It into Practice


4. Higher-Stakes Projects: Getting from Ideas to Text

What Changes with Larger and Higher-Stakes Projects?

What’s Transfer, and Why Practice It?

What About Far-Transfer Situations?

Exploring Your Subject

Finding the Heart of the Matter: The Thesis

Looking for Organizational Patterns

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Creating a Rough Draft

Putting It Into Practice


5. It’s All About Revision

What Does Revision Really Mean?

Revising Using Yourself as Reader

Top-Down Revision: Content


Introductions and Conclusions

Spit and Polish

A Grain of Salt

Revising Using Your Peers as Readers

What’s Peer Review?

How to Get and Give Feedback Face to Face

How to Get and Give Feedback Digitally

Oral Response

Revising Using your Teacher as Reader

Revising with the Help of a Tutor

Getting the Most from Evaluation Criteria

Getting the Most from Online Resources

Putting It into Practice


6. In Search of Research

It All Starts With a Question

Finding the Best Sources and Getting the Most From Them

The Promise and Perils of Research

Background Reading (Learning the Waters)

Locating the Most Useful Sources (the Treacheries of the Internet)

Thinking About Your Subject Headings (Deciding Where to Fish)

From Subject Headings to Working Bibliography (Casting Your Net)

Reading Like a Researcher (Examining What You’ve Netted)

Primary vs. Secondary Research

Defining Your Question

Keeping a Log

Reflecting and Analyzing

Writing the Research-Based Paper

The “Default” Audience

Using Your Sources in Your Paper

Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation

A Few Matters of Form

Documentation (Another Exciting Page or Two)

Putting It into Practice


7. The Comparative Anatomy of Texts and Contexts

Species of Writing

Basic Anatomy: A Guide

Rhetorical Environments

Dissecting a Text

Two Rhetorical Dissections

Putting It into Practice


Appendix: Definitions of Key Concepts


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