This page focuses on the course 21W.015 Writing and Rhetoric: Writing About Sports as it was taught by Dr. Karen Boiko in Fall 2013.
This course was one in a suite of introductory writing subjects, aimed primarily at freshmen. The course aimed to improve students’ communication skills by having them continually write and rewrite pieces, along with editing their peers’ writing. The curriculum focused on reading, discussing, writing, and giving oral presentations on issues related to sports and their role as a significant part of American culture.
Every fall semester.
The students' grades were based on the following activities:
A rubric was used to assess students’ oral presentations.
Mostly freshmen, with a few upperclassmen.
Most students had a previous interest in sports and had either played sports in high school or at MIT.
Limiting the class to 12-15 students is ideal because responding to student writing is intensive. It is difficult to give students sufficient time in class to have their writing discussed if the class size is large.
During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:
Below, Karen Boiko describes various aspects of how she taught 21W.015 Writing and Rhetoric: Writing About Sports.
I developed this course as a new “flavor” in the Writing and Rhetoric series, because I thought the topic would interest undergraduates. Students seem to respond well to the course, as they seem to enjoy being able to write about a topic that is important to them and relevant to their daily lives.
The main challenge for this class was preventing the class from turning into simple “sports writing.” To prevent this, I ensured the selected readings all engaged with ideas and issues instead of merely being description and narration.