Writing in the Themes


The Department of English at The Ohio State University strives to build students’ knowledge of social diversity and justice and emphasizes persuasive and researched writing, revision, and composing in various forms and media. While the focus of our department’s advanced-level writing course offerings is writing, students will also have the opportunity to engage with contemporary topics via a number of thematic pathways. Each course supports students' critical thinking and learning through research-based writing tasks, class discussions, and peer feedback. In addition, students work toward mastering academic writing, composing and presenting on researched topics through multiple sources, refine skills to synthesize information, create arguments about a variety of discursive, visual, and/or cultural artifacts, and become more proficient in sophisticated research strategies and conventions of standard academic discourses.

By taking an advanced-level writing course through the English Department, students will meet state and university learning objectives and receive general education (GE) credits—these credits also apply to Ohio Transfer 36 English composition learning outcomes. As outlined by Ohio’s Department of Education, “...students critically read scholarly texts, learn about conventions for academic writing, and practice writing for various rhetorical situations.”

Writing in the Themes Staff

For questions about courses, curriculum, assessment and teaching, please contact:
Dr. Beverly Moss, Director
Allison Hargett, Graduate Student Writing Program Administrator

Course Offerings

English 2367.01: Language, Identity and Culture in the U.S. Experience (soon to be renumbered and named "English 3000: Writing for Social Change")

GE(L): Second-Level Writing and Social Diversity in the United States GE(N): Citizenship theme

This advanced-level course extends and refines expository writing and analytical reading skills which transfer beyond the classroom to help students become aware citizens and understand forms of communication and information. Emphasis on intertextuality and reflection on compositional strategies are done through various topics pertaining to society, diversity, education and popular culture in the United States. These topics are selected by individual English instructors, usually in areas of their own research-knowledge base. We will develop a definition of citizenship that emphasizes a citizen’s relationship to their local, national, and global environments as well as a citizen’s active engagement in social change.

English 2367.06: Composing Disability in the U.S. (soon to be renumbered and named "English 3030: Writing about Representations of Disability")

GE(N): Health & Well-being theme

This advanced-level writing course extends and refines expository writing and analytical reading skills, emphasizing recognition of intertextuality and reflection on compositional strategies on topics pertaining to disability and the biases that surround it. By evaluating the systemic relations that produce and determine spaces for disabled communities, students will produce written work on contemporary social issues for matters of ability versus disability and visible versus non-visible disability.

English 2367.08: The U.S. Experience: Writing About Video Games (soon to be renumbered "English 3015")

GE(N): Health & Well-being theme

This advanced-level writing course emphasizes persuasive and researched writing, revision and composing in various forms and media. Focusing on digital literacy, development of critical thinking skills and skill in producing analytical prose, students explore key conversations in the field of game studies and analyze a variety of types of video game writing. No prior knowledge of video games or game studies is required.

Note: Under GE(L), "English 2367.02: Literature in the U.S. Experience" fulfilled a second-level writing course. Under GE(N), this course is a GE Foundations course that meets the requirement in Literary, Visual, and Performing Arts. This is not a Writing in the Themes course, but it is currently administered by Dr. Beverly Moss.


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Goals and Objectives


By the end of the course, students will have written a minimum of 5000 total words (roughly 20 total pages of written work) and a variety of texts, including at least one researched essay, with opportunities for response and revision.


Rhetorical Knowledge: Students will further develop their understanding of rhetorical situations as they read academic texts and practice tailoring their work for specific audiences. The course reinforces the rhetorical principles that students address in the first writing course. In addition, by the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Read academic texts and understand how disciplinary conventions shape the texts they read.
  • Compose texts that respond to the needs of appropriate audiences, using suitable discourse conventions to shape those texts.
  • Use academic conventions of format and structure when appropriate.

Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing: Students will further develop their critical thinking skills as they analyze and synthesize academic texts. The course should reinforce critical reading and thinking skills. In addition, by the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Find and evaluate appropriate material from electronic and other sources.
  • Locate, evaluate, organize and use primary and secondary research material. Secondary research material should be collected from various sources, including journal articles and other scholarly texts found in library databases, other official databases (e.g., federal government databases), and informal electronic networks and internet sources.
  • Analyze and critique sources in their writing.
  • Juxtapose and integrate ideas and arguments from sources.
  • Use strategies—such as interpretation, synthesis, response, critique and design/redesign—to compose texts that integrate their original ideas with those from academic sources and other documents.

Knowledge of Composing Processes: Students will continue to hone their revision strategies and reflect critically on their writing practices. The class should reinforce the fact that writing is a flexible and recursive process—including practice in generating ideas and text, drafting, revising and editing. By the end of the class, students should be able to:

  • Select and apply appropriate writing processes to match the context.
  • Revise for a variety of technologies and modalities.
  • Use composition and revision as a means to discover and reconsider ideas.
  • Reflect on the development of their revision strategies and consider how those strategies influence their work.
  • Produce successive drafts of increasing quality.

Knowledge of Conventions: Students will study academic conventions and apply appropriate conventions to their own work. The course reinforces and expands the knowledge of conventions. In addition, by the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Understand why conventions vary.
  • Recognize the genre conventions employed by various academic disciplines.
  • Employ appropriate textual conventions for incorporating ideas from sources (e.g., introducing and incorporating quotations; quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing.)

Coursework develops students’ skills in written communication and expression, reading, critical thinking, oral expression and visual expression.

  • Through critical analysis, discussion and writing, students demonstrate the ability to read carefully and express ideas effectively.
  • Students apply written, oral and visual communication skills and conventions of academic discourse to the challenges of a specific discipline.
  • Students access and use information critically and analytically.

Coursework fosters students’ understanding of the pluralistic nature of institutions, society and culture in the United States and across the world in order to become educated, productive and principled citizens.

  • Students describe and evaluate the roles of such categories as race, gender and sexuality, disability, class, ethnicity, and religion in the pluralistic institutions and cultures of the United States.
  • Students recognize the role of social diversity in shaping their own attitudes and values regarding appreciation, tolerance and equality of others.