Writing in the Discipline
1. Why or in what ways is writing important to your discipline/field/profession?
The ability to write clearly and persuasively is an essential skill in the discipline of Film Studies and indeed in the professional world of film. Students from our program have gone on to become filmmakers, corporate professionals, critics, teachers, and academics. Writing is central to these professions: reporting on films, reviewing films, producing scholarship on films, writing films, applying for funding to make films, and promoting films. In our discipline, as well as in professional endeavors related to film, communicating clearly and persuasively through writing is central.
2. Which courses are designated as satisfying the WID requirement by your department? Why these courses?
The Film Studies Program has two informal concentrations, critical studies and production, and both share the program’s two required writing in the discipline courses: FILM 219 (Methods of Film Analysis), one of our foundational courses in the major, and FILM 454 (Film Theory), our capstone course in the major. These two courses engage in much of the range of writing and critical thinking that are not only found within the discipline of Film Studies, but also are expected of our graduates in their future professions.
3. What forms or genres of writing will students learn and practice in your department’s WID courses? Why these genres?
Students will engage in a variety of different types of academic writing from response papers to critical research papers and will have the opportunity to practice writing skills crucial to their success in a range of different film-related professions.
4. What kinds of teaching practices will students encounter in your department’s WID courses?
Students in Film Studies WID courses engage in a variety of different types of writing from response writing to critial research papers and have multiple opportunities to practice critical writing skills from summary and synthesis to critical analysis and argumentation. The first of these courses, FILM 219, depends upon scaffolded writing assignments beginning with short, “low-stakes” writing, often reflective, of no more than a paragraph, introducing students to writing as a way of making sense of what they read. Students build these responses into summaries and then into short critical essays that do not require outside research. Then students turn those essays into extended critical research essays through a program of research. Writing workshops and small-group tutorials take place throughout the process stressing peer review and revision. Instructor feedback and modeling through shared exemplary writing are also a part of the process. Revision is encouraged, even after “final” essays are submitted. In FILM 454, through a series of varied writing assignments across the semester, students learn to apply critical and theoretical perspectives to film analysis. To sum up, our WID courses engage students in a full-range of “best practices” that encourage students to see writing as a vital part of learning.
5. When they’ve satisfied your department’s WID requirement, what should students know and be able to do with writing?
Students should be able to demonstrate critical reading and thinking skills such as summarization, synthesis, and critical judgment; demonstrate writing skills such as persuasion, argumentation, and supporting claims; demonstrate the ability to design and initiate a research program; demonstrate the application of critical and theoretical perspectives to their own writing; and demonstrate a familiarity in revising and editing their own work as part of the process of writing.