English 398R satisfies the Professional Writing requirement for undergraduates at the University of Maryland, College Park. This course focuses on nonfiction narrative–a kind of writing influenced by fiction, magazine journalism, memoir, and personal essay—and is appropriate for students interested in traditional jobs in publishing, as well as careers involving proposal writing, work documentation, lobbying, social marketing, political commentary, etc.
Students learn to use many of the same tools as fiction writers, such as dialogue, vivid description, developing characters, nonlinear structure, and shifts in tense, time and points of view. Students also learn how to edit their own work as well as that of their peers, doing multiple revisions of the major assignments that are assembled into a final portfolio. Major assignments include essays targeted to specific publications, query letters, audience analysis, and a publisher analysis.
English 101 or equivalent and a minimum of 60 credits.
How student learning is assessed:
Students complete five major writing assignments encompassing approximately 6500 words, in addition to in-class exercises, readings, peer review workshops, and group work. Each major assignment is evaluated according to a set of criteria provided to students with the assignments sheets. Students are responsible for the information provided on the course syllabus, as well as on ELMS or other class websites, and for any material provided in a course packet or on handouts distributed in class. Readings may come from an assigned textbook and from other relevant, timely sources. Students are responsible for the readings, which form the basis of class discussion; students may also be required to write responses to reading assignments.