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School of Architecture
What substantial writing projects will your students complete during the course?
The course has three substantial writing components 1) Reader response assignments Requirement: ten papers of one to two pages responding to readings that are the focus of discussion sections. Criteria for evaluation: evidence of comprehension of the article, expression of a personal point of view, clarity of expression. 2) Short paper: building case study. This exercise is intended to assess the students’ skills in conducting, organizing, and presenting research on an architectural topic. The text is to be four pages (double-spaced, 12-point font) plus notes, bibliography, and illustrations. The scope is to concisely summarize the building’s history and then analyze an aspect of its design or construction. The selection of the analysis topic and the student’s handling of the transition from the general summary to the analysis are critical aspects of the assignment. 3) Research project. This is a staged assignment. a) Topic statement (one to two pages) plus preliminary bibliography. b) Project outline requiring expanded outline format to indicate topic sentences of key sections. The bibliography is to be annotated. c) Poster session. The key ideas developed in the outline are represented in poster format and reviewed by groups of peers in ten-minute presentations. The posters are accompanied by three-page abstracts. d) Final paper. Text of eight-ten pages (double-spaced) plus supporting material. Evaluation based on thoroughness of research process, ability to define and develop the topic, clarity of expression.
What kinds of feedback will students receive from the instructor, and what opportunities will they be given to revise their writing?
1) Weekly written feedback from teaching assistants.
2) Peer comments within discussion sections, written comments (meetings as necessary) from teaching assistants, rewrite opportunity.
3) Feedback from teaching assistants at all levels.
The proposal and outline may be rewritten to clarify objectives. The poster session is a device for self-feedback (based on the student’s awareness of the strength of his or her arguments as presented to peers and instructors). The format of the expanded abstract offers an opportunity to test wording of key parts of the final paper. Final paper receives written comments from teaching assistants.
What amount of the final course grade will come from the written work (minimum one-third for a three-hour course)?
The three writing projects amount to three-fifths of the course grade. The remaining two-fifths are essay exams (written in class).
What opportunities will students have to read each other’s work and offer constructive criticism?
Substantial writing project #2 has scheduled class time for students to read each other’s work and offer criticism. Students may be asked to read portions of their essays for substantial writing project #1 in class. Substantial writing project #3 has scheduled class time for peer discussion of research topics, and the poster session component provides an opportunity for student feedback on the development of themes and organization.
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