Prose is defined simply as “writing” or exercising mastery of the written word, and college writing majors will learn many different types of writing in the course of their academic careers. Different types of prose that college students will study are novels, short stories, essays, sermons, lectures and various types of debates. Prose does not rhyme its words the way poetry sometimes does, but rather depends on grammar and syntax to make persuasive writing that will pique the interest of the reader or audience. Students will be asked to focus on grammar, style, writing techniques, persuasive writing, comparison writing, and more.
Students interested in learning about various types of writing may review the Writer’s Digest University. This program features lessons on writing blogs, books, the fundamentals of writing well, writing a novel, improving grammar, composition, editing and how to self-publish a work or book in any genre such as fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, science-fiction, short story, essay, or poetry.
Communication by writing prose allows the college student to participate in the highest form of self-reflection that works to convince, explain, educate, and share with the reader his views. Students taking courses in prose will need to develop writing tools that come only through practicing their craft, such as thesis statements that provide a road map for the reader, or how to back up claims with supporting documentation before drawing conclusions that tie the writing together and coordinate ideas. When students learn to write well, it will benefit them in all their other studies (not just English writing classes), because they will have developed the tools to communicate effectively in all areas of their coursework - learning to write well always pays off!
College students taking writing classes will be focusing on general techniques such as:
• The writing process
• Map clustering
• Writing and revising
• Using key terms and phrases
• Appealing to an audience
More specific techniques that are developed with homework exercises would be:
• The elements of writing style
• Expressing ideas through writing
• Common fallacies
• Developing logical arguments and debates
• Finding supporting evidence for written claims
• Concession and contrast
• Reading text for comprehension
• Summarizing and quoting text
• Critical reading and analyzing
• Finding crucial distinctions in writing
• Defining and developing issues
• Forming and basing opinions on issues
• Giving evidence to the reader
• Quoting and making proper citations for support
• Planning and revising strategies for successful writing
• Reflective essays
• Diaries and journal writing
• Technical writing
• Informal writing
A good reference for writing assignments is the Purdue Online Writing Lab, which features examples and instruction on how to write in every genre, along with directions on how to make correct citations for papers of every writing style. College students should not forget to take advantage of MIT's OpenCourseWare that has a huge selection of online writing tutorials; a good one to get started would be Writing on Contemporary Issues: Culture Shock! Writing, Editing, and Publishing in Cyberspace.
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