Writing With Substance: You Can Haz it! SRSLY!

Teaching with this Book

Because it is available in public, any person teaching a writing course is welcome to use it if he or she believes it meets the standards of their program and/or university. 
Creative Commons License
"Writing with Substance" by Vimala C. Pasupathi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may not use this work for commercial purposes, and if you are including some of my materials in a submission for review for tenure, promotion, or publication, I ask that you please do credit my work with my name and the URL, http://scalar.usc.edu/works/writing-with-substance-/index.
In an attempt to offer guidance on how you might use the book in its current form, I'll offer some more information about how I've organized my course as well as the sorts of things you'll need to think about if you have students read these exact pages. The book alludes to in-person and classroom meetings with me, but there's no reason that those same kinds of meetings can't happen between other parties in other places. Anything you see here that doesn't work for your specific course, from submission directions with Assignment Instructions to research database information, can be noted by way of comments that offer alternate instructions or different links; you can also contact me about changing something if you see fit (though please understand that I may not be willing or able to do so). 
Writing courses often have paper-number, page-length, or word-count requirements, and I have to admit that my divisions of such things in this book and this course may seem a bit unorthodox. I'm accustomed, as I assume many writing teachers are, to having three or four major essays that are all about the same length. Here I've changed that structure a bit.
I have 10 assignments total, with 1-8 laid out here; only the last two, 9 and 10, constitute formal papers that I collect for the purpose of peer-review and commenting for revision. As anybody who teaches writing knows, much of the work of writing instruction happens in those comments; in my class, they also happen during the process of their work on Assignment "9 3/4," the collaborative paper assignment to which this book occasionally alludes. I count this collaborative paper as the third formal paper in the class. 

The mechanics of the collaboration are relatively simple, though they may seem complicated on any given day. I divide the class into two large groups based on levels of interest in two broad topics. In this case, my topics are the structure and economics of academic labor and academic data/student privacy. Both topics are important for students because their data is increasingly a source of profits from entities that are not purely invested in academic pursuits and because they can expect to be taught by college professors who are only contingently employed by universities--perhaps you yourself fit this bill. We read some essays in common on these subjects prior to dividing into groups so that students can make a somewhat informed decision about their group choice and so that even students who don't get their first choice will have completed some work for the collaborative paper in advance. 
Both groups must take the broad topic and consider how it applies to our specific campus. They must then work together to conduct further research--online, on academic databases, and on our campus. I encourage them to think about which departments have faculty and staff who might have particularly useful knowledge for the group, and we spend some class time talking about how to request interviews with these people via phone or email. The groups are large, and so some of the classtime we have must be spent determining what labor is necessary to do before writing and then dividing up that labor amongst multiple people. We usually spend at least 5 weeks of class working on the collaborative paper; in at least two of those weeks, students are working concurrently on their individual projects as well. 
Together, we set goals for outlines and almost-completion of research; the groups work amongst themselves to allocate writing assignments for paragraphs or sections whose content has been determined by the outline. They often panic they won't finish or that the paragraphs won't work well together. They're often almost correct, but these outcomes are just as instructive as their successful completion of cohesive paragraphs. Overall, the process of the collaborative paper mimics the process of writing a paper on one's own, sometimes with added complications that come with working with and relying on another person, and sometimes with the bonus of having somebody with skills that exceed one's own contribute to and improve the quality of the group's work.  
The assignment prompt and explanation of grades for this portion are detailed here, also provided through a creative commons license. Download this description and adapt it as you see fit!  If you'd like, I can make available the basic schedule for my course, removing the specific dates and presenting as something that can be adopted or scrapped week by week. Just let me know!