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USF Professional and Technical Communication Rubric

How do we become experts? I will ask you to draft and revise a critical review to an article about expertise by Daniel Coyle. You will draw on your selected area of expertise to respond to Coyle's arguments. Specifically, we will focus on how to:

Note from Writing Commons: Below we have included helpful content links related to each major section of Project 1. You can also navigate suggested content using the tabs on the right.

What does expertise look like? How do we define it? I will ask you to select a visual image depicting your selected area of expertise and then explicate that image in order to make an argument about what expertise looks like and how it can be defined. Specifically, we will continue to work with the elements we learned in Project 1, as well as build on them by focusing on how to:

Note from Writing Commons: Below we have included helpful content links related to each major section of Project 1. You can also navigate suggested content using the tabs on the right.

What can we learn about expertise in a particular area? What does it take to succeed? I will ask you to research a particular example of expert achievement in your selected area and, drawing on multiple resources, make an argument about expertise. Specifically, we will continue to work with the elements we learned in Projects 1 and 2, as well as build on them by focusing on how to: 

Note from Writing Commons: Below we have included helpful content links related to each major section of Project 1. You can also navigate suggested content using the tabs on the right.

What do you think people need to know about expertise in your selected area? In this fourth and final unit, we will turn to a more public form of writing as I ask you to write an op-ed (opposite the editorial page) about your selected area of expertise for a publication of your choosing (you do not actually have to submit it to that publication). We'll also be working together to collaboratively crowdsource a bibliography of potential resources. Specifically, we will continue to work with the elements we learned in Projects 1,2, and 3, as well as build on them by focusing on how to:

Note from Writing Commons: Below we have included helpful content links related to each major section of Project 1. You can also navigate suggested content using the tabs on the right.

Focus, Organization, Evidence, Style, and Format: these are important rhetorical and contextual concerns for academic writers.  Without attending to these matters, writers cannot successfully communicate.  When teachers respond to student writing, they often address these concerns.  Likewise, when students conduct peer reviews, they also address these concerns in their feedback. In addition to its document markup capabilities, common comments, and endnote features, My Reviewers enables users to comment on student texts with these five review criteria in mind: Focus, Organization, Evidence, Style, and Format. It also provides articles, videos, and sample marked up texts to help students understand how these criteria are used to evaluate texts. Presently, instructors may choose between two rubrics:

Why Use Common Comments?

For Peer Reviews: Provide helpful critiques by pasting the Common Comments (see navigation bar to your right) on your peer's drafts.

For Teacher Feedback: Paste these helpful comments on students' papers, and they can follow the hyperlinks to learn more about your comments and even take quizzes to help them better understand core concepts.

The focus refers to the main idea of the text. One way to determine this main idea is to figure out the purpose of your essay. An essay should do more than give you a grade; for example, it can persuade an audience, argue a point, or inform a reader. The assignment sheet is a great place to look for the purpose of the essay. What is your instructor asking you to do? The topic, length, variety and amount of research, audience, etc., all coincide with what the assignment requires.

Style is not what we write but how we write it. For our purposes, style includes:

  • grammar (the rules that govern standard American English)
  • punctuation
  • point of view
  • syntax (how we arrange our sentences)
  • word choice/vocabulary
  • figurative language (metaphors, narratives, similes, etc.)

In order to be convincing, a writer needs evidence for her claims. Evidence includes traditional sources such as books and journal articles but may also include anecdotes, photographs, web sources and videos. The kinds of evidence that are appropriate in a particular context depend on the writer’s purpose. Academic culture is an evidence-based culture. Good scholarship requires claims supported by facts, theories, and research. Finding the evidence is not enough, though, as it needs to be successfully integrated into texts.

The organization of a paper matters at the level of the whole essay as well as within each paragraph. The organization of sentences matters within paragraphs, as writers choose which sentences to put in what order and how to create a smooth sense of connection between each sentence. But organization also matters between paragraphs, as writers choose when to present their ideas to their readers for the best effect.

Format describes how we set up everything from the page margins to pictures to the works cited page. Adhering to format guidelines allows readers to easily follow along with the paper and understand where outside sources can be found. Knowing how to use formatting, whether it is MLA or APA, is a key step in the development of an academic writer.

Clancy Ratliff has composed a table comparing WPA outcomes aligned with the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts for grades 11-12 (see here). Writing Commons has created a table representing content that supports Ratliff's Common Core State Standards.