Designing a Writing-Based Course

This online workshop guides instructors in designing the materials — syllabus, assignments, schedule — for writing-centered introductory composition courses at all UC campuses.

Experienced instructors will find the workshop helpful in revising their course materials for required introductory composition courses. Newer graduate student instructors might opt to take the workshop before enrolling in their departmental pedagogy seminars, or perhaps between the time they take such a seminar and begin teaching their introductory composition course.

Participants conclude the workshop with a polished set of teaching materials to use in their introductory composition courses.

The workshop is led jointly by Joseph Harris and Howard Fisher. A leading scholar in composition studies, Harris has written or edited five books on teaching writing, and he has led the Summer Writing Institute for the Townsend Center’s Art of Writing program since 2015. Fisher holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Berkeley, and is an experienced composition course instructor and former coordinator of the Art of Writing tutoring program.

Dates and Schedule

The workshop runs from Monday, June 5, through Friday, June 23, 2023. (Participants also have the opportunity to submit revisions June 26-28 for feedback.) Participants should plan to commit a total of six to eight hours per week, of which approximately three hours are spent live online, and three to five hours are spent offline completing the assigned reading and writing tasks. Live online meetings take place for an hour each Monday (10–11 am PT) and two hours each Thursday (10 am–12 pm or 2–4 pm PT); in addition, participants have several short individual meetings with an instructor.


UC graduate students from any UC campus who will be teaching required introductory composition courses (for UC Berkeley students, specifically, these are R1A, R1B, R5A, R5B courses) for at least one semester/quarter in 2023-24. No prior composition course teaching experience is necessary, though experienced instructors are welcome to apply.

Grant Provision

Each UC Berkeley participant receives a $500 stipend upon successful completion of the workshop. Stipends are available for UC Berkeley participants only.


Designing a Writing-Based Course