Expos Studio 10 is designed to help students make the transition from the writing they’ve done before college to the writing that will be expected of them at Harvard. One of the most important goals of Expos Studio 10 is to help students approach their writing with confidence, both about what they have to say as well as about how best to communicate those ideas.
Good writing is a skill we develop by practicing it regularly, not just by putting thoughts on paper, but also by listening carefully to the reactions of our readers and opening ourselves to the suggestions and insights of dedicated teachers. These are capacities that themselves take practice to develop, and there is no better place to do so than in the “studio” writing course—one that uses a hands-on and intensive approach to writing and that emphasizes both individual and collaborative work. In the studio course, students try out their ideas in many short pieces of writing as well as in lively discussions. Each week they work in teams and on their own to generate and test their positions in debates and their interpretations of evidence, and to imagine alternative ways of understanding an issue. Every step of the way, preceptors are there to coach students in their development as thinkers and writers. They offer abundant feedback in one-on-one conferences and in paper comments. And they lead students through innovative exercises and assignments that draw on a variety of media and the diverse thinking found in disciplines like psychology, philosophy, sociology, political theory, anthropology, and art.
Students who choose to take Expos Studio 10 do so for a variety of reasons. Some are students who have less experience in writing, or whose writing preparation suggests that an additional term of coursework would support their transition to writing at Harvard. Some have strong writing experience in other areas (for example, journalism or creative writing) but have less experience in the kind of analytical writing that Harvard courses will require. Some students know that they haven’t written extensively in their previous courses and want practice, or feel unfamiliar with the conventions of the American academic essay. Others feel they have strengths in other academic areas and want to take this opportunity to develop their writing abilities as well.
Like Expos 20, Expos Studio 10 emphasizes analytical writing: engaging with important social, political, and ethical questions; developing ideas and structuring arguments; reading closely, analyzing evidence, and questioning sources; and communicating those ideas to readers in clear, effective prose. However, Expos Studio 10 differs significantly in its approach and structure.
- Expos Studio 10 assignments invite students to investigate the diverse concerns, rich traditions, and live debates within the broader Harvard community and in our contemporary world, both by the subjects students explore as well as by the opportunity to learn from experiences and experts outside the classroom.
- Expos Studio 10 classes devote the first half of the course to shorter assignments in which students learn to recognize and practice the foundational elements of analytical argument. These briefer pieces ask students to learn, for example, the craft of summarizing another writer’s argument and developing a precise and arguable thesis of their own.
- In the second half of the course, students then apply those fundamental elements of argument to a longer essay.
- Throughout all those assignments, Expos Studio 10 courses also prioritize an attention to writing and learning as a process, introducing students to the practical benefits that discovery and revision bring to their writing in any course they will take at Harvard. From the beginning of each assignment, students learn how to develop ideas in brief reflections, responses, and exercises--all useful tools for meeting the challenges of writing assignments at Harvard.
- To ensure as much feedback and one-on-one attention to student’s writing as possible, Expos Studio 10 courses are smaller: only 10 students per section. Students also meet more frequently in individual conferences with their preceptor.
- Expos Studio 10 sections also prioritize practicing oral presentations, giving students the opportunity to develop skills in another important mode of communicating their ideas to others.
Expos Studio 10 is offered in the fall term only. Students who enroll in Expos Studio 10 must fulfill their writing requirement by taking either Expos Studio 20 or Expos 20 in the spring. Expos Studio 20 continues the intensive, small-group instruction found in Expos Studio 10.
A list of Expos Studio 10 courses offerings and meeting times can be found in my.harvard.