About the Program
The Program in Expository Writing began with the millennium, in the academic year 2000-2001, and has since developed to bring to Johns Hopkins a new approach to the teaching and learning of writing. The mission of the Program is to encourage excellence in writing, across disciplines, through the teaching of Expository Writing, through the work of the Writing Center, and through its support of the writing-intensive requirement.
Overview of Courses
Offering an approach unique to Johns Hopkins University, "Expos" teaches students the elements of academic argument shared by all the disciplines. Students frame their arguments making use of what William Evans calls "The Paradigm of Academic Argument." Within this conceptual framework, students learn to summarize and analyze sources, to evaluate sources, and to develop their thinking with evidence as they reason clearly and logically toward their own conclusions. Students trace the potential impact of their conclusions—their implications, consequences, or applications—and practice suggesting directions for future research or scholarship. All courses in Expository Writing help fulfill the university's writing-intensive, or "W," requirement.
Introduction to Expository Writing (060.100). Introduction to "Expos" is designed to introduce less experienced writers to the elements of academic argument. Students learn to recognize the paradigm of academic argument as they learn to read and summarize academic essays, and then they apply the paradigm in academic essays of their own. Classes are small, no more than 10 students, and are organized around three major writing assignments. Each course guides students' practice through pre-writing, drafting, and revising, and includes discussions, workshops, and tutorials with the instructor. In addition to its central focus on the elements of academic argument, each "Intro" course teaches students to avoid plagiarism and document sources correctly. "Intro" courses do not specialize in a particular topic or theme and are available to freshmen only.
Expository Writing (060.113/114). "Expos" is designed to introduce more confident student writers to the elements of academic argument. Students learn to apply the paradigm of academic argument in logically structured and cleary written academic essays of their own. Classes are capped at 15 students and organized around four major writing assignments. Each course guides students’ practice through pre-writing, drafting, and revising, and includes discussions, workshops, and tutorials with the instructor. In addition to its central focus on the elements of academic argument, each "Expos" course teaches students to use and document sources correctly and provides its own topic or theme to engage students' writing and thinking. Please see the individual course descriptions listed under "Courses" to decide which sections of "Expos" will most interest you. "Expos" courses are available to freshmen, sophomores, and juniors, and to seniors by special permission.
Expository Writing: The Narrative Essay (060.139). Telling stories is one of the first and most important ways that human beings aim to make sense of the world and their experience of it. The narrative art informs fiction and nonfiction alike, is central to the writing of history, anthropology, crime reports and laboratory reports, sports stories and political stories. What happened? The answer may be imagined or factual, but it will almost certainly be narrative. This course focuses on the narrative essay, a nonfiction prose form that answers the question of "what happened" in a variety of contexts and aims to make sense not only of what happened but how and why. Students summarize and analyze narrative essays and then, in the second half of the course, write two narrative essays of their own. They learn the power of narrative to inform and persuade, and will test that power in their own writing. "The Narrative Essay" is designed for students who already have experience with expository writing but is open to freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. (It is not offered this fall but will be offered in the spring.)
Expository Writing: Introduction to the Research Paper (060.155). "The Research Paper" is designed to introduce experienced student writers to the fundamental skills of the research process. These include asking research questions, evaluating the usefulness of sources to answer them, synthesizing sources, reading sources critically, and developing arguments that deliver an original thesis. Students will work with a research librarian at the Eisenhower Library, with whom they will learn to navigate traditional databases as well as new media sources. "The Research Paper" is topic-based and divided into three linked units of instruction. The course culminates with a paper of 12-15 pages that draws upon the cumulative skills of the semester. Each course is capped at ten students and available only to those who have taken "Expository Writing" (060.113/114). Please see the individual course description under "Courses" for information about the topic.
Advanced Expository Writing (060.215). Advanced "Expos" is designed to amplify confident writers' abilities with the elements of academic argument. Students revisit the elements and apply the paradigm in academic essays of their own. Classes are capped at 12 students and organized around three challenging writing assignments. Each course guides students' practice through pre-writing, drafting, and revising, and includes discussions, workshops, and tutorials with the instructor. "Advanced" courses do not specialize in a particular topic or theme and are available in the spring semester only. Recommended for students who plan to enter graduate or professional schools.
Please see the semester course listings for individual course descriptions.