Architecture refers to the development of a course throughout the semester. It is a general “map” of how a course inquiry will proceed.

The Writing Across Technology architecture includes three “arcs.” Unlike our course moves, arcs develop chronologically. Each arc scaffolds new ways of thinking and composing. If the architecture is a “map” of your course, each “arc” represents a different portion of the “route.”

This infographic shows three curved lines, each representing the arcs and overlapping, including Grounding, Connecting, and Opening Outward

Arcs are not “units”; where units are typically distinct and are defined by content, arcs instead overlap and scaffold on one another. They are defined by the types of thinking and composing students are doing and how the course might build on each other. Each should build on the last, and some assignments may serve as “bridges” between each arc.

There are three arcs:

  • Grounding” is where we see students beginning to get their bearings both in foundational (sometimes called “threshold”) concepts and practices in terms of the conceptual work they will do as well as the writing practices they will be working on during the semester. Often, Grounding asks students to explore the inquiry in a more immediate or familiar context, and recognizing themselves as cultural, social, etc. subjects.
  • Connecting” offers students opportunities to reframe experiences in a new light and to speculate on associations among ideas, texts, methods, modes, exhibits, and arguments. They may take what they’ve begun to explore in their foundational work while Grounding and start Connecting that work to issues in larger, but still familiar contexts.
  • By asking students to see their work as “Opening Outward,” we encourage them to imagine new occasions and environments for their texts, new modes and registers to present their work in, and new perspectives and motivations for continuing an inquiry after the course ends. Often, Opening Outward might mean Connecting to and expanding on large-scale conversations and contexts beyond the classroom and university communities.

Although these arcs are laid out in this order, instructors are not required to necessarily develop the arcs linearly between Grounding, Connecting, and Opening Outward; the work of some courses may begin in larger contexts before remagining one’s own cultural subjectivity, for example, or some assignments may work in more than one arc. Primarily, these arcs represent the development of the semester over time (although we recognize that writing does not always necessarily develop in a neat, linear progression).