I had the honour of teaching students (as well as mentoring new instructors) in Stanford University’s Writing and Rhetoric program back in the day. Students from every corner of the university – from biology and engineering to sociology and English – take intensive workshops devoted to real-world research and report-writing in fields of their own interest. Tina Roh, pictured above, studied “The Rhetoric of Gaming” and composed her award-winning final paper on “software bugs in video games,” arguing that these bugs are “not necessarily harmful to games.” In preparing her paper she discovered “an entire community of gamers surrounding glitches” (I am not surprised!). She also received lots of feedback on her drafts from her friends, revising her work over and over to get it exactly right.
The video is part of Stanford’s “Writing Matters: Student Edition” series. Any teacher who wants to motivate students otherwise unsure about the utility of a writing course should play some of these videos in class. They make a solid, even inspiring case.