Students in a First-Year Writing Seminar

Teaching Resources for Instructors

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Indispensable Reference

Teaching Resources for Instructors

Learning Management System

Canvas: Cornell recommends and supports the secure learning management system called Canvas. To set up a Canvas site (a highly useful and recommended step to take) go to http://canvas. and follow the instructions.

Resources at the Libraries

The Instruction Librarians in Olin and Uris Libraries Use a regular class session to introduce students to the organization and use of library resources at Cornell. Librarians work with instructors in advance to plan sessions; their objective is to integrate their teaching with the individual instructor’s teaching goals and with the subject focus of each section. Typical elements of a session include a brief orientation to the physical library, a live demonstration of searching in a variety of databases, and hands- on time on the computers in the Uris Library Classroom. In support of this instruction, students are provided with a tailored online library guide of reference resources together with handouts or websites that explain how to use computerized and print resources and library services. Other handouts explain how to critically evaluate and properly cite the information students find. It is best to contact the library at least two weeks in advance of a preferred session date. To arrange a session please fill out the request form at: or for more information, contact Tony Cosgrave at 5-7148 or email him at

The Division of Rare Book and Manuscript Collections Located in Kroch Library, the Rare Book and Manuscript Division offers an extensive program of instruction and support for all faculty and classes. Class presentations, consultations, and classroom use of materials are all easily arranged through the Division. All materials—antiquarian and modern, printed books, manuscripts, photographs and ephemera—are available for students’ use. Seminar rooms are also available for facilitated access with a curator. The Division has worked extensively with the Knight Institute in the past and urges instructors to contact Lance Heidig ( to learn more.

The Human Sexuality Collection On the lower level (2B) of Kroch Library, Division ofRare and Manuscript Collections, is open to all researchers.Brenda Marston is Curator of the Collection and may be consulted about using it (5-3530; or e-mail bjm4@cor- She has worked with a number of instructors, designing appropriate assignments for First-Year Writing Seminars, and will make arrangements for an entire class to visit the archives. Also available is Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: A Research Guide https://rare.

Services for Faculty and Instructors... This website serves as a directory of library services, providing faculty and instructors with contact information, online forms, policies, procedures, and directions for making purchase requests for materials needed for classes (books, films, etc.), how to place items on Reserve (including E-Reserves), and how to request a library instruction session for their classes.

Olin Library Media Center... The Olin/Uris and Kroch Asia DVD collections are housed in the south alcove of the Dean Room in Uris Library. Playback equipment, including equipment for multiple formats, also is housed in Uris Library. Portions of the Olin/Uris media collections are housed at the Library Annex, including video and audio cassettes and LP sound recordings. The location is reflected in the catalog records for the items, and circulating media can be requested for library delivery. Olin holds a variety of materials in micro formats (cards, film, fiche),including newspapers, historic sets, government documents, etc. The collections are housed in the B (lower) level of Olin and at the Library Annex; holdings are reflected in the library catalog, and print guides for large sets are available in the Olin Reference area. The Micrographic equipment is located in Room B12 in the Lower Level of Olin Library and is maintained by the Maps Unit staff. The machines support all formats found in the collection (microfilm, microfiche, microprint/cards). Users have the option of scanning/saving and/or emailing the documents they are viewing. For a list of the available equipment and brief descriptions, please visit https://olinuris.

Reading Materials

Reference materials are in the Knight Institute, M101 McGraw and in the Writing Workshop, 174 Rockefeller. These range from samples of handbooks, to source books for teachers, to other related topics: pedagogy; the analysis of style; education and the sciences; education and issues of diversity.

Assignment sequences, writing exercises, and student essays. The Knight Institute keeps hard copies of all prize-winning assignment sequences and student essays in its library in M101 McGraw Hall. Cornell instructors may also access files of the essays, exercises, and sequences by going to the Knight Institute website ( and choosing the “Archive of Teaching Materials” link at the "Teaching Support" tab. The archive is hosted by the Cornell University Library in the eCommons Digital Repository

Discoveries, the Knight Institute’s journal of award- winning student essays, is regularly made available to all students enrolled in First-Year Writing Seminars. Containing essays which can be used for class discussion, copies are delivered to each first-year student’s residence hall room. Issues are also available at our website and in M101 McGraw.

Resource books for teachers available in the Knight Institute:

  • Keith Hjortshoj and Katy Gottschalk’s The Elements of Teaching Writing.
  • Purdue Writing Lab's Faculty Guide for Working with Multilingual Student Writers.

Issues of diversity:

Instructors of First-Year Writing Seminars must be aware of issues of race, sexuality, gender, and class, all of which are inevitably present in discussions, in course readings, in student essays, and in the interaction between student and teacher. The Institute maintains a selection of readings that may be useful to teachers of writing on issues of race, gender, sexuality, and class. Feel free to browse through our collection (and make suggestions for additions); you can check out materials you would like to read.

Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art

The staff of the Johnson Museum will work with instru tors to develop class sessions which use the museum’s global collections and exhibitions to explore course-related themes and concepts, and to strengthen writing skills. To arrange a class visit, contact contact Leah Sweet, Lynch Curatorial Coordinator for Academic Programs, at, and allow three weeks to arrange a visit (first-come, first-served).

Proposing FWSs

FWS teaching assignments are made by individual departments. Seminar topics must be proposed and designed under the auspices of the sponsoring department. That department, after its own review, then submits them for final Knight Institute and Education Policy Committee review.
    The Knight Institute may edit course descriptions for publications in the FWS brochure and the eCommons site; if extensive editorial changes are required, the instructor and/or the course leader will normally be consulted.
    Many syllabi, assignment sequences, exercises, and prize-winning student essays are available for review in the Knight Institute office, M101 McGraw.

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