The John S. Knight Institute for Writing in the Disciplines at Cornell University supports writing seminars and writing intensive courses in a broad spectrum of academic disciplines and at all levels of undergraduate education. The Archive currently makes available award-winning materials for assignment sequences and writing exercises that were produced for Cornell’s First-Year Writing Seminars. Each semester, over 100 different seminars are taught in more than 30 departments and programs located in the humanities, social sciences, expressive arts, and sciences. Through introductory work in each seminar's particular field of study, students learn to write in a range of genres and in ways that emphasize clarity, coherence, intellectual force, and stylistic control.

All documents (in pdf form) are searchable; “Assignment Sequences” and “Writing Exercises” may be searched separately, or the entire archive may be searched at once. For a more in-depth description of how to use these materials, please go to the following link:

So that we may continue to improve the Archive, please report any problems with searching to the Knight Institute: .

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Recent Submissions

  • Symbiotic Associations in Nature 

    Summers, Carly Faye (2015)
    This class focused on the analysis, synthesis and evaluation of information through close reading, group discussions, oral presentations and writing exercises. The goal was to promote active learning and develop critical ...
  • Blogs, Bulletpoints, and a Bird’s Eye View of Science 

    Barve, Sahas (2015)
    The title of my course (BIOEE 1640) was “Dingos to Dodos: Island ecology and Evolution” and was taught in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. The seminar consisted of roughly two halves. The first half ...
  • Navigating Scientific Research 

    Martin, Laura (2014)
    This sequence of three assignments, designed for a FWS on field biology, familiarizes students with the structure of scientific journal articles, the workings of the academic peer review process, and the skills required ...
  • "Academy" of Motion Pictures: Exercises in Film Analysis 

    Stahl, Lynne (2014)
    This assignment sequence for American Voices: Tomboys in Time, includes preparatory work and three essays. It is designed to develop proficiency in the practice of formal film analysis through a set of tomboy films while ...
  • Writing an Effective Introduction 

    Wu, Danielle (2015)
    This handout has two stages: a workshop version for class discussion and a polished version for reference. First, the students put into their own words the common opening gambit for academic writing. We then workshopped ...

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