Teaching: Courses

Teaching: Courses2016-10-26T19:33:29+00:00

During her years at Boston College, Terri delivered the following courses:

Boot Camp—Writing Basics

College Writing

Intro college writing; Great Writing Comes From The Heart: Or, if you want to write well, you can.

Whether experienced or just starting out, student writers gain greater confidence in their ability. Students learn how to ask thoughtful questions, and discover new ways of using their brain-power and creativity to answer those questions intelligently. Focus on basic elements of good writing.

Techniques of Precise Expression

If we hope to be properly understood, we must express ourselves in a manner that is clear, precise and to the point. This course is designed to expand powers of expression by helping students develop a large and vital vocabulary and by teaching them to write clearly and use language precisely. Discussions focus on the power of words in expressing and shaping thought and perceptions, and readings examine the ways in which effective communications are planned, created and delivered.

Creative Nonfiction Writing

According to Lee Gutkind, editor of the literary journal Creative Nonfiction, people drawn to the creative nonfiction form have “an intellectual curiosity about the world around us or a fresh viewpoint or approach to staid and seemingly inaccessible disciplines.” Students look with a writer’s critical eye at an assortment of essays, examining how the pieces are put together and why they work. Lectures focus on craft technique—writing realistic dialogue, building interesting scenes, describing dynamic characters and settings.

Creative Nonfiction I: Writing the Personal Essay

Students learn to read and discuss texts through the critical lens of a writer’s eye. Lectures focus on the basic craft techniques necessary in order to write compelling narrative essays: voice, language and style, description, dialogue, scene-setting. In-class exercises and short homework assignments complement classroom discussion and provide an opportunity to experiment with structure and form, as students learn new ways of exploring and expanding their creativity. Each participant will write and revise at least one creative essay.

Creative Nonfiction Workshop II

This advanced-level workshop is designed to challenge the more experienced writer. In-depth workshop classes focus primarily on student writing, with craft lecture and discussion aimed at addressing the strengths, weaknesses and challenges present in each piece of work. Through reading and discussion of short texts, and by analyzing their own work and the work of their peers, students learn to recognize patterns within a story, write pieces with inherent meaning and insight, and develop a strong, unique narrative voice. Prerequisite: Creative Nonfiction I or equivalent.

Memoir Writing

Our Families, Ourselves: Writing the Personal Essay

In writing the stories of our life, we explore feelings about love and loss, faith and commitment, hope and disappointment, faith, courage, challenge and success, as we search for meaning, connection and insight. Reading short essays and longer works, students learn to read and consider texts through the critical lens of a writer’s eye. Lectures focus on the craft techniques authors use to write compelling narrative essays.

Friendship: Gift and Challenge

Friends, after family—sometimes in place of family—are the most important people in our lives. A true friend celebrates our triumphs, cries with us when we’re down, loves us for who we are, and stands by us when no one else will. Yet even the truest of friendships can be challenged by misunderstandings or life-changing events: births, deaths, marriage, divorce, career changes, or changes in social or financial status. Readings examine friendships between acquaintances, casual and lost friendships, family friends, and of course best friends. Writing and discussions focus on loving and harmful or toxic friendships, the meaning of friendship, what happens when a friendship must or does end.

Food, Festivals, Famines & Farewells

With food we express love, friendship, creativity. Food lies at the center of our most important celebrations—births, family holidays, religious rites and passages, weddings. In our saddest moments, in loss, sickness and death, food anchors us to the world and to each other. Reading, discussion and writing focus on the sensual aspects of food, as well as the ways in which food shapes our lives and connects, nourishes and sustains us.

Journey In Faith

In writing the stories of our lives, we typically explore feelings of love and loss, faith and commitment. But when we focus on spirituality, hope, renewal, healing, redemption, faith in celebrations, faith in difficult times, problems of good and evil, we uncover our unique search for meaning, connection and insight. Students consider the texts through a writer’s critical lens. Focus on shaping the story and other technical aspects of craft provide an opportunity to experiment with structure and expand creativity.

Writing for the Web

Web Communications: Message, Markets and Identity

The online world presents constant new challenges to self-expression. Clean, concise prose is the foundation for powerful online communications. Focus on sharpening writing skills to produce compelling e-mail, web copy and personal blogs, and on constructing a digital identity and a commanding online presence by using new media to build and optimize relationships with clients, prospects and peers. Looks at how the online world mirrors, constructs and distorts reality and the associated problems.

Directed Studies

Writing & Editing the Personal Memoir

Novel Writing Workshop

Friendship in the Digital Age

Social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter have, for better or worse, changed the nature of friendship. Today friends meet, converse and interact online. Networks connect friends from afar, offer group support, and provide a vital means of communication for the elderly and housebound. Social networking also raises many questions: among the troubling developments, power-users “collect” friends; digital conversations are easily misinterpreted; and conversations, once private, are now visible to entire networks. Readings, discussion and reflection explore friendship in the digital age, providing a rich palette for writing.