Relating Your Topic to the Goals and Purpose of Your Course/Assignment

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Leo Reynolds

Creative Commons licensed image posted at Flickr by Leo Reynolds

This exercise assumes you have a topic in mind for the paper you need to write. (If you need help generating topic ideas, check out the “What Interests You” exercise.) Typically, you will need to make a connection between your topic and the objectives/purpose of the class for which you are composing the paper.


1. Look at the course description (on your syllabus) the professor has written about the class. In a nutshell, what is the course “about,” and what are the learning objectives?

2. Now, review your assignment prompt. What is the purpose of the assignment as relates to the goals of the course?

3. Next, it’s time to think about how your topic relates to the overarching purpose of the course as well as the goals of the assignment. For example, if you are interested in video games, and you are taking a sociology class focused on marriage, family, and relationships, you’d want to think about video games within that specific context, exploring, for example, how video games influences various relationship dynamics. Or, if you are taking a chemistry class and are interested in baking, you might think about how the chemical reactions between different ingredients affect the resulting food dish.

4. Freewrite for 5 minutes on what components of your topic somehow relate to the course. Do this with pen and paper or use your computer. Set a timer and write for 5 minutes straight. Don’t worry about what you write; just keep writing.

5. When you finish freewriting, look back over your freewrite and find one sentence that stands out to you and could be used to begin another freewrite. Use that sentence to begin a second 5-minute freewriting session.

6. Share-out: If you wrote by hand, take a picture of both of your freewrites and share them in the comments thread. Otherwise, upload your freewrite file.