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RWS 1301 As A Discourse Community

Derek Perez

The University Of Texas At El Paso



A discourse community is a community that follows 6 specific characteristics, if a

community lacks any of the 6 characteristics, it is not a discourse community. The RWS 1301

course is a discourse community because it follows the six characteristics of what describes a

discourse community. This writing will explain why the RWS 1301 is a discourse community

and the evidence of why it is categorized as one.

Literary Review

This community does many readings that help the students writing in a academically

fashion. One of the readings that this discourse community has in the Swales (1990) article. The

Swales (1990) article presents the six characteristics that create a discourse community, these

characteristics are: intercommunication mechanisms, looped intercommunication, dedicated

genres, specialized vocabulary, self-sustaining hierarchy, and a common public goal.

Another reading this community does is the Norton Field Guide 4th edition. The Norton

Field Guide provides this community with necessary and helpful ways of writing academically.

This book also gives the students readings of how to do research, find sources, format an

academic paper in APA format, and in MLA format as well.

Finally, another reading is The Undergraduate Rhetoric and Writing Studies Handbook.

This e-book is specific to the RWS course as it helps students as well, for example, how to avoid

plagiarism when writing a paper.


One of the primary sources, or artifacts, are the composition books that is used during

class. These books serve as archives of knowledge and past lectures from the professor. The

students transfer their knowledge onto their books so they can go back to their books to get back

ideas that they wrote down. This is a primary source because it has knowledge and it gives a

firsthand view of the type of lectures this discourse community gives.

Another primary source is Blackboard, a website that the students can access to get their

assignments and view the syllabus of the class, as well as Sunday vlogs from their professor,

threads of assignments that other students have turned in. This is a primary source because it

shows past assignments from the sources themselves, the professor and the students.


This group exists to give the students a better understanding of writing academically,

from how to format papers correctly to providing hints in how to find research.

The course has a common public goal, or a goal that can better lives, whether it be

socially, economically, politically, etc. The courses goal is to better the education of the students

to pass on their knowledge onto someone else to better their education and that way they can

pass on their newfound knowledge to someone else. The RWS course plans to create an educated

public because it creates a healthy democracy, thus furthering the evidence that it has a common

public goal.

RWS 1301 uses specific intercommunication mechanisms, whether it can verbal or

nonverbal. Some examples of mechanisms this community uses are the University Writing

Center, and Sunday video vlogs that the professor puts in Blackboard.

Looped intercommunication help this community with feedback, one-on-one

conversations with either the professor or their peers. For example, working in groups help the

students get in touch with their peers with feedback and can help them come up with different

ideas that can work during a group project. Also, the University Writing Center that is located in

the library, as previously mentioned as an intercommunication mechanism, is also an example of


looped intercommunication because in Fridays and Saturdays, the professor is there and he can

help students with help with any assignment that students might find difficult.

This community has a dedicated genre, or certain objects that makes the community

unique, something that another community might not have. For example, the genre that this

community utilizes is the usage of our composition books. As previously mentioned, the

composition books serve as artifacts that many other people can see and firsthand experience the

many things that the students have wrote down during lectures. It is a dedicated genre because

many other courses dont usually incorporate the use of composition books, and these books are

unique because the professor stamps them each day, indicating whether the student was there

that day or not.

This discourse community utilizes some specialized language that is common in this

community, but not in other discourse community. For example, the use of rhetoric is a

specialized vocabulary that this discourse community uses.

In this community, there are individuals who are experts in the community and there are

newcomers to the community. Mr. Vierra, the professor, is the expert in this specific discourse

community and the students are the newcomers. Finally, the students learn appropriate language,

genres, and knowledge through lectures, from their compositions books and the communitys

self-sustaining hierarchy, Mr. Vierra. Also, if anything was to happen to the professor, one of the

students, a substitute, or even his helper can take over the class.


In conclusion, the RWS 1301 course is a discourse community because it follows the 6

characteristics that describe a discourse community. The common public goals because its goal is

to better the students education because an educated public creates a healthy democracy.

Intercommunication mechanisms because it has the Sunday vlogs that the professor puts out in

Blackboard. Looped intercommunications because of group work and the usage of Blackboard.

Dedicated genres because of the composition books that each student possesses. A specialized

vocabulary that the course has that other courses do not use, the use of Rhetoric. Finally, a self-

sustaining hierarchy, the professor himself and if something was to happen to him, one of the

students can take over.



Biswas, M., & Crnkovic, P. D. (2016). The undergraduate rhetoric and writing studies handbook

(1th ed.)

Bullock, R., Goggin, M. D., & Weinberg, F. (2016). The norton field guide to writing with

readings and handbook (4th ed.) W. W. Norton & Company.

Swales, J. (1990 Boston: Cambridge). ''The concept of discourse community.".