Institutions of higher education have required first-year students to take writing courses for well over a century. In doing so, they have made it clear that educational and professional success are deeply tied to writing skills. But why is this? This class asks what it means to teach students how to write by probing seemingly stable concepts and practices like language and communication. We will discuss the history of writing studies in higher education before taking up debates over literacy, language standardization, education as imperialism and colonialism, theories of writing instruction, assignment design, and assessment practices. In addition to introducing students to the field of composition, rhetoric, and writing studies, so, too, will this course center the practice of writing. As such, students can expect to write, revise, and comment on classmates' writing regularly. Assignments will include a personal literacy narrative, response papers, weekly journals, and creative projects like assignment and rubric design.