Program Outcomes

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Key Principles of the First-Year Writing Program

The First Year Writing Program's Five Key Principles
Five key principles guide instruction in EMU’s First-year Writing Program: rhetoric, process, conventions, multimodality, and reflection. You will hear more about each of these principles throughout the semester, and your instructor will often reiterate these concepts during in-class activities, in writing assignments, and in evaluations of your work. But we consider these principles to be farther reaching than any one class or sequence of classes, even farther reaching than an undergraduate degree program. The five principles will persist long after you graduate and will prove a reliable resource in many communication situations in personal, professional, and civic life. Scholars in writing studies have recently identified principles like these as threshold concepts, or as principles that both anchor a domain of knowledge and that, once learned, cannot be unlearned. In other words, as you gain focal experience with these principles in first-year writing, you are forming foundational habits, practices, and ways of thinking that will transfer to communicating effectively in many other situations.
  • Rhetoric: communication practices that are self-aware about making a purposeful impression and effecting change in diverse situations
  • Process: the ways in which effective communication builds-up and is developed in time
  • Conventions: predictable, loosely rule-governed patterns in communication, which are generally agreed upon within academic communities
  • Multimodality: composition that engages with a wide range of materials and is both intensified and complicated by writing in digital environments.
  • Reflection: when writers pause, take stock, and look back at what has worked well, what might have been handled differently, and the ways such insights inform future communication.

Because each of these five principles refers to a complex array of issues, brief but adequate definitions are difficult to establish. Nevertheless, we consider the definitions listed above to be useful for beginning the conversation about each principle. As your studies progress, you will begin to notice important additions and qualifications that add depth, subtlety, and texture to these preliminary definitions.

FYWP Two-Course Sequence Outcomes

The five key principles for the First-year Writing Program relate to a specific course outcome in WRTG120 and WRTG121. Each principle provides a broader frame in relation to the specific outcomes created for both WRTG 120 and WRTG121. There is a sequential relationship between the outcomes in the two courses as they are linked by the cohering principle. Outcomes specified for WRTG120 in effect build upon outcomes specified for WRTG121.

WRTG120 Outcomes and Key Concepts

The five course outcomes for WRTG120 indicate the priorities guiding instruction, assignment design, and the general progression of the class. You will be asked to reflect upon the connections you find between the five outcomes, selected projects, and your portfolio. The outcomes focus and organize the class, but there are numerous additional dimensions to the class, including considerations of literacy development, critical reading strategies, genre awareness, and practice with language conventions, including syntax and mechanics. The course outcomes are described below:

  • Rhetorical knowledge: You will have practiced using language consciously and identifying rhetorical qualities in composing situations.
  • Writing process: You will have engaged in invention, drafting, and rewriting, providing explicit evidence of a writing process.
  • Genre conventions: You will have demonstrated awareness of academic writing genre conventions, including mechanics and syntax.
  • Multimodal transformation: You will have adapted your writing to distinct rhetorical contexts, drawing attention to the way composition transforms across contexts and forms.
  • Reflective practice: You will have applied feedback from instructor, peers, and individual reflection to rethink, resee, and ultimately revise your work.

WRTG121 Outcomes and Key Concepts

Much the same as with WRTG120, the five explicit outcomes for WRTG121 provide a distinct organizing frame for the class. The outcomes will be focal at many moments throughout the semester, especially when you write reflections on the projects you have completed or in your final portfolio. Yet, because we don’t want to overload the outcomes or burden them with naming every minor aspect of the class, we want to openly acknowledge that there is much more to the class than these five outcomes. The content of these classes is writing, but we understand that a foundation for successful writing includes critical reading, rhetorical listening, speaking, multimodal design and representation, and working in digital environments. The course outcomes are described below:

  • Rhetorical performance: You will have enacted rhetoric by consciously constructing persuasive texts.
  • Research process: You will have practiced different research methods, which includes analyzing and using sources and developing primary research.
  • Style conventions: You will have developed awareness of conventions of academic research processes, including documentation systems and their purposes.
  • Multimodal design: You will have composed using digital technologies, gaining awareness of the possibilities and constraints of electronic environments.
  • Reflective interaction: You will have shared your work with your instructor, peers, and/or the university community and accounted for the impact of such interaction on composition.