Glossary of Terms

  • Assignment. An assignment is a writing task instructors give to students. It is the sum of written instructions and scaffolding that communicates the parameters, instructions, and stakes of what students are being asked to do. At its core, an assignment is an opportunity to do something (write an essay, curate a portfolio, script a podcast) and then circulate and receive feedback on what they produce. See FYW assignment guidelines and examples here.
  • Course inquiry. Course inquiry refers to the specific focus of a semester-long course, which includes a rounded exploration of a particular topic or idea using various texts, sources, and methods. For example, a course might focus on questions concerning the way childhood is constructed rhetorically in contemporary discourse. Inquiry provides the occasions for certain kinds of projects, but it isn't "content" that students are supposed to learn. Instead, a course inquiry provides a stage on which students get to practice writing and composing.
  • Course moves. The five "course moves" of FYW—collecting and curating, engaging a conversation, contextualizing, theorizing, and circulating—provide a helpful shared vocabulary for students and teachers. See the FYW course moves chart to see more about how these course moves connect to learning objectives and the work of the course.
  • Information literacy. According to the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Framework for Information Literacy, “Information literacy is the set of integrated abilities encompassing the reflective discovery of information, the understanding of how information is produced and valued, and the use of information in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning.” You can learn more about FYW's information literacy requirement here.
  • Multimodal composition. Multimodal composition just means writing that uses multiple modes. There are five main modes: linguistic (words, text), aural (sound), gestural (embodied communication, interactivity), spatial (relationships between elements), and visual (images, graphics, color, etc.). Since even the most traditional print manuscripts use text (linguistic mode), fonts (visual mode), and spacing (spatial mode), all texts are actually multimodal. In the FYW/ECE program, multimodal is sometimes used to refer to assignments that explicitly foreground multimodal design. Often (but not always), instructors invite students to compose multimodal texts with digital tools, because of the diverse affordances these technologies offer.
  • Project. Projects are critical writing processes that foster discussion, challenge thinking, and create new sites for inquiry. Projects may be responses to an assignment (see above), but they also may be work that extends across multiple, sequenced assignments, culminating in a combined product. All projects are in some way a response to the course inquiry.
  • Reflection. The reflective portion of the course includes any time spent on characterizing, reconsidering, or qualifying one’s work. Often less evaluative than descriptive, reflective writing turns the critical, analytical activity that typifies academic writing back on the writing project itself. Reflective writing generally aims to help students develop metacognition toward writing. You can learn more about reflective writing here.
  • Revision. Much of the most significant work of a FYW/ECE seminar happens in revision after students have taken the first steps of drafting a specific writing project. Writing is a process that is complex and recursive, which is to say that it isn’t “done” after the initial draft or idea has been produced. Students need to be able to return to projects (usually after receiving feedback) and rethink their claims, ideas, and rhetorical choices. This most often happens through multiple drafts for major assignments.
  • Schedule. The timeline of when things happen in your course. The schedule includes assignment due dates, assigned readings, and sometimes class activities or events (such as workshop days).
  • Studio pedagogy. FYW/ECE courses strive to encourage critical digital literacy skills and rhetorical strategies for composing through a variety of means besides traditional alphabetic text. We want students to be makers of digital and social texts, not just consumers. The studio component of FYW courses is a distinct part of the FYW courses specifically dedicated to a workshopping and production-driven model of writing and composing. In studio sessions, students produce prototypes, sketches, or models that often make use of digital technologies or tools.
  • Syllabus. The document that maps out the inquiry and structure of your course for students. Often includes a schedule (above) as well as course policies. Please follow our syllabus guidelines carefully.