Every FYW/ECE seminar includes the following components:
- Substantial amounts of revised writing and composing in various modes and genres (3 or more major projects)
- Additional short and informal writing and composing (both in and out of class)
- Cycles of feedback, circulation, and revision with each project (including various forms of conferencing and workshopping); attention on audience, rhetorical context
- Information Literacy (a UConn General Education requirement)
- Reflective writing
- Multimodal composition (and at least some studio pedagogy)
- [By 2022-23] Course Inquiry, Studio Pedagogy, and Course Moves
A substantial amount of revised writing
Instructors should assign substantial writing projects throughout the course—typically across at least three major projects. In the past, the requirement has been stated in terms of pages or word count, but as writing has begun to mix with other media through digital technologies, this fixed number no longer makes much sense. What we focus on instead is creating frequent opportunities for students to produce writing. And this writing that students produce serves as the focus of a FYW/ECE course. Instructors should be engaging student writing or composition in most class sessions. Please see our assignment guidelines for more on assignment prompts.
Additional short and informal writing
Not all writing or composing in FYW/ECE courses needs to be high-stakes (graded). Sometimes the purpose of writing is simply to practice, brainstorm, or learn. We recommend that students do some writing or composing most days in class.
Feedback and circulation
Writing is social; that is, it’s an interaction between an author and an audience. In order for students to develop their writing, their writing should circulate to different audiences and receive feedback from those audiences. Feedback includes the comments an instructor makes on each draft as well as feedback students provide on each others’ projects. Class time and homework can be directed toward this reflection on the work that students have done as peer review, various forms of conferencing, workshopping of specific examples, and so on. Students may also provide feedback as out-of-class assigned work.
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. Leave plenty of time between drafts and build class sessions around the sharing and discussion of in-process drafts.
Information Literacy, an explicit component of UConn’s General Education requirements, addresses making, not just receiving, knowledge and includes direct instruction in some elements of library research. In addition, we ask that FYW/ECE instructors utilize HuskyCT (or some other course management software) as a mode for storing and distributing course materials and circulate at least one cycle of papers digitally. More detailed information can also be found the First-Year Writing website.
Reflective writing, which includes characterizing, reconsidering, or qualifying one’s work, fosters awareness and metacognition about writing (and not just writing processes). Reflective writing in FYW/ECE seminars is an ongoing activity that need not be graded or end-of-term. Reflective forms include: process notes, in-class reflections on (or presentations of) one’s project, other kinds of metatexts, including placing of one’s work within the context of others’ work, introductory texts, and more. (See the FYW website for more.)
By the 2020-2021 academic year, all English 1010 and English 1011 courses included at least one major multimodal assignment. It's important for 21st century writers to develop functional digital literacy (knowing how to do things with certain technologies) as well as the ability to compose in multiple modes (e.g., with combinations of images, sound, text, etc.) across diverse technologies as ways of writing. 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. By 2022-23, ECE courses will have a required studio component, a portion of the course dedicated to exploring digital (and analogue) literacies and technologies.
Course inquiry, studio pedagogy, and course moves
In 2022-23, ENGL 1010 and 1011 will transition to ENGL 1007: Seminar in Writing and Multimodal Composition, but you can begin to incorporate key features of the new course within your existing courses. These three new emphases—course inquiry, studio pedagogy, and course moves—complement the work you're already doing. All 1007 practices or moves are entirely compatible with ENGL 1004, 1010, and 1011.
The Concretes: Some Checklists
This checklist focuses on nuts and bolts and is meant to complement the more substantive FYW/ECE course goals documented elsewhere.
Assignment design checklist
- Assign a substantial amount of revised writing—three or more major writing projects.
- For each draft of a major project, conduct a substantial revision and circulation process (individual conference, small group conference, peer conferencing, or other model, sometimes in combination).
- Include an explicit Information Literacy component in at least one written assignment (often but not always one of the major projects).
- Include a reflective component of some kind (could be a stand-alone assignment or could be built into other assignments). Often ungraded and/or ongoing.
- Assign at least one assignment that requires multimodal composition.
- Experiment with studio pedagogy (Suggested for 2021-22)
- Require that at least one cycle of drafts and final projects be submitted via HuskyCT or comparable course management software (e.g., Google Classroom).
- Assign a reading amount appropriate to the course goals. For one semester courses, this is usually no more than 300 pages of reading. Most instructors assign far less reading in order to keep the focus on the students’ own writing. (Full-year ECE courses often exceed 300 pages of reading, since they may be embedded in a curriculum that also looks to develop students' sustained reading skills. Still, the focus of FYW/ECE courses should be on writing rather than reading.)
- Provide written assignment guidelines for each writing assignment.
Feedback and assessment checklist
- Regularly engage with student writing during class time.
- Provide regular feedback on student projects. All student projects should receive some sort of feedback during the revision process.
- Do not grade unrevised drafts.
- Assign a letter grade for each revised major project. (Keep in mind that students cannot pass this course without submitting all major assignments.)
Course policies checklist
- Make clear to students how they might set up an appointment to meet with you.
- Consider offering some kind of course evaluation opportunity midway through the course (can be informal).