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Curriculum

The First Year Writing Program offers several courses that meet students' general education writing requirement. Students generally meet the requirement by taking a two course sequence in the freshman year. Students are placed into the appropriate course based on previous course credits earned, previous test credit earned, or by writing placement test results obtained at orientation. Students can get an idea about what to expect in the course by reviewing the following course purpose and objectives.

For the latest course information and course descriptions please consult the UMass Lowell Undergraduate online Catalog. See course purpose and objectives below for the following courses:

  • College Writing I
  • College Writing II
  • College Writing I Studio
  • College Writing A ESL
  • College Writing I ESL
  • College Writing II ESL

College Writing I  

Course Purpose and Objectives:
In College Writing I, we study and practice academic writing. Students will extend and develop their rhetorical knowledge, and apply that knowledge through regular informal and formal writing. By generating writing that aims to respond, explain, analyze, critique, interpret, and synthesize, students will learn to engage audiences for a variety of purposes in a range of contexts. In this student-centered course, writers will hone their craft. Approaching writing as a process of pre-writing, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading, students will enhance the clarity and expression of their ideas. Students will exit with an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses as writers; successful completion of this course will prepare students for the research writing they will begin to practice in CWII. All students completing College Writing I will produce four formal essays during the course of the semester, working toward the following learning outcomes: 

  • Use accurate vocabulary to discuss rhetorical strategies, the writing process, and the features of an academic essay
  • Compose purposeful, well-organized essays that pursue complex theses in sophisticated ways
  • Choose rhetorical strategies appropriate to purpose and audience
  • Use the writing process, including feedback from others, to build essays with substantial content
  • Demonstrate control in diction, grammar, mechanics, and style
  • Practice academic integrity 

College Writing II 

Course Purpose and Objectives:
In College Writing II, we study and practice academic research writing. Students will apply their rhetorical knowledge in the context of academic research through regular informal and formal writing. Students will generate and pursue complex theses through purpose-driven, process-based writing that engages audiences and integrates research. In this workshop course, writers will develop effective research habits and become familiar with the standards of academic research writing. Students will exit with an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses as writers and researchers; successful completion of this course will prepare students to meet the writing challenges they will encounter throughout their academic careers and beyond.

Building upon the skills acquired in College Writing I, students completing College Writing II will produce four formal, researched essays during the course of the semester, working toward the following learning outcomes: 

  • Generate research topics, ideas, questions, and problems
  • Locate, evaluate, and analyze primary and secondary sources of information
  • Use the writing process, including feedback from others, to compose substantive researched essays for an academic audience
  • Integrate and synthesize their own thoughts meaningfully with the words and ideas of others while foregrounding their position in the academic conversation
  • Recognize different citation styles, based on discipline, and employ appropriate systems of documentation accurately
  • Practice academic integrity 

College writing I Studio

Course Purpose and Objectives:

A workshop course that thoroughly explores the writing process from pre-writing to revision, with an emphasis on critical reading, essay structure, mechanics, and academic integrity. Students will read, conduct rhetorical analyses, and practice the skills required for participation in academic discourse. Students will write expository essays throughout the semester, producing four formal essays. This four-credit version of the course provides extra time and guidance each week for critical reading, sentence-level work, and revision.


College Writing A ESL 

Course Purpose and Objectives:
The learning objectives for this course include the following: 

  • Students will practice writing as a multi-stage process, including drafting, revising, and editing.
  • Students will improve their ability to control their language and ideas to produce clear, effective writing in English.
  • Students will practice developing their ideas logically and completely in well-organized and coherently structured paragraphs.
  • Students will write consistently in various forms, scaffolding their skills from extensive paragraph writing to write no fewer than two complete essays.
  • Students will review relevant principles of grammar, mechanics, and style relevant to ESL writers in, including: 
    • diction and word choice
    • idiomatic expression
    • linear logical progression
    • thesis-driven argument
    • presence and control in the writer’s voice
    • academic citation and reference
    • and practice identifying and editing these issues in their own writing.
  • Students will develop their reading comprehension skills, by learning how to actively read and annotate texts.
  • Students will explore their roles as participants in an academic community of writers, including the rhetorical and ethical conventions that govern American academic writing.
  • Students will take an active role in their learning, and will identify and use campus resources—including faculty office hours and tutoring services—that will support their ongoing growth as writers in English.
  • Students will exit with an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses as writers, and the self- assessment tools necessary to continue on successfully in their writing careers.

College Writing I ESL 

Course Purpose and Objectives:
The learning objectives for this course include the following: 

  • Students will engage in the writing process, including drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading, considering clarity, purpose, audience, and style.
  • Students will develop an understanding that multiple drafts enhance the final written product.
  • Students will work with other students to provide feedback, critiquing the work of others and revising based on suggestions of others, developing an awareness of the value of collaboration in the writing process.
  • Students will practice expository writing utilizing a variety of rhetorical strategies in response to a variety of audiences.
  • Students will develop an awareness of the proper structure, genre, and conventions for different rhetorical situations.
  • Students will hone critical reading and thinking skills.
  • Students will write texts that integrate their own thoughts with the words and ideas of others.
  • Students will explore their roles as participants in an academic community, learning how to employ writing throughout their college careers and beyond.
  • Students will review relevant grammar, mechanics, and style.
  • Students will be expected to practice academic honesty and avoid plagiarism.
  • Students will exit with an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses as writers, and the self-assessment tools necessary to continue on successfully in their writing careers.
  • Students will write consistently in various forms, including short responses, summaries, drafts, peer responses, and revisions, culminating in a portfolio of at least four formal essays.
Additionally, College Writing I ESL has the following learning objectives:
  • Students will read and write with attention to improving accuracy, vocabulary, and fluency in English.
  • Students will identify and correct patterns of error in their writing, especially those related to the influence of other languages.
  • Students will navigate the rhetorical and ethical conventions that govern American academic writing.
  • Students will practice oral expression through active classroom participation, presentation, and conversation.
  • Students will develop a sense of self-advocacy as learners, and identify the resources —faculty, classmates, tutors, etc.—that will support their ongoing growth as writers in English.

College Writing II ESL 

Course Purpose and Objectives:
The learning objectives for College Writing II ESL include the following: 

  • Students will engage in the writing process, including drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading, considering clarity, purpose, audience, and style.
  • Students will explore the research process, including:
    • generating topics, ideas, questions, and problems
    • developing and supporting a thesis statement
    • finding, assessing, and analyzing primary and secondary sources of information
    • managing various research tools (the library, the Internet, databases)
    • proper documentation methods
    • academic honesty and avoiding plagiarism
  • Students will continue to write texts that integrate their own thoughts with the words and ideas of others, practicing documentation skills and entering into the academic conversation.
  • Students will continue to sharpen their analytic skills by writing analyses.
  • Students will review and employ relevant grammar, mechanics, and style.
  • Students will be expected to practice academic honesty and avoid plagiarism.
  • Students will exit with an awareness of their strengths and weaknesses as writers, and the self-assessment tools necessary to continue on successfully in their writing careers.
  • Students will write consistently in various forms, including short responses, summaries, drafts, peer responses, and revisions, culminating in a portfolio of at least four formal essays.
Additional Course Purpose and Objectives:
Additionally, College Writing II ESL has the following learning objectives:
  • Students will read and write with attention to improving accuracy, vocabulary, and fluency in English.
  • Students will identify and correct patterns of error in their writing, especially those related to the influence of other languages.
  • Students will navigate the rhetorical and ethical conventions that govern American academic writing.
  • Students will practice oral expression through active classroom participation, presentation, and conversation.
  • Students will develop a sense of self-advocacy as learners, and identify the resources—faculty, classmates, tutors, etc.—that will support their ongoing growth as writers in English.