English 1010 and 1011 Course Description

Overview of ENGL-1010 and ENGL-1011

All students at the University of Connecticut take either English 1010 or English 1011 to meet their First-Year Writing requirement. Both courses are four-credit, single-semester writing seminars. Students with verbal SAT scores of 540 and above may choose either ENGL 1010 or ENGL 1011. Students whose SAT ”Critical Reading” (“verbal”) scores fall between 440 and 540 have the option of taking ENGL 1004 (Introduction to Academic Writing) if they would like a smaller class with more individualized attention and need to spend some more time writing before moving on to 1010/1011. Students with SAT verbal scores of 430 or below are required to take English 1004 before proceeding to 1010 or 1011. To verify students’ placement, instructors review first-day writing samples and discuss any concerns with the First-Year Writing Assistant Directors and Directors. The only exemption from the FYW requirement is for students who receive either a score of 4 or 5 on either AP English exam.

In the ENGL 1010 course, “Seminar in Academic Writing,” students are introduced to different modes and approaches to composition and become aware of, and respond to, a variety of rhetorical situations. The habits of mind students learn here should transfer to writing in a variety of contexts and disciplines: click here to read through our course moves, which are specific composition moves students may make in many rhetorical situations or in many disciplines, and click here to view our learning objectives, or fundamental ways our students will think about composition throughout and after the course. Students complete four-to-six major composition projects over the course of the semester, in addition to lower-stakes scaffolding and workshop assignments. The courses also emphasize revision: there are separate due dates for drafts, and all drafts are workshopped in writing groups with peers and/or individual conferences with the instructors.

Rather than promoting an adversarial or exclusively evaluative model of writing, with such questions as “What are the weaknesses of the author’s argument?” or “Do you agree or disagree with the author’s position?” (although such questions could certainly be part of a series of questions), the seminars should encourage students to think of themselves as participants—as they, in fact, are—in a collaborative process of questioning and discovery and making new knowledge, at times working with and at other times working against conventionally held assumptions.

Typical Activities in First-Year Writing Seminars

  • Working with other students' compositions
  • Exploring new modes of composition and the affordances of different composing technologies
  • Writing brief, exploratory in-class responses; for example, a 15-20 minute focused free-write about their writing practice or current assignment
  • Revising, individually and in groups, in either workshops or in dedicated conference time

Note: As this list of typical activities and the conference discussion below indicate, student engagement on many levels is at the heart of the First-Year Writing seminars. Engagement is linked to attendance, as students cannot engage when not in class; as such, attendance is linked to engagement requirements in determining a final grade. The seminars are largely writing workshops, analogous to science lab courses (also four-credit courses). Lack of engagement (i.e., nonattendance or meager in-class contributions) may lower student grades. Instructors should distribute a course description, which must include at least a partial schedule, during the first week of the semester. The course description should include information such as the texts for the course, the instructor’s office hours, amount and type of work required, and grading policies, including an attendance/engagement policy.

Specifics about 1011

English 1011 should be fundamentally identical to English 1010 in that it should encourage the same sort of writing, even though many of the texts read are literary. Literary reading in English 1011 works as a wellspring for writing and discussion. While instructors are encouraged to teach texts that interest them, the course is conceived as a writing seminar and not as an introduction to literature or a course focused on a narrowly defined period or subject area.

  • The readings should incorporate literature broadly defined (poetry, narrative, drama, autobiography, creative nonfiction, graphic novels, films, etc.), but with no requirement to cover major genres.
  • Readings may also include contextual resources supporting literary readings, such as historical documents, criticism, biography, visual materials, films, etc., but again, the course should not emphasize literary or historical criticism, but rather literature as a place to begin academic writing.
  • Instructors should aim to assign no more than approximately 300 total pages of reading.

Writing Across Technology (WAT) Learning Goals

The Writing Across Technology curriculum includes five major learning objectives  that students will develop throughout the course. In essence, these objectives are the things students should be able to do by the end of the course, and will affect the way students engage with composition broadly and long-term. There are many ways to achieve these outcomes, and individual FYW courses are structured differently and reach these goals in various ways. They are distinct from the course moves because these are long-term habits of thinking, whereas course moves are discrete actions students can do in particular rhetorical situations.

There are five major learning objectives:

Approach Composition as a Complex Process

  • Practice composing and writing as creative acts of inquiry and discovery through written, aural, visual, video, gestural, and spatial texts
  • Consider projects and problems from multiple ways of knowing
  • Develop new methods for all forms (including digital) of textual analysis, synthesis, and representation
  • Formulate strategies for the conceptual, investigative, practical, and reflective work of writing

Identify Yourself as a Writer

  • Contribute to others’ knowledge and understanding through your research and compositions
  • Practice ethical scholarship and develop a strong identity as a responsible maker of meaning

Engage with a Conversation

  • Discover, analyze, and engage with others’ ideas in productive ways through complex texts
  • Approach and use texts as ways to analyze, interpret, and reconsider ideas
  • Extend your ideas to new ground in the context of others’ work

Critically Examine Different Ways of Knowing

  • Identify and analyze conventions of disciplines
  • Interrogate genre expectations, including how knowledge is created and how evidence is used to forward work in academic disciplines
  • Evaluate the functional components of format, organization, document design, and citation

Use Technology Rhetorically

  • Recognize that technologies are not neutral tools for making meaning
  • Assess the context and mode of technology you are using to compose
  • Respond to situations with productive choices to deliver meaningful texts
  • Employ the principles of universal design to make your work accessible and legible to the widest possible audience

Developing a First-Year Writing Course

For more about our course, and for more specific discussion of designing these seminars including course concretes, please see our Instructor Resource Book.

You can also use our Course Development Tool to design your course according to the new WAT curriculum.