Common Curricular Elements

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Common Curricular Elements

About Common Curricular Elements

In order to encourage consistency and commensurate learning experiences across diverse sections and teachers in the first-year experience at UWT there are several common elements that all teachers who teach those courses incorporate into their courses. These common elements help all courses explore the six learning goals for FYW:


All FYW courses use the following texts, among others that the teacher may choose: 
  • A Writer’s Reference (custom, 8th ed., 2015), Hacker & Sommers, with UWT program information in it
  • Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing. (


All FYW courses use a portfolio system with the following common requirements: 
  • Letter of reflection that explains what’s in the portfolio, why those documents were selected, and what learning the student demonstrates to a reader
  • 10-12 pages of revised, polished pages of writing from the course. 


Rhetorical awareness

The purpose of this unit is to give students concepts (vocabulary) for thinking about and reading texts of all kinds in a rhetorical way (e.g. examining purpose, audience expectations, the influence of context, etc.).

Suggested readings:

Research in various contexts

This unit explores with students ways to conduct research in various contexts and for various purposes, and find and interrogate sources for use in their writing. In some cases, the library and/or the writing center may provide support for this unit.

Suggested Readings:

Using sources effectively.

This unit provides methods to incorporate textual and other sources into one’s writing, covering typical conventions of summarizing, quoting, and documentation attribution. In some cases, the library and/or the writing center may provide support for this unit.

Suggested Readings:

Invention and finding one’s position in conversations

This unit explores ways to come up with ideas for writing in meaningful ways and incorporating those ideas into a written discussion.

Suggested readings:

Reflective writing practices

This unit helps students through the process of reviewing one’s reading and writing practices and drafts in order to revise or change drafts or practices, considering what to include in a portfolio, and how to reflect in writing (what to talk about) for the portfolio.

Suggested readings:

Problematizing one’s existential writing situation

This unit compares the reasons for conflicting peer judgments on students’ writing/drafts, which leads to some kind of formal reflection activity that asks the student to make sense of the comparisons. The unit considers questions like: In what reasonable ways can each of the conflicting judgments of the student’s writing be found correct? What do these different judgments suggest about the different language assumptions that the readers have concerning writing and what is appropriate? How are the language assumptions of readers different from the writer’s?

Suggested readings: