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WRITING 120

College Writing for International and Multilingual Students

(full term, 3 credits, graded, may be elected twice for credit)

This three-credit course is designed to prepare international and multilingual students for their first-year writing courses. It will guide students in typical university writing practices, including an emphasis on developing well-researched, properly cited papers. Students will develop written fluency and improve their command of grammatical, textual, rhetorical, and multimodal conventions common in a variety of academic disciplines. Students will also work towards the aim of developing a rhetorical perspective on multilingualism as it relates to writing and communication.

Course objectives

  • Learn about academic genres of reading and writing.
  • Develop critical reading strategies for rhetorical principles of audience, purpose and argumentative techniques.
  • Develop summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting skills in academic writing.
  • Practice searching scholarly articles in the university’s databases.
  • Conduct sequenced readings and writing, with a researched paper as the major assignment.
  • Revise papers individually and collaboratively for content, organization, and argumentation.
  • Edit papers individually and collaboratively for clarity and style.
  • Develop insights into strengths and weaknesses as a writer.
  • Develop a rhetorical perspective on multilingualism and multimodality.
  • Develop and negotiate identity in writing.

Course Requirements:

  • Writing in a variety of genres and media, totaling the equivalent of 25 pp. of polished writing (4-6 papers or projects)
  • Revision of all major writing projects and participation in peer review and writing workshops
  • Completion of an electronic portfolio that fosters self-reflection and demonstrates progress in writing
  • Regular participation in a course blog to practice low-stakes writing and foster a sense of audience
  • Regular one-to-one meetings with instructor
  • Regular class attendance and engagement
  • Completion of all reading assignments, and additional low-stakes writing assignments

Writing 120 Student Experiences

"I found Writing 120 very helpful because it helped me learn about academic writing. Taking Writing 120 is one of the best choices that I have made after entering the university.

Before taking this class, I always considered writing in English as one of the most annoying things. Whenever I needed to finish a writing assignment, my inner feelings of weakness and helplessness came up incessantly. I couldn’t help thinking about the grammar mistakes I would make. I couldn’t even help thinking that I might have misunderstood the topic. The Writing 120 class was just like a quick acting drug that relieved my stress of writing effectively. Following, I list some improvements that I made by taking this wonderful class.

First of all, I learned how to write diverse types of academic papers in Writing 120. For example, now if my professor asks me to write a research paper, I won’t feel panic or confusion about how to write an introduction or what is an implication. Secondly, the number of grammar mistakes I make has been continuously decreasing. In my DSP essay, I made roughly 8-10 grammar errors per 200 words. Surprisingly, in my third assignment in Writing 120, there were about 2-3 grammar mistakes per 200 words. Last but not least, I have built my confidence in English academic writing, which will help me a lot for my future upper level writing.

Honestly, this writing experience has encouraged me to continue my path of writing. And I genuinely believe what I learned from this course would be beneficial for my entire university life."

-- Chen Yutong

"I took Writing 120 in fall 2013 during my first semester at the University of Michigan. Writing 120 is a course especially designed to prepare international students for more advanced Writing courses. Now, I feel so lucky that I did not miss the course since Writing 120 is one of the best courses I have taken at the University of Michigan.

First of all, the course exposed me to some fundamental rules and basic writing knowledge. For example, it was in this course that I first heard and learned about MLA format; logical fallacies; and the difference between argument, evidence and example. Later, when my classmates used those terms in my first year writing class, I could confidently join their discussion without feeling like a blind person.

What is more, the course guided me to the correct way of using certain words and phrases, which helped to make my papers more native.

Last but not least, I liked the course because my instructor Lori really cares about the progress of each student. When I got Lori’s feedback on my first paper, I was deeply moved because her comments were so detailed. And she pointed out the mistakes as tiny as the misuse of punctuation.

Generally speaking, Writing 120 is indeed an excellent course. If you want to have a gradual and smooth transition to academic English writing, you should definitely take the course!"

-- Xiaohe Yu