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Excelling in Upper-Level Writing

Credits: 1 Advisory Prerequisites: Upper-level transfer students concurrently enrolled in at least one course for which they write on a regular basis. | Mandatory credit/no credit May be elected twice for credit

This course serves transfer and upper-division students who seek support to meet the expectations for writing in upper-level courses, and especially courses that meet LSA’s Upper-Level Writing Requirement. It addresses the writing challenges that students bring to the course, thereby providing immediate and direct assistance to upper-division student writers. Operating in a workshop and discussion format, it provides an opportunity to identify writing strengths and issues, set personal goals, and practice writing in a collaborative environment. The course uses the writing that students produce in other classes as the basis for workshops.

Course Requirements

This C/NC, one-credit course will be focused on writing produced in other contexts. Grades are based on class attendance and engagement with the primary activities.

First, Identify Writing Problem: To develop a language for talking about their own writing, students will be required to provide for each class session the specific writing problem(s) they are encountering in a given assignment.

Second, Extensive Revision: Students who have difficulty with writing often confuse editing (fixing errors) with revising (reconceptualizing and significantly rewriting).Students will be required to revise their own writing regularly and extensively, focusing on individual elements of a paper, such as the thesis statement or use of evidence.

Third, Critique the Writing of Peers: To become better readers and editors of their own writing, students will be required to participate in regular writing workshops with their peers, offering detailed written and verbal responses.

Intended Audience

Transfer undergraduates and other upper-division undergraduates who feel less prepared for upper-level writing. This course can be taken at the same time as a ULWR course; it does not fulfill the Upper Level Writing Requirement.

Class Format

The class will meet weekly for one hour in a seminar format. It will primarily use a workshop and discussion format, with occasional and brief direct instruction on specific topics in writing.

Writing 350 Testimonial

I transferred as a junior from Oakland University and I am studying secondary education with a focus in Spanish and history. I made the decision to take Writing 350 for several reasons. I have not been required to write many papers outside of the Spanish language over the past few semesters, and I was nervous about what kind of writing would be required in my history and education courses. Coming to the University of Michigan can be intimidating, so I also took this class to get a better grasp on the expectations of upper-level writing at Michigan, and what to expect in future semesters. 

So far this semester I have taken refuge in the Writing 350 course. It provides an open environment, giving students the opportunity to share their Michigan experiences and build on writing techniques pertaining to each student’s own field of study. Not only are we able to focus on academic aspects of the University, but our weekly Insider Reports encourage students to share tips about the Ann Arbor lifestyle, including great places to eat, study, find academic resources, and relax. We are currently in the process of creating templates for good writing in various disciplines. I am looking forward to the presentations of these templates and learning the key expectations of different types of writing. I encourage students to take this course as I have found it to be an excellent resource in becoming acclimated to the University of Michigan inside and outside of the classroom.

-- Sarah (University of Michigan class of 2014)