DePaul University College of LAS > Academics > Writing, Rhetoric and Discourse > Undergraduate > First-Year Writing > Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Approved by the Liberal Studies Council - June  2008

Taken together, the courses in the First-Year Writing Program at DePaul University seek to develop student competencies in five general categories: rhetorical knowledge; critical thinking, reading and writing; writing processes; knowledge of conventions; and composing in electronic environments.  

Rhetorical Knowledge
By the end of FYW, students should be able to demonstrate that they can:

  • Define and focus on a purpose or purposes
  • Interpret and respond to different audiences
  • Respond appropriately to different kinds of rhetorical situations
  • Apply conventions of format and structure appropriate to the rhetorical situation
  • Apply appropriate tone, diction, and level of formality
  • Demonstrate  how genres shape reading and writing
  • Write in several genres

Critical Thinking, Reading and Writing
By the end of FYW, students should be able to demonstrate that they can:

  • Employ writing and reading for inquiry, thinking, and communicating
  • Respond and evaluate texts in multiple genres and media
  • Demonstrate that a writing assignment is a series of tasks that includes finding, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate primary and secondary sources
  • Integrate their own ideas with those of others
  • Interpret and explain the relationships among language, knowledge, and power 

By the end of FYW, students should be able to demonstrate that they can:

  • Recognize and articulate the value of using multiple drafts to create and complete a successful text
  • Exhibit flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proof-reading
  • Demonstrate understanding that writing is an open process that permits writers to use later invention and re-thinking to revise their work
  • Explain  the collaborative and social aspects of writing processes
  • Critique their own and others’ works
  • Apply a variety of technologies to address a range of audiences

Knowledge of Conventions
By the end of FYW, students should be able to demonstrate that they can:

  • Demonstrate competency in using common formats for different kinds of texts
  • Apply a variety of genre conventions ranging from structure and paragraphing to tone and mechanics
  • Correctly document their work
  • Correctly apply in their writing such surface features as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling

Composing in Electronic Environments
As has become clear over the last twenty years, writing in the 21st century involves the use of digital technologies for several purposes, from drafting to peer reviewing to editing. Therefore, although the kinds of composing processes and texts expected from students vary across programs and institutions, there are nonetheless common expectations.

By the end of FYW, students should be able to demonstrate that they can:
  • Use electronic environments for drafting, reviewing, revising, editing, and sharing texts
  • Locate, evaluate, organize, and use research material collected from electronic sources, including scholarly library databases; other official databases (e.g., federal government databases); and informal electronic networks and internet sources
  • Understand and exploit the differences in the rhetorical strategies and in the affordances available for both print and electronic composing processes and texts
  • Articulate, for multiple audiences, meaning-making capabilities of textual, graphic, auditory, and video modes
  • Compose in multiple modes with intended rhetorical effects and articulate the steps taken to achieve those effects
  • Contextualize meaning-making capabilities of multimodality for academic, professional, and community audiences