ENGL 1001 Freshman Writing Seminar

Instructor Contact:

Melanie Lo, PhD


About the Course:

From the General Catalogue: Provides training and practice in writing and critical thinking. Focuses on the writing process, the fundamentals of composition, and the structure of argument. Provides numerous and varied assignments with opportunity for revision.

The Freshman Writing Seminar’s overall goal is to train you in the building blocks of academic argument. The skills you will practice in this class include summarizing, synthesizing, and analyzing multiple points of view, and creating and supporting statements of position. By the end of the semester, you will have developed compositional, methodological, rhetorical, and grammatical skills that will allow you to clearly communicate and effectively argue.

Now, the Freshman Writing Seminar isn’t a course that will “make you a better writer”, whatever that means. But it will, I hope, give you some tools that allow you to see yourself as an informed writer—a writer who understands that different writing practices and different written products meet different needs and expectations for different audiences at different times in different ways.  One way you’ll begin to recognize and use these informed-writer’s tools is to write across a range of tasks, projects, and activities that have different purposes and goals.  Another way you’ll use these tools is to use them in an environment in which your reading, your thinking, your writing, and your experiences converge.

My goal is to help you develop your own individual writing process; thus, your participation in the work of the course, including drafting, peer reviewing, free-writing activities, and revision, is just as important as the finished pieces you actually produce. This course will operate as a process-based writing workshop; therefore, you need to be willing to share your work with others, to receive responses from others, and to read and respond carefully to your classmates’ work. You will collaborate with your classmates throughout the writing process and in revision, which will prepare you for courses across the curriculum at the University of Colorado Boulder.

Course Goals

Students who actively participate in the work of the course, and who read carefully and closely, will have the ability to do the following by the end of the semester:

  • Recognize writing and reading as a process for thinking, learning, inquiring, and communicating;
  • Identify and address different audiences and respond to the demands of various rhetorical situations;
  • Distinguish a writing assignment as a series of tasks that include finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing primary and secondary sources;
  • Formulate, support, and organize written claims;
  • Develop flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proofreading;
  • Use standard written English clearly and effectively.

Required Texts

Andrea Lunsford, John Ruszkiewicz, Everything’s an Argument with 2016 MLA Update Seventh Edition ISBN: 978-1319085759

David Bartholomae, Anthony Petrosky, and Stacey Waite’s Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers, 12th edition. ISBN: 9781319253974

Assignments and Grading:

Syllabus Quiz (5%): The Syllabus Quiz gives you an opportunity to tell me about yourself and what you’d like to learn in this class. You’ll also be asked to confirm your understanding of the requirements for this course. 

Discussion Posts (20%): Each week, you will complete two short writing assignments. Sometimes these will take the form of a discussion post and response to a classmate. Other times, you will complete writing posts meant to help you plan your essays and develop new writing skills. Writing posts represent a substantial portion of your coursework because they take the place of what would be an in-class discussion in a traditional seminar. These posts additionally serve as training for our peer review workshops. These posts should be thoughtful and well-written. You will receive a detailed prompt for the specific form the post should take. Note well: I do not accept late work. Late posts will earn zero points. You will have to opportunity to revise one post for a higher grade.

Rhetorical Analysis Essay (20%): This assignment will ask you to choose a source for rhetorical analysis, identify and analyze its genre, summarize and evaluate its content, and generate a persuasive argument about its effectiveness (2 drafts, 1 peer review, 3-4 pages)

Academic Research Essay (30%): Essay #2, broken into parts, will ask you to develop, research, and write a substantial, persuasive academic research paper on a topic of your choice. This essay will be broken down into the following steps: Annotated Bibliography (2 drafts, 6-8 sources, 1000-1500 words, 4-6 pages); Research Paper (3 drafts, 2 peer-reviews, 2000-3000 words, 8-12 pages).

Genre Adaptation Essay (15%): Essay #3 will ask you to translate your research paper into a different genre of your choice, focusing on “activating” your argument for a new audience, and providing a summary and analysis of how and why the argument differs across genres. NOTE: This is an opportunity to explore a genre that interests you or might be useful to you, such as a letter to an editor or an elected official, a job cover letter, a creative nonfiction piece, a persuasive video, an infographic, etc.

Digital Presentation of Genre Adaptation (10%): During the final week of the term, you will present your Genre Adaptations to the class in a digital exhibit using the Canvas Discussion Board. You will then be asked to offer substantive feedback on two classmates’ projects.

Now that you’ve selected your favorite Continuing Education courses, email or print the information, including class number, to more easily search Buff Portal and enroll. Still have questions? Contact an advisor.


Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado