Loyola University Maryland

Writing Department

Learning Aims (WR100)

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Revised and endorsed by the Writing Department on September, 2009

Writing, as the Loyola College Core statement of purpose makes clear, is an essential component of a liberal arts education: “Both long tradition and the needs of contemporary life mandate the ability to communicate effectively and elegantly as a primary goal of liberal education. Therefore, writing plays a central role in the core curriculum” (1992 & 2004 Core Review Committees). Because WR100 is an introductory course in the discipline of writing, it is only the beginning of a students’ development as college level writers. The course provides a foundation for faculty from across the disciplines to build on as they teach students the conventions and expectations of their disciplines. It does not—and cannot—replace sustained, disciplinary-specific writing instruction.

WR100 is based on several key assumptions: Writing is a complex activity that requires ongoing practice and guidance. It is a meaning-making activity used to make sense of the world around us and to communicate to others. It is closely connected to reading and critical thinking. Writing strategies, expectations, and criteria are context dependent; effective writing depends on the writer’s ability to understand and address audience, purpose, and topic. WR100, therefore, focuses on higher order activities, not remedial or basic skills. The goal is to teach students to approach writing as a rhetorical activity, not as a set of rules or conventions. In achieving this goal, the course attends to writing as both process and product within a community of writers.

Given this framework, the Writing Department has determined learning aims for WR100 Effective Writing on which faculty from across the disciplines can build as they continue to guide students in their development as writers. 

Over the course of the semester, students in Effective Writing will

  • Use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, critical thinking, and communicating
  • Explore how genre shapes reading and writing as they write different types of contemporary American essays
  • Analyze and respond to different rhetorical situations by adopting appropriate voice, tone, and level of formality
  • Formulate an original thesis, focus, or controlling idea and support it by using a variety of strategies, including analyzing and the integration of ideas and information gathered through research
  • Use flexible strategies for generating ideas, drafting, revising, editing, and proofreading
    • Critique their own and others' work (balancing the advantages of working with others with the responsibility of doing their part)
    • Develop an effective writing process that encourages later invention and rethinking to revise their work
    • Use multiple drafts to create and complete an effective text, and
    • Generate texts that conform to conventions of edited American English.