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Why ENG121 is Required at UAGC

By Nathan Pritts, PhD.

English Composition: Why is it Required at UAGC?

Class work at the University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) is designed to deliver the skills necessary to position you for academic and professional success by providing dynamic learning experiences centered around the competencies that will serve as transformational gateways to major classes … and the careers that come next! The written communication skills in ENG 121 English Composition are a big part of that.

In this blog, I discuss why ENG 121 is necessary and how taking the course can improve your writing as well as provide skills you can use in your professional life. 

Why ENG 121?

Early in your academic journey, you will come to understand writing as a process – one that is strengthened through critical thinking, deepened by research, and built on a foundation of professional standards. To do that, you will strive to articulate a sense of your own skills and goals and engage in collaborative conversations with your peers and your instructor, all while conducting research to be able to express your ideas more effectively. You will learn that no one expects writing to be perfect the first time and embrace an empowering trial-and-error approach. This all becomes more apparent as you proceed through your coursework in ENG 121.

Written communication skills are crucial for academic and professional success. And through working on the Written Communication competency, we’re building a strong foundation for these skills – taking you through the process step by step to help increase your confidence and your abilities to ensure that you’re prepared for what comes next.

As you continue on your academic journey, and settle into a professional path, you’ll be called upon to communicate in a variety of different ways – but written communication will always be on the frontline of that. 

The Written Communication skills you gain are foundational to every next step you might take. Whatever your major, and wherever your career aspirations may take you, the work you’ve put into this course will help you on your path.  In any class you may take, and in any career field you enter into, the ability to communicate your ideas through the written word will be crucial to success. 

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Why Write?

Whether you’re the kind of person who enjoys writing or has always struggled with it, ENG 121 has been redesigned to meet you at your skill level and build from there. Each week, you’ll be introduced to new skills, different steps in the writing process, and have the opportunity to practice them. This practice is crucial to honing and mastering the knowledge so that you can apply it in a variety of circumstances.

But why write at all? Because it’s the gateway to a range of crucial academic and professional skills! As we master the writing process, we become stronger at conveying our ideas to others. We learn to structure and present information so as to get the results we hope for. We develop a foundation for revision and professionalism that ensures we are fostering a growth mindset. Additionally, writing helps to hone our capacity for critical thinking, empathy, and creativity. 

Jobs website Indeed says it this way: “Writing skills allow you to communicate clearly with others and create useful resources. Even professions that don't focus on writing require written communication skills, from the initial application to daily tasks and record-keeping.”

Want to learn more? Watch this video walkthrough!

 

You Can Get Comfortable with The Uncomfortable

Thinking of writing as a process – a process which anyone can become more comfortable with and, through repetition and practice, master – necessitates writing a lot! So, it is important to have repeated opportunities to practice those writing skills. While most courses will have some type of writing component, courses that focus on written communication like this one will not only provide you with opportunities to write, but they will offer explicit instruction in written communication. In this class, in addition to discussion boards, you’ll complete a weekly Writing Notebook. These activities will give you a chance to really practice and master the different steps of the writing process through informal and reflective exercises before you need to apply them on the written assignments in the class.

In order to get better at writing, we need to write! This class provides a variety of opportunities to do that. Some, like the Writing Notebook, are more informal and reflective in nature. The discussion forums provide an opportunity to discuss important strategies with your peers to better understand the real impact of the steps of the writing process. And the three written assignments allow you to demonstrate the skills you’ve been learning. Because writing is such an important practice in itself, there are no quizzes or tests in this course. All of the focus is on writing.

When we write, we create a record of our thinking on a specific subject. While we spend a lot of time ensuring that our writing is professional and polished enough so that others can understand our ideas, it’s important to realize that the process of writing has great value for the writer as well. It’s through the act of writing that we develop and hone our ideas and discover truths about our most important values and beliefs. 

If It Doesn’t Challenge You, It Won’t Change You

We’ve all had unique experiences that work to define who we are. But until we describe those experiences, and until we put them into some kind of order, we may not be able to fully grasp the powerful insights they communicate. By connecting that to a sense of our academic and career goals, we can start to describe the ways in which our unique mixture of experience and skills can help prepare us for the challenges and successes to come.

Writing is a challenge, but it’s an obstacle anyone can overcome. Take a look at these student and faculty tips for passing ENG 121 and you’ll see that it is possible, even if it is difficult at first. Writing can help us to present our ideas to other people, but it can also help us to better understand ourselves. When we can fully articulate a sense of how our experience has prepared us for the steps to come in our lives, we can be certain that we’re leveraging our strengths to bring about the future we see for ourselves.

Questions? Talk to an advisor


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Nathan Pritts is Lead Faculty in UAGC’s Center for Enhancement of First-Year Experience in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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