photo of students sitting outside working on laptops

Course Formats

Trying to figure out what type of First-Year Writing course is for you? Rest assured that no matter the format, every class is designed to help students improve their writing and every class has the same amount of formal assignments. Read through the descriptions below for more information about how our program’s goals are accomplished.


Traditional First-Year Writing courses offer a structured approach to the curriculum. Classes are taught by one professor and meet twice a week at the same time in a regularly-scheduled classroom. Class time is a mixture of small group discussion, lecture, and in-class reading and writing. Traditional course models make up the bulk of the program’s offerings. Like all First-Year Writing courses, they are designed to advance the standard learning goals of the program, teaching students to be more effective writers of academic, analytical argument. Students are encouraged to email their professors, visit office hours, and/or make appointments if they need individual attention.

4-credit sections

4-credit sections of 105/106 offer an additional 50 minutes of instruction per week. The curriculum for these sections is the same as the 3-credit sections. During the additional 50 minutes of classroom time, students work on their ongoing writing projects while the instructor conferences with students and answers their questions. This added workshop time helps students keep up to date with their assignments.

In the Fall, students who would benefit from the additional instructional time are placed into 4-credit sections; in the Spring, all students have the option of registering for these sections in consultation with their WRIT 105 professor and advisor. If you have questions about this process, please contact FYW director Caroline Dadas.

Hybrid and Online

Hybrid and online courses in the First-Year Writing Program are rigorous. More writing is required than in traditional courses—at least 1,000-2,000 words per week in addition to regular required essays via online discussions and online collaborative work. Students in hybrid sections are expected to engage in the online classroom environment regularly and therefore, although the course meets in person only one day per week, it is not a one-day-per-week course. Similarly, students in online sections have class activities and assignments due throughout the week.

Is a hybrid or online format right for you? Take the hybrid and online survey to find out.