UDL English Composition

Applying Universal Design for Learning to Writing Courses

Purpose: For this article, you will be bringing together research skills in finding sources and evaluating perspectives.

Task: In Article 4, you’re writing a 400-word article about your topic. You should use at least two scholarly sources to give outside perspectives at least two of your sources from prior articles. Quotes from all four (or more) sources should be integrated to explain your topic.

Criteria for Success: A successful article will provide:

    • At least two outside perspectives on your topic.

    • Quotes from both perspectives to support them.

    • Quotes from at least one primary source and three scholarly sources.

    • A Works Cited page.

Here's an example with full MLA Formatting: Example of Perspectives on Climate Change. Although you don't need full formatting at this stage, you will need it for Project 2. Also, your in-text citations and your works cited do need proper MLA citation format.

The two perspectives you use do not need to disagree with each other, but they should not be saying exactly the same things. I don’t want repetition — I want multiple viewpoints. The opinions can be complementary, they can disagree, they can be saying unrelated things — your job as a writer is to help us see how these perspectives fit together in understanding your topic.

You may also use additional primary and secondary sources if you like, but the 1 primary and 3 scholarly sources are required.

You are not required to use your past sources, but you are certainly welcome to use sources from your past articles. However, please don’t recycle specific quotes or your own writing — try to say something new.

Evaluating Knowledge and Perspectives

Soon, we’ll begin Project 2, the major research paper for English 101. In Project 1, we’ve been using a series of shorter articles to look at the different types of sources and to practice good citations. Here in Article 4, the goal is to extend these basics into the more complex aspects of academic writing: reading the hard sources, telling your readers what those sources say, and then using your own judgment to help us better understand what those outside sources say about your topic.

Essentially, I’m looking for how well you evaluate knowledge. What do we know about your topic, and how do we know it? I want you to specifically talk about whether your primary and secondary sources may be biased or inaccurate. Explain just how relevant or related your scholarly sources may be. And you do not need to give complete answers — in fact, you may find some questions have no known answers. In these cases, tell your readers what we don’t know, and how come that knowledge remains unknown.


Here’s and example of the kind of writing I’m looking for. To better show the MLA Formatting

According to Mohan Munasinghe, climate change will cause major disruptions to the global economy, and these impacts will be the most damaging for those already living in poverty. “Climate change is one major global outcome, but equally serious issue is the degradation of local water, air, and land resources. Ironically, the worst impacts of climate change will fall on the poor, who are not responsible for the problem” (8). McKibbin and Wilcoxin seem to echo this sentiment when it comes to national economies. As they write, “The effects tend to be small—or even positive—in developed countries. Developing countries are more vulnerable to climate change and are likely to suffer more adverse impacts” (113). To understand how some countries might benefit from climate change, you can look north, to Canada, where the melting ice in the Arctic Ocean may open new shipping lanes for global commerce — the melting ice has led to a major dispute between the United States and Canada regarding the status of these waters (Burke). But for nations without the infrastructure to adapt, the changing nature of the oceans may cause devastating damage, as seen in the rapid erosion of Micronesia. Photos from Majuro Island show of cemeteries being washed out to sea by the rising tides (Harris).

Works Cited

Burke, Danita Catherine. “The Northwest Passage Dispute.” Oxford Research Group, 26 Feb. 2018, https://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/blog/the-northwest-passage-dispute. Accessed 22 June 2020.

Harris, Mark Edward. Photograph of tombstones and markers slipping into the sea on the west end of Majuro island. “Climate Change: ‘The Single Greatest Threat to Our Existence.’” Honolulu Civil Beat, https://www.civilbeat.org/2015/10/climate-change-the-single-greatest-threat-to-our-existence/. Accessed 22 June 2020.

McKibbin, Warwick J., and Peter J. Wilcoxen. “The Role of Economics in Climate Change Policy.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 16, no. 2, pp., 2002, 107-129, https://pubs.aeaweb.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1257/0895330027283. Accessed 22 June 2020.

Munasinghe, Mohan. “Addressing sustainable development and climate change together using sustainomics.” Wires Climate Change, vol. 2, no. 1, 2011, pp. 7-18, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/wcc.86. Accessed 22 June 2020.

Site Goals: Composition, UDL, and Student Outcomes

Each writer is unique, and every writing situation will carry different expectations. As writers, we continually choose how and when to apply past lessons from English courses to the present writing situation. Sometimes, you have to break the "rules" you've been taught in order to meet the rules of the moment, and other times you have to carefully follow "traditional" rules that may seem confusing or even archaic.

I'm preparing this site as I teach my composition students at Heartland Community College.

As a writing teacher, my goal is to help each student better understand the "rules" of classroom writing so that you can be more successful in your research papers, presentations, and other forms of academic communication. My hope is to make the process of writing more accessible by showing not only the things you "should" do, but by also explaining the reasons and process behind producing a successful work of writing.

Site Highlights

About the Site: Information about Composition, Universal Design for Learning, and Ryan Edel.

Writing Process: An in-depth guide the process of writing and composition, from research to the final paper.

Genres of Writing: A discussion of the categories of communication and the conventions that define them.

Student Modules (Coming Soon!): Projects and Lesson plans to help students build their skills over the course of a semester.

Teaching Tools (Coming Soon!): Resources for bringing together Technology and UDL Best Practices into your classroom.

Multimodal Tools (Coming Soon!): Technologies and tutorials for producing images, soundtracks, and videos in a variety of genres.

Grammar and Style: Information about the grammar, style, and formatting requirements for academic and professional writing.

My UDL Journey: Some notes about teaching and writing that might help better explain my progression as a teacher.

This website is not intended to "fight bad habits" or to "make students study more." Instead, I want to shift student perspectives to help individual writers better prioritize their time. In reality, we all have "bad" habits when we write, and none of us actually spend "enough" time writing. Even with a Ph.D. in English Studies and ten years of teaching experience, my own writing continues to fall short of what I "want" to communicate. But by breaking down the steps needed to organize and then write a paper, anyone can learn to write a thoughtful and successful paper for a given course.

My goal is to help each student see the available resources, consider their individual strengths, and then choose how and when to best apply research and writing resources to meet their own skills and expectations.