Communication Literacy Course Sequence

student and teacher.

What is Communication Literacy?

Communication Literacy is a two-course writing sequence recognizing that students communicate in a diverse world that is at once textual, digital, and highly visual.

The first course establishes strong foundations in writing, rhetoric, and oral and visual communication, while developing strategies to organize, evaluate and manage enormous quantities of information.

The second course adopts a “writing in the disciplines” model that transmits the skills required to both learn and create knowledge within the chosen academic field, and to develop a professional voice through opportunities to write on substantive issues arising from the major.

What work will I do in Communication Literacy courses?

Both Communication Literacy courses have—as a minimum—the following components:

  • A minimum of 5000 words of revised, formal writing assignments
  • A minimum of three formal writing assignments.
  • Regular, weekly informal writing assignments, for example, online discussion forum posts, journals, blogs, in-class writing, and so on.
  • Formal writing assignments that comprise a minimum of 50% of the final grade.
  • Understand and apply visual and digital composing methods as appropriate to the field.
  • At least one assignment with a research component.
  • Use of the eportfolio.

How do I figure out what I am required to take?

To figure out what courses you are required to take in order to fulfill your writing requirement, you can always ask your academic advisor or check your Academic Advisement Report.

Click here to see how to find and understand your Academic Advisement Report:

You should also check your standardized test scores (SAT, ACT, AP, TOEFL, and IELTS) to see if you have should place out of the required writing courses. See this page for more information about placement.

What is Communication Literacy 1 (CL1)?

This course is introduction to research, writing, and rhetorical practices employed in academic and professional contexts. The course examines the operation of genres, the audiences they address, and the purposes they serve. The course focuses on the analysis and development of student writing and rhetorical practice. Assignments include research essays, digital compositions, and oral presentations. This course is a controlled enrollment (impacted) course.

Students who have previously attempted the course and received a grade other than W may repeat the course in the summer or winter; or only in the fall or spring semester with a petition to the College of Arts and Sciences Deans' Office.

What is Communication Literacy 2 (CL2)?

CL2 is taught within the disciplines, providing you with a range of choices for competing the second course of the Communication Literacy sequence.

Having completed CL2, you will be able to:

  • Compose in academic, professional, and/or workplace genres related to a field of study.
  • Apply writing processes common to that field.
  • Compose and deliver a professional presentation.
  • Describe the conventions of genres within a field.
  • Make effective disciplinary and professional arguments.

Where can I find a list of CL2 courses?

The Department of English's CL2 courses include 202 (Technical Writing), 207 (Creative Writing), 208 (Writing About Literature), 209 (Writing about Science), 210 (Professional Writing), and 285 (Writing in the Health Sciences), and any other course designated CL-2 here:

CL2 Courses offered by other departments can be found here:

Will taking CL2 satisfy my humanities requirement?

This is a question that is relevant only for students under the old General Education requirements who still need to take a course to stand in for the ENG 201 course requirement (ENG 101 and ENG 201, in combination, once completed the Humanities requirement). In addition, CL2 courses will only satisfy your humanities requirement if a program in the humanities offers it: AAS, AS, AMS, CL, COL, ENG, FR, GER, GGS, HIS, HMN, ITA, JDS, LLS, PHI, RSP, SPA, TNS, and other languages. If you take a CL2 course offered by a department other than the ones listed above, you will need to take another course in one of these departments to satisfy your humanities requirement.

Course Objectives

The proposed Communication Literacy sequence adopts a “Writing in the Disciplines” model that recognizes that our students will communicate in a world that is textual, but also digitally mediated and highly visual. 

It recognizes that students will be asked to collaborate and communicate with diverse groups in a global context, and that they will be challenged not only to find information, but also to organize, evaluate and manage the enormous quantity of information they find.

Having completed the Communication Literacy 1 course (ENG 105), students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate, construct and support arguments.
  2. Analyze the effects of different audiences, purposes, and genres on communication practices across media (rhetorical analysis).
  3. Locate, evaluate, synthesize and manage information (text, visuals, media) effectively and ethically.
  4. Analyze how information is created, disseminated and used in a constantly evolving information environment.
  5. Compose in a variety of academic, professional and civic contexts.
  6. Compose and deliver effective oral presentations.
  7. Understand, evaluate, and compose effective visual communications.
  8. Understand and use current digital composition methods.
  9. Vary appropriately genre conventions for structure, paragraphing, tone and mechanics.
  10. Analyze cultural and human differences when communicating.

Having completed Communication Literacy 2, students will be able to:

  • Compose in academic, professional, and/or workplace genres related to a field of study.
  • Apply writing processes common to that field.
  • Compose and deliver a professional presentation.
  • Describe the conventions of genres within a field.
  • Make effective disciplinary and professional arguments.

These course objectives derive in part from the SUNY-wide General Education requirements for Basic Communication and the Humanities, and in part from the outcomes statement of the Council of Writing Program Administrators. These have pointed to a pair of recent developments in our program’s curriculum: a professional genres requirement and a digital composition requirement.