Innovation in Language Learning

Edition 17

Accepted Abstracts

Discipline-Specific Writing in a Spanish-English Translation Course

Concepcion Godev, University of North Carolina at Charlotte (United States)


The integration of writing assignments in courses whose subject matter may not be the development of writing skills is framed in the principles of writing across the curriculum. One key principle is that the writer needs a reason to write and that reason is best framed within the content of a course and the academic discipline within which it is situated so that writing may be informed by both discipline-specific and general writing norms [1]. Writing in any language, whether that language is the first one or not, requires explicit teaching and intentional learning. Writing mastery in different genres develops over time through the interaction between observing models from different genres and writing in those genres. This presentation will discuss a translation course that is offered to Spanish-English translation undergraduate American students in the fourth year of their baccalaureate program. This course included learning outcomes that involved the completion of writing assignments in the students’ first language (English). Providing opportunities for students to develop as writers within the translation studies discipline required defining those opportunities and adopting a framework that guided the process of defining writing assignments. The principles of Universal Design for Learning [2] served as a foundation to design the writing tasks that were to expose students to experiencing writing in the discipline of translation studies. Those principles were also used to design the grading rubric that assisted students with facilitating their understanding of the writing tasks. The paper will discuss the nature of the assignments, the process that led to their design, and the learning outcomes as measured by the rubric [3, 4] associated to each assignment, namely, a reaction paper and a synopsis of a research paper published in a scientific journal.

Keywords: universal design for learning, UDL, translation, writing across the curriculum.


  1. Anson, C. (2015). Crossing thresholds. What’s to know about writing across the curriculum. In L. Adler-Kassner & E. Wardle (Eds.), Naming what we know (pp. 203-219). University Press of Colorado.
  2. Rose, D., & Meyer, A. (2002). Teaching every student in the digital age: Universal design for learning. Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, Alexandria, VA.
  3. Saddler, B., & Andrade, H. (2004). The writing rubric. Educational Leadership, 62(2), 48-52.
  4. Timmerman, B. E. C., Strickland, D. C., Johnson, R. L., & Payne, J. R. (2011). Development of a ‘universal’ rubric for assessing undergraduates' scientific reasoning skills using scientific writing. Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 36(5), 509-547.

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