English 1301: Composition and Rhetoric I
Rationale: The substantive changes in this revised 1301 syllabus (2011) reflect more hands-on activities in the pre-writing and writing stages. The writing process, in addition to the writing product, will be emphasized. Time and effort not only will be devoted to invention, organization, and revision, but also to in-depth instruction in grammar, sentence construction and boundary errors, outlining, and paragraph development. With the reduction of the total number of essays required, instructors will have more time to focus on planning and writing than in the previous syllabus. This approach is based on the belief that individual student success will be more likely if the process of writing is emphasized more than it was in the old, more product-oriented syllabus.
In English 1301, the writing skills students must master to become productive members of our twenty-first century global society include their ability to:
McWhorter, Kathleen T., and Jane E. Aaron. The Successful Writer’s Handbook. 2nd ed. Boston:
Longman, 2012. Print.
Miller, Robert, Cher Brock, and Steve Sansom. Developing A Voice: A Rhetoric for Writers.
2nd ed. Southlake, Tx.: Fountainhead, 2009. Print.
The Diagnostic Essay: This essay is encouraged but is optional. It can help the student, as well as the instructor,identify major writing problems that might affect the student's success in English 1301. Students with major writing problems should be encouraged to seek out the tutorsin the S.E.A. Center.
English Grammar: Students should understand the basics of English grammar, which should be taught throughout the semester through their writing, editing, and revising.
Punctuation: Students should understandthe reasons for and differences in the standard marks of punctuation, which should be taught throughout the semester intheir writing, revising, and editing.
Sentence Composition: Students should be taught how to compose clear sentences and how to avoid structural errors such as fragments, comma splices, and faulty agreement that cause confusion for the reader.
Paragraph Composition: Students should be taught how to compose unified, coherent, and well-developed paragraphs, which should be incorporated intotheir writing, editing, and revising throughout the semester.
The Writing Process: Students should be taught the writing process, including brainstorming, outlining, drafting, editing, and revision.
Expository Essays: Students should compose at least three essays (one of which will be written in class) employing traditional expository modes. In developing these essays, students should practice all stages of the writing process, from pre-writing through revision. Essays should be thesis driven and organized in well-developed support paragraphs.
Research: The research process should be taught and reinforced. Students should know how to cite sources (using proper MLA procedures) within a text as well as incorporate research findings (via direct quotation and paraphrasing) into sentences of their own composition. They should also know how to set up a correct MLA Works Cited page. For example, students might be required to do a search for sources on a given topic and present that research in an essay or extended, annotated bibliography thatwould include in-text citations, quotations, and paraphrases. Alternatively, students can incorporate sources into several of their regular class essays or compose a more traditional research paper.
Critical Thinking: Students should read and discuss a variety of essays of the instructor’s choosing. These essays should encourage students to evaluate critically both the content and rhetorical methods employed by the writer as well as illustrate the various writing assignments given them.
Sample Five-Component Major Assignment Breakdown 1. Two expository essays written at home. 2. One expository essay written in class (mid-term) on a “cold” topic. 3. Research. This component may be satisfied by an annotated bibliography, by incorporating research into 4. Final essay. This couldbe a critical essay based on pre-assigned readings.
one or more of the regular class essays, or with a traditional research paper.
Sample Five-Component Major Assignment Breakdown
1. Two expository essays written at home.
2. One expository essay written in class (mid-term) on a “cold” topic.
3. Research. This component may be satisfied by an annotated bibliography, by incorporating research into
4. Final essay. This couldbe a critical essay based on pre-assigned readings.
The strength of this writing course lies in constant, on-going feedback to students. Therefore, student essays should be returned to them in a timely manner (before they are required to write another draft or essay) so they can benefit from this feedback.