English 101

ENGL 101
Introduction to Expository Writing

Catalog Entry

ENGL 101. Introduction to Expository Writing
Three hours lecture (3).

Introduction to basic principles of the composing process, rhetoric and standard usage. Expository writing assignments, with emphasis on writing to specific audiences to accomplish particular rhetorical purposes, such as to inform, to offer an opinion or to present an analysis. Students who score 670 or higher on the verbal section of the SAT will receive credit for this course and will begin their general education coursework in the Communication area with English 102. General Education credit—Communication.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

The course focuses on the composing process, the relationship between reading, writing, and thinking, and on the rhetorical principles that inform successful writing. Students practice thinking and writing strategies that allow them to generate ideas, synthesize complex information, organize ideas and information, and revise their writing.

They examine their own writing and writing done by others to determine how subject, audience, purpose, and context provide choices and constraints for the writer. They read, discuss, and analyze college-level material such as essays, news articles, and commentaries.

The study of writing emphasizes frequent practice and feedback. In the course students write several essays that receive instructor response. They generate their own topics, use writing to discover and compose meaning, and revise and edit their writing in order to communicate purposefully with an audience. Students practice various ways to develop content for their essays and learn how to use feedback for revision. They explore and communicate their own ideas about a variety of subjects, including but not limited to personal experience. Students also practice using both narrative and non-narrative strategies of development.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course focuses on skills, strategies, and processes rather than on specific subject matter. Activities are various and interactive, with emphasis on active participation by students both as individuals and in groups. When appropriate, instructors may lecture and lead discussions. Activities may also include student-led discussion of assigned reading, student-led discussion of writing in process, small-group discussion of writing in process, and public reading of writing in process, followed by discussion. Ample opportunity is provided for the composition of multiple drafts in response to peer and instructor comments. Writing includes informal writing--in class and out--in the form of journals, reading and learning logs, correspondence, class exercises--intended to allow students to make discoveries both about the topics they write on and the nature of the writing process itself.

Writing also includes formal writing--a sequence of essays, each approximately 500 words in length. At least one of these essays (but not all) will be based on personal experience.


Goals and Objectives of Course

The essential goals of this course are 1) to make students understand the complexity and flexibility of the composing process and 2) to give students strategies to use for the various writing assignments they will encounter in college and afterward. Students should understand that writing entails more than the simple transcription of words on a page, that planning may very well require thinking activities quite different from an outline, and that what determines whether writing is good or not is whether it communicates with a reader and achieves its purpose. At the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • use writing as a process of discovery, composing, and learning;
  • generate topics and substantive content for short essays;
  • select and order information into a focused essay;
  • write an essay governed by audience and purpose and be able to identify that audience and purpose;
  • use revision as a way to make their essays significant, unified, and coherent;
  • edit their writing to conform with standard English usage and mechanics;
  • create a unified, developed paragraph;
  • create a 500-word essay that supports a thesis.


Assessment Measures

Assessment measures are designed to demonstrate the ability of students (1) to use writing as a process of discovery, composing and learning and (2) to compose formal essays that appropriately address audience and purpose. Ability to use writing in an exploratory manner may be determined by the completion of various in-class or out-of-class assignments such as journals, reading or learning logs, peer reviews, and self-evaluations. Student ability to use revision as a way to make essays significant, unified, and coherent may be assessed by their facility at adding, deleting, or rearranging substantive material in a sequence of drafts of each essay. Formal essays, each a minimum of 500 words in length, demonstrate the ability to generate topics and substantive content as well as the ability to edit writing to conform with standard English usage and mechanics.


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