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English Composition in the Core Curriculum

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English Composition in the Core Curriculum
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Course Descriptions

Three English courses comprise the Rhetoric and Composition Program at the University of Southern Indiana: English 100 - Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition, English 101 - Rhetoric and Composition I: Critical Thinking, and English 201- Rhetoric and Composition II: Argumentation. Find below catalog course descriptions for these courses with additional comments on each course.

  • English 100 Introduction to Rhetoric and Composition--3 hours. A portfolio-based, preparatory course in reading, writing, reflection, and discussion, emphasizing rhetorical analysis and strategies for focusing, developing, and organizing writing. Special attention is also given to strategies for revising and editing writing. Course credits will apply as electives toward graduation. Students must receive a grade of C or better to pass English 100 and continue to English 101. Students who do not fulfill the requirements of a C must retake the course. Prerequisites: General Studies 098 or appropriate placement. Basic keyboarding skills required; see ASBE 121.

As the course description suggests, English 100 is a developmental class designed to provide students who are not yet ready for English 101 with additional help in focusing, organizing, developing, revising, and editing their writing. However, English 100 is also a course that must help students improve as readers as well. Many of the students placed in English 100 have had very little direct and pleasurable experience in reading on their own. See “Developing Reading Responses” for some suggested strategies for improving students’ appreciation for and engagement with reading [82]. Bracketed numbers refer to page numbers in this handbook.

As for writing, in order to offer students tools to succeed in writing, revising, and editing, they are introduced to computer-assisted writing, and one regular class period a week is scheduled for student writing in the Liberal Arts computer labs. Thus, students are expected to have basic keyboarding skills prior to enrollment. The College of Business offers ABSE 121: Beginning Keyboarding, a three-hour course, for students with no keyboarding experience.
Students in this course should also be expected to write at least three, two- to three-page typed essays with at least one revision of each. These essays plus midterm and final self-evaluations should be included in a class portfolio. (For a more extensive discussion of writing portfolios, see the “Pedagogy” section.)

See “Philosophy and Objectives of the Rhetoric and Composition Program” [10], “Using Microsoft Word” [21], and “English 100 Sample Syllabi” [98].

  • English 101 Rhetoric and Composition I: Critical Thinking--3 hours. A course in the critical arts of reading, writing, reflection, and discussion with an introduction to rhetoric and informal logic. Meets University Core Curriculum Goal A1: Composition/Speech. Prerequisites: ENG 100 or appropriate placement. Basic keyboarding skills required; see ASBE 121.

English 101 is the regular first-year course in rhetoric and composition. This course is specifically designed to support the University Core Curriculum goals of critical thinking and effective communication. John Chaffee in Thinking Critically defines critical thinking as “an active, purposeful, organized cognitive process we use to carefully examine our thinking and the thinking of others, in order to clarify and improve our understanding” (51). This is also what we might call “the art of rhetoric.” That is, rhetoric and critical thinking are synonymous to the degree that they are both about the relationship between claims and evidence, what’s possible and why, what folks are generally willing to believe as true and how they’ve come to believe it. English 101, then, focuses on thinking as a process of examining and developing knowledge and as a process that can be improved through reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

Computer-assisted writing is also offered in this course, and one regular class period a week is scheduled for student writing in the Liberal Arts computer labs. The College of Business offers ABSE 121: Beginning Keyboarding, a three-hour course, for students with no keyboarding experience. Students in this course should also be expected to write at least four, three- to four-page essays, with at least one revision of each.

See “Library Instruction” [17] for more on this topic. Also see “Philosophy and Objectives of the Rhetoric and Composition Program” [10], “Using Microsoft Word” [21], “English 101 Sample Syllabi” [103].

  • English 201 Rhetoric and Composition II: Argumentation--3 hours. A second course in the critical arts of reading, writing, reflection, and discussion emphasizing the responsibilities of written inquiry and structured reasoning. Meets University Core Curriculum Goal A1: Composition/Speech. Prerequisite: English 101 or approved equivalent.

English 201 is a sophomore-level course in research writing with a focus on argumentation. In this course, students investigate questions that are at issue for themselves and their audience and for which they do not already have answers. In this sense, the course should help student write about what they’ve learned through their research rather than simply write arguments supporting one side of an issue over another. “Argumentation” in this context, then, should be understood to mean “the study and analysis of claims and evidence” rather than “writing to win.”

While this course does not have regular access to the Liberal Arts computer labs, two weeks during the term will be set aside for 201 classes to take advantage of the labs.

Students should compose at least three essays in this class with at least one revision of each; one of these essays should be an eight to ten page research paper.

This course is also designed to support the University Core Curriculum goals of information processing and effective communication.

See “Philosophy and Objectives of the Rhetoric and Composition Program” [10], "Library Instruction" [17], and “English 201 Sample Syllabi” [110].