University of Southern Indiana

Composition Program

Three English courses comprise the Rhetoric and Composition Program at the University of Southern Indiana. Choose a course to view its description in the USI Academic Bulletin:

ENG 100

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.

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.

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.

ENG 101

English 101 is the regular first-year course in rhetoric and composition. This course is specifically designed to support the University Core 39 goals of expanding foundational skills in communication and critical thinking. 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. 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.

ENG 201

English 201 is a course in research writing with a focus on argumentation. The course is required to complete the University Core 39's Foundational Skills category. 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."

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.


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