English 1410 Overview

Focus of ENGL 1410

ENGL 1410 students learn a rhetorical approach to inquiry and argument. They practice analyzing sources in order to understand complex issues and construct their own in-depth arguments about those issues. ENGL 1410 students concentrate on understanding substantive issues, selecting and evaluating source material, and crafting well-reasoned arguments. Writers engage in extended inquiry, enabling them to examine their chosen issue in its full complexity. The course focuses on applying classical stasis theory for both analyzing and creating arguments. Each 1410 course is focused on an instructor-selected theme; students research a narrow topic related to the course theme.

Signature features of the UCCS ENGL 1410 experience include innovative course themes , writing instruction in a computer-mediated classroom, low course caps of 19 students, hands-on library instruction, extensive small group and whole class discussion, and one-on-one writing conferences for all ENGL 1410 students.


Students follow an assignment sequence designed to guide them through a sustained research project. Each part of the course sequence can be assigned as a single essay/project or as more than one assignment. Some ENGL 1410 courses work through the research process one time, while others work through the process twice. In either case, faculty design course assignments to meet the requirements and outcomes of the First-Year Rhetoric and Writing Program. Across all of the major assignments, rhetorical theory serves as the vehicle for student research and arguments. In more detail, the assignments include:

Rhetorical analysis: In this first stage of the research sequence students use rhetorical principles to analyze how a particular text makes an argument. The assignment introduces the course theme and reinforces and/or familiarizes students with basic rhetorical concepts (i.e., audience, context, rhetorical situation, ethos, logos, and pathos).

Texts in conversation: This second assignment sets the stage for the course’s culminating research-based argument. The extended rhetorical inquiry required in this assignment, which students undertake using classical stasis theory, helps students map the conversation around their research topic, encouraging students to move beyond a dualistic or simplistic understanding of their chosen issue. Students examine how different writers define and frame the issues to determine where contention or disagreement exists. The conclusion of the texts in conversation assignment often serves as a proposal for a student’s research-based argument.

Research-based argument: This assignment asks students to produce a well-supported, focused argument drawing on traditional library sources, primary sources, and quality online sources. The final researched argument is cast as an argument in the stasis/stases of the student's choosing: definition, cause, quality, and/or proposal. Successful essays demonstrate a clear understanding of a specific issue, incorporate opposing views and multiple perspectives, integrate material from sources accurately and effectively, and demonstrate persuasive rhetorical choices based on the writer's chosen purpose, context, and aim.

Additional assignments: Apart from the major writing assignments, students do a significant amount of informal writing, including blogs, journals, online discussions, outlines, parts of drafts, and so on. Overall, the total amount of polished, final-draft writing students produce in ENGL 1410 is between 7500 and 9,000 words (25-30 pages at 300 words per page). Students often give an oral presentation at the end of the research sequence.

The core text for ENGL 1410 is John Ramage, John Bean, and June Johnson's Writing Arguments: A Rhetoric with Readings. Some Senior Instructors opt to use Jeanne Fahnestock and Marie Secor's A Rhetoric of Argument. Both texts afford students theoretical and practical access to rhetorical principles, concepts, strategies, and instructional activities necessary for their success in the course. Students also read articles and/or books related to the course theme.

Rhetorical focus: By the end of ENGL 1410, all students should have a deep understanding of the rhetorical theory taught in the course and how to apply it to a variety of contexts and their own writing. The content includes classical stasis theory, audience, context, rhetorical situation, and the rhetorical appeals. The ENGL 1410 Exit Survey measures to what extent students have learned this content.

Process Focus: ENGL 1410 focuses on writing process theory. This means the course is concerned with the methods by which students compose and produce texts, rather than focusing solely on the quality of students’ written products. Process refers to a variety of activities that go into writing/composing, including:

  • Planning: inventing and developing ideas
  • Drafting: creating text from previously unwritten ideas
  • Reader response: eliciting feedback from readers
  • Revising: developing or changing a text after an initial draft
  • Editing and polishing: making sentence and paragraph level changes to refine a piece of writing to its final form, whether in print or digital form

Kraemer Family Library: All ENGL 1410 courses are assigned a research librarian from the Kraemer Family Library. The instructor and librarian collaborate to ensure students learn ethical research practices and are supported throughout their research for the course.

Conferences: Faculty meet with each ENGL 1410 student for at least one one-on-one conference during the semester outside of scheduled class time.

Course Themes: Faculty each select a broad research theme for their ENGL 1410 courses. Students then complete research related to the course theme throughout the semester. Descriptions of faculty themes are available on the ENGL 1410 Themes page. 

Contact the Director of the First-Year Rhetoric and Writing Program, Dr. Ann Amicucci, with any questions about ENGL 1410.