English 1310 Outcomes and Overview

Under the new General Education curriculum effective Fall 2014, ENGL 1310 will remain the first core writing course taken by all students at the university. ENGL 1410, ENGL 2080, ENGL 2090, or INOV 2100 will remain the second writing course options across the university. Which of the second-semester classes a student takes is determined by his or her discipline’s requirements.

Course Description

English 1310: Rhetoric and Writing I-Academic Reading and Analytical Writing: English 1310 is the first course of a two-semester written communication sequence required of all UCCS students. The course introduces students to academic reading and writing processes. Students develop critical reading, writing, and thinking skills through class discussion, the rhetorical analysis of academic and civic texts, and the writing of documented analytical essays. Students analyze texts written for diverse purposes and audiences. The course focuses on writing process theory and rhetorical theory and criticism, which serves two complementary purposes—to prepare writers for academic reading and writing assignments at the university level and to introduce students to rhetoric and writing as a field. Signature features of the UCCS ENGL 1310 experience include writing instruction in a computer-mediated classroom; low course caps of 19 students; extensive small group and whole class discussion; and one-on-one writing conferences for all ENGL 1310 students.

Focus of ENGL 1310

Engl 1310 students learn a rhetorical approach to reading and writing in which they approach texts primarily as acts of communication rather than as static objects. Engl 1310 students concentrate on the elements of effective writing in academic and professional settings: understanding a writer’s stance, developing a supportable argumentative purpose, discovering and using effective support strategies, making appropriate organizational and stylistic choices, and understanding the expectations of a wide range of audiences. The first few weeks of the semester are spent introducing the basics of rhetoric and analysis. The bulk of the course focuses on application of these rhetorical lenses to several kinds of texts, examining how each one makes an argument. It is the use of rhetorical theory that enables close reading and rigorous analysis of texts; students employ rhetorical concepts to define and evaluate how a text works in a particular situation and what impact it has on its audience.

Assignment Sequence

All students will write four papers in Engl 1310 in which they practice academic analysis: two rhetorical analyses of written texts, one rhetorical analysis of either a written or visual text, and one wild card assignment, described below. The instructor can decide the order in which to assign the texts, but the fundamental kinds of texts are determined by the program. A variety of nonfiction texts will be the subject of analysis in Engl 1310.

In more detail, these are the kinds of texts students will analyze:

  • Two of the four essays students will write are rhetorical analyses of written texts taken from the course reader, Language Acts. These texts are civic and public arguments expressing themes of interest to public and academic audiences.
  • Another one of the four essays will focus on rhetorical analysis of another written text or texts or a visual argument, often an advertisement, but the students may focus on nonfiction video texts as well. Rhetorical theory, typically from the course texts, will serve as a lens for analysis. Students will make explicit connections, relating aspects of the visual argument to elements of rhetorical theory.
  • The text(s) to be analyzed (using rhetorical theory) in another of the essays, the wild card (still an alphabetic text), will be chosen by the instructor from the following possibilities: 1.) another written text or texts; 2.) another visual text or texts;  3.) a multimodal text or texts; 4.) one of the student’s own first three essays, which is subjected to careful analysis and revised to form a new essay, substantially different; or  5.) the student’s work throughout the semester, which is subjected to careful analysis in a substantial, new text.  All of these essays have substance: the reflection and revision assignments will have enough depth and length to contribute significantly to the total writing required during the semester.

Additional Writing

Apart from the four major writing assignments, students will be asked to do a significant amount of informal writing, including blogs, journals, online discussions, outlines, parts of drafts, and so on.

Total Writing Required

Overall, the total amount of polished, final-draft writing each student should expect to complete per semester is between 6,000 words (20 pages at 300 words per page) and 7,500 words (25 pages at 300 words per page), depending on the amount of informal writing they are asked to do.

Use of Course Textbooks

All students will use the course reader, Language Acts, and one of three rhetoric textbooks: The Academic Writer: A Brief Guide, 4th edition, by Lisa Ede (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017), Praxis: A Brief Rhetoric, 2nd edition, by Carol Lea Clark (Fountainhead, 2012) or Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers by Mark Garrett Longaker and Jeffrey Walker (Longman, 2011). Written texts to be analyzed in at least two assignments will come from Language Acts, chosen from a various of themes, including literacy, language, identity, and schooling; language in an online world; language and gender; language in the marketplace; defining America; language to mediate American history; and rhetorics of faith. Students will read a minimum of eight pieces from Language Acts throughout the semester to reinforce the continuity of the course across sections. Additional readings offer theoretical lenses to be used as a framework for analyzing the multimodal texts assigned for some essays.

Rhetorical Elements

The 1310 Exit Survey measures whether students have learned the following rhetorical concepts and strategies: audience, context, rhetorical situation, ethos, logos, and pathos. Faculty may choose to teach other related rhetorical concepts, but these six are the ones we list in our survey. It is expected that all students will be fluent with these terms and have a deep understanding of how to apply them to a variety of texts as well as executing them in their own writing in 1310, 1410, and other second-semester writing classes as well as the disciplines they enter in their university courses and beyond. How to do this will be the subject of professional development sessions.

Process Focus

Engl 1310 focuses on writing process theory in its consideration of the methods by which students compose and produce texts, rather than focusing solely on the quality of students’ written products. Process refers to the variety of activities that go into writing/composing, including at a minimum:

  • Planning: inventing and developing ideas
  • Drafting: creating actual text from previously unwritten ideas
  • Reader response: eliciting feedback from readers
  • Revising: developing a text or portion of a text after an initial draft
  • Editing: fine-tuning, polishing, or correcting problems in a text, and
  • Production: transferring a text to its final, produced form, whether in print, online, or in portable digital format

Peer reviews are required as part of each paper sequence. Faculty can invite the Writing Center consultants to facilitate peer critiques and/or develop their own approaches to them. Best practices indicate that often a mini peer review designed to look at a single element of an essay (perhaps thesis statements or paragraph development) is more effective than a peer review in which several elements of a paper are examined.

Conferences

First-Year Rhetoric and Writing Program policy requires that faculty meet with each student for at least one face-to-face conference outside of class during the semester.