English 1310 Overview

Focus of ENGL 1310

ENGL1310 students learn a rhetorical approach to reading and writing. They analyze texts written for diverse purposes and audiences. ENGL1310 students concentrate on elements of effective writing in academic and professional settings: understanding a writer’s stance, developing a sound 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 course focuses on applying rhetorical lenses to several kinds of texts in order to examine how each one makes an argument. The use of rhetorical theory 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. The course also focuses on writing process theory to help writers grow and become self-aware. These foci serve 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.

Major assignments: All students 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 additional assignment determined by the instructor. The order of these assignments is set by the instructor; however, the fundamental kinds of texts about which students write is determined by the program.

Across all of the major assignments, rhetorical theory serves as a lens for analysis. In more detail, these are the kinds of texts students analyze:

  • Two of the four essays students 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 of the four essays focuses on rhetorical analysis of either a written text or texts or a visual argument, often an advertisement, but the instructor may opt to allow students to analyze nonfiction video texts as well.
  • One assignment may be determined by the instructor within the boundaries set by the program.

Additional assignments: Apart from the four major writing assignments, students also engage in 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 students produce in ENGL 1310 is between 6,000 and 7,500 words (20-25 pages at 300 words per page).

All students use the course reader, Language Acts, and one of two rhetoric textbooks: The Academic Writer: A Brief Guide, 4th edition, by Lisa Ede (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017) or Rhetorical Analysis: A Brief Guide for Writers by Mark Garrett Longaker and Jeffrey Walker (Longman, 2011). 

Written texts analyzed in at least two assignments come from Language Acts, chosen from various 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 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 focus: By the end of ENGL 1310, all students should have a deep understanding of the rhetorical theory taught in the course and how to apply it to a variety of texts and their own writing. The content includes audience, context, rhetorical situation, ethos, logos, and pathos. The ENGL 1310 Exit Survey measures to what extent students have learned this content.

Process Focus: ENGL 1310 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

Conferences: Faculty meet with each ENGL 1310 student for at least one one-on-one conference during the semester outside of scheduled class time.


Contact the Director of the First-Year Rhetoric and Writing Program, Dr. Ann Amicucci, with any questions about ENGL 1310.