CSULA Department of English | Composition Resources

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Catalog Description

Prerequisite:  English Placement Test or completion of ENGL 096.  Reading and writing to develop and communicate ideas.  Instruction in basic strategies for planning, composing, and revising college writing.  Use of authorities, examples, arguments and facts.  Graded A,B,C/NC.   GE A1

Learning Objectives

  • Learn fundamental rhetorical strategies used to produce university-level expository prose, especially
    • modify content and form according to purpose and audience
    • appropriately use authorities, examples, facts, etc. to support an argument or position
    • vary stylistic options to achieve different effects
  • Develop effective reading and writing skills
  • Use reading and writing critically as a means of generating and exploring ideas
  • Articulate an individual perspective through organizing and developing their ideas into a coherent essay
  • Practice strategies for meaningful revision
  • Develop an effective individual writing process
  • Incorporate textual evidence through quotation and paraphrase into their essays and appropriately cite their sources
  • Critique their own work and that of peers using the conceptual and stylistic conventions of academic discourse
  • Edit final drafts to minimize mechanical/grammatical errors and to improve clarity of style

Requirements

Students are expected to

  • Plan, write, and revise 4 formal essays approximately 3-4 pages in response to selected readings
  • Read assigned texts critically and analytically in preparation for writing assignments
  • Attend a minimum of 80% of the scheduled class sessions
  • Actively participate in prewriting and revision activities as well as in other activities that encourage conceptual development and an enhanced sense of audience

Recommended Textbooks

Handbook

If you assign or recommend a handbook, please consider using the following so that students do not have to buy different handbooks over the course of several quarters in the composition program.

The Everyday Writer (4th ed.), edited by Andrea Lunsford (Bedford/St. Martin's): A handbook with a strong rhetorical focus; the 4th edition includes 2009 MLA and 2010 APA updates along with other documentation formats.

Texts (* recommended for new faculty)

Readers:

*Colombo, Cullen, and Lisle, Rereading America 7th ed. (Bedford/St. Martin'’s)

Arranged on themes of American myths, this text offers many controversial, thought-provoking readings (some quite long, some shorter) questioning the "“American Dream"; it has good discussion questions and a helpful Instructor'’s Manual, though the suggested writing topics may not be appropriate for English 101.

Berndt and Muse, Composing a Civic Life (Pearson Longman)

A rhetoric and reader, this text has chapters on critical literacy, research, and argument, and compelling, interesting readings arranged around themes of community.

Goshgarian, Exploring Language 11th ed. (Pearson Longman)

Despite the focus on language, the breadth and depth of the readings and the themes into which they are arranged make this book very appropriate and useful for English 101; good discussion questions for each reading and each chapter, though the suggestions for writing may not be appropriate for English 101.

Maasik and Solomon, Signs of Life 5th ed. (Bedford/St. Martin's)

The classic semiotic/pop culture reader, this text has many provocative, challenging readings and images (photographs and advertisements) as well as helpful apparatus.

Selzer and Carpini, Conversations 6th ed. (Pearson Longman)

Thoughtful, challenging readings and visuals in standard but thoughtfully arranged freshman-comp themes, this text has a helpful introduction to each chapter and background on each reading, but no other apparatus (an Instructor's Manual and companion website are available).

ENGL 101 —Guidelines for Evaluating Essays

In English 101, students compose academic essays that explore and analyze various perspectives on important issues. In these essays, students engage with one or preferably more texts (broadly defined to include film and other media) to support their ideas. In dealing with complex issues and ideas, the student writer should acknowledge that complexity and avoid simplistic analyses. The guidelines below describe the criteria for evaluating an essay as A, B, C, or NC (no credit). Pluses and minuses may be used to make finer qualitative distinctions between letter grades.

The "A" essay:

  • presents and sustains a controlling thesis or point of view in a clear, critical, and persuasive manner
  • is coherently, logically, and effectively organized through well-developed paragraphs that are unified by specific, vivid, and appropriate details
  • demonstrates a substantial, in-depth understanding of the text(s) being employed
  • analyzes ideas and issues using well-chosen examples and evidence drawn from one or more texts and, if appropriate, the writer's own knowledge and insights
  • successfully uses sophisticated diction and sentence structure for rhetorical effect
  • contains very few or no errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation
  • clearly stands out in terms of its conceptual development, rhetorical structure, insight, and language control

The "B" essay:

  • presents and sustains a controlling thesis or point of view in a clear, persuasive manner
  • is coherently and logically organized through well-developed paragraphs that are unified by specific and appropriate details
  • demonstrates a reasonably good understanding of the text(s) being employed
  • analyzes ideas and issues using well-chosen examples and evidence drawn from one or more texts and, if appropriate, the writer's own knowledge and insights
  • generally uses sophisticated diction and sentence structure for rhetorical effect
  • typically contains a few grammatical errors but none that interfere with meaning
  • while clearly a solid piece of writing, lacks the insight, depth of analysis, and control of language found in the "A" paper

The "C" essay:

  • presents and generally sustains a controlling thesis or point of view in a fairly clear manner
  • is coherently organized through paragraphs that contain specific and appropriate details
  • demonstrates a basic understanding of the text(s) being employed
  • contains some analysis of ideas and issues using examples and evidence drawn from one or more texts and, if appropriate, the writer's own knowledge and insights
  • uses diction and sentence structure to adequately convey meaning
  • contains errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation, but they are not serious or frequent enough to obscure meaning
  • adequately fulfills the assignment

The "NC" essay contains one or more of the following problems:

  • no clear thesis and/or focus
  • poor or unclear organization, logic, coherence, or inadequate paragraph development
  • little analysis of issues, indicating an inability to examine an issue critically
  • little effort to refer to text(s) or failure to integrate them appropriately into the essay
  • overgeneralizations or irrelevancies; inappropriate, confusing, or inaccurate examples
  • weakness in word choice and/or sentence structure that obscures meaning
  • numerous grammatical and mechanical errors that interfere with meaning