CSULA Department of English | Composition Resources

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Catalog Description

Prerequisite: ENGL 101 or equivalent. Continuing to practice the rhetorical skills introduced in ENGL 101, students will develop analytical, interpretive, and information literacy skills necessary for constructing a well-supported, researched, academic argument. Graded A, B, C, NC.

Learning Objectives

  • develop an ability to write about problems from historical, philosophical, rhetorical and/or cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspectives;

  • engage in group discussions and activities to develop critical perspectives, a clear sense of audience, and a fluent and effective style;

  • plan, write, and revise three to four formal essays approximately 4-6 pages in length, at least one of which will involve research and the integration of multiple sources. Essays will include analytic, interpretive, and persuasive strategies to present and support a considered position;

  • continue to develop critical attitudes toward culture and media;

  • evaluate the relevance, validity and authority of information, and use and cite this information ethically.

Requirements

Students are expected to

  • Plan, write, and revise 3-4 formal essays approximately 4-6 pages in length that demonstrate the ability to integrate multiple sources and do independent research

  • Learn research techniques and demonstrate information literacy when locating and evaluating outside sources

  • Read, analyze, interpret, and critique texts as assigned

  • Attend a minimum of 80% of the scheduled class sessions

  • Actively participate in prewriting and revision activities as well as in other activities that develop critical perspectives and an understanding of the way audience and purpose shape academic discourse

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:

*Behrens and Rosen, Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum 10th ed. (Pearson Longman)

(Also available in a Brief Edition)

A writing-across-the-curriculum rhetoric and reader, this text has chapters on summary, critical reading, analysis, and synthesis, and thoughtfully-chosen, connected readings from various disciplines (psychology, folklore, business, etc.).

DiYanni and Hoy, Occasions for Writing (Thomson Wadsworth)

With themes comprising the "“usual suspects"” (identity, gender, family, education, ethics, work, etc.), well-chosen readings, and helpful apparatus, the book also contains many visual "readings"” and a section on finding, using, and evaluating evidence.

Jacobus, World of Ideas 7th ed. (Bedford/St. Martin'’s)

Classic "“big ideas"” reader, not for the faint of heart, this text is challenging for students and instructors, but one'’s efforts can be rewarded.  It's a bit dead-white-male but has a few affirmative-action additions (some live white males and a chapter on feminism).  Helpful apparatus, including annotations of unfamiliar terms and names.

Miller, The Informed Argument 7th ed. (Thomson Wadsworth)

A classic argument text, with thoughtfully chosen readings arranged in interesting themes and sub-themes, this book has several chapters on argument and research; the readings have good discussion questions but no writing topics.

Rhetoric:

Ramage, Bean, and Johnson, Writing Arguments (Pearson Longman)

Heavy-duty formal argument text, this book has a few readings that are not arranged thematically.  Since it would almost have to be used in conjunction with a reader (or additional readings), it might be a bit too much for a ten-week quarter.

ENGL 102 - Guidelines for Evaluating Essays

The "A" essay:

  • is insightful, persuasive, and clearly focused on a dominant idea or point of view
  • is coherent, logical, and well organized with paragraphs that are fully developed with specific and appropriate details; very effective introductory and concluding paragraphs
  • demonstrates excellent understanding of texts and critically analyzes issues or ideas; supports the writer's point of view by effectively integrating appropriate examples and quotations from well-chosen outside texts and commenting on them to support claims and generalizations
  • uses concrete, appropriate diction and mature, sophisticated sentences
  • exhibits a strong sense of audience and purpose
  • skillfully employs conventions of formal academic discourse by providing appropriate context for quotations and accurately paraphrasing, quoting, and documenting sources
  • has very few errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation

The "B" essay:

  • is articulate and focused on a dominant idea or point of view
  • is reasonably coherent, logical, and well organized with paragraphs that are well developed with specific and appropriate details; good introductory and concluding paragraphs
  • demonstrates good understanding of texts and analyzes issues or ideas in sufficient depth; supports the writer's point of view by integrating appropriate examples and quotations from acceptable outside texts with some commentary on them to support claims and generalizations
  • exhibits a good sense of audience and purpose
  • uses appropriate diction and complete and varied sentences
  • generally employs conventions of formal academic discourse by providing some context for quotations and adequately paraphrasing, quoting, and documenting sources
  • may have some errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation, but they aren't numerous or serious

The "C" essay:

  • has a fairly clear focus and purpose
  • is generally coherent and logical with fairly good organization and paragraphs sufficiently developed to convey the writer's meaning; adequate introductory and concluding paragraphs
  • demonstrates adequate understanding of texts and analyzes the issues or ideas, but the analysis may sometimes lack adequate depth and misunderstand some aspects of the texts
  • uses examples and quotations from outside texts to support the writer's point of view but may sometimes rely on overgeneralized statements or use examples not clearly related to the central idea of the essay, fail to integrate quotes or comment on them, and have some poorly chosen sources
  • word choice and sentence structure are adequate to convey the writer's meaning
  • adequate sense of audience and purpose
  • employs conventions of formal academic discourse, including paraphrasing, quotation of sources, and documentation, but not always consistently and sometimes inaccurately
  • usually has errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation, but they are not so numerous as to distract the reader or serious enough to obscure meaning

The "NC" essay will generally have several of the following problems:

  • unclear or inadequate thesis or focuses on several ideas rather than a single dominant idea
  • lacks coherence because ideas are not logically related or the organization is poor or unclear
  • no analysis or an incomplete or simplistic analysis of the issues or ideas addressed
  • paragraphs are not sufficiently developed to convey the writer's meaning
  • generalizes without providing adequate examples or evidence from outside texts or provides examples that do not clearly support the generalizations
  • textual references consist of long summaries or paraphrases that are not integrated into overall argument
  • little or weak sense of audience and purpose
  • insufficient or consistently inaccurate use of paraphrasing, quotation of sources, and documentation
  • serious errors in sentence structure and grammar and/or numerous errors in spelling and punctuation, often obscuring the writer's meaning or distracting the reader