COMP110 English Composition I

Department of Language & Literature: Composition

I. Course Number and Title
COMP110 English Composition I
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Minimum Number of Instructional Minutes Per Semester
2250 minutes
IV. Prerequisites
Writing Placement Test score of 6 or better or COMP107 (C or better)
Corequisites
None
V. Other Pertinent Information
  • All students planning to take COMP110: English Composition I must take the College Writing Placement Test (see exceptions in College catalog). Test times and dates when this 45-minute essay examination will be administered are listed in the course offering brochures.

  • The Department of Language and Literature has determined that all composition courses will require a minimum of 5,000 words in formal writing assignments.


  • Although revision is strongly encouraged, when revision of a graded essay is permitted to allow the student to receive a higher grade, such revision cannot be the sole basis for the course grade.
VI. Catalog Course Description
English Composition I emphasizes the systematic study of writing effective expository prose and argumentation, stressing development and support of a clear thesis. The focus of the course is to lay the foundation for future academic writing requirements, including the ability to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, summarize, paraphrase, and cite textual sources from required course readings.
VII. Required Course Content and Direction
  1. Learning Goals:

    These skills will prepare students for future academic and professional writing demands, including COMP111: English Composition II.

    1. Reading: Students will be able to


      1. read and evaluate critically selections of expository prose and argumentative essays as assigned;
      2. to summarize, paraphrase, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate assigned readings;
      3. incorporate skills learned through readings and class discussions into their own writing.

    2. Writing: Any student who earns a final grade of C must be able to produce essays that demonstrate


      1. a unified, restricted, and precise thesis that contains what Sheridan Baker terms "argumentative edge," an idea that requires analytical and inferential as well as factual support;
      2. fully developed body paragraphs that support the thesis with clarity;
      3. critical thinking skills and analysis through substantive expository prose and argumentation essays;
      4. improved writing skills in multi-paragraph compositions.

    3. Academic Integrity: Students will be able to


      1. demonstrate their understanding of plagiarism as a major concern;
      2. identify the effects of plagiarism on the person and the community.

    CORE CURRICULUM GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    COMP110 meets the following Core Goals and Objectives as determined by the faculty in the Department of Language and Literature:

    CATEGORY I
    COLLEGE LEVEL WRITING I

    Goals:
    Students will

    1. use the knowledge and skills they have developed to be critical thinkers and curious learners who dare to think, ask questions, and support what they say;
    2. apply successfully College Level Writing I skills/concepts to college writing in various disciplines, on the job, and in daily activities;
    3. apply proper strategies, concepts, guidelines, grammar, and English language fundamentals to produce well-organized, well-written academic prose.

    Objectives: Students will be able to

    1. identify and prepare well-written academic and/or business communications organized appropriately for the situation and the audience (2,3);
    2. demonstrate critical thinking skills such as synthesis, analysis, or argument, when writing or when analyzing all forms of written communication (1);
    3. locate, articulate, and develop a central idea for any written communication (2,3);
    4. tailor academic and/[or] professional prose for a culturally diverse audience (2);
    5. eliminate stereotyping and gender bias from all written communication (3);
    6. revise documents by editing for content, organization, style, readability, mechanics, and format (3);
    7. articulate requirements for academic integrity and apply appropriate methods for citing and documentation (3).

    CATEGORY III
    CRITICAL THINKING AND PROBLEM SOLVING

    The students learn and practice the skills of interpretation, application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation, reasoning, and/or problem solving.

    Objectives: Students will be able to

    1. understand and express the meaning and significance of a variety of communications Interpretation);
    2. use methods, concepts, and theories in new situations (Application Skills);
    3. identify the explicit and implied features of a communication, especially in arguments that put forth a conclusion. (Analysis skills);
    4. integrate and/or combine knowledge from multiple sources to create new knowledge. (Synthesis);
    5. assess the credibility of a communication and the strength of claims and arguments. (Evaluation Skills);
    6. reason from what they know to form new knowledge, draw conclusions, solve problems, explain, decide, and/or predict. (Inductive and/or Deductive Reasoning Skills);
    7. communicate and justify clearly the results of their reasoning. (Presenting Arguments Skills).
  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities:

    1. Reading Assignments


      1. Given the inseparability of critical thinking and effective writing, instructors will assign weekly readings of an appropriately challenging nature to stimulate class discussion, to provide assignments and supporting evidence for student writing, to illustrate patterns of development, and to promote instruction in close readings of college-level texts.
      2. Instructors will teach students to summarize, paraphrase, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate readings within the context of the course, incorporating such instruction in student writing assignments.

    2. Writing Assignments


      1. Students will submit a minimum of 5000 words for evaluation. No fewer than seven separate and distinct compositions can be used to achieve this total. Revision is encouraged but does not take the place of the minimum word requirement or the seven composition requirement.
      2. Compositions will range upward from no less than 500 words early in the term, with longer essays as the semester progresses. Of these essays, at least two must be written in class during the last half of the semester, one of which must receive a passing grade (equivalent of a C or better) for the student to pass the course.
      3. The focus of the course is to lay the foundation for future academic writing requirements, including the ability to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, summarize, paraphrase, and cite textual sources from required course readings. One personal essay may be treated during the semester.
      4. Using group process, students will learn revision techniques and learn to critique writing skills through cooperative sharing and examination of drafts or essays, thereby learning how to solve their own writing problems.

    3. Academic Integrity


      1. Students will demonstrate, in at least one required assignment, their understanding of plagiarism as a major ethical concern;
      2. Students will identify its effects on the person and the community.
  3. Assessment Methods for Core Learning Goals:

    Students will be assessed on the following:

    1. Student writing will be evaluated according to the Department's approved criteria for grading compositions in COMP110, as appended. (Discipline-Specific; College Level Writing I; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving).
    2. Students will submit a minimum of 5000 words for evaluation. No fewer than seven or more than ten separate and distinct compositions can be used to achieve this total. These student essays must constitute 90% of the final grade. (Discipline-Specific; College Writing Level I; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving).
    3. Compositions will range upward from no less than 500 words early in the term, with longer essays as the semester progresses.
    4. Discipline-Specific; College Writing Level I; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving).
    5. At least two essays must be written in class during the last half of the semester, one of which must receive a passing grade (equivalent of a C or better) for the student to pass the course. Discipline-Specific; College Writing Level I; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving).
    6. In their essays, students must demonstrate the ability to analyze, synthesize, evaluate, summarize, paraphrase, and cite textual sources from required course readings. One personal essay may be treated during the semester. (Discipline-Specific; College Writing Level I; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving).
    7. Other evaluative tools: quizzes, examinations, journals, class participation, and other projects as specified in the individual instructor's class format. These evaluative tools shall contribute a total of no more than 10% of the final grade for the course. (Discipline-Specific; College Writing Level I; Critical Thinking and Problem Solving).
    8. Students must also demonstrate their understanding of plagiarism as a major ethical concern and their ability to identify plagiarism and its effects on the student and the community through specific readings, writing assignments, and/or quizzes. (Discipline-Specific).
  4. Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Students:

    The course will employ a reader that provides a substantial sampling of academically-rigorous college level writing. Excessive use of student writing, newspaper articles, and essays from popular magazines should be avoided. Anthologies should be primarily thematic in organization, and, while no one particular text is required of all instructors, text selections cannot duplicate those used for COMP107. The required anthology must be supplemented by a rhetoric, a handbook of current usage, or both. See individual course formats.
VIII. Teaching Methods Employed
Instructional methods may include, but not be limited to the following: lecture; class discussion; collaborative learning; individual and/or group tutorials; drafting and revision workshops; quizzes; journals or mini-compositions (not to be included in the 5000 word course requirement); audio-visual aids (slides, videos, films, recordings, overhead projections); computer-aided instruction, when scheduled; portfolio assessment, when scheduled in consultation with the Department Chair; library visits; Tutoring Center appointments.

Faculty will evaluate all required writing with commentary, written and/or discussed in conference; faculty will return each paper before the next paper is submitted, with reasonable flexibility in evening and summer classes.

Department of Language and Literature
Grading Standards for COMP110: English Composition I

  1. Criteria for Grading Compositions:


    1. Content
      1. Support for generalization
      2. Factual accuracy
      3. Originality of thought
      4. Depth and quality of thought

    2. Unity and Organization
      1. Formulation and limitation of topic or thesis (A deductive structure with the thesis at the beginning is typical)
      2. Unity of idea, relevancy of material
      3. Development of topic or thesis
      4. Clear, self-evident overall structure
      5. Coherent paragraphing

    3. Expression and Usage
      1. Appropriate, precise diction
      2. Logical and mature development of sentences

    4. Grammar and Mechanics
      1. Accepted standards of correctness in grammar
      2. Correct spelling, punctuation, capitalization, hyphenation, and use of abbreviations, numbers, underlining, and italics
      3. Adherence to the individual instructor's specifications such as use of pen or computer, margins, spacing between lines, and cover page

    None of these four areas will be given point values. To receive a passing grade, the paper must be judged adequate by the instructor in all four of these areas at the same time; in other words, good content does not compensate for poor grammar and mechanics, nor do good grammar and mechanics compensate for poor content. The paper receives a grade based on effective, competent, and mature communication. In addition, the individual instructor may evolve more detailed criteria for any given area listed above.

  2. The grades used to describe the level of achievement of all four criteria are listed below:


    1. Outstanding
    2. Definitely above average
    3. Average
    4. Below average
    5. Unsatisfactory

  3. Application of grading criteria and devices:


  4. The following guideline, approved by the Department of Language and Literature, might well serve as a guide for the student in the writing of themes:

    1. For a theme that stands out because the writer has with intelligence and some degree of originality thought through what he or she wants to say. It develops a point logically and in clear, well-constructed paragraphs that follow one another with an ease of transition. Its generalizations are supported by effective use of specific details and examples. It is characterized by an apt and incisive use of words. It is almost entirely free of mechanical and grammatical errors.


    2. For a theme that develops an interesting point with good organization and expression. It has most of the virtues of an A theme, but is marked more by competence than by originality.


    3. For a theme with a central idea, though its development tends to be vague and generalized. The C theme is often not seriously marred by errors in expression; in fact, it may be quite correctly expressed but trite. It may, on the other hand, be organized and fairly interesting, but clumsily expressed.


    4. For a theme with a flimsy thesis and poor organization. Its paragraphs may be sketchy parts of a list or else be long and inchoate. It will most likely have some serious errors in expression.


    5. For a theme with no discernable thesis. It is garbled in thought and expression. It makes several serious errors in grammar, punctuation and spelling. Sometimes an F theme is extremely deficient in only one respect; it is unusually trite, for example, or weak in grammar or in diction or in substance. A theme may also receive an F if it fails to follow the assignment.

    This guide is only suggestive. A student's theme will frequently have to receive a grade based on the weighing of its virtues and defects.

Review/Approval Date - 2/98; Core Goals/Objectives added 11/05