English 150: Rhetoric and Composition Course Description
This course assumes that students need certain writing abilities to succeed in their college and post-college endeavors. It is grounded specifically in what modern scholarship terms the "process approach:" that is, the concept that writing is a process that goes through steps, and that it is important for teachers and students to understand and develop that process in order to succeed as writers. As such, this course also requires adherence to the following pedagogical principles: that students learn to write well by writing in a guided discussion setting, rather than by listening to a lecture format; and that students have some basic, though not necessarily perfect, facility in the conventions of standard written English grammar, usage, diction, spelling, vocabulary, and punctuation (see also Assessment below). Above all, English 150 is a writing course, and the process of writing remains central to the assumptions and expectations of the course.
The course should
include experiences, practice, and tactical guidance in writing in several
different rhetorical conventions, though this does not mean that the course is
or should be strictly mode-driven. Students should be given significant
opportunities to write both out of and in class. The class includes
approximately 10 major writing tasks (defined as a finished draft, or
significant revision thereof, of roughly 3-4 pages) or a reasonable equivalent,
for a total of about 100 pages of text. Several of the major writing tasks
should involve significant instruction in and use of global and local revision.
Teachers may spend individual time in or out of class with students who need to
address in depth specific rhetorical areas, such as grammar, usage,
development, structure, etc. Teachers may also request or require that students
take written work to the
Students should learn rhetoric in terms of both theory (why a certain rhetorical strategy is used) and the applied rhetorical act of writing (how to use the strategy). Students should gain a familiarity with, and begin to use with some facility, a diverse variety of rhetorical tasks that writers in the world must use; they must show a familiarity and facility with the rhetorical concepts of voice, audience, support, detail, structure, aim, and effect. Students should be able to distinguish specious assertions from valid ones, and be able to construct valid assertions, and significantly revise their texts to reflect the commentary of the instructor and/or their student peers. Students should be expected to become both rhetorically aware consumers of texts and rhetorically deliberate producers of text.
Teachers should administer a short diagnostic essay the first class day to determine the students' level of preparation. If a student's writing on the sample indicates inability to successfully complete ENG 150, the teacher should consult with the Chair and/or the Director of composition, who may then request that the student drop ENG 150 and add ENG 100. Individual syllabi will be monitored by the Director of Composition to ensure that each section addresses the objectives noted above. Periodically, the ENG 150 program will be assessed to make certain that its outcomes are being met.