First-Year Writing Courses

Purdue University
ENG 106: First-Year Composition

Taught: Fall 2019, Spring 2020

English 106 is the standard 4-credit hour composition course for students at Purdue.  (English 108 is an accelerated, 3-credit hour version of English 106 which does not include regularly scheduled student-instructor conferences.) The course provides students with the opportunity to interpret and compose in both digital and print media across a variety of forms. Students engage in active learning, which includes class discussion, learning in small groups, problem solving, peer review, and digital interaction. English 106 is grounded in the idea that writing provides an outlet for sharing and developing ideas; facilitates understanding across different conventions, genres, groups, societies, and cultures; and allows for expression in multiple academic, civic, and non-academic situations. In short, writing is a way of learning that spans all fields and disciplines.

Course Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will:

  1. Demonstrate rhetorical awareness of diverse audiences, situations, and contexts.
  2. Compose a variety of texts in a range of forms, equaling at least 7,500-11,500 words of polished writing (or 15,000-22,000 words, including drafts).
  3. Critically think about writing and rhetoric through reading, analysis, and reflection.
  4. Provide constructive feedback to others and incorporate feedback into their writing.
  5. Perform research and evaluate sources to support claims.
  6. Engage multiple digital technologies to compose for different purposes.

(See Introductory Composition at Purdue)

Sample Materials

Spring 2020 presented unique challenges. On March 23rd, Purdue University moved all course delivery online in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. As a result, course materials were modified to meet the needs of our students in this emergency shift. I’ve included my Syllabus materials as well as the addendum I created to provide structure as we moved forward after the transition. Assignment materials are from before the shift to online delivery.

Missouri State University
ENG 110: Writing I

Taught: Spring 2018

An introduction to college-level writing in which students develop critical reading and writing skills. The emphasis in reading has students locating, evaluating, and synthesizing information in an analytical and ethical manner. The emphasis in writing develops students’ understanding of the ways writers generate and express ideas of different purposes to various kinds of audiences across a range of context, including social, academic, and professional. Students work on argumentation, rhetorical analysis, and editing for clarity, style, and conventions.

Course Outcomes (aligned with institutional General Education Outcomes)

Emphasis on Written Communication:

  1. Demonstrate consideration of context, audience, and purpose with a clear focus on the assigned tasks (e.g., the writing aligns with audience, purpose, and context).
  2. Demonstrate consistent use of important conventions particular to specific disciplines and writing tasks, including organization, content, presentation, and stylistic choices.
  3. Correctly use language that conveys meaning to readers.
  4. Use writing for inquiry, learning, and thinking to find, evaluate, analyze, and synthesize appropriate primary and secondary sources and integrate their own ideas with those of others.

Emphasis on Information Literacy

  1. Completely define the scope of research questions or theses. Select information sources needed to answer these research questions.
  2. Access information using a variety of search strategies and relevant sources.
  3. Evaluate critically the accuracy and validity of information sources and the relevant contexts in which they are presented.
  4. Organize, synthesize, and communicate information from sources so the intended purpose is achieved.
  5. Distinguish between common knowledge and ideas requiring attribution. Correctly choose between paraphrasing, summarizing, or quoting when incorporating citations.
  6. Demonstrate a full understanding of the ethical and legal restrictions on the use of published, confidential, and/or proprietary information.

(Refer to Missouri State University Registrar)

Sample Materials

Missouri State University is a Public Affairs centered institution, and all general education courses are asked to include an emphasis on the year’s Public Affairs Theme and Mission.

In Spring 2018, I designed and assigned a Public Affairs Narrative Essay as part of my curriculum. The assignment asked them to use Narrative strategies from a previous assignment to address their own experiences with the Public Affairs theme. It also asked them to then explore and discuss how their major or field of study is connected to that theme. In 2018, the overarching theme was Sustainability. Students completed multiple drafts of the assignment, participated in peer review, and had the opportunity to revise the assignment for inclusion in their final portfolio for the course.