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Course Outline


Course Description:

This is a college-level freshman composition course which focuses on expository writing and argumentation and requires the writing of a minimum of 6,000 words in essays and a research paper. Students study a variety of texts written at the college level, including literature, that reflect current academic concerns relating to issues of language, ethnicity, class, gender, identity, psychology, and cultural studies.


Course Outline:

  1. Critical thinking and reading:

  1. Principles of analytical and critical thinking, including:

  1. Identification and analysis of key passages

  2. Differentiating fact from opinion and judgment/conclusion

  3. Identification of an author’s point of view and supporting arguments

  4. Synthesis of information from a variety of sources

  5. Types and authoritativeness of research selections

  6. Subtexts and rhetorical strategies (e.g. argumentation)

  7. Discerning irony, ambiguity, connotation/denotation, loaded terms, and unstated assumptions

  8. Close reading and annotation skills

  9. Commenting on quotes from original texts in a manner that reflects an awareness of literary elements and devices (e.g. theme, style, symbol, connotation, denotation, and irony), ambiguity, stated and/or unstated assumptions, gaps in the text, and/or relevance of social/historical context

  1. The writing process:

  1. Prewriting, including brainstorming and outlining, based on textual explication and analysis (primary and secondary sources)

  2. Writing thesis-driven essays that are well organized and have relevant evidence and critical analysis

  3. Thesis statements that contain a position and a rationale

  4. Improving on introductions

  1. Writing a thorough introduction that sets up the thesis statement

  1. Writing body paragraphs that contain clear topic sentences and transitions, closely analyze texts, and incorporate relevant quotations and draw connections between multiple texts

  2. Writing conclusions that reflect the larger issue while not solely restating the thesis

  3. Writing the research essay:

  1. Review of MLA conventions and strategies for research (e.g. accessing academic databases and library holdings, narrowing the topic, skimming, and evaluating source material for usefulness and credibility) and synthesizing research material

  1. Final Exam

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