Students who score 18-36 on the ACT or 74-100 on the COMPASS exam are placed in Composition I. In Composition I (ENGL 101), student writers produce eighteen pages of finished text written on various subjects. Students draft, revise, and edit expository essays in a variety of rhetorical modes, such as description, definition, comparison and contrast, analogies, examples and illustrations, texts relating to or examining cause and effect, classification and division, evaluation, and argumentation. The rhetorical strategies will be determined by the instructor.

The final paper in Composition I is timed and written in a classroom—the Common Final (fall semester). All students taking Composition I respond to a writing prompt presented to them on that day; however, students are provided several sources (articles, statistics, on-line sources) prior to the final. Writers are expected to examine these sources and use them to strengthen their texts. This argumentative essay launches the composition student into their second composition course (ENGL-201).

Learning Objectives
Composition I has ten basic learning objectives. Students who successfully complete the course will learn to:

  • understand Standard American English (according to SDBOR)
  • engage in critical thinking and reading
  • write within varied rhetorical strategies
  • implement invention strategies to generate prose
  • engage in an individual writing process by drafting, revising, and editing prose
  • implement academic format and style for academic papers in MLA or APA, as specified by the professor
  • find, evaluate, and incorporate academic research ethically and accurately
  • communicate with concision and precision
  • learn the expectations of the community of academic writers
  • contend with new and diverse perspectives in a thoughtful, sophisticated manner

While Composition I courses are founded on common objectives, students will encounter diverse perspectives and ideas in the various classrooms. The Humanities department shares in the Higher Learning Commission’s view that “[i]ndividual and group differences add richness to teaching and learning and also challenge them. People become more aware of their differences and similarities in a variety of ways, including through the processes of discovery and exploration, interaction, collaboration, and partnering1.” The diverse topics and concepts introduced in the classrooms also prepare students in writing for audience members’ diverse experiences.

Composition I prepares students for Composition II. It enables students to produce acceptable academic papers. Composition I increases the student’s awareness of audience and the writing process.

Course Description
“Practice in the skills, research, and documentation needed for the [sic] effective academic writing. Analysis of a variety of academic and non-academic texts, rhetorical structures, critical thinking, and audience will be included” (BHSU Academic Catalog).

1“Commission Statement on Diversity.” Higher Learning Commission. Chicago, HLC, 2003.

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