English 102: First-Year Composition

Course Description and Objectives

Like English 101, English 102 is designed to help students develop sophisticated, situation-sensitive reading and writing strategies. Students make arguments in formal and informal settings. Special attention is given to evidence discovery, claim support, argument response, and their applications to academic debate, public decision making, and written argument. During the 16-week semester students will complete four formal written projects. Combined the final drafts of these four projects should result in approximately 5,000 words (this is equivalent to about 20 pages using standard academic format). Additionally, a final reflection is required.

In most writing classes, students are asked to write for a variety of assignments, but the focus of those writing assignments is often on something other than writing. In this class, our focus will be writing about writing. The field of writing studies examines how people write; what we talk about when we talk about literacy; how genres and/or disciplines affect the ways writing is produced, transmitted, and received; how we evaluate writing; how writing should be taught (if it even can be taught); and what writing really is. In this class, we will be looking at some of these ideas, and you will offer your expert opinion as a writer.

Course Goals

Through this course, students will:

  • express a working knowledge of key rhetorical features, such as audience, situation, and the use of appropriate argument strategies
  • develop and support an argument that is convincing to a particular audience
  • identify and evaluate key rhetorical strategies, with an emphasis on ethos, logos, pathos, and kairos
  • engage in a variety of research methods to study and explore the topics. Research methods could include both secondary research (such as library and internet research) and primary research (such as fieldwork and observation)
  • explore the complexity of an issue by seeking multiple perspectives
  • write and revise drafts and integrate feedback from peers, teachers, and other readers
  • use structure, language, documentation, and format appropriate for audience and purpose
  • use a variety of organizational strategies (such as, for example, organizing main ideas chronologically, sequentially, deductively, and inductively)

Relevant Documents (PDF format):


Writing Project One: Rhetorical Analysis of a Public Apology

Writing Project Two: Visual Rhetorical Analysis of a Website

Writing Project Three: Annotated Bibliography for a Research Topic

Final Course Reflection