Course Goals

In Composition and Critical Inquiry students will:

I. Become familiar with and practice strategies for generating ideas or exploring specific topics, issues, ideas, or beliefs.

1. Develop strategies for connecting previous experience, knowledge, and beliefs to new or foreign experiences, ideas, and beliefs.
2. Develop strategies for using human, print, and electronic resources to generate or explore new topics, issues, ideas, or beliefs.
3. Develop strategies for discovering relevant arguments and/or supporting evidence in outside sources.

B. Develop critical and formal strategies for identifying and addressing a variety of rhetorical situations.

1. Be able to identify the topic, audience, purpose, occasion, and forum (site of publication) of a text.
2. Be able to analyze how an audience's personal biases may influence its understanding and experience of a text.
3. Be able to analyze the intended audience's knowledge and opinions and utilize appropriate strategies for developing a text that accounts for the audience's knowledge and opinions.
4. Be able to identify possible objections to a position and utilize appropriate strategies for dealing with them in a text.
5. Utilize appropriate rhetorical devices for presenting experiences, ideas, and beliefs in a clearly organized, organic fashion.
6. Generate texts that move beyond expressing an opinion to supporting a position.
7. Generate texts that are not only logical, but also rhetorically effective.
8. Make responsible and ethical rhetorical choices in the production of texts.

C.  Develop strategies to analyze various written and visual texts, both their own and other people's.

1.  Analyze the writer's qualifications for writing about particular experiences, ideas, and beliefs.
2.  Detect the author's biases as well as inaccuracies that might not be traceable to bias.
3.  Make informed judgments about the accuracy, value, and truthfulness of a text.
4.  Be able to distinguish between a text's conclusions, the reasons given for those conclusions, and its assumptions, tacit and explicit.
5.  Evaluate the quality of explicit and implicit arguments in texts.
6.  Detect and address logical weaknesses in texts.
7.  Identify and respond to the implications of various positions, arguments, or beliefs in written and visual texts.
8.  Evaluate the validity of a text's message as verified by other authoritative sources.

II. Read critically for the purpose of incorporating information, evidence, and authority into their writing.

A. Make sound decisions about when, why, and how to do further reading and research during the production of a text.

B. Identify the assumptions they bring to encounters with new texts, ideas, and situations and analyze how those assumptions may shape their reading of and response to those texts, ideas, and situations.

C.  Use personal writing about reading in the process of creating public writing about reading.

1. Summarize and paraphrase various kinds of texts.
2. Analyze the relationships among texts that share similar perspectives and texts that oppose or modify one another and synthesize a variety of perspectives in productive, provocative, generative ways.
3. Relate new readings to prior knowledge and beliefs in productive, provocative, generative ways.

D. Use appropriate research strategies to identify and integrate a variety of ideas and evidence from human, Internet, and library resources into original, cohesive, written texts.

1. Know what is required.
2. Select appropriate tools and sources.
3. Design search strategy.
4. Evaluate search results.
5. Assess found information.
6. Understand and synthesize new information.
7. Apply new information ethically and legally.
8. Refine your search strategy, as needed.

E. Use appropriate conventions for citing and documenting source materials correctly and ethically.

III. Use writing to learn.

A. Use writing to clarify thinking; demonstrate knowledge; explore, explain, and analyze ideas and experiences; and influence beliefs and action.

B. Use writing to understand, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate written and visual texts.

C. Use writing to become aware of and think critically about writing processes, especially their own and their classmates'.

D. Use writing to become aware of and think critically about written products, especially their own and their classmates'.

IV.   Engage in the social and collaborative production of texts.

A.  Develop ideas for topics in dynamic and interactive conversations with other writers and relevant texts.

B.  Consult with other writers about successive drafts.

1. Ask evocative questions that help readers think critically about your drafts.
2. Use consultations about other writers' drafts to gain insights into their own written texts.

C.  Respond to other writers about their drafts.

1. Think critically about other writer's drafts and provide insightful responses to their questions.
2. Provide additional insights and information generated by your own critical thinking about the draft.

    D.  Evaluate the usefulness of other writers' suggestions.

E.  Incorporate appropriate suggestions into a text.

V. Write effectively for a variety of audiences, purposes, and forums.

A.   Write for a variety of purposes, including those that support their own learning, growth, and development; those that promote responsible citizenship and engagement through public discourse; and those that allow them to meet the demands of their academic courses.

B. Demonstrate an awareness of the intended audiences, purposes, and forums for writing.

1.  Be able to tailor a text to a specific, appropriate audience or forum, demonstrating an awareness of the conventions that govern issues such as the selection of topics, the appropriateness of sources, the use of evidence, the organization, the writing style, and so on.
2.  Make informed, ethical decisions about the use of logical appeals, emotional appeals, and appeals rooted in the perceived credibility of the author.

C.  Demonstrate the ability to respond to and edit other writers' texts in an effort to help the writer meet the needs and expectations of different audiences, purposes, and forums.

D. Demonstrate the ability to revise and edit their own texts in an effort to meet the needs and expectations of different audiences, purposes, and forums.

VI. Identify and incorporate rhetorical, stylistic, and grammatical  conventions appropriately.

A. Presented with the need to write within a specific rhetorical situation, students will be able to identify texts that respond to similar situations and analyze the rhetorical conventions and strategies of those texts in a way that will enable them to use similar conventions and strategies in their own writing.

B. Take the stylistic risks necessary to develop appropriate sentence structures.

C. Edit and proofread their own writing and the writing of others until final drafts are virtually error-free and in compliance with the grammatical and mechanical demands of the rhetorical situation.

VII. Use technology effectively to compose texts and communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

A. Use technology to assist and shape their learning and their use of language.

1. Use technology for drafting, researching, responding, revising, editing, formatting, and publishing texts.
2. Use technology for reading, responding to, and discussing texts.

B. Use technology ethically and in accordance with international copyright laws, Illinois State University's appropriate use policies, and so on.

C. Analyze, evaluate, and reflect upon the ways technology is used in the communication process.

Additional Requirement for Teacher Education Majors

As part of the Performance-Based Assessment System for teacher education, all teaching majors at Illinois State University enrolled under University Catalog year 2002-2003 and beyond are now required to demonstrate the ability to use instructional technology in ten different areas. Admission to Professional Studies and Admission to Student Teaching both require that specific competencies related to the Instructional Technology Passport System (ITPS) be demonstrated prior to acceptance. Requirements 1-4 normally will be completed as part of three required General Education courses according to the following schedule:

Competency Orientation Assessment
#1 ethics ENG 101 & COM 110 Online assessment after ENG 101 and COM 110
#2 telecommunications (parts a+b) ENG 101 ENG 101
#3 presentation authoring COM 110 COM 110
#4 web browsers ENG 101 & COM 110 Milner Library

Students who are enrolled in a teaching major, or who are considering a career in education, need to be aware of all ITPS requirements. While instructors are aware of the particular ITPS requirements associated with the courses they teach and may provide opportunities for students to practice these competencies, they may not always provide explicit instruction in these competencies. This is an opportunity for students to practice life-long learning habits.

Future teachers should visit the ITPS web site ( for complete details and a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs). It is the teacher candidate's responsibility to satisfy all requirements associated with ITPS in a timely fashion.