Introduction and Semester Overview

Welcome to English 101, Composition and Critical Inquiry. As you may know, Composition and Critical Inquiry is one of two Inner Core courses that all incoming freshmen at Illinois State University are required to take in their first year.  The other is Communication and Critical Inquiry.  Together, these two courses constitute a year-long sequence designed to help you develop critical thinking, researching, speaking, and writing skills that will serve you well throughout your university career and beyond.

This does not mean you will be perfect thinkers, researchers, speakers, and writers by the end of your freshman year in college. You've no doubt been working on most (perhaps all) of these skills throughout grade school, middle school, and high school, and we hope you'll continue working on them for the rest of your lives.

On the other hand, both Composition and Critical Inquiry and Communication and Critical Inquiry are designed to introduce you to new ways of thinking about thinking, researching, writing, and speaking and to provide you with important new strategies that will allow you to continue your development as thinkers, researchers, writers, and speakers for many years to come.  We hope you will work hard this year to understand these ways of thinking and start developing these strategies.  If you do, you will be ready to move in to your Middle and Outer Core and major courses with increased confidence in your ability to do the kind of thinking, researching, writing, and speaking they will require of you.

Required Texts

  • Course Guide for Composition and Critical Inquiry
  • The Mercury Reader, 2005 Edition
  • The Redbird Reader, 2005 Edition

Standard Course Schedule

The Writing Programs at Illinois State University offer more than 100 sections of English 101 each year, and these sections are generally taught by more than sixty different instructors.  It would be both impossible and, we think, undesirable to try to insist that every instructor teach the course in exactly the same way at exactly the same pace.

On the other hand, first year writing is, in fact, a cohesive program, and as such it has certain expectations for learning and teaching that are shared across all sections.  The expectations for teaching are communicated to all instructors through a variety of professional development programs and materials.  The expectations for learning are reflected in the other two documents in this section of your Course Guide ("What Every Composition and Critical Inquiry Student Wants to Know" and "Course Goals").

Because of these shared expectations for learning and teaching, you will find that, in spite of superficial differences among instructors and sections, the core of the course--the goals, the number of major assignments, the amount of required writing, the grading standards and evaluation procedures, and so on--should be remarkably consistent.

The schedule below is designed as a template to be supplemented by individual instructors.  Your instructor will provide you with a more specific schedule for each unit as you move through the course.

NOTE: Individual tasks on the Course Schedule below are keyed to the Course Goals for English 101.  This should help you understand why you are being asked to complete each task.

Unit I: Thinking About Topics

This semester in English 101, you will be writing every day.  Over the course of the semester, you will write six five- to seven-page papers as well as many shorter texts. Sometimes, especially when the texts are short, your instructor will tell you what you need to write about, but most of the time, certainly for each of your longer texts, you will be responsible for discovering and writing about topics that matter to you. In this first unit, the focus of the class will be on discovering topics.  You will also write your first paper, using that opportunity to explore one of the topics you have identified.

Week One. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. In the Course Guide, read "What is English 101," "Computers in English 101" (as needed), and "Student Concerns and Course Policies."
  2. Get acquainted with your instructor, classmates, and classroom technology. (IV A-Collaboration; VIIA-Technology)
  3. Through reading, writing, conversation, and more, begin generating a list of topics you might like to write about this semester. (IA1-3-Topic Generation; IIA-Using Texts; IIB-Reading Critically)
  4. Start keeping a Research Log, including a record of the reading you do to help generate topics. (IIC3-Read to Generate)
  5. Complete a Baseline Writing Assignment.  (IA2-Print Resources; IIIB-Analyze Texts)
  6. In The Redbird Reader, read the Introduction and Selections from Section I, as assigned by your instructor. (VIA-Read Rhetorically).
  7. Begin drafting Paper I, completing all assigned discovery writing and a draft for response.  (IB5-8 Generate Texts; IIIA-Write to Discover)

Week Two. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. Write some revision questions to accompany your draft for response. (IVB1-Ask Questions)
  2. Respond to some of your classmate's drafts for response. (IVC-Respond to Questions; VC-Respond to Texts)
  3. Read the "Revision" section in The Mercury Reader and "How Your Grade Will Be Determined" in the Course Guide.  (As you read the latter, note that your instructor will be responding to your drafts, your questions for readers, and your responses to other writers.)
  4. Substantively revise your draft for response and generate a draft for editing. (IVD-Evaluate Suggestions; IVE-Revise)
  5. Participate in a copy-editing session. (VIC-Copy-edit)
  6. Prepare a final unit draft. (IB5-8 Generate Texts)
  7. Write an analysis of your work in this unit. (IC5,6,7,8-Evaluating Texts; IIIC-Analyze Processes; IIID-Analyze Products)

Unit II: Thinking About Audience and Purpose

In Unit I, you identified a number of topics that interest you and wrote a paper about one of them.  In Unit II, you will start to think about who else might be interested in some of the topics you have identified.  In other words, who might you write about a specific topic for?  Who might be interested in reading what you've written?  Those people are your intended audience.  At the same time, you will need to consider what you might like to accomplish by writing about this topic for your intended audience. This is your purpose for writing.  As you consider your audience and purpose, you'll also need to consider how to tailor what you have to say to that audience and purpose so that your message is delivered most effectively.  Your second major paper will need to be designed to accomplish a specific purpose for a specific audience.  (NOTE: If you have already taken COM 110, you can use one of your speeches from that class as a starting point for this assignment.  You will need to revise your speech to make it, not only a print--as opposed to oral--text, but also to make it appropriate for a new audience and purpose.)

Week Three. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. Read the sections on reading and writing in The Mercury Reader as well as the Introduction to Section II in The Redbird Reader. (IB1-8-Identify Rhetorical Situations)
  2. Select a topic for Paper II and do some discovery writing. (IA1-3-Topic Generation; IIIA-Write to Discover)
  3. Analyze some texts to identify their audiences and purposes. (IC1-Analyze Qualifications; IC2-Analyze Biases; VB-Tailor Texts)
  4. Consult with your classmates and instructor to identify possible audiences and purposes for your paper. (IB1-Identify Audience; VB1-Tailor to Audience)
  5. Analyze your audience so you'll be able to tailor your text to meet its needs.  (IB2-Analyzing Audience; IB3-Audience Knowledge; IB4-Possible Objections; IVB2-Ethical Appeals)
  6. Write a draft for response and some revision questions. (IB5-8-Generate Texts; IVB1-Ask Questions)

Week Four. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. Respond to some classmates' texts, offering answers to their questions as well as some additional thoughts on their topics, audiences, and purposes. (IVC-Respond to Questions; VC-Respond to Texts)
  2. Make substantive revisions to your draft, based on your instructor and classmate responses and your own additional thinking about your topic, audience, and purpose. (IB5-8-Revise Rhetorically; IVD&E-Incorporate Suggestions)
  3. Participate in a copy-editing session. Ask your peer editor(s) to suggest some ways you could experiment with sentence construction, taking stylistic risks whenever appropriate.  (VIC-Copy-edit; VIB-Take Stylistic Risks)
  4. Prepare a final unit draft. (IB5-8-Generate Texts)
  5. Write an analysis of your work in this unit. (IC5,6,7,8-Evaluating Texts; IIIC-Analyze Processes; IIID-Analyze Products)

Unit III: Thinking About Secondary Research

As you may have discovered in Unit II, once you begin writing with a specific audience and purpose in mind, you often find that you need to learn more about your topic.  Whether you need a specific piece of information ("How many teenagers were killed in alcohol-related accidents last year?") or a whole new perspective ("Why are some Catholics in favor of birth control?"), you are now faced with the need to do some research. One kind of research--the kind that's probably most familiar to you--is research using previously published sources: books, magazine articles, Web pages, government documents, maps, charts, and so on.  This is called secondary research, and your third major paper will need to draw upon these kinds of sources and continue developing your information literacy skills (http://www.mlb.ilstu.edu/learn/ilcomps.htm).

Week Five. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. Read the sections on research in The Mercury Reader and the Course Guide as well as the Introduction to Section III in The Redbird Reader.
  2. Analyze at least one of the texts in The Redbird Reader, paying particular attention to the author's use of outside sources to meet the demands of his/her rhetorical situation. (VIA-Read Rhetorically)
  3. Read one of the units in The Mercury Reader and analyze the differing viewpoints you find there. (IB4-Identify Objections; IC1-8-Reading Critically)
  4. Identify and discuss possible topics for your next paper and do some discovery writing about at least one of them.  (IA1-3-Topic Generation; IIIA-Write to Discover)
  5. Identify a possible audience and purpose for Paper III. (VA-Purpose; VB-
    Audience)
  6. Write a draft of Paper III. (IB5-8 Generate Texts)
  7. Work with some classmates and your instructor to identify areas for further research into your topic.  (IVC2-Provide Information)

Week Six. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. Work with your instructor, classmates, and librarian to discover outside sources that will help you meet the demands of your rhetorical situation. (IA3-Discovering Outside Sources; IB6-Beyond Opinion; IIA, B, C, D, E-Outside Sources)
  2. Do additional research into your topic, maintaining a research log as you work. (IB8-Ethical Choices; IIC-Summarizing; IIE-Cite Ethically; VIIB-Ethical Technology)
  3. Revise your text, incorporating the information you have found in outside sources and preparing some revision questions for your readers.  Be sure to include a draft of your Works Cited or References page. (IB5-8-Revise Rhetorically; IID-Integrate Ideas; IVD&E-Incorporate Suggestions)
  4. Respond to some classmates' texts, offering answers to their questions as well as some additional thoughts on their topics, audiences, purposes, and research. (IVC-Respond to Questions; VC-Respond to Texts)
  5. Make substantive revisions to your draft, based on your instructor and classmate responses and your own additional thinking about your topic, audience, and purpose. (IVD&E-Incorporate Suggestions)
  6. As you prepare your final unit draft, be sure to cite your sources appropriately and ethically.  Your instructor, librarian, and the Course Guide can provide information about how to do this. (IIE-Documentation)
  7. Participate in a copy-editing session. Ask your peer editor(s) to pay particular attention to the way you have documented your sources. (VIC-Copy-edit; IIE-Documentation)
  8. Prepare a final unit draft. (IB5-8 Generate Texts)
  9. Write an analysis of your work in this unit. (IC5,6,7,8-Evaluating Texts; IIIC-Analyze Processes; IIID-Analyze Products)

Unit IV: Thinking About Primary Research

This paper may be researched and authored collaboratively.

As you no doubt discovered in Unit III, there is an incredible wealth of information available to writers from previously published sources.  You may also have discovered, however, that some rhetorical situations (writing about specific topics for specific audiences and purposes) call for information that can't be found using only secondary research.  If your topic is the importance of eating organically grown fruits and vegetables, your audience is the director of Illinois State University food services, and your purpose is to convince the audience to make organically grown foods available in campus dining centers, you may need to know not only why organic foods are better (secondary research), but also what percentage of dorm residents would choose organically grown foods if they were available.  That information has probably not been published in the past.  In fact, it's very likely that no one really knows the answer to that question.  This is knowledge you need to create, and the creation of knowledge often involves conducting primary research.  Primary research strategies include making observations, interviewing people, conducting surveys, organizing focus groups, and more.

Week Seven. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. Look through Section IV of The Redbird Reader, noticing the research questions these writers pursued.  Their ideas might help you develop your own ideas for topics to research. (IIB-Reading Critically)
  2. Use your information literacy skills to identify other examples of texts that incorporate primary research.  Analyze the ways in which writers integrate primary research into their texts, noting how that varies depending on their audience and purpose. (IIB-Reading Critically; IIC-Analyzing Texts)
  3. Identify a topic for Paper IV and do some discovery writing. (IA1-3-Topic Generation; IIIA Write to Discover)
  4. Work with your instructor and classmates to devise a rhetorical situation for your text and identify at least one question to guide the primary research you will conduct and incorporate into your text. (VAB-Purpose and Audience)
  5. Work with your instructor and a librarian to plan your research strategy and methodology. Remember that you will need to conduct both primary and secondary research. (IA3-Planning Research)
  6. Conduct your research. (IID-Integrate Resources)

Week Eight. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. Write a draft for response.  Be sure to include some revision questions for your classmates and instructor. (IB5-8-Generate Texts; IVB1-Ask Questions)
  2. Respond to some of your classmates' texts.  As you do, note the various ways they incorporated their research into their texts.  What suggestions can you offer?  What can you learn from their work that might help you with your own writing? (IVC-Respond to Questions; VC-Respond to Texts)
  3. Revise your text in light of the responses you receive from your classmates and instructor. (IB5-8-Revise Rhetorically; IID-Integrate Ideas; IVD&E-Incorporate Suggestions)
  4. Participate in a copy-editing session. Don't forget to check for appropriate documentation.  (VIC-Copy-edit; IIE-Documentation)
  5. Prepare a final unit draft. (IB5-8-Generate Texts)
  6. Write an analysis of your work in this unit. (IC5-8 Evaluating Texts; IIIC-Analyze Processes; IIID-Analyze Products)

Unit V: Thinking About Forum

In the very most general way of thinking about it, a forum is any place where ideas are made public.  A presidential debate is a forum; so is a radio talk show, a book, a movie, a newspaper, and so on.  Sometimes, having a specific forum in mind can give a writer an idea for a text.  Other times, identifying specific forums for their work helps writers shape their texts.  In this unit you will write a text tailored to the demands of a specific forum.

Week Nine. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. Read the Introduction to and at least one selection from Section V of The Redbird Reader, noting how the student writers tailored their texts to meet the demands of various forums. (IIB-Reading Critically)
  2. Identify a topic for Paper V and do some discovery writing. (IA1-3-Topic Generation; IIIA Write to Discover)
  3. Identify and analyze at least one forum in which texts on your topic (or topics like yours) might appear. (VIA-Read Rhetorically; VIB1-Audience/Forum Analysis)
  4. Identify a rhetorical situation (topic, audience, purpose, and forum) for Paper V. (VA-Vary Purpose; VB-Analyze Rhetorical Situation)
  5. Write a draft for response and include some revision questions for your readers. (IB5-8-Generate Texts; IVB1-Ask Questions)
  6. Respond to classmates' texts, answering their questions and offering suggestions for any primary or secondary research which would help the text meet the demands of the rhetorical situation. (IIA-Using Texts; IVC-Respond to Questions; VC-Respond to Texts)
  7. After consulting with your classmates and instructor, begin conducting any research necessary to help your text meet the demands of the rhetorical situation you have devised for it. (IIA-Using Texts; IIB-Read Critically; IIC-Write About Reading)

Week Ten. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. Revise your text in light of your instructor and classmate's suggestions, your own understanding of your rhetorical situation, and any additional research you have conducted.  (IB5-8-Revise Rhetorically; IID-Integrate Ideas; IVD&E-Incorporate Suggestions)
  2. Analyze the stylistic conventions of the forum for which you are tailoring your text and make sentence- and word-level revisions that help your text approximate that style. (VI-Read Rhetorically)
  3. Engage in a peer editing session.  Have all sources been properly documented, in accordance with the conventions of the forum? (VIC-Copy-edit; IIE-Documentation)
  4. Prepare a final unit draft. (IB5-8-Generate Texts)
  5. Write an analysis of your work in this unit. (IC5-8-Evaluating Texts; IIIC-Analyzing Processes; IIID-Analyzing Products)

Unit VI: Re-thinking Your Texts

At this point, you have written five five- to seven-page papers and probably quite a few shorter texts as well.  Now it's time to start putting together your course portfolio. For your portfolio, you will need to choose four texts that you are interested in including in your portfolio and reconsider them in light of all that you have learned this semester.  Each of the texts you choose should undergo at least one more substantive revision, as you further refine your topic, conduct additional research, and apply your greater understanding of what it means to write for a specific audience, purpose, and forum.

Weeks Eleven, Twelve, and Thirteen
During this portion of the semester, you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

1. If you haven't already, read the two sample portfolios in your Course Guide.  Analyze the differences between the two.  What makes the second one stronger than the first?  (IIB-Reading Critically)

2. Reread all your final unit drafts and decide on four that you want to continue revising for your final portfolio. (IIB-Reading Critically)

3. In consultation with your classmates and instructor, identify an appropriate rhetorical situation for each portfolio text.  Remember that your portfolio must demonstrate your ability to write for a variety of rhetorical situations. (IB-Identify/Address Rhetorical Situations)

4. In consultation with your classmates, librarian, and instructor, identify potential areas for additional research.  Remember that each final portfolio draft should include evidence of primary or secondary research, and don't forget to keep your research log up-to-date throughout the portfolio revision period and beyond. (IIA-E-Read Critically)

5. Continue researching and revising your texts, making use of all the human, print, and electronic resources at your disposal.  (IB5-8-Revise Rhetorically; IID-Integrate Ideas; IVD&E-Incorporate Suggestions)

6. Don't forget to pay attention to stylistic considerations, revising at the sentence and word levels as well as the global level. (VI-Identify Conventions)

7. Attend class each day, remaining available to respond to revision questions for or engage in peer editing sessions with your classmates. (IV-Collaborate)

Unit VII: Thinking About Thinking, Writing, and Revising

This semester in English 101 you have been writing every day, and you probably still have work to do to make sure your portfolio represents your best possible work.  Even so, this final unit may well be the most important part of the course in terms of your own learning.  Research suggests that when students take time to look back at the work they have done, analyze it carefully, and write about their findings, they will benefit in a number of important ways.  There are some fancy words for this--meta-cognition and reflection are two of them--but whatever it's called, the kind of intellectual work that goes in to this Final Analytical Essay is, first and foremost, an opportunity for you to discover, analyze, record, and demonstrate your own learning about thinking, writing, researching and the relationships among the three.

Week Fourteen. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. Read the Introduction to Section V of The Redbird Reader and the sample final analytical essays in that section. (IIB-Reading Critically; VIA-Read Rhetorically)
  2. Review the analyses you wrote at the end of each unit.  These constitute the discovery writing for Paper VI, your final analytical essay. (IA-Topic Generation)
  3. Begin drafting a text in which you address the following rhetorical situation:

    Topic:  Your work in this course
    Audience:  Your English 101 instructor
    Purpose:   To analyze the work you have done in the course.
    Forum: Your portfolio

    Include some revision questions at the end of your draft. (IB5-8-Generate Texts; IVB1-Ask Questions)
  4. Respond to classmates' drafts of their analytical essays, answering the questions they pose and offering additional suggestions for global revision whenever possible. (IC-Analyze/Evaluate Texts; IVC-Respond to Questions)
  5. Revise your text in light of your classmates' responses. (IB5-8-Revise Rhetorically; IID-Integrate Ideas; IVD&E-Incorporate Suggestions)

Week Fifteen. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

  1. Revise your text in light of responses from your instructor.  (IB5-8-Revise Rhetorically; IID-Integrate Ideas; IVD&E-Incorporate Suggestions)
  2. Spend some time working on stylistic considerations in this text, consulting with your instructor and classmates and making word and sentence level revisions as appropriate. (VI-Identify Conventions; VIB-Take Stylistic Risks)
  3. Engage in a peer editing session. (VI-Copy-edit)
  4. Polish your final analytical essay until it shines.

Final Exam Week. During this week you will work in and outside of class to complete the following:

      1. Prepare your portfolio for submission.  Pay particular attention to any instructions your instructor gives you regarding the organization of your portfolio.
      2. Make sure you have a complete electronic copy of your portfolio in your student folder.  You will need this for your work in COM 110 next semester.
      3. Make sure you have a complete electronic copy of your portfolio for your own records.
      4. Complete the Portfolio Submission Form found in your Course Guide.
      5. At a time determined by your instructor (probably your final exam period), you will need to submit your final portfolio for evaluation.  All portfolios must be submitted in person at the appointed time.  You have worked far too hard in this course to leave this to chance.

 

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These course materials
are licensed by Lori Ostergaard under a
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.