First-Year Composition

If you have questions about first year composition, contact the Director of the College Composition Program, Dr. Jason Palmeri (palmerjr@miamioh.edu).  

English 111, Composition and Rhetoric, is a writing course focused on principles and practices of rhetoric and composition useful for producing writing that is effective for its purpose, audience, and context. English 111 focuses especially on helping students learn and apply rhetorical knowledge, methods, and strategies; analyze and construct arguments using techniques for rhetorical analysis and inquiry; understand, refine, and improve their composing practices; and develop the intellectual and analytical skills necessary to produce effective writing at the college level. The course emphasizes rhetorical inquiry and invention, promoting critical questioning, exploring, and researching, and teaching skills for planning, analysis, research, and development of ideas for a particular academic or public audience. It also teaches principles of effective organization and style and strategies for revision, editing, and proofreading. A key purpose of the course is to teach students to deliver writing in a variety of contexts, including digitally networked environments.

By the conclusion of ENG 111, students should have met the following outcomes:
  • Rhetorical Knowledge. Students demonstrate an ability to write effectively for different contexts, audiences, purposes, and genres (particularly academic contexts, audiences, purposes, and genres) and demonstrate their awareness of audiences’ multiple perspectives. 
  • Composing process. Students engage the composing process using effective strategies for developing ideas; researching topics; producing drafts; revising, peer responding, editing, and proofreading their writing; and delivering their writing via print and electronic media.
  • Inquiry, invention, and research. Students ask good questions, conduct research-based inquiries, and use invention techniques effectively to explore their own ideas, to engage different perspectives, and to develop findings into sustained arguments or narratives. Students can locate, evaluate, integrate, and cite secondary sources of information effectively and ethically, using appropriate academic citation methods.
  • Organization, style, editing. Students produce effectively organized writing that is stylistically appropriate and that meets conventional expectations for particular audiences in specific contexts. Student writing shows evidence of careful proofreading and attention to mechanics, appropriate to audience and context.
  • Digital and multimodal rhetoric. Students effectively produce, share, and publish their writing using appropriate technologies for production, editing, commenting, delivery, and sharing of files. Students demonstrate critical awareness of the unique affordances and limitations of diverse writing technologies and modalities of communication, both digital and non-digital.
  • Reflection, meta-cognitive awareness. Students apply concepts and terms from the field of rhetoric/composition to reflect critically on their own composing practices and rhetorical decisions, including decisions about the technologies used in the production and reception of their writing.

For further details about these outcomes, see the Council of Writing Program Administrators’ Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition (http://wpacouncil.org/positions/outcomes.html).

Major Writing Inquiries and Assignments

English 111 is centered around five major writing inquiries — called “inquiries” because of the emphasis in each assignment on critical questioning, rhetorical invention and exploration, and research.

  1. Initial Reflection —> analyzing and reflecting on your beliefs and practices about writing and rhetoric
  2. Rhetorical Analysis —> using rhetorical analysis as a method to analyze a public argument
  3. Public Issue Argument  —> researching and making a rhetorical argument about a public issue
  4. Remediation —> understanding how the medium affects the message by remediating a previous piece of writing (by changing the medium using digital media and perhaps multi-modality) to present your work to a new audience
  5. Final Reflection —> exploring how what you learn in English 111 may transfer to other rhetorical contexts

Each inquiry is comprised of a number of components, including class activities, shorter writing assignments, drafts, peer responses, proposals, research notes, reflective writer’s letter, and a major final paper (or the equivalent) for each inquiry. Inquiry #1 might result in a shorter paper (~3-5pages). The other inquiries will result in longer papers (~5-8 pages or the equivalent). At least two of the papers will require that you integrate secondary sources of research. Each of these major projects will require an accompanying Writer’s Letter that asks you to explain your purpose and audience for each assignment; to explain your rhetorical choices and strategies; to reflect on your writing process; to describe what you did in revision, etc. The major assignment for Inquiry #5, the e-portfolio project, asks you to collect, analyze, and reflect on your writing and rhetoric throughout the entire semester.

Amount and Frequency of Writing
In English 111 you can expect to produce approximately 50 pages of double-spaced prose or the equivalent (approximate number of words = 12,500). About half of that amount will be the final polished versions of your five major writing assignments; the other half will be inventional and exploratory exercises, short in- and out-of-class writing assignments, blog postings, rough drafts, formal drafts, written peer responses to your classmates’ writing, etc. You should expect to have some written assignment due in every class period over the entire semester — either writing due for class or writing you do in class.