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English 155 Course Guidelines

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION:

English 155 is a course in expository writing designed for Freshmen and transfer students. In accord with the Basic Skills General Education requirement, its purpose is to enable students to analyze and reflect on complex topics and appropriately synthesize their own and others’ idea in clearly written and well-organized edited American English. The GE Student Learning Outcomes for this course are as follows:

 

Students will:

  1. Analyze and compare perspective, meaning, and style in different texts, including those that reflect multicultural images and voices;
  2. Construct a theme or thesis and organize and develop a substantial, balanced, and convincing defense of it in a voice, tone, language, and format appropriate to the purpose of the writing;
  3. Use logical support, including informed opinion and fact, as well as their interpretations, to develop ideas, avoiding fallacies, biased language and inappropriate tone;
  4. Demonstrate satisfactory competence in the conventions of Edited American English and the elements of presentation (including layout, format, and printing);
  5. Select and incorporate ideas derived from a variety of sources, such as library, electronic and print resources, books, journals, the Internet, and interviews, and document them responsibly and correctly;
  6. Apply a variety of strategies for planning, outlining, drafting, revising and editing written work

PRE-REQUISITE:

A CSU English Placement Test Score of 151, or the EPT and a grade of Credit in English 097 and/or 098, if applicable.

 

STUDENT LEARNING OBJECTIVES FOR THE COURSE:

  1. To help students learn to write an academic essay—that is, a thesis driven text that is characterized by reason, logic, and analytic thinking;
  2. To help students understand that writing in an academic context means becoming knowledgeable about the subject, indicating awareness of the ideas of others, basing claims on logic and credible evidence, and using language in such a way as to appear truthful and fair;
  3. To help students understand writing as a recursive process—which includes invention, drafting, and revision;
  4. To help students gain facility in various contexts for writing, including timed writing, and develop rhetorical strategies appropriate to audience and purpose;
  5. To help students develop critical reading strategies and apply them to both print and visual texts. In this context, students will become aware of different texts, including those that reflect multicultural images and voices;
  6. To help students develop fluency and style by practicing sentence variety, increasing vocabulary, and using the conventions of edited American English;
  7. To help students develop proficiency in research and documentation techniques;
  8. To help students understand how to use writing and reading as a means of participating in democracy and social change.

STUDENT POPULATION:

Since Approaches to  University Writing is required as part of basic skills development in General Education, course enrollment represents the range of students admitted to the University. Some CSUN students may be exempted from the course through Advanced Placement; some students meet this requirement in the Chicano/a Studies, Pan African Studies, or Asian American Studies departments. Some students in each class will have taken Engl 097 and/or 098 prior to enrollment in this course. Most students in this course are freshman, but not all.

 

READING REQUIREMENTS:

In developing their abilities to read and critically analyze college level prose, students should read a minimum of 15 essays or their equivalent in non-fiction forms that are challenging. Most of he readings should be discussed in class, with analysis focusing on what the author says, (content and purpose), how he or she says it (organization, voice style, diction, rhetorical strategies), and whether it is effective for the intended audience (critique). Some instructors may require reading journals or analysis of websites or other visual texts. Wings, a text consisting of texts written by Northridge students, is required for the course.

WRITING REQUIREMENTS:

During the semester, students will write three (3) substantive, thesis-driven essays of 4-6 pages, developed through multiple drafts, revisions, in-class essays, and journal entries. Students should also engage in other forms of writing, including shorter essays, personal narratives, journal entries, or responses to readings. They will also write at least one essay in class. Although the general focus of the course is on argumentation, instructors may choose to supplement the three required essays with a personal narrative. Personal narrative essays, however, should not be included in the final portfolio. Writing assignments should grow out of reading assignments and class discussions; most assignments will utilize outside sources so that students will learn to incorporate the ideas of others within their own writing and to document references appropriately and correctly. However, assignments involving outside sources will utilize “focused research”—that is, research activities that are carefully coordinated to provide a common basis for productive classroom lessons. The term is used in distinction to “open-ended” research tasks that simply ask students to “find some articles about the topic,” an assignment that limits opportunities for coordinated instruction. Assignments will be reasonably challenging, aimed at developing the intellectual maturity of students by encouraging a critical awareness of themselves, their values, and their multicultural environment. Students should expect to revise most of their written work. Although all work in the course will be reviewed, not every assignment will be formally evaluated. A portfolio assessment occurs at the end of the semester.

INDIVIDUAL CONFERENCES:

Students are required to meet with the instructor at least once for an individual conference. Many instructors will schedule additional conferences which students are also required to attend.

LIBRARY SKILLS:

At least one assignment in Engl 155 should enable students to become acquainted with library resources. The useful strategy for helping students become effective users of the library is to develop an assignment that utilizes outside sources, explain that assignment to a librarian, and then hold a class session in a computer room, perhaps with the assistance of a librarian, that is specifically oriented toward helping students locate appropriate materials. Full library tours can be useful in providing an overview of library services, but students learn to search for materials more effectively when they are working on an actual writing assignment.

 

TEXTBOOKS:

Textbooks for English instructors should be selected from a list of appropriate 155 texts selected by the director of Composition and approved by the Composition Committee. Faculty who wish to order texts not on the list should consult the Director of Composition before placing an order. Texts listed for courses other than ENGL 155 may not be chosen for this course except for general reference books or handbooks. Any rhetoric text or reader chosen should reflect current approaches to teaching composition and the specific recommendations of these course guidelines. Any reader chosen should contain essays or other readings that challenge students and provide intellectual stimulation for class discussions and writing.

 

SYLLABUS:

An English 155 Course Syllabus should include the following:

  1. course title, course number
  2. course description
  3. course objectives
  4. topics covered in courses
  5. suggested texts and other instructional materials needed
  6. course requirements
  7. methods of evaluation (including grading criteria)
  8. list of the General Education Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) that this course must meet. A description of how the course meets the SLOs listed.

Listed below are the Basic Skills SLOs for General Education that English 155 must meet:

 

Students will:

  1. analyze and compare perspective, meaning, and style in different texts, including those that reflect multicultural images and voices;
  2. construct a theme or thesis and organize and develop a substantial, balanced and convincing defense of it in a voice, tone, language, and format (e.g., essay autobiography, report, editorial, case study, inquiry, and research) appropriate to the purpose of the writing;
  3. use logical support, including informed opinion and fact, as well as their interpretations, to develop ideas, avoid fallacies, biased language, and inappropriate tone;
  4. demonstrate satisfactory competence in the conventions of Edited American English and the elements of presentation (including layout, format, and printing)
  5. select and incorporate ideas derived from a variety of sources, such as library electronic and print resources, books, journals, the internet, and interviews, and document them responsibly and correctly;
  6. apply a variety of strategies for planning, outlining, drafting, revising and editing written work.
  7. analyze and compare perspective, meaning, and style in different texts, including those that reflect multicultural images and voices;
  8. construct a theme or thesis and organize and develop a substantial, balanced and convincing defense of it in a voice, tone, language, and format (e.g., essay autobiography, report, editorial, case study, inquiry, and research) appropriate to the purpose of the writing;
  9. use logical support, including informed opinion and fact, as well as their interpretations, to develop ideas, avoid fallacies, biased language, and inappropriate tone;
  10. demonstrate satisfactory competence in the conventions of Edited American English and the elements of presentation (including layout, format, and printing)
  11. select and incorporate ideas derived from a variety of sources, such as library electronic and print resources, books, journals, the internet, and interviews, and document them responsibly and correctly;
  12. apply a variety of strategies for planning, outlining, drafting, revising and editing written work.

Other Information to include in the syllabus:

 

  • Tentative schedule of major assignments for the semester, due dates
  • Participation/ attendance policy
  • Statement of policy regarding plagiarism
  • Information about the portfolio
  • Information about the Learning Resource Center (LRC), located on the fourth floor of the Student Services Building.

 

Revised by Irene Clark, January 2007

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