ENGL 150: Expository Writing

Course Description, Spring 2018

English 150 is a 3-credit course designed to help students build on basic academic writing skills they developed in high school. Students will develop strategies for constructing compelling and sophisticated claims, supporting claims with appropriate evidence, reading texts critically, and effectively communicating their views in writing. At the end of the semester, students will bring all of these skills to bear on drafting and revising a substantial researched essay.

Topically-speaking, our course will be focused on the subject of “discourse communities.” Linguist John Swales describes discourse communities as “groups that have goals or purposes, and use communication to achieve these goals.” We will discuss the features of a discourse community, consider the types of discourse communities to which we belong and how they impact us, and examine discourse communities using a rhetorical lens. Our readings on the topic will include both academic and journalistic sources. In addition to our topical readings, we will also use the required texts listed below to explore writing as a social and rhetorical act.

Required Texts

Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth Wardle. Naming What We Know, Classroom Edition: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Utah State University Press, 2016.

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. 3rd ed., W.W. Norton and Company, 2016.

Course Objectives

  • Read and respond critically to the writing of others
  • Develop compelling and sophisticated claims for an academic audience
  • Employ effective strategies for the development and organization of arguments
  • Observe academic conventions for quoting, summarizing, and citing the words and ideas of other writers and speakers
  • Locate, evaluate and use different kinds of research sources
  • Produce strong academic prose and make stylistic choices within the bounds of the conventions of academic writing
  • Cultivate effective habits of writing including comprehensive techniques for revision
  • Write a substantial researched essay that synthesizes and applies appropriate sources to persuasively articulate and support a relevant and insightful arguments