English 1302: Composition and Rhetoric II

General Description:

Intensive study of and practice in the strategies and techniques for developing research-based expository and persuasive texts. Emphasis on effective and ethical rhetorical inquiry, including primary and secondary research methods; critical reading of verbal, visual, and multimedia texts; systematic evaluation, synthesis, and documentation of information sources; and critical thinking about evidence and conclusions.

Overview:

English 1302 builds upon what students learned in English 1301, emphasizing more complex research, analytical, and rhetorical skills. Students are prepared to write advanced essays and research papers and are introduced to the formal study of texts selected from a variety of genres (historical, philosophical, political, literary, and ethnographical, among others). Students learn to develop and support cogent written arguments, utilizing proper rules of evidence-gathering to draw key conclusions, to document sources, and to integrate citations using appropriate conventions of style (APA, CMS, MLA). English 1302 focuses on critical thinking and problem solving to shape and define content, while also holding students responsible for the fundamentals learned in English 1301, such as familiarity with the traditional modalities of essay writing, mastery over sentence and paragraph construction, and the basics of English grammar and punctuation.

Rationale:

The substantive changes in this revised English 1302 syllabus (2013) reflect a greater emphasis on the role that the course plays as the second part of the Introductory English sequence. Greater focus has been placed on student understanding of advanced rhetorical methods, most notably argumentation and textual analysis, forms that challenge student understanding of local, ethnographical, and global contexts, in the endeavor to raise major issues of civic and personal responsibility. Like English 1301, students will be asked to demonstrate knowledge of appropriate research methods, including how to find, evaluate, synthesize and document researched material. Unlike English 1301, students are required to integrate this research component into each of the four (4) major essay assignments and to demonstrate an understanding of the ethical grounds for evidence-gathering to fuel knowledge building. Students are asked to invent and develop their own topics, to compose essays around these themes with a unifying purpose, and to transition between key ideas or points persuasively.

Texts:

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of individual and collaborative research processes.
  2. Develop ideas and synthesize primary and secondary sources within focused academic arguments, including one or more research-based essays.
  3. Analyze, interpret, and evaluate a variety of texts for the ethical and logical uses of evidence.
  4. Write in a style that clearly communicates meaning, builds credibility, and inspires belief or action.
  5. Apply the conventions of style manuals for specific academic disciplines (APA, CMS, MLA).

Course Objectives:

In English 1302, students are asked to build upon the fundamentals introduced in English 1301 and further master the following course-specific skills:

  • Understand and demonstrate the persuasive application of language.
  • Respond appropriately to a variety of rhetorical situations and constraints.
  • Strengthen their argumentative skills as a form of persuasion.
  • Evaluate a variety of texts critically, both individually and through group discussion.
  • Draw conclusions from the interpretation of a wide range of genres (historical, philosophical, political, literary, and ethnographical, among others) and mediums (visual texts, multimedia, speeches, recordings, among others) that challenge student perspectives of person, place and identity (questions that relate to personal, social, and civic responsibility).
  • Master common genre terminology.
  • Compose multi-paragraph essays in appropriate rhetorical styles, such as argumentation, critical analysis, and other forms of advanced discourse.
  • Prepare written analyses on a variety of texts and genres.
  • Utilize proper research methods to support a logical thesis statement, as well as integrate and document the ideas of others in a competent manner.
  • Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the appropriate conventions of style as applicable to upper-level courses and disciplines (APA, CMS, and/or MLA).

Requirements for Successful Completion:

As the second part of the Introductory English sequence, students will be required to build upon the skills learned in English 1301, while mastering advanced rhetorical, analytical and research methods:

  • Critical Thinking: Students should read and discuss a variety of texts that encourage them to evaluate critically both the content and rhetorical methods employed by the writer.
  • Persuasion: Students should explore a wide range of rhetorical strategies, via both classical and contemporary forms, as a means of creating and reshaping knowledge, as well as credibly supporting ideas, whether firmly entrenched or highly controversial in nature. This exploration should culminate in an appreciation for the rhetorical possibilities available to student writers, as opposed to a formalized training in one or more limited methodologies.
  • Writing Process: Students should continue to be taught the writing process, including brainstorming, outlining, drafting, revision, and editing.
  • Revision: Students should employ proper techniques to understand the effectiveness of their ideas and make appropriate changes to their written material. The purpose of revision is to reinforce the necessity of re-examining the structure, chosen audience, effectiveness and clarity of written work.
  • Collaborative Revision (Peer Review): Students should perform collaborative peer-to-peer exercises on a minimum of one (1) major paper assignment to understand the effectiveness of other student writing and make appropriate suggestions to their material. While reinforcing revision skills, collaborative exercises offer an opportunity to introduce critical analysis, interrogate the precision of ideas, set the stage for constructive revision, and provide a practical application for its use.
  • Research: The research process will be taught and reinforced in every major essay assignment. Students should understand the necessity of incorporating other voices and perspectives into their writing and responding to those voices in the attempt to discover fresh knowledge. Students should be instructed in the ethical and logical rules of evidence-gathering. Furthermore, students should know how to cite sources (using MLA, APA or CMS procedures) within a text, as well as to incorporate research findings (via direct quotation and paraphrasing) into their own composition. They should also know how to generate a correct Works Cited page (or equivalent).
  • Analytical Essays: Students should compose at least two (2) essays employing critical analysis. In developing these essays, students should practice all stages of the writing process, from pre-writing to revision. Essays should be thesis-driven and organized in well-developed support paragraphs. These essay assignments may be advanced or modified versions of more traditional modalities commonly taught in English 1301, such as Cause and Effect. However, each of these papers must incorporate a research element and correspond to a text being covered in class.
  • Rhetorical Essays: Students should compose at least two (2) essays employing advanced rhetorical techniques, demonstrating an effective argument, critical analysis, or other rhetorical form. In developing these essays, students should practice all stages of the writing process, from pre-writing to revision. Essays should be thesis-driven and organized in well-developed support paragraphs. Student writing should invoke a clear communication of purpose or credibility. Each of these papers must incorporate a research element and correspond to a text being covered in class.
  • Mechanics: Students are expected to have demonstrated prior understanding of standard writing mechanics in English 1301: "Use edited American English in academic essays, employing proper grammar and sentences." As such, they will be held responsible for the execution of grammar, punctuation, sentence and paragraph construction, as well as proper revision, editing and formatting.

Examples of Possible Major Assignments:

  • Argumentation Research.
  • Argumentation (performed on varying texts, including literature)
  • Critical Text Analysis.
  • Comparative Critical Text Analysis (multiple texts).
  • Deductive Argument Essay.
  • Inductive Argument Essay.
  • Rhetorical Analysis (performed on a political or historical advertisement).
  • Rhetorical Analysis (performed on a speech).
  • Rhetorical Analysis (performed on another form of multimedia).