Department of English
Kent State University
 

 

First Year Writing Courses

ENG 10001 students on a writing field trip.
 

Placement of First Year Students

1. Although placement varies on the Regional Campuses, students at the Kent Campus are placed in English 10000, 10001, and 10002 according to the following combination of ACT/SAT and Compass Writing Scores.

ACT-Eng

SAT-Verbal

1 - 16

200 - 420

17 – 25

430 - 590

26+

600+

Compass Writing Score      
0 - 52 10000* 10001# 10001#
53 - 94 10001# 10001# 10001#
95 - 100 10001# 10001# 10002

 

* Student will be required to enroll in ENG 10001 upon successful completion of ENG 10000

# Student will be required to enroll in ENG 10002 upon successful completion of ENG 10001

2. Students recruited by the Honors College are enrolled in a year-long Honors Colloquium (Honors 10197-10297), taught almost always by English faculty, which is accepted as fulfilling their College English Sequence.

3. International students are enrolled in controlled sections of English 10100, 10101, and 10002 according to placement tests; students for whom English is a second language may also be enrolled in these sections.

4. Students entering with College Board Advanced Placement credit, but who are not enrolled in the Honors College, are given credit for one or more courses in the College English Sequence depending upon their scores.

5. Students transferring from Ohio community colleges are given credit for courses according to individual equivalency agreements.

6. All students except those in 10002 are required to write a brief diagnostic essay during the first week of classes. Teachers read the papers before the second week of classes and refer to the Coordinator of the Writing Program or her assistant any essays that suggest the student has been radically misplaced, according to the expectations found in the course descriptions below. Upon the written advice of the Coordinator, the teachers will tell the students to see the Administrative Assistant for reassignment to the appropriate course.

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English 10000
Introduction to College English

Course Objectives:

English 10000, Introduction to College English, is a basic writing course, designed to introduce students to college writing and prepare them for the similar, but more demanding, writing of English 10001, the entry-level writing course. Students who pass the course are able to write a developed, unified, and cohesive expository essay. This ability will be determined through a portfolio assessment, to be evaluated by at least two instructors other than a student's own instructor.

Course Content:

Writing in English 10000 moves from personal topics, to responses suggested by, but not necessarily referring to, a text. These texts encourage students to question their own ideas and thinking. Students learn how to discuss writing for focus, development, organization, sentence structure, and correctness. By the end of the course, students should be able to proofread independently well enough to produce a text that is relatively free of interruptive error.

To meet these goals, the following pedagogical processes are often used:

1. Writing is approached as a recursive process, developing from ideas to correctness through multiple drafts, revision, and proofreading of a small number (approximately five) of papers.

2. Work is done in small peer groups--as well as whole-class groups--on understanding texts read for class, on responding to the content of the texts of peers, and on proofreading the texts of peers, in order

a. to move students from dependence on instructors as the only audience for feedback and correctness to a more objective, independent approach to their own writing, and

b. to use student texts to demonstrate rhetorical concerns.

3. Correctness is developed in the context of writing, not in isolation, with minimal reference to grammatical terminology.

A written diagnostic is given on the first or second day of class. This writing sample may be used

1. to determine if students have been correctly placed in English 10000 and

2. to guide them in the development of plans for the semester.

Student conferences with instructors are strongly encouraged.

Tutorial support from Peer Writing Assistants (PWAs) in the Kent State University Writing Center (WC) in 318 Satterfield Hall (Kent Campus) is required--one visit for each paper written for the class. Written communication from the instructor to the WC staff, concerning student needs, is highly recommended, and written communication from the WC staff to the instructor is required after each session with an English 10000 student, as proof the student is fulfilling the required tutorial component of the class. English 10000 students who are working with a tutor in Learning Development Programs (LDP) (217E Michael Schwartz Student Services Center--Kent Campus) may substitute this work for sessions in the WC.

Course Assessment:

During the final examination period, instructors will meet to evaluate a portfolio for each English 10000 student, to identify those who are clearly ready to advance to English 10001. This portfolio, to be collected on the final day of the semester, will contain the four papers described below:

1. Three out-of-class essays: These three papers are selected by the student--with the guidance of both peers and the instructor--from those written during the semester. The revised, final drafts of these papers are free of comments, corrections, or grades by the instructor.

2. One in-class essay: This reflective essay is hand written in blue or black ink, double spaced, and on one side of the paper only. It is written in class during three fifty-minute class periods, during three of the last four class meetings. This essay, which is written without consultation from peers or the instructor, requires students to reflect upon their growth as writers throughout the semester, as shown in their writing for the class.

Students whose portfolios indicate they are ready to advance to English 10001 may be considered by their instructors for a passing grade in English 10000. (A portfolio evaluated as ready does not guarantee a passing grade in English 10000, however.)

Students whose portfolios do not show readiness for English 10001 cannot receive a passing grade in English 10000.

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English 10001-10002
College English I and II

An Overview of the Sequence:

In English 10001 (College English I), students learn to compose interpretive and analytical essays--critical responses to specific essays or artifacts; at the same time they study the act of interpretation itself, examining what is at stake in the apparently simple act of using language to read and write. In 10002 (College English II), students build on these reading and writing skills in a course that differs in three basic ways from 10001: 10002 focuses upon longer works (in order to understand the complexity of sustained reading and writing), it collects works of various kinds which participate in a body or community of discourse (see the 10002 course definition), and it directs the student toward a substantial essay drawing upon a number of works to think through a genuine inquiry. By "a substantial essay," we mean to engage our students in what serious writers do: that is, to work through, and then beyond, a collection of texts which in some way share a way of seeing and understanding a particular world of experience. In addition, reading and writing in this course will involve the students in questions about how inquiry and composing are affected not only by one’s own race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, class, etc., but also by the situated language practices of others. As students move from how writers produce meaning in individual texts to an examination of how writers work intertextually, the sequence as a whole will also be marked by a movement from lesser to greater difficulty/complexity in both the reading and writing skills students are asked to develop. For each course, students must submit a minimum of 4,500 words of expository writing for evaluation. Faculty are encouraged to require students to write as much as possible in addition to the formal essays, even if the writing is not to be evaluated. A reading journal, in-class writings, and other informal assignments are possibilities. A handbook and a college level dictionary complement the instructor's selection of reading materials.

Objectives for the Sequence:

1. Help students understand that reading and writing are processes that produce rather than merely present or reflect knowledge.

2. Help students produce effective prose--clear, well-organized, well-focused, and multi-paragraphed--by understanding and practicing writing as a set of recursive individual and collaborative composing strategies, including concentrated work on language choices.

3. Help students understand the ways the writer/reader is influenced in the process of composing, for instance, by culture, gender, class, age, discipline, ethnicity, or race, so they might develop an ability to think critically about cultural difference.

4. Help students to explore how language, both as individual and as collective expression, shapes reality and can be used to influence thought in order to further specific agendas. Additionally, to help students to practice writing in culturally-relevant ways--including but not necessarily confined to ways appropriate to academic discourse--by teaching them how to identify and use a variety of rhetorical strategies and conventions.

5. Help students to understand and use argument as a function of a discourse, for example, of the decision-making and problem-solving used in one’s daily life, or of the nuanced and explorative notion of "evidence" and "argument" found in academic discourse. In any case, students will need to move beyond the premature closure of the formulaic five-paragraph theme and the agree/disagree formula that may mark their previous training.

6. Help students learn to read and write using a wide variety of "texts," defined broadly to include not only literary and student texts, but also other cultural artifacts, including the visual, the analysis of which can help students learn analytical skills.

7. Help students work with difficult texts, as measured by such elements as unfamiliar codes, emotionally threatening subject matter, and cognitive complexity.

8. Help students develop the research skills of finding information, evaluating, summarizing, comparing, and synthesizing. (Research, in this document, includes both library research and fieldwork.)

9. Help students gain in their ability to work with other texts while maintaining a confident voice of their own. In doing so, students will learn the mechanics of quoting, paraphrase, and citation, but in addition, they will develop their ability to enter into the ongoing conversation or dialogue of others and to contribute something new.

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English 10001
College English I

English 10001 is designed to help students become articulate writers, capable of finding their own voices and engaging thoughtfully the voices of others. It also introduces them to some of the intellectual issues raised by the whole process of making meaning. The course aims to develop more skilled and sophisticated writers who have achieved a degree of self-consciousness about what it is they have been enacting as interpreters. Hence the emphasis is on introducing students to the concept and practice of reading and writing as acts of "conversation" through the exploration of a set of basic questions about the interrelation of thinking, composing, and applying rhetorical knowledge--and various answers to those questions. Consequently, the individual writing assignments usually, but not always, focus on a single text each (readings typically of less than 10,000 words and student essays of about 1,000 words or less) and revolve around the questions that text and the class choose to raise about the production of meaning. For example, the class may ask how individual texts function as coherent, if tentative, wholes; how they work to construct a theme or thesis; and what underlying assumptions, values, and rhetorical strategies come into play in different, individual works, including their own. (This is not to say students will never read texts in relation to each other, since of course they will, especially if they use Ways of Reading, Reading the Lives of Others, or Negotiating Difference. Rather, the emphasis in 10001 will not be on the intertextual as much as it will be on the individual text's "way of seeing, reading, and making meaning" and the students' response to it. However, by the end of the course, students are asked to use at least one text in relation to another to teach them single-source quoting and citation.) By examining issues related to the reading and writing of texts and trying out different methods of analysis, students work on developing their own processes of reading and writing; the primary goal of 10001 is, then, to help students become active, engaged, and rhetorically-conscious readers and writers who can enter, rather than merely reproduce, the textual conversations around them. Writing in the course will consist of frequent unevaluated writing activities such as journals, drafts, and pre-writing work, as well as a minimum of 4,500 words of evaluated writing.

In summary, the goals of English I are as follows:

WRITING GOALS

Students will develop both analytical writing abilities and a practical knowledge of composing strategies. Study of the composing process will include an introduction to the relevant recursive strategies of prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. By the end of the semester, students should be able to edit their work and produce clear, well-organized, well-focused, multi-paragraphed pieces of writing that demonstrate an understanding of the conventions of academic discourse and exhibit relatively few grammatical or mechanical errors that distract from meaning or confuse an audience.

READING GOALS

Students will develop critical reading abilities by learning to understand reading as a complex, recursive process. Skills will include identifying, where appropriate, a central purpose and/or theme for a text, grasping the structure of the text, assessing the truthfulness or usefulness of claims and representations, and considering works in relation to their historical moment and to a variety of possible audiences.

CRITICAL THINKING GOALS

Students will improve their ability to think critically: they will learn to analyze and evaluate ideas rather than merely to comprehend and recall them, and they will engage actively in an argument by contributing to it, critiquing it, or revising it rather than merely reproducing it. Among the specific skills introduced will be the ability to compare, summarize, and paraphrase; the ability to frame an argument, synthesizing at least two points of view, while maintaining a distinctive authorial voice; the ability to anticipate how readers will question a text; and the ability to compare their own experience with an author’s experience, including an analytical understanding of, and sensitivity to, cultural difference.

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English 10002
College English II

In English 10002, the rhetorical concerns are the same as in 10001 in that students will be asked to continue to read critically and "recursively"--reading with enough imagination and openness to discover or to create thematic patterns within and among divergent texts, to understand the contested nature of interpretation, and to be aware of one's method. However, these concerns will now be recontextualized around full-length works, both literary and non-literary, from a particular "body of discourse," and will be more thoroughly explored in an extended piece of writing which we call "the writing project."

Ways of thinking, reading, and writing the world--discourses--exert enormous pressures on how individuals conceive the worlds they make, and it is just this set of pressures that 10002 aims to analyze as the subject of its writings. Postcolonial texts, for example, must invent a way to think their societies' new worlds while negotiating between their various local contexts and the universalizing, homogenizing effect of western culture. An ethnic or subcultural discourse must understand its differences from other more or less marginalized discourses, but also from the dominant, while still engaging the survival issues of its own constituency. The discourse of a movement positions itself by remarking the (social, aesthetic, and/or personal) histories that precede and coexist with it. Each text from an insider speaks to those of other insiders, agreeing, disagreeing, and collaborating on the conscious or unconscious ground rules that keep them "insiders," naming or implying the push that keeps "outsiders" outside. The reading list might collect insiders (African novelists or post-baby boomers) but also include some telling outsiders (colonial memoirs and western critics, older generations' complainers). Together these help class members see what is at stake as participants make some points and values central while marginalizing others.

"Discourse" is thus our shorthand for the complicated historical process by which a community (literal or metaphorical) makes "normal" or "commonsensical" the way it thinks it can solve the specific challenges that galvanize the community. These challenges require the community to rethink the nature of and relations among the social, economic, political, cultural, philosophical, aesthetic, and so on. We in literary and composition studies tend to think of our subject areas as central because literature and other written forms have always struggled to formulate the way these cultural elements go together in the collective mind. By studying intensively one body of discourse, we hope to see our students excited to investigate its specific challenges, its solutions, and its stubbornly problematic dimensions.

There will be a minimum of 4500 words of graded writing that will consist normally of two or three short essays and, unlike in English I, an extended paper (1750-2500 words) demonstrating research skills, critical thinking about issues of difference, and competence in an appropriate style of documentation for multiple sources. Writing in the course will consist also of frequent activities that are reviewed but not graded, such as journal writing, drafts, and pre-writing work, as determined by the instructor.

In general, then, the goals for English II are as follows:

WRITING GOALS

In addition to furthering the writing goals of College English I, College English II will develop the students’ ability to write critically about other writers’ texts and to write an extended paper which integrates materials from several texts. Students will become aware of the conventions of academic discourse, including the need to substantiate positions with logic and evidence, to consider contrary arguments as well as supporting ones, and to make conscious choices about style and authorial persona. In the final project, students will be expected to demonstrate awareness of the rhetorical, as well as the mechanical, demands of using multiple sources. Among the specific skills included will be knowing whom to quote, knowing how to use sources to frame both one’s own and opposing arguments, knowing when to use direct quotation as opposed to paraphrase, and knowing how to cite sources using a standard system of documentation.

READING GOALS

In addition to furthering the reading goals of College English I, College English II will emphasize developing the students’ ability to analyze and interpret different kinds of texts, including the literary, from different perspectives. The course will include a close consideration of the ways that language operates, both on a literary or stylistic level and as a representation of a position within a community of voices. In the process of considering the conventions, voice, and style required in academic discourse, students will become more aware of the boundaries and demands of a specific discourse community.

CRITICAL THINKING GOALS

In addition to furthering the critical thinking goals of College English I, College English II will help students become more aware of the contested nature of interpretation and the demands of argumentation. Reading and writing assignments will encourage students to consider such problems as when additional information is needed for adequate assessment of an issue, how to discern differences between texts (or positions, or phenomena) that appear similar, and how to assimilate differences into one’s own perspective or paradigm.

The course will likely begin with a shorter paper (or two) which make sure all the students in 10002 can do what we expect graduates of 10001 to do. These earlier assignments will serve as a crucial bridge between courses and, for those not taking 10001, as their introduction to the critical literacy this sequence teaches. The distinctive assignment in 10002, however, is the writing project.

The purpose of a writing project is to help students participate in that prolonged process by which one reads, compares, and rereads; finds other resources that help explain confusions and differences; and writes, at first simply and close to one text, then more complexly and with several texts, then between, around, and against a series of texts toward a rich reconception of how one might understand a discourse and the issues it implies. Recursive rather than lineal, spread over a number of readings and assignments, culminating in a paper of ten or more pages that cites its sources and builds its own argument through an interweaving that is almost certainly both critical and constructive--the writing project is as much an experience of a well-seasoned writing course as it is something like the traditional research paper.

Whether the writing project requires library research or fieldwork or simply quoting and commenting upon readings in the course, it should teach students the skills of quoting, citing, and blending their sources. It should involve them in sifting and testing their readings, letting texts weave and unweave each other's strategies and assumptions; perhaps most importantly, it should allow students to find and articulate their own ground in relation to these resources rather than submitting themselves to sacred experts of the printed page. Finally, the writing project should be the endpoint of the readings, class discussions, informal writings, revisions--all strands should be gathered up into its patterning of the writing skills and critical literacy students acquire in 10001-02.

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