Foundations of Academic Discourse

Books for the Course:

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Course Description:

A course introducing students to the fundamentals of college composition. Topics include writing process, rhetorical strategies, basics of critical reading and thinking, analytical writing, and argumentative writing. This course serves as a foundation to prepare students to succeed in other academic writing contexts.

Course Objectives:

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of academic writing. Students explore analytical and argumentative/persuasive writing, learning how to develop their thinking and writing through the use of various rhetorical strategies. The course also examines writing as a process, encouraging students to develop productive writing strategies that can be adapted to various academic and professional writing contexts. One of our main goals this semester involves dispelling the myth that good writers are born, not made. Most professional writers will tell you that their best work happens in the revision stage after a concentrated effort to re-envision and reshape the raw material of an early draft. Following their lead, we will focus on all stages of the writing process, from invention strategies and idea development, to drafting and feedback, to revising for improved content and style. In preparation for research writing required by other classes, this course will introduce students to the process of locating and evaluating sources.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the course, you should be able to:

  • Engage the writing process effectively to generate various academic essays and documents;
  • Identify the rhetorical context (purpose, message, audience) of any writing situation and use language effectively to achieve your writing goals;
  • Use various rhetorical strategies to achieve your writing goals;
  • Structure your essay appropriately to achieve your writing goals;
  • Formulate a concise thesis that clearly focuses your document;
  • Write clear, concise, and grammatically correct prose;
  • Write in an accessible and direct style that is appropriate for given writing contexts and disciplinary/professional conventions;
  • Engage critical thinking to understand and evaluate multiple perspectives on complex issues and to formulate and explain your own positions in relation to various views;
  • Use library research tools to locate, evaluate, and integrate authoritative sources into your writing;
  • Collaborate with others to peer revise/edit documents.