English | Elementary Composition
W131 | ALL | Staff

W131 is a course in academic writing that attempts to integrate
critical reading, thinking, and writing about phenomena and issues in
our culture.  Rather than practicing a set of discrete skills or often
unrelated modes of discourse, the course aims to build sequentially on
students' ability to read both written and cultural texts closely and
critically and analyze those texts in ways that also engage and
problematize students' own experience, the perspectives of "experts,"
and the world they live in.  Students will be given six (6) major
writing assignments, including rough drafts.

Faculty from many disciplines, including English, agree that students'
performance in their courses would be greatly enhanced if they "just
knew how to analyze."  Too often, they report, students stop short of
analysis by (1) merely recycling what they view as unquestionably true
facts or the received conclusions of their sources; (2) simply
agreeing or disagreeing with what they understand to be just another
opinion; or (3) offering a personal response to a text, phenomenon,
issue or concept that fails to problematize that position or connect
it to any significant bigger picture.  W131 aims to show students how
all of these moves (use of sources, agreement/disagreement and
personal response) can be made to serve independent, purposeful,
well-supported analytical writing.