English 101 Course Description
English 101 is a college-level writing course that is transferable to four-year colleges
and universities. The course helps students develop and hone college-level reading,
critical thinking, and writing skills and prepare for future academic writing assignments.
Academic writing means understanding and building on the work of others. Consequently,
the class focuses on developing the ability to find and read thoughtful and thought-provoking
articles by other writers and using that knowledge to form and support an idea. In
writing three to six page essays, you'll learn to contribute to our collective conversation
about ourselves and our world. You'll also develop the summary, paraphrase, and citation
skills necessary to integrate information from sources accurately and ethically. Although
there might be some attention to grammar, mechanics, and punctuation, that is not
the focus of this course.
We think you’re ready for this task if you feel comfortable as a writer—not brilliant, necessarily--but if
- You’re not defeated by a reading assignment that’s a little over your head. You know how to work toward understanding, and you notice the difference between opinion and support.
- You’ve used computers for both research and writing/editing.
- You’ve read and written quite a bit, including informative and persuasive writing, not just stories and poetry.
- You feel confident that you can write a three to four page paper when necessary.
- You believe your writing is generally understandable to others. The sentence structure, the word choices, and the grammar may not be perfect at first, but you know how to improve your work with careful editing.
- You can generally find a way to make a point, support it with evidence, and create a logical organization. You feel confident about revising your writing based on feedback.
- You’ve quoted other sources in your writing.
- You’re willing to ask for help when you need it.
English 101 Sample Final Essay Assignment
Topic: Is higher education worth the price?
The goal is to practice academically oriented arguments and work with complex ideas by analyzing arguments from multiple sources of information. You will have to include opposition to your position and deal with that opposition respectfully. Consider why you might write such an argument. Here are some examples:
- Whom do you wish to persuade and to do what?
- If you argue in favor of for-profit schools as a path for disadvantaged students, are you trying to convince fellow students to accept for-profit colleges or to transfer to one?
- Are you trying to convince a school board to provide funding for traditional community colleges?
- Are you trying to convince parents that forcing their children to go into a liberal arts program is unnecessary?
The more clearly you can see your argument as having a real-life purpose and a specific audience, the stronger will be your case.
Arguments of policy say "We should….."
Arguments of value claim that one thing / idea is better than another.
Arguments of fact make claims about history, such as what really distracts students at school or what really causes car accidents.
The thesis for this paper is your baseline statement of this argument’s scope and purpose.
Facts and statistics to give background to your topic
Credible quotes to support both sides of the argument
“A New Course” by Magdalena Kay, which is found in Academic Search Premier. This source must be used in a meaningful way in your paper
1 source from ProQuest or Academic Search Premier
2 other credible sources that further your argument
IMPORTANT: You must not exceed the four sources (per the English Department).
Length: The English Department requires 5 to 6 pages (1500 to 1800 words) using proper MLA format, including a Works Cited page (not included in your word count).
This assignment will include three drafts, all of which must be turned in as part of the portfolio. The first draft is for the in-class peer review. The second draft is for the student-teacher conference. The third draft is your final version.
Textbook Help: For examples of an argument MLA sample essay, read “Online Monitoring: A Threat to Employee Privacy in the Wired Workplace” on page 527 of Rules for Writers by Diana Hacker. Use Rules for Writers pages 458-532 to correctly cite your sources correctly, format your paper properly, create a works cited page, paraphrase and summarize your sources ethically.
Grading: The final draft of the paper will be graded using the English 101 Rubric for Common Final Essay, a copy of which you will receive. This rubric has been developed to make sure that you have the skills to be ready to enter English 102. The Department has established these minimum requirements for all final 101 assignments:
- The paper’s thesis must be arguable and the essay must build an argument to support the thesis
- The paper must engage with the common reading in more than a “touch and go” fashion
- The paper must be 1500 to 1800 words (5-6 pages) in length
- The paper should use of 3-4 credible, college-level sources, including the common reading; students should be asked to adhere to this limit; they may use neither more nor less than this number
English 101 Sample Reading
"A New Course" by Magdalena Kay
English 101 Sample Final Student Essay
English 101 Grading
An A-Level Final Essay in English will do the following:
- meet the assigned topic and purpose
- assert a clear, sophisticated, arguable thesis that can be reasonably developed and supported in 1500 to 1800 words
- remain clearly focused on the thesis throughout the essay
- support the thesis with a rich variety of evidence
- consistently uses reasoning to make logical conclusions
- significantly engage the common reading in a meaningful way
- accurately and effectively summarize, paraphrase, and quote relevant source material and offer analysis of all source material
- consider and convincingly respond to varying claims
- maintain focus within each paragraph
- provide clear and directive topic sentences and sophisticated transitions within and between paragraphs
- include logical paragraph breaks
- use a highly effective introduction, conclusion, and title
- thoroughly integrate source material with varied and effective signal phrasing
- maintain strict ethical standards and avoid plagiarism through correct and precise paraphrasing, use of quotation marks, in-text citations, and an MLA works cited page
- use direct quotation sparingly and to good effect
- effectively engage an audience
- use varied sentence structure for style and reader interest
- exhibit a precise and sophisticated vocabulary
- use a consistent point of view and verb tense
- show no serious patterns of errors in grammar and mechanics and very few mistakes with syntax, grammar, and punctuation, and none that interfere with meaning
- correctly use MLA standards for page layout