Composition I

Instructor: Eric Lauritzen


The following information is subject to change. Please contact me with questions about the course. 

Course Description

Composition I is, above all, a writing course. All of the assignments, readings, discussions, and other activities you will take part in are designed to better prepare you for the writing tasks ahead. Much of the writing that you will do in college involves participating in conversations—learning what others are saying about a topic and responding with your own contribution to a growing body of knowledge. The assignments in this course provide practice with the interrelated skills involved with this type of argumentative writing.

At the end of the course, you will have learned how to:

  1. Identify the purpose, audience, major claims, and kinds of evidence offered in a variety of texts;
  2. Participate in academic discourse, as well as other forms of writing, by producing text with a clear purpose and audience, supported by evidence acceptable to that audience and, when applicable, using an appropriate citation style;
  3. Develop recursive writing and researching processes, including identifying a controversy within a conversation or discourse community, conducting appropriate research, planning, drafting, critiquing, revising, and editing – taking into account written and oral feedback from the instructor and from peers;
  4. Demonstrate essential information literacy skills, including discovering subject-specific information and arguments, understanding how information and arguments are produced and evaluated in relevant academic communities, critically evaluating claims in sources, and using source material effectively in creating new knowledge and participating ethically in communities of learning;
  5. Locate resources for the continued support of their development as writers; and
  6. Develop credibility by using appropriate language and diction, by effectively incorporating source material, and by portraying ideas in clear and clean prose.


The following assignments are tentatively planned for the Spring 2020 semester:

Essay 1: Rhetorical analysis. 1000 words; 15%.

Essay 2: Write about an issue that confronts university students. 1200 words; 20%.

Essay 3: Research a problem and propose a solution. 1600 words; 25% points.

Essay 4: Write a personal narrative about an important life lesson. 1200 words; 20%.

Supplemental assignments: Supplemental assignments include short essays, reading responses, quizzes, and forum posts. Expect one or two per week. Most supplemental assignments can be completed in one sitting. Length and point value vary; 20% total.

Required text:

Graff, Gerald, et al. They Say, I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing with Readings. 4th ed., W. W. Norton, 2018. Paperback. ISBN 978-0-393-63168-5.