English 3313 is an advanced composition course for upper-level university students, who are required to have successfully completed ENG 1112 and 45 credit hours before enrolling in the course.
The primary purpose of the course is two-fold:
- to act as a formalized upper-level reinforcement and honing of students’ writing skills, as well as a kind of check of students’ writing ability before graduation,
- to reinforce, hone, and advance students’ thinking skills; through interaction with a variety of texts, students in the course are required to apply their broadened education and matured thinking to sophisticated analytical and critical approaches that encourage sound, vigorous, expansive, and self-realizing thought.
The assignments, activities, and texts of each section of the course are organized around a mutual theme (such as “Individual and Community” or “Looking Backward, Looking Forward) that changes every three years.
Once the theme is selected, a core of about 8 to 12 texts that explore the theme is established. These core texts are selected from a range of academic disciplines and encourage students to explore the theme from a variety of intellectual, historical, and cultural perspectives.
Course instructors are required to choose 4 to 6 texts from the core list to use in their classes. They are additionally required to select 2 to 4 texts that are not necessarily a part of the core list, but also reflect and extend students’ understanding of the course theme. It is further recommended that 1 or 2 of the texts selected should be on-campus events related to the theme. (These might be films, lectures, concerts, theater productions, forums, or special campus events.)
A portion of the formal essay writing in the course may include textual analysis, but more often textual considerations serve for students as springboards to analytical and critical explorations of themselves, their culture, and their world.
Throughout the course students are involved with writing as a process that includes prewriting, drafting, feedback, and revision.
- The student will demonstrate a university-level grasp of analytical and critical thinking.
- The student will demonstrate an ability to understand and respond to a moderately sophisticated set of texts.
- The student will be able to write reasonably well-focused, well-organized, and stylistically and grammatically proficient 3-5 page analytical, critical, and exploratory essays.
- The student will be able to use the writing process to initiate ideas, to create and revise drafts, and ultimately to produce a polished product.
Assessment Criteria and Procedures
During the course each student creates a minimum of about 4000 words of text from numerous informal writing assignments and 3 to 6 formal analytical, critical, or exploratory writing assignments. Each formal writing assignment is developed via the steps of the writing process and under the guidance of the instructor, and at least a portion of the final drafts resulting from the formal assignments, after being evaluated by the instructor, are further revised under the instructor’s guidance. A grade of at least “C-” is required to pass the course. Below is a criteria guideline for a “C-” evaluation of a final draft.
Content & Ideas
- The topic is clearly focused and properly emphasized early in the discussion.
- Ideas are presented in a reasonably clear and considered manner.
- Most of the reasoning used is valid.
- All the ideas presented evince some appropriate development.
- For the most part, the topic is approached knowledgeably.
- If a text is referred to, a basic understanding of that text’s ideas are evident.
- When attempting to do so, ideas have some success in diverging from or expanding upon the ideas of a text.
- Many of the ideas presented are somewhat original.
- At least some of the analytical and/or critical thinking is ambitious.
- The reader’s informational needs are generally met.
- The writer is basically in control of the ideas presented.
- The thesis and purpose are clearly stated in the introduction and an attempt is made to engage the reader.
- Most main ideas attempt to specifically support the thesis.
- Usually key terms that are not absolutely unmistakable are clearly defined.
- Most main ideas are supported with relevant details or evidence, but are not always well thought out, deliberate, or well-placed.
- The discussion is relatively free of fallacies and ambiguities.
- Transitions are generally adequate but do not always effectively guide the reader’s thinking.
- The essay basically moves along at an effective pace, though at times it may bog down or hurry.
- The conclusion does wrap up the discussion, but may be overly mechanical or leave some loose ends unattended.
- The language basically is clear and communicates ideas, even though it may not always be fresh or specific.
- Sentences at least occasionally evince stylistic sophistication.
- The sentence structure conveys relationships between ideas, though may not always be fluid and occasionally suffers from wordiness or clumsiness.
- At least a moderate control of complex sentence structure is evident.
- Attempts to vary sentence structure occur and are generally effective.
- Diction is usually exact and appropriate.
- The tone is basically consistent and controlled.
- The writer’s voice shows signs of enthusiasm and commitment to the topic.
- Paragraphing is basically proficient.
- Mechanics and punctuation errors are minimal.
- Spelling is usually correct.
- Usage errors are minimal.
- Moderate editing would be required to polish the text.