Singapore University of Social Sciences

English Composition (ENGL123)

Synopsis

This course focuses on the principles of using writing for thinking, as well as a tool for expressing ideas. It addresses the composing process, research and documentation, and rhetorical strategies for various audiences and purposes. Students develop their communicative, evaluative, critical thinking, and research writing abilities

Level: 1
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: Every July
E-Learning: BLENDED - Learning is done MAINLY online using interactive study materials in Canvas. Students receive guidance and support from online instructors via discussion forums and emails. This is supplemented with SOME face-to-face sessions. If the course has an exam component, this will be administered on-campus.

Topics

  • Learning about your textbooks; Learning how to use a style guide and textbook as references.
  • The problematic question; Learning to answer the subject-matter question: What do I have to say? Understanding how to construct interesting and significant questions that lead to thoughtful exploration.
  • Writers as communicators; Learning to answer the rhetorical question: How do I need to say what I want to say to reach this audience? Choosing details to include or leave out; word choices; balancing competing objectives. Learning to convey an angle of vision by using rhetorical strategies
  • Problematizing; Posing a problem, exploring it, weighing various pieces of information, various angles, and various possible solutions; resisting the temptation to come to closure too quickly being able to live with uncertainty; actively looking for additional questions, problems, puzzles.
  • Writers as observers; Learning to take notice of details; show vs. tell; becoming aware of the psychological factors that influence what is being observed; exploring the myth of objectivity
  • Reading with the grain; Reading for comprehension; identifying an author’s thesis and supporting points, logic and evidence; using attributive tags
  • Reading against the grain; Resisting a text by questioning assumptions, statements, evidence, credentials, and logic
  • Revision; Responding to feedback; improving content; correcting errors in language mechanics
  • Strong Thesis statements; Creating thesis statements with tension; keeping thesis statements focused, unified and specific
  • Points and particulars; the scale of abstraction; Understanding how to use general statements and specific details to strengthen writing.
  • The Surprising Reversal pattern; Learning a particular pattern of organization to create a thesis with tension and bring interest to an informative essay.
  • APA Documentation style; Learning to use the style guide to create an APA References list and correctly cite sources within the text in APA style
  • Plagiarism; Understanding what plagiarism is, how it happens and how to avoid it
  • Dialectic process; Examining a topic from different perspectives, actively seeking opposing or alternate points of view to analyze, compare, contrast, synthesize and evaluate is the dialectic process.
  • Learning to keep a record of the process of research in chronological order, including an annotated list of sources and a record of your thinking about what you are learning as you research
  • Learning to do internet research effectively and efficiently; understanding the different kinds of sources available; understanding how to evaluate sources for reliability, credibility, angle of vision and degree of advocacy or bias;
  • Classical argument frame; Understanding the classical argument pattern: attention, background, thesis, forecast, argument in favor (including evidence and warrants), refutation, conclusion; finding an arguable issue; using an outline to think through the argument
  • Evidence; Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of various kinds of evidence (examples, scenarios, statistics, summaries of research, expert testimony, etc.); being able to evaluate reliability of evidence; finding appropriate evidence
  • Unstated assumptions (warrants); Understanding underlying value judgments that affect the persuasive power of an argument; learning to identify unstated assumption
  • Counterarguments; Acknowledging objections to thesis, reasons, evidence, or warrants; learning strategies to counter the effect of objections; understanding the value of acknowledging objections

Learning Outcome

  • Respond orally and in writing to evaluate, analyze and critically assess the ideas and meanings of diverse texts.`
  • Compose reasoned responses to course readings, discussions, and visual prompts, by including a clear, engaging thesis statement and supporting that statement with well-organized, detailed evidence.
  • Make appropriate rhetorical decisions to achieve the purpose of a written work, based on an understanding of ethical issues and underlying assumptions and values in the argument.
  • Deepen understanding of a topic by conducting research that leads to a documented paper with appropriate documentation
  • Revise their writings to improve clarity, content, tone, and style, addressing such issues as audience, structure, and voice.
  • Edit writing so understanding is not impaired as a result of errors in grammar, mechanics, or sentence structure.
  • Demonstrate their understanding of the interdependent relationship of reading, writing and thinking, and reflect on their thinking as part of a larger community of thinkers.
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