First-Year Writing Program
STUDENT SUPPORT SITE
COLLEGE COMPOSITION I
What will I learn in College Composition I?
For many students, the two biggest concepts learned in College Composition I are that writing is a process and writing is a form of conversation. Many new college writers come from environments where they handed in a paper, got a grade, and moved on, or where their teacher would mark up their papers with corrections for them to “fix.” In this college-level course, you will begin to experience a more complete writing process that includes a wider variety of invention strategies (ways to prepare to draft beyond outlining) and a more substantial revision process that focuses on big ideas and not just “fixing” errors. Much of this process is social in nature: we explore ideas together, read each other’s work and provide feedback, and think about who we are writing to/for as we conceptualize, draft, and revise. You will learn how to craft a piece of writing to communicate with an audience and achieve a purpose--in other words, you will move beyond formulaic writing, in particular beyond the five-paragraph essay model.
Writing itself represents a conversation between writers. Rarely in college do we write without engaging with the ideas of other authors, and most of the time this is happening by responding to, expanding, or challenging published or recorded works of other writers/speakers/thinkers. The ideas of others enrich and push our own thinking, and we write not just to express our own thoughts, but to show how our thoughts relate to those of other people who are interested in the same issues we are. This means really engaging with those other authors as opposed to sprinkling in quotes to fulfill the assignment, and being able to work with multiple authors/texts effectively. No matter your major or your future profession, you will need to write and communicate and to build on and respond to the ideas of others--whether it’s examining competing ethical models in Philosophy class, coming up with a hypothesis to test in a lab based on previous experiments, or showing how your marketing plan for a company is informed by survey data. This course helps you both assert your own voice and work with sources and the ideas of others ethically.
Finally, while many of the conversations you will join are ones taking place in the public sphere beyond the university, College Composition I aims to better prepare you for the expectations of academic writing at the college-level, particularly how to communicate your ideas in an informed manner. While the course can’t necessarily get into the specific expectations of every discipline, it will help you to become a flexible writer who can enter new writing situations with strategies to adapt and succeed.