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What will I learn in Intensive College Composition I?


For many students, the two biggest concepts learned in Intensive 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, Intensive 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.

What does it mean for this to be “Intensive” College Composition I?  Why am I in Intensive College Composition I?


The “intensive” part refers to the additional credit hour attached to the course (four credits instead of three), which is earned by meeting a third day per week, either in your regular classroom with the instructor or at the Writing Center with a small group and a tutor.  The third meeting per week allows for more time working with others on writing and reading, and helps you develop strategies for meeting individual writing challenges.  For example, some students feel that they’ve already said everything they can in a few sentences and need to work on developing a piece of writing to make it more effective and meaningful.  Others have a lot to say, but are learning ways to better focus their ideas to communicate with readers.  Really, all writers are working on improving some aspect of their writing; writers are made, not born.

Students place into this course through either their SAT or ACT scores or a writing placement essay.  We feel that students whose scores are slightly below those required for regular College Composition I can successfully engage with the curriculum of Comp I if they are offered additional support; hence, the extra meeting per week.  If you had no test scores or originally placed into our basic writing course, Foundations for College Writing, you probably took our placement essay and, based on experienced instructors reading your writing, we felt this course was the best fit for you to succeed.  More information on placement is available on the Writing Arts Department’s web site

I’m in a “Studio” section of Intensive College Composition I: what is that exactly?


The Studio Model of Intensive College Composition I was created by the faculty of the Writing Arts Department and the staff of Rowan University’s Writing Center in an effort to expand the writing experiences for our Intensive students.  Our Studio Model evolved from writing center and composition theory advocating for a place other than a writing classroom where students can share, create, critique and discuss their writing at any stage of the process.  While Studio students master the same core values as non-Studio students, they do so in a unique setting at the Writing Center in a small group with a tutor.   You will sign up for a specific group and session time on the first day of your regular class meeting.




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