English 1101 and 1102: Composition I and II
Sometimes called “First-Year Composition” (we’re trying to escape the word “freshman”), English 1101 and English 1102 introduce students to the principles and practices of communication they need in their academic and professional lives. Though many schools’ programs address rhetoric in some form, our approaches to rhetoric and multimodality set us apart: students in English 1101 and 1102 should learn to construct rigorous arguments both about and through WOVEN modes and media.
The caliber of our students also sets us apart. Georgia Tech has high admission standards, which means that almost all students who end up in our introductory courses often (but not always) already know the “basics” about composition and rhetoric. Like all the other schools in the University System of Georgia, Georgia Tech must meet certain standards for English 1101 and English 1102 established by the Board of Regents. Our courses meet those standards, but we also set higher standards to ensure that our students are prepared for their very competitive futures in academe and beyond.
For English 1101 and English 1102, individual instructors determine their own pedagogical approaches as well as the majority of the content. Some common elements—including a common e-book and clearly articulated outcomes—help to establish the consistency and identity of our Writing and Communication Program.
What Distinguishes English 1101 and 1102?
|The names “English 1101” and “English 1102” reflect the State’s relationship to the courses. They’re the only “English” courses in Georgia Tech’s course catalog. All our department’s other courses carry the prefix “LCC,” but to conform to the State’s standards, we use the “English for Composition I and II.
English 1101 and English 1102 are a sequence, which means that the latter builds on concepts taught in the former, but they also emphasize different aspects of composition:
- English 1101 introduces rhetorical principles and multimodal composition, and supplementary texts must be primarily non-fiction. Supplementary texts in 1101 can consist of essays, documentary films, websites, or other types of artifacts.
- English 1102 continues to address rhetorical principles and multimodal composition while it introduces research as well as cultural studies and literary/discourse analysis. Supplementary texts often involve fiction, poetry, film, television, video games, and other forms of literature/entertainment. Brittain Fellows’ research interests usually direct their selections of supplementary texts. Students complete a sustained research project, which can be individual or collaborative (most Britts choose the collaborative route).
For both courses, themes and supplemental texts should reflect LCC’s interests in digital media and the cultural studies of science and technology, but since those interests are quite broad, instructors have great flexibility. In the past, instructors of English 1101 have chosen themes ranging from debates about intellectual property on the Internet to the forms that comedic performance take in different media. Instructors of English 1102 have chosen themes ranging from Chaucerian textuality to the cultural significance of zombie movies.
What Are the Programmatic Goals for English 1101 and 1102?
- The goal of classes in the Writing and Communication Program is for students to develop competence in all communication modalities (Written, Oral, Visual, Electronic, and Nonverbal) and to understand how effective communication balances multiple modalities thoughtfully and synergistically.
- The emphasis in every project should be on deep understanding of the genre on which the project focuses and rhetorical processes involved in creating examples of that genre.
What Are the Work Product Expectations for English 1101 and 1102?
- The work of all English 1101, English 1102, and LMC 3403 classes should be equivalent to producing approximately 25 “pages” of writing that is polished, public facing, and receives substantive feedback from the instructor and/or peers. Put another way, students should do work equivalent to producing approximately 6,000-7,000 words of polished, public-facing prose, i.e., “high stakes” writing.
- In multimodal classes, estimating page or word count equivalency is sometimes difficult because the artifacts students create don’t convert easily to conventional pages or words counts.
- Another way to think of student productivity is in terms of projects and the rhetorical processes they involve. All English 1101, English 1102, and LMC 3403 classes must require students to complete three to five discrete, major/substantive projects. (If three rather than four or five, the projects are necessarily more substantive.) Every one of these projects must involve multiple drafts, stages, or subparts.
- Every student in English 1101, English 1102, and LMC 3403 must produce one individually authored project (or a major part of a much larger project) that is substantively prose—sustained, polished, and public-facing. It will necessarily include visual elements in the design of the information and, optionally, embedded visual/graphic elements.
- Every project must involve writing during one or more phases of the project — in the planning, in the final artifact, and/or in the reflection.
- Every project must engage more than one modality; the best projects will engage all modalities during the course of the project. For example, in completing a “This I believe…” essay and oral recording project, students may write analyses of NPR examples, produce several drafts of their own essay, provide written and oral feedback on peer drafts, include a slide show/photo essay to accompany their oral presentation, and so on.
- Attention to the recursive processes of composition is critical. These processes include critical thinking, planning, brainstorming, mapping, drafting, translating, transforming, designing, self-assessing, peer reviewing, expert assessing, revising, editing, publishing, disseminating, reflecting.
- You should design projects that help students understand how the modalities reinforce and complement one another during composition and in the final work product.
- What counts as a “project”?
- Can a formal essay be a project? Yes…
- Can a research paper be a project? Yes…
- Can a Pecha Kucha presentation be a project? Yes…
- Can a poster be a project? Yes…
- Can a script/production be a project? Yes…
- Can a twitter essay be a project? Yes…
- Can a photo essay be a project? Yes…
- Can a PPT or Prezi (with or without voiceover) be a project? Yes…
- Can a website be a project? Yes…
- Can a collaborative video be a project? Yes…
- Can a RFP be a project? Yes…
- Can a white paper be a project? Yes…
- You get the idea…
Yes…as long as each individual student contributes work equivalent to what would be required to create approximately 4-6 “pages” of writing that is polished, public facing, and receives substantive feedback from the instructor and/or peers. Put another way, a project should require each individual student to contribute total work equivalent to producing approximately 1,000-2,000 words of “high stakes” writing.
What Are the Desired Learning Outcomes for English 1101/1102?
Learning outcomes typically refer to observable demonstrations of behavioral objectives. In other words, they’re what the students do. English 1101 and English 1102 are communication courses with outcomes that address the critical thinking, rhetoric, processes, and modes and media involved in communication. These outcomes derive from state, disciplinary, and institutional mandates.What we must do. As instructors who teach English 1101 and English 1102, we must
- Discuss outcomes common to all sections of the two courses—for example, in the syllabus, in the introduction to the course, in reflective writing assignments, and so on
- Develop assessment criteria that are linked to the outcomes
- Incorporate our own scholarly interests—for example, literacy, piracy, sexuality, digital cultural, pop music, diasporas, theater, neighborhood development—as vehicles for students to explore and practice communication
Why we must do it. We have to meet state and institutional requirements, so we must
- Comply with the Board of Regents’ mandate that specifies consistent outcomes for English 1101 and English 1102
- Respond to Georgia Tech’s mandate for superior curriculum and instruction in the multimodal communication that students need to enter highly competitive professions
- Establish programmatic identity for our Writing and Communication Program through program-specific outcomes for English 1101 and English 110
What language conveys the objectives and outcomes. To fulfill these responsibilities, instructors must convey course objectives and outcomes on syllabi. The table on the next page includes the required language. It can be copied directly into syllabi, or the language can appear verbatim in another form.
Outcomes for First-Year Composition in the Georgia Tech Writing and Communication Program (GTWCP)
The image above is a copy of the table of expected outcomes for First-Year Composition by category, identifying expections of the Board of Regents, Council of Writing Program Administrators, and the Georgia Tech Writing and Communication Program. A version of this table in Word is available on T-Square for inclusion in your course syllabus.
What you might add. you may also incorporate additional outcomes that you anticipate for your course, providing a framework, consistent with the preceding table, for presenting outcomes that individual instructors establish for specific sections. In other words, when you choose a theme for your sections of English 1101 or English 1102, you’ll probably have goals for how students will explore and respond to issues related to your theme. You might articulate those goals in terms of outcomes. Such a table provides a shortcut for expressing your individual outcomes in a way that matches the preceding table. If you prefer to present the information from the tables in other forms, do so.
E-Book for English 1101 and English 1102
All sections of English 1101 and English 1102 must use WOVENText, the e-book that our program has designed to support the principles of rhetoric and multimodality that shape all our courses. For all supplemental outcomes, instructors select additional texts of their choice.
Mandate. All English 1101 and English 1102 classes instructors must indicate on their syllabi that students must acquire and use their own copy of WOVENText. Use of WOVENText—in multiple ways (e.g., homework reading exercises, quizzes, assignments, class activities and discussion) must be part of all English 1101 and English 1102 classes. WOVENText is available at http://ebooks.bfwpub.com/gatech.Recent History. During the 2007-08 academic year, the Writing and Communication Program used a Bedford/St. Martin print handbook and first-year argument text as the across-the-board adoptions for English 1101 and English 1102. During the 2008-09 academic year, we worked closely with Bedford/St.Martin’s Publishing to create a prototype of a custom e-book for English 1101 and English 1102 that reflected our Program’s rhetorical, multimodal focus; we supplemented that e-book with a brief printed text. We revised and expanded the e-book for 2009-10 so that a print supplement would no longer be necessary. For 2010-2011, we expanded the e-book further to include significantly more multimedia content as well as new materials related to issues that current and past Brittain Fellows have considered particularly important. We also named it WOVENText; calling it “the e-book” was getting tiresome.
WOVENText consists of selections from an array of different titles. Its selections support the WOVEN approach; selections from The St. Martin’s Handbook primarily cover the W, and other titles contribute materials about the other four modes. The textbooks and accompanying materials do NOT include thematic readings. Individual instructors choose supplementary texts that reflect themes they want to address in their courses.
Rationale. We spent many hours searching for rhetorical texts that teach with multimodality in mind, but nothing matched our curriculum. For this reason, we partnered with Bedford to provide you with an electronic text that should fulfill your needs as instructors of composition as well as provide material that will stretch this instruction to cover these different modes through interface, content, and exercises.
LCC believes this broad approach to teaching composition is vital to the success of any student at Georgia Tech. Students at Tech are expected to engage with their composition course work on multiple levels, including activities such as participating in online forums for group discussion, contributing daily/weekly blogs designed to allow students to write about the class and the discussions in a less formal and perhaps more familiar medium, constructing class wikis that compile class knowledge and learning in a navigable format, and practicing many different kinds of writing for different purposes. Students should still create essays for class, but their experience with writing should extend to other genres and make them more adept at electronic communication and interaction than they were before stepping into class.
Like many other texts, WOVENText is organized as such and is navigable using a side bar on the left. Each section includes exercises to test reader’s understanding of the material as well as provide an opportunity to practice this new knowledge. The organization is customizable, should you find your intuition and/or expertise guide you to approach these areas differently. We will provide workshops for you about WOVENText during Orientation and throughout the fall semester as needed. Please tell your students that this text is required and can be purchased at http://ebooks.bfwpub.com/gatech. Students who, for financial aid or other considerations, choose not to purchase the text online can purchase registration cards at the bookstores.
CompClass, a teaching tool developed by Bedford is also available for an additional fee of $5.00 and provides an optional class management program. Please decide ahead of time if you plan to use this so that you can practice with it and instruct your students to buy this additional feature. This tool allows for electronically sending and receiving assignments with access to the St. Martin’s Handbook for tagging particular style or grammar problems. CompClass also provides several interactive teaching tools such as videos about analyzing multiple modes of discourse, a peer review function, and links to the complete electronic St. Martin’s Handbook.