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The assignments in this course are openly licensed, and are available as-is, or can be modified to suit your students’ needs.

If you import this course into your learning management system (Blackboard, Canvas, etc.), the assignments will automatically be loaded into the assignment tool. These assignments and quizzes come pre-loaded with specific assigned point values. We recommend changing the point values to match your course design .

This course includes a series of assignments associated with most modules, as well as essay assignments that can be included in the course as you see fit. Some instructors assign multiple rhetorical styles, while others scaffold just one or two large essays throughout the course. For this reason, the essay assignments are listed at the front of the course and can be easily moved into the appropriate places within the LMS. The different rhetorical style essays are each split into at least two parts, with one for prewriting and one for the final draft.  They could also be combined into one assignment or split into several smaller assignments; for example, you could divide each essay into a prewriting, drafting, and final draft stage (which is how the argument essay is currently organized).

The “Writing Process—Revising and Proofreading” module also includes a discussion assignment that has students peer review whichever essay is assigned during that module ( Discussion: CARES Peer Review).

  • Narrative Essay
  • Compare/Contrast
  • Illustration Essay
  • Cause and Effect Essay
  • Argument Essay

The optional “Essay Reflection” Assignment can also be paired with any of the rhetorical style essays listed above.

The assignments can also be broken down into smaller steps or combined/simplified as desired. Remember, these can be deleted, modified, or replaced within your LMS to meet the needs of your students.

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  • Introduction to Writing

Reading and Writing in College

Learning objectives.

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Understand the expectations for reading and writing assignments in college courses.
  • Understand and apply general strategies to complete college-level reading assignments efficiently and effectively.
  • Recognize specific types of writing assignments frequently included in college courses.
  • Understand and apply general strategies for managing college-level writing assignments.
  • Determine specific reading and writing strategies that work best for you individually.

As you begin this section, you may be wondering why you need an introduction. After all, you have been writing and reading since elementary school. You completed numerous assessments of your reading and writing skills in high school and as part of your application process for college. You may write on the job, too. Why is a college writing course even necessary?

When you are eager to get started on the coursework in your major that will prepare you for your career, getting excited about an introductory college writing course can be difficult. However, regardless of your field of study, honing your writing skills—and your reading and critical-thinking skills—gives you a more solid academic foundation.

In college, academic expectations change from what you may have experienced in high school. The quantity of work you are expected to do is increased. When instructors expect you to read pages upon pages or study hours and hours for one particular course, managing your work load can be challenging. This chapter includes strategies for studying efficiently and managing your time.

The quality of the work you do also changes. It is not enough to understand course material and summarize it on an exam. You will also be expected to seriously engage with new ideas by reflecting on them, analyzing them, critiquing them, making connections, drawing conclusions, or finding new ways of thinking about a given subject. Educationally, you are moving into deeper waters. A good introductory writing course will help you swim.

Table 1.1 “High School versus College Assignments” summarizes some of the other major differences between high school and college assignments.

Table 1.1 High School versus College Assignments

This chapter covers the types of reading and writing assignments you will encounter as a college student. You will also learn a variety of strategies for mastering these new challenges—and becoming a more confident student and writer.

Throughout this chapter, you will follow a first-year student named Crystal. After several years of working as a saleswoman in a department store, Crystal has decided to pursue a degree in elementary education and become a teacher. She is continuing to work part-time, and occasionally she finds it challenging to balance the demands of work, school, and caring for her four-year-old son. As you read about Crystal, think about how you can use her experience to get the most out of your own college experience.

Review Table 1.1 “High School versus College Assignments” and think about how you have found your college experience to be different from high school so far. Respond to the following questions:

  • In what ways do you think college will be more rewarding for you as a learner?
  • What aspects of college do you expect to find most challenging?
  • What changes do you think you might have to make in your life to ensure your success in college?

Reading Strategies

Your college courses will sharpen both your reading and your writing skills. Most of your writing assignments—from brief response papers to in-depth research projects—will depend on your understanding of course reading assignments or related readings you do on your own. And it is difficult, if not impossible, to write effectively about a text that you have not understood. Even when you do understand the reading, it can be hard to write about it if you do not feel personally engaged with the ideas discussed.

This section discusses strategies you can use to get the most out of your college reading assignments. These strategies fall into three broad categories:

  • Planning strategies. To help you manage your reading assignments.
  • Comprehension strategies. To help you understand the material.
  • Active reading strategies. To take your understanding to a higher and deeper level.

Planning Your Reading

Have you ever stayed up all night cramming just before an exam? Or found yourself skimming a detailed memo from your boss five minutes before a crucial meeting? The first step in handling college reading successfully is planning. This involves both managing your time and setting a clear purpose for your reading.

Managing Your Reading Time

For now, focus on setting aside enough time for reading and breaking your assignments into manageable chunks. If you are assigned a seventy-page chapter to read for next week’s class, try not to wait until the night before to get started. Give yourself at least a few days and tackle one section at a time.

Your method for breaking up the assignment will depend on the type of reading. If the text is very dense and packed with unfamiliar terms and concepts, you may need to read no more than five or ten pages in one sitting so that you can truly understand and process the information. With more user-friendly texts, you will be able to handle longer sections—twenty to forty pages, for instance. And if you have a highly engaging reading assignment, such as a novel you cannot put down, you may be able to read lengthy passages in one sitting.

As the semester progresses, you will develop a better sense of how much time you need to allow for the reading assignments in different subjects. It also makes sense to preview each assignment well in advance to assess its difficulty level and to determine how much reading time to set aside.

College instructors often set aside reserve readings for a particular course. These consist of articles, book chapters, or other texts that are not part of the primary course textbook. Copies of reserve readings are available through the university library; in print; or, more often, online. When you are assigned a reserve reading, download it ahead of time (and let your instructor know if you have trouble accessing it). Skim through it to get a rough idea of how much time you will need to read the assignment in full.

Setting a Purpose

The other key component of planning is setting a purpose. Knowing what you want to get out of a reading assignment helps you determine how to approach it and how much time to spend on it. It also helps you stay focused during those occasional moments when it is late, you are tired, and relaxing in front of the television sounds far more appealing than curling up with a stack of journal articles.

Sometimes your purpose is simple. You might just need to understand the reading material well enough to discuss it intelligently in class the next day. However, your purpose will often go beyond that. For instance, you might also read to compare two texts, to formulate a personal response to a text, or to gather ideas for future research. Here are some questions to ask to help determine your purpose:

How did my instructor frame the assignment? Often your instructors will tell you what they expect you to get out of the reading:

  • Read Chapter 2 and come to class prepared to discuss current teaching practices in elementary math.
  • Read these two articles and compare Smith’s and Jones’s perspectives on the 2010 health care reform bill.
  • Read Chapter 5 and think about how you could apply these guidelines to running your own business.
  • How deeply do I need to understand the reading? If you are majoring in computer science and you are assigned to read Chapter 1, “Introduction to Computer Science,” it is safe to assume the chapter presents fundamental concepts that you will be expected to master. However, for some reading assignments, you may be expected to form a general understanding but not necessarily master the content. Again, pay attention to how your instructor presents the assignment.
  • How does this assignment relate to other course readings or to concepts discussed in class? Your instructor may make some of these connections explicitly, but if not, try to draw connections on your own. (Needless to say, it helps to take detailed notes both when in class and when you read.)
  • How might I use this text again in the future? If you are assigned to read about a topic that has always interested you, your reading assignment might help you develop ideas for a future research paper. Some reading assignments provide valuable tips or summaries worth bookmarking for future reference. Think about what you can take from the reading that will stay with you.

Improving Your Comprehension

You have blocked out time for your reading assignments and set a purpose for reading. Now comes the challenge: making sure you actually understand all the information you are expected to process. Some of your reading assignments will be fairly straightforward. Others, however, will be longer or more complex, so you will need a plan for how to handle them.

For any expository writing —that is, nonfiction, informational writing—your first comprehension goal is to identify the main points and relate any details to those main points. Because college-level texts can be challenging, you will also need to monitor your reading comprehension. That is, you will need to stop periodically and assess how well you understand what you are reading. Finally, you can improve comprehension by taking time to determine which strategies work best for you and putting those strategies into practice.

Identifying the Main Points

In college, you will read a wide variety of materials, including the following:

  • Textbooks. These usually include summaries, glossaries, comprehension questions, and other study aids.
  • Nonfiction trade books. These are less likely to include the study features found in textbooks.
  • Popular magazine, newspaper, or web articles. These are usually written for a general audience.
  • Scholarly books and journal articles. These are written for an audience of specialists in a given field.

Regardless of what type of expository text you are assigned to read, your primary comprehension goal is to identify the main point : the most important idea that the writer wants to communicate and often states early on. Finding the main point gives you a framework to organize the details presented in the reading and relate the reading to concepts you learned in class or through other reading assignments. After identifying the main point, you will find the supporting points , the details, facts, and explanations that develop and clarify the main point.

Some texts make that task relatively easy. Textbooks, for instance, include the aforementioned features as well as headings and subheadings intended to make it easier for students to identify core concepts. Graphic features, such as sidebars, diagrams, and charts, help students understand complex information and distinguish between essential and inessential points. When you are assigned to read from a textbook, be sure to use available comprehension aids to help you identify the main points.

Trade books and popular articles may not be written specifically for an educational purpose; nevertheless, they also include features that can help you identify the main ideas. These features include the following:

  • Trade books. Many trade books include an introduction that presents the writer’s main ideas and purpose for writing. Reading chapter titles (and any subtitles within the chapter) will help you get a broad sense of what is covered. It also helps to read the beginning and ending paragraphs of a chapter closely. These paragraphs often sum up the main ideas presented.
  • Popular articles. Reading the headings and introductory paragraphs carefully is crucial. In magazine articles, these features (along with the closing paragraphs) present the main concepts. Hard news articles in newspapers present the gist of the news story in the lead paragraph, while subsequent paragraphs present increasingly general details.

At the far end of the reading difficulty scale are scholarly books and journal articles. Because these texts are written for a specialized, highly educated audience, the authors presume their readers are already familiar with the topic. The language and writing style is sophisticated and sometimes dense.

When you read scholarly books and journal articles, try to apply the same strategies discussed earlier. The introduction usually presents the writer’s thesis , the idea or hypothesis the writer is trying to prove. Headings and subheadings can help you understand how the writer has organized support for his or her thesis. Additionally, academic journal articles often include a summary at the beginning, called an abstract, and electronic databases include summaries of articles, too.

Monitoring Your Comprehension

Finding the main idea and paying attention to text features as you read helps you figure out what you should know. Just as important, however, is being able to figure out what you do not know and developing a strategy to deal with it.

Textbooks often include comprehension questions in the margins or at the end of a section or chapter. As you read, stop occasionally to answer these questions on paper or in your head. Use them to identify sections you may need to reread, read more carefully, or ask your instructor about later.

Even when a text does not have built-in comprehension features, you can actively monitor your own comprehension. Try these strategies, adapting them as needed to suit different kinds of texts:

  • Summarize. At the end of each section, pause to summarize the main points in a few sentences. If you have trouble doing so, revisit that section.
  • Ask and answer questions. When you begin reading a section, try to identify two to three questions you should be able to answer after you finish it. Write down your questions and use them to test yourself on the reading. If you cannot answer a question, try to determine why. Is the answer buried in that section of reading but just not coming across to you? Or do you expect to find the answer in another part of the reading?
  • Do not read in a vacuum. Look for opportunities to discuss the reading with your classmates. Many instructors set up online discussion forums or blogs specifically for that purpose. Participating in these discussions can help you determine whether your understanding of the main points is the same as your peers’.

These discussions can also serve as a reality check. If everyone in the class struggled with the reading, it may be exceptionally challenging. If it was a breeze for everyone but you, you may need to see your instructor for help.

As a working mother, Crystal found that the best time to get her reading done was in the evening, after she had put her four-year-old to bed. However, she occasionally had trouble concentrating at the end of a long day. She found that by actively working to summarize the reading and asking and answering questions, she focused better and retained more of what she read. She also found that evenings were a good time to check the class discussion forums that a few of her instructors had created.

Choose any text that that you have been assigned to read for one of your college courses. In your notes, complete the following tasks:

  • Summarize the main points of the text in two to three sentences.
  • Write down two to three questions about the text that you can bring up during class discussion.

Students are often reluctant to seek help. They feel like doing so marks them as slow, weak, or demanding. The truth is, every learner occasionally struggles. If you are sincerely trying to keep up with the course reading but feel like you are in over your head, seek out help. Speak up in class, schedule a meeting with your instructor, or visit your university learning center for assistance.

Deal with the problem as early in the semester as you can. Instructors respect students who are proactive about their own learning. Most instructors will work hard to help students who make the effort to help themselves.

Taking It to the Next Level: Active Reading

Now that you have acquainted (or reacquainted) yourself with useful planning and comprehension strategies, college reading assignments may feel more manageable. You know what you need to do to get your reading done and make sure you grasp the main points. However, the most successful students in college are not only competent readers but active, engaged readers.

Using the SQ3R Strategy

One strategy you can use to become a more active, engaged reader is the SQ3R strategy , a step-by-step process to follow before, during, and after reading. You may already use some variation of it. In essence, the process works like this:

  • Survey the text in advance.
  • Form questions before you start reading.
  • Read the text.
  • Recite and/or record important points during and after reading.
  • Review and reflect on the text after you read.

Before you read, you survey, or preview, the text. As noted earlier, reading introductory paragraphs and headings can help you begin to figure out the author’s main point and identify what important topics will be covered. However, surveying does not stop there. Look over sidebars, photographs, and any other text or graphic features that catch your eye. Skim a few paragraphs. Preview any boldfaced or italicized vocabulary terms. This will help you form a first impression of the material.

Next, start brainstorming questions about the text. What do you expect to learn from the reading? You may find that some questions come to mind immediately based on your initial survey or based on previous readings and class discussions. If not, try using headings and subheadings in the text to formulate questions. For instance, if one heading in your textbook reads “Medicare and Medicaid,” you might ask yourself these questions:

  • When was Medicare and Medicaid legislation enacted? Why?
  • What are the major differences between these two programs?

Although some of your questions may be simple factual questions, try to come up with a few that are more open-ended. Asking in-depth questions will help you stay more engaged as you read.

The next step is simple: read. As you read, notice whether your first impressions of the text were correct. Are the author’s main points and overall approach about the same as what you predicted—or does the text contain a few surprises? Also, look for answers to your earlier questions and begin forming new questions. Continue to revise your impressions and questions as you read.

While you are reading, pause occasionally to recite or record important points. It is best to do this at the end of each section or when there is an obvious shift in the writer’s train of thought. Put the book aside for a moment and recite aloud the main points of the section or any important answers you found there. You might also record ideas by jotting down a few brief notes in addition to, or instead of, reciting aloud. Either way, the physical act of articulating information makes you more likely to remember it.

After you have completed the reading, take some time to review the material more thoroughly. If the textbook includes review questions or your instructor has provided a study guide, use these tools to guide your review. You will want to record information in a more detailed format than you used during reading, such as in an outline or a list.

As you review the material, reflect on what you learned. Did anything surprise you, upset you, or make you think? Did you find yourself strongly agreeing or disagreeing with any points in the text? What topics would you like to explore further? Jot down your reflections in your notes. (Instructors sometimes require students to write brief response papers or maintain a reading journal. Use these assignments to help you reflect on what you read.)

Choose another text that that you have been assigned to read for a class. Use the SQ3R process to complete the reading. (Keep in mind that you may need to spread the reading over more than one session, especially if the text is long.)

Be sure to complete all the steps involved. Then, reflect on how helpful you found this process. On a scale of one to ten, how useful did you find it? How does it compare with other study techniques you have used?

Using Other Active Reading Strategies

The SQ3R process encompasses a number of valuable active reading strategies: previewing a text, making predictions, asking and answering questions, and summarizing. You can use the following additional strategies to further deepen your understanding of what you read.

  • Connect what you read to what you already know. Look for ways the reading supports, extends, or challenges concepts you have learned elsewhere.
  • Relate the reading to your own life. What statements, people, or situations relate to your personal experiences?
  • Visualize. For both fiction and nonfiction texts, try to picture what is described. Visualizing is especially helpful when you are reading a narrative text, such as a novel or a historical account, or when you read expository text that describes a process, such as how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  • Pay attention to graphics as well as text. Photographs, diagrams, flow charts, tables, and other graphics can help make abstract ideas more concrete and understandable.
  • Understand the text in context. Understanding context means thinking about who wrote the text, when and where it was written, the author’s purpose for writing it, and what assumptions or agendas influenced the author’s ideas. For instance, two writers might both address the subject of health care reform, but if one article is an opinion piece and one is a news story, the context is different.
  • Plan to talk or write about what you read. Jot down a few questions or comments in your notebook so you can bring them up in class. (This also gives you a source of topic ideas for papers and presentations later in the semester.) Discuss the reading on a class discussion board or blog about it.

As Crystal began her first semester of elementary education courses, she occasionally felt lost in a sea of new terms and theories about teaching and child development. She found that it helped to relate the reading to her personal observations of her son and other kids she knew.

Writing at Work

Many college courses require students to participate in interactive online components, such as a discussion forum, a page on a social networking site, or a class blog. These tools are a great way to reinforce learning. Do not be afraid to be the student who starts the discussion.

Remember that when you interact with other students and teachers online, you need to project a mature, professional image. You may be able to use an informal, conversational tone, but complaining about the work load, using off-color language, or “flaming” other participants is inappropriate.

Active reading can benefit you in ways that go beyond just earning good grades. By practicing these strategies, you will find yourself more interested in your courses and better able to relate your academic work to the rest of your life. Being an interested, engaged student also helps you form lasting connections with your instructors and with other students that can be personally and professionally valuable. In short, it helps you get the most out of your education.

Common Writing Assignments

College writing assignments serve a different purpose than the typical writing assignments you completed in high school. In high school, teachers generally focus on teaching you to write in a variety of modes and formats, including personal writing, expository writing, research papers, creative writing, and writing short answers and essays for exams. Over time, these assignments help you build a foundation of writing skills.

In college, many instructors will expect you to already have that foundation.

Your college composition courses will focus on writing for its own sake, helping you make the transition to college-level writing assignments. However, in most other college courses, writing assignments serve a different purpose. In those courses, you may use writing as one tool among many for learning how to think about a particular academic discipline.

Additionally, certain assignments teach you how to meet the expectations for professional writing in a given field. Depending on the class, you might be asked to write a lab report, a case study, a literary analysis, a business plan, or an account of a personal interview. You will need to learn and follow the standard conventions for those types of written products.

Finally, personal and creative writing assignments are less common in college than in high school. College courses emphasize expository writing, writing that explains or informs. Often expository writing assignments will incorporate outside research, too. Some classes will also require persuasive writing assignments in which you state and support your position on an issue. College instructors will hold you to a higher standard when it comes to supporting your ideas with reasons and evidence.

Table 1.2 “Common Types of College Writing Assignments” lists some of the most common types of college writing assignments. It includes minor, less formal assignments as well as major ones. Which specific assignments you encounter will depend on the courses you take and the learning objectives developed by your instructors.

Table 1.2 Common Types of College Writing Assignments


Part of managing your education is communicating well with others at your university. For instance, you might need to e-mail your instructor to request an office appointment or explain why you will need to miss a class. You might need to contact administrators with questions about your tuition or financial aid. Later, you might ask instructors to write recommendations on your behalf.

Treat these documents as professional communications. Address the recipient politely; state your question, problem, or request clearly; and use a formal, respectful tone. Doing so helps you make a positive impression and get a quicker response.

Key Takeaways

  • College-level reading and writing assignments differ from high school assignments not only in quantity but also in quality.
  • Managing college reading assignments successfully requires you to plan and manage your time, set a purpose for reading, practice effective comprehension strategies, and use active reading strategies to deepen your understanding of the text.
  • College writing assignments place greater emphasis on learning to think critically about a particular discipline and less emphasis on personal and creative writing.
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  • Introduction to Writing. Authored by : Anonymous. Provided by : Anonymous. Located at : http://2012books.lardbucket.org/books/successful-writing/s05-01-reading-and-writing-in-college.html . License : CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike
  • Table of Contents

Instructor Resources (Access Requires Login)

  • Overview of Instructor Resources

An Overview of the Writing Process

  • Introduction to the Writing Process
  • Your Role as a Learner
  • What is an Essay?
  • Reading to Write
  • Defining the Writing Process
  • Videos: Prewriting Techniques
  • Thesis Statements
  • Organizing an Essay
  • Creating Paragraphs
  • Conclusions
  • Editing and Proofreading
  • Matters of Grammar, Mechanics, and Style
  • Peer Review Checklist
  • Comparative Chart of Writing Strategies

Using Sources

  • Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Avoiding Plagiarism
  • Formatting the Works Cited Page (MLA)
  • Citing Paraphrases and Summaries (APA)
  • APA Citation Style, 6th edition: General Style Guidelines

Definition Essay

  • Definitional Argument Essay
  • How to Write a Definition Essay
  • Critical Thinking
  • Video: Thesis Explained
  • Effective Thesis Statements
  • Student Sample: Definition Essay

Narrative Essay

  • Introduction to Narrative Essay
  • Student Sample: Narrative Essay
  • "Shooting an Elephant" by George Orwell
  • "Sixty-nine Cents" by Gary Shteyngart
  • Video: The Danger of a Single Story
  • How to Write an Annotation
  • How to Write a Summary
  • Writing for Success: Narration

Illustration/Example Essay

  • Introduction to Illustration/Example Essay
  • "She's Your Basic L.O.L. in N.A.D" by Perri Klass
  • "April & Paris" by David Sedaris
  • Writing for Success: Illustration/Example
  • Student Sample: Illustration/Example Essay

Compare/Contrast Essay

  • Introduction to Compare/Contrast Essay
  • "Disability" by Nancy Mairs
  • "Friending, Ancient or Otherwise" by Alex Wright
  • "A South African Storm" by Allison Howard
  • Writing for Success: Compare/Contrast
  • Student Sample: Compare/Contrast Essay

Cause-and-Effect Essay

  • Introduction to Cause-and-Effect Essay
  • "Cultural Baggage" by Barbara Ehrenreich
  • "Women in Science" by K.C. Cole
  • Writing for Success: Cause and Effect
  • Student Sample: Cause-and-Effect Essay

Argument Essay

  • Introduction to Argument Essay
  • Rogerian Argument
  • "The Case Against Torture," by Alisa Soloman
  • "The Case for Torture" by Michael Levin
  • How to Write a Summary by Paraphrasing Source Material
  • Writing for Success: Argument
  • Student Sample: Argument Essay
  • Grammar/Mechanics Mini-lessons
  • Mini-lesson: Subjects and Verbs, Irregular Verbs, Subject Verb Agreement
  • Mini-lesson: Sentence Types
  • Mini-lesson: Fragments I
  • Mini-lesson: Run-ons and Comma Splices I
  • Mini-lesson: Comma Usage
  • Mini-lesson: Parallelism
  • Mini-lesson: The Apostrophe
  • Mini-lesson: Capital Letters
  • Grammar Practice - Interactive Quizzes
  • De Copia - Demonstration of the Variety of Language
  • Style Exercise: Voice

ENGL001: English Composition I

  • If English is your second or third language and you are looking to improve your English language skills, you may consider completing our "English as a Second Language" courses first. You can find those here: sylr.org/ESL

Course Introduction

  • Time: 32 hours
  • Free Certificate

Because this course is designed specifically for students in a university setting, the second unit will focus on academic writing. We will learn how to respond to an assignment or test question by using the "PWR-Writing" or "Power-Writing" Method (PWR: prewrite, write, revise) while learning the ins and outs of building a solid thesis and supporting that thesis with evidence. The remaining units will focus on good writing practices, from style to proper citation.

Course Syllabus

First, read the course syllabus. Then, enroll in the course by clicking "Enroll me". Click Unit 1 to read its introduction and learning outcomes. You will then see the learning materials and instructions on how to use them.

english composition 1 assignments

Unit 1: What is College-Level Writing?

We begin this course by refining our ideas about what we are doing when we write. Let's begin by acknowledging that writing is a difficult, complex process. It does not come easily; it takes quite a bit of work and thought. Writing is more than words on a page, but a way to communicate ideas.

In college-level writing, we say written communication is  rhetorical , which means our rhetorical situation (the purpose and audience of our writing) and our use of rhetorical appeals, such as ethos , logos , and pathos , determine our writing decisions. We define these terms in this unit, discuss how to identify them as you read, and discuss how to incorporate them into your own writing.

Writing is a process, rather than a product. You often need to write your ideas down to organize and clarify what you think about a subject. We discuss ways to use this process to manage your writing, develop your ideas, and make the task of drafting an essay seem less overwhelming.

Throughout Unit 1, we ask you to complete several activities that will culminate in an essay writing assignment. The topic for these activities and the essay is what it takes to succeed in an Internet-based college course. As you develop your response, come up with at least three activities you should do, or characteristics you should employ, to succeed in this and other courses.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 9 hours.

Unit 2: What Makes Academic Writing Unique?

University students need to know how to write an effective academic essay. At its core, any academic essay is essentially an argument. This does not mean you are penning a series of aggressive verbal attacks; rather, you are using language to persuade someone to adopt a certain perspective.

For example, you may be asked to write an essay on how the revolution changed the culture in your country. Your response is an argument, in which you try to persuade your audience that the war changed cultural norms in three or four specific ways. As you create your argument, think about your writing as a conversation between yourself and an audience.

The way you choose to build and support your argument has a great deal to do with how you see yourself as part of the conversation. If you envision your work as a response to an existing prompt, the reader with whom you are "speaking" should shape the way you write.

For example, imagine someone asks you why a politician acted in a certain way. You will probably respond in one way if the questioner is your five-year-old cousin, another way if they are a friend who is your same age, and yet another if they are your boss. You should approach every writing project with this same awareness of audience. Keep these ideas about argument and conversation in mind as we explore how to develop an academic essay.

The rhetorical situation we discussed in Unit 1 should influence the argument you choose, the type of essay you write, and the way you organize your ideas. In Unit 2 we review these issues in detail and discuss a highly-structured approach to writing an argument. By the end of this unit, you should be ready to write an academic essay.

Throughout Unit 2 we ask you to complete a number of activities which will culminate in writing an argumentative essay. Choose one point you promoted in your Unit 1 essay topic and develop it further. The assigned topic for the Unit 2 activities and the essay is how your selected activity or characteristic affects success in an Internet-based college course.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 11 hours.

Unit 3: How Do I Use Sources?

A well-placed reference, quotation, or paraphrase from an outside expert can make all the difference when you are making an argument. In fact, many academic writing assignments require you to include these types of supporting arguments to support your case. These supporting arguments can convince your reader that other respected, intelligent individuals share your perspective; it can argue your point with winning style or rhetorical power; and it can prop up your argument where you may need help.

In this unit, we explore how to leverage the work of others to strengthen your argument, while you ensure that you (and not the individual you reference) take the spotlight. We also address plagiarism and the steps you can take to avoid it.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 7 hours.

Unit 4: Finishing Touches

Your writing style refers to the way you write a sentence and how you assemble your arguments within a sequence of sentences so they make sense to your audience. A "sound" writing style is not a luxury; it is necessary to communicate your ideas clearly and effectively. For example, you may write with perfect grammar, but if your style needs work, your audience may not understand what you are trying to convey.

While opinions on the best type of writing style is inherently subjective and may even be based on cultural standards or preferences, in this unit we provide you with some guidelines that are most academics generally agree upon. Our first goal is to learn how to write as clearly, persuasively, and elegantly as possible. Our second goal is to apply these skills and learn how to revise and edit our work. Revision and editing are important stages of the writing process. It allows you to fine-tune your ideas so your reader can easily follow your argument.

Completing this unit should take you approximately 5 hours.

Study Guide

This study guide will help you get ready for the final exam. It discusses the key topics in each unit, walks through the learning outcomes, and lists important vocabulary terms. It is not meant to replace the course materials!

english composition 1 assignments

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If you come across any urgent problems, email [email protected].

english composition 1 assignments

Certificate Final Exam

Take this exam if you want to earn a free Course Completion Certificate.

To receive a free Course Completion Certificate, you will need to earn a grade of 70% or higher on this final exam. Your grade for the exam will be calculated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam on your first try, you can take it again as many times as you want, with a 7-day waiting period between each attempt.

Once you pass this final exam, you will be awarded a free Course Completion Certificate .

english composition 1 assignments

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english composition 1 assignments

English Composition I - ENGL 1113

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  • This I Believe Invention Strategy
  • The Annotated Bibliography


Suggested writing prompt in "this i believe" format.

  • Essay 2 - The Informative Essay
  • Essay 3 - The Classical Argument Essay

The purpose of Essay 1 is to compose an essay that relates your prior experience and assumptions to new perspectives about a larger issue.  Your connections should provide deeper insight to your audience.  For this assignment you will identify something you believe to be true.  You will then tell a story about how you came to believe it to be true.

  • 2-3 pages (double-spaced), not including the Works Cited page, if required
  • Utilize invention techniques : Before writing the essay, begin identifying your issue through a series of invention techniques, including but not limited to the following: brainstorming, listing, clustering, questioning, and conducting preliminary research.
  • Plan and organize your essay : After the invention process, it is important to begin planning the organizational pattern for the essay.  Planning includes identifying your thesis, establishing main ideas (or topic sentences) for each paragraph, supporting each paragraph with appropriate evidence, and creating ideas for the introductory and concluding paragraphs.
  • Draft and revise your essay : Once you have completed the planning process, write a rough draft of your essay.  Next, take steps to improve, polish, and revise your draft before turning it in for a final grade.  The revision process includes developing ideas, ensuring the thesis statement connects to the main ideas of each paragraph, taking account of your evidence and supporting details, checking for proper use of MLA citation style, reviewing source integration, avoiding plagiarism, and proofreading for formatting and grammatical errors.

Your instructor may suggest another prompt and/or format.  Follow your instructor's directions.

  • Tell your story: Be specific.  Take your belief out of the ether and ground it in the events that have shaped your core values.  Consider moments when belief was formed or tested or changed.  Think of your own experience, work, and family, and tell of the things your know that no one else does.  Your story need not be heart-warming or gut wrenching - it can even be funny - but it should be real.  Make sure your story ties to the essence of your daily life philosophy and the shaping of your beliefs.
  • Be brief:   Your statement should be between 500 and 800 words.  That's about 2 to 3 pages double-spaced.
  • Name your belief: If you can't name it in a sentence or two, your essay might not be about belief.  Also, rather than writing a list, consider focusing on one core belief. For example: "I believe humans are essentially good." "I believe professors are really mentors." "I believe getting a college education is the key to success." "I believe everyone has a soul."
  • Use chronological order: Narratives have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  • Be positive: Write about what you do believe, not what you don't believe.  Avoid statements of religious dogma, preaching, or editorializing.  This isn't an essay to "teach" someone.
  • Be personal: Make your essay about you; speak in the fist person.  Avoid speaking in the editorial "we."  Tell a story from your own life; this is not an opinion piece about social ideals.  Write in words and phrases that are comfortable for you to speak.  We recommend you read your essay aloud to yourself several times, and each time edit it and simplify it until you find the words, tone, and story that truly echo your belief and the way you speak.  Yes, you may use first person in this essay only.

This assignment helps you practice the following skills that are essential to your success in school and your professional life beyond school.  In this assignment you will:

  • Utilize descriptive language effectively to tell a story
  • Describe things using sensory details and figurative language
  • Compose a well-organized essay that includes an introduction, body, and conclusion.
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1.1: Assignment- Narrative Essay—Prewriting and Drafting

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For this assignment, you will begin working on a narrative essay. At this stage, you will work through the prewriting and drafting steps of the writing process.

Narrative Essay Prompt

Choose one of the following topics to write your own narrative essay. The topic you decide on should be something you care about, and the narration should be a means of communicating an idea that ties to the essay’s theme. Remember in this essay, the narration is not an end in itself.

  • Gaining independence
  • A friend’s sacrifice
  • A significant trip with your family
  • A wedding or a funeral
  • An incident from family legend

The World Around You

  • A storm, a flood, an earthquake, or another natural event
  • A school event
  • The most important minutes of a sporting event

Lessons of Daily Life

  • A time you confronted authority
  • A time you had to deliver bad news
  • Your biggest social blunder
  • Your first day of school
  • The first performance you gave
  • A first date

Getting Started on Your Narrative Essay

STEP 1 : To get started writing, first pick at least one prewriting strategy (brainstorming, rewriting, journaling, mapping, questioning, sketching) to develop ideas for your essay. Write down what you do, as you’ll need to submit evidence of your prewrite.

Remember that “story starters” are everywhere. Think about it—status updates on social media websites can be a good place to start—you may have already started a “note” to post on social media, and now is your chance to develop that idea into a full narrative. If you keep a journal or diary, a simple event may unfold into a narrative. Simply said, your stories may be closer than you think!

STEP 2: Next, write an outline for your essay. Organize the essay in a way that:

  • Establishes the situation [introduction] ;
  • Introduces the complication(s) [body] ; and
  • States the lesson you learned [conclusion]

STEP 3: Lastly, write a first draft of your essay. Remember, When drafting your essay:

  • Develop an enticing title—but don’t let yourself get stuck on the title! A great title might suggest itself after you’ve begun the prewriting and drafting processes.
  • Use the introduction to establish the situation the essay will address.
  • Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (For example, don’t write “I am going to write about my most significant experience,” because this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
  • Think of things said at the moment this experience started for you—perhaps use a quote, or an interesting part of the experience that will grab the reader.
  • Let the story reflect your own voice. (Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?)
  • To avoid just telling what happens, make sure your essay takes time to reflect on why this experience is significant.

Assignment Instructions

  • Choose a writing prompt as listed above on this page.
  • Review the grading rubric as listed below this page.
  • Create a prewrite in the style of your choice for the prompt.
  • Create an outline for your essay.
  • Minimum of 3 typed, double-spaced pages (about 600–750 words), Times New Roman, 12 pt font size
  • MLA formatting
  • Submit your prewriting and draft as a single file upload.


Be sure to:

  • Decide on something you care about so that the narration is a means of communicating an idea.
  • Include characters, conflict, sensory details.
  • Create a sequence of events in a plot.
  • Develop an enticing title.
  • Use the introduction to pull the reader into your singular experience.
  • Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (don’t write “I am going to write about…”—this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
  • Let the essay reflect your own voice (Is your voice serious? Humorous? Matter-of-fact?)
  • Avoid telling just what happens by making sure your essay reflects on why this experience is significant.

If you developed your prewriting by hand on paper, scan or take a picture of your prewriting, load the image onto your computer, and then insert the image on a separate page after your draft.

Contributors and Attributions

  • Authored by : Daryl Smith O' Hare and Susan C. Hines. Provided by : Chadron State College. Project : Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative. License : CC BY: Attribution

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English Composition 1 – ENGL 0101: Learning Materials

Get ready for your college courses.

To best prepare for your future studies, please review the below preparation resources. We encourage you to use the time before starting your  first term , to get a taste of the topics of your upcoming courses. There’s no better time to start than now! Good luck with your studies!

Learn English Composition 1

Course overview.

The purpose of this course is to further develop students’ English language, reading, and writing skills as a  foundation  for their academic studies at UoPeople. The units focus on a range of texts and genres designed to improve students’ knowledge and understanding of academic discourse. Each unit also focuses on the progressive development of reading, grammar, writing, and test-taking skills. This course is required for all students that have not demonstrated English proficiency and have been considered for provisional admission as a non-degree student. Students must earn a 73% or higher in the course to meet the  English language proficiency requirement at UoPeople .

Preparation Resources

UoPeople courses use open educational resources (OER) and other materials specifically donated to the University with free permissions for educational use. Therefore, students are not required to purchase any textbooks or sign up for any websites that have a cost associated with them. The main required textbooks for this course are listed below, and can be readily accessed using the provided links. There may be additional required/recommended readings, supplemental materials, or other resources and websites necessary for lessons; these will be provided for you in the course’s General Information and Forums area, and throughout the term via the weekly course Unit areas and the Learning Guides.

UoPeople Library and Information Research Network (LIRN):  https://www.lirn.net/databases/17237/ Gutenberg:  https://www.gutenberg.org/ Online Literature:  https://www.online-literature.com Owl Purdue:  https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/02/

English Composition 1 -Course Schedule and Topics:

This course will cover the following topics in eight learning sessions, with one Unit per week. The Final Exam will take place during Week/Unit 9 (UoPeople time).

Week 1: Unit 1  – Notes and Sentences

Week 2: Unit 2  – Pre-Writing and Paragraphs

Week 3: Unit 3  – The Thesis and APA Citations

Week 4: Unit 4  –The 5 Paragraph Essay and the Library

Week 5: Unit 5  –Reading Critically

Week 6: Unit 6  –Researching and the Sprinkles

Week 7: Unit 7  –Putting it All Together

Week 8: Unit 8  –Dubliners and Finishing Strong

Week 9: Unit 9  –Course Review and Final Exam


English Composition 1 (ENC 1101) Guide

  • Resources for Finding Topics
  • Writing for Humanities
  • Writing for the Social Sciences
  • Writing for the Natural Sciences
  • Local Research Problem/Solution
  • ReMix Technology Tools
  • How do I access the online library?
  • How do I choose reliable sources?
  • How do I cite a source?
  • How do I contact a librarian?
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This guide provides general research tips for completing research assignments in ENC 1101 - Composition One. 

Online Library Video

Librarians help with Topic Selection, Information Retrieval and Source Citation.

Suggested Research Databases

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  • Last Updated: Oct 23, 2023 11:03 AM
  • URL: https://spcollege.libguides.com/ENC1101

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