Outcomes for Junior Composition
The OU Composition Program holds that writing and reading are significantly interdependent and always emerge in reciprocal social interactions. These social interactions—and the conventions that enable and constrain them—vary among different communities of writers or disciplines and are always mediated by genres. We also hold that writing both influences and is influenced by identity, and that writing communities and their genres enable and constrain some identities while disallowing others, which requires writers to make choices to conform to or resist those identities. Finally, we affirm that writing occurs in many different modes (print, visual, audio, digital, etc.) and emerges through ongoing processes of invention, production, collaboration, and revision.
These outcomes support the habits of mind described in the “Framework for Success in Post-Secondary Writing,” a document co-written by the National Council of Teachers of English, The Council of Writing Program Administrators, and the National Writing Project. The habits of mind are curiosity, openness, engagement, creativity, persistence, responsibility, flexibility, and metacognition.
Based on this understanding of writing, the junior level courses should attempt to help students learn to successfully join ongoing conversations among communities of writers. To accomplish this, students should:
Write for specific purposes, audiences and situations, meaning:
- show ability to quote, paraphrase, summarize, analyze, synthesize, and critique;
- compose original arguments using rhetorical strategies, such as appeals to ethos, logos, pathos;
- show ability to utilize and/or analyze visual texts along with alphabetic texts; (visual text analysis is not required but highly recommended);
- practice writing in a variety of genres (e.g.. researched arguments, thesis-driven essays, literary analyses, memoir, memos, reports, proposals, etc.);
- approach writing as a recursive process;
- use various activities to generate ideas for writing, including class discussion, group work, debates, focused learning logs, freewriting, etc.;
- use informal writing as a tool for developing critical thinking (e.g. enacting Elbow's believing and doubting game, focused journal assignments, dialogue journals, double-sided research logs, etc.);
- revise at both global and local levels;
- use correct documentation, grammar, spelling, and punctuation;
- compose a minimum of 20 pages of formal, graded writing, not including revised writing;
- allow students to revise some of their work based on feedback from their peers, tutors, or their instructors.
Read a variety of texts and genres, such as articles from academic journals and popular magazines, visual texts or film, creative writing (e.g. poetry, memoir, literary journalism and student texts), meaning:
- differentiate between primary and secondary sources;
- analyze and/or evaluate texts according to the audience, purposes, and writing situations;
- understand and use a variety of concepts or theories to analyze different texts (i.e. use use rhetorical theories of composing or classical rhetorical appeals, feminist theory, use of literary elements such as, metaphor or symbolism; when appropriate, use concepts from film studies, and visual analysis, etc.;
understand and use rhetorical concepts (ethos, logos, pathos, kairos) to analyze texts;
read own texts reflectively to identify strengths, weaknesses, and areas needing improvement;
respond to peers' texts constructively at both global and local levels.
Research a variety of academic databases using appropriate and effective strategies, meaning:
evaluate the quality and validity of sources using clear criteria (e.g. online sources, journal articles, books, etc.);
understand what constitutes plagiarism and how to avoid it;
document sources correctly using an assigned documentation style or a documentation style from the students’ field (i.e. MLA, APA, Chicago);
demonstrate ability to develop a good question for research (i.e. open-ended, current or relevant, focused, etc.).