English Composition I

About this course: You will gain a foundation for college-level writing valuable for nearly any field. Students will learn how to read carefully, write effective arguments, understand the writing process, engage with others' ideas, cite accurately, and craft powerful prose. Course Learning Objectives • Summarize, analyze, question, and evaluate written and visual texts • Argue and support a position • Recognize audience and disciplinary expectations • Identify and use the stages of the writing process • Identify characteristics of effective prose • Apply proper citation practices • Discuss applying your writing knowledge to other writing occasions

Who is this class for: This course is open to any student interested in improving their writing. The content is equivalent to a semester of a first-year writing course. Students should have basic English proficiency and exposure to secondary-level (high-school level) English or composition.

Created by:   Duke University

  • Dr. Denise Comer
    Taught by:    Dr. Denise Comer, Assistant Professor of the Practice; Director of First-Year Writing
    Thompson Writing Program
EnglishSubtitles: Spanish, French
How To PassPass all graded assignments to complete the course.
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The Writing Process
To start our course, we will examine your own writing process and what it means to respond to the writing of others. We will also think about what academic writing means. 

4 videos2 readings
  1. Video: I am a Writer
  2. Video: Responding to Others' Writing
  3. Reading: I am a Writer Sample Feedback
  4. Discussion Prompt: I am a Writer (Tell Your Story)
  5. Video: What is Academic Writing?
  6. Video: Understanding Your Writing Process
  7. Discussion Prompt: Share Your Quirks and Rituals
  8. Reading: A Note About Deadlines
Critical Reading
This week will concentrate on the skill of reading critically. Additionally, we will learn about the conventions of academic writing, including integrating evidence and schools of citation. Finally, you are encouraged to write your own critical review of "The Sweet Spot." This is an optional writing assignment, but it is a requirement to receive a honor's certificate.

5 videos4 readings
  1. Video: Active Reading
  2. Reading: Daniel Coyle, "The Sweet Spot"
  3. Discussion Prompt: Group A: Main claim and evidence
  4. Discussion Prompt: Group B: Aims/Purposes
  5. Discussion Prompt: Group C: Methods
  6. Discussion Prompt: Group D: Occasion/Context
  7. Discussion Prompt: Group E: Questions
  8. Video: Integrating Evidence
  9. Video: Moving from Discussion to Draft
  10. Video: Schools of Citation
  11. Reading: Academic Writing Resources
  12. Reading: Critical Review Examples
  13. Reading: Critical Review: Sample Feedback
  14. Video: Critical Review Writing Workshop
  15. Discussion Prompt: Critical Review Questions and Feedback
  16. Discussion Prompt: Looking For a Writing Workshop?
Graded: Critical Review
Project 1: Visual Analysis
This week, the central topic is visual images in academic writing. The goal is to practice interpreting and writing about images convincingly. Plus, Dr. Comer will help you think about what area of inquiry you would like to focus on in this course and what it means to write a draft. Finally, you will write your visual analysis and learn how to give meaningful feedback.

9 videos4 readings
  1. Video: Selecting Your Area of Expertise
  2. Video: What is a Draft?
  3. Video: Reading Visual Images
  4. Discussion Prompt: Sample Image: Artist
  5. Discussion Prompt: Sample Image: Ruins
  6. Discussion Prompt: Sample Image: Earth
  7. Discussion Prompt: Sample Image: Scientist
  8. Discussion Prompt: Sample Image: Writing
  9. Discussion Prompt: Sample Image: Businessman
  10. Reading: Geoffrey Colvin, "What It Takes To Be Great"
  11. Video: Using Images in Scholarly Writing
  12. Video: Effective Claims
  13. Discussion Prompt: The 5 Cs of Effective Claims
  14. Reading: Sample Essays for Project 1
  15. Reading: More Resources for Visual Analysis
  16. Video: Responding Towards Revision
  17. Video: Feedback on Visual Analysis Draft
  18. Reading: Sample Feedback Visual Analysis Draft
  19. Video: Workshopping Writing
  20. Video: Visual Analysis Writing Workshop
  21. Discussion Prompt: Visual Analysis Questions and Feedback
  22. Discussion Prompt: Looking For a Writing Workshop?
Graded: Visual Analysis Draft
Revision Strategies and Visual Analysis Revision
Based on the feedback of your colleagues improve your visual analysis. After you receive feedback on your final submission, submit a self-reflection quiz about your experience writing this project. 

4 videos1 reading
  1. Video: Incorporating Others' Feedback
  2. Video: Strategies for Revision
  3. Video: Crafting Effective Titles
  4. Video: Editing Strategies
  5. Reading: Sample Feedback Visual Analysis Final
Graded: Visual Analysis Final
Graded: Visual Analysis Self-Reflection
Project 2: Case Study
This week, various aspects of effective research will be discussed, such as creating an annotated bibliography, research strategies, and avoiding plagiarism. You will conduct research for your next project, a case study, contribute to an annotated bibliography, and submit your case study draft.

6 videos3 readings
  1. Video: Annotated Bibliography
  2. Video: Spotlight Video_Scholarly and Popular Articles
  3. Video: Spotlight Video_Finding Articles
  4. Reading: Research Tools
  5. Video: Avoiding Plagiarism
  6. Reading: Annotated Bibliography How-To
  7. Discussion Prompt: Annotated Bibliography: Hobbies
  8. Discussion Prompt: Annotated Bibliography: Sports
  9. Discussion Prompt: Annotated Bibliography: Science
  10. Discussion Prompt: Annotated Bibliography: Economics
  11. Discussion Prompt: Annotated Bibliography: Lifestyle
  12. Discussion Prompt: Annotated Bibliography: Technology
  13. Discussion Prompt: Annotated Bibliography: Humanities
  14. Discussion Prompt: Annotated Bibliography: Other
  15. Video: Intertextual Conversation
  16. Reading: Case Studies Resources
  17. Video: Case Study Writing Workshop
  18. Discussion Prompt: Case Study Questions and Feedback
  19. Discussion Prompt: Looking For a Writing Workshop?
Graded: Case Study Draft
Writing Cohesively and Case Study Revision
In preparation for improving your case study, Professor Comer will present strategies of writing more cohesively. After receiving your final feedback, please submit a self-reflection about this project. 

3 videos2 readings
  1. Video: Introductions
  2. Video: Conclusions
  3. Video: Paragraph Unity
  4. Reading: Geoffrey Colvin, "What It Takes To Be Great"
  5. Reading: Case Study Sample Feedback
Graded: Case Study Final
Graded: Case Study Self-Reflection
Project 3: Op-Ed
This week, Professor Comer introduces the idea of public scholarship, how academic writing can be transformed for a broader public. Her guest, David Jarmul, will give an overview of how to write an op-ed. You will then have the opportunity to write your own. 

6 videos1 reading
  1. Video: Public Scholarship
  2. Video: Spotlight on Op-Eds with David Jarmul_part 1
  3. Video: Spotlight on Op-Eds with David Jarmul_part 2
  4. Video: Active and Passive Voice
  5. Video: Enhancing Sentence Style
  6. Reading: Resources for Writing Op-Eds
  7. Video: Op-Ed Writing Workshop
  8. Discussion Prompt: Op-Ed Questions and Feedback
  9. Discussion Prompt: Looking For a Writing Workshop?
Graded: Op-Ed Draft
Crafting Powerful Prose and Op-Ed Revision
This week Professor Comer will address the topic of concise writing; how to convey meaning with fewer words. Your task is to rewrite your op-ed. 

2 videos1 reading
  1. Video: Concise Writing_Reducing Redundancy and Making Words Matter
  2. Video: Concise Writing Part 2_Noticing Prepositional Phrases
  3. Reading: Op-Ed Sample Feedback
Graded: Op-Ed Final
Graded: Op-Ed Self-Reflection
Transferring Writing Practices, Skills, and Knowledge to New Contexts
This final week is dedicated to how to move forward with your writing and apply the skills learned in this course to new contexts. Your final assignment is a self-reflection about your development as a writer over the last several weeks. 

2 videos
  1. Video: Writing Transfer
  2. Video: Special Topics_Creative Non-fiction
Graded: Final Self-Reflection
Writing in the Humanities, Social Science, and Natural Sciences
Additional videos that highlight differences in academic writing across disciplines. 

17 videos
  1. Video: Spotlight on the Humanities: Academic Writing
  2. Video: Spotlight on the Humanities: Writing Process
  3. Video: Spotlight on the Humanities: MLA Citations
  4. Video: Spotlight on the Humanities: Use of Visual Images
  5. Video: Special Topic in the Humanities: MLA Citation of Media and Internet Resources
  6. Video: Spotlight on the Humanities: Public Writing
  7. Video: Spotlight on the Natural Sciences: Academic Writing
  8. Video: Spotlight on the Natural Sciences: Writing Process
  9. Video: Spotlight on the Natural Sciences: CSE Citations
  10. Video: Spotlight on the Natural Sciences: Use of Visual Images
  11. Video: Spotlight on the Natural Sciences: Public Writing
  12. Video: Spotlight on the Social Sciences: Academic Writing
  13. Video: Spotlight on the Social Sciences: Writing Process
  14. Video: Spotlight on the Social Sciences: APA Citations
  15. Video: Spotlight on the Social Sciences: Use of Visual Images
  16. Video: Special Topics in the Social Sciences: Issues of Language Use
  17. Video: Spotlight on the Social Sciences: Public Writin
How It Works
Each course is like an interactive textbook, featuring pre-recorded videos, quizzes and projects.
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