English 1010 Writing Curriculum

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English 1010 Assignments

  • Analysis of a Discourse Community OR Literacy Narrative
  • Summary and Review Essay
  • Rhetorical Analysis (Essay) OR Rhetorical Analysis (Genre/Medium)
  • Stasis Interrogation Essay
  • Writing Portfolio OR Reflection Essay

PDF of Full Assignment Prompts

Assignment Summaries

Analysis of a Discourse Community

For this assignment, students write an essay about a time they successfully joined a rhetorical discourse community. Through personal experiences and anecdotes, students explore how they were able to learn the language and reasoning (logos) specific to the community, navigate the values and emotions (pathos) of this community, and build credibility as a community member or leader (ethos). In doing so, students trace their movements from an outsider to an insider.

Literacy Narrative

For this assignment, students write an autobiographical narrative based on their literacy experiences that communicates some insight to the rest of the class. Not only do they write an engaging and memorable narrative, but they must also expand on the narrative's relevance beyond the personal. In other words, they explore how reading and writing function in a broader context. Sample brainstorming questions may include:

  • How has your understanding of literacy changed once you entered the university?
  • How did a specific experience, like winning a spelling bee, affect you culturally and socially?
  • Has learning a new literacy skill changed or improved the ways others perceive you?

Summary and Review Essay

For this essay, students demonstrate their abilities to carefully read and understand a specific text. Students summarize a text's main points for an outside reader and offer an evaluation of the text's effectiveness. In doing so, students are encouraged to work on their tone, style, and stance to write a well-supported evaluation (with specifically stated criteria for their judgments) to a specific target audience of their choice. The objective is not to agree or disagree with the author. Rather, students are encouraged to use careful reading strategies to understand what the article is trying to convey to the audience, then use their own thoughts on the quality of the essay to explain it to their own readers.

Rhetorical Analysis (Essay)

The purpose of this assignment is to better understand how rhetorical situations affect the ways authors craft their arguments. Students analyze the ways in which an author has considered the audience, purpose, stance, context, and medium/design. Possible explorations include:

  • Who is the intended audience? How are members of this audience like and unlike you?
  • What does the author want the audience to think or do? Did the author think the audience would be interested?
  • What is the author’s attitude toward the topic?
  • What is the author’s relationship to the topic and audience? How does the author convey his/her stance through tone?
  • Does the author recognize any other perspectives?
  • Are there any constraints on the author or the writing? How does the genre affect the tone?
  • How does the medium of the text determine what the author could or could not do? Does the medium favor certain conventions?

Rhetorical Analysis (Genre/Medium)

This essay's focus is to analyze the possibilities and limitations of genre and media. The objective is to see how the choice of a genre and medium will allow certain aspects of topical argumentation and rhetorical moves; however, students should also see how those same choices may also close off certain possibilities. Put simply, some genres and media are better at doing certain things than others. Students choose three genre/media (such as genres of scholarly articles, social media, documentaries, etc. and media like print, memes, film, tweets, etc.) and analyze the benefits of each genre/medium, the limitations of each genre/medium, and how those benefits and limitations lead to different ways to discuss their chosen topics.

Stasis Interrogation Essay

In classical terms, the word "stasis" (or stases) literally means a “slowing down” or a standstill. Similarly, in rhetoric, we use stasis to point to an issue that is controversial and needs a decision before the argument can move forward. Stasis theory, therefore, can be used to identify and work through impasses in an argument by focusing on facts, definitions, quality, and action. For this essay, students attempt to understand the complexity of an issue by using stasis theory to interrogate an article. The goal is to discover the various points at which they might critically enter the conversation. After analyzing your primary text on all four stasis elements, students offer a supported argument on one of the points of contention they discover through the stasis analysis, using a secondary source to support their objections.

Writing Portfolio or Reflection Essay

A writing portfolio is an end of the semester collection that demonstrates student accomplishments in the course. It includes copies of final assignments, rough drafts and comments from peers and instructors, and a portfolio statement that reflects on writing process throughout the semester. In addition to assessing strengths and weaknesses as a writer, this statement also addresses students' future goals as writers.

The Reflection Essay similarly asks students to reflect upon their work throughout the semester. However, the longer length requirements gives room for a deeper exploration of reflections around such issues as: curiosity, openness, engagement, persistence, and responsibility.