's English Composition

Dear Wikipedians,

No doubt some of you are familiar with the free college courses available on Much like the Wikimedia community, we are committed to providing free and accessible education for everyone with internet access. At Saylor, we combine some of our custom-created educational materials with materials that are already available throughout the internet. However, because we sometimes use links to third party materials, those sections of our courses are not entirely sustainable. The Saylor Wikibooks Project is a way for you to help minimize that threat. We’ve uploaded a number of our course outlines to Wikibooks in the hope that you all will contribute to our effort. Our course outlines have been developed by our consultant professors by studying a collection of syllabi of relevant courses from various traditional brick and mortar institutions. This guarantees that our students will be provided the same learning opportunity as a student enrolled in a traditional institution. We believe that we have created the best structure for our courses, which optimizes the information that students would be expected to know. By creating openly licensed content that fits in with Saylor’s established course outlines, (in the form of Wikibooks’ textbooks), you can add to the ever-expanding body of wiki material, while simultaneously improving the sustainability of our courses.

Thanks for your help,

The Saylor Team

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No matter what career you pursue, you must be able to communicate effectively and clearly if you plan on a successful future. This course will enhance your ability to do so by sharpening your critical thinking and writing skills. We will begin with a unit designed to change the way in which you think about writing. First, you will learn to think of writing not as a solitary act but as a conversation between yourself and an audience. In this light, writing becomes a dynamic, interactive site of creativity rather than a rote practice. You will also begin to value writing as a process—and an admittedly difficult one—rather than a product. You will come to see that writing is an act of discovery rather than a recitation of prefabricated ideas.

Global Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate mastery of principles of grammar, usage, mechanics, and sentence structure.
  • Identify the thesis in another individual’s essay.
  • Develop a thesis statement, structure it in an introductory paragraph, and support it with the body of the essay.
  • Organize ideas logically within an essay, deploying adequate transitional devices to ensure coherence, flow, and focus.
  • Differentiate between rhetorical strategies and write with an awareness of rhetorical technique and audience.
  • Differentiate between tones and write with an awareness of how tone affects the audience’s experience.
  • Demonstrate critical and analytical thinking for reading and writing purposes.
  • Quote, paraphrase, and document the work of others.
  • Write sentences that vary in length and structure.

Re-defining What It Means to Write edit

Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Describe writing as a means of communication.
  • Practice techniques for identifying and writing for specific audiences.
  • Describe writing as a process and explain how that process influences thinking.
  • Practice the stages of the PWR writing process.
  • Practice prewriting techniques.
  • Practice critical reading and thinking skills essential to college writing.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the importance of consistent style and formatting.

1.1 Writing as Conversation
1.1.1 Writing as a Conversation between Reader and Writer
1.1.2 Defining Your Audience
1.2 Writing as Process
1.2.1 How Writing as a Process Differs from Writing as a Product
1.2.2 “I Write So That I Know What I Think” – Writing as an Act of Discovery
1.2.3 The PWR (Pre-Write, Write, and Revise) Method
1.2.4 The Finishing Touches
1.2.5 Reading to Write: Reading and Writing as Complementary Activities
1.3 Grammar Capsule: The Anatomy of a Sentence
1.3.1 Parts of a Sentence: Subject, Predicate
1.3.2 Adding to the Mix: Parsing a Sentence and Its Various Constituents
1.3.3 Identifying a Fragment
1.3.4 Identifying a Run-On Sentence
1.3.5 Subject/Verb Disagreement
1.3.6 Switching Tenses

Academic Writing edit

Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical concepts that underlie academic writing.
  • Practice the techniques of written argumentation and persuasion.
  • Identify and practice developing the essential components of a written argument.
  • Practice techniques for identifying and writing for a specific audience.
  • Practice techniques for forming basic persuasive appeals.
  • Practice the most common logical structures used in academic writing.
  • Practice techniques for identifying and avoiding logical fallacies in persuasive writing.
  • Demonstrate competence in various rhetorical strategies and logical structures by developing, analyzing, and revising original essays.

2.1 What Is Academic Writing?
2.1.1 Defining an Argument
2.1.2 Identifying the Uses of Academic Writing
2.1.3 Examples of Academic Writing
2.2 The Architecture of an Argument
2.2.1 Claim/Thesis – What do you think?
2.2.2 Reasons – Why do you think that?
2.2.3 Evidence – How do you know?
2.2.4 Warrant – How do your reasons support your claim?
2.2.5 Anticipating Counter-Argument
2.2.6 Acknowledgment and Response: What counterclaims can you dismiss or acknowledge?
2.3 Audience – the Other
2.3.1 Identifying Audience
2.3.2 Adjusting Tone
2.4 Rhetorical Strategies
2.4.1 Ethos
2.4.2 Logos
2.4.3 Fallacies – Do Not Use These!
2.4.4 Pathos
2.5. Grammar Capsule: Punctuation
2.5.1 Comma Use
2.5.2 Semicolons, Colons, and Dashes
2.5.3 Parentheses
2.5.4 Exclamation Points and Question Marks
2.5.5 Italics and Emphasis

Focus, Cohesion, Style edit

Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of concepts of style and apply them to academic writing.
  • Practice applying stylistic techniques to a variety of writing exercises and assignments.
  • Demonstrate competence in analysis, persuasion, and stylistic variations by developing, analyzing and editing essays that embody various rhetorical, stylistic, and logical requirements.

3.1 Choppiness—How to Detect and Fix It
3.2 Wordiness—How to Detect and Fix It
3.3 Parallelism
3.4 Active versus Passive Voice
3.5 Word Choice
3.5.1 Avoid “To Be” – Reaching for Colorful Verbs
3.5.2 Gender-Sensitive Language
3.6 Grammar Capsule: Sentence-Level Sloppiness
3.6.1 Misplaced Modifiers
3.6.2 Pronoun-Antecedent Disagreement

Using the Work of Others edit

Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of and practice basic principles of incorporating outside sources into persuasive writing.
  • Practice techniques for using research to support various logical structures and rhetorical strategies, including analysis, discussion, and comparison/contrast.
  • Practice incorporating quotations, paraphrases, and summaries into academic writing.
  • Identify the risks of plagiarism and practice techniques for avoiding it.
  • Practice the basic requirements of MLA style and formatting.
  • Research, develop, analyze, and edit an essay of moderate length.

4.1 How to Leverage the Work of Others
4.1.1 Support for Your Argument
4.1.2 Counterarguments for Your Argument
4.1.3 Commanding a Presence: Quotation Builds Ethos!
4.2 Different Methods of Using the Work of Others
4.2.1 Quoting
4.2.2 Paraphrasing
4.2.3 Summarizing
4.3 Plagiarism and How to Avoid It
4.4 Documentation – MLA
4.4.1 Basic MLA Citation
4.4.2 In-Text Citations
4.4.3 List of Works Cited
4.5 Grammar Capsule: Common Offenses
4.5.1 Frequently Confused Words and Spellings
4.5.2 Apostrophes
4.5.3 Conjunctions
4.5.4 Articles
4.5.5 Conditionals