Assignments

Each section of English 110 fosters writing and thinking about the course’s topic through the following:

  • At least three formal essays in which students practice analysis, argumentation, and rhetoric over the course of the semester, for a total of at least 4,000 words (~14 pages). Projects that lead to the formation of these formal essays or work to translate the communicative and rhetorical purposes of one of these formal essays (like annotated bibliographies, transcribed interviews along with field notes, or video-essays) can serve as a fourth (not necessarily chronologically) supporting or optional formal assignment. Alphabetic writing pieces which ask for critical reflection on the creation of digital projects should accompany such digital projects, and may also count as one of the three formal essay assignments.
  • At least one of the three formal essays will be a research-based project, which introduces students to searching, evaluating, and employing library resources. Sources should include both physical and online materials, such as CUNY+, appropriate research databases like JSTOR or EBSCOHost, and the Rosenthal Library. Given the nature of this form of academic research and writing, all 110 courses should schedule at least one research workshop developed in consultation with and/or co-facilitated by a librarian.
  • The three formal essay assignments must:
  1. incorporate a recursive composing process across multiple drafts and revisions;
  2. provide practice in peer review, self-review, and collaboration;
  3. demonstrate development of academic criticality and ethics in writing(for instance, establishing where authorship credit must be given where it is due).
  • The formal essay assignments need a solid foundation of regular, low-stakes writing assignments (both inside and outside of class). Such writing can beengaged through digital platforms, which are rhetorically attuned to the writing piece’s purpose.

The 3-Essay Course Sequence

The following descriptions of the 3-essay course sequence should guide instructors as they revise their courses from four formal essay assignments to three. The descriptions and accompanying guidelines articulate the goals of each assignment and how they build upon each other. We encourage instructors to take advantage of opportunities to incorporate digital composing and/or publication, multimodal final products, and non-library research strategies including but not limited to participant-observation, interviewing, and archival research.

You can also refer to these examples of 3-essay assignment sequences, developed by your peers and the First Year Writing program to follow the guidelines below. These sequences are for courses following themes of Creativity and Digital Technology.

ESSAY 1: Close Reading A Single Text to Develop Your Own Argument

This essay assignment requires students to deeply analyze a single, appropriately narrow text to develop an independent reading of that text.

Guidelines for Essay 1:

  • Students will practice and demonstrate independent, original analysis. Students are not expected to produce a unique or radical thesis; however, they must conduct their own focused analysis of evidenceto develop their arguments.
  • Students should not require library research or use more than onesource to successfully complete this essay. Any source used for this essay must be assigned as a reading for the class and students shouldimplement an appropriate citation convention.
  • Students will learn, practice and develop critical reading strategiesrequired for writing.
  • Students will summarizethe single text as a precursor to analyzing and examining the ideas and rhetorical strategies of the text.
  • Students will learn about and practice the expectations and structure for writing organized around a thesis.
  • Students will write for a specified, relevant audience and rhetorical situation with the awareness of the expectations for academic writing. The essay will require students to imagine writing within a context that is pertinent to the writing assignment and understandable to freshman students. A good example would be writing for an arts magazine for college students; however, asking them to imagine writing for a peer-reviewed psychology journal would not be appropriate.
  • Students will practice drafting and incorporating feedback toward revision. Therefore, instructors should provide written feedback to students at least once during the revision process.

Example 1: Rhetorical Analysis OR Critical Analysis (3-5 pages)

Analyze specific writing choices in “Monster Culture” in order to make an insightful argument regarding the intended or imagined audience(s) for that essay. You should aim to not only characterize the audience(s) via your analyses of the writer’s choices but also to evaluate the writer’s stance towards the audience(s) and the significance of the writer’s choices.

Example 2: Close Reading (3-5 pages)

Example 3: Literacy Narrative (3-5 pages)

ESSAY 2: Focused Application of Scholarship to Develop Your Own Argument

This essay assignment requires students to put scholarly sources in dialogue in order to develop and complicate their own analysis.

Guidelines for Essay 2:

  • As in Essay 1, students should practice and demonstrate independent, original analysis. Students are not expected to produce a unique or radical thesis; however, they must conduct their own focused analysis of evidenceto develop their arguments.
  • Students should not require library research or use more than two sources to successfully complete this essay. In Essay 2, students should implement anappropriate citation convention. The sources used for this essay must be assigned as readings for the class.
  • As in Essay 1, students will learn, practice and develop critical reading strategiesrequired for writing. However, Essay 2 goes further than Essay 1 by requiring students to use sources to develop critical lensesfor their analysis and/or to orchestrate a critical dialoguebetween their sources.
  • As in Essay 1, students will practicesummarizingsources as a precursor to analysis.
  • Students will learn about and practice the expectations and structure for writing organized around a thesis. However, in Essay 2, added focus will be given to the role of theoretical/critical/secondary sourcesin developing a thesis.
  • As in Essay 1, students will write for a specified, relevant audience and rhetorical situation with the awareness of the expectations for academic writing. The essay will require students to imagine writing within a context that is pertinent to the writing assignment and understandable to freshman students.
  • Students will practice drafting and incorporating feedback toward revision. Therefore, instructors should provide written feedback to students at least once during the revision process.

Example 1: Lens Analysis OR Using a Critical Lens (4-6 pages)

Using ideas from “Monster Culture” and “Masters of Desire,” analyze a static visual advertisement in order to make an insightful argument about the messages of the advertisement and the methods by which it conveys its messages. You must also consider how your argument complicates or extends ideas from “Monster Culture” or “Masters of Desire.”

Example 2: Critical Analysis of Two Related Sources (4-6 pages)

Example 3: Orchestrating and Entering an Intellectual Conversation (4-6 pages)

ESSAY 3: Researching Scholarship to Develop Your Own Argument

This essay assignment requires students to pursue instructor-guided yet self-directed intellectual projects that require their own research, vetting, and critical use of library resources.

Guidelines for Essay 3:

  • As in Essays 1 and 2, students should practice and demonstrate independent, original analysis. Students are not expected to produce a unique or radical thesis; however, they must conduct their own focused analysis of evidenceto develop their arguments. It is important to note that Essay 3 is not a summary or report of existing facts, ideas or scholarship. Instead, students are given agency and opportunity to pursue a narrow self-directed projectthat requires integration of multiple sources toward an argument.
  • Students must practice library researchto find and use multiple scholarly and (if applicable) credible non-scholarly sources to successfully complete this essay. Some sources used for this essay might be assigned as readings for the class; however, students are required to use sources obtained from their own research (and not assigned as class readings). Students should implement anappropriate citation convention.
  • Students will learn how to use the library resources during at least one library workshopthat is co-developed with or facilitated by a college librarian. Students must be introduced to the library space and learn strategies for evaluating and vetting sources.
  • As in Essays 1 and 2, students will learn, practice and develop critical reading strategiesrequired for writing. Like Essay 2, Essay 3 also requires students to use their sources to develop critical lensesfor their analysis and/or orchestrate a critical dialoguebetween their sources. However, Essay 3 goes further than Essay 2 by requiring students to synthesizesourcesand/or respond to counter-arguments.
  • As in Essays 1 and 2, students will practice summarizing sources as a precursor to analysis. However, in Essay 3 students will learn to summarize sources based on their significance to the overall argumen In other words, students will gauge whether to provide a paragraph-length or single-sentence summary of a source depending on the scope of its use with the essay.
  • Students will learn about and practice the expectations and structure for writing organized around a thesis. However, in Essay 3, students focus especially on the functions and roles of multiple sources in developing a thesis.
  • As in Essays 1 and 2, students will write for a specified, relevant audience and rhetorical situation with the awareness of the expectations for academic writing. The essay will require students to imagine writing within a context that is pertinent to the writing assignment and understandable to freshman students.
  • Students will practice drafting and incorporating feedback toward revision. Therefore, instructors should provide written feedback to students at least once during the revision process.

Example 1: Scholarly Research Essay OR Researched Argument (7-9 pages)

Use a variety of contextual, theoretical, and argument sources to produce an insightful argument about the meaning and significance of a single “monstrous” film of your selection. You should aim to explore a specific interpretive problem evident in the film by analyzing the film itself and critically engaging with existing opinions about the film and relevant theories.

Example 2: Critical Review (7-9 pages)

Example 3: Entering an Existing Debate OR Advanced Conversation Essay (7-9 pages)

Reading Assignments

Each section of English 110 requires thorough and recursive reading of texts from a range of genre, of varying difficulty, and with distinct purposes. Reading assignments are considered occasions to learn and practice reading strategies and should inform the writing and editing processes of writing assignments. Students will read:

  • Topical sources. texts that provide students access to relevant concepts and existing conversations about the course’s topic or theme.
  • Texts on rhetoric and writing. articles, excerpts of scholarship, reporting, or handouts that discuss rhetorical concepts and strategies key to the writing process.
  • Scholarly sources. academic, research-based articles and scholarship relevant to the course’s topic or in the field of composition or writing studies. These texts may require advanced reading strategies.
  • Credible non-scholarly sources. texts (which may include cultural studies pieces, general public pieces like think pieces, reporting, podcasts, professional blogs, film, etc.) of easy-to-moderate reading difficulty that introduce students to ideas, opinions, and theories related to the course topic or topics in composition.
  • Models of writing. essays (which may include work produced by previous English 110 students or published pieces) that model the type of writing students are reasonably expect to produce. Not only successful but also moderately successful or even ineffective models of writing should be critically analyzed by students.

Over the course of a semester, students should read no more than 10-15 pages per week.

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