The Core Composition Sequence at Kingsborough Community College, CUNY

Course Description and Course Learning Outcomes | Comp I

Course Description

Composition I (English 1200/12A0) is an introductory course in critical reading and writing emphasizing the development and communication of ideas in written form and a basic rhetorical understanding of how language communicates facts, ideas, and attitudes. Students apply basic rhetorical concepts in reading and composing texts in several genres; compose texts that integrate the writer’s ideas with those from other texts, including research materials; and develop writing projects through drafting, reviewing, collaborating, revising, rewriting, rereading, and editing.

Course Learning Outcomes

Ultimately, every aspect of our teaching practice is directed toward what we want our students to learn. The 2020-21 CRC developed the following list of Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs) for Composition 1 as part of a commitment to advancing equity and updating the approach the course takes to writing instruction. These outcomes were refined in Fall 2021 and brought to the English Department for a vote in Spring 2022. The English Department voted overwhelmingly to approve these new CLOs, with 37 full-time faculty members voting and 35 of these voting to approve.

The CLOs listed below are the official CLOs for all sections of Composition 1 (English 1200/12A0) and must be included (unmodified) on all syllabi for these courses. Please click here for a link to a Google Docs version of the CLOs that you can copy and paste into your syllabus. This grid shows how our local CLOs map onto the CUNY Pathways outcomes.

I. Rhetorical knowledge| Students in Composition 1 will learn to:

  1. Apply basic rhetorical concepts in reading and composing texts. Commonly considered essential concepts include text, author, audience, purpose, setting/exigence.
  2. Compose in several genres in order to understand how conventions shape readers’ and writers’ practices, purposes, and expectations.
  3. Apply citation conventions in one’s own writing, and reflect on why these conventions exist and how they are used in different genres and contexts.

II. Critical writing & reading | Students in Composition 1 will learn to:

  1. Identify, through careful reading and listening, the relationships between assertion and evidence, patterns of organization, and strategic language choices.
  2. Locate and evaluate research materials. 
  3. Compose texts that integrate the writer’s ideas with those from other texts. 

III. The craft of writing & reading| Students in Composition 1 will learn to:

  1. Develop a writing project through multiple versions and document one’s thinking and choices between those iterations/changes.
  2. Select and use strategies for reading, drafting, reviewing, collaborating, revising, rewriting, rereading, and editing.
  3. Reflect on one’s own development and change as a writer and one’s emerging knowledge about the craft of writing, language choices, and language conventions.

Note that the CLOs are organized under the following three dimensions of learning (briefly discussed below):

I. Rhetorical knowledge | Rhetorical knowledge is the ability to analyze the contexts, audiences, and power relationships in texts. In taking an equity-focused orientation to rhetorical knowledge, we seek to decenter White dominant rhetorical habits and language patterns and to, instead, equip students with the tools to understand how various types of texts employ rhetorical strategies and discourse in different ways to work in different contexts.

II. Critical writing & reading | Critical writing & reading is the practice of deeply listening, analyzing, synthesizing, interpreting, and evaluating ideas, information, situations, and texts in order to better understand their implications and to move beyond facile, instrumental habits of text consumption and production.

III. The craft of writing & reading | Writers use numerous strategies, or processes, to conceptualize, invent, develop, and refine projects, adapting their composing processes to different contexts and occasions. In our equity orientation, we seek to help students develop a critical awareness of how various types of conventions—including mechanics, usage, spelling, and citation practices, as well as content, style, organization, graphics, and document design—are historical and political in nature, so that they may make strategic choices regarding the implementation of these customs in the texts they produce. Attention to the labor and craft of writing is an essential component of an equity-oriented approach to teaching writing courses.