Composition 1

Composition 1

Composition 1 introduces learners to the types of writing and thinking that is valued in college and beyond. Students will practice writing in several genres and forms of media, with emphasis placed on writing and revising academic arguments. Visual literacy components ensure that writers can create visual texts to support their traditional arguments.


The course contains supporting media, articles, and excerpts to support a focus on one of several disciplinary threads (covering the topics of nursing, business, information technology, teaching, literature, art, and culture) designed to engage students with contemporary issues.


Composition 1 supports peer review activities, though it may be completed asynchronously as well. Instruction and exercises in grammar, mechanics, research documentation, and style are paired with each module.


Through MindEdge’s adaptive learning students can access help for more than 20 topics, including misplaced modifiers, comma splices, active and passive voice, etc. This course includes full access to the MindEdge Writing Pad to support real-time student writing and coaching sessions.


Module 1: Rhetoric and Analyzing Writing

  • Describe the rhetorical situation of a piece of writing: context, purpose, audience
  • Identify appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos
  • Describe the rhetorical effect of organization, style, diction, tone, emphasis, and use of language
  • Evaluate the rhetorical decisions of a writer
  • Describe the traditional writing process and reflect on its value to him or her
  • Demonstrate strategies for reading and comprehending arguments
  • Locate the purpose, main claim, reasons, and evidence when given an argument to analyze
  • Detect sentence fragments and employ strategies for correcting them
  • Detect run-on sentences and employ strategies for correcting them

Module 2: Narration and Narrative Arguments

  • Explain the purposes and characteristics of narrative writing
  • Consider audience interest and scope of impact when selecting a narrative topic
  • Explain the benefits and limitations of including narration and personal experience when making an argument
  • Use conventions of process writing to improve his or her narrative writing
  • Make decisions about diction and writing style that improve audience reception and comprehension
  • Write an effective narrative essay
  • Choose the verb tense that is correct for sentence syntax and context
  • Choose the pronoun case and number that is appropriate for the verb form
  • Employ pronouns as appropriate to maintain consistent pronoun reference and avoid case shift
  • Differentiate among simple, compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences
  • Employ techniques to increase sentence variety

Module 3: Working with Sources

  • Explain the role of sources in research-based arguments
  • Identify main claims, reasons, and evidence
  • Identify the types of sources that will be needed to support his or her argument
  • Devise strategies for finding useful sources in an online or physical library
  • Evaluate the credibility and relevance of a source to his or her argument
  • Determine whether the use of a specific source will help support his or her argument
  • Select quotation, paraphrase, or summary as the method of integrating research into his or her writing
  • Use MLA conventions for citing quoted, paraphrased, and summarized material
  • Use MLA conventions for integrating the words and ideas of others into his or her writing, while avoiding infringements on academic honesty
  • Identify an arguable claim and an opposing claim and locate research to support either side of the argument

Module 4: Evaluation Arguments

  • Explain the purposes and characteristics of evaluation arguments
  • Invent evaluative claims that range in scope from reviews of everyday products to claims about the effectiveness of laws or concepts
  • Choose and argue for practical, aesthetic, and ethical criteria
  • Strategize and implement appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos when devising criteria and writing the argument
  • Integrate narrative writing and personal opinion with outside opinion and secondary sources to make an evaluative claim
  • Write an effective evaluation argument
  • Use coordinating and subordinating conjunctions as appropriate
  • Use proper parallel structure when writing sentences with coordinated or subordinated parts
  • Choose among periods, exclamation marks, question marks, and quotation marks as syntactically and contextually appropriate
  • Use commas where syntactically appropriate, and avoid using them in constructions where they are inappropriate

Module 5: Rebuttal Arguments

  • Explain the purposes and characteristics of rebuttal arguments
  • Rebut specific claims in writing and avoid straw man arguments when rebutting more generalized opinions
  • Explain the problems caused by fallacious thinking and identify popular fallacies: ad hominem, appeal to authority, appeal to popularity, begging the question, either-or, faulty analogy, hasty generalization, post hoc reasoning, search for the perfect solution, slippery slope, straw man
  • Identify a real-world claim on the Internet and lodge a respectful rebuttal in the comment section
  • Rebut an argument by identifying fallacious thinking, presenting alternative ways of understanding evidence, and presenting new and contrary evidence
  • Integrate research sources into his or her rebuttal
  • Choose between italics and quotation marks in the body of an MLA-formatted essay
  • Capitalize words in a sentence as appropriate
  • Decide between numerals and words when representing numbers in writing
  • Distinguish between acronyms and abbreviations and use proper punctuation with abbreviations
  • Use strategies for remembering commonly misspelled word parts
  • Distinguish between homophonic words and commonly confused words
  • Choose active voice constructions for most writing, using passive voice constructions only to create a desired effect

Module 6: Cause-and-Effect Argument

  • Explain the purposes and characteristics of cause-and-effect arguments
  • Differentiate between immediate and remote causes
  • Recognize that a remote cause might be the root cause of a problem and avoid post hoc reasoning
  • Support a causal claim with research
  • Describe cause-and-effect relationships (the causal chain) using process writing
  • Display information that contributes to a cause-and-effect argument in an infographic
  • Consider the medium when making decisions about message, word and image choice, and level of detail
  • Write an effective cause-and-effect argument

Module 7: Proposal Argument

  • Explain the purposes and characteristics of a proposal argument
  • Explain a problem and support a claim for the need for change when necessary
  • Identify a specific solution and justify his or her solution by providing supporting evidence
  • Consider the practicality and feasibility of the solution
  • Anticipate difficulties with enacting the solution or larger problems that would be created if the solution were enacted
  • Write a letter to the editor of a local paper explaining the problem and proposing a solution
  • Consider the medium when making decisions about message, word choice, and level of detail
  • Write an effective proposal argument
  • Place modifiers in a sentence so that their referents are unambiguous
  • Include a subject in the modifier when necessary for clarity

Module 8: Revision

  • Describe the traditional writing process and reflect on its value to himself or herself
  • Consider how an audience is likely to react to an argument, and make decisions to improve audience reception and interest
  • Revise the paper by reviewing the structure and support, creating an outline again or using other techniques to envision and reassess argument structure
  • Devise and enact a strategy for seeking feedback that is tailored to the writer, the audience, and the message
  • Use transitions to aid understanding of how ideas are connected to each other
  • Use topic sentences to improve the coherence of the essay and the flow of ideas

Module 9: Delivering in Visual Formats

  • Consider audience feedback when making revision and delivery decisions
  • Seek different methods of delivery or publication
  • Modify message and decisions about delivery based on choice of medium of delivery
  • Devise and enact a strategy for seeking feedback that is tailored to the writer, the audience, the medium, and the message
  • Propose a solution to an audience in person, using text and slides when appropriate
  • Propose a solution on the Web for a general (non-scholarly) audience
  • Reflect on the writing process and the experience of revising writing for a different medium

Module 10: The Portfolio

  • Distinguish between revision, editing, and proofreading and use strategies for revision, editing, and proofreading at appropriate stages in the writing process
  • Devise and enact a strategy for seeking feedback tailored to the writer and the research paper
  • Create a strategy for introducing the paper that gains audience attention and explicitly identifies the thesis statement
  • Create a strategy for concluding the paper that reminds the reader of the purpose and implications of the research paper
  • Create a title that identifies the topic of the research paper and invites the reader into the discussion
  • Create a final draft of two essays that make a supported argument and is polished to the best of the writer’s ability