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Composing the Self Course Objectives

This course fulfills the learning outcome of the Written Inquiry component of the General Education program. Specifically, students will compose texts that:

  • Establish active, genuine, and responsible authorial engagement
  • Communicate a purpose—an argument or other intentional point/goal
  • Invoke a specific audience
  • Develop the argument/content with an internal logic/organization
  • Integrate references, citations, and source material logically and dialogically, indicating how forms of evidence relate to each other and the author’s position
  • Compose with rhetorically effective use of language, form and genre, voice and tone, and style


In addition, it will satisfy the following Program Learning Outcomes for the English BA Literature and both minors in English, and in Writing and Rhetoric:

  • Skill in critical reading, or the practice of identifying and interpreting the formal, rhetorical, and stylistic features of a text
  • Skill in writing grammatically, coherently, and persuasively
  • Skill in finding, analyzing, and utilizing secondary sources (including the appropriate methods of citation)
  • Skill in crafting a compelling thesis-driven essay, with substantiating evidence


Guiding Questions:

  1. How and why do we compose ourselves in our writing?
  2. How do readers perceive us? How does a writer’s identity affect the interpretation of the text?
  3. Why bring the personal into writing?
  4. Why should or shouldn’t we write on topics to which we have a personal connection?
  5. What kinds of knowledge do personal experience, self-reflection, and self-exposure create?
  6. How and why should a researcher reflect on his/ her personal connections to the research topic and/ or study participants?

Course Learning Outcomes

Students completing this 7WI/Written Inquiry course will:

  • Learn and use rhetorical concepts through analyzing and composing a variety of texts
  • Gain experience reading and composing in and across several genres to understand how genre conventions shape and are shaped by readers’ and writers’ practices and purposes
  • Develop the ability to respond to a variety of situations and contexts calling for purposeful shifts in voice, tone, formality, design, medium, and/or structure
  • Understand and use a variety of technologies to address a range of audiences
  • Locate and evaluate (credibility, sufficiency, accuracy, timeliness, bias, etc.) primary and secondary research materials
  • Use strategies—such as interpretation, synthesis, response, critique, and design/redesign—to compose texts that integrate the writer’s ideas with those from appropriate sources
  • Develop composing processes (adaptable for a variety of technologies and modalities) using flexible strategies for invention, drafting, revising, and editing
  • Experience the collaborative and social aspects of writing processes
  • Develop knowledge of linguistic structures, including grammar, punctuation, and spelling through practice in composing and revising
  • Gain experience negotiating variations in genre and discursive conventions and expectations