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Writing Instruction

Core Communication Courses

The Department of English offers three courses that satisfy the university Core Communication (KCOM) requirement:

  • ENGL 104, Composition and Rhetoric: Focus on referential and persuasive researched essays through the development of analytical reading ability, critical thinking and library research skills.
  • ENGL 203, Writing About Literature: Exploration of literature by genre and/or theme; literary analysis and interpretation; intensive writing about literature; course emphasizing research skills.
  • ENGL 210, Technical Business Writing: Focus on writing for professional settings; correspondence and researched reports fundamental to the technical and business workplace—memoranda, business letters, research proposals and presentations, use of graphical and document design; emphasis on audience awareness, clarity of communication and collaborative team-work.

All Core Communication courses assess students using the following objective areas:

  • Critical Thinking Skills: The course will enhance critical thinking skills through regular reading, class discussion, and writing assignments focused on key ideas about persuasive discourse.
  • Communication Skills: The course promotes communication skills through small and large group discussion of major ideas, issues, and questions central to course readings; through regular practice in persuasive forms of writing.
  • Teamwork: The course enhances the ability to work in teams by providing students with regular opportunities in and out of class to collaborate with classmates on relevant projects employing written skills, oral presentation skills, and classroom tasks.
  • Personal Responsibility: The course teaches personal responsibility by enhancing students’ understanding of how to use sources ethically while composing a persuasive argument or answer to an essay question; the course teaches personal responsibility by regular practice in teams and group discussion about ideas and issues.

Writing Intensive Courses

English majors are required to complete at least two courses with the Writing Intensive (W) designation, ENGL 303: Approaches to English Studies and ENGL 481: Senior Seminar. The department does offer additional W courses open to all students at Texas A&M including ENGL 107: Introduction to the Health Humanities, ENGL 308: History of Literary Criticism, ENGL 347: Writer’s Workshop Prose, ENGL 354: Modern Rhetorical Theory, ENGL 355: Rhetoric of Style, and ENGL 401: Contemporary Literary Criticism.

Courses with the W designation are designed to provide students with extensive and specific writing instruction. You will complete multiple writing assignments throughout the semester, usually submitting your work in stages such as proposal, annotated bibliography, multiple drafts, peer and instructor review, and a final draft. This systematic approach to constructing, refining, and completing writing assignments allows for maximum feedback and support throughout the writing process.

Students who take a 3-credit hour Writing Intensive course can expect:

  • to complete at least 2000 words of finished, graded writing throughout the semester.
  • at least 33% of their final grade to be based on writing assignments.
  • to only pass the class if they have passed the writing portion of the class.

The goals for Writing Intensive courses, set forth by the Texas A&M University Writing Center are:

  • Texas A&M students will write and speak in public with proficiency upon graduation. Proficiency requires a solid knowledge of rhetorical concepts such as audience awareness and the ability to match language to the occasion or type of document being produced. A proficient communicator argues well, thinks critically, and solves problems. A proficient communicator can analyze, evaluate, and synthesize information from various sources; document and cite properly; and organize text logically. Skill with grammar, mechanics, format, and usage is required.
  • Texas A&M students will master the forms of writing and speaking most commonly associated with and essential to their major field of study. Proficiency in communication cannot be achieved all at once, during a single, First-Year English or speech course, but must be acquired through practice over time, for many different audiences, in different situations, and in different genres. Because writing conventions and ways of communicating vary somewhat from discipline to discipline, novice communicators need the guidance of experienced writers in the disciplinary communities they aspire to join.
  • Texas A&M students will understand that proficiency in writing and speaking requires practice and an investment of time and energy. Experienced writers produce multiple drafts, edit and proofread, and participate in reviews and critiques of their work. Good prose and fluent speaking requires the investment of time and effort.