Course Principles: Composition 101

This is the first in a sequence of two classes commonly called "First-Year Composition" (FYC). This sequence is generally mandatory for all college and university students across the United States.

The goal for this class is this: become a good (or better) writer. So, it makes sense that you should come to class every Tuesday and Thursday prepared to write. Practice! Practice! There is no other way to grow your writing ability. Reading certainly helps, but only writing your own words will enable you to figure out your own unique style and voice.

Writing well is not an inborn talent. It takes work! And there are no magic rules, no lovely fairy dust I can sprinkle on you—only through time, patience, and many fumbles will you become a better writer. You will be writing four major papers, along with a number of smaller writing assignments. Some writing will be graded; some won't. Sometimes when you write, it will be for yourself (private writing). Sometimes, it will be public writing—meant for my eyes or the eyes of wiki readers. Sometimes I will tell you what kind of writing (public vs. private) you are engaging in; other times you won't know.

What is "good writing"? Well, that's a nebulous term…but in my opinion (and the opinion of many of my colleagues here at UC), good writing is clear, thoughtfully-organized, self-aware, enthusiastic, logical, and sometimes eloquent. To learn "good writing" will help you in all your classes, no matter what your major; "good writing" has transfer capacity.

This class will provide you with opportunities to ask yourself: What do I believe about writing? About life? How is that different from what others believe? What do we have in common? What variances can we celebrate?

Composition 101 will give you the building blocks to stretch your new writing-muscles in 102. For further specific goals of this course, please see your Student Guide.

"It is not the answer that enlightens, but the question."
—Eugene Ionesco

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