First-Year Composition Courses

First-Year Composition Courses

B WRIT 132 Composition Stretch I (5) W

Extends B WRIT 134 over two quarters. Provides an extended experience at working with reading and writing. Must complete both B WRIT 132 and B WRIT 133 for composition graduation credit.

B WRIT 133 Composition Stretch II (5) C

Extends B WRIT 134 over two quarters. Provides an extended experience at working with reading and writing. Must complete both B WRIT 132 and B WRIT 133 for composition graduation credit. Prerequisite: B WRIT 132.

B WRIT 134 Composition (5) C

This courses offers an interdisciplinary approach to composition, including generating a compelling topic; the articulation of a thesis; the development of supporting evidence; the ability to draw conclusions from the evidence, clear organization of the essay, correct mechanics; awareness of audience, and knowledge of resources for research.


By the end of B WRIT 132-133/134, students should be able to demonstrate the following competencies outlined by the Council of Writing Program Administrators:

Rhetorical Knowledge: Rhetorical knowledge is the ability to analyze contexts and audiences and then to act on that analysis in comprehending and creating texts. Rhetorical knowledge is the basis of composing. Writers develop rhetorical knowledge by negotiating purpose, audience, context, and conventions as they compose a variety of texts for different situations.

By the end of B WRIT 133/134, students should

  • Learn and use key rhetorical concepts through analyzing and composing a variety of texts
  • Gain experience reading and composing in several genres to understand how genre conventions shape and are shaped by readers’ and writers’ practices and purposes
  • Develop facility in responding to a variety of situations and contexts calling for purposeful shifts in voice, tone, level of formality, design, medium, and/or structure
  • Understand the use of various technologies as they relate to communication in different environments and to varying rhetorical situations.

Critical Thinking, Reading, and Composing: Critical thinking is the ability to analyze, synthesize, interpret, and evaluate ideas, information, situations, and texts. When writers think critically about the materials they use--whether print texts, photographs, data sets, videos, or other materials--they separate assertion from evidence, evaluate sources and evidence, recognize and evaluate underlying assumptions, read across texts for connections and patterns, identify and evaluate chains of reasoning and compose appropriately qualified and developed claims and generalizations. These practices are foundational for advanced academic writing.

By the end of B WRIT 133/134, students should

  • Use composing and reading for inquiry, learning, critical thinking, and communicating in various rhetorical contexts
  • Read and evaluate a diverse range of texts, attending especially to relationships between assertion and evidence, to patterns of organization, to the interplay between verbal and nonverbal elements, and to how these features function for different audiences and situations
  • 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

Processes: Writers use multiple strategies, or composing processes, to conceptualize, develop, and finalize projects. Composing processes are seldom linear: a writer may explore a topic before drafting then investigate it further while revising or after consulting with a colleague. Composing processes are also flexible: successful writers can adapt their composing processes to different contexts and occasions.

By the end of B WRIT 133/134, students should

  • Develop a writing project through multiple drafts
  • Develop flexible strategies for reading, drafting, reviewing, collaborating, revising, rewriting, rereading, and editing
  • Use composing processes and tools as a means to discover and reconsider ideas
  • Experience the collaborative and social aspects of writing processes
  • Learn to give and to act on productive feedback to works in progress
  • Adapt composing processes for a variety of technologies and modalities
  • Reflect on the development of composing practices and how those practices influence their work

Knowledge of Conventions: Conventions are the formal rules and informal guidelines that define genres, and in so doing, shape readers’ and writers’ perceptions of correctness or appropriateness. Most obviously, conventions govern such things as mechanics, usage, spelling, and citation practices. But they also influence content, style, organization, graphics, and document design. Conventions arise from a history of use and facilitate reading by invoking common expectations between writers and readers. These expectations are not universal; they vary by genre (conventions for lab notebooks and tweets differ), by discipline (conventional moves in literature reviews in Community Psychology differ from those in English), and by occasion (bias incident reports and executive summaries use different registers). A writer’s grasp of conventions in one context does not mean a firm grasp in another. Successful writers understand, analyze, and negotiate conventions for purpose, audience, and genre, understanding that genres evolve in response to changes in material conditions and composing technologies and attending carefully to emergent conventions.

By the end of first-year composition, students should

  • Develop knowledge of linguistic structures, including grammar, punctuation, and spelling, through practice in composing and revising
  • Understand the relationships among language, knowledge, and power
  • Understand why genre conventions for structure, paragraphing, tone, and mechanics vary
  • Gain experience negotiating variations in genre conventions
  • Learn common formats and/or design features for different kinds of texts
  • Explore the concepts of intellectual property (such as fair use and copyright) that motivate documentation conventions and practice applying citation conventions systematically in their own work

B WRIT 135 Research Writing (5) C 

This course strengthens performance of college-level argumentative writing and scholarly research, critical reading and thinking, and the critique and the creation of print and new media texts. Prerequisite: B WRIT 134. By the end of B WRIT 135, students should be able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  • select and continually refine a research topic, question or problem using appropriate sources
  • develop and support claims with valid evidence and contribute new insights to existing academic conversations or lines of inquiry
  • use academic library resources to develop research strategies, including the ability to identify keywords and perform search queries, recognize relevant resources/tools, and collect and evaluate information
  • identify primary and secondary sources and articulate the difference between primary and secondary research methods
  • plan, organize and compose a focused research project
  • quote, summarize and paraphrase from texts and to produce appropriate documentation of sources
  • effectively present research to a specific audience
  • assess one’s research process through engaged self-reflection and peer critique

During the quarter, B WRIT 135 students can expect to do the following:

  • complete a minimum of 10-15 pages of revised, finished, and polished writing
  • compose frequent short pieces that reinforce critical research processes and thoughtful composing processes
  • use appropriate technologies to research, write, and present work
  • complete a research project
  • actively participate in discussion, group work, presentation and collaboration
  • engage with and value the ideas of others in the research and composing process and in class
  • participate in peer revision activities and incorporate peer feedback before submitting final work
  • use sources appropriately and ethically
  • reflect on research, writing, reading, thinking and projects

B WRIT 137 Writing Studio (2)

Develops strategies for improving academic writing. Focuses on interpreting assignments, developing rhetorical awareness, applying self-assessment, and improving revision. Credit/no-credit only.

During the quarter, B WRIT 137 students can expect to do the following:

  • identify strengths and challenges in writing
  • give and receive productive feedback on writing
  • revise and develop writing
  • work with peers on writing