Basic Composition (355:100) is a 4.5-credit preparatory course for Expository Writing (355:101) at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
Basic Composition's curriculum is constructed on the premise, taken from experience and years of data, that critical reading is a foundational component of success not only in Expository Writing but in all work at the university. To that end, Basic Composition provides a unique opportunity for the gradual development of careful and sophisticated reading skills alongside the work of writing analytic essays. Just as writing itself is done in several genres (science fiction, horror, romance, text messages, college essays, and so on), so too is reading. We read all the time, whether on phones, in books, or on university course-listing websites, but we may not always know the conventions of reading in a particular genre. This course is built to hone and deepen your ability to read and reflect in the particular genre of academic and scholarly writing.
With a series of eight contemporary non-fiction readings as selected by your instructor, you will take a total of twelve reading quizzes in this class. We think of these quizzes less as assessment tools than as guides for further and richer discussion about the texts, with questions leading toward new uses of evidence and new engagements with complex contemporary issues. Once each reading pair is complete, you'll be asked to write an analytic essay exploring some of those complexities and contributing your own voice and view to the conversation. By the conclusion of the term, through four analytic essays, you will have developed of writing portfolio of roughly 18-20 pages.
Our short term goal as Basic Composition instructors is to send you into Expository Writing with a distinct advantage. Our longer term, and much more significant, goal is to instill the belief that you as a student at Rutgers have the tools to engage with complex contemporary issues and the background, expertise, and sophistication to contribute meaningfully to discussions of those issues.
Dropping Basic Composition is not possible without an advising dean's permission. If a medical or personal emergency is preventing you from attending to your course work, please contact the Dean of Students office for help with documenting your emergency and for support in navigating all of your courses this semester.