Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2-27-2019

Abstract

Learning outcomes, topics, and assignment guidelines for COMM 101 have been shifted to focus on preparing students to analyze and respond to multiple rhetorical situations. Rather than focusing on teaching specific genres (the report, the proposal, the academic essay), the goal of the revised course is to provide students with tools for understanding and reproducing any new genre they encounter. Providing students with a rhetorical vocabulary and toolset in COMM 101 will create a smoother transition through the COMM sequence, and better prepare students to successfully execute communication tasks in LS courses such as LS 201 and upper-level LS electives as well as in courses inside their major. Shifting the course away from teaching specific assignments to teaching specific skills also makes it easier for individual sections of COMM 101 to meet the needs of university initiatives such as the course clusters, while still ensuring consistency of instruction for all 101 students. With respect to assignment guidelines, requirements for crafting an argument and practicing reflection have been added, and the oral presentation requirement has been folded into the multi-modal composition requirement. Writers who practice reflection are more likely to develop and retain good writing habits, while composing an argument and producing multi-modal texts are important skills for the workplace. A stronger emphasis on these skills brings Kettering in line with what entry-level composition courses in similar institutions are doing. With respect to the elimination of the oral presentation requirement, individual instructors can still choose to teach presentations, as these qualify as multi-modal texts, along with other genres of public speaking such as podcasts or videos. Including oral presentation under the larger umbrella of multi-modal texts is not an indication that this skill is not needed, but an acknowledgment that students have other opportunities to practice public speaking, both in their other courses and in specialized classes such as COMM 313.

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