English 110 Learning Objectives

The learning objectives for English 110 capture the goals for the course. Almost everything students do in English 110 contributes to one or more of these objectives.  (Click on an objective for more information.)

Students who complete English 110 should

Demonstrate the ability to approach writing as a recursive process that requires substantial revision of drafts for content, organization, and clarity (global revision), as well as editing and proofreading (local revision).

Students in English 110 learn to read and reconsider their drafts in ways that produce substantive, global revisions of their texts. Additionally, they learn to attend to punctuation, grammar, and spelling in their texts as they edit and proofread, or engage in effective local revision.

Students learn to approach writing as a recursive process in peer review/critique and in work with sample student texts. Peer review/critique and comments on early drafts focus more on global concerns, with more local concerns becoming increasingly important at the proofreading stage in the writing process.

Students demonstrate that they have met this learning objective in their writing. Students whose final drafts on later papers are substantively different from first drafts on those same papers are approaching writing as a recursive process and are engaged in global revision. Students who take care to proofread their final drafts before handing them in are participating in local revision.

Students whose final drafts are simply cleaner versions of earlier drafts, with perhaps a new paragraph inserted somewhere, are probably not approaching writing as a recursive process.


Be able to integrate their ideas with those of others using summary, paraphrase, quotation, analysis, and synthesis of relevant sources.

Most college-level writing assignments, particularly formal papers, require students to work with other texts, to demonstrate that they have thought about specific material, and to show that they have something to say about it. English 110 offers students concrete guidance (and practice) as they develop greater proficiency in integrating their ideas with those of their sources.

Summary is an important vehicle for distilling a text or for capturing a core element of the text in a brief description. Within a paper, a summary can be a quick, effective way to provide important context for a source before one begins to work with or challenge elements of the source.

Paraphrase and quotation are two essential tools that college-level writers use to help the reader see what their sources have to say about a particular matter under consideration.  Effective paraphrase enables the writer to retain full control over the words in his or her paper even as he or she represents a source’s point, idea, or information. Quotation, like paraphrase, offers the reader a representation of a source’s point or idea, though it enables the quoted source to speak for itself.

Taken together, analysis and synthesis contain particular techniques that help students learn to work with one or more sources as they develop their own ideas about an issue. Analysis and synthesis enable the writer to carve out places where he or she can explore new ideas or challenge existing ones.

Students demonstrate that they have met this learning objective in formal writing that includes appropriate uses of these techniques.


Employ techniques of active reading, critical reading, and informal reading response for inquiry, learning, and thinking.

College courses regularly call on students to write in response to texts they have read. In order to be successful in this kind of work, students must become strong readers of texts. English 110 is a writing course that introduces students to the kind of strong reading that can help them find their own ideas about a text or texts.

Active, critical reading challenges students accustomed to a focus on reading for information. English 110 instructors help students become stronger readers by treating reading as an active process of meaning making and not merely an exercise in reading comprehension.

In addition to reading for information or understanding, students in English 110 learn to read as writers. Active readers mark their texts in the margins, take notes, and raise questions as they read. As they read, they locate moments they find particularly interesting or troubling and consider why they are responding to the text in those ways.

English 110 instructors help students develop as engaged readers by providing their classes with pre-reading and reading questions, by inviting students to make sense of relationships between parts of a text or texts, and by moderating focused class and small group discussions of those parts of the texts that students find particularly salient or confusing.

Students demonstrate that they have met this learning objective through their use of reading response techniques and in the ways in which they engage with texts in their formal writing.


Be able to critique their own and others’ work by emphasizing global revision early in the writing process and local revision later in the process.

Writers almost never consider a text finished until it has been reviewed or critiqued by one or more peers. Peer review serves many purposes in the writing classroom and is considered an essential pedagogy because it can provide tremendous potential for growth. Peer review helps students develop a more critical eye as they read their peers’ texts, and creates opportunities for students to see their own texts from a reader’s perspective.

Peer review is a vehicle for modeling differences between global revision and local revision or proofreading, and it structures an emphasis on the former early in the writing process. It offers students the opportunity to write for an audience beyond the instructor, and to be responsive to comments from members of that audience. And it offers students opportunities to explore active reading and to approach readings of student texts as writers.

Students who engage actively in the peer review process develop a set of generous and critical reading skills that can serve them well throughout college, and beyond. They come to recognize that early drafts generally require substantial revision before they can be considered finished. And they practice reading student texts as supportive readers looking to provide options for a writer. Students in English 110 can carry this experience to other classes as they learn the value of sharing their drafts with a trusted reader.

Instructors in English 110 cultivate students’ competency in peer review by structuring review sessions, by creating a trusting environment in which student anxiety around sharing texts is reduced, and by modeling global revision in the ways they talk about opportunities for revision in early drafts.

Students demonstrate competency in this learning objective through their contributions in peer review sessions, and in their revisions across drafts.


Be able to find, evaluate, and use material located through the library’s online catalog, through subscription databases, and through internet search.

English 110 is one of the specific courses in the Core that is charged with helping students develop information literacy. The American Library Association defines information literacy as the ability to  “recognize when information is needed and . . . to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information.” English 110 makes basic contributions to students’ development of information literacy through the inclusion of assignments and activities that introduce students to the library’s information resources and that enable students to evaluate internet-based resources.

Additionally, source-based writing in English 110 provides hands-on opportunities for students to learn when they need different kinds of information to develop their formal papers and to explore various ways to integrate source material into their writing projects.

Students demonstrate that they have met this learning objective by locating and integrating appropriate library-, database-, and internet-researched source material into specific, instructor-developed writing assignments.


Document their work using appropriate conventions (MLA).

One of the most common features of college-level, academic writing is the careful documentation of sources. Documentation style is often considered a basic and mechanical process of following rules established by the MLA (Modern Language Association), teh APA (American Psychological Association), or some other organization. In fact, such documentation is central to the kind of intellectual work of the academy.

When students work with texts and enter into conversation with them, they borrow some ideas and words from those texts, specifically challenge some ideas in the texts, and connect or synthesize still other information or ideas from their sources. Effective college-level writers are able to use signal phrasing to integrate the words and ideas of their sources into their own texts and to correctly document their sources.

English 110 instructors introduce students to one documentation style (Modern Language Association) because careful work understanding how one style functions can help students adapt to other styles. At the same time, instructors emphasize that MLA is only one of the major styles. Instructors treat documentation as a way of marking the boundaries between the writer’s words and ideas and those of his or her sources.

Students demonstrate that they have met this objective in their written work. Their engagement with sources is appropriately documented and they integrate sources into their texts using signal phrases and parenthetical citations. They correctly identify the kinds of sources they work with and are able to prepare an appropriately formatted Works Cited list.


Control sentence-level error (grammar, punctuation, spelling).

Most college freshmen have a working knowledge of the English language, and English 110 is not a course in grammar, syntax, or spelling. But control of these important surface features of writing can be difficult as one works on more complex ideas and with multiple texts in a paper. In English 110, students need to control sentence-level errors in their formal, revised writing even as they produce complex texts.

A writer’s audience is less likely to read generously when a paper demonstrates sloppy punctuation or spelling, when it contains errors in subject-verb agreement, or when sentence fragments or run-ons recur throughout the text. English 110 instructors help students understand that proofreading as local revision is the final step in the drafting process. They include targeted, context-specific activities and instruction in those errors most prevalent within a specific section, and provide opportunities for students to address those errors in their own writing. Students exiting English 110 generally recognize that even their “final” drafts almost always benefit from additional proofreading.

Most students in English 110 will be able to meet this learning objective if they grasp the presentation value of a formal paper that is error free, and if they take seriously the final proofreading process. Students with multiple, severe patterns of error that are not significantly reduced over the course of the term are not meeting this objective and will need to repeat English 110.