Composition I

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EGL 101

       Course Name: Composition I

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite

Placement in EGL 101 or successful completion of EGL 090 or EGL 097 or EGL 098 (grade of P).

III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces strategies for planning, writing, and revising expository essays based on experience and reading. Content includes purpose, context, genre, and the rhetorical situation as elements in the writing process, as well as critical reading and analysis as the basis for essay writing. The first course in a two-course sequence with EGL 102.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Identify and apply strategies for planning, drafting, and revising essays in a variety of genres appropriate to beginning college writers.
  2. Employ conventions of standard written English to communicate ideas at the beginning college level. 
  3. Develop writing to respond to the needs of different audiences and rhetorical situations. 
  4. Support and illustrate a thesis using relevant details, examples, and evidence.
  5. Report information from sources accurately and appropriately for their own rhetorical purposes.
  6. Summarize, paraphrase, and quote source materials objectively and integrate them into their own writing.
  7. Demonstrate an understanding of how to avoid plagiarism and how to document sources according to the MLA style. 
  8. Analyze and evaluate course readings, student writing, and their own writing. 

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

This sample course outline/schedule is adapted from Teaching Writing with the Prentice Hall Guide by Stephen Reid.

Week 1: Course introduction; Read Ch. 1, and Ch. 2; diagnostic essay, critical reading and journal activities.

Week 2: Discuss writing myths and rituals; Discuss purposes and processes for writing; selected journal entries, critical reading assignments.

Week 3: Ch. 3 and readings; observing essay and journal entries assigned; introduction to collaborative peer response workshops.

Week 4: Workshops on collecting and shaping for observing essay; Editing workshops; Observing essay due.

Week 5: Ch. 4 and readings; Remembering Essay and selected journal and critical reading exercises assigned.

Week 6: Workshops and discussion of collecting and shaping for remembering essay; Revised draft collected.

Week 7: Revision of remembering essay, based on peer's and teacher's suggestions; Revision and editing workshops; Conferences.

Week 8: Ch. 5 and readings; Summary response paper assigned; sections of Ch. 6 on using and documenting sources assigned. Library orientation/ classes on evaluating sources.

Week 9:  Ch. 6 and readings; Investigation paper assigned.  Workshops on collecting and shaping for investigative essay. Editing workshops; Investigating essay due.

Week 10:  Ch. 7 and readings; explaining essay assigned; selected journal and critical reading activities assigned.  Research log (Ch.12) assigned. 

Week 11:  Workshops on collecting and shaping for explaining essay; Revised draft collected; Conferences on revision plans.

Week 12:  Extensive revision of explaining essay, based on peer's and teacher's suggestions; Documenting sources; editing workshops.

Week 13: Ch. 11 and readings; Interpreting Literature essay assigned.

Week 14: Workshops on collecting and shaping; Conferences on literature essay.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Lecture, discussion and small-group work may be used to introduce and clarify course topics.  Oral and written analysis may include work by published writers and by students.  Grammar and mechanics should be treated primarily on an individual basis.  Written responses to questions or quizzes may be included to encourage student preparation of assigned readings.  Some instructors may use computer assisted software programs.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Reading, writing, and revising as assigned. EGL 101 instructors will vary in types of essays assigned and other written materials required, e.g. drafts, journal entries, prewriting exercises, etc., but a minimum of 4,500 words of finished writing is required. Drafts and pre-writing do not count as part of the total.  Students will be expected to revise most formal papers to make them more effective, and to demonstrate the ability to make substantive revisions (revisions that change the content or the outline) to address problems presented by readers. Fifty percent of the essays will be text-based (will respond to or use sources). Readings are to be primarily expository in nature, although some writing about literature may be included. Readings should include materials from academic journals or other clearly college-level texts.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Approved texts: See the English Department Home Page for a list of approved texts.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  1. Faculty will provide a grading rubric like the one below to show how writing will be evaluated.  Grading rubrics will take into account both the effectiveness of the writing to a specific audience and purpose and the student’s grasp of the conventions of college writing.
  2. A minimum of 60% of the course grade must be based on the formal writing assignments.
  3. Students will be evaluated in terms of their response to other assignments, e.g. drafts, quizzes, etc.
  4. Students may also be graded on class participation.

Below is a sample grading criteria adapted from Teaching with The Prentice Hall Guide for College Writers by Stephen Reid. 

“A” essays satisfy the following criteria:

  1. Focus: These essays have a clearly identifiable main idea, thesis, or claim.  The writer’s purposes are appropriate for the writing situation.  Promises made to the reader early in the essay are kept.  Expectations for the reader are set and then met.  Ideas, examples, and reasons developed in the body of the paper are clearly related to the main focus.
  2. Development: These essays have ample supporting evidence:  sensory details, specific examples, statistics, quotations, or other data.  The writer’s assertions are immediately followed by supporting evidence.  The writer shows rather than just tells.  Appropriate research (personal experience, interviews, surveys, library sources) supports the writer’s man idea, thesis, or claim.  The writer shows how or why evidence is relevant to main idea or claim.
  3. Organization: The ideas and paragraphs proceed in some logical and apparent sequence or pattern.  The writer uses sufficient audience cues to let the reader know what has been discussed, what is being discussed, or what will be discussed.  Structural devices: attention-getting titles and leads, essay maps, summary and forecasting statements, topic sentences, transition words and phrases, and effective conclusions guide the reader from beginning to end.
  4. Style: these papers have appropriate voice and tone as well as effective sentences and word choice.  The style is appropriate for the purpose and audience.  In addition, these papers avoid problems in usage, grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and spelling that interfere with the writer’s ideas or distract from the audience’s pleasure in reading.

“B” essays have weaknesses in one of the 4 areas:

  1. Focus: These essays have a clearly identifiable main idea, thesis, or  claim.  Promises made to the reader are fulfilled.  Deficiencies in focus may exist, but the overall purpose is still clear.
  2. Development: These essays have good supporting evidence.  Typically, support may be thin or deficient in spots, but relevant evidence supports assertions or general statements.
  3. Organization: The ideas and paragraphs proceed in some logical and apparent sequence or pattern.  Occasional deficiencies in audience cues may exist, but the overall shape is clear to the reader.
  4. Style: Typically, these papers communicate clearly, but the voice may not be as clear, or a few deficiencies in sentence structure, word choice, grammar, or punctuation exist.

“C” essays have weaknesses in two of the 4 areas:

  1. Focus: These essays have a clearly identifiable main idea, thesis, or claim.  Often, though, these essays shift the focus at some point in the essay.
  2. Development: typically, these essays do have some supporting evidence, but some evidence is not relevant or some assertions or general statements are left unsupported.
  3. Organization: Often, an overall pattern or sequence may exist, but the writer has made little effort to guide the reader through the major ideas.
  4. Style: Sometimes these papers have a lackluster “English” style, appearing to be written mechanically to fulfill an assignment rather than directed to a specific audience.  Distracting sentence errors may interfere with communication.

“D” essays have weaknesses in three of the four criteria or have one major flaw that seriously disrupts communications:

 “F” essays have few redeeming qualities. Typically, they are little more than rough drafts that do not meet the requirements of the writing situation, or they have major flaws that prevent communication.

XI.   Other Course Information

  1. Attendance policy
  2. Other information/procedures for which the instructor holds the students accountable.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.