January 15, 2013 by Jackie Hoermann-Elliott
Welcome to English 250. Your enrollment in this course is driven by university requirements for graduation. A foundational communication course like this one is intended to improve your “application of critical reading and thinking abilities to topics of civic and cultural importance.” The WOVE modes of communication–written, oral, visual, and electronic–are further developed to improve your reading and writing abilities as they can be applied to a variety of texts. This section of English 250 is particularly interested in looking at how new media texts and technologies influence the way we communicate.
That description may stray significantly from the one you originally had in mind: learning to writing. That is the assumption at least.
But putting what you thought and what you’re now thinking aside, I challenge you to ask yourself: “For me, writing is… ?” This is the question I will have you answer on the first day of class. I don’t want you to answer for my own interests (although I am interested); I want you to answer for yourself. So with yourself as your audience, consider how you’d respond to these questions:
What are you going to do with communication skills learned in this class?
How will you these skills in the future?
What is your real purpose for this class?
I hope you’ll start to find answers to these questions every morning that we meet as a class. As you think about those questions and find your purpose, know that I will be thinking about my purpose in teaching this course. I have three intentions in mind for you. The first is very basic. In a nutshell, my first intention is that you learn practical writing skill sets. As simple and attainable as this sounds, the reality—which you may already know—is that writing well is hard work. Good writing comes to few naturally, and even the best writers are required to learn constantly. It requires diligent study of the “master’s tools,” critical thinking, and above all else, the ability to revise one’s work and ideas over and over again.
My second intention for you is that by the end of this course you will see how those practical writing skills we will learn in class can transfer to future situations. The most readily apparent application of this transfer will be seen in the work we do writing visual rhetorical analysis essays analyzing advertisements or the professional portfolio you’ll develop throughout the semester. We will discuss how you can transfer these skills into other writing situations, such as future college courses, professional correspondence, personal branding, the workplace, civic discourse, and much more.
My third intention for you is that you see how communicative modes interrelate. We will study written communication primarily, but we will also study oral, visual, and electronic modes of communication. These four communication modes, affectionately referred to as WOVE, are all types of compositions. When you write, speak, see, create or submit something electronically, you are composing. Almost all of the writing skills we learn can enhance the other modes of communication, and vice versa. What is more, you will see how these texts reinforce one another and how your careful study of them will make you an overall stronger communicator. Doesn’t that sound appealing? Let’s get started.
Looking forward to a great semester,