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Many of freshmen and all first-year engineering students have to take English 106 at Purdue. Here are some of the main course concepts and skills that you will learn in English 106.

1.Develop rhetorical awareness

One of the main concepts that English 106 attempts to get at is developing rhetorical awareness of various cultures, audiences, situations and contexts. This means being able to identify rhetorical devices and where they shift and understanding why they are there. The understanding of how cultural and environment affects literature is also tied to this.

Image result for rhetorical awareness2. Create writing pieces in different forms

Throughout the semester, writing is a huge part of the course. By the end of the course you will have over 20,000 words written. These pieces range for more informal reading responses to polished full-length essays. The point of the different types of writing you will do is to understand what you are studying, develop your thoughts on it and being able to put them into a cohesive essay. Grammatical correctness and flow are major focus points as well as the art of a proper thesis.

Image result for essay3. Learning to think critically about writing

Now that we are in college, being able to see beneath the surface of literature is critical. In English 106, you will read a wide range of texts and focus class discussions on analyzing and interpreting those texts. You will look at patterns in writing style, use of literary devices and how writers target various audiences. Rhetorical choices are another main theme when learning to engage with the writing.

Image result for thinking critically about writing4. Peer editing and constructive criticism

Peer editing and learning to give constructive criticism is another major part of English 106. Once a week, you will meet in conferences, which is typically groups of 5 students and much of the time will be spent doing peer editing. Whether it is editing on an assignment or a class activity, providing your group members with constructive criticism is a major part.

Image result for peer editing5. Learn to incorporate feedback into your pieces

Since giving criticism is a major portion in the class, being able to take that feedback and apply it to your work is critical. Most large assignments will have two to three drafts, which means you are editing each piece many times. Being able to take your professor’s and classmate’s feedback is necessary for doing well in the class.

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6.Learn proper research technique

Learning to research is a major part in the class, especially for the final project. In the course, you will learn about the vast amount of researching tools the Purdue library offers Purdue students. You will work with the Purdue OWL, Purdue libraries website and all the databases available to do research. You will also learn how to find good sources and how to identify biased ones.

Image result for research7. Develop source evaluation and citation skills

Another important aspect of the research section of the class is being able to evaluate sources and cite them. When finding sources, you must consider whether they are credible so you can find the right information. It is also about being able to identify any bias. Citing is also another major concept in the course, which is where the Purdue OWL will be very helpful!

Image result for source evaluation8.Use digital technology for composition

The use of technology is another major aspect in the course. Being able to make PowerPoints, use images and create a multimedia project at the end of the semester are all critical concepts in the course. The use of PowerPoints is a major focus during one section of the course, when reading the main book of the semester.

Image result for digital technology9. Engage with difficult texts

Engaging with difficult texts is another key idea of English 106. They are difficult because of the way they are written, but also the information they contain. Some sections will read Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag, which contains many violent photos and very disturbing concepts. Being able to break down difficult topics and discuss them is an important lesson from the class.

Image result for regarding the pain of others10. Learn about different rhetorical devices

Finally, learning about various rhetorical devices and why authors use them is another concept that is critical to English 106. Since the class dives deep into the readings, being able to identify rhetorical devices and determine why they are there is critical. Your professor will help teach you this throughout the semester, and by the end you will be a master at it!

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Hopefully you have a general understanding of the various concepts and skills you will learn through English 106. This list will give you the upper hand during the semester you take the course!


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Catherine Ellsworth

Catherine is originally from Connecticut. She is now studying engineering at Purdue University. She is interested in all things Purdue, fashion and writing.


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