English 15: Rhetoric and Composition
Instructor: Dr. Scott Zimmerman
Floor Adjunct Office
Office Hours: T/Th 8:20-9:20
Classroom/Time: 209 Saucon
We begin with a couple of questions:
Why should we know how to read and write academically?
Are these still relevant, useful skills in the 21st Century?
As our access to information becomes more immediate, our ability to filter out the rubbish, to
summarize, synthesize, and analyze important ideas and information from a variety of sources,
and— perhaps most importantly – to communicate effectively in writing takes on even greater
This is a writing-intensive course giving close attention to the process of writing through
networked workshops and conferences involved in preparation and revision of drafts. The course
develops skills in logical and focused writing, thorough development of a main point by means
of supporting ideas and evidence. In addition, students learn to integrate information from
secondary sources through the use of summary, paraphrase, and direct quotation in various forms
of thesis-based writing.
Development, skills, and expertise in reading and writing can never be separated;
therefore, English 15
is an intensive, rhetorically based course in reading and writing.
course, we will focus specifically on recognizing and analyzing verbal and visual texts (our
“reading”) as well as on producing and using such texts (our “writing” and speaking)—always in
terms of traditional rhetorical principles.
Even if the term
isn’t familiar to you, the practice of rhetoric is. In fact, you bring
a good deal of rhetorical skill to this class: you already know how to gauge the way you perceive
and produce language according to the speaker, the intended audience, and the purpose. You
may not always gauge perfectly, your perception may not always be accurate, and your
production may not always be successful—but you often think to interpret and choose language
in ways that are appropriate to the rhetorical situation. You already know how to use language to
The goal of English 15, then, is to help you build on what you already know how to do as
you become a stronger, more confident, and more flexible reader and writer.