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Frequently Asked Questions

What if I don't take English 101 during my first year (before 45 credits?)

Students should try to complete English 101 during their first year (before completing 45 credits). Because English 101 serves as a prerequisite for some majors or upper division courses, students may have difficulty completing required course sequences when they do not complete the requirement as advised. Students who are unable to complete English 101 before accumulating 45 credits should register for the course during the first available quarter they can. If you do not complete your English 101 requirement during your freshman year, however, it can become increasingly difficult to register for the course as priority is given to first year students. Students who wait to take English 101after completing 45 credits may also experience scheduling conflicts or delays as they attempt to accommodate English 101 into an increasingly specific or precise course schedule in their majors.

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Isn't English 101 just a grammar class?

English 101 focuses on the intellectual work of writing and reading; it is not a "grammar" course, as the term is commonly used. The course does provide instruction and practice in important academic conventions, such as citation practices. It also introduces you to more advanced forms of organization and style, and it will suggest some provide some useful strategies for editing and refining your work.

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I already know how to write. Why do I need to take English 101?

Writing is not something we learn once and for all. As writers, we are always developing and expanding our abilities to write for different purposes, audiences, and contexts. High School writing classes are not intended to replace college writing classes, but to prepare students for further learning. English 101 is required—not because students don't know how to write already—but because there is much more to learn about writing in a university community. Furthermore, because of the individual attention students receive, Western's English 101 course is able to help all students increase their knowledge and proficiency, no matter what their prior experience with writing is.

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I took AP English in high school.Why should I have to take English 101?

AP stands for Advanced Placement, not Advanced Exemption. The goal of the English Advanced Placement and other college prep courses in high school is to prepare students for further study in literature. Students receive college credit for passing a standardized, multiple choice or timed writing test that assesses their literary and language knowledge. However, English 101, Writing and Critical Inquiry, is not a course about literature and does not share the goals and objectives of a high school AP or college prep class. Nor does English 101 focus on the skills needed to write to a time limit. English 101 is a university writing course designed to offer students instruction and practice in the kind of close reading of texts, analytical writing, and critical habits of mind that will be required of them in their academic, as well as professional and personal lives. For a description of the course, see About English 101 on this web site. Currently, however, the University allows students to waive their English 101 requirement, if they receive a 4 or 5 on the English Literature or Language Advanced Placement test, or if they score higher than 710 on the SAT or 28 on the ACT test.

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Will English 101 teach me everything I need to know for writing in my other classes?

English 101 can't teach you everything you need to know about writing in ten weeks. No writing class can. English 101 serves as an introduction to the intellectual enterprise of the university. The assumption is that you will continue to develop your reading and writing abilities once you leave English 101. Nor can English 101 teach you all the specific conventions of reading and writing used in different disciplines. We do, however, alert students to the fact that different conventions, rules, rituals, and routines--exist in different disciplinary communities.

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Are all English 101 sections the same?

While all English 101 sections share the program's goals, evaluation policies, and general teaching philosophy, individual sections clearly reflect each instructor's unique and creative approach to the teaching of writing, reading, and critical inquiry. Different instructors may select different readings, sequence their course in different ways, and construct different assignments.

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Is English 101 the same at all schools? Can I meet this requirement elsewhere?

First year writing courses across the country share the fact that they all focus on writing instruction. Other than this general feature, they are remarkably different in what they emphasize. Not all courses focus on critical reading; some courses that do use reading, focus more on literary texts; some courses, only focus on broad-based instruction in grammar, structure, and conventions. If you do plan to meet your COMM A requirement at another school, make sure it will indeed satisfy Western's requirements. English 101 at Western seeks to help students become more critically and (self-) consciously literate. Our focus is on the kinds of thinking, writing and rewriting students need to do in order to locate ideas, develop and examine them, and communicate them clearly to others. We believe that writing is both a mode of inquiry and a means of communication.

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What is English 100?

English 100 or Introduction to College Composition is a university course that students can take prior to enrolling in English 101. Over the past few years, we have learned that the most frequent reason some first year students have difficulties with reading and writing is lack of experience with written language. These students simply have not had the opportunity to engage in the kinds of sustained and extended writing, reading and inquiry activities they will encounter in their classes at the university.

If the previous paragraph applies to you or if you just lack confidence in your reading and writing skills, we invite you to register for English 100, a small class where you will get more individual attention than in most first year classes. English 100 is not a skills course, per se; you will engage in the same kinds of authentic writing, reading, and thinking activities you will encounter the following quarter in English 101. Because English 100 is an academic course, you will receive five credits that count towards graduation.

If you do not feel ready for English 101 or feel you need more practice with reading and writing, we invite you to join us in English 100 before you enroll in English 101. An additional ten weeks in English 100 will help you become a more self-confident and fluent writer, more prepared for the challenges of English 101.

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Do you offer English 101 on-line or through extended education?

Western does not offer English 101 on-line. English 101 is the only required, stand-alone writing course in the university, and we believe students benefit from face-face instruction.

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What if I don't pass English 101 with a C-?

If you do not earn a C- in English 101, you will need to repeat the course.

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Who teaches English 101?

English 101 is taught primarily by a faculty of English graduate teaching instructors. Graduate instructors receive intensive preparation and ongoing faculty development in teaching composition. They bring to the classroom a diversity of experiences and education and, more importantly, an interest in teaching and learning. Instructors in the program become part of a creative, hardworking, and collaborative teaching community supervised by the Director of Composition and the Assistant Director of Composition, and mentored by the entire English Department faculty.

Many of the department's graduate instructors have gone on to pursue their doctorates at other universities, or gone on to careers in education, professional and technical communication, and the arts. Many former English 101 instructors currently hold tenure and tenure-track positions at community colleges throughout the Pacific Northwest. For more information about the accomplishments of the English department's graduate students, see the graduate page.

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Help! All the English 101 sections are full. Can I get an override?

There are no overrides for English 101. The course is limited to 24 students because of the size of the computer labs. If all the sections are full when you register, keep trying classfinder, especially during phase 2 and phase 3 of the registration process when some movement in sections typically occur.

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What writing courses could I take to help me continue to build on the ideas and practice I gained in English 101?

The university offers some 200 level writing courses that meet COMMB and COMMC General Education requirements. All of these courses teach writing in the context of a specific discipline. This means that you will be writing about the subject matter of that discipline.

Upper level composition courses include English 301 Writing Studies, English 302 Introduction to Technical Writing, and English 401 Seminar in Rhetoric and Composition. These courses are generally restricted to English majors during phase 1 registration. During phase 2 and 3, these courses are opened to all interested students.

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