A New Look at English Composition: Teaching Students How to Write Their Story

A New Look at English Composition: Teaching Students How to Write Their Story

4 minute read

BALTIMORE, MD (Feb. 7, 2022)—StraighterLine has announced the launch of its redesigned English Composition 1 online college course to help students master their writing skills, gain research experience, and understand the writing process. The course has been reviewed by the American Council on Education (ACE) and is recommended for three college credit hours.

“Writing is one of the most essential skills a college student needs to be successful in their educational journey,” said Dr. Melanie Glennon, English Faculty and instructional designer at StraighterLine. “Our new course meets the standards for best practices as put forth by the leading body of experts within the field of writing. We revamped the course to provide students with the best, most up-to-date curriculum.”

The Development of a New English Composition Course

In 2020, StraighterLine noticed its writing programs were rapidly growing, which gave impetus to bringing on a full-time faculty member who could lend expertise to the fundamentals of composition and teaching of writing with the right pedagogical approach. Months into the pandemic, Glennon was teaching full time at York College of Pennsylvania (YCP) and could sense the world was changing. In what seemed like fate, she discovered StraighterLine online, at a time when the company was rethinking how best to present its popular English courses. In September 2020, Glennon went part time at YCP and joined StraighterLine full time to oversee all courses with qualitative assessments and writing assignments. She also manages all qualitative graders and handles any student concerns in regards to writing.

“I work closely with a team of dedicated professors that are out and about in educational communities and higher ed who function as graders and subject matter experts for us,” said Glennon. “We took what we know as educators and bridged it with the most up-to-date standards for teaching composition and internally wrote the textbook for the course. The new textbook includes all the elements of composition that would help a student succeed in the course and beyond.”

The course was designed to align with the recommendations from the Conference on College Composition and Communication writing instruction protocol and the National Council of Teachers of English.

About StraighterLine’s English Composition I Course

StraighterLine’s English Composition I course is designed to fulfill the mandatory requirements of English 101 that students looking to earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree are required to take. In the course students will be introduced to both the art and process of writing. Assignments include drafting a personal narrative in which they will tell a story that exemplifies gratitude, writing a persuasive letter invoking change, and composing an argumentative essay where they stake a claim and use logical evidence for support. Each assignment also requires a level of research, an essential skill for all college students and professionals.

“We redesigned English Comp to provide students with the best, most up-to-date curriculum and user experience,” said Glennon. “Students can expect assignments that are thought-provoking, and engaging.”

The requirements to complete English Composition I at StraighterLine are similar to those of courses offered at colleges and universities across the nation, however students can go at their own pace. StraighterLine also offers a Writing Center that is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, where they can get draft feedback, and access helpful videos and assignment guides.  “This course is a great entry point into college-level writing,” said Glennon. “The best part is that it’s convenient and flexible for students juggling a busy schedule or wanting to move through coursework quickly,” said Glennon. 

The Student Experience

Before launching the course, StraighterLine recruited a focus group of current students to go through the course, receive credit and offer feedback on the new design.  Hunter Pecoraro took his first StraighterLine course in 2019 and said his overall experience taking this new English course was very positive. He said the Reader Reviews allowed him to get feedback and helpful advice on his paper and it allowed him to collaborate with other people as he worked on his assignments. However, the greatest strength of the course he says was the faculty-led videos.

“I loved the new videos and how they helped explain the material,” said Pecoraro.

English Composition I is the first StraighterLine course to be redesigned in a few years, but it won’t be the last. A newly redesigned English Composition II is set to launch soon, with a new internally written curriculum that is reviewed by higher education professionals and current students alike. For students interested in taking the English Composition 1 course they can go to: https://www.straighterline.com/online-college-courses/english/english-composition-i/ 

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