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English 140 Instructor Resources

This section provides a basic course information and various pedagogical tools to help you develop your English 140 course.


The goal of 140 is to transition students from their high school writing practices to college level writing, specifically the academic argumentative writing they will be required to do at Rollins. The course fulfills the W(riting) general education requirement as published in the General Education Requirements, Goals and Means of Assessments by the Dean of Faculty:

The communication of ideas, information, poetry, stories, intent, and even culture itself has been dependent on the ability of humans effectively to store facts and convert thoughts to written language. The ability to communicate ideas and information in writing is at the core of a liberal arts education and is essential for active citizenship. In covering both academic and (to a lesser degree) familiar writing, the W course focuses on understanding rhetorical strategies. Students will read the texts of others and learn to shape their own meanings by writing and editing a variety of forms.

  • Goal: Upon completion of this requirement, students will be able to write essays developing complex ideas on academic subjects, characterized by unity, order, coherence, completeness, clarity, and mechanical correctness.
  • Standard: Individual faculty will design course-specific methods for assessing how a particular section meets the goals established in the guidelines of the general education curriculum. Each time they teach the W, faculty will document assessment procedures and results for the goal through the General Education Assessment Matrix.

There is a general course description for all sections of 140 in the Rollins College Catalog:

ENG 140. Composition: Writing about Selected Topics. Develops students’ ability to write college-level essays by practicing strategies of argumentation and by refining skills of invention, completeness, clarity, and mechanical correctness. In order to satisfy the College’s general education requirement for ‘W’riting, students must receive a grade of ‘C’ or better in the course. Students may take E140 a second time for credit, so long as a different topic is selected. Section topics are designated by individual instructors.

Be sure to read our course policies for more details.

Course Design

While instructors choose their own course topic and readings, there is a general design for the course that revolves around a sequence of three major papers: rhetorical analysis, synthesis analysis, and research-based argument. The papers build upon one another, asking the students to demonstrate more sophisticated rhetorical skills as they move through the sequence. See the course organizational chart for more detail.

Also be sure to look over the index of sample assignments if you would like to see model syllabi, descriptions of assignments, etc.

Targeted Concepts and Skills


  • rhetorical situation of an argument, that is the exigence or problem being addressed (purpose or goal), the audience, and constraints
  • parts of an argument: claims, evidence, warrants and how they are related means of persuasion
    • ethos: the credibility, moral authority or voice of the author
    • logos: the logical reasoning of the argument
    • pathos: appeals to the emotions of the audience
  • how the rhetorical situation informs specific argumentative strategies in the text
  • reading critically with an understanding of the rhetorical strategies used in a text
  • inductive and deductive reasoning
  • logical fallacies
  • inventional strategies for argument development (brainstorming, mapping, etc.)
  • global organization and coherence revealing a clear line of argument
  • local coherence and cohesion
  • signaling argument structure to reader through forecasting and transitions
  • concise, active prose
  • writing as an iterative process; revising and editing


  • grammatical correctness
  • use and citation of sources (MLA or APA)
  • academic formatting of assignments (MLA or APA)


  • using library and web for research
  • distinguishing quality of sources

Textbooks & Handbooks


There are several texts that elaborate on the concepts and skills listed above. You can assign them as course reading, or simply use them for your own course planning.

  • Dietsch, Betty Mattix. (2003) Reasoning and Writing Well. Boston: McGraw Hill.
  • Hirschberg, Stuart. (1996). Essential Strategies of Argument. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
  • Lunsford, Andrea A. et al. (2004) Everything’s an Argument. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Rottenberg, Annette T. (2003). The Structure of Argument. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Blakesly, David and Jeffrey L. Hoogeveen. (2008). The Thomson Handbook. Boston: Thomson. (also can be used as a handbook)


Also, students should have a writing handbook for reference. There are a variety of handbooks available. Some of our faculty are using the following:

  • Hacker, Diana. (2003). A Writer’s Reference. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Lunsford, Andrea. (2003). The St. Martin’s Handbook: With 2003 MLA update. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s.
  • Raimes, Ann. (2004). Keys for Writers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • Raimes, Ann. (2000) Pocket Keys for Writers. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. (smaller version)
  • Blakesly, David and Jeffrey L. Hoogeveen. (2008) The Thomson Handbook. Boston: Thomson. (also can serve as textbook)

You can also use online resources as handbooks, such as Purdue’s Owl. Check our links page for more details, and our Resources Page for a list of resources available from the First Year Writing Program website.

Useful Links

The links below can help you in course design, serve as additional resources for students, and may be especially useful to include in any online version of your syllabus.

The Rollins College Department of English is not responsible for the content of these websites, and ENG 140 instructors linking students to these websites are encouraged to periodically check them to make sure the links are still active and the content is still appropriate for their courses.

If you know of any websites not listed below that ENG 140 instructors may find beneficial, please email a link to the site(s) to First Year Writing Program Coordinator Martha Cheng to be considered for inclusion on this page.

The APA Style Guide as presented by Capital Community College

The MLA Style Guide as presented by Capital Community College

The Christian A. Johnson Institute for Effective Teaching

Drew Online Resources for Writers

How to Avoid Plagiarism

Landmark's Citation Machine

The OWL at Purdue

Silva Rhetoricae

Sample Syllabi, Assignments, Grade Sheets

Sample Syllabi

English 140, Writing About: Crime and Punishment, Spring 2008, Martha Cheng
View Syllabus (PDF)

Writing About: Crime and Punishment Schedule of Readings
View Schedule (PDF)

English 140, Writing About: Heroes, Spring 2008, Anne Zimmermann
View Syllabus (PDF)

English 140, Writing About: Science Fiction, Fall 2008, Rod Romesburg
View Syllabus (PDF)

English 140, Writing About: The Environment, Fall 2008, Joe Quattro
View Syllabus (PDF)

English 140, Writing About: Fairy Tales, Spring 2008, Jennifer Ailles
View Syllabus (PDF)

Sample Assignments and Grade Sheets for Major Papers

Research Arguments
View Assignment (PDF)

Research Arguments Grade Sheet
View Grade Sheet (PDF)

Rhetorical Analysis
View Assignment (PDF)

Rhetorical Analysis
View Grade Sheet (PDF)

Synthesis Analysis
View Assignment (PDF)

Synthesis Analysis
View Grade Sheet (PDF)