English 102 Reflective Essay Definition

English 102 and English 114: Composition II

English 102: Composition II (3 Units)

Catalog Description: Exploration of essay forms with particular attention to interpretation and argument; emphasis on analytical reading and writing, critical thinking, and research methodologies.

Learning Outcomes
Course Themes
International Students
Honors Students

ENG 102 is the Core English course all freshmen must take or for which they must demonstrate equivalency. Core Writing students are placed in 102 if their ACT English score is greater than 30, their SAT Verbal/Critical Reading score is greater than 680 or they have completed ENG 100J or 101 with a grade of "D" or better.

This course focuses on the practice of research, reading, and writing within a rhetorical situation, providing a foundation for the writing situations students may encounter in their Core Curriculum.

English 102 extends the writing habits developed in English 101: assessing rhetorical situations; adapting to different genre expectations; drafting and revising in a recursive, ongoing fashion; engaging peers and others for feedback; and, reflecting on the writing process and its products. Building on these foundational writing habits, students will engage a contemporary rhetorical situation or problem by immersing themselves in the research practices, methods of analysis, and writing genres necessary for engaged discussion of a particular area of concern. Students will be introduced to an ongoing debate through various perspectives, including scholarly, public, and popular genres in order to map a rhetorical conversation. Students will critically analyze these readings to determine opportunities for moving the conversation forward-diversifying and complicating the ongoing discussion. Students will carry out research appropriate to the goals they have identified and produce multiple texts that engage different audiences on this issue. Students will write three or four formal papers that contribute to the contemporary discussion. These contributions will vary in length, genre, and citation practice, but they should all be informed by substantive research, the exigencies of the issue, and the constraints of the form and its audience. In addition to these texts, students will write a reflection on their writing, addressing such questions as what constitutes a rhetorical conversation, how can writing productively and diversely contribute to that conversation, and, how do ideas change and adapt as they move among scholarly, public, and popular contexts. English 102 students will produce 20-25 pages of polished writing.

English 114: Composition II for International Students (3 Units) 

Catalog Description: This course for non-native English speakers covers the exploration of essay forms with particular attention to interpretation and argument; emphasis on analytical reading and writing, critical thinking, and research methodologies. It covers the English 102 requirement for non-native English speakers.

Learning Outcomes

Students are expected to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Continue and improve the writing practices learned in English 101: prewriting, composing, revising, responding, editing, attending to language and style, and writing with audience and purpose in mind;
  • Engage in critical reading and interpretation of a wide range of texts;
  • Be able to summarize, analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and apply what they read -- both orally and in writing;
  • Use writing as a means of understanding, organizing, and communicating what they read;
  • Frame complex research questions or problems;
  • Demonstrate awareness of their own beliefs, concepts, and biases;
  • Be able to produce a coherent, well-supported argument that shows critical thinking and careful consideration of alternative viewpoints;
  • Recognize, evaluate, and use a variety of information sources: expert people, publications of information agencies, popular and specialized periodicals, professional journals, books, and electronic resources;
  • Conduct research that shows evidence of the ability to synthesize, use fairly, and credit the ideas of others using the appropriate citation style;
  • Write coherently, drawing from diverse sources, assimilating information and ideas and producing work that represents the student's position on the material.

Core Objective 1: Effective Composition & Communications

  • Silver Vein I: Fundamental Practice
  • Brief Description of Learning Objective: Students will be able to effectively compose written, oral, and multimedia texts for a variety of scholarly, professional, and creative purposes.

Core Objective 3: Critical Analysis & Use of Information

  • Silver Vein I: Fundamental Practice
  • Brief Description of Learning Objective: Students will be critical consumers of information, able to engage in systematic research processes, frame questions, read critically, and apply observational and experimental approaches to obtain information.

Additional Information for Instructors about Course Themes

The benefits of choosing a focused theme include allowing the instructor to draw on personal strengths, providing a narrowed focus to help students choose topics and conduct research, encouraging depth over breadth, and engagement for students and instructors.

The theme-based course, however, requires instructors to keep several things in mind. The theme should be broad enough to allow a variety of different avenues for students to explore. While some students choose their ENG 102 section based on the theme, at least half choose their section because of the time or instructor. This means that about half of the students in every 102 course will not have a personal interest in the course theme. Flexibility within the theme allows for all students to find points of engagement.

Remember, the theme isn't everything. Keep in mind that 102 is still a composition class, and the focus of the class should be on teaching students relevant practices related to research and writing. Literature can be incorporated into a 102 class, but we encourage instructors to devote less than 25 percent of the class to studying fictional texts (books, movies, television shows, Internet videos, poetry, comics/graphic novels, etc.). 102 isn't a literature class.

Keep in mind that ENG 102 is the final Core Writing course and leads into the rest of a student's Core Curriculum, as well as courses in their major. Themes that are extremely creative to may be difficult for students and other faculty members to identify connections between ENG 102 and other academic purposes

Additional Information for International Students

International students attending the University are placed into appropriate Core Writing courses based on TOEFL scores, interviews, and special placement arrangements, all through the Intensive English Language Center. International students, therefore, have the same access to Core Writing Program courses as any other student and are expected to complete these courses in the same way.

However, those students for whom English still poses special challenges may be directed into (or elect) to take an alternative sequence of composition courses: ENG 113 and 114. For international students, these courses fulfill the university's composition requirements through ENG 102. As such, course outcomes are identical to ENG 101 and 102. In the deployment of this course content, however, instructors are expected to show increased sensitivity to the needs of second-language users and tailor scaffolding assignments to their differential language skills during what is also for many of these students a period of intense cultural adjustment. Assignments could include narratives of an encounter or an explanation of something important in the student's national or ethnic culture. Whatever the instructor's choices, reading, writing, and revision activities in ENG 113 and 114 should still match those of ENG 101 and 102 respectively.

Instructors for ENG 113 and 114 are selected through a special application and after particular qualifications, training, and/or experience have been verified. While one cannot elect to teach ENG 113 and 114 (e.g., on the semesterly course preference form, unless one has already been previously approved), if you possess the additional skills necessary to work with second-language learners, you may inquire with the Core Writing program in order to have your name and credentials passed on for consideration for future openings.

Additional Information for Honor Students

Students taking ENG 102H are granted permission through the Honors Program and are registered in separate sections. While the general course outcomes are the same, instructors must abide by four additional requirements:

  • Honors students are required to present their work in multiple media, both oral and written. To that end, students will participate in a research symposium at the end of the semester for which they must prepare either a poster or digital presentation (such as PowerPoint or Prezi). For assistance with posters and digital formats, please see Amy Shannon at the Knowledge Center and/or the KC's page of poster templates and tips.
  • Honors students are required to write a minimum of 25 pages of formal (revised, graded, and excluding drafts) writing in a semester.
  • Because it is imperative that Honors students understand how to find and evaluate credible academic research, final research papers for the course must include a minimum of eight scholarly sources.
  • In order to properly engage with academic discourse communities, final research papers much employ correct MLA or APA citation style.

We believe that writing is both a serious, powerful activity and a highly pleasurable one. Writing can be powerful because the writing you do matters: it affects people. It is pleasurable because putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to shape sentences, paragraphs and essays engages one with the tones, rhythms, and textures of language. It is also pleasurable to communicate successfully something that matters to others.

We also approach writing as a social, even ethical, activity because, when we write, we have to think carefully about the relations we already have with one another and about the ways the choices we make in our writing may bring about new or different relationships. Sometimes when we write, we write to figure out what we want to say: we write to learn or to discover, without thinking of the writing as communication. But mostly when we write, we write to other people because we want or need to do something that only writing can enable us to do.

We hope, then, that in your writing classes you both take writing seriously and have some fun with it. Continue to play with words and sentences as you have been doing since you first began to speak (and later write).

Finally, we make a request of you: please remember that these are classes about writing and communication, so please communicate throughout the semester with each other in class and with us. Let us know what you think about your composition classes and what you think about the writing you are doing here at UWM.

Goals for First-Year Writers

While each composition course has a set of specific goals and practices that are particular to its place in the sequence of courses, all composition classes share a common set of goals:

Critical Reading/Critical Writing Connections: Writers will use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating.

Writing Process Strategies: Writers will use their writing as a means of developing a critical perspective on their reading.

Shaping and Communicating Meaning: Writers will develop purposeful essays that provide adequate context for readers.

Knowledge of Academic Writing Practices: Writers will develop knowledge of academic writing conventions.

Critical Reflective Practice: Writers will reflect critically on, evaluate, and revise their own reading and writing practices in light of academic and other reading and writing practices and course goals.

Sequence of First-Year Writing Courses

English 100 – Introduction to College Writing and Reading

(4 credits, 4 graduation credits)

English 100 introduces students to college-level reading and writing strategies in a supportive workshop community. Components of the course include a three-credit reading and writing course, a one-credit weekly discussion lab, and required attendance at the UWM Writing Center. Through a sequence of assignments, students will critically interpret texts and reflect upon their interpretations. In doing so, students will develop skills of rhetorical analysis and essay writing, culminating in a final portfolio of revised written work.

English 101 – Introduction to College Writing

(3 credits, 3 graduation credits)

English 101 introduces students to college reading and writing practices through a sequence of writing assignments that integrates critical reading, writing, and reflection. Thus, the course is intended not only to build on but also to complicate students’ knowledge of texts and reading and writing practices.

English 102 – College Writing and Research

(3 credits, 3 graduation credits)

English 102 introduces students to academic research writing through a sequence of assignments in which students pose and investigate questions in response to their reading of course texts. The course builds on and complicates students’ understanding of the purposes and practices of research writing by asking students to investigate and engage in academic inquiry and presents academic inquiry as a process of positioning and developing one’s ideas in relation to others. Additionally, the course asks students to critically reflect on their reading, writing, and research strategies and those of their peers.

ESL 118 – Advanced College Writing in English as a Second Language

(3 credits, 3 graduation credits)

ESL 118 is equivalent to English 101 and is taught by instructors who are experienced working with writers whose first language is not English. Class size is limited to 16, and instruction is designed to help students strengthen their reading and writing in English.

Students qualify for ESL 118 by taking the ESL-PIC test or by passing a lower level ESL writing course. Find more information about the ESL-PIC test and ESL writing courses here: http://www4.uwm.edu/esl/.

Virginia Burke Writing Contest

The Virginia Burke Writing Contest honors first-year writers whose essays are judged the best of the year. It is named in honor of the late Professor Virginia Burke, an outstanding professor of English Composition who was devoted to undergraduate writing instruction at UWM. At the annual awards ceremony, first-place winners read their essays aloud; a reception follows the awards ceremony. This event brings students, teachers, administrators, family, and friends together to celebrate the academic achievements of UWM students.

Writing Program Administrators

  • Shevaun Watson (watsonse@uwm.edu), Director
  • Deb Siebert (dsiebert@uwm.edu), Lead Coordinator
  • Brooke Barker (barkerb@uwm.edu), Composition Program Assistant
  • Molly Ubbesen (mubbesen@uwm.edu), 101 Coordinator
  • Chris Lyons (bobdylan@uwm.edu), 102 Coordinator
  • Joan Ruffino (ruffino@uwm.edu), 100 Coordinator
  • Terry Thuemling (thuemlt@uwm.edu), Lead Mentor
  • Kristin DeMint Bailey (kdemint@uwm.edu), Digital Literacies Specialist
  • Robert Bruss (rlbruss@uwm.edu), Teaching Mentor
  • Jeremy Carnes (jcarnes@uwm.edu), Teaching Mentor
  • Adam Andrews (andrewsa@uwm.edu), Assessment Specialist
  • Vicki Bott (vlbott@uwm.edu), Basic Writing Specialist
  • Marci Bigler (mbigler@uwm.edu), Basic Writing Specialist
  • Neil Simons (simonsna@uwm.edu), Basic Writing Specialist


First-Year Composition Program

Shevaun Watson

UWM Writing Center

Margaret Mika, Director

Writing Center locations

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