Synthesis Essay Examples English 102

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.

Occasionally, a student will have had instructional experiences in postsecondary settings in which they have written papers similar to what is required in English 102, and for some reason the course(s) have not transferred in for credit for English 102. The University of Idaho allows these students to challenge English 102 via Petition for Advanced Credit Exam (also known as the Challenge Exam).

Before you proceed with this lengthy and complicated process, you’re encouraged to investigate the UI Registrar’s Transfer Credit process. You can check the UI Course Transfer Guides to see if your course(s) would already satisfy English 102. If your course(s) are not on the current transfer guides, you can submit previous course syllabi to the UI Registrar for review.

English 102 Challenge Process

There is a two part process to challenge English 102.

  • First, submit a letter of application and a writing portfolio with a collection of college-level writing that demonstrates how you have met the outcomes for English 102. Your writing portfolio application will be assessed on how well you argue that your writing samples demonstrate mastery of English 102 outcomes and qualify you to take the English 102 Challenge Exam.
  • Second, if your application to take the Challenge Exam is approved, you will be scheduled to complete the two-hour written Challenge Exam. You will be given short passages to read on a specific topic, and you will be asked to synthesize the arguments and write a response analyzing the selections. To pass the Challenge Exam, you must write this timed essay at the level of a C or higher.

Be aware that you cannot:

  • Be enrolled in English 102 at the time you challenge the course.
  • Use papers you have written or are writing for English 102 to challenge this class. 
  • Apply to take the Challenge Exam if you have taken an upper-division course that listed English 102 as a prerequisite.
  • Submit papers written for high school for the English 102 writing portfolio application.

Part I: Writing Portfolio Application

To submit an application to challenge English 102, compile a writing portfolio that meets the following requirements:

  1. Select three or four college-level, extended argumentative papers that use multiple outside sources and follow the conventions for scholarly writing of a recognized professional body (i.e., MLA or the APA). These papers should demonstrate proficiency of the learning outcomes for English 102 (see below). Ideally, it’s best if you can turn in work that contains the comments and/or grades from the original instructors.
  2. Write a formal letter that argues how your writing samples demonstrate proficiency in the learning outcomes for English 102, and how these writing samples qualify you take the Challenge Exam. Successful application letters will articulate specific instances in the course papers in which the English 102 outcomes are demonstrated.
  3. Send your completed writing portfolio application as one Microsoft Word or PDF document to Barbara Kirchmeier, Acting Director of First-Year Composition, Director of Composition. 
  4. English Department faculty will evaluate your writing portfolio to determine if you qualify to take the Challenge Exam. You will be notified via email of this decision.

University of Idaho English 102 Learning Outcomes

  • Accurately assess and effectively respond to a wide variety of audiences and rhetorical situations. 
  • Comprehend college-level and professional prose and analyze how authors present their ideas in view of their probable purposes, audiences and occasions. 
  • Present ideas as related to, but clearly distinguished from, the ideas of others (including the ability to paraphrase, summarize and correctly cite and document borrowed material). 
  • Focus on, articulate and sustain a purpose that meets the needs of specific writing situations. 
  • Explicitly articulate why they are writing, who they are writing for and what they are saying. 
  • Write critical analyses and syntheses of college-level and professional prose. 
  • Make connections between questions and problems in life both within and outside of college. 
  • Gather and evaluate information and use it for a rhetorical purpose in writing a research paper. 
  • Attend to and productively incorporate a variety of perspectives. 
  • Develop flexible strategies for generating, revising, editing and proofreading. 
  • Understand writing as an open process that permits writers to use later invention and re-thinking to revise their work. 
  • Give and receive constructive feedback from peers. Use conventions of format and structure appropriate to the rhetorical situation and practice appropriate means of documenting their work. 
  • Locate, evaluate, organize and use research material collected from electronic sources, including scholarly library databases; other official databases (e.g., federal government databases); and informal electronic networks and internet sources.

Part II: English 102 Challenge Exam

If your writing portfolio qualifies you to take the Challenge Exam, do the following steps:

  1. Go to the Registrar’s Office to get the form, Petition for Advanced Credit (Challenge) Exam. 
  2. Bring this petition to Barbara Kirchmeier, Acting Director of First-Year Composition, who will sign it and get the signature of the English department chair. 
  3. Take this petition to your own college office and get the approval and signature of your dean (or his or her designee). 
  4. Go to the cashier’s window at Business and Accounting Services and pay a $35 fee. They will stamp the petition.
  5. Return the completed form to the Registrar’s Office. Once you have completed this step, the Registrar’s Office will notify Barbara Kirchmeier via email that you have approval to complete the Challenge Exam. 
  6. At this point, you will be scheduled to write an exam in a controlled setting. You will be given short passages to read on a specific topic, and you will be asked to synthesize the arguments and write a response analyzing the selections. To pass the Challenge Exam, you must write this timed essay at the level of a C or higher. If the English Department faculty judge this essay to be at a level of C or higher, you will receive credit for English 102. Please note: the UI Registrar does not allow the Challenge Exam to be scheduled during dead week--the week before final exams.
  7. If your exam passes, you must pay for the English 102 credits; currently the charge is $25 per credit, so the total for this three-credit course is $75. The entire process will cost $110 if you are successful. The grade will appear on your transcript as a P (it has no effect on your GPA).

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