Composition FAQ

If you’ve got questions about composition classes at UA Little Rock, please check out our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Comp I and Comp II Questions

Can I test out of Comp I?
Please review the Test Score Placement Guide for Academic Literacy and Composition.

What is the difference between Comp I and Comp II?
In Comp I, students ease into learning the writing process with storytelling and multimodal projects (images + words). You do a lot of low-stakes writing to practice and get comfortable with writing. You end with a source-based, academic writing piece.

In Comp II, students hit the ground running with a rhetorical analysis project. You learn rhetorical concepts like how the author uses logic, emotion, and credibility and why the author makes those decisions for the intended audience. Was it effective? Why or why not? You also do an extensive research project where you begin with a research question, locate sources, and produce a claim with evidence and multiple perspectives on the topic. The class spends a lot of time on information literacy and on creating a visual piece (an infographic or slideshow) to go along with an academic argument.

Will an instructor write a recommendation letter for me?
Comp I and Comp II instructors are in a great position to write recommendation letters for outstanding students as they get to know them through their writing. If you actively participate in class, have growth in writing as evidenced in your revisions, and give thoughtful peer reviews, many instructors will agree to write a letter on your behalf. However, they have the right to refuse.

Do instructors count off for grammar?
If instructors do count off for grammar, it is not a large amount. Instructors will show students where patterns of error occur and will help them correct at least one occurrence. Then, it’s up to students to edit based on what they have learned about their individual patterns of grammar and usage issues.

Why do I have to take a writing class when I don’t want to be a writer?
Every job has a piece of writing and communication to it. Many companies and industries want to hire people who can read and write well so that they can communicate effectively and engage with clients and co-workers.

Should I take a Comp class on campus or online?
If you cannot come to class consistently and on time, consider taking Composition online. For both modes, writing is a process and students must demonstrate that through brainstorming, drafting, giving and receiving feedback, revising, editing, and in some cases, publishing. Drafts must be turned in on time so that the instructor has plenty of time to give feedback and the student has time to revise before grading.

Do instructors take attendance?
Most composition instructors take attendance because students must be present to participate in the writing process.

General Questions

If I’m having difficulty with a writing assignment, what resources are available at UA Little Rock?
There are several resources to choose from, depending on the nature of the assignment:

  • The University Writing Center  (UWC) specializes in providing feedback on written assignments. The UWC has twelve Mac computers if you need a place to write.
  • The Communication Skills Center provides assistance for a number of aspects of a verbal presentation and the development of visual aids.
  • The Ottenheimer Library supports research needs with references. Students searching for reliable sources for an assignment have access to electronic databases and books.
  • The Student Success page provides a number of links to help you succeed academically, emotionally, and physically.
  • Career Services provides career counseling and assistance with résumés and cover letters for job applications.

What are MLA and APA? How are they different?
There are several documentation styles for presenting sources in your writing, with the two most used being the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the American Psychological Association (APA). Selecting the “right” one depends on your audience. Visit the Purdue OWL for Research and Citation Resources or your composition handbook for support on using documentation styles. Courses in Rhetoric and Writing require students to document work in a variety of formats, including MLA, APA, and the Chicago Manual of Style.

Can I take courses in creative writing from the Department of Rhetoric and Writing?
The Department of Rhetoric and Writing offers several courses in creative nonfiction. However, if you are interested in fiction, you will want to contact the English Department. Courses focused on creative nonfiction include, RHET 3317: Introduction to Nonfiction Writing, RHET 4317: The Essay, and RHET 4347: The Memoir.

If I wrote something that I think is really good, how can I receive recognition?
Every year, the Department of Rhetoric and Writing gives awards in several categories for the best writing done by our students. For more information, visit the Student Writing Awards page. Another way to receive recognition and even be published is to submit a piece of nonfiction writing to Quills & Pixels before the fall deadline each fall.