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English 201

Intermediate Composition at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

The English 201 website provides information and resources for 201 teachers and students, both prospective and current. Although much of what you'll find here is specific to English 201, we hope our resources will also be useful for other teachers who focus on writing and for student writers in other classes.

Be sure to check out our student writing section where we showcase student essays that 201 instructors determine to be of high quality, high interest, or high vision.

What is English 201?

English 201 is a 3-credit, intermediate level, general education writing course that satisfies the university's Communications B requirement for enhancing students' literacy skills.

Enrollment in English 201 assumes that a student has successfully completed or been exempted from the "Communication A" requirement.

Each section is capped at 19 students; English 201 is a low-enrollment course that depends on student participation. It is designed to develop skills in the four modes of literacy: reading, writing, speaking, and listening. This course places special attention on writing, requiring numerous assignments of multiple pages, each developed through extensive planning, drafting, revising, and editing. Most classes employ a workshop approach, meaning that students work in peer writing groups, reading and commenting on one another's work in constructive ways that are taught to students early in the semester.

English 201 is couched at an intermediate skill level: it has more experienced students (not being open to freshmen and requiring 3 credits of introductory literature as a prerequisite) and more challenging assignments, typically involving sophisticated readings, complex writing tasks, and very high expectations for student inquiry. Each section of the course treats a single issue, problem, or theme (or set of issues, problems, or themes) in depth, giving students the opportunity not just to work on general processes of reading and writing but to be initiated into the complex discursive practices of a particular literate community struggling with particular intellectual, cultural, and practical problems. Consequently, despite their common satisfaction of Comm-B criteria, English 201 sections vary widely from teacher to teacher.