Welcome to the course!

A student in English 105 should expect to write and revise essays in multiple genres, each with a clear purpose and sense of the writer’s presence and position. The student should also expect to create and answer questions through research and writing that draws upon written texts and other sources. A student in English 105 can expect to write four to six papers during the term, including at least one extended research essay, totaling about 20 to 25 pages of text. Writing is a rewarding, difficult process – be prepared to think hard about the works we read and to spend time writing about the ideas this course considers.  Because writing well is difficult, we will spend time talking, thinking, and writing about our writing and our writing processes.  Therefore, be prepared to go through multiple drafts of each essay – and remember, writing is never really done, it’s simply due.

For our first class, we’re going to dive right into the “theme” of the course, which I’ve chosen because it’s near and dear to many Kentuckians: mountain top removal. There are a whole host of technologies, regulations, and ethical concerns surrounding this issue–which makes it an ideal candidate for a course dedicated to scientific and technical writing.

Although this is the course topic, you are not required to write about it. Rather, I’ve supplied this topic only if it makes it easier for you.

To get us started thinking about rhetoric and invention (two key terms we’ll discuss today and on Thursday), let’s look at a few videos on our course topic.

Let’s also look at this short article, which outlines the debate surrounding mountain top removal:


To be clear, this is an ethically complex argument about which many of us will have strong personal convictions. I’m not advocating a politics in this course. I don’t want the course to be about the politics of mountain top removal. Instead, the topic provides us with things to write about–things that have social, economic, and environmental exigency.