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UNIV 112

Focused Inquiry is about asking questions. Good questions. Thoughtful questions. Probing questions. And all kinds of questions: What is the meaning of justice? What makes for a good citizen? Why is there a decline in the global birth rate? What is the cultural function of cosplay?

As the second part of a three-semester course sequence, UNIV 112 will help students to improve their writing skills while continuing work on their critical thinking, ethical reasoning, collaboration, oral communication, and information fluency skills. UNIV 112 is designed to provide students with practice in multimodal analysis, textual analysis and synthesis, and argumentative writing supported by ethical reasoning. This practice will prepare students for the types of writing they will encounter and be expected to produce throughout their university career (and perhaps even beyond). Like UNIV 111, UNIV 112 applies the notion of the "spiral curriculum" in that students will build their skills by repeating key concepts and adding to the complexity of those concepts with each subsequent unit.

The course continues to apply critical thinking to texts and ideas, with a specific focus on analyzing and creating academic arguments that make sound claims and support conclusions with appropriate evidence (critical thinking). This thinking is demonstrated, by creating formal and informal pieces of writing in a variety of genres, to include multimodal, analytical, and an ethical reasoning argument (written communication). Students will continue to work with peers on group assignments, projects and classroom activities; and practice peer response to writing assignments (collaborative work).

Students will continue to build communication skills through active participation in class discussions and formal presentations (spoken communication). They will retrieve information through VCU Libraries, evaluate source reliability, and critically read and respond to texts (information fluency). Students will consider multiple ethical points of view; apply methods of ethical reasoning to texts and arguments (ethical reasoning) while also evaluating quantitative information when used as evidence (quantitative literacy)

What we’ve just described are the seven core skills of Focused Inquiry:

  1. Critical Thinking
  2. Ethical Reasoning
  3. Information Fluency
  4. Quantitative Literacy
  5. Collaborative Work
  6. Written Communication
  7. Spoken Communication

In UNIV 112, you will continue to develop your ability to interpret, analyze, evaluate, and infer based on appropriate evidence. The course will emphasize writing, revising, and proofreading. By the end of the class, you will produce work that reflects your ability to appropriately frame writing according to both purpose and audience. More specifically, you will be equipped to narrow your topics to an academic focus, analyze single texts, analyze and synthesize multiple texts, construct an argument based on ethical reasoning and scholarly evidence which contends with counter-arguments, shape your ideas for an academic audience, correct mechanical problems in your writing, and cite sources appropriately.

Virginia Commonwealth University

Department of Focused Inquiry

Harris Hall, 5th Floor
1015 Floyd Avenue
Box 842015
Richmond, Virginia 23284-2015

Phone: 804-827-0838

Updated: 6/7/2019

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