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ENG 110 introduces students to rhetorical analysis and argument, while helping students to improve their writing skills and to develop their writing process. Students learn to read critically from a variety of texts, disciplines, and media. They also learn to synthesize texts to develop original arguments aimed at an academic audience. Grounded in ethical inquiry and reasoned debate, the course prompts students to use writing to make meaningful connections between and among their academic, social, and political lives.

This project tested the effectiveness of grounding a process-­‐based, argumentative paper in a visit to a Philadelphia civic institution. In ENG 110, students compose three argumentative paper cycles, responding to controversies developed in class readings and discussions. For the third of their paper cycles, I had my students read arguments about the function of civic spaces and then visit one of three Philadelphia museums: the Constitution Center, the Black History Museum, and the Liberty Museum. After their site visits, students gave group presentations, describing their experiences and connecting the spaces to the reading. Next, they developed papers offering an argument about the civic purpose of the institution. At the end of class, students submitted full portfolios containing all the development materials for each of their three paper cycles. They also filled out a survey designed to compare the three cycles.