English 3123
Topics in Advanced Composition
Spring 2005

Dr. Chip Rogers
Phone: 341-8908
Email: chip@fleetman.com
Web address: www.chipspage.com
Office: 206C Baird Hall
Office phone: 343-7748
Office hours: MWF 10:00-11:00, 12:00-1:00;
   TuTh 11:00-1:00; and by appointment


The RSU Bulletin describes English 3123 as "Practice in writing with emphasis on style and strategies of composition. Focus varies." We will have two overlapping central concerns throughout the semester: 1) argumentation, or strategies of effective persuasion, and 2) the study and application of principles and practices from ancient rhetoric in contemporary rhetorical situations. This course assumes your fundamental proficiency in writing academic essays through earlier coursework and aims to develop and refine your abilities in critical thinking and in writing polished and persuasive arguments at an advanced level of sophistication. 

Successful completion of English 1113 and 1213 or their equivalents, or instructor's permission.

Texts and Materials

Ancient Rhetorics for Contemporary Students, by Sharon Crowley and Debra Hawhee, 3rd edition.
A Writer's Reference, by Diana Hacker, 5th edition.
"Handouts" from my web site and readings on reserve in the library.

Core Requirements

6 formal essays of 1200-1500 words. 
Workshops and peer response writings for formal essays. 

Corrections of graded formal essays. 

Reading quizzes and participation in class discussion.
Quizzes and exams on grammar, convention, diction, and mechanics.


Each class is important, so it is crucial that you be in class on time every day. I record attendance daily, and absences will affect your grade. For this course there are no distinctions between "excused" and "unexcused" absences. Students with more than five absences will receive an automatic F for the course—regardless of the reasons for any of the absences. I understand that "stuff happens," and not every student will be able to attend every single class meeting. I will try to work with you on any major assignments you happen to miss (i.e. any assignments other than reading quizzes), especially when you let me know about the absence before missing class: feel free to call me at home or send email any time you know you will not be in class.

Late work: Late work will be penalized one letter grade for each class day the assignment is late. Work turned in more than three class days late will receive no higher grade than F.

Bare minimum course requirements: Regardless of your overall grade average, to be eligible to pass the course you must turn in all six essays and all sets of essay corrections.

Plagiarism: Except for assignments expressly calling for collaborative effort, all written work must be your own. Any unacknowledged borrowing from the writings of others will be considered plagiarism, a serious breach of academic integrity. I will submit any cases of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty for review by the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. Penalties for plagiarism are severe, ranging from an F for the course to expulsion from the college. For a fuller definition of plagiarism, follow the "On Plagiarism" link on my web site.    

ADA Statement: Rogers State University is committed to providing students with disabilities equal access to educational programs and services. Before any educational accommodation can be provided, any student who has a disability that he or she believes will require some form of accommodation must do the following: 1) inform the professor of each class of such need; and 2) register for services to determine eligibility for assistance with the Office of Student Affairs, located in the Student Union.

Students needing more information about Student Disability Services should contact:

Jan Smith-Clayton
Director of Student Development
Office of Student Affairs
Rogers State University

Teaching Methods and Evaluation Instruments

Class discussion: Most class periods will involve open discussion of the readings with very little lecture. Your participation in discussion is mandatory. I will call on reticent or "quiet" students frequently, and class participation does factor into your semester grade.

Reading quizzes: unannounced quizzes testing your close attention to the readings.

Formal essays: the guts of the course—formal essays present carefully structured and polished argumentation on issues arising from the readings and discussion. I will post detailed options and instructions for each essay on the web. You will turn in formal essays printed on paper in "hard copy" and also electronically, either as email attachments or on PC-compatible floppy disks. 

Writing workshops: small-group discussion critiquing student essay drafts.

Peer response writings involve close reading of classmates' essays and written criticism and advice on how to improve them. I will provide handouts to help focus your criticism for each peer response.

Corrections: After I grade and hand back each essay, you will 1) identify and record all marked errors on corrections worksheets, and 2) hand in corrected drafts with all changes indicated in bold type or highlighted. For specifics, see corrections instructions

Grammar and mechanics quizzes and exams: on basic concepts in grammar, convention, diction, and mechanics following discussion of my "Golden Rules," "Nuggets," "Word Problems," and "Quotes and Documentation" web pages. Golden Rules are important rules of grammar and style. The Nuggets cover a variety of conventions and problems, especially in the handling of quotations. A variety of common problems in diction are described in Word Problems. The Quotes and Documentation handout presents basic conventions for citing and documenting sources according to MLA guidelines. Most of this material should have been covered in composition courses you have already completed, so I intend that these items be relatively painless review.

Conferences: Conferences are not mandatory, but I strongly recommend them at any stage of the essay-writing process—exploring topics, drafting, revising, editing, or rewriting. My typical aim in conferences is to head off potential problems in your papers and to offer helpful, critical response to your work before you submit it for grading.

"Rewrites": You may rewrite and resubmit up to two graded formal essays for re-grading. Rewrite grades replace original grades completely.  Note that rewriting involves far more substantial revision than correcting grammatical errors: rewrites should also address larger problems in focus, structure, content, and style. The starting point for revision is my typed comments on your graded essays; rewrites should also address comments and questions written in the margins of your graded papers. 


You will keep all drafts of all six formal essays, including corrections, in one "formal essay folder"—all drafts of each essay should remain in this folder throughout the semester. It's a good idea to collect all handouts, quizzes, and exercises as a sort of "evolving textbook" in a second folder or notebook. 


As you will see, I am a firm believer in using the Internet as a teaching tool. Most handouts and all out-of-class assignments will be posted on my web site rather than being distributed as "hard copy" in class—you are responsible for printing and reading these web-page "handouts" before we discuss them in class. Most handouts are indicated as linked pages on the schedule of readings and assignments. I also encourage you to email me with questions on any course matters large or small. 

Final grade breakdown

 Class participation
 Reading quizzes
 Simple stuff exercise
 Golden rules exam
 Nuggets exam
 Quotes and documentation exam
 Word problems quiz
 Peer responses 
 Essay 1
 Essay 2 
 Essay 3 
 Essay 4 
 Essay 5
 Essay 6

You should track your grades throughout the semester by keeping a "Scorecard." See me to check your cumulative grade at any time—I keep grades on computer spreadsheets that are updated weekly. 

The Bottom Line: I hope every member of this class gets an A, and I will do everything I can to make this happen. Don't get me wrong—the standards for "A" work are high, and I make no exceptions in course policies on absences, missed assignments, plagiarism, or late work. But I guarantee you have one of the most accessible instructors at Rogers State: ask for help outside of class, and I'll do my level best to deliver. 

Teaching history
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