English 1101: English Composition I
Arts and Sciences (COAS) 203
As described in the MGA Catalog, English 1101 is "a composition course focusing on skills required for effective writing in a variety of contexts, with emphasis on exposition, analysis, and argumentation, and also including introductory use of a variety of research skills. Satisfactory placement test score or successful completion of Learning Support English and Reading is required prior to admission to this course."
My fundamental aim is to help you improve your ability to read and think critically and to write effective essays. This course will develop your skill building effective analytical and argumentative essays so that by semester's end, and hopefully much sooner, you will be crafting well-structured compositions that are unified, developed, coherent, and fundamentally sound both in substance and in grammar and mechanics. Whatever your present abilities, I promise this course will improve your writing and equip you with the essentials for more advanced college writing.
Required Texts and Materials
The Little, Brown Reader, 12th edition, by Sonia Maasik and Jack Solomon, ISBN 978-0-205-02862-7
Easy Writer, 5th edition, by Andrea Lunsford, ISBN 978-1-4576-4046-9
Launchpad Solo for Easy Writer, 5e (online writing resource, included with new copy of Easy Writer, 5th ed., available for purchase separately).
"Handouts" from my website (www.chipspage.com).
Attendance: Each class is important, so it is crucial that you be in class on time every day. I record attendance, and absences do affect your grade. Students with more than four absences fail the class, regardless of the reasons for any of the absences—I make no distinction between "excused" and "unexcused" absences. I understand that "stuff happens," and not every student will be able to attend every class meeting. I will try to work with you on any major assignments you happen to miss (assignments other than reading quizzes), especially when you notify me of the absence missing class: email me anytime you must miss class.
Textbooks: The texts ordered for this class, in the correct editions, are absolutely mandatory. Students who fail to acquire the proper texts at the beginning of the semester will likely fail the course.
Late work: Late work is 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, and I accept no work more than two weeks late.
Bare minimum course requirements: Regardless of your overall grade average, to be eligible to pass the course you must turn in all five essays (four papers and an in-class essay) and all sets of corrections. The final exam is also mandatory.
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 cases of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty for review by the Student Conduct Officer. The penalty for plagiarism in this class is an "F" for the entire course, not just the assignment in question. See the more specific definition of plagiarism in the English 1101 Syllabus Supplement; also see "On Plagiarism."Cell phones/personal electronics: The use of cell phones, smart-phones, PDA's, ipods, and other hand-held personal electronic devices is forbidden during face-to-face class meetings. All such devices must be kept out of sight for the duration of class—off of desks and out of laps. I will count absent any student texting or viewing a personal electronic device, and if the problem persists I will ask students not abiding by this policy to leave the classroom. Students who wish to take notes on laptops may do so, but only if they sit in the back of the classroom.
Instruments of Evaluation
Class discussion: Most class periods will involve open discussion of the reading assignments with little lecture, so your participation in discussion is essential. I will call on reticent or "quiet" students. To participate, obviously you must be present in class; to score higher than B- in participation you will need to contribute in discussion spontaneously and appropriately several times each class meeting, as well as being fully engaged in all other course activities, including online assignments and individual and collaborative work outside of class.
Reading quizzes: unannounced quizzes testing your close attention to the readings.
Writing exercises: written assignments, usually brief and sometimes collaborative, that vary as need arises.
The in-class essay is like an essay exam, but here your work is evaluated for structural, grammatical, and stylistic quality as well as content.
Formal papers: the guts of the courseformal papers present carefully structured and polished argumentation or analysis of issues arising from the readings and discussion. I will post detailed options and instructions for all four papers on the web. You will turn in formal papers printed on paper in "hard copy" and also submit them digitally in the Brightspace (D2L) online learning management system.
Peer responses involve close reading of classmates' essays and guided written criticism and advice on how to improve them.
Corrections: After I grade and hand back each essay, you will 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 matters of grammar, convention, diction, and mechanics following discussion of my "Golden Rules," "Nuggets," "Word Problems," and "Quotations" 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 number of common problems in diction are described in Word Problems. The Quotations page presents basic conventions in MLA-style citation and documentation of sources.
Launchpad exercises: online instruction with exercises on various matters of grammar, diction, and mechanics.
Plagiarism module: This assignment involves online instruction (in Brightspace/D2L) on what constitutes plagiarism, a multiple-choice test, and an exercise on incorporating sources into your writing with correct documentation.
Conferences: I strongly recommend one-on-one conferences in my office at any stage of the paper-writing processexploring 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.
Final exam: The exam will consist of an essay on specific readings from the end of the semester.
Paper "rewrites": You may rewrite and resubmit graded formal papers (the four out-of-class 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 papers; rewrites should also address comments and questions written in the margins of the original graded papers.Folders/Portfolios
You will keep all drafts of all four formal papers, including corrections, in one "formal paper folder"all drafts of each essay should remain in this folder throughout the semester. By departmental policy, I will keep these folders for a full semester following your completion of this course, at which time I'll be happy to return folders to students who request them. It's a good idea to collect all handouts, quizzes, and exercises as a sort of "evolving textbook" in a second folder or notebook.
Final grade breakdown
English Department "D" average stipulation: If you have a "D" average or lower on the major assignments, no participation or daily grade average (reading quizzes, e.g.) can bring the overall average up to a C.
Keeping up with grades: You should check your grades periodically in Brightspace (D2L). Let me know if you have concerns about your class average or grades on specific assignments before you consider withdrawing from the course.
A note on note-taking: Although this course involves little lecture and we do not have unit tests on the readings and discussions, you will have a much easier time writing effective paperspapers that receive higher gradesif you take notes during every class period. "A" students typically take extensive notes. Even in discussions where your classmates do more "discussing" than the professor, you should take notes on any significant contributions made by anyone in the discussion. You would also do well to underline, highlight, or otherwise make note of all passages from the readings that we take special notice of in class.
For those intent on doing their absolute best: Tutoring is available free of charge in the Student Success Centers (SSC) on all campuses for currently enrolled students. The Macon campus SSC is located in the lower level of the Library building; the Cochran SSC is on the Roberts Library third floor; the Warner Robins SSC is in Oak Hall Room 128; in Dublin the SSC is in Library Room 200; and in Eastman the SSC is in Room 1181 of the TLC Center.
Students on all campuses can book SSC tutoring sessions by visiting mga.mywconline.com/. The SSC website also posts tutoring schedules for other centers across the five campuses, including the Writing Center. All tutoring centers across the five campuses are free of charge. Other services at the SSC include online academic workshops and a robust website with resources for academic assistance. The centers also have computer workstations, free printing, and Internet access.
The Bottom Line: I hope every member of this class gets an A, and I will do all I can to make this happen. Don't get me wrongthe standards for "A" work are high, and I make no exceptions in course policies on attendance, missed assignments, plagiarism, or late work. The number-one key to succeeding in this class is that you take responsibility for your own success, meaning that you attend to all assignments with careful, earnest diligence, that you respond positively to any setbacks and heed my feedback on all assignments, and that you seek my help as much and as often as you need it. I guarantee you have one of the most accessible professors at Middle Georgia State: ask for help outside of class, and I'll do my level best to deliver.