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ENG 101-N: First-Year Seminar in Rhetoric and Writing

Fall 2009
Evans 135, MWF 2:00-2:50

Instructor: Shawn P. McCauley
Office: Evans 204
Office Phone: 238-5857

Office Hours: MWF 9:00-11:00, TTH 9:00-11:00, and by appointment

Catalog Description: Emphasis on development of analytical and rhetorical thinking and writing
skills appropriate for civic, academic and professional audiences. Recognition and manipulation of
the basic parts of the expository essay (i.e. theses, topic ideas; transitions; paragraph structure and
development; introductions and conclusions). Introduction to elements of process writing, including
pre-writing, drafting, and revision strategies and rudiments of citation and documentation. PR:
Satisfactory score on college aptitude text. A grade of C- or better is required to pass out of this

Course Description: This course is devoted to moving students from merely topical to analytical
and rhetorical thinking and writing. By the end of the course, students will be able to recognize and
manipulate the basic parts of the expository essay (i.e. theses, topic ideas; transitions; paragraph
structure and development; introductions and conclusions) in order to develop more complex and
critical ideas suited to general, academic, and/or assignment-specific audiences as evidenced in their
production of expository essays. To this end, students will be introduced to pre-writing, drafting,
and revision strategies. Students will also learn to evaluate and revise their writing at the sentence
level in terms of syntax, grammatical correctness, and style. Finally, the course will introduce
students to effective citation and integration of secondary sources into their own arguments.

Textbook(s): Although you are not required to purchase a textbook for this class, this does not
necessarily mean that you will not be doing a lot of reading. Rather than relying on a bound volume
purchased from the bookstore, our primary text will instead be the writing that you and your
classmates will produce over the course of the semester. Secondary texts will consist of a variety of
works composed by others, all of which will be made available on VikingWeb. We will also be
looking at materials taken from the The New York Times on a regular basis, so you may want to go
ahead and bookmark the “Editorials and Opinions” and “Blogs” sections.

Note: You must also purchase a Berry College theme folder, which you will use to turn in all
of your final drafts at the end of the course.

Purpose of the Course: The primary purpose of ENG 101 is to help you become a more analytical
writer, reader, and thinker—one prepared to analyze and understand ideas and to express the results
of that analysis cogently and clearly in writing.

Student Learning Outcomes: By the conclusion of the term, you will:
• have developed writing-to-thinking and prewriting strategies for generating writing topics
and theses;
• have developed strategies for “writerly” revision focusing on essay organization, paragraph
coherence and thesis development; as well as “readerly” revision strategies for editing at the
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sentence level and for style;
• be able to develop and support an analytical thesis/focusing idea throughout an expository
• be able to write developed and coherent paragraphs that support a thesis/focusing idea;
• be able to integrate and cite source material appropriately;
• be able to evaluate course readings, peer essays, and your own writing for rhetorical
• have developed their ability to think critically about a given issue or problem using definition,
comparison, causality, conjecture, and exemplification.

These outcomes all help fulfill Berry’s General Education Competencies of developing clear and
analytical reasoning, effective communication, and the ability to make informed and moral
responsible choices.

Assessment Measures: Because ENG 101 is based on a thinking-into-writing model where much of
the writing is preliminary to the production of finished work, pre-writing, drafting and writing to
revise represent a good deal of the work of the class and may include exercises, invention notes,
group work, peer reviewing, in-class writing, essay drafting, and so forth. By the end of the term,
students will have completed at least 20 to 25 finished pages of finished work in the form of at least
4 expository essays and one revision or portfolio essay.

Evaluation Components and Grading Scale:
Class Blog* 10%
Essay #1 15%
Essay #2 15%
Essay #3 20%
Essay #4 20%
Revision of Essay #1, #2, or #3 20%
Total 100%

A: 93-100% A-: 90-92% B+: 87-89% B: 83-86% B-: 80-82 C+: 77-79% C: 73-76%

Please note: A “C” does not mean failure, although many of you may perceive it as such. A
“C” implies reasonable and average mastery of ideas, concepts, and skills. No grade
concessions are given for “effort”—I already expect you to do your best work at all times.

* Class Blog: At the beginning of the semester, a rotating schedule will be set up so that groups of
you will take turns responding to a “Conversation Piece” that I will post periodically on the Class
Blog. This Conversation Piece may take the form of a single word or phrase, a statement, a
question, an image, a link, a video clip, or whatever else I come up with for each session.

If it is your group’s turn to post, your task is to compose a brief reflection on this Conversation Piece
and post it to the class blog for the entire class to see. If you are the first student to log on, then you
may move in any direction you wish from the starting point that I provide. If you are not the first
student to log on, then you must also be sure to read the responses of the students who have posted
before you prior to composing your own. You don't want to repeat the exact same things that your
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classmates’ have already said, and you may even find food for thought in what they have written—
something that will spark ideas of your own and move the discussion into new territory. Feel free to
directly address the posts made by your peers, either in agreement or respectful disagreement, but
make sure that you contribute something new to the conversation in doing so. Ideally, your
collective posts will constitute the beginnings of a conversation that we will subsequently take up and
build upon in class, rather than a disjointed series of individual posts that amounts to little more than

Note: It is the responsibility of every student in the course to read the class blog prior to each
class meeting, even if you are not scheduled to post.

Methods of Instruction: Class meetings will be devoted to a combination of lecture, class
discussion, and exercises and workshops requiring individual or collaborative work. Students may
also receive individual instruction and assistance in conferences with the instructor and with student
tutors in the Writing Center.

Attendance Policy: You are allowed up to three unexcused absences. An excused absence requires a
note from the infirmary or your dean. For each additional unexcused absence, three (3) points will
be deducted from your final grade. Also, as stated in the Viking Code, students who do not attend at
least 80% of our class meetings will automatically fail the course.

Note: If you come to a class session designated as a “workshop” day without the required
material (drafts or notes), then you will receive an unexcused absence for that day. Also, if
you are absent from class, regardless of whether the absence is excused or not, it is your
responsibility to find out what you missed in class. You must find a classmate and learn both
what went on in class and what is expected of you for the next class. Also, you should
arrange to make copies of any handouts you missed—it is your responsibility to make sure
you have all the materials provided on days you are absent. Typically, all handouts and
course materials will be posted on VikingWeb.

Academic Integrity: There are four generally accepted categories of academic dishonesty:
• Cheating, i.e. using unauthorized materials and/or help to complete academic work;
• Fabrication, i.e. making up or falsifying data or citations in academic work;
• Plagiarism, i.e. presenting someone else’s words or ideas as one’s own;
• Facilitating academic dishonesty, i.e. helping someone to do any of the above, or failing to
report knowledge of any of the above.

Any of these actions related to work submitted for a grade in this course will result in a grade of zero
for the attendant assignment. In particular, although you may work together in class and outside of
class to generate and workshop ideas for your essays, drafting and revision work must be entirely
your own, and you must, if you incorporate source materials into your essays, give full and fair
credit. Any form of intentional fabrication or plagiarism will result in a zero for the assignment and
may result in your failure of the course and/or endanger your academic standing at Berry. Please see
Berry College’s Viking Code for further information on this issue and, when in doubt about proper
forms of collaboration, ask me.
ENG 101-L 4

Accommodation Statement: Students with disabilities who believe that they may need
accommodation in this course are encouraged to contact the Academic Support Center in Krannert
Room 329 (ext. 4080) as soon as possible to ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a
timely fashion.

Tutorial Availability: I am in my office during stated office hours and am also usually available by
appointment. If you have questions or need extra help, ask. Email is another excellent way of
getting in touch with me outside of office hours for those questions that don't demand an immediate

Berry College has a Writing Center available to you as a free service to assist you with any aspect of
writing for this class or any other class. The Writing Center (233 Evans) is staffed by students who
are trained in writing theory/practice, and the tutors are friendly and knowledgeable. Use their help,
although you cannot expect them to either write or edit your paper for you.

Tentative Due Dates for Papers:
Essay #1: Monday, September 14
Essay #2: Friday, October 9
Essay #3: Friday, November 6
Revision of Essay #1, #2, or #3 Monday, November 23
Essay #4: Monday, December 7

Instructor’s Bibliography: See VikingWeb and the Class Blog for a list of links to useful websites.