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Nicole Williams

English 103 T/TH 8:00 and 11:00

Office: RB 280
Office Phone: (765) 285-0035
Office Hours: Tuesday 9:30-10:30 and 12:30-1:30, Wednesday 1:30-2:30
Online Hours: Thursday 1:00-3:00

Text Required:
Alfano, Christine L., and Alyssa J. O’Brien. Envision: Writing and Researching Argruments. 2nd
Ed. Longman (ISBN 0-321-46251-3)

Other Materials: Notebook, Folder, Stapler, flash drive or other device for storing files (use
ilocker), Ball Point online @ password is POP.

Course Description
English 103 is a core curriculum course that introduces students to college level writing. In this
course you will become familiar with the fundamentals of rhetoric, elements, strategies, and
conventions common to persuasion, how to use those elements, strategies, and conventions in the
constructing persuasive visual and verbal texts. In this course those skills will be introduced and
developed through discussions and activities centered on the reading and writing of a variety of

University Core Curriculum

The University Core Curriculum component of the Undergraduate curriculum is designed to
develop the knowledge, skills, and values that should be held in common by all graduates of the
university. The central purpose of University Core Curriculum is to enable men and women to
live rich and satisfying lives and to undertake the broad responsibilities of citizenship in a free
society. Although The University Core Curriculum seeks to discover and nurture individual
talents, its primary emphasis is preparation for roles people share as human beings and as
members of family and community groups.
The University Core Curriculum consists of more than the requirement that students have contact
with the major fields of knowledge. Program suggestsconcern for direction, organization, spirit,
appropriate instruction, and the kinds of intellectual attitudes the university strives to develop in
students. Through their core curriculum courses, students will be able to

1 Engage in lifelong education by learning to acquire knowledge and to use it for intelligent
2 Communicate at a level acceptable for college students.
3 Clarify their personal values and be sensitive to those held by others.
4 Recognize and seek solutions for the common problems of living by drawing on a
knowledge of historical and contemporary events and elements of the cultural heritage
surrounding those events.
5 Work with others to solve life’s common problems.
6 Assess their unique interests, talents, and goals and choose specialized learning
experiences that will foster their fulfillment.

Course Objectives
At the completion of English 103, students will be able to achieve the following goals:
1 Understand that persuasion-both visual and verbal-is integral to reading and composing.
2 Understand how persuasive visual and verbal texts are composed for different audiences
and different purposes.
3 Develop effective strategies of invention, drafting, and revision for different rhetorical
situations and individual composing styles.
4 Compose texts in various media using solid logic, claims, evidence, creativity, and
audience awareness.
5 Integrate primary and secondary research as appropriate to the rhetorical situation.
6 Develop strategies for becoming more critical and careful readers of both their own and
others’ texts.
7 Demonstrate a professional attitudes towards their writing by focusing on the need for
appropriate format, syntax, punctuation, and spelling.
8 Take responsibility for their own progress.
9 Develop the ability to work well with others on composing tasks.

Course Content
The content and format of English 103 are designed to enable students to achieve the course
goals; specifically, students in English 103 will:
1 Discuss, analyze, and respond to a variety of visual and verbal texts to identify rhetorical
elements, strategies, and conventions.
2 Discuss, analyze, and respond to the persuasive logics by which various visual and verbal
texts achieve, or fail to achieve, their purposes.
3 Collaborate in developing ideas, analyzing visual and verbal texts, and providing peer
4 Compose persuasive texts through multiple drafts, revising based on peer feedback, self-
reflection, instructor’s written comments, and teacher-student conferences.
5 Reflect (orally and textually) on the rhetorical choices and decisions they are required to
make as authors to shape a text for a specific audience and purpose.
6 Reflect (orally and textually) on the rhetorical choices and decisions they are required to
make in order to construct meaning out of another’s text.
7 Complete a variety of writing assignments for multiple purposes, audiences, and contexts,
using various media, and including primary and secondary research.

Course Policies

Successful Completion: In order to pass successfully pass this course you must attend class,
participate in class discussions, complete in class writings, outside readings, homework,
and complete all four formal writing assignments. Successful completion of the four formal
assignments includes turning in all required drafts and attending workshops and

Electronic Note: In an effort to do our part to help the environment, all course work will be
electronic based. Assignments will be posted online, all work will be handed in electronically
through Blackboard Digital Drop Box, workshops will be conducted electronically, and grades
will be kept electronically through BSU Gradebook. There will be no printing in the classroom.
Be sure to have a flash drive to transport and save work on. Additionally, we will go over how to
use all the technologies required for class. Together we can save hundreds of pounds of paper
this semester and, essentially, a lot of trees.

Attendance:What happens in class each day only works if everyone is here to participate as
much as possible; therefore, attendance is mandatory. You are allowed three absences for the
semester free and clear. I don’t need to know where you were or what you were doing.
However, each absence over three will automatically lower your grade by 1/3 of a letter
grade. For instance a B will go down to a B-. If you miss six classes or more you will fail the
course as Writing Program policy states.

Tardiness:I value the time we have together in class to accomplish our goals for the semester. I
do not appreciate students that interrupt class by habitually coming in late. It is distracting to me
and to your peers. Please come to class on time.

Participation:This course depends heavily on your readiness and willingness to contribute to

class discussions and activities daily. I expect each of you to work with me and each other to
make this a real community of learners. Therefore, you must come to class each day fully
prepared, having done all assigned readings and work, and ready to participate in class. A
portion of your grade depends upon class participation. Additionally, class activities are designed
to build off of outside work; therefore, I will know if you are unprepared and your grade will
reflect it.

In addition keep in mind:

1 Being absent is not an excuse for turning in late work. All assignments are
expected to be turned in at the class period they are due. If you are not going to be
in class e-mail your work to me by the beginning of class time. Late assignments
will be penalized half a letter grade for each day they are late. For example, a
B paper will go down to a C+. Late work will no longer be accepted a week
after the due date.

2 In class work cannot be made up so it would be wise to come to class prepared

each day.

Format for Assignments:

All formal writing (except multimodal compositions) should be:
1 Computer generated/typed
2 Double-spaced in 12 point Times New Roman font
3 1 inch margins on all sides
4 Name, date, course, and instructor should be listed on the top left, double-spaced.
5 Multiple pages should be stapled
6 Do not double space between paragraphs
7 Do not include cover sheets unless specified
8 Documented using MLA Style

Classroom Behaviors:
1 Our class meets in a computer classroom, which may pose several distractions.
Checking e-mail and surfing the web during class time is both rude and
inappropriate. This behavior will not be tolerated and will affect your
participation grade.
2 Please remember to turn off all cell phones, ipods, mp3 players, and other
communication devices that pose a distraction to our class. If your phone rings,
vibrates, sings, or makes any other noise during class I get to answer it. In
return, should my cell phone ever ring in class you get to answer it. Failure
to follow the policy will affect your participation grade.
3 Class time is not a time for private discussions amongst each other. Such
behavior is rude and disruptive to the class. Please save such conversations for
after class.

Respect: Respect for others in our classroom is non-negotiable. We will be discussing many
ideas and concepts that may challenge your current thinking. This is the fun of college! Have
respect for one another and be open to new ideas.

Academic Dishonesty:Presentation of someone else’s work as your own is dishonest and

unacceptable. If I find out that you have plagiarized you will receive a zero for the
assignment and, possibly, fail the course. In addition, your offense will be reported to the
Associate Provost for Academic Programs. Nothing angers me more than students who
plagiarize work. Be assured that I will find out if you have plagiarized, therefore it would be
wise for you to do your own work and cite any and all material you take from other sources.
Plain and simple-if it isn’t your own words or idea than tell me where you found it.
Course Adaptations:If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability,
if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special
arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as
soon as possible. My office location and hours are located at the top of the syllabus.

Writing Center: You are encouraged to take advantage of the Writing Center. The Writing
Center offers free one-to-one assistance on all your writing projects for all of your classes. The
Writing Center is located in RB 291. It is open Monday to Wednesday 10-7 and Thursday &
Friday 10-5. You may drop by or schedule an appointment online at
The writing center also offers help via e-mail and instant messaging.

Course Requirements

Formal Essays:For this class you will write four essays that are 3-4 pages each outside of class.
Each essay will require a draft that will be responded to by me and your peers. Assignments will
be discussed throughout the semester as the time for each approaches. Detailed assignment
sheets can be located on my website. All formal essays, unless other wise stated, should be typed
and double-spaced in Times New Roman font with one inch margins. In the top right corner
place your name, course and section number, date, and instructors name on four separate lines
double-spaced. Assignments are due at the beginning of class as stated on the course schedule.
All assignments will be turned in electronically through blackboard digital drop box.

Blogs: You will be required to create and maintain a blog throughout the semester. We will create
the blogs together in class. Each week you will be required to write at least one blog post on your
own blog and at least one post on a classmatesblog. Your blog entries each week should
discusses your thoughts and ideas on any of the assigned reading for that class week and how
they may relate to your own writing. This is your chance to reflect on the reading and writing
you do each week. We will discuss the conventions of blog writing in class. Your blog can be
thought of as your electronic journal to track your learning and progress during the semester. It is
also a tool to communicate and share ideas with your peers and the world.

In-class Writing:During class time you will be asked to write on a variety of issues, ideas, and
prompts that relate to readings and class material. These writings will assist in class discussion
and serve as a tool for both of us to reflect on the work you are doing. These will be completed
on blackboard during class time. You will find that each of you has your own section on the
discussion board where you will produce these assignments. This will allow you to view them all
in one place when it comes time to put together your portfolio.

Portfolios:The best way I have found to help students understand and appreciate what it means
when I say “writing is a process” is to include a portfolio component in my writing classes.
Twice this semester, once at midterm and once at the end of the semester, you will be responsible
for collecting and revising the work you’ve done in and outside class. You will turn in both
formal and informal writing, some of it revised, some of it not. You will also include an
introduction that discusses what you’ve learned and provides a self-evaluation of your writing.
These portfolios will be returned with a formal letter grades attached that evaluate the work in
the portfolio as well as your success in the class. These portfolios will be electronic web texts.

Group Project:Once this semester you will get together with a group of your peers to deliver a
power point presentation. A detailed assignment sheet will be handed out and posted on

Readings:Outside readings will be assigned for each class period. They are listed on the
schedule. It is vital to your grade that you complete all readings and come to class prepared to
discuss them.

Conferences: You will be responsible for meeting with me twice during the semester outside of
class. One conference will be at midtermto talk about the progress of your portfolio revisions.
The meetings will be about fifteen minutes long and I will cancel class for the week to
accommodate these conferences. I will tell you very specifically what you should bring to the
meeting at the time we schedule it. Failure to come to these conferences and/or failure to come
to these conferences prepared with a draft to work on will count as one week of absences-
furthermore,do not waste my time or your own by not showing up or showing up unprepared. I
am just as busy as you are, but if you are prepared to invest time in your writing then I am too. A
sign up sheet will be passed around as time the time approaches for conferences. It is your
responsibility to schedule a second conference with me at the end of the semester as you
prepare your final portfolio. Failure to schedule and attend will result in an absence.
Additionally, feel free to come to my office hours at any time during the semester.

Note: All writing you do in this class-drafts, revisions, in-class writing, journals-should be saved
so you have a wide selection to choose from when putting together your portfolio. It is
imperative that you save all yourwriting so you can see how you have developed as a writer
throughout the course of the semester.

Evaluation and Grading Policies

In this course you will not receive letter grades on individual drafts and assignments. I know
many of you are probably thinking that I am completely crazy for doing this. I also know not
receiving a letter grade on each paper will make some of you nuts however,it really is for the
best. Using this portfolio system of evaluation allows me the opportunity to give you credit for
the things that grading individual papers does not: such as effort and revision and improvement.
Although you will not receive individual letter grades on each draft you turn in, you will receive
extensive comments and feedback from me that will help you understand the quality of the work
you are doing as well as assist you in improving your writing. You will receive a letter grade at
mid-term and at the end of the semester when you turn in your portfolio. These two grades will
be based on the following criteria:
1 Meeting all of the requirements described above.
2 The quality of your written work, including how successful your revision work is.
3 The quality of your effort in class, in workshops, in discussion, in groups, in
conferences, and in general.
4 Your demonstration of a willingness to try new things, think in new ways, and
explore different perspectives as both a reader and a writer.
My comments should provide you with a clear understanding of your progress in the class; if you
ever feel as though you are unsure, come see me and we will discuss it.

Grading Percentage Breakdowns

Different assignments in this course require different levels of effort. The following breakdowns
should provide you with an idea of the amount of time and energy needed for each.
1 Blogs 10%
2 Group Project 10%
3 Participation- this includes attending class having completed all outside reading
and assignments, participating in class discussion, completing in-class writing
assignments, coming to conferences, and participating in other class activities.
4 Formal Writing Assignments
4 essay Drafts (5% each) 20%
5 Portfolio (mid-term 25% and final 25%) 50%

Please Note: A minimum course grade of C is required to move into English 104. I will be using
the BSU Gradebook to manage all grades.

I will be using the Writing Program Grading Rubric below to grade all formal assignments
included in the portfolio.

A = Superior – Convincingly and ardently communicates a noteworthy idea to an audience

through sophisticated use of rhetorical strategies.
1 Thesis/Focus-demonstrates an awareness of audience, is sophisticated, and clearly
established and maintained throughout.
2 Organization-has a clear sense of logical order appropriate to the content and thesis.
3 Development-demonstrates critical thinking that is clear, insightful, in depth, and
relevant to the topic.
4 Syntax and Diction-uses sophisticated language that engages the reader; manipulates
sentence length to enhance the total effect of the essay; uses precise language that
expresses complex ideas clearly.
5 Format and Design-fully integrates elements of design to best serve rhetorical purpose.
6 Research (if applicable)-uses sources effectively and documents sources accurately.
7 Mechanics-contains very few errors of spelling, grammar, paragraphing, or manuscript
B = Strong – Effectively conveys an insightful idea to an audience through consistent and
controlled use of rhetorical strategies.
1 Thesis/Focus-is intelligent, clearly established, and consistently addressed throughout.
2 Organization-is logical, clear, and controlled.
3 Development-demonstrates critical thinking that is more than adequate, with significant
detail; may show depth in thinking and research.
4 Syntax and Diction-demonstrates knowledge of and skill with complex and varied
sentence constructions and vocabulary.
5 Format and Design-consistently contributes to the persuasive aims of the assignment.
6 Research (if applicable)-uses sources effectively and documents accurately.
7 Mechanics-may contain errors, but these errors do not interfere with the essay’s overall
C = Competent – Communicates an idea, but does not consistently address the needs of its
1 Thesis/Focus-has a central idea that is conventional or general.
2 Organization-the essay’s organization is choppy and may, at times, be difficult to follow.
3 Development-demonstrates limited critical thinking and limited knowledge of the
4 Syntax and Diction-demonstrates competency with language use, but sentence
constructions and vocabulary may be limited or repetitive.
5 Format and Design-unevenly incorporates elements of design to aid its argument.
6 Research (if applicable)-lacks sufficient research for the topic, poorly incorporates
sources, or fails to document accurately.
7 Mechanics-contains multiple errors that hinder the essay’s readability.
D = Inadequate – Ineffectively communicates its idea to its intended audience.
1 Thesis/Focus-is superficial and inconsistently addressed; reveals limited awareness of
2 Organization-reveals no apparent strategy and lapses in focus and logic.
3 Development-displays little knowledge of the subject, does not form conclusions, or fails
to exhibit critical thinking or clear reasoning.
4 Syntax and Diction-contains repetitive, incorrect, or ineffective sentence structure;
displays a limited vocabulary.
5 Format and Design-bears little relevance to the assignment’s rhetorical purpose or
6 Research (if applicable)-lacks sufficient research for the topic, poorly incorporates
sources, or fails to document sources accurately.
7 Mechanics-contains many errors that garble the meaning or intent.
F = Incompetent – Fails to present its ideas to the audience and does not meet some or all of the
criteria for the assignment.
1 Thesis/Focus-lacks a central idea, has no awareness, or limited awareness, of its
audience and purpose.
2 Organization-is random and without focus.
3 Development-displays little or no knowledge of the subject, does not form conclusions,
or fails to exhibit critical thinking or clear reasoning.
4 Syntax and Diction-fails to demonstrate competency with language use; sentence
constructions and vocabulary may be inappropriate, facile, or incoherent.
5 Format and Design-makes no attempt to use the elements of design to help persuade its
6 Research (if applicable)-fails to include sufficient sources for topic, incorporates
irrelevant or inadequate sources, or plagiarizes.
7 Mechanics-contains serious and multiple errors that seriously hinder the reading of the