ENGL 1303: English Composition I
Instructor: Darin Ciccotelli
Meeting Time: 1:00 – 2:30 MW
Class Location: Technology Annex 120G
Office Hours: 1:00 – 2:30 TTH
Office Location: Roy Cullen Bldg. 101A
Mailbox: Roy Cullen Bldg. 205
Course Goals and Methods: English 1303 satisfies 3 of 6 hours of the University of Houston core curriculum Level I (Composition) requirement. The catalog describes this course as “A detailed study of the principles of rhetoric as applied in reading and writing expository essays.” More specifically, this course will help you identify and effectively use a variety of tools and strategies available to you as you face academic and day-to-day writing tasks.
We will approach writing both as a way of thinking and as a way of communicating thought. We will focus on the concurrent activities of invention, elaboration, and revision. More specifically, we will use invention to discover what it is possible to say; we will use drafts to discover more precisely what we want to say and how we want to say it; and we will use revisions to further develop our thoughts and to make sure they are working for our intended audiences, moving back and forth among these activities as we mold and shape our work. In class we will discuss assigned readings, but we will also work in small groups to explore and refine our responses, both to the readings, and to one another’s written drafts in progress.
The key to succeeding in this course is to understand writing as an ongoing process of thinking, drafting, rethinking, and revising. As important as getting a “finished” draft down on paper will be the process of drafting, exploring, and then changing and refining that draft to better meet your writing goals and your audience’s expectations. Finally, we will work on preparing manuscripts that are professional. We will address issues of mechanics, grammar, and presentation in terms of the earned authority of a manuscript.
Prerequisites: In order to be enrolled in English 1303 students must meet one of the following minimum test scores: TASP/THEA 240 or TASP/THEA Exempt; TSWE 40; SAT 500 Verbal; ACT 19 Verbal; COMPASS 6; TOEFL 4.5; or PENSSE. It is the student’s responsibility to show the instructor proof that he or she has met the course prerequisites. Students who do not show proof by the 12th day of the semester will be dropped from the course.
Course Objectives: The student who completes this course will be expected to:
1. Understand and demonstrate writing as a process of successive drafts involving invention, organization, drafting, revision, editing and presentation.
2. Understand the importance of specifying audience and purpose and the selection of appropriate communication devices, such as voice, tone, level of formality, etc.
3. Recognize, understand, and apply the conventions of format, structure, and style appropriate to a variety of rhetorical situations and genres, including narrative and exposition.
4. Participate effectively in groups with emphasis on listening, reflecting, and responding.
•John D. Ramage, John C. Bean, and June Johnson, Allyn and Bacon Guide to Writing, Brief Edition, 3rd custom ed. (Longman, 2006; custom-cut for UH.)
•Lester Faigley, The Brief Penguin Handbook, 2nd ed. (Pearson Longman, 2006.)
•Copies of these textbooks, and all textbooks for Core Curriculum Courses, are available in the reserves section of M. D. Anderson Library (Access Services, 1st floor)
•Students will be responsible for three major writing assignments (3-5 pgs), all which will require multiple drafts.
Note: Late homework assignments or journal pages will not be accepted for any reason. Also, make-up quizzes will not be given for any reason.
•Students will be responsible for short homework assignments (1-2 pgs.), as well as journal pages and in-class quizzes.
•Students will be responsible for an end-of-the-semester portfolio, which includes all drafts and work on one major writing assignment. Please save all homeworks and drafts related to these assignments.
•Students are expected to attend class. A student with more than four absences will be automatically dropped for excessive absence at the instructor’s discretion.
•Religious holidays may be excused if the student submits a notice to the instructor stating her or his intention in advance of the absence.
•Students are responsible for any work assigned during a prior absence.
•Students are expected to read assigned material and come to class prepared to discuss or work on that material. Participation is a part of the student’s grade (see policy under “Professionalism”).
•Students are expected to be on time. If a student is more than 10 minutes late, he or she will be considered absent.
•Students will silence cell phones and will not send text messages for the entirety of the class. Any student who sends text messages in class will be asked to leave, and her or his departure will count as an absence.
•Students should turn in all major writing assignments on time. One letter grade will be deducted for each day that an assignment is late. Any assignment that is not turned in four days after the original due date will be given a zero.
•Students are required to type all assignments, including homework. Handwritten assignments will not be accepted. Also, assignments should use a twelve-point font and one-inch margins throughout the document. Any papers whose fonts or margins exceed these requirements may not be accepted.
•Students are required to bring their textbook to every class meeting. Students who do not bring their textbooks can be considered absent.
•Students are responsible for saving copies of any work turned in for grading.
Note: Students will be allowed to express themselves in this class. No matter how much you disagree with a student, that student is entitled to courtesy, respect, and the right to be heard.
•Students are expected to do their own work. The University of Houston Academic Policies define and prohibit academic dishonesty as follows: “‘Academic dishonesty’ means employing a method or technique or engaging in conduct in an academic endeavor that the student knows or should know is not permitted by the university or a course instructor to fulfill academic requirements” (Article 3.02; see Student Handbook URL www.uh.edu/dos/hdbk for further details). The primary concern in this course is plagiarism, again defined in the Academic Honesty Policy: “Representing as one’s own work the work of another without acknowledging the source.” Plagiarism will be dealt with according to its type and severity: faulty citation of sources will be treated as a matter for teaching and revision; willful and knowing academic dishonesty will be dealt with according to University policy and can result in failure of the assignment or the course, and/or suspension from or expulsion from the University.
•Students are expected to treat each other in a courteous and professional manner.
Academic Support Services:
The Writing Center, AH 211-217, maintains a staff of tutors who are trained to help you with your writing at any stage of the writing process. You are encouraged to visit the writing center at any time; students may occasionally be instructed to visit the writing center for a specific purpose.
The Center for Students with DisABILITIES “In compliance with the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Center for Students with DisABILITIES (CSD) provides ‘reasonable and necessary’ testing accommodations for qualified students with health impairments, physical limitations, psychiatric disorders, and learning disabilities.” Students who want to know more about these services should consult the Student Handbook, or should contact CSD in Room 110 of the Justin Dart, Jr. Center for Students with DisABILITIES (building #568), 713-743-5400 (voice) or 713-749-1527 (TTY); www.uh.edu/csd.
Professionalism: Our class will reproduce in many ways a “real-world” work environment. Students will be expected to participate professionally—being on time, meeting deadlines, collaborating, and making meaningful contributions—in each class. Professionalism includes all of these as well as regular attendance and a sincere effort to improve your own writing (as well as that of your peers through peer review, revision, and conferencing). Class absences could negatively affect your professionalism grade. In some cases, professionalism could mean the difference between one grade and the next—or, in borderline cases, between passing and failing.
Note: Students are recommended to choose the writing assignment that shows their most development as a writer. It is not necessarily a good idea to choose the writing assignment that received the highest grade.
Portfolios: Students will be required to submit an end-of-the-semester portfolio. The goal of this portfolio is to demonstrate writing-as-process. As a result, students must collect all of their work on one of the three writing assignments (First Draft, Revised Draft, and Final Draft—as well as any homework, notes, or outlines which pertain to the writing). Students will hand in these materials, along with a Portfolio Preface (3 pgs.) which introduces and reflects upon the students’ writing.
Reading Journal: Students will be required to write short responses (1-2 pgs.) to all textbook chapters and supplementary class readings. These responses are not “papers” in the traditional sense. Instead, students should write one paragraph (4-7 sentences) in which they summarize the content of the reading, a second paragraph in which they respond to key terms and ideas, and third and fourth paragraphs in which they talk about their own responses to the text.
These responses must be typed, but they are not to be thought of as “finished prose.” They will not be graded on the basis of grammar or style. Instead, they will simply be evaluated based on whether or not the student has shown a significant understanding of and then response to the text. Journal entries that show such a response will receive credit for the assignment. These journal entries will be collected and returned throughout the semester; however, students will be asked to submit them once again as a group at the end of the course. Evaluation of the journal as a whole will determine a student’s final grade on the reading journal.
Note: Failure to attend a conference will count as two absences. Conferences cannot be scheduled or made up.
Note: It is the students’ responsibility to attend class and be advised of any and all syllabus changes.
Conferences: During one week of our course, class meetings may be canceled; in lieu of class, students may instead be required to attend one fifteen-minute conference with the instructor. These conferences would be used to plan revision strategies for the Final Draft of the Summary/Strong Response assignment, but students can ask general questions about their writing.
Syllabus Changes: An English Composition class is an organic thing. No two are ever the same. As a result, if necessary, the instructor may change the assignments, due dates, and other aspects of the course as outlined in this syllabus.
Revision Policy: Students are required to hand in a First Draft and Revised Drafts of each of the three writing assignments. However, if a student is unhappy with her or his final drafts, that student may write additional drafts of an essay. Each additional draft will be graded, and will only change the student’s grade if it improves their score. Before writing said drafts, however, students must conference with the instructor to outline a revision strategy and establish a due date. Students who do not conference with the instructor will not be allowed to submit additional drafts.
Partial Course Schedule
(subject to change)
Week 1 (August 25, 27)
Week 2 (September 3)
Labor Day Holiday (September 1) – No Class
Readings: ABGuide, Chapters 1-2
Alice Mathias, “The Fakebook Generation”
Theodora Stites, “Rock My Network”
J. W. Young, “You Say You Want a Revolution”
Assignments: Posing Problematic Questions, p. 22
Believing and Doubting, p. 41
Week 3 (September 8, 10)
Readings: ABGuide, Chapters 3-4
Donnell Alexander, “Cool Like Me”
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, “Perfect Parenting, Part II; or: Would a Roshanda by Any Other Name Smell as Sweet?”
Assignments: Analyzing Angle of Vision, p. 91
Week 4 (September 15, 17)
Readings: ABGuide, Chapters 7, 19-20 (selections)
Additional Readings To Be Announced
Assignments: Narrative Essay, p. 169
Week 5 (September 22, 24)
Readings: To Be Announced
Assignments: Revisions of Narrative Essay
FIRST DRAFT DUE (9/24)
Week 6 (September 29, October 1)
Readings: To Be Announced
Assignments: Revisions of Narrative Essay
Week 7 (October 6, 8)
Readings: ABGuide, Chapter 7, 19-20 (selections)
Assignments: Narrative Essay, p. 169
FINAL DRAFT DUE (10/6)