Instructor: Sheena B. Stief

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Freshman Composition 1

ENGL 1301.002.2178

Fall 2017

Instructor: Sheena B. Stief

Class Time: MWF 10:00-10:50am

Location: TBA

Office Hours: TBA

Office Location: MB 4118

Phone: (Office): 552-3302 (Cell): 432-559-3953


Course Description
Composition I offers intensive instruction in the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, and proofreading), emphasizing the recursive nature of the process and the importance of the relationship among writer, audience, and subject. The course will also explore the connection between writing and critical thinking and the usefulness of writing as a tool for learning in all fields of knowledge. Students enrolling in Composition I will be expected to have a good command of Standard Written English.
Course Objectives
Upon completion of this course students will:

  1. Demonstrate the use of the writing process by producing at least 20 pages of writing using prewriting (invention), organization, drafting, revision (editing), and proofreading.

  2. Demonstrate the skills of an effective college writer who is able to think critically and produce clear, correct, and coherent prose adapted to purpose, occasion, and audience. Along with that comes the ability to discover a topic, develop and organize that topic, and phrase it effectively for a particular audience.

  3. Apply modes of expression (i.e. description, exposition, narrative, argument, and self-expression) in written communication, specifically where that applies to basic principles of critical thinking, problem solving and the development of exposition and argument.

  4. Demonstrate an understanding of style and voice in writing, including the use of choices in sentence structure, word choice, and punctuation, not only for correctness, but for rhetorical effect.

  5. Develop the ability to research and write a documented essay.

  6. Employ effectiveness in groups with emphasis on listening, critical and reflective thinking, and responding.

  7. Demonstrate effectiveness, confidence, and familiarity with writing and potentially view it as a rewarding activity in school and in life.

  8. Develop personal values for ethical behavior specifically as that applies to the understanding and avoidance of plagiarism as it applies to the scope of this class.

  9. Develop a capacity to discuss and reflect upon individual, political, economic and social aspects of life in order to establish broad and multiple perspectives on the individual in relationship to the larger society and world in which he/she lives, and to understand the responsibilities of living in a culturally and ethnically diverse world.

Core Component Objectives for Composition I

  1. Critical Thinking Skills: Students will draw well-reasoned, logically supported conclusions from information. Students will demonstrate the ability to engage in creative thinking, innovation, inquiry and analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of information.

  2. Communication Skills: Students will demonstrate effective written, oral, and visual communication skills

  3. Teamwork: Students will work effectively with others in support of a shared purpose or goal.

  4. Personal Responsibility: Students will be able to connect choices, actions, and consequences to ethical decision-making.


  • Compose a variety of texts that demonstrate clear focus, the logical development of ideas in well-organized paragraphs, and the use of appropriate language that advances the author’s purpose.

  • Determine effective approaches, forms, and rhetorical techniques that demonstrate understanding of the writer’s purpose and audience.

  • Generate ideas and gather information relevant to the topic and purpose, keeping careful records of outside sources.

  • Evaluate relevance, quality, sufficiency, and depth of preliminary ideas and information, organize material generated, and formulate a thesis.

  • Demonstrate revision as a means to effective writing through drafting, refining key ideas and organizing them more logically and fluidly, using language more precisely and effectively, and drawing the reader to the author’s purpose.

  • Edit writing for proper voice, tense, and syntax, assuring that it conforms to Standard English, when appropriate.

  • Locate explicit textual information and draw complex inferences, analyze, and evaluate the information within and across texts of varying lengths.

  • Understand new vocabulary and concepts and use them accurately in reading, speaking, and writing.

  • Conduct a research project that includes formulating a topic and questions, selecting information from a variety of sources, and producing and designing a document.

Course Material
Required Books

Wolfe, Johanna. Team Writing. Boston: Bedford - St. Martin's, 2010. (ISBN: 0312565828)

Ferrer, King, Salazar, Skinner, and Thomas. Composition Handbook, 3rd ed. 2015. (ISBN: 9781680362596)

Axelrod. Reading Critically, Writing Well, 11th ed. Macmillan Learning, 2017. (ISBN: 978131903253)

Choose 1 of the following books. Required.

Ameriie. Because You Love to Hate Me. (ISBN: 9781681193649)

Caine, Rachel. Ink and Bone. (ISBN: 9780451473134)

Clare, Cassandra. City of Bones. (ISBN: 9781416955078)

Meyer. Wires and Nerve. (ISBN: 9781250078261)

Roth, Veronica. Divergent. (ISBN 9780062387240)

I will require you to read various articles. They will be provided for you or a link to the article will be given to you. There will also be handouts provided for you at various times in the class. You will be responsible for reading the articles/handouts before class.
University Policies

Disability Accommodations: To request accommodations for a disability, contact Efren Castro, Director of the PASS Office in the Mesa Building Room 1160, 432-552-2631 or at Students are required to provide documentation of disability to the PASS Office prior to receiving accommodations. The PASS Office refers some types of accommodation requests to the University Counseling Center which provide diagnostic testing for learning and psychological disabilities. For more information about testing contact Suzanne Rathbun, Director of the University Counseling Center, 432-552-2365 or at

Students with special learning needs are encouraged to meet with me to discuss how we can better work together.


Attendance is required for the course. The course is designed in a discussion-based manner. Attendance is crucial in order to receive the full benefits of the course. An absence is excused only if documentation is provided showing that it is school related or a religious holy day and I must be notified at least 24 hours in advance. Again, documentation must be provided. Illness is not an excused absence unless documentation from a doctor is provided. I will follow up on all documentation. If there is a death in the family, please notify me as soon as possible; this will be the only excused absence when documentation is not necessary.


This course is a discussion-intensive course. You are strongly encouraged to voice your opinions, but you MUST be courteous and respectful of your classmates and their opinions/beliefs. Your fellow classmates are your colleagues, as am I. Everyone has a right to their opinion/belief just as you do. Please be mindful of this. Any violation of this will result in a dismissal for the class period and an unexcused absence, no exceptions.

Inappropriate behavior or derogatory language will not be tolerated in this classroom. Both are highly disrespectful in this professional, classroom setting. We are all colleagues in this class; therefore, we will all act and speak respectfully. Any violation of this will result in a dismissal for the class period and an unexcused absence, no exceptions.
Cell phones, computers and other electronic devices: Turn off ALL electronic devices. A computer may be used for note-taking and assignments only. If you are expecting a call, please notify me before class. If you have small children or someone sick at home and there may be an emergency, please notify me as soon as possible that you will have to keep your phone on. If it must be on, it must be on silent. No exceptions. If you would like to record the class discussion you must have permission first. Since this will be an open-discussion course, we will take a vote during class on whether or not recording will be allowed. If you need to have a recording for disability reasons, please discuss this with me privately and accommodations can be provided.
Scholastic Dishonesty

103.1 Scholastic dishonesty includes but is not limited to cheating, plagiarism, collusion, falsifying academic records, misrepresenting facts, the submission for credit of any work or materials that are attributable in whole or in part to another person, taking an examination for another person, any act designed to give unfair advantage to a student such as, but not limited to, submission of essentially the same written assignment for two courses (without the prior permission of the instructor) or the attempt to commit such acts.

Scholastic dishonesty will not be tolerated. This will be discussed in more detail during class.

Plagiarism is using someone else’s writing or ideas as your own. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. There will be class time dedicated to plagiarism, so saying “I didn’t know” or “I didn’t understand” will not be an excuse. At any point, if you do not understand plagiarism please feel free to talk to me or go visit the University’s Success Center. With that being stated, if you plagiarize you will receive a 0 for the assignment/paper and you will not be able to revise it or make it up. You will also be reported to the Dean of Students for review. There will be no exceptions to this rule.

Late Work

Late work will be accepted, but a penalty will be attached. All assignments/papers will be due at the beginning of the class. If for any reason you cannot turn in an assignment/paper on time, you may still turn it in, but there will be a 10 point deduction for every day it is late (not every class day, but each, individual day will be a minus 10 points). Computer problems are not an excuse. Make sure you back up your work and finish long before the assignment/paper is due. If for some reason you will not be able to attend a class due to an emergency or sickness, you may email the assignment to me BEFORE class starts so a penalty deduction will not be applied. Point deductions begin immediately after I collect the assignment.


I strongly encourage and welcome revisions on any paper. In order to participate in this option, you must first submit your paper ON TIME. Late work cannot be revised. I will grade your work and if you do not like your grade, you will have the opportunity to revise your work one time (if it falls below an 80). You will have one week after I hand back the graded paper to submit your revised work. If you wish to revise, I recommend that you take into consideration the comments/suggestions that I leave on your graded work. *This does not apply to Paper 4.*


Normally, I will not allow an extension. If you feel you have a good reason/excuse for an extension, it must be submitted to me, in a one-page paper, at least two days prior to the due date. Requesting an extension will not automatically guarantee one; it is still up to my discretion if an extension is granted.

Success Center

Though I will not require it, I strongly encourage all of you to use the University’s Success Center. The Success Center is there to help you in your writing. The tutors there will help in the writing process. Going to the Success Center does not mean you are a bad writer. The Success Center is there to guide you; they are an extension of the classroom.

There will be a freewriting period the first 5 minutes of class, though they may not be every day. Freewriting is writing continuously, without using the backspace or erasing, for a length of time. You may write about anything and everything; there are no restrictions. The purpose for the freewrite is to freely express yourselves and get your mind focused on writing for the remainder of the class period. As long as you participate, you will receive full credit. Freewriting will not be graded for grammar or any other errors; they are for your benefit and personal growth as writers. You may use what you wrote about during this time to spark discussion during class.

*This assignment will not be graded.*

Inksheds / Assignments
Inksheds are an integral part of practicing your writing. Inksheds are meant to help you focus on the scholarly portion of this class. Inksheds are a great opportunity to practice your MLA formatting as well as grammar usage, word choices and sentence structure. They will be typed assignments, using 12 cpi, Times New Roman Font, 1” margins, double spaced, extra spacing removed, and MLA formatted. A prompt will be provided for you. Inksheds are for your benefit and growth as a student.
Other assignments and quizzes may be given. Each assignment has been created to enhance your understanding of the unit we will be working in.

Peer Review / Workshops
Before each major paper is turned it, we will be having a workshop. The purpose of the workshop is to receive comments over your work. With that being said, you will need to have a complete draft ready for workshop days. The workshops will be conducted in class and each workshop may be different; it all depends on what works best for you. I will introduce a couple of different ways we can workshop, you are welcome to add your input for any ideas you may have, and then we will decide as a class how each workshop will be conducted. For certain, the workshops will be conducted in groups during class time.
Book Panel
For this assignment, you will be placed on a panel according to the book you choose from the 5 choices given (please see “Required Texts”). You will present as a panel.
Other Assignments
It is required, in order to complete the course and move on, to have at least 20 full, completed pages of scholarly writing. With that being said, the following page requirements are MANDATORY and each assignment must be completed fully.
Narrative Essay
You will be writing an autobiography on the pivotal moment in your life in which you realized writing and reading was important. You may include familial influences, outside influences, courses you have taken, or anything that made you realize that writing and reading were important to you. This moment may have happened for you as a child or later in life. This is not a complete life story. I only want to know about the moment in which you realized writing and reading were truly important for you, your future, and your career choice. The length for this paper is 3-5 pages. A citation page is required if you use any outside sources. This paper will be in MLA format.

Observation Essay
You will be writing a profile essay about an individual who has writing experience in the field or line of work that interests you. Interview this individual to discover what kinds of writing needs to be done regularly in that occupation, this person’s attitude towards writing in this specific profession, and stories about this individual’s experiences with both good and bad writing. Observe your subject closely, and then present what you have learned in a style that both informs and engages a reader who has never experienced what you have observed. The purpose of this paper is for you to learn the kinds of writing that you may be doing in the future. If nothing else, it will be good experience and a fun journey looking at different professionals, careers, and the types of writing that may be involved. A citation page is required if you use outside sources. The length for this paper is 4-6 pages.
Explanatory Essay
For the Expanatory Essay, I want you to focus on academic writing. In five to eight pages, you will analyze one genre in academic writing: lab reports, proposals, journal articles, formal or informal essays, etc. You do not necessarily have to limit your study to academic writing only at the collegiate level. Some of you may have better access to high school academic writing. For this assignment, you may want to attempt to define the genre as part of academic writing (which means you may have to first present a definition of academic writing). Think about the goals of this particular genre and the characteristics that make this genre unique within the realm of academic writing. This will require research and it will require a citation page. The length for this paper is 5-7 pages.
Group Paper
Whenever the words “group work” are uttered by an instructor, you can always count on a few groans. Most of you have probably worked on group projects in the past where dissension or discord tore the group apart, or mere apathy drained the project of its energy. Or perhaps the quality of the work was undermined by a slacker or two who wanted to ride the back of the motivated group members, hoping to “get an A” without earning one. We’ve all been there.
However, as Joanna Wolfe notes in Team Writing, “Educational research suggests that people learn the most when working with peers toward a common goal” (5). Moreover, she persuasively argues that -now more than ever - employers want workers who are skilled in “social and organizational skills necessary for productive teamwork” (ibid). The purpose of this assignment is to get you familiar with the group writing strategies and techniques Wolfe notes in her book, and then employ those strategies into an argumentative, interesting essay that your group will write together.
Now as to the topic: it is as open as the clear blue sky. The only restrictions we place on you for this paper are:

  1. It needs to be about writing, in some way, shape or form.

  2. It needs to incorporate at least two readings from Conversations about Writing.

  3. It needs to say something unique or argumentative.

A citation page will be required. The length for this paper is 8-10 pages.
*Note* - Submitting late essays will result in point deductions, even if the reason is ‘technical difficulties’.

Attendance – 5%

Homework / Participation – 20%

Book Panel – 5%

Narrative Essay – 10%

Observation Essay – 10%

Explanatory Essay – 15%

Group Essay – 20%

Final Exam – 15%

Percentage Value and its Grade Equivalent
A – 100 to 90

B – 89 to 80

C – 79 to 70

D – 69 to 60

F – 59 or below
A grading rubric for each paper will be provided for you.
Please remember: no matter what your grade is if you do not have 20 full pages of writing by the end of the semester, then you must repeat the course. The freewriting, inksheds, quizzes and other assignments will not be included in this 20 page requirement. Your finished work will include the autobiography, interview a professional, documented essay and group essay. There will be no exceptions to this rule.
Wednesday'>Calendar *Subject to Change*
Week 1

Wednesday – Introductions and Syllabus Discussion

Friday – Writing Process PowerPoint
Week 2

Monday – MLA Discussion (Have Chapter 5 read in Guide to Writing)

Wednesday –Academic Dishonesty (Have Chapter 7 read in Guide to Writing)

Friday – Inkshed 1 – Writing Process Due; finish all Week 2 Discussions

Week 3

Monday – No Class! Labor Day!

Wednesday – Panel Presentation

Friday – Panel Presentation

Week 4

Monday – Autobiography / Reflective Writing

Wednesday – Autobiography / Reflective Writing

Friday – Autobiography / Reflective Writing

*Revisions are being made to this course. From this point on, the schedule will likely go through minor changes. *

Week 5

Monday – Unit 4 Discussion concluded

Wednesday – Paper 1 Discussion and Questions

Friday – Inkshed 6 – Life without Language Due; Paper 2 Prompt
Week 6

Monday – Paper 1 Peer Review (bring draft to class)

Wednesday – Paper 1 Peer Review (bring draft to class)

Friday – Paper 1 Due; Book Club Discussion

Week 7

Monday – Book Club Discussion

Wednesday – Unit 6 in Reading about Writing

Friday – Inkshed 7 – Book Club Due; Interviewing pt. 1
Week 8

Monday – Interviewing pt. 2

Wednesday – Practice Interviews

Friday – Inkshed 8 – The Writer’s Process Due; Paper 3 Prompt; Integrating Sources Discussion
Week 9

Monday – Documented Essay Discussion

Wednesday – Unit 7 in Reading about Writing

Friday – Research Day for Paper 3 – no class meeting
Week 10

Monday – Paper 2 Peer Review (bring draft to class)

Wednesday – Paper 2 Peer Review (bring draft to class)

Friday – Paper 2 Due; Paper 3 Topic Proposal Due; Paper 4 Prompt; Pick Groups
Week 11

Monday – Work in Groups on Topics

WednesdayTeam Writing Chapters 1 and 2

Friday – Paper 4 Topic Proposal Due; Team Writing Chapters 3 and 4
Week 12

Monday – Paper 3 Peer Review (bring draft to class)

Wednesday – Paper 3 Peer Review (bring draft to class)

Friday – Paper 3 Final Due; Group Paper Work Due; Paper 4 Outline (work in class)
Week 13

MondayTeam Writing Chapters 5 and 6

WednesdayTeam Writing Chapters 7 and 8

Friday – Inkshed 9 – Group Work Due; Group Assignment in class
Week 14

Monday – Group Work Day

Wednesday – No Class! Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday – No Class! Happy Thanksgiving!
Week 15

Monday – Paper 4 Peer Review (bring draft to class)

Wednesday – Paper 4 Peer Review (bring draft to class)

Friday – Group Day – put finishing touches on your paper
Week 16

Exam Week – Paper 4 is Due on the Day and Time of the Final

The syllabus is subject to change if I see fit to change it. It is at my discretion to keep or change it in any way. Any changes I may make to the syllabus and/or Calendar will be online. You are responsible for those changes.

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