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English Composition I Syllabus

Fall 2014


Humanities 208

Instructor: Dr. Laura Lee Beasley

Office: TLC 1114-C

Office Phone:  678-839-6512

Office Hours: Monday-Wednesday 11:15AM-12:15PM, Tuesday 10-10:45AM, Thursday 10-10:45AM and 3:30-7PM, and by appointment

Writing Center Hours: Tuesday 4-7PM

E-mail: Note: MyUWG and D2L/CourseDen serve as the only legitimate modes of university correspondence.
Required Texts and Materials

  • Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

  • Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Natasha Trethewey

  • Bellocq’s Ophelia by Natasha Trethewey

  • Online access to Writer’s Help

  • A notebook for in-class writing

Links to any additional readings will be posted in CourseDen and appear on the syllabus schedule.

Course Description
In service of the QEP and in order to help students develop skills that can be applied across the disciplines, the FYW program’s 1101 course:

  • Focuses on the needs, interests, and skill level of students when choosing texts and sequencing assignments, scaffolding assignments to advance the students’ critical reading, writing, and thinking skills throughout the semester;

  • Chooses length-appropriate and level-appropriate texts, consisting primarily (but not exclusively) of non-fiction;

  • Develops a range of assignments that focus on a variety of analytical writing tasks, including at least two distinct types of writing over the three major out-of-class essays (possibilities include, though are not necessarily limited to: summary, reader response, autobiographical narrative, critiques, problem/solution, ad analysis, rhetorical analysis, description, argumentative synthesis);

  • Creates grammar lessons and assignments to teach students about a range of grammatical issues and to track student progress on those issues.

Specific Course Description
This course will focus on writing and agency. We will explore the ways in which mastering various forms and conventions of writing can create both individual and public agency. This will include a study of Standard English as well as various genres and styles of writing. The reading materials for this course focus on the Gulf Coast as a setting for broader social, political, and ethical concerns. Texts for this course include historical and contemporary examinations of gender, race, and class in this particular region of the United States. We will consider the many ways writing can provide agency in our personal, academic, and professional lives.  
Course Objectives
General Learning Outcomes for ENGL 1101 (Proposed)
In service of the QEP and in order to develop skills that can be applied across the disciplines, students will:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of rhetoric in the construction of effective academic writing

  • Hone critical reading and critical thinking skills

  • Develop facility with the whole writing process from invention through revision

  • Complete a range of assignments that highlight different rhetorical strategies and different methods of critical analysis

  • Develop the skill of summarizing an argumentative text, identifying and conveying in the student’s own words the main and supporting arguments and the evidence used to support these arguments

  • Develop the skill of effectively conveying and analyzing the significance of a text, through the student’s engagement and dialogue with the text

  • Develop the skill of critical analysis, both analyzing the components of an argument in texts and mounting an effective argument of the student’s own

  • Develop the skill of synthesis, understanding how to analyze, integrate, and summarize the ideas from multiple texts while the student makes an argument of the his/her own

  • Become proficient in accurate paraphrasing, citing, and documenting of a text

  • Complete specific assignments aimed at competence in 1101-level grammar and writing mechanics, with an understanding of the application and relevance of these skills outside the context of the FYW classroom

Out-of-class essay one: 15%

Out-of-class essay two: 25%

Out-of-class essay three: 30%

Diagnostic exam (in-class essay): 10%

Quizzes: 10%

In-class writing: 10%

Out-of-class essays: All out-of-class essays must be submitted by 8PM to the assignment dropbox on CourseDen. Please read this course’s policy for late work and make sure that you give yourself adequate time to submit your essay and check that your essay has been successfully submitted. All final drafts of out-of-class essays must follow MLA style guidelines. We will discuss these in class, and you can find them in Writer’s Help. You will also need to submit a draft for each out-of-class essay. You should bring two printed copies of your draft to class on the workshop dates (noted on the schedule). Bringing your draft to class and responding to others’ drafts in the workshop will count as an in-class writing grade. If you do not bring copies of your draft, you will not be able to participate in the workshop. Detailed assignment sheets for all of the out-of-class essays will be posted in CourseDen on the date they are assigned.
Diagnostic exam (in-class essay): This will consist of an essay written in class and will be graded according to the scale for in-class essays below. The date of the diagnostic exam is noted on the schedule.
Quizzes: Expect at least one quiz per week over assigned readings. Except for the plagiarism quiz, the quizzes over our readings are not noted on the schedule. These are designed to make sure that students complete all of the readings for this course. At the end of the semester, I will drop the lowest quiz grade earned.
In-class Writing: These will consist of writing done within class and will usually be about a paragraph in length. Your responses to drafts on workshop days will also count as in-class writing. Make sure to bring writing materials to each class.
Grading summary with the letter to numeric scale
In-Class Essay: 4=95%; 4/3=92%; 3/4=88%; 3=85%; 3/2=82%; 2/3=78%; 2=75%; 2/1=72%; 1/2=68%; 1=65%; 1/0=62%; 0=50%
Out-of-Class Essay: A+=98%; A=95%; A-=92%; B+=88%; B=85%; B-=82%; C+=78%; C=75%; C-=72%; D+=68%; D=65%; D-=62%; F=50%

Note that the student must have a C or higher to progress to the next course

Link to FYW rubrics for out-of-class essays:

Common Language for Course Syllabi

Students should review the following information each semester, because these statements are updated as federal, state, university, and accreditation standards change.

Americans with Disabilities Act

Students with a documented disability may work with UWG Disability Services to receive essential services specific to their disability. All entitlements to accommodations are based on documentation and USG Board of Regents standards. If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability or chronic illness, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please notify your instructor in writing by the end of the second full week of class and include a copy of your Student Accommodations Report (SAR), which is available only from Disability Services. Students are entitled to accommodations if they deliver the SAR to the instructor no later than the end of the second full week of class.

UWG Email Policy

University of West Georgia students are provided a MyUWG e-mail account. The University considers this account to be an official means of communication between the University and the student. The purpose of the official use of the student e-mail account is to provide an effective means of communicating important university related information to UWG students in a timely manner. It is the student’s responsibility to check his or her email.

Credit Hour Policy

The University of West Georgia grants one semester hour of credit for work equivalent to a minimum of one hour (50 minutes) of in-class or other direct faculty instruction AND two hours of student work outside of class per week for approximately fifteen weeks. For each course, the course syllabus will document the amount of in-class (or other direct faculty instruction) and out-of-class work required to earn the credit hour(s) assigned to the course. Out-of-class work will include all forms of credit-bearing activity, including but not limited to assignments, readings, observations, and musical practice. Where available, the university grants academic credit for students who verify via competency-based testing, that they have accomplished the learning outcomes associated with a course that would normally meet the requirements outlined above (e.g. AP credit, CLEP, and departmental exams).

University of West Georgia Honor Code

At the University of West Georgia, we believe that academic and personal integrity are based upon honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Students at West Georgia assume responsibility for upholding the honor code. West Georgia students pledge to refrain from engaging in acts that do not maintain academic and personal integrity. These include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, aid of academic dishonesty, lying, bribery or threats, and stealing.

The University of West Georgia maintains and monitors a confidential Academic Dishonesty Tracking System. This database collects and reports patterns of repeated student violations across all the Colleges, the Ingram Library, and the School of Nursing. Updated April 19, 2013 2
Additionally, you are responsible for safeguarding your computer account. Your account and network connection are for your individual use. A computer account is to be used only by the person to whom it has been issued. You are responsible for all actions originating through your account or network connection. You must not impersonate others or misrepresent or conceal your identity in electronic messages and actions.

It is imperative that you attend class regularly in order to succeed; thus you are allowed three absences over the course of the semester. Upon the student’s fourth absence, he or she will have two options: 1) withdraw from the class, which will generate a W before October 17, 2014—or a WF if after that deadline; or 2) remain on the roll (still attending classes, if so desired) and receive an F for the course/semester. Absences with an officially documented excuse such as a doctor's notes will not count toward the three allotted absences.

Disruptive Behavior Policy (FYW policy )
Students may be dismissed from any class meeting at which they exhibit behavior that disrupts the learning environment of others. Such behavior includes – but is not limited to – arriving late for class, allowing cell phones to ring, speaking disrespectfully to the instructor and/or to other students, checking email or surfing the web, and using personal audio or visual devices. Each dismissal of this kind will count as an absence and will be applied toward the attendance policy above. (Department Policy)
Department Paperless Policy

As of Fall 2006, the English Department implemented a “paperless” policy in its classrooms. Therefore, all materials (handouts, assignment sheets, notes, etc.) will be made available online. Students may print these necessary course documents, including the syllabus, on their home computers.

Late Work or Extension Policy

No in-class work can be accepted after the class period in which it is due. Late out-of-class essays will incur a deduction of ten points per day they are submitted after the due date. No late work will be accepted after the last day of class. In rare cases, an extension for an assignment might be granted. If you think that you will be unable to submit an assignment by the due date, you must contact me prior to the due date in order to be considered for an extension.

Plagiarism & Excessive Collaboration Policy

Plagiarism & Academic Dishonesty

The Department of English and Philosophy defines plagiarism as taking personal credit for the words and ideas of others as they are presented in electronic, print, and verbal sources. The Department expects that students will accurately credit sources in all assignments. An equally dishonest practice is fabricating sources or facts; it is another form of misrepresenting the truth. Plagiarism is grounds for failing the course.

See also, excessive collaboration (below).


The University policies for handling Academic Dishonesty are found in the following documents:

The Faculty Handbook, sections 207 and 208.0401:

Student Uncatalog: "Rights and Responsibilities"; Appendix J.

Excessive Collaboration

By the end of the term in both ENGL 1101 and 1102, students should demonstrate the ability to produce independent writing (writing without collaborative assistance of peers, writing tutors, or professionals in the field) that shows an acceptable level of competence. Although classroom activities and out-of-class assignments may highlight collaborative learning and collaborative research, excessive collaboration (collaboration that results in the loss of a student's voice/style and original claims to course-related work) is considered another form of academic dishonesty and therefore will not be permitted.

Role of the Writing Center

The role of the Writing Center is to offer consultation in which tutors question, respond to, offer choices, and encourage revision in student essays. Tutors do not evaluate or prescribe solutions to problematic areas in student essays, and tutors are specifically trained to avoid appropriating the student's work. For more information, visit the Writing Center online at

Any student submitting plagiarized work will receive a numerical grade of 0 for that assignment. Any subsequent plagiarism will result in the student failing the course.
The Writing Studio:
TLC 1201 678-839-6513

The University Writing Center works with students and other members of the UWG community to improve writing skills.

What We Do:

  • Discuss ideas, read drafts, and work through revisions of essays; we do not proofread

  • MLA, APA, Chicago/Turabian, and other citation formats


  • Please make appointments in advance. We accept walk-ins, but we cannot guarantee that a tutor will be available.

  • If you cannot keep your appointment, you must call or email us 24 hours in advance to cancel. If you do not notify us 24 hours in advance, you will be counted as a No Show.

  • Please arrive at your appointment on time. If you are 10 minutes late or more, you will be counted as a No Show and will not be able to have your appointment.

  • If you have 3 No Shows in one semester, you will not be able to have any more appointments for that semester.


Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 10:00am-7:00pm

Thursday 10:00am-3:00pm

Friday 10:00am-1:00pm

Disability Pledge (see below for statement)

I pledge to do my best to work with the University to provide all students with equal access to my classes and materials, regardless of special needs, temporary or permanent disability, special needs related to pregnancy, etc. If you have any special learning needs, particularly (but not limited to) needs defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and require specific accommodations, please do not hesitate to make these known to me, either yourself or through Disability Services in 272 Parker Hall. Students with documented special needs may expect accommodation in relation to classroom accessibility, modification of testing, special test administration, etc. This is not only my personal commitment: it is your right, and it is the law. For more information, please contact Disability Services (678-839-6428).

Revision Policy

Students will be allowed to revise either the first or second out-of-class essay. A submission of a revision does not guarantee an increase in the assignment grade. In order to receive an improved grade, the revision must display careful consideration by the student of both global and local aspects of the essay. I highly suggest that students who are planning to revise meet with me to discuss a revision plan.

Make-Up Work

No missed in-class work can be made up. Any out-of-class work submitted after the due date will receive a point deduction of ten points per day after the due date unless the student has contacted me and has been granted an extension prior to the assignment due date.

Extra Credit

Extra credit for this course is not promised. However, I might occasionally offer extra credit for attending events around campus. Students will be notified prior to the event.

Recycled papers

No papers submitted in previous courses will be accepted as submissions for this course. One purpose of the writing assignments in this course is to focus on the process of writing. Therefore, students will be expected to plan, draft, and revise their writing during our course.

Semester Schedule:

This syllabus reflects a plan for the course. Deviations from this plan may become necessary as the semester progresses. Students are responsible for taking note of any changes that may occur.
All reading assignments are highlighted in blue, and all due dates are highlighted in yellow.
Week One

8/25 Syllabus review and discussion of writing and agency.

8/27 Continue discussion of writing and agency and begin discussion of code-switching, Standard English, and expectations for college writing.  Before class, read the handout from UNC’s Writing Center available here and “How Code-Switching Explains the World” by Gene Demby available here and on CourseDen.
*8/25-9/2 Open drop-add: Classes dropped during Open Drop/Add will receive a refund of paid funds.
Week Two

9/01 NO CLASSES (Labor day holiday)

9/03 Diagnostic exam (in-class essay). Out-of-class essay one assigned.
*9/03 Withdrawal period begins: Students who withdraw from a full term 15 week class between 12:01 am Sep 3 and midnight Oct. 17 will receive a grade of W.
Week Three

9/08 Watch Beasts of the Southern Wild.

9/10 Discussion of analyzing “texts” and constructing a thesis statement. Before class, read “The Racism of Beasts of the Southern Wild” by Thomas Hackett available here and on CourseDen and read “What Beasts of the Southern Wild Really Says” by Silpa Kovvali available here and on CourseDen.
Week Four

9/15 Plagiarism discussion and quiz. Before class, look over the section on plagiarism in Writer’s Help  

9/17 Out-of-class essay one workshop. Bring two printed copies of draft to class.
Week Five

9/22 Out-of-class essay one due.

9/24 Begin discussion of Bellocq’s Ophelia. Read sections I and II of Bellocq’s Ophelia (p. 3-34) before class.
Week Six

9/29 Continue discussion of Bellocq’s Ophelia. Watch Natasha Trethewey clip available here  Read section III of Bellocq’s Ophelia (p. 37-48) before class.

10/01 Out-of-class essay two assigned. Begin discussion of Beyond Katrina. Read “Prologue” and “Pilgrim” sections of Beyond Katrina (p. 1-29).
Week Seven

10/06 Watch clip of Katrina news coverage and compare to images from the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank. Be prepared to discuss specific images you find striking. Before class, read “Before Katrina” section of Beyond Katrina (p. 33-52) and browse the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank here and linked on CourseDen.

10/08 Listen to selection from interview with Natasha Trethewey available here

Read “Liturgy” section of Beyond Katrina (p. 55-67) before class.
Week Eight

10/13 Continue discussion of Natasha Trethewey interview. Read “Congregation” and “High Rollers” sections of Beyond Katrina (p. 73-93) before class.

10/15 Final discussion of Beyond Katrina. Read “Cycle” and “Redux”  section of Beyond Katrina (p.97-125) before class.

*10/17 Last day to withdraw with a ‘W’: Students withdrawing from full term courses after midnight will be awarded a grade of WF.  Note:  A WF grade is calculated as an F in the GPA.
Week Nine

10/20 Out-of-class essay two workshop. Bring two printed copies of draft to class.

10/22 Introduction to Zeitoun. Before class, Read interview with Dave Eggers available here,8599,1912044,00.html and on CourseDen and read section I of Zeitoun (p.13-91).

Week Ten

10/27 Discussion of Zeitoun. Out-of-class essay two due.

10/29 Watch and discuss President Bush’s speech in Jackson Square following Katrina.

Read first half of Section II of Zeitoun ( p. 95-137) before class.
Week Eleven

11/03 Out-of-class essay three assigned. Read second half of Section II of Zeitoun (p. 138-180) before class.

11/05 Discussion of Zeitoun section III and “Did Dave Eggers get Zeitoun Wrong” by Victoria Patterson. Before class, read “Did Dave Eggers get Zeitoun Wrong” by Victoria Patterson available here and section III of Zeitoun (p. 183-212) .
Week Twelve

11/10 Watch portion of Trouble the Water. You can watch the trailer here Read part one of section IV of Zeitoun (p. 215-278) before class.

11/12 Discussion of Trouble the Water and Zeitoun. Read part two of section IV of Zeitoun (p.279-300) before class.
Week Thirteen

11/17 Listen to StoryCorps Katrina stories available here Read section V of Zeitoun (p. 303-335) before class.

11/19 Out-of-class essay three workshop. Bring two copies of draft to class.
Week Fourteen

11/24 NO CLASSES (Thanksgiving recess)

11/26 NO CLASSES (Thanksgiving recess)

Week Fifteen

12/1 Watch Writing Across Borders selection. Full video available here

Discussion of various writing conventions. Before class, read the “Writing in the disciplines” section of Writer’s Help available here

12/3 Continue discussion of writing conventions. Before class, read “I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar. Here’s Why.” by Kyle Wiens available here and on CourseDen.
Week Sixteen

12/8 Review and discussion of out-of-class essay three.

12/10 Last day of class. Out-of-class essay three due.

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