NSCC College Composition I

NSCC College Composition I
English 101, Fall 2010
Room: CC 3360
Instructor: Evan Peterson
M/W 6:00-8:20 PM
5 credit hours
Office: 2310 C, Instruction Building
Office hours: by appointment
Course Description and Instruction Methods
The goal of our course is to learn 1) clear, purposeful, and effective essay writing
and 2) critical reading of written material as well as culture and multi-media texts.
Since we need inspiration and information in order to write, we will be considering
many different types of texts, subjects, and media. You will encounter controversial
material in this class, some of which is potentially offensive. By remaining enrolled
in this section, you agree to read/view/study these materials.
We will build a writing community by sharing our work with one another. Everyone
will be required to exchange a draft of each paper with a partner and review it in
class. The course lectures and materials are taught and graded at an appropriate
fluency level for a native English speaker. Students who are still learning English
will be treated equally to all other students, with the same responsibilities as well as
available assistance.
Required Texts and Materials
Internet access to read online homework and frequent emails from professor
a blue or black ink pen
a folder in which to submit all drafts of full-length papers
A composition book or spiral notebook, etc., divided into three sections-- in-class
writing, notes, and vocabulary journal
Outside Resources
The Loft, located on the upper floor of the library, is a valuable resource. Visit them
at any point during your writing process for guidance and one-on-one help.
Attend class regularly to protect your grade. The following situations will be
considered one absence: text messaging in class, not attending a class meeting,
being over 15 minutes late to class, being more than 5 minutes late 3 times, being
without drafts on a workshop day, sleeping during class, and any disruptive
behavior that prevents the class from learning.
You are allowed four "free" absences. Each absence following the allowed four
will result in a 5% deduction from the Participation grade.
Please wait 24 hours before asking any questions about your grade on an
assignment. Take that time to review my comments on the assignment.
This course offers a base total of 100 points to be earned, excluding occasional extra
credit opportunities. At the end of the course, your percentage will be reflected
easily by adding the amount of points you've earned, out of one hundred. Submit all
drafts with the final draft so that I can see the feedback you have received
from classmates. Points will be deducted for papers that are not stapled,
submitted in a folder, or in standard MLA format (12 point font, Times New
Roman, double spaced. Discussed in class, on the Purdue OWL site, and in
Hacker's Writer's Reference.)
Paper 1: 10 points
Paper 2: 20 points
Paper 3: 20 points
Two reading quizzes: 5 points each (10 points total)
Five journals: 4 points each (20 points total)
Participation and responsibility: 20 points
Late Papers
Late papers (final drafts) will be lowered by one letter grade for each day late,
including days on which class does not meet. If you are absent on the day a draft is
due, it must be submitted in paper form to the instructor on the next day you attend
class. Each draft that is not submitted lowers your final draft grade by one letter.
Resubmitting Failed Papers
If you receive a D (including D+), an F, or no credit on an assignment, you may edit it
and resubmit a fixed draft for a possible higher grade. This new draft can be
submitted at any point before the last class meeting of the quarter, but it must be
submitted on paper. Emailed submissions will not be accepted. I will grade the
new draft when I can, but it may not be until the end of the quarter. This policy
excludes papers which receive a poor grade due to lateness or other disregard for
Readings and/or homework exercises should be accomplished by the time you
attend class on the day on which they appear on our course calendar, not the
following day. Example: if Tuesday's homework assignment is to read an essay, you
should have already read it by the time you attend class on Tuesday.
Participation and Responsibility
You are expected to participate in class discussions. Failure to do so will result in a
lower grade. See the ADA statement if you require accommodations.
You are expected to leave specific, detailed comments on your partner's draft on a
workshop day. You must write your name legibly at the top of your partner's
draft so that you receive credit. We'll discuss this requirement further in class.
You are expected to come to class prepared. Have a blue or black ink pen, your inclass journal and paper for notes with you each day.
You are expected to act in a respectful manner to the professor and to your
classmates. We are working together to create a place where people can feel
comfortable to speak up and ask questions.
If you need to use the restroom, you do not need to ask. Leave quietly and come
back quietly.
Laptops, Phones, and Electronics
All phones should be turned off. Do not use cell phones, Iphones, Ipods, translators,
or any other handheld device in class unless you have discussed it with me in
advance. I will of course allow any device needed for a medical condition or
disability (with proper documentation).
Laptops may be used in class, but they are only for note taking and discussionrelated information searches. Checking email, looking at websites unrelated to class,
and working on materials unrelated to our class will not be allowed. These activities
result in an absence.
Please wait 24 hours before asking any questions about your grade on an
assignment. Take that time to review my comments on the assignment.
Paper 1: Persuasive essay. Write on a topic that is important to you. You'll have to
provide clear, logical evidence as to why the reader should agree with you. This can
be a "soft" argument, meaning that you aren't trying to change the reader's mind;
you may simply write to convince your reader of your opinion. Do not pick an overly
emotional subject—arguments made based only on passion rather than logic will
result in a failed paper. Be as passionate as you want, as long as the evidence for
your opinion makes logical sense.
This paper requires no outside sources. You may use personal experiences as
evidence to make your points. If you use other sources for information, these must
be quoted or paraphrased and appropriately cited. Never invent information or
statistics for a college paper—this is lying and cheating.
It is very important to your grade on this essay that you work on the following:
*focus and organization
*detailed, logical evidence supporting your opinion of this subject
*an introduction and conclusion that do not summarize but rather make an
impression on the reader
The following topics are unacceptable:
legalization of drugs, same-sex marriage, war, abortion, 9/11, Bush or Obama
3-5 full-length pages, 10 points, 10% of final grade
Paper 2: Media comparison. You will choose one story (book, film, etc) that exists
in two forms: either separate media, an original and a remake (i.e., Willy Wonka and
the Chocolate Factory to Charlie and he Chocolate Factory), or an adaptation for a
new audience/purpose (i.e., The Wizard of Oz to The Wiz, or Frankenstein to Young
In your comparison and contrast, address the following:
What are the strengths and weaknesses of each version?
How has the story changed?
How does the change help or hinder the way that the information/story/message is
Which one do you think is better at telling the story, and why? It is perfectly fine if
you like or dislike them equally, as long as you explain why you feel this way.
It is strongly recommended that you focus on a small part of the story—one or two
characters, one or two scenes/chapters, the setting, etc.
4-5 full-length pages, 20 points, 20% of final grade
Paper 3: Reading response. You will review one of the texts we have read as a
class. This includes .pdfs and online readings. Because I have read all of these texts,
you should not include a summary. Instead, you will go through the text and conduct
a close reading, evaluating how this text expresses its message and how well it
succeeds. We will define close reading as we get closer to this assignment.
You will be graded on the usual criteria as well as your ability to explain the
*What is the message of this text? A text may have several messages or points.
*Who is the intended audience, and does this text effectively communicate to that
*What did you realize about this text, and how did you come to realize it? Base this
on evidence from the text.
Some options:
*What is interesting or compelling about this text?
*How is tone working to communicate the message?
*What might be improved to make the message more clear and effective?
*How does context affect the text? Context= time and place in which it was written,
the author’s background, social/political issues pertinent to the text, etc.
This will require a Works Cited page that lists at least the text you are reading, as
well as any others that you've read to help you interpret the text (historical context,
author bio articles, etc.) 4-5 full-length pages, 20 points, 20% of final grade
Quizzes: There will be three homework quizzes. All three count 5% towards
your grade, but one of these is for extra credit above the total 100%. Quizzes
cannot be made up if you are absent on the day they are given.
Journals: In addition to our daily in-class writings, you will turn in five homework
journals. I will assign the topics in class. You must include the word count of the
journal in the title. Journals are a minimum of 450-500 words each.
4 points each, total 20% of final grade
Plagiarism occurs under three circumstances:
1) when you knowingly submit someone else's ideas or words as your own,
2) when you submit work that you have already written for another class,
3) and/or when you fail (even accidentally) to appropriately cite or credit someone
else's words and ideas.
In the first and second case, it is not only dishonest but also prevents learning. If I
suspect you of plagiarism, I will talk with you one-on-one and ask you to prove that
the work is your own. If you are found to be dishonest, you will fail that assignment
and the dean of the division will be informed.
A: Outstanding
B: Good-->Very Good
C: Average/Adequate
D: Inadequate
F: Why Bother?
Five Standards of Writing:
1. Purpose, Focus, and Development of Ideas
A: thesis is specific and detailed, points are well developed and based on
specific, detailed evidence that makes a logical point, paper
accomplishes its goal effectively and makes the thesis difficult to deny
B: thesis is simple but clear, paper stays focused on supporting the thesis,
points are somewhat developed, points are made with logical and
clear evidence
C: abrupt jumps in focus, thesis is vague, points require more development
and evidence to be effective
D: paper ignores important parts of the assignment, thesis is missing or
confusing, points have little to no evidence to support them, no
development of ideas
F: assignment is entirely off-topic, no development of ideas
2. Clarity of Information
A: clear and precise communication of information, advanced vocabulary
that is used appropriately
B: ideas are clearly communicated but may not be precise, some grammar
and spelling errors, but these do not make the paper difficult to read
C: information is vague, vocabulary is used incorrectly
D&F: ideas are illogical or otherwise confusing, grammar and spelling make
the paper difficult to read
3. Organization and Flow
A: compelling and attention-grabbing intro and conclusion, ideas are made in
a logical and efficient order, paragraphs and sentences are varied in
length and complexity, smooth transitions between ideas, no
repetition of statements
B: intro and conclusion make points rather than summarizing the paper,
ideas are usually in a logical order, paragraphs and sentences show
some variation in length and complexity, few transitions between
ideas, perhaps one or two repetitions of information
C: intro and conclusion summarize the points in the paper and are dull or
forgettable, order of ideas is inefficient, simple paragraphs and
sentences, no transitions, frequent repetition
D&F: no intro and/or conclusion, information is in random order, author
doesn't understand the form and function of paragraphs
4. Responsibility and Effort
A: clear evidence of improvement and refinement through drafts, a page or
more beyond minimum length while remaining focused and relevant,
clearly polished and proofread, efficient and appropriate formatting
B: evidence of effort to improve through drafts, minimum page length, some
oversights in proofreading and formatting
C: little evidence of refinement through drafts, clearly lacking proofreading,
several oversight formatting, minimum length
D: no evidence of refinement through drafts, drafts missing, no
proofreading, clear disregard for formatting, significantly under
minimum length
F: paper is plagiarized or is not submitted at all
5. Style/Voice
A: paper shows originality, advanced but appropriate vocabulary, and regard
for audience, and it may even be compelling or entertaining to read.
Any profanity, gore, or sex is presented thoughtfully and appears
essential to the paper. No gratuitous gore, sex, or cussing.
B: little originality present, simple but appropriate vocabulary, significant
regard for audience, possibly predictable to read
C: language and style are too informal for a college-level paper
D & F: paper lacks any regard for college-level writing
Course Outcomes
1. You will become a more relaxed, confident, and skilled writer.
2. You will learn to see the task of writing as a process, one that requires time and
thoughtful attention.
3. You will practice all phases of the writing, editing, and revising process.
4. You will become comfortable and skilled in expressing yourself in the essay in
many of its forms.
5. You will be able to recognize, define, and create a thesis statement and be able to
develop and shape supporting material for that thesis.
6. You will be able to write a reasoned response to readings.
7. You will develop the abilities to revise your own writing using a variety of forms
of feedback and to develop the ability to offer useful feedback to others.
8. You will become a more effective and confident reader and develop your critical
reading and thinking skills so that you can analyze, synthesize, and evaluate ideas
found in each other's essays and in academic texts.
9. You will gain the ability to write what you mean in clear, correct sentences and to
practice developing a repertoire of sentence structures.
10. You will become more proficient at in-class writing tasks.
11. You will be able to produce and edit your own writing independently.
ADA Statement
The Disability Services main office is located in CC 2346A, and they may be reached at
(206) 527-3697. If you require accommodations because of a documented disability, or if
you have medical information that needs to be shared with me, please contact me either
by email or in person after class. If you use an alternative medium for communicating,
please let me know before the meeting so that appropriate accommodations can be made.
If you have a disability but have not documented it with the NSCC Support Services
office, please do so as soon as possible so that we can arrange for appropriate
accommodations. I will be unable to do this without paperwork confirming your needs.