Course Policies & Info

Course Description

Composition is an introduction to the occasions and standards of college writing. Students develop writing abilities through the study and practice of writing processes. Students explore flexible strategies for inventing, generating, drafting, reading, editing, sharing, and presenting their work. The study of ideas, evidence, organization, style, and convention is essential.  Coursework stresses the importance of reading and writing for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communication. Students write for varied situations, in a variety of genres, and in response to personal experience, reading, research, argument, and demand. Students examine both the rhetorical and visual impact of the texts they produce. By the end of this course, students are better prepared for the writing they will do in college and beyond.


The Composition requirement is intended to help students become responsible writers who can take charge of their own writing process. It is satisfied by the course EN 1200 or its equivalency.

Students learn how to draft, respond to feedback from peers and instructor, revise, and edit successful college prose. By the end of the course, they should be able to write essays that are unified by a central thesis, well-developed in carefully organized paragraphs with vivid details, and grammatically appropriate with effective sentence structure and correct mechanics.

Students also learn to read comprehensively and effectively in order to relate ideas and arguments to their writing and thinking. They are expected to summarize different kinds of texts, paraphrase the ideas of someone else, analyze others’ arguments and positions, compare and contrast ideas, and generate their own thoughts and ideas following research and observation. Students are required to engage in library research and to write papers based on their research. Thus the General Education skills being given special emphasis in this course are writing, reading, conducting research, and collaborating with others.


We will not be bored.  We will laugh.  We will partner together.  We will be irreverent.  We will read and write.  We will take time to think about why we are doing this work.  We won’t let this class be just another requirement.  We will make it work for us.  Maybe we will even make t-shirts to remind ourselves of the awesomeness that was this section of Comp, Fall 2013.  Seriously: have faith.  This is going to be good.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course, students will:

  • be able to articulate the importance of writing and writing process to their educations and their lives;
  • be able to articulate the importance of writing and writing process in specific disciplines in which they enjoy working;
  • understand that disciplinary conventions around writing vary from field to field;
  • be able to articulate the conventions of tone, style, and form for at least one particular discipline;
  • be able to identify writing-related issues that they need to work on a develop protocols for accomplishing that learning;
  • be able to conceive of and focus a research topic based on their own interests, available source material, and the needs of their field;
  • be able to evaluate and summarize sources in service of their own research;
  • be able to analyze sources critically;
  • be able to synthesize sources and arguments;
  • have a process in place for learning about grammar and correcting grammar errors as they arise in their work;
  • appreciate the value of revision and collaboration in writing, researching, and thinking;
  • define “texts” broadly, and have diverse tools for thinking critically about texts whether they be visual, written, multimedia, etc.


Postings: 10%
Quizzes: 7%
Assignments: 7%
Paper #1 (Interview Paper): 13%
Paper #2 (Philosophy of Comp Paper): 14%
Option Projects: 15%
Research Paper: 20%
Kaltura Grammar Video: 7%
Class Participation: 7% (Attendance-50%; Engagement and Attitude: 50%)

Required Texts

Understanding Rhetoric

Author: Losh
ISBN: 9780312640965
Copyright Year: 2014
Publisher: Bedford Saint Martin’s

Deluxe Transitive Vampire

Author: Gordon
ISBN: 9780679418603
Copyright Year: 1993
Publisher: Pantheon

Academic Integrity
You must adhere to the Academic Integrity policy as outlined in the PSU Academic Catalog.  Anyone violating this policy will be reported to the English Department chair, and then sent before the Academic Integrity panel for a hearing.  Here are the basics of what I expect, in addition to full compliance with this policy:

  • all work is your own;

  • if you get information or ideas from books, articles, the internet, or interviews with live people, you need to cite that information or those ideas using MLA, APA, or Chicago style;

  • you may not purchase papers and turn them in as your own work;

  • you may not turn in a paper that you yourself wrote for an assignment for a different class;

  • all presentations and PowerPoints must also include citations.

Plymouth State University is committed to providing students with documented disabilities equal access to all university programs and facilities. If you think you have a disability requiring accommodations, you should immediately contact the PASS Office in Lamson Library (535-2270) to determine whether you are eligible for such accommodations. Academic accommodations will only be considered for students who have registered with the PASS Office. If you have a Letter of Accommodation for this course from the PASS Office, please provide the instructor with that information privately so that you and the instructor can review those accommodations.

At the end of the semester you will be awarded full Attendance points if you have 3 or fewer absences.  If you have from 4-6 absences, you will be awarded 1/2 credit for Attendance.  If you have more than 6 absences, you will receive no credit for Attendance.  There is no need to inform me about the reason for your absences since you receive those 3 free absences to use for reasons such as illness, death in the family, school travel, sports, and other serious matters.  If you have a devastating emergency which will cause you to miss two weeks or more of school, you should contact Undergraduate Studies so that they may advise you on the best course of action.