English 1301: Composition & Rhetoric I

Time Section Room
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Catalog Description

Intensive study of and practice in writing processes, from invention and researching to drafting, revising, and editing, both individually and collaboratively. Emphasis on effective rhetorical choices, including audience, purpose, arrangement, and style. Focus on writing the academic essay as a vehicle for learning, communicating, and critical analysis.

Course Learning Outcomes for English 1301

  • Demonstrate knowledge of individual and collaborative writing processes.
  • Develop ideas with appropriate support and attribution.
  • Write in a style appropriate to audience and purpose.
  • Read, reflect, and respond critically to a variety of texts.
  • Use Edited American English in academic essays.

Required Textbooks

The Arlington Reader
(3rd Edition)
L. Bloom & L. Smith
A Writer’s Reference
(7th Edition)
D. Hacker & N. Sommers

Additional Materials

  • in-class writing tools (pen/pencil & paper)
  • a two-pocket folder (for submitting revised essays)
  • a stapler

Course Policies


You should attend all of every class. Excessive Tardies and Absences will affect your grade (see “Professionalism”). Failure to attend constitutes grounds for failing the course; if you miss nine days of class or more, you will receive an “F.” I make no distinction between “excused” and “unexcused” absences; an absence is an absence. I take role at the beginning of each class session; if you arrive after role call, check in with me at the end of class. It is your responsibility to find out, from your classmates, what you missed if you were absent.

Writing Assignments

You will write three Major Essays (a Literacy Narrative, an Analysis of Outliers, and an Informative Essay), with required Rough Drafts and Peer Reviews for each; the third essay will be in lieu of a final exam. You will also submit ten Writing Exercises, graded Excellent (+), Satisfactory (✓), or Unsatisfactory (−). You must hand in assignments to me at the beginning of class on the day they are due. Papers not submitted directly to me will not receive grades. I never assign extra credit or make-up work. I discuss grades only in private, and only forty-eight hours (at least) after I have returned an assignment.

Late Assignments

For Major Essays, I deduct ten points from the grade for each class period after the assigned due date you submit it. Late Writing Exercises receive an Unsatisfactory (−) if late by one class period, a zero afterwards. I do not accept Rough Drafts submitted after the Peer Review Workshop. I will give no written comments or feedback on late submissions.

Academic Integrity Policy

All student work for this course must be original to the student and original to the course. If clear evidence of academic dishonesty is found for any assignment, a 0 (0 points) for the assignment will be recorded. If a second incident of academic dishonesty occurs, an F for the course grade will be recorded.


Your grade depends in part on how professionally you behave in class. You should always arrive in class on time with your assignments ready to turn in and your text books in hand; you should have completed the readings for that day and be ready to discuss them intelligently. Professionalism includes all of these as well as regular attendance and a sincere effort to improve your own writing and that of your peers through revision and peer reviews. Every Absence lowers your professionalism grade by five points, every Tardy by one point. Professionalism will often mean the difference between one grade and the next—or, in borderline cases, between passing and failing.

Cell Phones

You may not use cell phones in class. Keep your cell phone turned off and out of sight from the moment the class starts until the moment it ends. Every time I see or hear your cell phone during class, I will deduct ten points from your Professionalism grade. (Notify me before class begins if there is an emergency situation that absolutely requires you to leave your cell phone on.)


You may use your laptop or tablet computer only for taking notes, accessing the class website, or other specifically class-related work. If you use it to IM, e-mail, play games, shop or any other such activity during class, you lose ten points from your Professionalism grade and forfeit your right to bring the device to class for the rest of the semester.

Manuscript Requirements

Make and keep a copy of any work turned in for grading. Print out all your assignments on 8 ½ x 11 inch paper. MLA style requires one-inch margins, double spacing, and page numbers. I require you to staple pages together. I will not accept, read, or grade any unstapled papers. Use only readable typefaces (like Century Schoolbook or Palatino). Always print with a good ink cartridge to ensure legibility. I won’t grade papers I consider illegible. Edit and proofread everything you turn in; make every assignment as error-free as you can before you submit it.


I will make all course materials—including the the syllabus, assignment sheets, peer reviews, and so on—available on the class website:

Assignments Weight
Professionalism 10%
Writing Exercises 15%
Literacy Narrative 25%
Rhetorical Analysis 25%
Informative Essay 25%

Numerical Values of Letter Grades
A+ (100–97) A (96–93) A- (92–90)
B+ (89–87) B (86–83) B- (82–80)
C+ (79–77) C (76–73) C- (72–70)
D (69–60)
F (59–0)

Grading Criteria for Major Essays

I consider four areas when assessing grades for your major essays: your thesis statement, your argument, your use of evidence (including quotations and proper documentation of sources), and your prose style.

The better each of those areas is, the higher your grade will be.

  • Original and interesting thesis
  • Persuasive argument
  • Lots of convincing evidence
  • Lucid prose style
  • Workable thesis
  • Well-structured argument
  • Solid supporting evidence
  • Decent prose style
  • Obvious and boring thesis
  • Coherent argument
  • Some supporting evidence
  • Correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation
D At least ONE of the following:

  • No discernible thesis
  • Incoherent argument
  • Little or no supporting evidence
  • Chronic grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors
F TWO or more of the following:

  • No discernible thesis
  • Incoherent argument
  • Little or no supporting evidence
  • Chronic grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors

OR Fails to meet basic requirements for the assignment

Schedule of Readings & Assignments

Week One
M 1/13 Review of instructions, policies, & syllabus
W 1/15 Assignment for Essay 1 & “Planing” & “Drafting” A Writer’s Reference [AWR] (C1–C2) Diagnostic Paragraph
F 1/17 Writing Classic Prose Two Messages
Week Two
M 1/20 MLK Holiday
W 1/22 “Mother Tongue” TAR (34–38) Mind Map
F 1/24 “Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood,”
TAR (275–84)
Signed Course Agreement
Week Three
M 1/27 “On Keeping a Notebook” & “CONTEXTS,”
TAR (54–66) [Official Day of Record]
Informal Outline
W 1/29 “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me,” TAR (45–47)
F 1/31 Peer Review Workshop Literacy Narrative Draft
Week Four
M 2/3 “Shooting an Elephant,” TAR (516–21)
W 2/5 “Politics and the English Language” (on-line)
F 2/7 “Active Verbs” & “Passive Verbs,”
AWR (W3 & M1–b)
Week Five
M 2/10 “Write or Die,” TAR (71–73)
“Revising” AWR (C3)
W 2/12 “The Roseto Mystery,” Outliers (3–11)
“Evaluating Arguments” AWR (A3)
F 2/14 Assignment for Essay 2 Literacy Narrative Revised
Week Six
M 2/17 “The Matthew Effect,” Outliers (15–34) &
“The Relative Age Effect in Spots: It’s Complicated” (on-line)
W 2/19 “The 10,000-Hour Rule,” Outliers (35–68) &
“Malcolm Gladwell, Eclectic Dectective” (on-line)
F 2/21 “The Trouble With Geniuses, Part 1,”
Outliers (69–90)
Mind Map
Week Seven
M 2/24 “The Trouble With Geniuses, Part 2,”
Outliers (91–115)
W 2/26 “The Three Lessons of Joe Flom,”
Outliers (116–58)
F 2/28 “Harlan, Kentucky,” Outliers (161–76) Informal Outline
Week Eight
M 3/3 “The Ethnic Theory of Plane Crashes,”
Outliers (177–223)
W 3/5 “Rice Paddies and Math Tests,” Outliers (224–49)
F 3/7 Peer Review Workshop Analysis Essay Draft

Spring Break: March 10 to March 14

Week Nine
M 3/17 “Marita’s Bargin,” Outliers (250–69)
W 3/19 “A Jamaican Story,” Outliers (270–85)
F 3/21 “Supporting a Thesis” & “Integrating Sources,” AWR (MLA–1, MAL–3) Creative Imitation
Week Ten
M 3/24 Consision: “Wordy Sentences,” AWR (W2)
W 3/26 Unity & Flow: “Writing Paragraphs,” AWR (C4)
F 3/28 Assignment for Essay 3 Analysis Essay Revised
Week Eleven
M 3/31 “Why We Crave Horror Movies” (on-line)
W 4/2 “Documenting Sources,” AWR (MLA–4)
Th 4/3 Last Day to Drop & Receive a “W”
F 4/4 “Citing Sources” & “Quotation Marks”
AWR (MLA–2, P5)
Mind Map
Week Twelve
M 4/7 “I Have a Dream” (on-line) &
“Letter from Birmingham Jail” TAR (494–507)
W 4/9 “Designing Documents,” AWR (C5)
F 4/11 “Typography in Ten Minutes” (on-line)
“Research Papers” (on-line)
Informal Outline
Week Thirteen
M 4/14 “The Naked Source,” TAR (320–25)
W 4/16 Peer Review Workshop Informative Essay Draft
F 4/18 Good Friday
Week Fourteen
M 4/21 “Evolution as Fact and Theory,” TAR (437–43)
W 4/23 “Where I Lived and What I Lived For,”
TAR (594–98)
F 4/25 “Sentence Fragments” & “Run-on Sentences,” AWR (G5, G6) Enlivened Prose
Week Fifteen
M 4/28 Revision Workshop
W 4/30 Revision Workshop
F 5/2 Last Day of Class Informative Essay Revised

ENGL 1301 Course Agreement

You must download the SYLLABUS to print out the Course Agreement.

Your instructor, Mark Womack, reserves the right to amend any policies listed here with sufficient written and verbal notice.

Page Last Updated: 23 July 2017