English 1304: First Year Writing II

Dr. Mark Womack Fall 2013
Roy Cullen 234-D
Office Hours:
MW 8:00–9:00

Time Section Room
MWF 9:00–10:00 23067 Agnes Arnold Hall 12
MWF 10:00–11:00 12768 Roy Cullen 109


Writing Arguments
(Custom Edition)
John D. Ramage, John C. Bean,
& June Johnson

Available Exclusively at the
University of Houston BOOKSTORE


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

Catalog Description

A detailed study of the principles of rhetoric as applied to analyzing and writing argumentative and persuasive essays; principles and methods of research, culminating in writing a substantial research paper.

Course Learning Outcomes

The student who completes this course will be expected to:

  1. Understand and demonstrate writing processes through invention, organization, drafting, revision, editing, and presentation.
  2. Recognize, understand, and apply the conventions of format, structure, and style appropriate to a variety of rhetorical situations, audiences, and genres.
  3. Develop the ability to use writing and reading for inquiry and research; i.e., find, evaluate, and analyze appropriate primary and secondary sources; integrate one’s own ideas with the ideas of others; and write a documented paper that conforms to the standards of the discipline, using a consistent documentation style (e.g., MLA, APA).

Academic Support Services

“In compliance with the 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Center for Students with DisABILITIES (CSD) provides ‘reasonable and necessary’ testing accommodations for qualified students with health impairments, physical limitations, psychiatric disorders, and learning disabilities.” Students who want to know more about these services should consult the Student Handbook, or should contact CSD in Room 110 of the Justin Dart, Jr. Center for Students with DisABILITIES (building #568), 713-743-5400 (voice) or 713-749-1527 (TTY);

Course Policies


You should attend all of every class. Excessive absences will affect your final grade (see “Professionalism”). If you miss more than 6 classes, your instructor may drop you from the course for excessive absences. Only religious holidays and University-sponsored activities count as “excused” absences, and only if you submit written notice to me stating your intention in advance of the absence. I will 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 miss when you are not in class.

Writing Assignments

You will write 3 major essays (ranging in length from 3 to 5 pages), 3 sets of peer reviews, and 4 brief (1 to 2 page) writing exercises. Hand in all assignments to me at the beginning of class on the designated due date. If you do not turn in all your essays and writing exercises, you will fail the class. For every class period an assignment is late, I deduct 10 points from the grade. Any assignment not turned in within 4 class periods of the due date gets a zero (but you must still turn it in to be eligible to pass the course). I do not 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.


Our class will reproduce in many ways a “real-world” work environment, and I expect you to participate professionally—be on time, meet deadlines, collaborate, and pull your weight. Professionalism includes all of these as well as regular attendance, willing participation in all facets of classroom life, and sincere effort to improve your own writing and that of your peers through peer review, revision, and conferencing. After 6 absences, your professionalism grade becomes an F. In some cases, professionalism could mean the difference between one grade and the next—or, in borderline cases, between passing and failing.

Manuscript Requirements

Make and keep a copy of any work turned in for grading. Print out your final drafts on 8.5 x 11 inch paper. Use 1 inch margins, double space, paginate, and staple pages together. (NB: I will not accept, read, or grade any unstapled papers). Use only 12 point fonts and readable typefaces (such as Times New Roman or Georgia). Always print with a good ink cartridge to ensure legibility. I will not grade papers I consider illegible. Edit and proofread everything you turn in; every assignment should be as error-free as your can make it.

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 10 points from your Professionalism grade. I also reserve the right to confiscate any cell phone visible during class and to answer or confiscate any cell phone that rings in class. (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 forfeit your right to bring the device to class for the rest of the semester. I reserve the right to confiscate any laptop or tablet used inappropriately during class.


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

Academic Dishonesty

Students are expected to do their own work. The University of Houston Academic Policies define and prohibit academic dishonesty as follows: “‘Academic dishonesty’ means employing a method or technique or engaging in conduct in an academic endeavor that the student knows or should know is not permitted by the university or a course instructor to fulfill academic requirements” (Article 3.02; see Student Handbook URL for further details). The primary concern in this course is plagiarism, again defined in the Academic Honesty Policy: “Representing as one’s own work the work of another without acknowledging the source.” Plagiarism will be dealt with according to its type and severity: faulty citation of sources will be treated as a matter for teaching and revision; willful and knowing academic dishonesty will be dealt with according to University policy and can result in failure of the assignment or the course, and/or suspension from or expulsion from the University.

Assignments Weight
Professionalism 10%
Writing Exercises 15%
Rhetorical Analysis 20%
Causal Argument 25%
Evaluation Argument 30%

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)

Schedule of Readings & Assignments

M 8/26 Review of instructions, policies, & syllabus
W 8/28 “Argument: An Introduction,” Writing Arguments (WA) chp. 1
F 8/30 “Argument as Inquiry,” WA chp. 2
T 9/3 Last Day to Add a Class
W 9/4 “The Core of an Argument,” WA chp. 3 Writing Exercies 1:
Argument Summary
F 9/6 “The Logical Structure of Arguments,” WA chp. 4
M 9/9 “Using Evidence Effectively,” WA chp. 5
W 9/11 “Moving Your Audience,” WA chp. 6 Writing Exercies 2:
Last Day to Drop or Withdraw Without Receiving a Grade
F 9/13 “Responding to Objections & Alternative Views,” WA chp. 7
M 9/16 “Analyzing Arguments Rhetorically,” WA chp. 8 Writing Exercise 3:
Classical Argument
W 9/18 “Analyzing Visual Arguments,” WA chp. 9
F 9/20 Assignment for Essay 1 Wriring Exercise 4:
Rhetorical Analysis
M 9/23 “Appendix: Informal Fallacies,” WA
W 9/25 “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” WA (582-95)
F 9/27 “A Modest Proposal,” WA (609-14)
M 9/30 “Citing & Documenting Sources,” WA chp. 17
W 10/2 Outline Workshop
F 10/4 Peer Review Workshop Rhetorical Analysis Draft
M 10/7 Revision Workshop
W 10/9 Agent/Action Sentences
W 10/11 Revision Conferences
M 10/14 Assignment for Essay 2 Rhetorical Analysis Revised
W 10/16 “Causal Arguments,” WA chp. 12
F 10/18 “Why We Crave Horror Movies” (on-line)
M 10/21 “Incorporating Sources,” WA chp. 16
W 10/23 Outline Workshop
F 10/25 Peer Review Workshop Causal Argument Draft
M 10/28 Revision Workshop
W 10/30 Concision
F 11/1 Unity & Flow

Last Day to Drop & Receive a “W”
M 11/4 Run-ons, Fragments, and Dangling Modifiers
W 11/6 Commas, Exclamation Marks, and Semicolons
F 11/8 Revision Conferences
M 11/11 Assignment for Essay 3 Causal Argument Revised
W 11/13 “Evaluation & Ethical Arguments,” WA chp. 13
F 11/15 “Finding & Evaluating Sources,” WA chp. 15
M 11/18 Library Research Day
W 11/20 Outline Workshop
F 11/22 Peer Review Workshop Evaluation Argument Draft
M 11/25 Revision Workshop
M 12/2 Revision Conferences
W 12/4 Revision Conferences
F 12/6 Evaluation Argument Revised

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

Page Last Updated: 14 June 2016