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ENG 1020: Introductory College Writing


Section 013                                                       M/W/F 9:35 – 10:30am

Fall 2010                                                           029 State Hall


Sue Muecke                                                       9036, 5057 Woodward (Maccabees Bldg)

s.muecke@wayne.edu                                         Office Hours: Mondays 11:00am - 12:30pm

                                                                                          Thursdays 4:00 – 5:30pm


General Education Designation

With a grade of C or better, ENG 1020 fulfills the General Education Basic Composition (BC) graduation requirement.  Successful completion of Basic Composition (BC) with a grade of C or better is a prerequisite to enrolling in courses that fulfill the General Education IC (Intermediate Composition) requirement for graduation (e.g., ENG 3010, 3050, Literature and Writing courses).


More information on the General Education requirements is available from the Undergraduate Programs office: http://www.bulletins.wayne.edu/ubk-output/ubk%2009-11-wb-01-07.html  


Course Description

Building upon students’ diverse skills, English 1020 prepares students for reading, research, and writing in college classes.  The main goals of the course are (1) to teach students to consider the rhetorical situation for any piece of writing; (2) to have students integrate reading, research, and writing in the genres of analysis and argument; and (3) to teach students to develop analyses and arguments using appropriate content, effective organization, and appropriate expression and mechanics, all while using a flexible writing process that incorporates drafting, revising, editing, and documenting sources. 


To achieve these goals, the course places considerable emphasis upon the relationship between reading and writing, the evaluation and development of information and ideas through research, the genres of analysis and argumentation, and the use of multiple technologies for research and writing. 


Learning Objectives

  • to develop analytical and critical strategies for reading complex texts with varied sources of information, multiple perspectives, and complicated arguments 
  • to identify and analyze the structure of analysis and arguments in a variety of texts and media, identifying authors’ claims, evidence, appeals, organization, and style, and evaluating their persuasive effect 
  • to consider the rhetorical situation for any given piece of writing, including audience, purpose, and context 
  • to conduct research by finding and evaluating print and electronic sources, generating information and ideas from research, and synthesizing them with respect to the topic and ideas of the writer 
  • to write effectively in multiple analytical and argumentative genres, generating a clearly defined topic and purpose/thesis, organizing and developing complex content and reasoning, and using standard text conventions for academic writing 
  • to use a flexible writing process that includes generating ideas, writing, revising, providing/responding to feedback in multiple drafts, and editing text and tone for multiple audiences 
  • to make productive use of a varied set of technologies for research and writing 


Required Texts

All texts are available at the campus Barnes & Noble and Marwil's bookstore.  Additional readings will be provided online via Blackboard.


  • Everything's an Argument (fifth edition) by Andrea A. Lunsford and John J. Ruszkiewicz
  • They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing (second edition) by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein
  • Maus: A Survivor's Tale I - My Father Bleeds History by Art Spiegelman
  • Maus: A Survivor's Tale II - And Here My Troubles Began by Art Spiegelman
  • Recommended - The Scott, Foresman Writer (fifth edition) by John Ruszkiewicz, Daniel E. Seward, Christy Friend, and Maxine Hairston 



In addition to our major projects (listed below), you will also be evaluated based on your completion of short responses and exercises throughout the semester. Due dates for assignments can be found below (as well as on the Schedule page).


Credit breakdown for assignments is as follows:

  • Project One (Rhetorical Analysis, 4-6 pages): 15%  (due by 11:59pm on 10/4)
  • Project Two (Definition Argument, 6-8 pages): 20% (due by 11:59pm on 10/27)
  • Project Three (Problem-Solving Essay, 6-8 pages): 20% (due by 11:59pm on 11/15)
  • Project Four (Cultural Analysis, 8-10 pages): 25% (due by 11:59pm on 12/17) 
  • Presentation: 10%
  • Participation and Responses (In- and Out-of-Class): 10%


Percentage Value of Letter Grades

A: 93-100

A-: 90-92

B+: 87-89

B: 83-86

B-: 80-82

C+: 77-79

C: 73-76

C-: 70-72

D: 60-69

F: 0-59



Although individual projects in this course have specific grading guidelines, the general rubric for grades in our course is as follows:


The "A" Paper

  • The "A" paper has an excellent sense of the rhetorical situation. Its aim is clear and consistent throughout the paper. It attends to the needs of its audience and the topic itself is effectively narrowed and clearly defined.
  • The content is appropriately developed for the assignment and rhetorical situation. The supporting details or evidence are convincingly presented. The reasoning is valid and shows an awareness of the complexities of the subject. If secondary sources are used, they are appropriately selected and cited.
  • The organization demonstrates a clear and effective strategy. The introduction establishes the writer's credibility and the conclusion effectively completes the essay: paragraphs are coherent, developed, and show effective structural principles.
  • The expression is very clear, accessible, concrete. It displays ease with idiom and a broad range of diction. It shows facility with a great variety of sentence options and the punctuation and subordinate structures that these require. It has few errors, none of which seriously undermines the effectiveness of the paper for educated readers.


The "B" Paper

  • The "B" paper has a good sense of the rhetorical situation. It shows awareness of purpose and focuses on a clearly defined topic.
  • The content is well developed and the reasoning usually valid and convincing. Evidence and supporting details are adequate.
  • The organization is clear and easy to follow: the introduction and conclusion are effective, and transitions within and between paragraphs are finessed reasonably well.
  • The paper has few errors, especially serious sentence errors. Sentences show some variety in length, structure, and complexity. Punctuation, grammar, and spelling conform to the conventions of edited Standard American English.


The "C" Paper

  • The "C" paper has an adequate sense of the rhetorical situation. Its purpose is clear and it is focused on an appropriate central idea. The topic may be unoriginal, but the assignment has been followed, if not fulfilled.
  • The content is adequately developed. The major points are supported, and paragraphs are appropriately divided, with enough specific details to make the ideas clear. The reasoning is valid.
  • The organization is clear and fairly easy to follow. The introduction and conclusion are adequate; transitions are mechanical but appropriate.
  • The expression is generally correct, although it shows little competence with sentence variety (in length and structure) and emphasis. The paper is generally free of major sentence and grammar errors and indicates mastery of most conventions of edited Standard American English.


The "D" Paper

  • The "D" paper has a limited sense of the rhetorical situation. Its purpose may not be clear, its topic may not be interesting to or appropriate for its audience.
  • The content is inadequately developed. The evidence is insufficient, and supporting details or examples are absent or irrelevant.
  • Organization is deficient. Introductions or conclusions are not clearly marked or functional. Paragraphs are not coherently developed or linked to each other. The arrangement of material within paragraphs may be confusing.
  • Expression demonstrates an awareness of a very limited range of stylistic options. It is marred by numerous errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation that detract from a reader’s comprehension of the text.


The "F" Paper

  • There is no sense of the rhetorical situation or of the objectives of the assignment as described in the syllabus.
  • The content is insufficiently developed and does not go beyond the obvious. The reasoning is deeply flawed.
  • The organization is very difficult to follow. Sentences may not be appropriately grouped into paragraphs, or paragraphs may not be arranged logically. Transitions are not present or are inappropriate.
  • The number and seriousness of errors—in grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc.—significantly obstruct comprehension.


Late Papers, Extensions, and Rewrites

Individual paper grades will go down one letter grade portion for each day the paper is late (e.g. from a B to a B-).  Rough drafts will not be accepted late.  If you do not have your rough draft posted on time, you will lose 5% off the final grade for that project (see below).


If you need extra time on a project, you may request an extension.  Extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis, so do not assume your request has been approved.  Until you receive verbal approval or an approval email from me, you should continue to work under the belief that your paper is due at the official day/time.


No paper rewrites are permitted - ample opportunities are provided to fine-tune your project before the final due date.  We will hold at least one rough draft workshop for each project.  You should submit complete drafts of your papers to these workshops so that your peer editors can provide feedback on each paper in its entirety.  You will then have the opportunity to make edits and revisions to your paper based on these comments.  You should also feel free to email me rough drafts of your projects.  I would be happy to take a look at and provide comments on rough drafts.



As this is a discussion and workshop-driven class, attendance of all participants is particularly important.  In accordance with English department attendance policies, enrolled students in this class must attend one of the first two class sessions; otherwise, they may be required to drop the class.  Afterwards, you are allowed three unexcused absences; subsequent absences will result in a reduction of your final grade by 2% for each unexcused absence.


I do excuse absences in instances where forces beyond your control prevented you from being in class.  If you were deathly ill and went to the emergency room, if your car broke down and stranded you by the side of the road, if you had to attend your second cousin's funeral - these would all be examples of "forces beyond your control."  For medical reasons and the like, I will require a doctor's note in order to excuse the absence.  I will not excuse absences where you chose to schedule a conflict during class time - please schedule all your advisor appointments, doctor appointments, family vacations, etc. for another time.  If you feel like an absence of yours should be excused, please don't hesitate to discuss it with me either over email or during one of my office hours.


Office Hours

I encourage you to make use of office hours either by dropping by my office or by contacting me electronically.  Office hours are times I set aside when I will be in my office waiting to speak with students and address their concerns.  Students often seem hesitant to make use of office hours - don't be.  Office hours give you an extra opportunity to get help understanding an assignment, to get feedback on a draft, to talk about your grades, or to raise any other questions or concerns you may have about the class or in general.  Either make an appointment ahead of time or just stop by.


Student Responsibilities

  1. I expect you to come to class having read ALL the assigned materials for that day.  You must be prepared to actively participate in class discussions and/or to respond to your classmates' comments on the wiki.
  2. Likewise, I expect you to bring your books and any other relevant materials on days when reading has been assigned.
  3. I expect you to check your Wayne email account on a daily basis.  Important announcements will be made through email, so staying in touch and up-to-date is critical.  The instructor will not be responsible for students' missing important information because they did not check their email.
  4. I expect you to keep track of your grades.  The percentages for each assignment are clearly broken down on this syllabus - it is a simple matter of adding and dividing to figure out where you currently stand in the class.  Students who find themselves in danger of not passing the course will receive a warning email from me so that they can do something to improve their grades.  If you decide to leave the course, it is your responsibility to keep track of deadlines for dropping and/or withdrawing.  Failure to do so will result in a non-passing grade.
  5. Be on time.  Arriving more than fifteen (15) minutes after class starts will be considered an unexcused absence. 


Rough Draft Workshops

For each of our four major projects, we will have at least one workshop between the rough draft and final draft deadlines.  Failure to participate in the rough draft workshop for a project (by absence or by failing to complete your rough draft and/or participate in the peer critique of others' drafts) will result in a 5% deduction in the grade of the final draft of that project.


Media Policy

I encourage you to use your Internet connections to search out information relevant to class during class.  However, browsing unrelated to the class (as well as other media use - texting, IMing, etc.) will be grounds for grade reduction or expulsion from the class.  No cell phones or personal laptops are permitted in the class - please be sure to turn off these devices before the start of class time.  If an extraordinary situation requires that you be reachable (and that your cell phone must therefore be on), please speak to me before the beginning of class.


All papers must be submitted in either .doc or .docx format.  Most major word processing software is capable of saving documents in these formats, even if they aren't the software's native formats.  Papers received in a format other than .doc or .docx will be returned to their authors for reformatting.


Academic Dishonesty

Plagiarism is claiming another's work as your own, whether that's not providing a complete list of Works Cited, copying and pasting information from texts or websites without putting it in quotation marks and properly parenthetically citing it, or turning in another student's paper with your name on it.  Doing so is a gross violation of academic ethics; and as such, both the University and the English Department have strict guidelines for how to proceed when plagiarism is discovered in student work.  Consequences may include failing the given assignment, failing the course, or (in extreme cases) expulsion from the University.  In short - plagiarism isn't worth it.


In this course, we will be using SafeAssign, an online tool designed to recognize published material.  Prior to Project One, we will go over how to use SafeAssign.  You will then be required to check your own papers against SafeAssign to ensure you are not inadvertently plagiarizing a source.  You must turn in a copy of your SafeAssign report for each Project's final draft.  Turning in this report indicates to me that you have reviewed the report and fixed any plagiarism that may have occurred.  Because of this opportunity to identify and fix plagiarism at the rough draft stage, all incidents of plagiarism will result in an automatic "F" for the project and submission of a plagiarism report to the English Department office.


See also the Wayne State Policy on Academic Dishonesty; for more about the definition of plagiarism, consult your local library.


Incomplete Policy

As detailed in the WSU Undergraduate Bulletin, the mark of “I” (Incomplete) is given to a student when he/she has not completed all of the course work as planned for the term and when there is, in the judgment of the instructor, a reasonable probability that the student can complete the course successfully without again attending regular class sessions.  The student should be passing at the time the grade of "I" is given.  A written contract specifying the work to be completed should be signed by the student and instructor.  Responsibility for completing all course work rests with the student.


Dropping/Withdrawing from the Course

The final day to drop the class without its appearing on your academic record is September 29.  Any student wishing to withdraw from the course after this date may do so with my permission.  However, you must discuss the situation with me prior to my approving the withdrawal.


The Writing Center

The Writing Center (2nd floor, UGL) provides tutoring consultations free of charge for students at Wayne State University.  Undergraduate students in General Education courses, including composition courses, receive priority for tutoring appointments.  The Writing Center serves as a resource for writers, providing tutoring sessions on the range of activities in the writing process – considering the audience, analyzing the assignment or genre, brainstorming, researching, writing drafts, revising, editing, and preparing documentation.  The Writing Center is not an editing or proofreading service; rather students are guided as they engage collaboratively in the process of academic writing, from developing an idea to correctly citing sources.  To make an appointment, consult the Writing Center website.  To submit material for online tutoring, consult the Writing Center HOOT (Hypertext One-on-One Tutoring) website.


The Office of Educational Accessibility Services

If you feel that you may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability, please feel free to contact me privately to discuss your specific needs.  Additionally, the Office of Educational Accessibility Services (EAS) coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities.  The Office is located in 1600 David Adamany Undergraduate Library, phone: 313-577-1851/577-3335 (TTD).

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