Advanced Composition Syllabus

Example of An Advanced Composition Syllabus

This is an example of a syllabus handed out to California State University students enrolled in Professor Mary Mackey’s Advanced Composition course English 120A. English 120A is a requirement for all English majors at California State University, Sacramento. Students majoring in other subjects frequently enroll in this course.

ENGLISH 120A:  ADVANCED COMPOSITION   

Professor Mary Mackey, Ph.D.     

Non-multitasking requirement: Please turn off your cell phone, close your laptop, and take the earpiece out of your ear.

TEXTSTHE NORTON SAMPLER, Thomas Cooley
                   WRITING WITH A PURPOSE, Joseph Trimmer (WP)
 
DATES TO REMEMBER:  
     FIRST ESSAY DUE FEBRUARY 19th
     SECOND ESSAY DUE MARCH 11th
     THIRD ESSAY DUE APRIL 8th
     OUTLINE FOR RESEARCH PAPER DUE APRIL 17th
     ROUGH DRAFT OF RESEARCH PAPER DUE EITHER APR. 22 OR APR. 24
     RESEARCH PAPER DUE APRIL 29th  
     MANDATORY CONFERENCES ON MAY 13th AND 15th         

REQUIREMENTS:

You are required to do all reading assignments. 

You must write three essays, one essay exam, one outline for a research paper, and one ten page research paper.

Late papers will be penalized one letter grade for each week overdue.  After two weeks you will receive an F for the assignment.

Since much of this class is conducted as a writing workshop, regular attendance is mandatory. Students who miss more than two sessions without a valid excuse will not receive a passing grade. Please speak to me in person (or write me a note) if you know you are going to be absent. Notifying me by email is not acceptable except in emergencies.

IN ORDER TO RECEIVE A FINAL GRADE YOU MUST COME TO PROFESSOR MACKEY’S OFFICE  FOR A CONFERENCE ON EITHER MAY 13th OR 15th. (We will schedule these in class on May 8th.)

FORMAT:  See page 377 in WP. In general, double-space your essays, use normal margins, use a 12 point font, and proofread carefully. Make all citations in MLA Style. Despite the suggestions in Chapter 5 of WP, do not mix fonts or put in graphics. If you must include a chart, put it in an Appendix. This is a course in composition, not web design. Put your last name in the upper left-hand corner of every page. Number all pages, and collate and staple your essays together before you come to class. You do not need a title page, and you may double-side your copies if you wish.

On the day an essay is due, you should bring enough  paper copies to class so that each of us can have one. (This usually means 25 copies.) EXCEPTION:  You only need to make two copies of your ten page research paper–one for you and one for me.

Why do these copies have to be paper copies, not electronic ones? They have to be paper copies because during the discussion period, your fellow students and I will be writing notes to you in the margins of your paper and suggesting line-by-line corrections. In other words, you will be receiving immediate, personal, face-to-face feedback. This course may well give you more feedback on your writing than you have ever had while also giving you multiple occasions to offer constructive feedback to others.

Your papers should be beautifully written, logical, grammatically correct, perceptive, convincing, well-documented (where appropriate), entertaining and neatly presented. You need not make title pages nor need you enclose your essays in plastic folders. Ordinary staples will be sufficient. If you have problems with punctuation, please review the “Handbook of Grammar and Usage” in Writing With a Purpose, pages 473-597.

PLEASE NOTE THE RESEARCH PAPER REQUIREMENT:  Near the end of this course you will be asked to write a ten page research paper. You should be aware that you will be required to tell me what you plan to write about, discuss your sources, and show me (and the rest of your classmates) your notes, outline, and rough draft. You will also be discussing your rough draft with me in a one-on-one conference. Please select your research topic as early as possible. Clear it with me and begin your research no later than MARCH 13TH .

PLAGIARISM: Plagiarism of any kind will not be tolerated. You are responsible for knowing what constitutes plagiarism. To refresh your memory, please see WP 361-362. Cutting and pasting from Internet sources is particularly unwise and particularly easy to trace.

TU JAN 29    INTRODUCTION TO AND OVERVIEW OF THE COURSE

             Please take a moment to look at the English Department “Writing Standards” handout.
             
             READING ASSIGNMENT: WP: Part One: The Writing
             Process (1-102). Note: In this and all future
             assignments, you may skim or skip the Readings. You
             should take a quick look at the Writing Assignments, but
             you are not expected to do them. You are not required
             to use all the planning techniques Trimmer suggests.
             Simply pick those that work best for you. You may enjoy
             reading the sections on design and graphics, but you will
             find very few of these techniques suitable for the essays
             you will be writing in this class.
 
TH JAN 31    PERSUASION:  Lecture on Persuasion

          FIRST ESSAY ASSIGNED.  DUE FEBRUARY 19TH

             TOPIC: Take a stand supporting something you don’t
             believe in (like raising the drinking age to thirty, or
             requiring all students to serve in the armed forces
             for two years as soon as they graduate from high
             school.) Write a five page essay which makes a sincere
             attempt to persuade your readers to agree with the
             position you have adopted. Five Pages, due FEB. 19th in
             multiple copies).

             Note: Do not worry if you change sides after doing
             your research. You are simply required to start with a
             topic contrary to your real opinion. Also, you do not
             have to argue for something you find morally repugnant
             (although you may do so if you wish).

            BRING ROUGH DRAFTS TO YOUR CONFERENCE ON FEB 12th or 14th                 
 
             READING ASSIGNMENT:  WP: Argument (155-184).
             Take a closer look at the Readings in this
             section to see how the arguments are developed.

             BRING YOUR NORTON SAMPLER TO CLASS NEXT TIME.

TU FEB  5    PERSUASION

             Logical Appeal
             Emotional Appeal

       Analysis of essays in The Norton Sampler
               Look at emotional and logical appeal in:
                “Island of Plenty” (logical) p. 328
                “Reasonable Search and Seizure”
                  (logical) p. 327
                “The Price of Power:  Living in the Nuclear Age”
                   (emotional appeal) p. 334
                “Guys vs Men” Dave Barry 246
                “Modest Proposal” 74
           
             READING ASSIGNMENT: Guidelines for Evaluating Sources
             WP 338-339.
          
 TH FEB 7   EVIDENCE

            Peer reviewed journals
            Informed opinions

            In-class writing
            Conference times assigned

TU FEB 12    INDIVIDUAL CONFERENCES WITH PROFESSOR MACKEY
             (Bring your rough drafts)

TH FEB 14    INDIVIDUAL CONFERENCES WITH PROFESSOR MACKEY
             (Bring your rough drafts)

TU FEB 19    FIRST ESSAY DUE
             DISCUSSION OF FIRST ESSAY

TH FEB 21    DISCUSSION OF FIRST ESSAY

TU FEB 26    DISCUSSION OF FIRST ESSAY

TH FEB 28    DISCUSSION OF FIRST ESSAY

TU MAR 4     THE ESSAY EXAM: LECTURE AND PREPARATION FOR
                             IN-CLASS EXAMINATION ON THURSDAY

             LECTURE ON POINT OF VIEW AND GUIDELINES FOR
             WRITING ABOUT POINT OF VIEW IN LITERARY WORKS

            The exam question will focus on one of the short stories you
            have been given. You may choose your favorite story and
            bring a copy of it to class on Thursday. You may also bring
            any notes you have taken.
         
TH MAR 6    ESSAY EXAM

            Students were given the following essay question:

                 Essay Question: How would the short story you selected be
            changed if the point of view from which it was written were
            changed? Do you think the story would have been more
            effective had it been told from a different point of view?
            (Reply as fully as possible to the question. Do not forget
            to spend a few moments outlining your response; and do not
            forget to support your assertions with vivid, concrete
            examples.)            

            SECOND ESSAY ASSIGNED.  DUE MARCH 11th. (Topic announced only after students finish taking the in-class essay exam)

             SECOND ESSAY: The good news is that the essay exam you have just taken will not be graded. Take your exam essay home and revise, rewrite, and polish it. The result will be graded.

TU MAR 11   SECOND ESSAY DUE
            DISCUSSION  

TH MAR 13   DISCUSSION OF SECOND ESSAY
            
           BY NOW YOU SHOULD HAVE SELECTED A TOPIC FOR
            YOUR RESEARCH PAPER, CLEARED IT WITH ME, AND STARTED YOUR
            RESEARCH.

TU MAR 18   DISCUSSION OF SECOND ESSAY

TH MAR 20   Special session on internet research and understanding
            data bases. Meet in Library, ROOM 2023 (second floor).
            
            READING ASSIGNMENT:  Finding Sources, WP 324-341.
            Bring your Norton Sampler to class next time.

TU MAR 25   THE PERSONAL ESSAY                    
 
             Third Essay Assignment: Write a five page narrative essay in which
             you describe the most dangerous thing you have ever done
             (voluntarily or involuntarily). DUE APRIL 8th.

             If you already have a draft of this essay, bring it to the
             next class session. Be prepared to write in class next time.             

TH MAR 27   THE PERSONAL ESSAY

             READING ASSIGNMENT:  WP: Tone and Style (289-316),
             and Strategy One: Narration and Description (130-134).              
                                                              
             In-class writing exercise

TU APR 8    THIRD ESSAY DUE
            DISCUSSION  

             READING ASSIGNMENT: WP: Planning the Research Paper
             (318-349) and Writing the Research Paper (350-394).
             Please pay special attention to the section on Plagiarism
             (361-362) and review the section on how to cite sources in
             MLA Style (362-377).         

            Assignment: Create a one page outline of your research
            paper. Anyone reading it should be able to understand the
            thesis of the paper and the sequence in which you propose to
            present your arguments.

            OUTLINE DUE APR. 17th. ROUGH DRAFTS
            DUE APR. 22nd OR APR. 24th. RESEARCH PAPERS DUE APR. 29TH.

TH APR 10   DISCUSSION OF THIRD ESSAY
          
TU APR 15   DISCUSSION OF THIRD ESSAY

TH APR 17   OUTLINES FOR RESEARCH PAPERS DUE      

                            Discussion of outlines for research papers     
 
TU APR 22  INDIVIDUAL CONFERENCES WITH PROFESSOR MACKEY
            ROUGH DRAFTS DUE (Bring them with you)

TH APR 24  INDIVIDUAL CONFERENCES WITH PROFESSOR MACKEY
            ROUGH DRAFTS DUE (Bring them with you)            

TU APR 29   RESEARCH PAPERS DUE  
            DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH PAPERS

TH MAY 1    DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH PAPERS

TU MAY 6    DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH PAPERS

TH MAY 8    DISCUSSION OF RESEARCH PAPERS
             
            FINAL CONFERENCE TIMES ASSIGNED

TU MAY 13   FINAL INDIVIDUAL CONFERENCES WITH PROFESSOR MACKEY (REQUIRED)

TH MAY 15   FINAL INDIVIDUAL CONFERENCES WITH PROFESSOR MACKEY (REQUIRED)

PLEASE NOTE:  We may deviate from this syllabus from time to time
should circumstances require us to do so. There is no final examination in this course.

[Click on the course titles to view the following sample syllabi: INTRODUCTION TO COMPOSITION, WOMEN’S VISIONARY FICTION, WOMEN’S VISIONARY FILM, WOMEN’S VISIONARY POETRY.]