Effective Date of this Description/Syllabus: Fall 2018

Prepared by: Dr. Rhonda V. Wilcox

Honors House 104, (678) 359 5296


Fall Office hours: MW: 11:00-1:30; TR: 1:30-3:00


Course Description/Syllabus

Course Designation (discipline abbreviation & number): ENGL 1101H

Course Title: Composition I

Class hours per week:   3

Laboratory hours per week: 0

Credit hours: 3

Division offering course: Humanities

Course description for college catalog:

    A composition course focusing on skills required for effective writing in a variety of contexts, with emphasis on exposition and analysis and including the use of research skills. The course provides opportunities for collaboration, leadership, and effective communication across media through writing projects that relate to one or more elements of the honors program outside the classroom.

Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Honors Program or permission of the Honors Program Coordinator. In order to enter English 1102, you must earn at least a C in this course. For most institutions, a C or better is required to transfer.


ADA and 504

If you have a documented disability as described by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, you may be eligible to receive accommodations to assist in programmatic and/or physical accessibility.  The Counseling and Accessibility Services office located in the Student Center, Room 212 can assist you in formulating a reasonable accommodation plan and in providing support in developing appropriate accommodations to ensure equal access to all GSC programs and facilities.  Course requirements will not be waived, but accommodations may assist you in meeting the requirements.  For documentation requirements and for additional information, contact Counseling and Accessibility Services at 678-359-5585. 


Title IX

Gordon State College is committed to providing an environment free of all forms of discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.  If you (or someone you know) has experienced or experiences any of these incidents, know that you are not alone. All faculty members at Gordon State College are mandated reporters.  Any student reporting any type of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking must be made aware that any report made to a faculty member under the provisions of Title IX will be reported to the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX Deputy Coordinator.  If you wish to speak with someone confidentially, you must contact the Counseling and Accessibility Services office, Room 212, Student Life Center.  The licensed counselors in the Counseling Office are able to provide confidential support.


Gordon State College does not discriminate against any student on the basis of pregnancy, parenting or related conditions.  Students seeking accommodations on the basis of pregnancy, parenting or related conditions should contact Counseling and Accessibility Services regarding the process of documenting pregnancy related issues and being approved for accommodations, including pregnancy related absences as defined under Title IX.


Religious Holidays: Gordon State College acknowledges that the academic calendar can sometimes conflict with major holidays from among our diverse religious traditions.  If a student must miss class due to the observance of a religious holiday, that absence may be excused.  To be excused, the student must inform his/her instructors before the absence and make alternate arrangements for any work due at the time of the absence.  An excused absence for the observance of a religious holiday does not excuse a student from responsibility for required course work. If you are going to be absent for a religious holiday, tell me by the end of week 2.


The Humanities Department’s formally stated general objectives for all English 1101 classes are listed below:

English 1101 Course Objectives


In order to successfully complete ENGL 1101, the student should fulfill these objectives:


Literacy Objective

Students must read, comprehend, and respond to college-level writing.


Critical Thinking Objectives

Students should develop or improve their ability to engage in the following:

·         Synthesis, for example in a comparative analysis of two texts.

·         Reflection on the composition process and product.

·         Inquiry into questions ranging from personal to wider social import.


Process Objectives

Students should develop or improve their ability to recognize and apply complex writing processes, including but not limited to the following:

·         Prewriting, through various forms of invention.

·         Writing and drafting.

·         Rewriting, through revision and editing.


Product Objectives

Students should develop or improve their ability to produce an organized, coherent, and developed essay demonstrating a mastery of Standard Written English.  Successful demonstration of these skills include the following:


·         Competency in rhetorical strategy as related to audience, tone, and purpose in a variety of contexts.

·         Articulation and understanding of an explicitly-stated thesis.

·         Demonstration of modal competency across modes such as Narrative, Comparison and Contrast, Classification/Illustration, Problem and Solution, Description, and Process Analysis.

·         Demonstration of basic documentation skills, including but not limited to the use of quotation, summary, and paraphrase.

·         Competency in grammatical and mechanical correctness.


Course content for our English 1101:

    Education Diary

    Personal Narrative Essay


    Basic Expository Essay


    Comparison/Contrast Essay


    Classification/Illustration Essay (documented)

    Final Exam Essay


Note that we will have a particular emphasis on audience in writing for this Honors class.


All essays for this class should be a minimum of 500 words.


*A student who makes a C or below on any of the first three essays must revise it. A student who makes an A or B on an essay may omit its revision, though each student must revise at least one essay (even if only to aim for an A+).

Any student who fails to turn in any of these papers (including required revisions and Education Diary) will fail the course.

A student must pass the in-class final exam essay to get a C or better in the course.

Students will be required to produce revisions, the Classification Essay, and possibly other assignments, on a computer (available in the Instructional Complex and the library; or students may use their own).

Students will collaborate in the production of a collection of the class’s best essays to be published online via the professor’s faculty webpage.


Class participation, brief writing assignments (e.g. in-class paragraphs), pop quizzes (usually on reading assignments), and exercises will make up the remainder of the student's grade.

The kinds of instruction may include class preparation for writing, small-group critiques of finished essays or preparatory work, oral presentation and evaluation of papers, lectures, discussions, and other activities.

Each student will have a minimum of three required conferences with the instructor. Either the student or the instructor may schedule additional conferences. Students MAY NOT MISS OTHER CLASSES in order to attend a required English conference. If a student is found to be missing another class in order to attend a conference for this class, the relevant essay will be penalized five points. Any student who has genuine difficulty scheduling a conference should discuss the problem with the instructor outside class.


Required Texts:

The Gordon State College Writing Handbook. Written by Gordon professors Dr. Mark King and Dr. Wesley Venus as of 2015. http://www.gordonstate.edu/successcenter/writing-handbook.html

100 Years of the Best American Short Stories. Ed. Lorrie Moore and Heidi Pitlor. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015. You will need this book during the final exam.

Required folder: Place papers (essays and revisions) in a paper/cardboard folder with pockets, earliest assignments on the bottom (reverse chronological order). AT THE END OF THE SEMESTER, TURN IN THE FOLDER. Write your name visibly on the upper right corner. We will be passing this folder back and forth all semester.

Recommended Text:

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, newest edition. Print. Any reputable, sizeable dictionary will do; this is just a suggestion. Plan to bring a dictionary for in-class essays; you may not use an electronic dictionary, cell phone, or other “smart” device during in-class essays.)



Essay 1--10%

Essay 2--10%

Essay 3--15%

Essay 4--15%

Revisions=Essay 5--15% (Average of the student's revision grades=15% of the course grade.)

Exam=Essay 6--20%

Education Diary—5%

Pop tests, class participation and professionalism, etc.--10%


Standards: A=90-100; B=80-89; C=70-79; D=60-69; F=below 60; B+ =88; B =85; B- = 82; C+ =78, etc.

The following description of grade standards (composed by the faculty of Elon College) further explains the evaluation process:

A:  This indicates clearly superior work. The A theme has significant content and a clear purpose that it successfully accomplishes without major errors of any kind. Its organization and style are appropriate to the subject, which is so restricted that it can be intelligently treated within the limits of the paper. It handles the mechanics of punctuation, sentence and paragraph construction, and the choice of diction and idiom logically and appropriately.*

B:  This indicates writing that is clearly of good quality. Although the B theme will probably lack some of the insight and tight control of superior work, it demonstrates the same ability of handling significant content according to a clear purpose. Its organization and mechanics are free of major errors.*

C:  This represents average college work, but it possesses few distinguishing qualities. It may show some breakdown in logic and organization, careless proofreading, and a deficiency in writing mechanics.

D:  This grade indicates a piece of writing that falls below average college work. Although the D theme may show a potential for average achievement, it is flawed by mechanical errors, such as those of spelling, punctuation, and capitalization. It does manage to convey its ideas to the reader, but its

organization is probably weak.

F:  This indicates unacceptable college writing. It is likely to be marred by serious errors of punctuation, spelling, diction, sentence and paragraph construction. The subject is likely to be incoherently presented.

*Unlike the Elon College faculty, I might allow one or two major errors in a standard length A or B paper, respectively; and I do consider length in terms of the proportion of errors.


Some examples of serious errors are:             sentence fragments; comma splices; fused sentences

Some examples of lesser errors are:               capitalization mistakes; inappropriate (vs. inaccurate) diction; hyphenation errors

Student evaluation of instruction (Your chance to grade the teacher!)

    Near the end of this course, you may be asked to evaluate the instruction of the course by filling out a standard form that is used college-wide. Your honest responses on the form will assist the faculty of the college in providing the best possible educational experiences for Gordon students. In other words, your evaluation of my work can help me to improve, just as my evaluation of your work can help you to improve.


Plagiarism, Cheating:

    The English faculty of Gordon College views any form of cheating as a serious violation of commonly accepted standards of honesty. All student work must be solely that of the person submitting the work. Any giving or receiving of unauthorized help from others or from notes or other materials during the course of taking a quiz, test, or exam or in writing a paper will result in an F on the work; any use of forbidden materials such as rough drafts during the course of in-class writing will also result in an F for the assignment. Note that an F on the work involved in cheating is the minimum punishment; if justified by aggravating circumstances, the matter may be referred to the Academic Dean and/or the Judicial Committee or (according to a rule approved by the full faculty in Spring 2010) the Dean of Students.

Moreover, when source materials are used in the writing of papers, the student must document such use of sources both by clearly indicating material being used as quotation and by giving proper recognition when ideas or information has been paraphrased or summarized; the following principles enunciated in the section on avoiding plagiarism in James D. Lester's Writing Research Papers: A Complete Guide, 8th edition, should be scrupulously observed:

1. Acknowledge borrowed material by introducing the quotation or paraphrase with the name of the authority. This practice serves to indicate where borrowed materials begin.

2. Enclose within quotation marks all quoted materials.

3. Make certain that paraphrased material has been rewritten into your own style and language. The simple rearrangement of sentence patterns is unacceptable. [It is unacceptable to simply rearrange sentence patterns.]

4. Provide specific in-text documentation for each borrowed item. For example, MLA [Modern Language Association] style requires name and page for all in-text references. Requirements differ for other fields.

5. Provide a bibliographic entry on the Works Cited page for every source cited in the paper.

6. Omit sources consulted but not cited in [your paper]. This point is important. You do not want your instructor leafing back through the paper trying to find your use of a source that, in truth, was not cited. (140-41)

Note that the indention of the six rules above is another method of indicating that material is quoted from someone else; when you have a long section to quote, then instead of using quotation marks, you indent. My indention of the six rules indicates that they are the exact wording by James D. Lester on pages 140-41 of his book.


Furthermore, you must avoid collusion. Here is a definition from the head of the Humanities Department:

Collusion is defined as receiving excessive help to the point that a work can no longer be considered the product of a single author and therefore cannot be accurately assessed an individual grade. If I suspect a submitted work to be the result of collusion, I reserve the right to refuse credit for that work if the claimed author is unable to demonstrate sole authorship. A good way to avoid this problem is to get help from the Student Success Center rather than from family or friends.

I may or may not decide to have you submit some of your work to Turnitin.com. Terms and Conditions of Use may be found at http://www.turnitin.com/static/usage.html.


LIBRARY HOURS (as most recently announced) will be Mon-Wed 8:00 am—10:00 pm; Thu 8:00 am—8:00 pm; Fri 8:00 am—5:00 pm; Saturday 10:00 am—2:00 pm; Sunday 2:00 pm—10:00 pm


Business procedures: Professionalism

Attendance: You may receive a WF if you fail to attend regularly. If you receive a WF, you will be ineligible for VA and other financial assistance.

As a matter of courtesy, you should explain your absences to me. However, you should realize that even "excused" absences count against you--not as a moral judgment, but simply as a matter of getting business done. As a college student, you are responsible for all class and assigned work whether you are present or not. Whenever possible, you should notify me ahead of time (in person, by phone, by email, or by a note slipped under my office door) if you must miss a class, so that we can try to make appropriate arrangements. Some work, such as in-class essays, can only be made up (at the teacher’s discretion) under extenuating circumstances (work not made up gets a zero). Some small quizzes and assignments may be excused at the teacher’s discretion. Students who miss more than nine MWF or six TR or MW classes normally fail the course. Three tardies equal one absence. If you believe yourself to have a contagious illness, email or telephone me before the class you expect to miss; then bring documentation from a physician when you return to class.

In general, it is a good idea to save your cuts because (1) you may get deathly ill towards the end of the quarter and miss many classes unexpectedly, and (2) things actually do happen in class.

If you must miss a class and are unable to contact anyone to discover the assignment, then prepare the assignment indicated on the tentative schedule in this syllabus.


Cell phones, Blackberries, and other electronic devices: So that we can make the best use of our limited time together, silence your cell phones and any other electronic devices before class begins,. Exception: Emergency personnel may leave theirs on and slip out of class to take phone calls in the hall when necessary. If you have a job as an EMT (or similar work), notify me during the first week of classes and be sure to sit near the door. Also, if you have some other sort of emergency situation for which you wish to stay in cell phone contact, speak to me about the problem before the relevant class period in order to be granted an exception. All students should remember that they will receive a class participation grade, and cell phone interruptions disturb discussion. In some cases, I may tell class members to use cell phones as part of a search for information. But in most cases, I want us to share a different kind of thinking experience.


Late papers: Late papers, including revisions, are penalized five points per calendar day. I am very strict about this policy. On the other hand, I am very reasonable about giving extensions (without grade penalty) for good cause IF you arrange the matter in a timely fashion before the due date. If you do not get an extension beforehand, then the penalty will stand unless you can produce evidence of flood, earthquake, avalanche, or other natural disaster intervening in the composition process. (I.e., you must provide evidence of a serious problem).


My office is in Honors House 104. Feel free to visit me to talk about the course (whether you have a problem or just an interest). You may also leave messages on or under my door or call me at my office at 678-359-5296. My email address is rhonda_w@gordonstate.edu. If you find yourself involved in an English Emergency, you may call me at home (404-373-5328); I have kept my landline for my students’ convenience. Leave a voicemail with name/number. In general,




Read the assignment before the class period for which it is listed, and read the text’s material on the author for each assignment in 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories.

Week 1 (8/8) Diagnostic writing; course introduction; introduction to Education Diary; READ SYLLABUS and Handbook intro


Week 2 (8/13) Language history; grammar review; (8/15) “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” starting on page 227


Week 3 (8/20) Modes of writing; Narrative structure; ”The Conversion of the Jews,” 211; (8/22) “Fiesta, 1980,” 527; Invention


Week 4 (8/27) “Awaiting Orders,” 639; (8/29) sample narrative essays; subject choices


Week 5 (9/3) Labor Day Holiday; (9/5) Personal Narrative Essay (10%, in-class)


Week 6 (9/10) Conferences (today and at other times); (9/12) Descriptive technique; Revision technique


Week 7 (9/17) Narrative Revision due (details of revision due dates will be explained beforehand); thesis; expository structure; “Haircut,” 48; (9/19) “The Semplica-Girl Diaries,” 683; sample expository essays


Week 8 (9/24, 26) Expository paragraph qualities


10/1: Last day to drop classes without WF


Week 9 (10/1) Expository paragraph qualities, continued; (10/3) library orientation and quiz (meet at the library in the study lounge section near the circulation desk)


Week 10 (10/8) Fall Break Mon-Tues; (10/10) subject choices


Week 11 (10/15) Expository Essay (10%, in-class); (10/17) Conferences


Week 12 (10/22) Comparison/contrast structure; “The Third and Final Continent,” 544; Expository Revision due; (10/24) “Sonny’s Blues,” 181


Week 13 (10/29) Comparison/contrast discussion; quotation technique; (10/31) Comparison/Contrast Essay (15%, in-class)


Week 14 (11/5) Conferences; (11/7) Classification/illustration structure; avoiding plagiarism


Week 15 (11/12) Comparison/Contrast Revision due; research basics, (11/14) paraphrase and bibliography basics: giving credit to people whose work you use


Week 16 (11/19) Style: Conciseness, Figures of Speech; (11/21) Thanksgiving holiday Thu-Fri


Week 17 (11/26) Classification/Illustration Essay due (15%, out-of-class); exam preparation; (11/28) Planning for online publication of class’s essays; discussion of Education Diary


Final Exam (20%, in-class):

Mon. Dec. 3, 10:15 am—12:15 pm


Throughout the semester, additional readings and writing may be assigned.

Any variation in syllabus policy is strictly at the instructor’s discretion.