English 201: Composition II (3 Credits)Bridget Nordquist

English 201: Composition II (3 Credits)Bridget Nordquist


English 201: Composition II (3 credits)Bridget Nordquist

South Dakota State UniversityOffice: Scobey Hall 034

Summer 2012Office Hours: TTH 1:00-3:00

Turn around time for assignments:and by appt.

E-mails: 24hrsE-Mail: D2L email

Grading: 1 week In case of emergencies:

REQUIRED TEXTS (Available in bookstore)
St. Martin's Handbook (6th edition)
Acting Out Culture (2nd edition) by James Miller

I also urge you to have access to a good college-level dictionary, either a hardbound copy or an online version. I recommend either The American Heritage or Merriam-Webster's Collegiate or their online counterparts.
The South Dakota State University General Catalog: Undergraduate Programs, 2010-2011 provides the following overview of English 201: “Study in writing persuasive prose with the aim to improve writing skills in all disciplines” (268).
More specifically, in this course you will study and write about various aspects of our culture that shape what and how we believe: 1) How We Learn, 2) How We Watch and 3) How We Believe. In doing so, you will receive intensive instruction in critical thinking and analysis and in the grammar, syntax, and rhetoric of prose style. Among the strategies we will study are how to analyze cultural and social theories and phenomena in an informed and persuasive manner, and how to do so in language that engages and enlivens readers by using vivid verbs and avoiding unnecessary passives, nominalizations, and expletive constructions.
Enrollment in English 201 requires that you have successfully completed English 101 or an approved equivalent.


To successfully complete the work for this course, you will need basic keyboarding and word-processing skills. To successfully complete the research requirements, you will need to be able to search the internet and various online databases. When possible, instruction will include discussion and demonstration of such skills. Additional instruction in computing is available through Student Computing Services. For a schedule of training sessions or to register, call 688-6776. For additional instruction in using library resources, call 688-5107 or email ; for a schedule of training sessions, go to http://sdstate.edu/library/index.cfm and click on “Research Assistance.”

To receive documents and other information pertaining to this course you will need to check the course site on D2L. To access this site, go to http://d2l.sdbor.edu and follow the prompts to log in to the site. For academic and institutional support, refer to the SDSU Resources on your course homepage. For content related questions of this course, use D2L email.

Broadly, this course seeks to help you to improve your ability to read text critically, to research and consider issues thoroughly, to think about them clearly, and to write about them convincingly. These objectives accord with and, thus, satisfy two of the System General Education (SGE) goals:
Goal #1: "Students will write effectively and responsibly and will understand and interpret the written expression of others."
Student Learning Outcomes: "As a result of taking courses meeting this goal, students will:
1. Write using standard American English, including correct punctuation, grammar, and sentence structure [assessment based upon your performance on various exercises and responses and on the major essays];
2. Write logically [assessment based upon your performance on the major essays];
3. Write persuasively, using a variety of rhetorical strategies (e.g., exposition, argumentation, description) [assessment based upon your performance on the major essays];
4. Incorporate formal research and documentation into their writing, including research obtained through modern, technology-based research tools [assessment based upon your completion of the research component of the major essays and various documentation exercises]."
Goal #7: "Students will recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, organize, critically evaluate, and effectively use information from a variety of sources with intellectual integrity."

Student Learning Outcomes: "Students will:
1. Determine the extent of information needed [assessment based upon your ability to provide sufficient evidence to support your claims in the major essays];
2. Access the needed information effectively and efficiently [assessment based upon you ability to find relevant sources and incorporate them into the major essays];
3. Evaluate information and its sources critically [assessment based upon your ability in discussions and in the major essays to challenge and/or corroborate the validity of other writers' claims];
4. Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose [assessment based upon your ability in the major essays to gather sources, incorporate them appropriately into your essays, and thereby persuade readers that your arguments are plausible and cogent];
5. Use information in an ethical and legal manner [assessment based upon your ability to fairly and accurately represent others' ideas through quotation, paraphrase, and summary--and to do so, in the case of paraphrase and summary, in your own words]."
In addition, you will learn how to

  • Plan Your Essay
  • Choose a subject and narrow it so that you can develop it sufficiently within the limits of the assignment;
  • Create a plausible, cogent argument--and explicit thesis--by fairly and thoroughly exploring your subject and your audience's assumptions about it.
  • Organize Your Essay
  • Sequence the points of your essay clearly, coherently, and persuasively--making apparent to readers the logical progression of ideas both within and between paragraphs and the relation of those ideas to your thesis;
  • Begin and conclude your essay in engaging and thought-provoking ways.
  • Support Your Essay
  • Marshal details, examples, facts, and plausible conjectures to develop and to substantiate your claims.
  • Use Language Precisely, Correctly, and Effectively
  • Seek out the appropriate word in a given context;
  • Abide by grammatical rules and recognized standards or formal usage, but also determine which occasions and contexts might warrant departing from such rules and usage.
  • Revise and Polish Your Essay
  • Reconceive and restructure the argument, and gather and deploy more effective evidence;
  • Edit and proofread.


Although the setting for this course is online, Board of Regents policy dictates that we still have an attendance policy. Thus, I expect you to login at least once a day, Monday through Friday. This course is not one in which you can work at your own pace; you will need to stay on schedule with the work of the course. I have assigned times and dates when assignments are due to help keep us on track as well as give you set objectives to achieve. Feel free to work ahead, but be aware that if you submit an assignment or essay early, I may not grade it until everyone else has submitted their work. Please note: I will not accept any late work, except in instances of family or medical emergencies or a university excused activity. In the business world, missed deadlines are not acceptable, nor will they be here.


I expect discussion in this class to be civil and responsible. You may be critical of another’s ideas or of another’s prose – indeed, it is part of the work of this course to help you to read a text closely and to develop this critical sense – but you should always express that criticism civilly and in the spirit of offering assistance. In short, treat others as you wish them to treat you.

You will read approximately 100 pages in The St. Martin's Handbook and an introduction and three essays per unit. You will learn to read (and to discuss) these materials critically--that is, to annotate the texts, to comprehend their contents clearly and thoroughly and to paraphrase and summarize them accurately, to question their assumptions, and to formulate a well-reasoned and articulate response.
You will write three major essays (one of 5-6 pages, one of 6-7 pages, and one of 9-10 pages – you will submit two drafts of each, and each will include a research component) as well as a number of short assignments, including five discussions and nine reading assignments. Combined, these assignments will approximate 18,000 words.

To successfully complete the work of the course, we will devote time to the following:

  • Discussing the reading assignments. For each of the 9 essays that we read from Acting Out Culture, you will be responsible for completing the three discussion questions that follow. These particular assignments will be posted by me and submitted by you through dropbox.
  • Discussing and practicing the various analytic, stylistic, and rhetorical strategies mentioned in the course description. Throughout the class you will have to participate in 5 discussions (available in the discussion link on the course home page of D2L). In addition to sharing your own thoughts and ideas, you will also be responsible for commenting on at least two of your classmates' posts.
  • Free-writing, drafting, and revising your essays (you must revise each of the major essays once).
  • Reading and commenting upon your classmates' work.
  • Utilizing turnitin.com which will help you keep track of your papers during the draft process as well as encourage better writing skills. If you have never used turninit.com, the following link will provide a step by step tutorial to help you create an account and enroll in the class:

The class identification number that you will need to log in is 3943489. The password for this class is english201. This is case sensitive, so type carefully.

I will use a 90/80/70/60 grading scale for this course In the case of borderline grades, I do take into account student participation, as well as demonstrated improvement throughout the course.

90% - A

80% - B

70% - C

60% - D

Below 60% - F

I also expect you to keep track of your grade throughout the semester. Point values for assignments are listed in the dropboxes, and the basic breakdown is as follows:

3 Major essays (100 points each) - 300

5 Discussions (9 points each) - 45

9 Essay responses (6 points each) – 54

Bonus: For active participation in discussions - 1

All together, the course is worth 400 points. If at any point during the semester you wish to discuss your grades and/or progress in the class, feel free to email me with any concerns or questions.


I will assess your three major essays upon the quality of content (including use of source materials), clarity of form (including correct documentation), and clarity of style (including grammatical correctness). You will receive a letter grade for the final draft of each major essay, and I will average these at the end of the semester to determine your grade for the course. I will assess your essays according to the following criteria:

The grade of "A" ("exceptional"*) designates that an essay demonstrates

  • an excellent command of subject matter
  • a clear explanation and synthesis of ideas
  • independent thought
  • thorough and persuasive substantiation of claims
  • clear and effective organization
  • precise, correct, and effective usage
  • correct grammar and punctuation

The grade of "B" ("above average") designates that an essay demonstrates

  • a reasonable command of subject matter
  • a capacity for explanation and synthesis of ideas, though it is not fully realized
  • a capacity for independent thought, though it is not fully realized
  • sufficient substantiation of claims
  • mostly clear and effective organization
  • mostly precise, correct, and effective usage
  • mostly correct grammar and punctuation

The grade of "C" ("average") designates that an essay demonstrates

  • an adequate command of subject matter
  • some weakness or inconsistency in its explanation and synthesis of ideas
  • relative absence of independent thought
  • inconsistent substantiation of claims
  • significant lapses in organization
  • significant lapses in usage
  • significant lapses in grammar and punctuation

The grade of "D" ("lowest passing grade") designates that an essay demonstrates

  • an inadequate command of subject matter
  • insufficient explanation and synthesis of ideas
  • unexamined, clichéd thinking
  • inadequate substantiation of claims
  • poor, hard-to-follow organization
  • numerous errors in usage
  • numerous errors in grammar and punctuation

The grade of "F" ("failure") designates that an essay demonstrates

  • a majority of the qualities of a "D" essay, but to a degree unacceptable in college-level writing
  • a failure to follow or complete the assignment

*Terms quoted within parentheses appear in South Dakota State University Bulletin: Undergraduate Programs, 2010-2011 (19).
And please note: to pass the course, you must complete and submit all drafts of the three major essays.

Under Board of Regents and University policy student academic performance may be evaluated solely on an academic basis, not on opinions or conduct in matters unrelated to academic standards. Students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study and to reserve judgment about matters of opinion, but they are responsible for learning the content of any course of study for which they are enrolled. Student who believe that an academic evaluation reflects prejudiced or capricious consideration of student opinions or conduct unrelated to academic standards should first contact the instructor of the course to initiate a review of the evaluation. If the student remains unsatisfied, the student may contact the department head and/ or dean of the college which offers the class to initiate a review of the evaluation.

The English Department announces herewith that it will not tolerate plagiarism--representing another's work as one's own--in any form. Students must abide by the principles governing academic research and writing, the first and foremost of which is honesty. Students who willfully violate this principle will fail the assignment and the course. They also will report to the Dean of Student Affairs and face possible expulsion from the university.
Willful violation of this principle includes the following:

  • Submitting another student's essay or one that is essentially the same as another student's essay as your own. Both students will fail the assignment and the course.
  • Submitting an essay that you have procured online of from a commercial supplier of essays.
  • Incorporating material from sources--data, analysis, organization--without providing appropriate documentation.
  • Fabricating sources or information.

Please note that an essay or assignment may receive a passing grade initially, but receive a failing grade later if I discover that it contains work that is not your own.
If you have any questions about these matters, be sure to discuss them with me.


ADA Statement : It is required to include this specific statement in all course syllabi

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact Nancy Hartenoff-Crooks, Coordinator of Disability Services (605-688-4504 or Fax, 605-688-4987) to privately discuss your specific needs. The Office of Disability Services is located in room 125, the Wintrode Student Success Center


Please note: while the outline gives due dates for most reading and all major writing assignments, it does not list every assignment. All readings are from Acting Out Culture unless otherwise noted. You MUST submit all assignments in rich text format or as a Word document and saved with your full name and the name of the assignment in the file title (last name first, please): Doe Jane Common Errors Assignment. All due times are Central Standard Time. Pay attention to the due times of each, as they change according to when I must have them returned to you.

Week 1

  • Print and read syllabus and all course handouts. Print and follow instructions for introductory essay.

Post your introductory essay under the Discuss link as well as a comment on at least two classmates’ posts by 12:00 noon Wednesday (worth 9 pts).

From St. Martin’s Handbook (SMH), read:

  • “Top Twenty Errors Students Make” (SMH 1-12)

“Developing A Thesis” (SMH 288-290).

“Expectations for College Writing” (SMH 14-22),

“Reading, Writing, and Research” (SMH 23-35 Review MLA format and style (SMH 302-347).

Analyzing an Argument (SMH 146-167)

Constructing Arguments (SMH 177-210)

  • Print and read Style Suggestions for Academic Writing and Verbal Style Explained (This will be included under the Content link on the course’s home page.
  • Post your response to the Grammar and Style discussion. Comment on at least two of your classmates’ posts by 12:00 noon Friday (worth 9pts).

Week 2

Unit I: “How We Learn.” From Acting Out Culture, read:

  • Introduction to “How We Learn: (280-83)
  • Gatto essay (300-307)

Kohn essay (286-96)

Hooks essay (316-323)

  • Print off writing prompt which is located under the Content link on D2L.

Complete questions 1-3 at the end of each essay; submit to dropbox by 9:00 pm Wednesday. The discussion questions for each essay are worth 6 point each.

Post to the How We Learn discussion under the Discuss link on the course’s home page by 9:00 pm Wednesday. Be sure to also comment on at least two of your fellow classmates’ posts to generate a discussion (worth 9 points).

Submit Essay I for revision by 9:00 pm Friday.

Week 3

Unit II: “How We Watch.” From Acting Out Culture, read:

  • Introduction to “How We Watch” (100-03)

Cusac essay (138-142)

Levy essay (143-46)

Dyson essay (147-57)

  • Print off writing prompt for the How We Watch unit (located under the Content link on the course home page).

Complete questions 1-3 at the end of each essay; submit to dropbox by 9:00 pm Wednesday. Each set of essay questions is worth 6 points).

Post to the How We Watch discussion under the Discuss link on the course’s home page by 9:00 pm Wednesday. Be sure to also comment on at least two of your classmates’ posts to generate discussion (worth 9 points).

Submit Essay II for revision by 9:00 pm Thursday.

  • Submit Essay I final draft by 9:00 pm Friday (worth 100 points).

Week 4

Unit III: “How We Believe.” From Acting Out Culture, read: