ENGL 1311

    English 1311: Expository English Composition  Syllabus

    CRN 26655
    7:30 am-8:50 am

    Tues. - Thurs.
    UGLC 236

    CRN 22062
    11:30 am-12:20 pm

    UGLC 236

    CRN 24379
    1:30 pm-2:50 pm

    UGLC 230

    Instructor:  Owen M. Williamson, MA

    E-mail:  omwilliamson@utep.edu

    Phone:  915-747-7625

    Office Hours: To be announced.

    Office Location: EDUC 209

    Course Description

  • The goal of English 1311 is to develop students’ critical thinking skills in order to facilitate effective communication in all educational, professional, and social contexts. This effective communication is based on an awareness of and appreciation for discourse communities as well as knowledge specific to subject matter, genre, rhetorical strategy, and writing process.
  • English 1311 is designed to prepare you for the writing you will do throughout your university experience as well as in professional and civic environments. Through these assignments, you will learn how to write to explore, to inform, to analyze, and to convince/problem solve. This course offers you a curriculum that empowers you to determine the most effective rhetorical strategies, arrangements, and media to use in different rhetorical contexts.
  • It emphasizes the use of technology through a variety of assignments and activities. One important piece of technology utilized is the course homepage, http://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/engl1311 , which provides students with permanent access to the syllabus and supplemental reading materials, and has links to e-mail, and discussion groups. It is vital that students check the course homepage consistently as it is an integral part of the course.
  • Ultimately, this course is meant to teach you the skills necessary for English 1312. It is designed with four major types of writing in mind. These are: Writing to Explore, Writing to Explain, Writing to Analyze, and Writing to Convince/Solve Problems. Mastering all of these types of writing are necessary for success in English 1312 and beyond.
  • Learning Outcomes

  • At the end of this course, students will be able to:
  • Understand a theory of discourse communities.

    Engage as a community of writers who dialogue across texts, argue, and build on each other’s work.

    Draw on existing knowledge bases to create "new" or "transformed" knowledge.

    Develop a knowledge of genres as they are defined and stabilized within discourse communities.

    Address the specific, immediate rhetorical situations of individual communicative acts.

    Develop procedural knowledge of the writing task in its various phases.

    Develop an awareness of and involvement in community issues and problems.

    Required Texts & Materials

  • Roen, Duane, Gregory R. Glau, and Barry M. Maid. The Brief McGraw-Hill Guide. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009.
  • Department of English. A Guide to First Year Composition. 12th ed. Nevada: Bent Tree Press, 2009.
  • Course Assignments (this syllabus only provides an overview of assignments for the class--specific assignment sheets will be discussed in class and posted online via the course homepage):

  • Discourse Community Map: Using the definition and discussion of a "Discourse Community" provided in class, students will construct a discourse community map that outlines the various discourse communities they belong to and the different literacies needed to be a member. Students will need to consider the goals of each discourse community and how those goals shape communication (oral, visual, written). A written response essay will accompany the visual construction. 50 pts.
  • Homepage for Website E-Portfolio: Students will create a homepage for their website E- Portfolio that reflects the subject matter of their research project and provides the interface to access completed semester’s assignments. 50 pts.
  • Agency Discourse Memo: Students will observe an agency in the community and write a memo reporting their findings.  They will detail the agency and its characteristics, its discourse practices, and its relation/contribution to an important community or social issue. 100 pts.
  • Annotated Bibliography: For this assignment, you will construct an annotated bibliography that centers on the community issue or problem that students have selected to focus on for the semester. Each annotation in this annotated bibliography will consist of two parts: a summary and the student’s evaluation of the source. 100 pts.
  • Report on a Community Problem: Students will create a report which draws attention to a community problem. 100 pts.
  • Rhetorical Analysis: Students will write an essay analyzing the use of rhetorical strategies within a text.  Using a text related to your community issue, they will provide an objective analysis of the strengths and weaknesses in the writer’s use of ethos, logos, and pathos within his or her argument(s). 100 pts.
  • Visual Analysis: Similar to the rhetorical analysis assignment, students will analyze the rhetorical strategies within a visual. Using a printed visual related to your community issue, you will provide an objective analysis of the strengths and weaknesses in the visual’s use of ethos, logos, and pathos. 100 pts.
  • Opinion Piece: Students will write an opinion piece about their community. Students will focus on one aspect of their community issue and argue for a solution to a problem that they identify.  100 pts.
  • Visual Argument: This project prompts students to explore their community issue in a multimedia form.  They will employ multimedia to advocate for the position in their opinion piece.  In addition, students will write a memo detailing their rhetorical choices in the creation of their visual argument. 150 pts.
  • Class Presentation: Students will present their visual argument project to the class. 50 pts.
  • Participation in Class: In-class and online, including blogs and daily assignments. 100 pts.

  • Grade Distribution (Students can earn a total of 1000 points for the course):
  • 1000-900 = A
  • 899-800 = B
  • 799 -700 = C
  • 699- 600 = D
  • 599 and below = F
  • To earn a passing grade (“A,” “B,” or “C”) students must have completed all major assignments, paragraphs, and essays and achieved an average of 70% (700 points) or better for the course.
  • Not all daily practice assignments will be graded for points.

    Extra Credit

    Any non-poetry original text in the English language that you get published or accepted for publication for the public while you are enrolled in this course (in a newspaper, book, magazine, journal, or other edited hardcopy or Internet publication, including letters to the editor), counts for extra credit, whether the text published was written for this class or not. The amount of extra credit will depend on the length and quality of the published text or article, its appropriateness to this course, and where it is published. Please provide clippings or links to of whatever you have published, with full details of where and when it was or will be published, and the nature of the publication. Extra credit is not available for published graphics, poetry, or music, for self-published items, or for items published before the beginning or after the end of the course.

    Extraordinary writing: I also reserve the right to award extra credit for special achievement in the class, such as a particularly outstanding essay or work clearly above and beyond the expected level of this course. This should be extremely rare, however, and you may NOT request extra credit be given in this manner.

    Limitations: Any publications you submit for extra credit must be turned in by ten calendar days before the last regular class meeting of the course. The amount of extra credit available depends completely on instructor discretion. No extra credit will be assigned for any work you turn in after that deadline. IMPORTANT: this is not intended to replace missing papers that were not turned in—for this reason, if on the last day of the course you are still missing any major assignment, I cannot credit you with any extra credit points, even though you might have completed and turned in an excellent extra credit publication. No student can get over 1000 points in this course.


    A penalty of up to 70 points may be deducted from the Participation grade for refusal to participate, or other behavior that is antithetical to the educational process.

    Course/Instructor Policies


  • Essay Format: All essays must be word-processed and spell-checked using Microsoft Word--12 pt. font, one-inch margins, and double-spaced. Microsoft Word is available to students at all campus computers and can be purchased at the UTEP Bookstore using a current UTEP ID card at discount.  Students may also go to openoffice.org and download a free and compatible version of Word/Office--12 pt. font, one-inch margins, and double-spaced. Use a font style that is easily readable like Times New Roman, Arial, or Georgia. 
  • Be sure to name each submitted assignment with your first initial, last name, and an abbreviation of the assignment. For example:
  • jmartinez genre draft
  • jmartinez genre final

  • University Writing Center:

  • UTEP’s University Writing Center (UWC) offers free writing tutoring assistance for all UTEP students. The tutors are undergraduate and graduate students who can help with all parts of a writing assignment, including prewriting, organizing, revising, and revision. They can also help to understand any writing assignment and help work on comprehending difficult textbook material.
  • The UWC is an important part of English 1311. During the first two weeks of the semester, students are required to attend an orientation at the UWC, which is located on the 2nd floor of the library (behind the check-out desk). Instructors will distribute the times that these orientations are offered. During the orientation, students will be given a self-evaluation sheet to fill out and give to their instructors.
  • Note: To facilitate revision, UWC tutors will not hold a tutoring session fewer than 12 hours before the assignment is due.

  • Technology and English 1311:

  • This course makes heavy use of technology and multimedia. It is strongly recommended that students have access to the Internet from home and are comfortable using a computer. If a student does not have access, he/she can get free access through the university. (http://admin.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=40).
  • If home access is not possible, arrangements can be made to use a computer regularly on campus in order to complete the work. Student computer labs such as ATLAS (http://atlas.utep.edu) are often available until midnight, but schedules do vary. A great deal of work will be done online, and not having access to a computer will not be an excuse for incomplete or late assignments.
  • Technology problems are also not an excuse for work that is late or missing. Students need to get into the habit of completing assignments for this course well before the due date to allow time for dealing with technology problems. Expect that at some time, the network will be down, computers will go on the fritz, or some other small catastrophe will occur. If students are prepared ahead of time, they can go to plan B.

  • Instructions for Accessing Your Course Online:
  • The Internet address of the course homepage is http://utminers.utep.edu/omwilliamson/engl1311. All the course content will be delivered via the course homepage. Students can quickly access the course homepage by going to http://courses.utep.edu and clicking on the course title to access the course.
  • Students must have a UTEP email ID and password before they can post assignments on UTEP individual student web spaces. Any questions or problems can be directed to the Helpdesk at 747-5257.
  • Major assignments may be posted using either MS FrontPage or MS SharePoint. If you do not have these programs, they are on the PC's at the UTEP library and elsewhere on campus. MS SharePoint may also be purchased at a discount at the UTEP bookstore.
  • Certain practice or response exercises may involve use of a wide variety of other Internet resources, including UTEP CourseMine, UTEP Wiki, Blackboard and Facebook, as well as public blog spaces. Links to these resources are on the course homepage.

    Classroom Etiquette:
  • No checking email, typing assignments, or surfing the web during class.

    Absolutely no using the printer after class has started. It can be difficult to hear in this room; the printer only makes it that much worse.

    Absolutely no food or drinks in this classroom.

    Turn off cell phone ringers, and please do not text message or listen to iPods/MP3 players during class.

    Online "Netiquette":

    Always consider audience. Remember that members of the public, classmates and the instructor will be reading any postings.

    Respect and courtesy must be provided to classmates and to instructor at all times. No harassment or inappropriate postings will be tolerated.

    When reacting to someone else’s message, address the ideas, not the person. Post only what anyone would comfortably state in a f2f situation. No "flame wars," please! 

    Student web spaces are a public Internet venue; Students have the obligation to follow UTEP web use rules on their web spaces. These rules are available at http://www.admin.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=41047 .

    Drop Policy:

To preserve a student’s GPA, he/she may be dropped from the course after missing four classes in a twice-a-week class, or six classes in a three-times a week class

Missing a scheduled conference with the instructor constitutes an absence.

Late Work:

Grading is scheduled by due date and section number. Students who fail to submit assignments on time do not receive feedback on performance. Therefore, it is important to submit work before deadlines for full credit and feedback.

Assignments submitted after the due date will be penalized one letter grade for every day late.

Be sure to submit all major assignments in order to pass this class. To earn a passing grade (“A,” “B,” or “C”) students must have completed all major assignments, paragraphs, and essays, even if they are too late to get points. If a major assignment is over three calendar days late, the student faces failure for this assignment. However, in order to pass the class, students must  still complete all major assignments in good faith. "Better late than never."

  • Academic Dishonesty: Academic Dishonesty is NEVER tolerated by UTEP or the First-Year Composition Program. All cases are reported to the Dean of Students for Academic Sanctions. These sanctions may include expulsion. All work submitted must be original; students may not submit graded work from another course.
  • Forms of academic dishonesty include: Collusion—lending your work to another person to submit as his or her own; Fabrication—deliberately creating false information on a works cited page, and Plagiarism—the presentation of another person's work as your own, whether you mean to or not (i.e. copying parts of or whole papers off the Internet). See the Dean of Students website at http://www.utep.edu/dos/acadintg.htm for more information.
  • Copyright and Fair Use: The University requires all members of its community to follow copyright and fair use requirements. You are individually and solely responsible for violations of copyright and fair use laws. The University will neither protect nor defend you nor assume any responsibility for student violations of fair use laws. Violations of copyright laws could subject you to federal and state civil penalties and criminal liability, as well as disciplinary action under University policies.
  • Group Assignments: Group assignments can sometimes create tricky situations. Some students don’t always "pull their weight" and this upsets group members that are doing their work and being good contributors to the group. Despite this, group assignments are valuable because they help students work together for a common goal. Group work is a "real life" reality and learning how to work in a group will be central to one of the projects in this class. Students who are not doing their group work can be voted off of their groups and will have to complete the entire work of a group on their own.
  • ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that reasonable accommodations be provided for students with physical, sensory, cognitive, systemic, learning, and psychiatric disabilities. If you suspect that you have a disability and need an accommodation, please contact the Disabled Student Services Office (DSSO) at 747-5148 or dss@utep.edu. The DSSO is located in Room 106, Union East Bldg. Students are responsible for presenting the instructor any DSS accommodation letters and instructions.
  • Weekly Schedule (Provisional -- Subject to change with advance notice.

    MH = McGraw-Hill Guide; GFC = Guide to First-Year Composition

    Week One

  • Assignment: Introduction to class, review of syllabus. Introduce and Discourse Community Map and Response.
  • MH: Chapter 4, Appendix C
  • GFC: Chapter 1, Skim Chapters 5, 6
  • Discourse Community Map and Response Activities (p. 127-136)
  • Week Two

  • Assignment: Introduce Homepage
  • Discourse Community Map and Response due
  • MH: Chapters 1-3
  • GFC: Chapter 2
  • Discourse Community Map and Response Activities (p. 127-136)
  • Week Three

  • Assignment: Introduce Agency Discourse Memo
  • Homepage due
  • MH: Chapter 5
  • GFC: Chapter 3
  • Homepage Activities (p. 138-145)
  • Week Four

  • Assignment: Introduce Primary and Secondary Research. Introduce Annotated Bibliography
  • Agency Discourse Memo Due
  • MH: Chapter 19
  • GFC: Chapter 5
  • Agency Discourse Memo Activities (p. 147-152)
  • Week Five

  • Assignment: Introduce the Community Problem Report
  • MH: Chapter 20
  • GFC: Chapter 4
  • Annotated Bibliography Activities (p. 158-164)
  • Week Six

  • Assignment: Continue Community Problem Report
  • Annotated Bibliography due
  • MH: Chapter 6
  • GFC: Community Problem Report Activities (p. 166-173)
  • Week Seven

  • Assignment: Continue Community Problem Report
  • MH: Chapter 13
  • GFC: Community Problem Report Activities (p. 166-173)
  • Week Eight

  • Assignment: Introduce Rhetorical Analysis
  • Community Problem Report due
  • MH: Chapter 14, Chapter 9
  • GFC: Rhetorical Analysis Activities (p. 176-188)
  • Week Nine

  • Assignment: Continue Rhetorical Analysis
  • MH: Chapter 7
  • GFC: Rhetorical Analysis Activities (p. 176-188)
  • Week Ten

  • Assignment: Introduce Visual Analysis
  • Rhetorical Analysis due
  • MH: Chapter 18
  • GFC: Visual Analysis Activities (p. 190-196)
  • Week Eleven

  • Assignment: Finish Visual Analysis
  • Visual Analysis due
  • MH: Chapter 17
  • GFC: Visual Analysis Activities (p. 190-196)
  • Week Twelve

  • Assignment: Introduce Opinion Piece
  • MH: Chapter 8
  • GFC: Opinion Piece Activities (p. 199-204)
  • Week Thirteen

  • Assignment: Introduce Visual Argument/Presentation
  • Opinion Piece due
  • MH: Chapter 11, Chapter 16
  • GFC: Visual Argument Activities (photostory: p. 207-214, brochure: 220-227, poster: 231-238)
  • Week Fourteen

  • Assignment: Class Presentations
  • GFC: Presentation Guidelines (photostory: p. 215, brochure: p. 228, poster: p. 239)
  • Week Fifteen

  • Assignment: Class Presentations
  • GFC: Presentation Guidelines (photostory: p. 215, brochure: p. 228, poster: p. 239)
  • Visual Argument due on Final Exam day


Owen M. Williamson - Education Bldg 211E - phone: (915) 747 7625 - fax: (915) 747 5655

The University of Texas at El Paso - 500 W. University Ave. - El Paso, TX 79968
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Open Courseware | OCW |This work is dedicated to the Public Domain..

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