San José State University Department of English and Comparative Literature English 1B, Critical Thinking and Writing (ge a3), Spring 2015

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San José State University
Department of English and Comparative Literature
English 1B, Critical Thinking and Writing (GE A3), Spring 2015

Instructor: Dr. Julie Sparks

Office Location: FOB 128

Telephone: (408) 924-4434


Office Hours: T 9:30-10:30, W 1-2 & by appt.

Class Days/Time: sec 32 TTh noon-1:15, sec 42 TTh 1:30-2:45

Classroom: sec 32 BBC 121, sec 42 BBC 124


GE Areas A1 (Oral Communication) and A2 (Written Communication) with grades of C or better

GE/SJSU Studies Category:

GE A3 / Critical Thinking and Writing

Faculty Web Page and MYSJSU Messaging

Course materials such as syllabus, handouts, notes, and assignment instructions can be found on the Canvas learning management system course website. You are responsible for regularly checking with the messaging system through MySJSU to learn of any updates. Note: This will be my first semester using Canvas, so please be patient with me as I learn the ropes.

GE A3 Course Description

In critical thinking courses, students will understand logic and its relationship to language. Courses include a series of integrated reading, writing, oral, and research assignments that engage students in complex issues requiring critical thinking and effective argumentation. Students will develop language that distinguishes fact and judgment; articulates elementary inductive and deductive processes; parses fact, assumption and conclusion; integrates rebuttal and qualification as appropriate. Students will develop the ability to analyze, criticize, and advocate complex ideas, reason inductively and deductively, research and rebut information and arguments, and reach well-supported factual conclusions and judgments.

ENGL 1B Course Description

English 1B focuses on the relationship between language and logic in composing arguments. Students develop strategies that incorporate critical reading and thinking skills into the writing process. Drawing on systems of analysis from rhetorical theorists and logicians (for instance, Aristotle, Rogers, and Toulmin, among others), students learn systematic reasoning so that they can lay out premises clearly, provide evidence, and draw valid conclusions. Reading a variety of texts, students study conventions of formal writing as well as textual cues that control the development of logical inferences.

ENGL 1B Section Description

In addition to developing your critical thinking and writing skills, you will also be learning about our contemporary food system from multiple perspectives—personal and political, spiritual and scientific, academic and professional. Even if you don’t already see this topic as an interesting and important, by the end of the semester you will see that it connects to everything else you are interested in.

ENGL 1B Learning Outcomes and Course Content

GE A3 Learning Outcomes (GELO)

Students will demonstrate, orally and in writing, proficiency in the Area of A3 Learning Objectives. Students will be able to

1. locate and evaluate sources, through library research, and integrate research through appropriate citation and quotation.

2. present effective arguments that use a full range of legitimate rhetorical and logical strategies to articulate and explain their positions on complex issues in dialogue with other points of view.

3. effectively locate, interpret, evaluate, and synthesize evidence in a comprehensive way in support of one’s ideas.

4. identify and critically evaluate the assumptions in and the context of an argument.

5. effectively distinguish and convey inductive and deductive patterns as appropriate, sequencing arguments and evidence logically to draw valid conclusions and articulate related outcomes (implications and consequences).

ENGL 1B Course Learning Goals (CLO)

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to

1. discuss complex ideas clearly, logically, persuasively.

2. state a clear position while taking into account other points of view, integrating both qualification and rebuttal as appropriate.

3. identify the different kinds of argument and the kinds of evidence appropriate to each one.

4. integrate research logically and ethically; analyzing, interpreting, synthesizing, and documenting information and ideas gleaned from reliable sources.

5. use appropriate paragraph and essay conventions to organize arguments into clear, readable logical sequences that are both coherent and persuasive.

6. control syntax, grammar, and punctuation to develop prose that is readable, logical, and clear.

7. identify formal argumentative structures (warrants, evidence, qualification, rebuttal, enthymemes and syllogisms) and distinguish common logical fallacies.

8. draw and assess inferences and recognize distinctions among assumptions, facts, inferences, and opinions.

ENGL 1B Course Content

Diversity: SJSU studies include an emphasis on diversity. Students will engage in integrated reading, writing, and oral assignments to construct their own arguments on complex issues (such as diversity and ethnicity, class and social equity) that generate meaningful public debate. Readings for the course will include writers from different ethnicities, gender, and class.
Writing: Students will write a series of essays informed by research and articulating fully developed arguments about complex issues. Assignments emphasize those skills and activities in writing and thinking that produce the persuasive argument and the critical essay, each of which demands analysis, interpretation, and evaluation. Writing assignments give students repeated practice in prewriting, organizing, writing, revising, and editing. This class requires a minimum of 6000 words, at least 4000 of which must be in revised final draft form. Assignments include both in-class writing as well as revised out-of-class essays.
Students will receive frequent evaluations of their writing from the instructor. In keeping with the core goal of A3—understanding the relationship between language and logic—evaluative comments will be substantive, addressing both the logic of the argument and the quality and form of the writing. Comments will encourage and acknowledge student success as well as note problems and suggest ways to improve.
Logic: Students will learn methods of argument analysis, both rhetorical and logical, that will allow them to:

• distinguish denotation from connotation, abstract from concrete, literal from inferential.

• identify logical structures (such as warrants, evidence, qualification, rebuttal; enthymemes and syllogisms) and distinguish common logical fallacies.

• recognize and evaluate assumptions underlying an argument.

• draw and assess inferences and recognize distinctions among assumptions, facts, inferences and opinions.

• distinguish the role of audience, context, and purpose in shaping argumentation strategies.

• evaluate rhetorical appeals to understand the role of emotion and ethos in relation to logic as part of effective argumentation.
Oral: Students will also complete oral communication assignments. These assignments may include individual presentations; group presentations; group, team, or dyadic discussions; debates; and similar speaking events. Evaluative comments for these assignments, addressing issues of both content and presentation, will substantively remark on the logic of the argument as well as the presentation’s delivery.
Reading: In addition to being an intensive writing course, ENGL 1B is also a reading course. Readings include useful models of writing for academic, general, and specific audiences; readings are used consistently with the course goal of enhancing ability in written communication and reading. The majority of the reading is devoted to analytical, critical, and argumentative texts. Instructors will help students develop and refine strategies for reading challenging, college-level material.
Research: A3 courses will include a library orientation conducted or approved by a trained librarian to introduce the library and basic research strategies that students will need to complete upper-division coursework, including locating materials, using them effectively (e.g., quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing), and citing them properly. A traditional research paper or a series of short essays informed by library research is required.

Required Texts/Readings


  • Food Matters Holly Bauer ISBN: 9781457660962

  • Praxis: A Brief Rhetoric, 2nd edition, by Carol Lea Clark ISBN: 9781598715088

Other Readings The Everyday Writer is not actually required but is extremely useful. Keep it if you have it. Buy or rent it if you can afford it.

Library Liaison

ENGL 1B requires students to conduct library research. Toby Matoush is the library liaison who can assist students for ENGL 1B. Phone: (408) 808-2096; Email:

ENGL 1B Section-Specific Requirements and Assignments

SJSU classes are designed such that in order to be successful, it is expected that students will spend a minimum of forty-five hours for each unit of credit (normally three hours per unit per week), including preparing for class, participating in course activities, completing assignments, and so on. More details about student workload can be found in University Policy S12-3 at
Written Assignments: Written assignments will include 3 major projects, 4 short papers, an oral presentation, and several small assignments (quizzes, reading responses, and other homework). The major projects (in bold on the chart below) will involve analysis, research, and writing arguments; the short assignments will include one in-class essay (responding to a short argument you will have read in advance), a brief analysis of an argument, a short report of a field trip and interview, and a final reflection of your semester’s work.
Assignments, Word Count, and Learning Goals

Assignment and % of total grade

Word Count



In-class essay (5%)


2, 4, 5

1, 2, 5, 6

Brief rhetorical analysis (5%)



1,2, 5-8

Field visit/profile (5%)



1,2,4, 5,6,8

Portfolio Reflection (5%)




Rhetorical Analysis of Web site (15%)



1, 3, 5-8

Annotated Bibliography (15%)




Researched Argument (25%)




Oral Presentation (5%)


2, 3, 5

1, 2, 4-6, 8

Small Assignments/participation (20%)




Oral Presentation: Students will present the results of their researched argument in the final week of the semester, working individually, in pairs, or in groups. Each student will have 5-10 minutes to present their argument, using visual aids. They will submit an outline of the presentation the week before and a written summary of 500-600 words when oral reports begin.
Reading: ENG 2 is both an intensive writing course and a critical reading course. Reading is crucial because one must read effective writing to become an effective writer. The assigned readings must be completed by the beginning of each class session, and all discussions and assignments will be based on the reading material. Just to be extra clear: it will be impossible to be a successful student in this course without reading thoughtfully and critically and being well prepared to write about and/or discuss every reading assignment. The reading assignments will include actual writing from the “real world” to use as fodder for discussion and models for your own writing, as well as chapters in the text that explain the art of argument. Both are equally important.

Grading Policy

Requirements for particular assignments will vary, but in all cases essay grades will reflect the paper’s effectiveness, which I have broken down into three major areas: content (this includes maturity and sophistication of thought), organization, and expression. All assignments, quizzes, and exams are graded on a traditional A-F scale.
The following are the criteria by which essays are typically evaluated in first-year writing courses:
An “A” essay is organized and well-developed, demonstrating a clear understanding and fulfillment of the assignment, written in a unique and compelling voice. It will show the student’s ability to use language effectively with a solid command of grammar, mechanics, and usage.

A “B” essay demonstrates competence in the same categories as an “A” essay, but it may show slight weakness in one of these areas. It will respond to the topic suitably and may contain some grammatical, mechanical or usage errors.

A “C” essay will complete the requirements of the assignment, but it will show weaknesses in fundamentals, such as development. It may show weakness in mastery of grammar, mechanics, usage, or voice.

A “D” essay will neglect to meet all the requirements of the assignment or may be superficial in its treatment of the topic. It may lack development or fail to stay on topic. It may contain grammatical, mechanical, and/or usage errors that interfere with reader comprehension.

An “F” essay does not fulfill the requirements of the assignment.
Total point value for the course is 1000. At the end of the semester, your overall course grade will be calculated as follows:
Course Grade Point Values

1000-930 A 769-730 C

929-900 A- 729-700 C-

899-870 B+ 699-670 D+

869-830 B 669-630 D

829-800 B- 629-600 D-

799-770 C+ 599-0 F
This course must be passed with a C or better as a CSU graduation requirement.

Classroom Protocols

Attendance and Participation:

It is very important that students come to this class regularly and come prepared to participate. This means that reading assignments should be finished before the class period when they will be discussed, that writing assignments should be ready to hand in at the beginning of class when they are due, and that students should arrive at writing workshops with two full-length rough drafts. There will be frequent, unannounced in-class writings, and these cannot be made up by students who miss class, nor will homework be accepted, electronically or otherwise, from students who miss class. In special circumstances, students can submit work early if they will have to miss class, but this should be cleared with the professor beforehand. Poor attendance and weak participation will significantly reduce your learning experience and your grade. It is the most common reason that students fail this class.

Participating in the mandatory peer review workshops is particularly crucial. If you skip these, you will miss out on valuable advice, as well as 20 participation points each time. If you do miss the in-class peer review, it is your responsibility to get one on your own or your project’s grade will be docked 20%. But you still miss the participation points, which add up!

Extra Credit: To soften the no-late-homework policy and to encourage you to seek enriching extra learning experiences, I will periodically urge you to attend campus lectures or performances and write about those for extra points. I will also draw up a list of a few other options that relate more closely to our course goals and themes. There is a 30-point maximum per semester, per student, for extra credit. Extra credit can be turned in any time, but it will be graded when I have time. Please do not nag! The final deadline for extra credit is the morning of the final, but you can turn in only one that day. I simply won’t have time to grade 300 new assignments at that point.

Professionalism and maturity: Perhaps this should go without saying, but I will expect students to treat each other and their professor with courtesy and respect. This includes the little things, like getting to class on time, turning your cell phones off in class, refraining from chatting with buddies in class or toying with your electronic devices. Professionalism also involves the more serious matter of avoiding rude or hostile remarks. Students who show weaknesses in this regard might be asked to leave the classroom.

University Policies

Dropping and Adding

Students are responsible for understanding the policies and procedures about add/drop, grade forgiveness, etc. Refer to the current semester’s Catalog Policies section at Add/drop deadlines can be found on the current academic year calendars document on the Academic Calendars webpage at The Late Drop Policy is available at Students should be aware of the current deadlines and penalties for dropping classes. Information about the latest changes and news is available at the Advising Hub at

Consent for Recording of Class and Public Sharing of Instructor Material

University Policy S12-7,, requires students to obtain instructor’s permission to record the course:

  • “Common courtesy and professional behavior dictate that you notify someone when you are recording him/her. You must obtain the instructor’s permission to make audio or video recordings in this class. Such permission allows the recordings to be used for your private, study purposes only. The recordings are the intellectual property of the instructor; you have not been given any rights to reproduce or distribute the material.” In classes where active participation of students or guests may be on the recording, permission of those students or guests should be obtained as well.

  • “Course material developed by the instructor is the intellectual property of the instructor and cannot be shared publicly without his/her approval. You may not publicly share or upload instructor generated material for this course such as exam questions, lecture notes, or homework solutions without instructor consent.”

Academic Integrity

Your commitment as a student to learning is evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University. The University Academic Integrity Policy S07-2 (found at )

requires you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty members are required to report all infractions to the office of Student Conduct and Ethical Development. The Student Conduct and Ethical Development website is available at Sanctions are at the discretion of the instructor and may include the following: oral reprimand, failure on the evaluation instrument, reduction in course grade, failure in the course, referral for additional administrative sanctions. Because long years of experience have taught me that many students have trouble with academic integrity, I now require all take-home assignments listed on the assignment chart (i.e. most assignments except for small homework assignments or quizzes) to be submitted to Cheating of all kinds can result in your failing the class and being reported to the relevant authorities. Please don’t make me do this, because I will.

Campus Policy in Compliance with the American Disabilities Act

If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need to make special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, or see me during office hours. Presidential Directive 97-03 at requires that students with disabilities requesting accommodations must register with the Accessible Education Center (AEC) at to establish a record of their disability.

Accommodation to Students' Religious Holidays

San José State University shall provide accommodation on any graded class work or activities for students wishing to observe religious holidays when such observances require students to be absent from class. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor, in writing, about such holidays before the add deadline at the start of each semester. If such holidays occur before the add deadline, the student must notify the instructor, in writing, at least three days before the date that he/she will be absent. It is the responsibility of the instructor to make every reasonable effort to honor the student request without penalty, and of the student to make up the work missed. See University Policy S14-7 at

Additional Information: Please read carefully the following information available at english/comp/policy/index.html

  • Course guidelines

  • Academic policies (academic integrity, plagiarism, ADA and AEC policies)

  • Estimation of Per-Unit Student Workload

  • Recording policies

  • Adding and dropping classes

  • Accommodation to Students’ Religious Holidays

Student Technology Resources

Computer labs for student use are available in the Academic Success Center at located on the 1st floor of Clark Hall and in the Associated Students Lab on the 2nd floor of the Student Union. Additional computer labs may be available in your department/college. Computers are also available in the Martin Luther King Library. A wide variety of audio-visual equipment is available for student checkout from Media Services located in IRC 112. These items include DV and HD digital camcorders; digital still cameras; video, slide and overhead projectors; DVD, CD, and audiotape players; sound systems, wireless microphones, projection screens and monitors.

SJSU Writing Center The SJSU Writing Center is located in Clark Hall, Suite 126. All Writing Specialists have gone through a rigorous hiring process, and they are well trained to assist all students at all levels within all disciplines to become better writers. In addition to one-on-one tutoring services, the Writing Center also offers workshops every semester on a variety of writing topics. To make an appointment or to refer to the numerous online resources offered through the Writing Center, visit the Writing Center website at For additional resources and updated information, follow the Writing Center on Twitter and become a fan of the SJSU Writing Center on Facebook.

Significant Dates

  • Thursday, January 22 - Tuesday, February 10 Late Registration period for Spring 2015

  • Tuesday, February 3 Last day to drop a class without a "W" grade for Spring

  • Tuesday, February 10 Last day to add for Spring
    Last day to submit Audit option(PDF)
    Last day to submit Credit/No Credit grading option(PDF)
    Last day to submit Instructor Drops(PDF)

  • Thursday, April 23 Last Day to withdraw for Spring

  • Friday, May 15 - Thursday, May 21 Spring's Final Exams (Exam Schedule)

  • Wednesday, May 27 Spring 2015 grades due from Faculty (Preliminary Deadline)

  • Thursday, May 28 Initial Spring 2015 grades viewable on MySJSU

  • Friday, May 29 Deadline to clear Spring 2014 Incomplete grades
    Spring 2015 grades due from Faculty (Final Deadline)
    Faculty web access for grade posting closes at 11:59pm

ENGL 1B Schedule

(Tentative--Subject to change with fair notice)

NOTE: The readings and assignments are to be completed before the class period by which they are listed. For example, before the in-class essay on 1/29, you should have read the two readings listed and be ready to write about one or both. Praxis is the course text. “FM” stands for the reader, Food Matters. Questions at the end of each reading should be noted but not answered unless I direct you to do so. Similarly, the assignments in Praxis are not automatically required. Other assigned readings will be given as handouts and/or posted online. Hard copies should be brought to class every day. Always be ready for a quiz!



Topics, Readings, Assignments, Deadlines


Th 1/22

Introduction to the class, short in-class writing


T 1/27

Th 1/29

Unit I Introduction to Rhetorical Thinking, Reading, and Writing Read: “Epitaph for a Peach”

In-class Essay Read: “Chiefly Sentimental” (handout) FM pp. 37-39 “Taking Local on the Road”


T 2/3
Th 2/5

Brief Rhetorical Analysis Paper (Introduced) Read: Praxis 1-16, 74-76, FM “The Business Case for Healthier Food Options” 115-118
Understanding Ethos and Pathos Appeals. Read: Praxis 93-102 (read “People for Sale” but not “Alien Life” essay); reread “Epitaph for a Peach” (handout)


T 2/10

Th 2/12

Reading challenging, college-level material. Read: Praxis 33-35, 38-40, 47-49, 56-59, FM 9-19 “Eat Food: Food Defined”
Unit 2: Rhetorical Analysis in Depth Introduce Rhetorical Analysis of a Website Read: Praxis pp. 63-67 Due: Short writing task #1 brief rhetorical analysis


T 2/17
Th 2/19

Writing Rhetorically Read: Praxis 109-114 Due: topic proposal for web analysis
Understanding Logos in depth. Read: Praxis 83, 86-88 (except essay on executions) FM 204-213 “The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-intellectuals”


T 2/24

Th 2/26

Logos, continued. Logical Fallacies Read: Praxis 88-92, FM 240-8 “Attention Whole Foods Shoppers”

Introduce Research Unit Bibliographies, Field Research/Profile, Argument Synthesis, Researched Argument, Oral Report Read: Praxis 155-6, FM “Animal, Vegetable, Miserable” 195-198


T 3/3

Th 3/5

Peer review of Web Analysis Due: 2 copies of the FULL rough draft (20 participation points for this activity—but you must be present and active)



T 3/10
Th 3/12

Modes of research: site visits, interviews, secondary sources

Read: Praxis 197-201, 202-4, FM 256-270 “Chicago: The Vertical Farm”

Evaluating Sources, Annotated Bibliographies Read: Praxis 213-214, 220-223 Due: topic proposal for research unit


T 3/17
Th 3/19

Library Research workshop Due: Web Analysis paper
Field trip? Please stand by for details Due: working bibliography + 1 annotation


March 23-27

*******************Spring Break**********************


T 3/31

Th 4/2

***************Cesar Chavez Day—Campus Closed********

Peer review of annotated bibliography Due: 2 copies of the FULL rough draft (20 participation points for this activity—but you must be present and active) Due: Field Report/Profile


T 4/7

Th 4/9


Workshop on using quotes, paraphrase, summary Due: Annotated Bibliography


T 4/14
Th 4/16

Different kinds of argument and evidence: Rogerian Argument Exercise Read: Praxis 145-158

Stasis theory in Action: begin The Future of Food Read: FM 131-136 “Monsanto’s Harvest of Fear” (read to the end of “Under Surveillance” section)


T 4/21
Th 4/23

Peer review of researched argument Due: 2 copies of the FULL rough draft (20 participation points for this activity—but you must be present and active)


T 4/28

Th 4/30

Begin film

Finish watching film, discuss. Introduce Portfolio Reflection assignment, revision option Due: Researched Argument


T 5/5

Th 5/7

Begin Oral Reports Due: Oral Reports written component (due for everyone)

Finish Oral Reports


T 5/12

Make-ups Due: Portfolio Reflection with optional revision

Final “exam”

Meet with Writing Partners for campus tour
Section 32 meets Thursday, May 21, 9:45-12:00

Section 42 meets Wednesday, May 20, 12:15-2:30

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