Welcome to English 101 at the University of Maryland. “Academic writing” may sound like a course that introduces you to the kinds of writing expected of you throughout college, and in many ways, it is. However, as this course prepares you for the scholarly work necessary for your history, psychology, and biology courses, it also introduces you to a kind of writing and thinking that will enable you to become a reflective and critical thinker able to enter intellectual conversations inside and outside the academy.
To achieve these ends, this course is grounded in inquiry and rhetoric. Our goal is first to inquire, to determine what is known—and credible—about a topic or issue. Then, we ask questions about what is known: How do we understand and define this issue? How might we evaluate it? What can we do about it? Engaging in this inquiry and responding to these questions leads to rhetorical practice. We use rhetorical skills to construct knowledge by creating arguments that are built on the foundations of what has already been thought and said. Thus inquiry and rhetoric rely on investigating and reflecting upon the thoughts and ideas of others. In other words, through questioning and research we gain the knowledge to join existing scholarly conversations ethically and critically. Also, because academic writing is part of a larger conversation within and often across disciplines, one of its conventions is rigorous review by peers.
In English 101, you will hone the skills of clarifying issues, asking questions, leveraging rhetorical strategies, entering into scholarly conversations, researching topics, using evidence, and engaging in peer review. Your work in English 101 will be oriented by several concepts, some of which are discussed above:
Inquiry. Inquiry is understood as learning through questioning. One tool you will use to inquire is stasis theory, a rhetorical concept with its roots in ancient legal practice. Stasis theory offers a way of inventing, categorizing, and analyzing what is at issue in a situation with a series of questions: whether something exists, how it is defined, what its causes are, what its effects or consequences are, how we value it, what we should do about it, and who has the right to act on these questions.
Rhetoric. Defined by Aristotle as “the art of observing the available means of persuasion,” rhetoric is the study of effective language use. Rhetoric provides a method for successful and persuasive academic argumentation. Through rhetoric, we are attentive to issues of the rhetorical situation of any writing (its audience, purpose, writer, context, and genre) as well as the role of rhetorical appeals in any persuasive discourse.
Writing Process and Reflection. Writing is a process, and while that process varies for each writer, drafts, feedback, and revision are essential elements for any effective composition. In addition, by stepping back to reflect on your writing and your writing process, you learn more about who you are as a writer and what academic writing is. In reflection, you gain the insights that enable you to assess your work and make productive changes towards improvement.
Research and Critical Reading. The work of researching and reading of academic sources critically allows you to enter the conversations of various disciplines. You will also learn the types of sources that are acceptable for academic papers and the methods appropriate for integrating them into your writing and documenting them.
Upon completion of an Academic Writing course, you will be able to:
Demonstrate understanding of writing as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate sources, and as a process that involves composing, editing, and revising.
Demonstrate critical reading and analytical skills, including understanding an argument's major assertions and assumptions, and how to evaluate its supporting evidence.
Demonstrate facility with the fundamentals of persuasion, especially as they are adapted to a variety of special situations and audiences in academic writing.
Demonstrate research skills, integrate your own ideas with those of others, and apply the conventions of attribution and citation correctly.
Use Standard Written English and revise and edit your own writing for appropriateness. You will take responsibility for such features as format, syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Demonstrate an understanding of the connection between writing and thinking and use writing and reading for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communicating in an academic setting.
Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic
Writing. 3rd ed. New York: Norton, 2014.
Inventing Arguments: A Rhetoric and Reader for the University of Maryland’s Academic Writing
Program. 2nd ed. Boston: Pearson, 2016.
Lewis, John, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. March: Book Three. Marietta, GA: Top Shelf,
*This book is UMD’s First-Year book; it is free to all students, and you can pick yours up in 2110 Marie Mount Hall.
Course Policies and Procedures Participation and Attendance
You are expected to be prepared for class and to participate in class discussions, to be able to respond to questions posed to you, to have drafts when they are due, and to complete in-class writing activities. Your active participation will contribute to your final grade. We will discuss the definition of active participation in the first few class meetings.
The work that you submit in English 101, including but not limited to rough drafts and formal writing assignments, will be based on skills that you develop and hone in class. For this reason, your attendance and active participation are essential to your success in this course. If you miss class for any reason, it will be your responsibility to find out what you missed and what is needed to make up the work.
Whether or not you are allowed to make up that work will depend on two factors:
whether your absence is excused or unexcused (please see the University’s statement on excused and unexcused absences at https://www.faculty.umd.edu/teach/attend_student.html);
whether the work you handed in or the activity you missed during class constitutes a “major course event.” Rough draft workshops and final due dates of formal assignments constitute major course events. Any work connected to a major course event is due on the date stipulated unless an alternative arrangement has been worked out ahead of time.
There is a limit to the number of unexcused absences that you may accrue over the course of the semester. For TTH courses, you have four unexcused absences; for MWF classes, you have six. While you are allowed these absences, missing class sessions still means that you will lose participation points for that day and for any in-class exercises that your peers complete. For each additional unexcused absence beyond 4/6, your final grade for the course will be lowered by one full letter grade. This means that if you have earned an A average but exceed the allowed number of unexcused absences by one, you will earn a B in the course; if you have earned an A but exceed the allowed number of unexcused absences by two, you will earn a C in the course.
Papers are due on the date and time designated on the course syllabus. That deadline holds true whether you can make it to class or not and whether your absence is excused or not. Late papers will be marked down one letter grade per day late, including weekends. If you must submit a late paper, you should contact me the day the paper is due, so that I know when to expect your paper and how you will submit it.
Draft workshops enable you to develop two major writing skills that are integral to this course: 1) learning to be a critic of your own writing and the writing of others, and 2) learning how to revise your work given comments and questions from your peers. Your writing will improve by having others read and respond to it.
We will have a draft workshop before each paper is due. During these sessions, you will exchange your paper with a peer (or peers) and offer revision suggestions. Your participation in the workshop will be part of your grade.
On the day of a draft workshop, you will be required to have a complete draft of your paper. If you do not have a draft in class that day (this includes not having it in class because you are absent), your final grade for that paper will be reduced by a letter grade – that is, an A paper will be a B paper if you did not have your draft.
The format for papers will vary, but unless otherwise indicated, the standard format is as follows:
double-spaced throughout (with no extra spaces between paragraphs)
readable font (12 point, no italics except for titles or emphasis)
one-inch margins on all sides, left justified
your name, my name, the section number for the course, and an indication of the draft number (first, second, final) in upper left corner
title of the paper center justified
When you cite information, you should follow the MLA style guidelines appropriate for the topic or situation.
Think of my office as an extension of the classroom and use my office hours to discuss any aspect of your writing and reading, as well as any questions you may have about class procedures or requirements. Come to office hours with questions about class discussions, writing techniques or strategies, writing projects you’re working on, ideas you wish to develop, and so on. During my open office hours, you may stop in my office whenever you like. I am also happy to schedule another time to meet if my office hours conflict with your schedule.
We will have two scheduled one-on-one conferences in my office (see the course schedule for conference days). These meetings are mandatory. If you cannot attend our scheduled conference, please email me at least 2 hours before our planned time. If you miss our conference without emailing, I will count it as a class absence.
All students should consider visiting the tutors at UMD’s Writing Center as a way to improve the overall quality of their writing. The Writing Center is for all student writers—including those who see themselves as strong writers. It is an excellent resource for you; please take advantage of it.
The Writing Center offers both daytime and evening hours. Online tutoring is also available. You can make an appointment through the website below.
Address: 1205 Tawes Hall
Cell Phone and Laptop Policy
Please turn off your cell phone during class and put it in below your desktop. Texting during class will not be tolerated. You are welcome to use your laptop or tablet for class-related writing and activities. Checking Facebook or email during class will not be tolerated.
10. Academic Integrity
Plagiarism, whether it is submitting someone else’s work as your own, submitting your own work completed for another class without my permission, or otherwise violating the University’s code of Academic Integrity, will not be tolerated. You are expected to understand the University’s policies regarding academic integrity. These policies can be found at the website of the Office of Student Conduct, www.shc.umd.edu. Please visit this website, click on the “students” link, and read the information carefully.
11. Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
Your success in the class is important to me. If there are circumstances that may affect your performance in this class, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can work together to develop strategies for adapting assignments to meet both your needs and the requirements of the course
In order to receive official university accommodations, you will need to register and request accommodations through the Office of Disability Support Services. DSS provides services for students with physical and emotional disabilities and is located in 0106 Shoemaker on the University of Maryland campus. Information about Learning Assistance Services or Disability Support Services can be found at www.counseling.umd.edu/LAS or www.counseling.umd.edu/DSS. You can also reach DSS by phone at 301-314-7682.
12. Statement on Classroom Environment and Mutual Respect
We will build a classroom environment built on mutual respect, which includes behaviors such as listening to others before responding, critiquing our peers’ ideas rather than our peers themselves, and framing disagreement as an opportunity to develop and nuance our own views. Early on in the class, we will define mutual respect and civility and discuss how we can each do our part to ensure that everyone feels encouraged to contribute. Please come and talk to me if you feel like I can better facilitate a respectful and productive learning space.
Grading and Revision
The percentages of contribution to your final grade are as follows:
**Please note that you cannot pass English 101 if you do not complete and submit each of the seven major assignments.
Revision Policy for Assignment #1: So that you are able to gain a sense of the rigor of this course, for the first assignment, no essays will fail on the first attempt (except of course for lateness or plagiarism). If the essay would have received a grade of D or F, I will give it a W for “grade withheld” and ask you to revise the assignment. If the essay is not revised acceptably within a specified time, it will be recorded as an F. If the essay is revised in an acceptable manner, it will be granted as high as a C, but no higher.
Revision is a major part of this course and a major element of strong writing practice. You will revise each of your papers after the scheduled draft workshop. I am also happy to meet with you before your paper is due to discuss your essay ideas and your drafts. In addition, your final assignment for this course asks you to revise substantially an assignment you’ve submitted and to which I’ve responded. Since I stress revision throughout the course and since there are so many opportunities for you to revise your work, there will not be possibilities for additional revisions to essays after they have been returned. Given this policy, please use me and your classmates as resources for essay revision and improvement before the submission deadlines.
Academic Summary. Summary is an element of good critical reading, which is, in turn, the cornerstone of academic writing. With this assignment, you take the first step in learning many skills crucial to successful academic writing, including clarity and concision, effective and ethical use of sources, and the interconnection of reading and writing.
Inquiry Essay: This assignment initiates your semester-long exploration of an issue. Here, you will enter an academic conversation by identifying a topic for research that connects in some way to your academic, extracurricular, personal, or civic interests and/or experiences. You will use the heuristic of stasis theory to investigate your topic and to learn the issues and debates within it. A major part of this project is to explore how scholarly research and listening to the ideas of others can inform, expand, and complicate your understandings of and experiences with the topic. The goal of this essay is three-fold: 1) to argue for the exigence and importance of this issue, 2) to raise important questions about the issue, and 3) to investigate possible responses to these questions. A research session at McKeldin library will introduce you to the skills of finding and evaluating worthy sources. 4-5 pages.
Annotated Bibliography: This assignment will support your work in the Inquiry assignment, as it will enable you to identify sources that will propel your inquiry. In particular, you will identify five sources that will aid in your exploration, and you will annotate them. Each annotation should (1) cite the text of your choice in perfect MLA format; (2) summarize the text; (3) evaluate the validity and fairness of the source (4) discuss how the text will help you gain a deeper sense of the issue and how the source will contribute your investigation. Approx. 150 words per annotation.
Rhetorical Analysis: For this assignment, you will analyze a persuasive text that relates to the issue you have chosen by taking into consideration rhetorical appeals, rhetorical situation, intended audience, exigence, style, and organization. Your goal is to make an argument about the effectiveness of the text for the given audience. 4-5 pages.
Digital Forum: You will shift gears in this assignment, moving from writing to academic audiences in analog form to writing to popular audiences in digital form. More specifically, you will compose a website that offers an audience of your choice a digital forum. This forum will display three distinct arguments leveraged by different stakeholders invested in your issue. Extending the work of your Argument of Inquiry paper, you will identify a new conversation within your issue and three different ways stakeholders engage it. You will create three “stakeholder pages” that describe these positions as well as an “About” page and a “Required Reading List.” This list of annotated sources should 1) offer your audience additional information about your issue, and 2) extend your research base by annotating five new peer-reviewed sources that take up your issue. Approx. 1800 words.
Position Paper: This paper is the culmination of the inquiry and exploration you have conducted throughout the semester. Your goal is to compose an essay that offers the argument you find most persuasive within the issue you’ve been examining. Your job is to take a position within this debate, refute competing positions and alternatives, and organize your ideas effectively and efficiently. This paper is directed to a specific, academic audience, and it should include a bibliography of approximately 20 sources. 8-10 pages.
Revision and Reflection Assignment: Reflection and revision are keys to one’s success as a writer. Through reflection and revision you are able to think critically about your identity as a writer, your writing process, and the feedback you’ve received. You can then leverage these reflections as you continue to write and thus improve upon your work. For the final assignment of the semester, you will substantively revise an assignment of your choice—taking into consideration the rhetorical concepts and strategies you have learned, the ideas you have raised in your reflective writings, and the feedback you have received from me and from your peers. Your goal in this revision is to rethink important aspects of the assignment such as the rhetorical appeals, supporting arguments, arrangement, introductions and conclusions, integration of research, and so on. In an accompanying two page, single-spaced memo, you will identify the aims of your revisions, how you have attempted to reach those goals, and your rationale for those specific choices. Reflective Memo 2 pages, single-spaced; Revision 4-5 pages.
Fall 2017 Course Schedule IA: Inventing Arguments, 2nd edition
TSIS: They Say/I Say, 3rd edition
March: March vol. 3 (FYB)
Introductions; Discuss Syllabus; What is rhetoric and the academic writing course?
ELMS:Duffy, “Virtuous Arguments”; IA Murray, “The Maker’s Eye” 458-462
Discussion Board #1
Language Diversity; Summary; Critical Reading
TSIS 30-41; IA Young, “Should Writers Use They Own English?” 508-516; ELMS: Two Sample Student Summaries
Discussion Board #2
Labor Day—NO CLASS
Critical Reading and Summary example; Discuss issue possibilities for course assignment sequence; Set up conferences for semester topics
March 4-41; IA Lamott, “Shitty First Drafts” 438-440
Discussion Board #3
Draft Workshop; Author Tags and Quoting; Reflective Writing; Set up conferences for semester topics
Draft Academic Summary
Reflect on Summary; Introduce Inquiry assignment and Annotated Bibliography assignments
END OF SCHEDULE ADJUSTMENT (last day to add or drop classes without a W)
INTP Geller, “Examining Predictive Genetic Testing Using Huntington’s Disease as a Model”; IA “An Introduction to Inquiry” 340-342
Assignment #1: Academic Summary Due; Reflective Writing Due
What is Inquiry?; Prepare for Research Session at McKeldin
IA “Exigence” 350-352; March 42-63
Discussion Board #4
Research Session at McKeldin Library
Annotated Bibliography; Revisit Summary; Evaluating Sources and MLA Citation; Stasis Theory
**Bring to class your sources for the Annotated Bibliography**