English 102: Composition II


Quarter: Summer 2013

Class Meets: MW 1PM to 3:50 PM (section 1408)  T/TH 5:30 to 8:25 (section 1409)

Room: HKH 104

Instructors: Jennifer Locke Whetham and Lindsay M. Christopher


Jen’s Office: T Building 304

Lindsay’s Office: Foster 101

Office hours: By Appointment Only

Jen’s Phone: 360 992 2719

Course Website:

Course Texts and Materials

Required Texts

Ballenger, Bruce.  The Curious Researcher: A Guide to Writing Research Papers, 7th Edition.

Hacker, Diana.  Rules for Writers.  7th ed.  Boston, MA.  Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2012.

Note: Please be sure you do indeed have the most current editions of these textbooks.

Other Materials

You will need to have access to a computer with a word processor and an Internet connection. Don’t despair if you don’t own a computer: there are many computer labs at Clark College for student use. If you do own a computer but don’t own Microsoft Word, please investigate some of the free word processors available before you send $200 to Bill Gates! Two very good free word processors are Open Office Writer and Google’s online word processor.

While we’re on the subject, it’s a good idea to save your work in two places (for example, on a thumb drive AND in an email account!): please back up your work frequently, as essays which are erased/virus-infected/eaten by computers are your responsibility.

In addition, you will create your very own blog using WordPress.  We will discuss the technical aspects of this process in class.  In addition, there is an assignment.

Finally, you’ll need some kind of paper notebook or folder for day-to-day writing. A single spiral bound notebook should be fine.

Course Description

English 102 is designed to elevate your writing ability above the expectations in ENG 101 by emphasizing the skills necessary for successful college-level research writing.  Among these skills is the ability to explore and utilize a variety of research materials while maintaining the integrity of your own composition and refining your attention to detail in the content, rhetorical effectiveness, punctuation, grammar, and documentation of your paper.

Every assignment in this course is designed to get you to the best 10 to 12 page argumentative research paper possible.

This class requires an exceptional degree of independence.  You are expected to conduct research and work extensively and steadily on writing and revising your paper outside of class.  I expect you to spend 1-2 hours outside of class in preparation for each hour in class. If you can be a creative, disciplined self-starter who designs a project, makes steady progress on it, and follows through on feedback and revision goals, you will be successful in this class.  Too many students approach this class with too little dedication and too much procrastination.  An extra two to three hours of work during any given week of the quarter could save you the trouble of taking the class twice.  Similarly, slacking off during any given week could cost you a passing grade.  Please find and invest the time necessary for passing the class this quarter rather than repeating it.

English 102 Learning Outcomes: Students successful in this class will be able to do the following:

n  Develop and refine a list of search terms, use the library databases and internet to locate information, develop a note-taking system, and evaluate the credibility, reliability, and usefulness of sources during the search.

n  Summarize, paraphrase, quote, and fairly represent a range of materials within a single essay, using a consistent voice and formal documentation with precision and attention to detail for in-text and works cited.

n  Use a range of sources to generate topics, create questions to focus research, and ultimately develop a topic and claim for a researched argument.

n  Consider varying opinions and experiences when reading and writing; identify or speculate on implications and consequences in their own and others’ writing; evaluate numerous sources, including scholarly sources, for credibility, bias, logic, and rhetorical effectiveness.

n  Develop and organize a 10 page essay unified by a focused thesis supported with sufficient detail and evidence based on extensive research and use of 10 or more credible sources. Create a clearly articulated essay structure using a thesis statement, topic sentences, and transitions that emphasize a line of reasoning.

n  Adapt diction, voice, tone, examples, and evidence to an academic audience, and avoid slang and deceptive or inflammatory language; anticipate objections and make concessions as necessary.

n  Write complete simple, compound, and complex sentences consistently without fragments or run-ons while maintaining a consistent point of view and tense.  Use vocabulary and diction appropriate to the discipline(s) or subject area(s) addressed in their research paper topics.  Use a variety of sentence structures, and vary their use to increase clarity and rhetorical effectiveness, even in sentences that combine borrowed language with their own.

n  Work collaboratively by expressing opinions with tact, listening to others, and shouldering an appropriate share of the workload their own.

n  Assess their own work, set goals, seek and use feedback, revise and edit, practice self-discipline and persistence, and apply skills in new contexts.

Students will be sufficiently skilled in the above areas to pursue future research and writing of academic and personal interest to them with minimal guidance and supervision.

Instructional Methods Used

English 102 is a class best taught by a combination of instructional methods. The methods students will encounter most frequently are

1)       in-class writing

2)      discussion

3)      out-of class writing and discussion (using the emergent technology of blogging as hosted by wordpress)

4)      workshops (various iterations of the read around, Running with Scissors, a highlighter activity)

5)      individual conferences with the instructor.

Course Requirements

The bulk of the work for this class will involve reading challenging, college-level essays and articles as you research for the final research paper. You will write about your reading and research in the form of blog entries (which will take on many sizes and shapes and styles) as well as writing process pieces and multiple drafts of the final essay.


All Course assignments total 1000 points.  It is your responsibility to keep track of your own grade against what I record (I use Engrade).

Grade Accounting: 100 points

Participation: 160 points (20 points per class over eight weeks)

Blogs: 70 points (10 points per blog over seven weeks, beginning Sunday of Week One)

Blog Comments: 70 points (5 points per comment (two per week) over seven weeks, beginning Wednesday of Week Two)

Process Pieces: 150 points

Drafts of Research Paper: 100 points

Final Revision of Research Paper: 350 points

Grade Accounting (10%)

Part of academic success is holding yourself accountable for the work you have done.  Furthermore, while Jen does indeed read blog entries and comments for a multitude of pedagogical purposes (including planning class), your record will help her find your blogs and your comments more efficiently (and help her be accurate in her records).  This account will also empower you to know exactly where you are at any given moment over the course of the quarter—your grade is in your hands as well as Jen’s.  Jen has created a sheet for you to keep track of your progress.  To earn the 10%, this sheet must be filled out completely (including URL’s and word counts).

Participation (16%)

I will randomly offer “Participation Points” that total 160 points (approximately 20 points per week over 8 weeks). These points cannot be made up. You must be in class to earn participation points. Sometimes this activity may come at the beginning of class– if you are late, you will miss out on the points. Sometimes the activity will come at the end of class– if you leave early, you will miss out on the points.  Ex.  Closing Memo to Jen, Notes from Small Group Work, Stop/Start/Continue

Blogs (7%)

The blogs (and the resulting discussions with your peers via the comments) serve MULTIPLE purposes in terms of PROCESS. They are

n  Pre-writing for your research essay and for keeping track of your own learning in the course (i.e. they serve as a personal record of what we actually did in class over the various weeks)

n  Tools to help you re-read the readings– pose and answer questions about the material we are covering.

n  INVENTION for research essay and the final reflective essay

n  Tools for processing/exploring/going deeper into the core concepts of the course

n  An e-portfolio, of sorts, that contains artifacts of your learning during the course

Because the blogs are tools for your individual learning process (and process is often messy!), you will get full credit for your blog and your blog responses as long as they

1)      meet or exceed the minimum word requirement

2)      are respectful of the course, the instructor, and your peers

3)      ARE IN CONVERSATION with what we are reading and discussing in class (about the readings, about writing process, about the academic essay, etc.)

4)      posted on time.

Please use the freedom of the blogs WISELY– use your freewrites (the freewrites we do in class are always related to the ideas we are writing about, writing process in general, or the specific process of the essay we are currently working on), the readings, class discussions, and your thoughts to make these freewrites USEFUL to your learning and your writing process.

I reserve the right to judge whether your blog is “in conversation” with the course materials/discussions.

You may use one blog, if you wish, as a “freebie” (where you freewrite about anything you like (family, friends, life stresses)).

I do not accept late blog posts or responses. Late is defined as one minute past the deadline. Please see “Late Work Policies” for more details. Over the course of the quarter, you will write seven blog entries (and respond to 14 of your peers’ blog entries.) Blog entries are ALWAYS due on Sunday night before midnight. The assignment will always ask you to respond to the same general prompt: write an 800 word blog entry where you expand/question/discuss/hone in on what we read/discussed in class that week. Basically, you will put yourself (your words, your experiences, your questions, your concerns, your “real life” into conversation with the texts (Youtube clips, academic readings from our textbook, the common assignment, etc.)

Please label all your blogs consecutively (i.e. Blog #1: Subtitle.) Please include your word count at the bottom of the page.

Blog Comments (7%)

In addition to the blogs, each week you will comment on TWO of your peers’ blogs. Each response must be 200 words. You must comment on to two blogs OTHER than your own.  Commenting on other people’s comments to your blog, while polite and encouraged by the instructor, does not count for this assignment, as the overarching purpose is for you to READ and COMMENT on OTHER people’s insights and ideas.  You may comment on the blogs written by Jen’s students in English 102 (and you are encouraged to do so).

Your two comments will ALWAYS be due every Thursday before midnight. Each week, you will have the same general prompt: Put YOUR words (your ideas) into conversation with THEIR words (and their ideas) about things we have read/discussed in class.

Please label your Comments consecutively– so “Comment #1,” “Comment#2,” (during Week Two); “Comment #3,” “Comment #4,” (during Week Three), etc. Please include your word count at the bottom of response.

Process Pieces (15%)

This will consist of THREE assignments worth 50 points each:

1)       Research Proposal: An 800 word blog (assignment in The Curious Researcher)

2)      Visit to the Librarian: You are required to visit the Clark College library, armed with your Inquiry question (which we will work on in class).  You will write an 800 word blog entry about your library visit, describing the librarian you met with, the question you asked, what information you found, etc.

3)      Final Reflective Essay: this essay will be six pages, and you will turn it in with your final research paper.  An assignment will follow later in the quarter.

DRAFTS of Your Research Paper (10%)

The Rough Draft is worth 50 points: the Conference/Dress Rehearsal Draft is worth 50 points.

You get full points just for turning these in as long as they are a full 10 pages (please use MLA or APA conventions for layout) and include a works cited of 10 credible, college-level sources (two of your sources must be peer-reviewed).

Your conference rehearsal draft MUST show evidence of substantial revision– otherwise, you will not receive points for the Revision (common sense– I cannot give you credit for a REVISION if the paper is UN Revised.)

Final Research Paper (35%)

Your research paper will be graded using a rubric that I will pass out in class.

Please note that if you do not receive a passing grade on the research paper, you will fail the course.


92-100%=A 82-87.5%=B 72-77.5%= C 62-67.5%=D

90-91.5%=A- 80-81.5%=B- C 70-71.5%=C- 60-61.5%=D-

88-89.5%=B+ 78-79.5%=C+ 68-69.5%=D+ less than 60%=F

Students who receive a grade of C or can move on to English 102 or English 109 next quarter. Those who receive a grade of C- or lower will need to retake English 101.

Late Work Policies

No late blog posts or responses will be accepted. Late is defined as one minute after the specified deadline.  This also applies to the research proposal and the visit with the librarian.

Drafts and Revisions of the Final Draft and Reflective Essay will be docked 10% each day they are late (again, late is defined as one minute after the specified deadline.) If you turn in an essay in an inappropriate form (i.e. an electronic copy when a paper copy is specified) it is counted as late until it has been submitted appropriately. An absence on the day the paper is due does not constitute an extension.

Class Policies

Attendance: Please come to class and be on time. While I am happy to work with students who must miss a class because of a genuine emergency, students simply will not do well in the course if they make a habit of missing class. A pattern of absence is missing class per week: a pattern of late arrivals or early departures is also once a week.

Remember, a good share of your final grade corresponds to work we will be doing in class. Being in class is an experience, and it cannot be replicated in a hasty five or ten minute conversation before or after class. I will post notes on the class blog, but again, these are the bare bones of what we actually covered.

To ensure regular attendance and active participation, I collect, twice a week, participation points. These will always consist of informal in- class writing (individual and/or group.) These small assignments take multiple forms: small group notes, individual memos to the instructor, Stop/Start/Continue, etc. You cannot make up these assignments: students are only given PARTICIPATION points for days they were actually there to participate in class (hence the term Participation grade).

In short, you need to be here regularly if you want to do well.

I reserve the right to withhold or dock your participation points for the day, even if you were present and in class, if you are distracted and/or distracting others. This includes, but is not limited to, texting in class, using your computer for something other than coursework, doing work for other classes, or distracting your group by going off topic.

Class Courtesy: Having a safe and civil atmosphere for learning depends on all of us. When we speak with one another, especially when disagreeing, it is vital that we do so with mutual respect. Students who are disruptive or abusive towards others may be asked to leave the class.

Cell Phones/iPads/Laptops: On a related note, it is both disruptive and rude to leave your cell phone on in the classroom– let alone use it in class. Please set your phone to “vibrate” mode or turn it off when you come to class. If you use your phone in class for texting and/or other inappropriate use, I will ask you to leave the classroom. It is not only distracting for you– it is distracting to others around you.

Plagiarism: Students who copy the words or ideas of any other writer without acknowledging the original author of those words or ideas are engaging in plagiarism. Plagiarism is grounds for failing this course. One of the goals of this course is to understand how to use information effectively and ethically in your writing. Once those concepts have been introduced, any instances of plagiarism will result in severe grade penalties for the student. In most cases, these penalties lead to failure of the class.

For more information about the English department’s plagiarism policy, please read this.

Americans with Disabilities Act Accommodations: If you have, or think you have, a disability which interferes with your performance in this course, you are invited to speak with the Disability Support Services office in Gaiser Hall or at 992-2580 for assistance.

The Academic Early Warning System: I use the Academic Early Warning (AEW) system in this course to let you know if I have concerns about your academic performance early enough to give you time to improve. If I have concerns, Clark College will send a letter to your home along with a list of free campus services that can assist you. Please note that not all instructors will use AEW, so it is your responsibility to be aware of how you are progressing in your classes.

Weather Closures and Instructor Illness: Students now have the ability to check on line each day to be sure that their classes are meeting. To access this information go to the Clark College website and click on Quick Links, then on Classes Today. It will show any classes that have been cancelled for that day only.

Please Note: While I have done my best to provide all necessary information for the class here, this syllabus is subject to change. Please attend class and check the online schedule regularly so that you will not be surprised by changes.