MC Escher "Hands"

English 1B: Composition II
Section 67
: T/Th 3-4:15pm, Spartan Complex Central 211
Spring 2009

We ditched this schedule & revised the format for a groovier, New Media version of composition! 


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Dr. Katherine D. Harris
Office Hours
: T/Th 1:30-2:30 & 4:30-5:30
Office:  FO 220
Phone: 408.924.4475


Course Description  |   Course Objectives  |  Course Policies  |   Grading Policy Grade Distribution  |  Plagiarism  |  Late Policy  |  Questionnaire  |  Required Books



English 1B is the second course in SJSU’s two-semester lower-division composition sequence. Beyond providing repeated practice in planning and executing essays, and broadening and deepening students’ understanding of the genres, audiences, and purposes of college writing, English 1B differs from English 1A in its emphasis on persuasive and critical writing (with less attention paid to the personal essay), its requirement for fewer but longer essays, and its introduction to writing informed by research. Students will develop sophistication in writing analytical, argumentative, and critical essays; a mature writing style appropriate to university discourse; reading abilities that will provide an adequate foundation for upper-division work; proficiency in basic library research skills and in writing papers informed by research; and mastery of the mechanics of writing.

Prerequisites: Passage of Written Communication 1A or approved equivalent course and passage of the English Proficiency Test (EPT), unless exempt.


Mauk, John and John Metz. Inventing Arguments. 2nd ed. Boston: Thomson Wadsworth, 2009.
Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation. Harper Perennial, 2001.
Hacker, Diana. A Writers Reference. 6th ed.
Dictionary (Webster’s or equivalent college-level)
Notebook (Bound)
Exam Booklets (for in-class exams & final exam)
Email account & account

Note Hacker & Mauk/Metz are on reserve at King Library.


Building on the college-level proficiencies required in English 1A, students shall achieve the ability to write complete essays that demonstrate advanced proficiency in all of the following:
  • Clear and effective communication of meaning.
  • An identifiable focus (argumentative essays will state their thesis clearly and will show an awareness, implied or stated, of some opposing point of view).
  • An appropriate voice that demonstrates an awareness of audience and purpose.
  • Careful attention to review and revision.
  • Effective and correct use of supporting materials, including independent research (e.g., quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing, and citing sources).
  • Effective analysis, interpretation, evaluation, and synthesis of ideas encountered in multiple readings.
  • Effective organization and development of ideas at paragraph and essay levels.
  • Appropriate and effective sentence structure and diction.
  • Command of conventional mechanics (e.g., punctuation, spelling, reference, agreement).

Learning Objective 1: Students shall write complete essays that demonstrate the ability to refine the competencies established in Written Communication 1A.

Learning Objective 2: Students shall write complete essays that demonstrate the ability to use (locate, analyze, and evaluate) supporting materials, including independent library research, and identify key concepts and terms that describe the information needed.

Learning Objective 3: Students shall write complete essays that demonstrate the ability to synthesize ideas encountered in multiple readings.

Content Objectives:
The following Content Objectives are specific to Area C3.

This course should emphasize those skills and activities in writing and thinking that produce 1) the persuasive argument, and 2) the critical essay, each of which demands analysis, interpretation, and evaluation.

  • Writing assignments shall give students repeated practice in pre-writing, organizing, writing, revising, and editing.
  • The number of writing assignments and their careful sequencing are as important as the total number of words written. Six to eight essays totaling a minimum of 8000 words are required. This minimum requirement excludes the final exam, journal writing, quizzes, and other informal or brief assignments.
  • Although the majority of papers will be written outside of class, at least three essays shall be written in class.
  • Students shall receive frequent evaluations from the instructor. Evaluative comments must be substantive, addressing the quality and form of writing.
  • Reading for the course shall include useful models of writing for academic and general audiences; readings shall be used consistently with the course goal of enhancing ability in written communication and reading. A substantial portion of the reading should be devoted to analytical, critical, and argumentative essays. Instructors should help students develop and refine strategies for reading challenging material.
  • The course shall include an introduction to the library and to basic research strategies, including locating materials, evaluating them, using them effectively (e.g., quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing), and citing them properly. Instructors shall assign a traditional research paper or a series of short essays in which library research informs the student's position or thesis.



10%   Class Discussion & Participation
10%   Writing Exercises
60%   Essays
20%   Final Exam
Class Discussion & Participation
English 1A is a reading-intensive course. You will have reading assignments to complete for almost every class period, and each reading will be accompanied by some form of writing. In addition, all or most of the assigned essays will be based on the reading. It is therefore imperative that you complete the readings prior to each class and come with your book prepared to discuss them in class. In addition, a typed writing assignment will be due at almost every class meeting, so prepare your schedules accordingly. Between the assigned essays, revised drafts and writing exercises, you will write more than the 8000 words of formal writing required for this course. The readings will come from Inventing Arguments and other readings that are supplied as handouts. Our work begins immediately. Please have the textbooks by our next class meeting. Bring Inventing Arguments with you to every class meeting unless you are told otherwise.

A student’s participation is assessed by his/her contribution throughout the semester. Use the following as guidelines for this portion of your final grade:

  • To earn a "C," do the minimum: read and prepare assigned readings so you are never at a loss if you are asked a question, but speak only when called upon, do "ordinary," plain-vanilla presentations and responses. This is the "bottom line" for getting a "C" in this part of the course.
  • To earn a "B," prepare assigned readings thoroughly, initiate discussions about them by asking good questions or suggesting ways to interpret readings, do presentations that reveal that you have done good additional work that you can make both interesting and meaningful to our discussions, and participate actively in those discussions.
  • For an "A," take it up another level entirely: prepare readings thoroughly, find and talk about connections among them and among other aspects of culture (then and now), take a real leadership role in class discussions, including working actively to get others involved in the talk, make your presentations and responses "sparkle" by bringing to them something really special in terms of your own contributions, interests, skills, and abilities to think in broad even interdisciplinary terms. Most of all, remember that an "A" indicates the very best grade a person can get; that should tell you what sort of work you need to do to earn the grade of "A."

If you miss class, contact a classmate for notes, reading assignments and handouts – or check our Course Website. (Please do not email me to ask "Did I miss anything important?")


Writing Exercises & Daily Journal

All journal writing (informal, ungraded) should be done in a spiral bound notebook that will contain only notes, writings and materials from this course. Bring this journal with you to every class because we will write in it at every meeting. On occasion, I will collect these journals to review your progress (which will be indicated by a check mark in my grade book). If you do not want me to read the contents on a particular page, fold that page.

Written Exercises are due at the beginning of each class. These exercises need to be typed in 12pt font and double-spaced with one inch margins. While the writing exercises do not receive a letter grade, the quality of your efforts will be recorded and applied toward your final course grade. Each Writing Exercise receives a check minus, check, check plus, U (unsatisfactory), NC (no credit). If you need a letter grade correlation, think of a = B, which represents that the minimum requirements for that exercise were completed. You can gauge your progress by these writing exercises. Unsatisfactory Writing Exercises will be revised and resubmitted for credit. Please note that I do NOT accept assignments via email.



You will be required to write 6 graded essays throughout the semester: 2 written in-class (informal); 4 written outside of class (formal). Each essay varies in purpose and will focus on differing sets of academic writing skills. By the time we reach the last essay, you will have learned about both the major and minor elements of writing. Each essay is based on readings from Inventing Arguments and a series of progressive writing exercises that will help you to create a first draft. Each essay will receive a letter grade based on the Departmental Grading Policy below. Every essay will be submitted to

Rough drafts of essays should be typed and double-spaced. On due dates for rough drafts, email a copy to me by the deadline and bring a printed copy for your group workshop. Final drafts of essays must be carefully revised, typed and double-spaced on 8 2 x 11" white paper in 12 point font with one inch margins. Keep all notes, writing exercises, drafts and final copies of essays. Some of these materials will be turned in with the final draft of each essay. (Be sure to save drafts on the computer as different documents.)

Final Exam

A common essay final exam, graded holistically, will count 20% toward the course grade. The final will be held on Saturday, May 9, 10am-12:15pm. The test will consist of an in-class essay on a specific topic. Please be on time and bring two yellowbooks, pens, and a (non-electronic) dictionary.



The Department of English reaffirms its commitment to the differential grading scale as defined in the official SJSU Catalog ("The Grading System"). Grades issued must represent a full range of student performance: A = excellent; B = above average; C = average; D = below average; F = failure. Courses graded according to the A,B,C,NoCredit system shall follow the same pattern, except that NC, for NoCredit, shall replace D or F. In A,B,C,NoCredit courses NC shall also substitute for W (for Withdrawl) because neither NC nor W affects students’ grade point averages.

In English Department courses, instructors will comment on and grade the quality of student writing as well as the quality of the ideas being conveyed. All student writing should be distinguished by correct grammar and punctuation, appropriate diction and syntax, and well-organized paragraphs.

For your final grades, 100-90 is an A, 89-80 is a B, 79-70 is a C, 69-60 is a D, and below 60 is an F. Pluses and minuses are the middle of each range. In calculating the final grade, a set number will represent each letter grade; for example, B+ is 87.5, B is 85, and B- is 82.5.

Note: This is an A, B, C, No Credit course, but individual essays will be graded on an A to F scale. There are no C- grades in English 1B. You must earn at least a C in order to pass. Any student with a final grade below a C will receive an NC and must repeat the course.



Late Policy
Since this is a workshop course, you need to be prepared at every class meeting with the readings and your written exercise. If you cannot meet a deadline, you must contact me prior to our class meeting to discuss the situation. Otherwise, there are steep consequences for submitting late assignments and essays:

  • Writing Exercises: For every day that a writing exercise is late (due at the beginning of each class), you will be penalized one grade step on the final draft of that essay (A becomes an A-).
  • Rough Drafts: Failure to come to workshops with 2 printed copies of your rough draft will result in a loss of one grade step on the final draft of your essay (A becomes an A-).
  • Final Drafts of Essays: All essays must be handed in on time, otherwise you will lose one full letter grade for each day that the essay is late (A becomes a B).
  • SJSU Academic Integrity Policy
    Your own commitment to learning, as evidenced by your enrollment at San Jose State University, and the University’s Academic Integrity Policy require you to be honest in all your academic course work. Faculty are required to report all infractions to the office of Judicial Affairs. The policy on academic integrity can be found at . The SJSU rules against plagiarism are set forth in the SJSU Catalog, which defines plagiarism as the act of representing the work of another as one’s own (without giving appropriate credit) regardless of how that work was obtained, and submitting it to fulfill academic requirements. Plagiarism at SJSU includes, but is not limited to: (1) the act of incorporating the ideas, words, sentences, paragraphs, or parts thereof, or the specific substance of another’s work, without giving appropriate credit, and representing the product as one’s own work. It is the role and obligation of each student to know the rules that preserve academic integrity and abide by them at all times. This includes learning and following the particular rules associated with specific classes, exams, and/or course assignments. Ignorance of these rules is not a defense to the charge of violating the Academic Integrity Policy.

    Avoiding Plagiarism
    Plagiarism is the unacknowledged use of somebody else’s words or ideas and is considered an instance of academic dishonesty that instructors must report. Repeated instances of plagiarism will result in a student’s expulsion from the University. You commit plagiarism by

  • buying, stealing, or borrowing a paper;
  • hiring someone to write a paper;
  • building on someone’s ideas without providing a citation;
  • or copying from another source or using a source too closely when paraphrasing.
  • Plagiarism checks will be performed by asking students to submit various written exercises or essays to, a service which scans documents for all references to Web sources and other essays. To sign up for Turnitin use the Class ID 2584318 and Password writing. The instructor reserves the right to revise the requirements and to notify students of such revision in a timely manner.


    Classroom Environment
    Respect your fellow students and I: Arrive on time (excessive tardiness will effect your participation grade) and do not partake in disruptive behavior. If you are late, wait for an appropriate moment to enter so you do not disturb the class. Turn off cell phones or put them on silent mode during the class period.

    Email Protocols
    Email is the best possible way to contact me (9am-5pm) and has the added bonus of recording our conversations. When emailing me, please consider it a formal communication: include the appropriate salutation, your name and your question/comment. Know that long conversations over email are not fruitful merely because of the limitations of technology. If you have an extended question or dilemma, please visit me during office hours. I will amass a class email list and will occasionally send out information regarding our meetings or the readings. Please provide an email address that you check daily.



    Course Website
    As we move along in the semester, course materials and updated reading schedules will be posted on the course website. After you have entered, simply click on our class title to print the current schedule or handouts, visit outside web projects, print copies of lost documents, find the SJSU Writing Center, check my office hours, discover local literary events or double-check the meaning of "plagiarism."

    SJSU Writing Center
    Visit me during office hours for help with your writing. For even further help, go to the Writing Center located in Clark Hall, Suite 126. Hours: Monday-Thursday 9-7 and Friday 9-1. Call for appointments at 924-2308 or go online at . Work with tutors in a one-on-one environment. Make appointments online at the above website.

    Library Liaison
    For library research questions, contact Toby Matoush, the English Department’s Library Liaison: (408) 808-2096 or . King Library has created an extensive and very useful list of the library’s resources specifically for English majors: .

    Peer Mentor Center
    The Peer Mentor Center is located on the 1st floor of Clark Hall in the Academic Success Center. The Peer Mentor Center is staffed with Peer Mentors who excel in helping students manage university life, tackling problems that range from academic challenges to interpersonal struggles. On the road to graduation, Peer Mentors are navigators, offering "roadside assistance" to peers who feel a bit lost or simply need help mapping out the locations of campus resources. Peer Mentor services are free and available on a drop –in basis, no reservation required. The Peer Mentor Center website is located at

    Student Technology Resources
    Computer labs for student use are available in the Academic Success Center located on the 1st floor of Clark Hall and 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 digital and VHS camcorders, VHS and Beta video players, 16 mm, slide, overhead, DVD, CD, and audiotape players, sound systems, wireless microphones, projection screens and monitors.

    Campus Policy on Compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act
    If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, or if you need 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 requires that students with disabilities register with DRC to establish a record of their disability. The DRC website is .



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    Last updated: 02/24/2009 04:26 PM
    Eng 1B Course Webpages