CSULA Department of English | Composition Resources

Sample Syllabus for English 102

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English Department Mail Room: E & T 637
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English 102: Composition II

Catalog Description

Composition II:  Analytic and Persuasive Writing

Prerequisite:  ENGL 101 or equivalent. Continuing to practice the rhetorical skills introduced in ENGL 101, students will analyze, interpret, and synthesize diverse texts in order to construct a well-supported, researched, academic argument. Graded A,B,C/NC.

Course Description

English 102 focuses on the conventions of academic writing, and the purpose of this course is to help students write convincing, well developed, and well organized essays that synthesize, document, and respond to various sources on a given topic.

Class Theme: Our theme for this quarter is Myth America. Within this unifying theme, we will be exploring identity formation, examining in particular the role played by myth and fairy tales. We will look at some of the ways in which myths and fairy tales, both traditional ones and their modern counter-parts in popular culture, shape, reflect, and sustain our ideas about who we are, and we will also consider how our obedience to various kinds of authority helps us construct a sense of self. In addition to the readings in our text, we will analyze depictions in film, advertising, and various other media to see how myth and fairy tales can be used to reveal social and psychological phenomena, and we will also explore how and why we are often obedient to these media images.

Learning Objectives

Students will

develop an ability to write about problems from historical, philosophical, rhetorical and/or cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspectives;

engage in group discussions and activities to develop critical perspectives, a clear sense of audience, and a fluent and effective style;

plan, write, and revise three to four formal essays approximately 4-6 pages in length, at least one of which will involve research and the integration of multiple sources. Essays will include analytic, interpretive, and persuasive strategies to present and support a considered position;

continue to develop critical attitudes toward culture and media;

evaluate the relevance, validity and authority of information, and use and cite this information ethically.


The English Department attendance policy states that any student who misses more than 20% of class meetings or does not complete 80% of classwork will not be permitted to take the final exam or submit a portfolio. Since so much of the content of this class is dependent on our work in the class, regular attendance is vitally important to your success in the course and to your development as a writer. There is no way to "make up" what is missed if you are not here. Arriving more than 20 minutes late (or leaving 20 minutes early) is counted as an absence. If you must miss class for any reason, please call to let me know. Note: You must attend the first two class meetings if you wish to retain your place in the class.

Individual conferences are an important element of a writing class, so I require that you come to see me during office hours at least once during the quarter to go over your papers and discuss any questions you might have about your own writing. Conferences are especially crucial if you are not doing as well in the class as you would like. If you can’t come during office hours, let me know and we can arrange to meet at another time. Failure to meet this requirement is treated as an absence.

Required Work

There are five assigned essays in this class: 2 essays completed out of class (approx. 5 pages each), 1 research paper, and 2 in-class essays (midterm and final). Students will also complete homework assignments and give 2 brief presentations.

Your final grade for the quarter will be based on all of the following criteria, listed roughly in order of importance: the quality of your work (the thoughtfulness, depth, and seriousness of your approach to a topic, as well as a minimum of grammatical errors); the completeness and promptness of your work; class participation; regular and prompt attendance; and your own growth and development as a writer.

I will excuse one late paper, no questions asked; however, this late paper must be turned in within one week of the original deadline, and late papers will be graded and returned to you late. Other late work, regardless of the reason, will be penalized; this includes work that is late due to absence from class. Missing assignments or late papers (beyond the one allowed) will lower your final grade.

Texts, Supplies and Other Helpful Advice

Required Text:

Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum, 10th edition (2008), edited by Laurence Behrens and Leonard J. Rosen.

Note: Please bring the text with you to each class meeting.

Recommended Text:

The writing handbook recommended by the English Department is Diana Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual, 4th ed. (Bedford/St. Martin’s).

Supplies: Some regular, lined notebook (8.5 x 11) paper, some dark-ink pens (blue or black), and at least two standard-sized (8.5 x 11) bluebooks (exam books) to use for your reading journals. (These supplies should be available in the campus bookstore.)

Tutorial assistance is available at the University Writing Center, located in 2097 Library South (phone: 3-5350). The Writing Center tutors can help you at any stage of the writing process, from getting started to helping you learn to edit and proofread your papers, or to answer specific questions or problems with grammar and usage. You may drop in or call to make an appointment with a tutor. Don’t feel you have to have a serious problem to make use of their services; all writers can benefit from some assistance and feedback.

ADA Accommodations

Reasonable accommodation will be provided to any student who is registered with the Office of Students with Disabilities and requests needed accommodation.

Classroom Behavior

All students are expected to treat everyone in class with respect and in general to behave in a reasonable, responsible, and courteous manner at all times. This means observing the customary rules that govern polite, civilized behavior. I expect everyone to do the following:

Arrive promptly and stay in the classroom for the duration of the class meeting, unless you are ill or have an emergency; this holds true for all classroom activities. If your schedule prevents you from arriving on time, you may want to enroll in a section that better suits your schedule. If you must leave class early for some reason, please let me know in advance.

Do the reading and writing assignments before class time so that you come to class prepared to contribute to and participate in discussions.

Do not talk, read, sleep, or do other work during classtime. When someone is talking, you should listen attentively, and when you are talking, you should address yourself to your group or to the class. If you are sitting next to someone with whom you may be tempted to chat during class, please move to another seat so that you will not succumb to temptation.

Make sure you turn off and put away your cell phone during class.


Grading System

English 102 is graded ABC/NC (with pluses and minuses). A grade of C or better is necessary to pass the course; a C- is not a passing grade and will be recorded as a No Credit (NC). You should always be clear about how you are doing in the class from the points you receive, but if you have questions about your grade, please come see me.

Once papers are turned in and evaluated, the grades you receive are final (no more revisions can be submitted at that point), but remember you are always welcome to visit me during my office hours and/or meet with a Writing Center tutor with your drafts before the essay is due (this is the best way to improve your grades on essays).

Point system:


First essay (fairy tales)

100 pts. (10 pts. for draft workshop)

Second essay (obedience)

100 (10 pts. for draft workshop)

Researched paper


Midterm essay (in class)


Final essay



20 (5 pts. subtracted for each absence)



Homework (summaries, etc.)





550 pts.

Late papers (beyond the one allowed): 10 pts. will be subtracted for each class meeting late.

Letter grades for individual essays correspond to the points as follows:

100 pts.








































Final grades for the quarter correspond to the points as follows:























under 345



Late papers (beyond the one allowed): First and second essays: 10 points subtracted for each class meeting late; researched paper: 25 points subtracted for each class meeting late.

Note: Although you need a C or better to pass as a final grade for the class, these letter grades reflect the work on the individual essays.

Recommended Journal Writing

You may want to keep a reflective journal for the class to record your responses to the readings and to our discussions (your questions, ideas, insights, or areas of confusion). Having some of your ideas and questions already on paper can be extremely helpful as you begin to collect your thoughts to write your essays and formulate a thesis. There are no set "rules" to follow, but here are some suggestions to make your journal-writing more productive:

Keep a notebook just for your journal entries, separate from your other class notes.

Try to write your journal entries as soon as possible after class discussions or after you’ve done the reading. It doesn’t have to be much -- maybe half a page or a page of your responses -- and it shouldn’t take you more than 15 or 20 minutes.

If you don’t know what to write, ask yourself such things as "What did I learn that surprised me or answered a question I had?" or "What was confusing about the reading or discussion?"

Don’t worry about spelling or grammar; just write to get your ideas out there without making judgments or paying attention to "correctness." The less you censor yourself, the more productive your journal-writing will be. This kind of writing is "thinking on paper" rather than a performance for an audience. (If you’re writing on a computer, try working with the screen off, so you’re not tempted to edit or make corrections as you write.)

If you miss a day or two of writing in your class journal, don’t worry about it. Just pick it up again when you can. Keeping a journal should be helpful and even pleasant, not a burdensome chore.

Academic Dishonesty/Cheating

Collaborating with others is encouraged when you are planning your papers, reviewing each other’s work, preparing for presentations or for exams. Study or reading groups can be effective ways to study and learn. However, when you write your papers, the text needs to be your own.

You must carefully observe the standard rules for acknowledging the sources of words and ideas. If you make use of a phrase or a quote or if you paraphrase another writer’s words or ideas, you must acknowledge the source of these words or ideas telling us the source of these materials. APA and MLA style differ on the exact format of this attribution, but the simple version is the name of the author and the page number (if appropriate) in parentheses at the end of the sentence containing the use of the source material. (We will work on properly acknowledging sources this quarter.)

If you plagiarize or otherwise misrepresent the source of your work, you will receive a zero on the assignment and be reported to the Student Disciplinary Officer.

If you panic and are tempted to plagiarize or cheat, DO NOT. Contact me and we can negotiate a solution. Once you cheat, it is too late for you to negotiate anything.

Weekly Assignment Schedule

Note: I reserve the right to make changes in assignments or due dates; you will always be advised well in advance of any changes.

All readings listed below are in Writing and Reading Across the Curriculum, and all assignments are due at the beginning of the class meeting for which they are assigned.

Wk 1-1 Syllabus and introduction to course. In-Class diagnostic essay.

Homework: Read: Summarizing (Chapter 1).

Wk 1-2 In class: discuss rhetoric, summarizing, and critical reading.

Homework: Read Intro to Chapter 12, "The Universality of the Folktale" by Stith Thompson, and all nine Cinderellas (584-621). Do worksheet "The Characteristics of Cinderella in Perrault and Grimm.

Wk 2-1 Discuss characteristics of Cinderella; introduction to fairy tales; handout topics for Essay 1. First draft due: Week 3-2.

Homework: Read Jones and Kolbenschlag (handouts). Read Bettelheim (627) and Panttaja (644). Summarize Jones for Tuesday. Your summary should be one-half to one page long and it must be typed and double-spaced.

Wk 2-2 Summary of Jones due. In class: Begin discussion of fairy tales/readings.

Wk 3-1 Handout library assignment: Motifs in Fairy Tales: due Week 4-2.

Finish discussion of fairy tales. Prepare for draft workshop on Week 3-2.

Wk 3-2 Draft workshop with Essay #1: bring two copies. Final revision of Essay 1 due Week 4-2.

Homework: Read "Avoiding Logical Fallacies," (p.57-61) and "Argument Synthesis" (146-153).

Wk 4-1 Discuss research paper topics; formal requirements for essays; thesis formation and synthesis; paragraphing; quoting and citing sources.

Wk 4-2 Essay 1 Due: turn in all drafts and peer responses. Library report presentations due; hear presentations.

Homework: For Week 5-1: Complete preliminary research topic worksheet.

For Week 5-2: read Intro to Chapter Nine (349-351); Asch (351- 357); Milgram (358-370); Zimbardo (389-400) and Fromm (402-406) and other readings TBA.

Summarize Milgram and Asch. Summaries should be one-half to one page long, and they must be typed and double-spaced.

Wk 5-1 Library day: Room TBA (bring research topics)

Wk 5-2 Turn in summaries of Asch and Milgram. In class, begin discussion of Chapter 9. Handout writing topics for Essay #2: first draft due Wk 6-2.

Wk 6-1 Discuss research paper proposals; paper proposals due Wk 6-2. Finish discussion of Chapter 9 (Obedience to Authority).

Homework: Read for Wk 6-2 199-208. (Analysis)

Wk 6-2 Draft Workshop for Essay 2; bring two copies of your draft to class. Final revision of Essay 2 due Wk 7-2; turn in all drafts and peer response sheets. Turn in researched paper proposal.

Wk 7-1 Begin class work on researched paper. Researched paper is due Wk 9-1.

Wk 7-2 Write in-class essay. Essay 2 due; turn in all drafts and peer responses.

Wk 8-1 Discuss MLA and APA documentation.

Wk 8-2 Draft workshop: bring 4 copies of your researched essay. Note: if you do not have four copies of your draft, do not come to class.

Wk 9-1 Researched papers due at beginning of class. Hear reports on researched papers (2-3 minutes each).

Wk 9-2 Extra Day (Can be added anywhere in schedule when 20 class meetings)

Wk 10-1 Prepare for final in-class essay.

Wk 10-2 Final in-class essay.