University of South Carolina Upstate

English 101 Composition I Fall 2015


ENGL 101                                                                                  Instructor: Dawn S. Davies

Date/Time:  M-W/T-TH 8-9:45                                                            Office Hours: by appointment

Location: Byrnes High School                                                 Email:



Welcome to English 101. This course is a first-year required writing course, but it doesn’t mean it won’t be interesting. The rhetorical skills you learn in this course are applicable to any career. Whether you end up designing care plans, creating advertising campaigns, writing grants, law briefs, emails to your staff, authoring books, crafting menus for your restaurant, or writing a cover letter for a job application, you will learn to make powerful rhetorical decisions to convey your ideas in the best way possible, so they can be received without obstacle.


This course will teach you how to effectively initiate prewriting techniques, establish your purpose for writing and whom you are writing to, as well as learn to successfully formulate and articulate your ideas through various writing genres. Effective writing requires careful and critical thinking, and we will focus much on the revision process through analysis and reflection of your own work. Be prepared to write a lot.



By the end of this course you will be able to:

  • Write successfully with varying purposes that are appropriate for a chosen audience and assignment
  • Develop ideas through a multi-stage sequence of invention, organization, drafting, revision, and editing to produce focused, clear, polished essays
  • Understand differences between closed form and open form writing and display knowledge through structure and stylistic approaches
  • Read to understand an author’s message and determine how the author shapes his or her ideas
  • Recognize the rhetorical strategies for addressing the needs of various audiences
  • Create an effective thesis, which you are able to support with reasons and evidence
  • Employ effective persuasive appeals
  • Exhibit appropriate syntax, punctuation, and spelling
  • Develop strategies for locating and assessing relevant, credible sources
  • Generate research questions, which promote meaningful inquiry into the chosen topic
  • Incorporate the skills of annotating, summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting texts in order to represent them accurately in your own writing
  • Research a topic, locate and use source material to generate ideas for your own writing, support your ideas as you write, integrate and clearly attribute source material, and document sources accurately using current MLA format
  • Develop a rhetorical vocabulary for talking about writing
  • Manage appropriate and skillful language that may contain occasional surface mistakes in grammar and punctuation but no patterns of errors.




  • Haddon, Mark. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. Vintage Books: New York, 2003. Print.
  • Bridging the Difference: A Guide to Academic Writing. Fountain Head Press: Colorado, 2015. Print.
  • Additional reading that I may assign will be available on Blackboard or as class handouts.

Blackboard access is required.


Assignments End of Semester Grading


Quizzes/Participation (10%)

Memoir (10%)

Summary and Analysis (15%)

Popular culture textual analysis/Book review (20%)

Critical Response paper (25%)

Two preface event descriptions (10%)

Final portfolio and reflection (10%)


A   90-100

B+ 87-89

B    80-86

C+  77-79

C   70-76

D   60-69

F    0-59



  • This is an interactive, real-live class! We feed off of each other’s energy and ideas. Regular attendance is required.
  • Life happens. You may miss two classes without penalty.
  • You are responsible for any material missed.
  • Three tardies count as one absence.


If you miss a class, please contact a fellow classmate for notes and assignments, unless you let me know ahead of time. Although I like you, it is not my job to keep you abreast of what you missed.


  • All assignments, including homework, will be formatted to MLA standards (typed, double spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font) with headers and page numbers.
  • All work must be original for the class. You may not use previously written papers from other courses.
  • I do not accept late homework or assignments under any circumstances unless there is a documented medical emergency.
  • Since revision is an important part of the writing process, I welcome one revision of one of the first three major writing assignments, the Memoir, the Summary and Analysis, or the Popular Culture Textual Analysis/Book Review. Include with your revision a short letter detailing your revisions and the reasons why you made them. You may not revise a paper that you turned in late.
  • All cellphones must be turned off and put away in your backpack. Laptops may be used for taking class notes. If you use a laptop in class, class notes must be emailed to instructor within five minutes of the end of class.


To avoid confusion, please label all of your work. Include your name, course prefix and number, date of submission, page numbers on all but first page, assignment label and descriptive title. Put this information in the upper left hand of your paper and all will go well for you.



Assignments will include the following:

Strategic reading – locating the key points of an essay, comprehending or inferring main ideas or themes, recognizing particular rhetorical patterns, and identifying unfamiliar vocabulary

Critical thinking – asking questions, defining problems, examining evidence, analyzing assumptions and biases, avowing emotional reasoning, avoiding oversimplification, considering other interpretations, and tolerating ambiguity. Adapted from C. Wade, “Using Writing to Develop and Assess Critical Thinking.” Teaching of Psychology 22.1 (1995): 24-28.

Informal writing – journaling, taking class notes, responding to ideas or readings, drafting, reviewing cultural events

Formal writing – consisting of four or more essays, averaging four pages each, which undergo a process of revision. At least two essays will incorporate research. Overall writing, including both formal and informal writing, will include a minimum of 10, 000 words or thirty pages (330 words/page).

Research – participating in the iPod library tour and required library training sessions; locating a variety of sources through the USC Upstate library; accessing electronic sources using USC Upstate databases; researching, drafting and documenting an essay; and citing sources carefully and correctly

Portfolio building – collecting and reflecting on drafts, revisions, and final essays in a folder or notebook

Cultural event critiques – attending and reviewing two events from the PREFACE series. Additional information about PREFACE and the schedule of PREFACE events are available at

Demonstrating progress as a cohort – writing a diagnostic essay, reading the Preface text in common with other 101 classes, and attending Preface events

Conferences – meeting with your instructor on a one-to-one basis for writing instruction. At least one conference is required.


USC Upstate supports the ongoing development of an accessible university that embraces diversity through educational programming, services, resources, and facilities that are usable by all members of the campus community. In keeping with University policy, any student with a disability who requests academic accommodations should contact Disability Services at 503-5199 to arrange an appointment with a Disability Services staff member.  Students are encouraged to seek an appointment as early in the semester as possible, as accommodations are not provided retroactively.


(Adapted from USC Upstate Code of Student Conduct for the Classroom)


A member of the USC Upstate Community of Scholars is expected to abide by the following code of conduct:

Display personal and academic integrity.

Be honest, truthful, and trustworthy. Do not cheat, lie, or steal. Do not present others’ work as your own or collaborate with others without acknowledgement or permission from the faculty member.

Accept responsibility for actions.

Do not blame others for academic consequences resulting from your own decisions and behavior. Follow established policies and procedures in the USC Upstate Catalog, the USC Upstate Student Handbook, and course syllabi.

Respect the rights and dignity of all persons.

Be courteous and respect the rights and property of others. Do not harass, demean, ridicule, abuse, threaten, or discriminate against others.

Maintain a learning-focused attitude.

Be engaged in the classroom and other learning environments, both on and off campus. Be on time, prepared, and alert.  Participate until the faculty in charge dismisses the class.

Refrain from conduct that adversely affects others.

Conduct yourself in a manner conducive to fostering an optimal learning environment. Do not enter the class late or leave early without permission of the faculty member. Follow the instructions of the faculty member regarding talking or using cell phones, pagers, or other electronic devices in class.  Do not use threatening, demeaning, or inflammatory language.

Follow the specific requirements of faculty members.

Accept the procedures, methodology and academic expectations of your instructors, recognizing that while these standards will often vary, they are all sanctioned by the Department of Languages, Literature, and Composition.


From USC Upstate Student Handbook, “The Academic Honor Code”:

“Students are required to properly acknowledge sources as follows: students may not present as their own ideas, opinions, images, figures, languages, or concepts of another, including those of other students. Students must acknowledge all sources such as magazines, journals, internet sites, records, tapes, films, and interviews. The common specific uses of source material are

Direct Quotation: Word-for-word copying of a source. A direct quotation must be accurate, must not misrepresent the source in any way, and must be properly acknowledged.

Paraphrase: A recasting into one’s own words material from a source, generally condensing the source. A direction quotation with only a word or two changed, added or omitted should not be passed off as a paraphrase. A paraphrase restates the source but does not misrepresent it and must be properly acknowledged.

Use of ideas: the use of an idea form a source must be properly acknowledged, even when one’s application of that idea varies from the source.

Use of figures, tables, charts, statistics, images, photographs, and other similar sources: These items must be fully acknowledged and any changes must be clearly indicated…

…[A]ny kind of help (except that permitted by an instructor) in the preparation of a project .. . must be fully acknowledged. Papers and other materials [copied or] bought from ‘term paper writing services,’ if submitted as the work of anyone except the writing service, constitute a violation of the principles of this document” (133).

In addition, resubmitting work done for another instructor—either from high school or another college class—also constitutes academic dishonesty.

Be AWARE: The consequences of plagiarism range from a grade change to expulsion. Students who admit responsibility for an academic integrity violation or who are found responsible through the Student Code of conduct will receive the appropriate grade determined by the professor, which may include an X to signify academic dishonesty. Grades with an X are not subject to grade forgiveness.


The University Writing Center (HPAC 136) provides free individual tutoring in writing. Consulting a UWC tutor does not constitute plagiarism.

NOTE: To improve our composition program, the English faculty read samples of essays written in English 101. All names are removed before the essays are read. If you do not want your essay used in this assessment, see the LLC administrative assistant in HPAC 222 for a nonparticipation form.

This syllabus is flexible. I will bend our assignments and due dates as the need arises. I will let you know of any changes in class and on Blackboard.