Class Room: Graham 402Instructor: Charlie Guy-Mcalpin

Class Room: Graham 402Instructor: Charlie Guy-Mcalpin

English 101-09

Spring 2010

Class Room: Graham 402Instructor: Charlie Guy-McAlpin

MWF,10-10:50 amOffice: MHRA 3210H

Office Hours: MWF, 9-9:50 amE-mail:

Also by appointment

Course Description

Welcome to English 101. In this course you will improve your ability to analyze texts and construct coherent, persuasive arguments. Here you are being given the space to improve your writing abilities directly, instead of trying to figure it out while writing a paper on economics, or Beowulf, or whatever. You will be responsible for regular reading assignments and frequent writing assignments—some short and low-stakes, some longer and more weighty. Every assignment I give you, whether it be reading, writing or simply participatory, is intended to help you develop the analytical skills you will need to succeed at the collegiate level (and your professional life).

To keep things interesting we will be returning throughout the semester to the concept of cultural mythography. We will explore the meaning of this phrase throughout the semester, but here is my quick pitch: rhetorical skills are arbitrary in the sense that language is arbitrary—these are just rules and conventions our societies have developed over hundreds of years to create order. But arbitrary does not mean meaningless. Language is a powerful and necessary tool. We can read culture the same way. Over the next few months we will engage with the myths of both culture and language, and use that knowledge to empower ourselves as thinkers and writers.

Course Goals

Of course many of your peers are taking English 101 as well, and our department has established a few goals for everyone in these courses to accomplish:

  1. To help students develop the ability to analyze texts, construct cogent arguments, and provide evidence for their ideas in writing;
  2. To provide students with multiple examples of argumentative and analytical discourse as illustrated via student and professional/published texts;
  3. To introduce students to rhetorical concepts of audience, writer, message and context, and how to employ these in both formal and informal writing situations;
  4. To help students develop the ability to summarize, paraphrase, and use direct quotations in writing;
  5. To promote to student writers the value of writing-to-learn through sequenced assignments rooted in a common theme or focus;
  6. To introduce students to the act of writing as a public and community-based process through the activities of drafting, peer review, and revision.

The University also provides language to explain the purpose of this course:

English 101 satisfies the Reasoning and Discourse (GRD) requirement at UNCG, which asserts that students “gain skills in intellectual discourse, including constructing cogent arguments, locating, synthesizing and analyzing documents, and writing and speaking clearly, coherently, and effectively” ( GECDescription.html).

In addition, English 101 is designed to address three of the proficiencies listed under Student Learning Goals in the UNCG General Education Program. These proficiencies are:

  • Ability to write and speak clearly, coherently, and effectively as well as to adapt modesof communication to one’s audience;
  • Ability to interpret academic writing and discourse in a variety of disciplines;
  • Ability to locate, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information (2007-2008 UNCG Undergraduate Bulletin 53)

The institutional language may be a bit deflating, so let me add: we will work together to crack the code of what constitutes “good writing.” Composition is a matter of acquired skill, not inherited talent, and we will use this semester to develop those skills together in an engaging and conversational manner.

Required Texts

Graff, Gerald, Cathy Birkenstein, and Russel Durst.They Say I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2009.

Horwitz, Tony. Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War. New York: Vintage Departures, 1999.

Lyda, Laurie. TechnêRhêtorikê: Techniques of Discourse for Writers and Speakers. Southlake, TX: Fountainhead, 2009.

Attendance Policy

You may miss three classes without penalty. Subsequent absences will cost you half a letter grade each, until the sixth absence, at which point you will automatically fail the course. If you miss six classes you have failed the course.

I do not tolerate tardiness. For every two times you arrive to class after I begin speaking, you will accrue an absence. Do not bother coming if you will be more than 10 minutes late, because I will count you absent.

Late Submissions

I am extremely unforgiving when it comes to late submissions. I expect you to turn in all assignments on time and stapled. Missing class does not excuse you. You must suffer a terrible tragedy for me to consider forgiving this policy, and I will probably require proof. In the vast majority of cases, the only thing separating a timely submission from a late submission is procrastination.

Academic Integrity

Just so we are clear, plagiarism is a serious violation of the goals of this course, especially since it is a writing course. This offence could earn you an F, or worse. Please don’t do it. If you are concerned about unintentionally plagiarizing, please speak with me so I can help you understand the rules.

Evaluation Method


Essay Drafts:25%

Short Writing Projects: 20%


Portfolio: Your portfolio will include revised, polished versions of your three essays (include your drafts), as well as revised versions of some of your more substantive short writing assignments. You will also be required to compose a portfolio letter that assesses your progress throughout the semester. We will discuss the portfolio in detail as the semester progresses.

Essay Drafts: I will give these assignments to you as the deadline approaches. The due dates are noted in the course schedule. They will be 5-6 pages in length.

Short Writing Projects:I will ask you to write frequent blog posts throughout the semester. These will typically be about one half to a full page in length. You will choose some of these to revise and include in your portfolio.

Participation: This could very well be your smallest class at UNCG. You will work in groups regularly and be expected to speak in class regularly. I know this comes easier for some people more than others, but our classroom environment will be highly interactive and you need to make an effort to contribute to the class discussion.

A Few Notes for Staying on My Good Side

Laptops: I don’t want them in my classroom. In my experience they offer more opportunities for distraction than benefit. See me if you have a documented need.

Cell phones: You get one warning, and then I get to answer it. If my phone rings more than once I’ll let one of you answer it—only fair.

Speaking Out of Turn: If you attempt to have a conversation with someone while I or your peers are speaking, I will probably ask you to leave the room and count you absent. It is an incredibly inconsiderate habit.

As a general rule, please do your best to be a decent and respectful human being.

Course Schedule(subject to change)

The listed readings are not exhaustive. Rather, they define the general structure of the course. I will regularly add to the syllabus with additional reading and writing assignments. Don’t begrudge this. The syllabus as you see it offers a very moderate reading load.

All readings should be completedbefore the class time in which they are listed.

CA= Confederates in the Attic

TR= TechnêRhêtorikê

TSIS= They Say/ I Say

1/20- Introductions and Syllabus

1/22- TR- Read the introductory material and skim over the book

1/25- TR- “The Genre of Academic Discourse”

1/27- TSIS- “Preface to ‘They Say/ I Say’” and “Introduction”

1/29-TR- “Introduction to Rhetorical Concepts”

2/1-TR- “Developing an Idea of the Audience”

2/3- TR- “The Research Process”

2/5- Library Day

2/8- TSIS- “They Say”

2/10- TSIS- “Her Point Is”

2/12- TSIS- “As He Himself Puts It”

2/15- Essay #1 Due for Peer Workshop

2/17-TR- “Conferencing Rhetorically”

Conferences (Class Cancelled)

2/19- Conferences (Class Cancelled)

2/22- Conferences (Class Cancelled)

2/24- TR- “Rhetorical Positioning”

2/26- Essay #1 Revision Due

3/1- TSIS- “Yes/ No/ Okay, But”

3/3- TSIS- “And Yet”

3/5- TSIS- “Skeptics May Object” and “So What? Who Cares?”




3/15- CA- chapters 1-3

3/17- CA- chapter 4

3/19- CA- chapter 5

3/22-CA- chapter 6

3/24- CA- chapter 7

3/26- Essay #2 Due for Peer Workshop

3/29- CA- chapter 8

3/31-Essay #2 Due


4/5- CA- chapter 9

4/7- CA- chapter 10

4/9- CA- chapter 11

4/12-CA- chapter 12

4/14-CA- chapter 13

4/16-CA- chapter 14

4/19-Essay #3 Due for Submission

4/21- TSIS- “As a Result”

4/23- TSIS- “Ain’t So/ Is Not”

4/26- TSIS- “In Other Words”

4/28-TR- “The Portfolio Process”

4/30- Peer Editing: Portfolio Letter

5/3- Class Wrap-Up: Portfolios Due

5/10- Exam Period at 12 pm: Portfolios Returned