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  • ENGL 1311 Syllabus (Spring, 2010) with schedule of assignments.
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English 1311: Expository English Composition

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Course Description

The goal of English 1311 is to develop students' critical thinking skills in order to facilitate effective communication in all educational, professional, and social contexts. This effective communication is based on an awareness of and appreciation for discourse communities as well as knowledge specific to subject matter, genre, rhetorical strategy, and writing process.
English 1311 is designed to prepare you for the writing you will do throughout your university experience as well as in professional and civic environments. Through these assignments, you will learn how to write to explore, to inform, to analyze, and to convince/problem solve. This course offers you a curriculum that empowers you to determine the most effective rhetorical strategies, arrangements, and media to use in different rhetorical contexts.
It emphasizes the use of technology through a variety of assignments and activities. One important piece of technology utilized is the Blackboard system. Blackboard provides students with permanent access to the syllabus, supplemental reading materials, e-mail, and discussion groups. It is vital that students check and participate in Blackboard consistently as it is an integral part of the course.
Ultimately, this course is meant to teach you the skills necessary for English 1312. It is designed with four major types of writing in mind. These are: Writing to Explore, Writing to Explain, Writing to Analyze, and Writing to Convince/Solve Problems. Mastering all of these types of writing are necessary for success in English 1312 and beyond.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand a theory of discourse communities.
  • Engage as a community of writers who dialogue across texts, argue, and build on each other's work.
  • Draw on existing knowledge bases to create "new" or "transformed" knowledge.
  • Develop a knowledge of genres as they are defined and stabilized within discourse communities.
  • Address the specific, immediate rhetorical situations of individual communicative acts.
  • Develop procedural knowledge of the writing task in its various phases.
  • Develop an awareness of and involvement in community issues and problems.

Required Texts & Materials

Roen, D., Glau G., & Maid, B. (2009). The brief McGraw-Hill guide. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Department of English. A guide to first-year composition. (12th ed.). Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt.

Course Assignments

(this syllabus only provides an overview of assignments for the class--specific assignment sheets will be discussed in class and posted on Blackboard):

Discourse Community Map: Using the definition and discussion of a "Discourse Community" provided in class, students will construct a discourse community map that outlines the various discourse communities they belong to and the different literacies needed to be a member. Students will need to consider the goals of each discourse community and how those goals shape communication (oral, visual, written). A written response essay will accompany the visual construction. 50 pts.
Homepage for Website E-Portfolio: Students will create a homepage for their website E- Portfolio that reflects the subject matter of their research project and provides the interface to access completed semester's assignments. 50 pts.
Agency Discourse Memo: Students will observe an agency in the community and write a memo reporting their findings.  They will detail the agency and its characteristics, its discourse practices, and its relation/contribution to an important community or social issue. 100 pts.
Annotated Bibliography: For this assignment, you will construct an annotated bibliography that centers on the community issue or problem that students have selected to focus on for the semester. Each annotation in this annotated bibliography will consist of two parts: a summary and the student's evaluation of the source. 100 pts.
Report on a Community Problem: Students will create a report which draws attention to a community problem. 100 pts.
Rhetorical Analysis: Students will write an essay analyzing the use of rhetorical strategies within a text.  Using a text related to your community issue, they will provide an objective analysis of the strengths and weaknesses in the writer's use of ethos, logos, and pathos within his or her argument(s). 100 pts.
Visual Analysis: Similar to the rhetorical analysis assignment, students will analyze the rhetorical strategies within a visual. Using a printed visual related to your community issue, you will provide an objective analysis of the strengths and weaknesses in the visual's use of ethos, logos, and pathos. 100 pts.
Opinion Piece: Students will write an opinion piece about their community. Students will focus on one aspect of their community issue and argue for a solution to a problem that they identify.  100 pts.
Visual Argument: This project prompts students to explore their community issue in a multimedia form.  They will employ multimedia to advocate for the position in their opinion piece.  In addition, students will write a memo detailing their rhetorical choices in the creation of their visual argument. 150 pts.
Class Presentation: Students will present their visual argument project to the class. 50 pts.
Participation in Class: In-class and online. 100 pts.
Grade Distribution (Students can earn a total of 1000 points for the course):
1000-900 = A
899-800 = B
799 -700 = C
699- 600 = D
599 and below = F

Course/Instructor Policies

Essay Format: All essays must be word-processed using Microsoft Word-12 pt. font, one-inch margins, and double-spaced. Microsoft Word is available to students at all campus computers and can be purchased at the UTEP Bookstore using a current UTEP ID card at discount.  Students may also go to and download a free and compatible version of Word/Office-12 pt. font, one-inch margins, and double-spaced. Use a font style that is easily readable like Times New Roman, Arial, or Georgia. 
Be sure to name each submitted assignment with your first initial, last name, and an abbreviation of the assignment.
For example:
jmartinez rhetanalysis draft
jmartinez rhetanalysis final
University Writing Center: UTEP's University Writing Center (UWC) offers free writing tutoring assistance for all UTEP students. The tutors are undergraduate and graduate students who can help with all parts of a writing assignment, including prewriting, organizing, revising, and editing. They can also help to understand any writing assignment and help work on comprehending difficult textbook material. Note: To facilitate revision, UWC tutors will not hold a tutoring session fewer than 12 hours before the assignment is due.
Technology and English 1311: This course makes heavy use of technology and multimedia. It is strongly recommended that students have access to the Internet from home and are comfortable using a computer. If a student does not have access, he/she can get free access through the university. (
If home access is not possible, arrangements can be made to use a computer regularly on campus in order to complete the work. Student computer labs such as ATLAS ( are often available until midnight, but schedules do vary. A great deal of work will be done online, and not having access to a computer will not be an excuse for incomplete or late assignments.
Technology problems are also not an excuse for work that is late or missing. Students need to get into the habit of completing assignments for this course well before the due date to allow time for dealing with technology problems. Expect that at some time, the network will be down, computers will go on the fritz, or some other small catastrophe will occur. If students are prepared ahead of time, they can go to plan B.
Instructions for Accessing Your Course Online: Students must have a UTEP email ID and password before they can access Blackboard. UTEP automatically generates an e-mail ID for students when they are entered into the system. Any questions or problems can be directed to the Helpdesk at 747-5257.
All the course content will be delivered via Blackboard. Students can access Blackboard by the steps outlined below:

  • Go to
  • Login is e-mail ID. Password is e-mail password.
  • Click on the link to Blackboard
  • Once logged into Blackboard, all the courses a student is registered for are listed under the appropriate semester.
  • Click on the course title to access the course.

Classroom Etiquette:

  • No checking email, typing assignments, or surfing the web during class.
  • Absolutely no using the printer after class has started. It can be difficult to hear in this room; the printer only makes it that much worse.
  • Absolutely no food or drinks in this classroom.
  • Turn off cell phone ringers, and please do not text message or listen to iPods/MP3 players during class.

Online "Netiquette":

  • Always consider audience. Remember that members of the class and the instructor will be reading any postings.
  • Respect and courtesy must be provided to classmates and to instructor at all times. No harassment or inappropriate postings will be tolerated.
  • When reacting to someone else's message, address the ideas, not the person. Post only what anyone would comfortably state in a f2f situation.
  • Blackboard is not a public internet venue; all postings to it should be considered private and confidential. Whatever is posted on in these online spaces is intended for classmates and professor only. Please do not copy documents and paste them to a publicly accessible website, blog, or other space. If students wish to do so, they have the ethical obligation to first request the permission of the writer(s).

Drop Policy:

  • To preserve a student's GPA, he/she may be dropped from the course after missing four (six) classes
  • Missing a scheduled conference with the instructor constitutes an absence.

Late Work:

  • Grading is scheduled by due date and section number. Students who fail to submit assignments on time do not receive feedback on performance. Therefore, it is important to submit work before deadlines for full credit and feedback.
  • Assignments submitted one class day after the due date will be penalized up to one letter grade.
  • Assignments submitted more than one day late may not be acceptable to the instructor for credit.
  • Be sure to submit all major assignments in order to pass this class. While late work may adversely affect a grade, a zero can adversely affect enrollment.
  • If a major assignment is over two class days late, the student faces failure for this section.

Academic Dishonesty: Academic Dishonesty is NEVER tolerated by UTEP or the First-Year Composition Program. All cases are reported to the Dean of Students for Academic Sanctions. These sanctions may include expulsion. All work submitted must be original; students may not submit graded work from another course.
Forms of academic dishonesty include: Collusion—lending your work to another person to submit as his or her own; Fabrication—deliberately creating false information on a works cited page, and Plagiarism—the presentation of another person's work as your own, whether you mean to or not (i.e. copying parts of or whole papers off the Internet). See the Dean of Students website at ** for more information.
Copyright and Fair Use: The University requires all members of its community to follow copyright and fair use requirements. You are individually and solely responsible for violations of copyright and fair use laws. The University will neither protect nor defend you nor assume any responsibility for student violations of fair use laws. Violations of copyright laws could subject you to federal and state civil penalties and criminal liability, as well as disciplinary action under University policies.
Group Assignments: Group assignments can sometimes create tricky situations. Some students don't always "pull their weight" and this upsets group members that are doing their work and being good contributors to the group. Despite this, group assignments are valuable because they help students work together for a common goal. Group work is a "real life" reality and learning how to work in a group will be central to one of the projects in this class. Students who are not doing their group work can be voted off of their groups and will have to complete the entire work of a group on their own.
ADA: The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that reasonable accommodations be provided for students with physical, sensory, cognitive, systemic, learning, and psychiatric disabilities. If you suspect that you have a disability and need an accommodation, please contact the Disabled Student Services Office (DSSO) at 747-5148 or The DSSO is located in Room 106, Union East Bldg. Students are responsible for presenting the instructor any DSS accommodation letters and instructions.

Weekly Schedule (Provisional – Subject to change)

MH = McGraw-Hill Guide; GFC = Guide to First-Year Composition

Week One

Assignment: Introduction to class, review of syllabus. Introduce and Discourse Community Map and Response.
MH: Chapter 4, Appendix C
GFC: Chapter 1, Skim Chapters 5, 6
Discourse Community Map and Response Activities (p. 127-136)

Week Two

Assignment: Introduce Homepage
Discourse Community Map and Response due
MH: Chapters 1-3
GFC: Chapter 2
Discourse Community Map and Response Activities (p. 127-136)

Week Three

Assignment: Introduce Agency Discourse Memo
Homepage due
MH: Chapter 5
GFC: Chapter 3
Homepage Activities (p. 138-145)

Week Four

Assignment: Introduce Primary and Secondary Research. Introduce Annotated Bibliography
Agency Discourse Memo Due
MH: Chapter 19
GFC: Chapter 5
Agency Discourse Memo Activities (p. 147-152)

Week Five

Assignment: Introduce the Community Problem Report
MH: Chapter 20
GFC: Chapter 4
Annotated Bibliography Activities (p. 158-164)

Week Six

Assignment: Continue Community Problem Report
Annotated Bibliography due
MH: Chapter 6
GFC: Community Problem Report Activities (p. 166-173)

Week Seven

Assignment: Continue Community Problem Report
MH: Chapter 13
GFC: Community Problem Report Activities (p. 166-173)

Week Eight

Assignment: Introduce Rhetorical Analysis
Community Problem Report due
MH: Chapter 14, Chapter 9
GFC: Rhetorical Analysis Activities (p. 176-188)

Week Nine

Assignment: Continue Rhetorical Analysis
MH: Chapter 7
GFC: Rhetorical Analysis Activities (p. 176-188)

Week Ten

Assignment: Introduce Visual Analysis
Rhetorical Analysis due
MH: Chapter 18
GFC: Visual Analysis Activities (p. 190-196)

Week Eleven

Assignment: Finish Visual Analysis
Visual Analysis due
MH: Chapter 17
GFC: Visual Analysis Activities (p. 190-196)

Week Twelve

Assignment: Introduce Opinion Piece
MH: Chapter 8
GFC: Opinion Piece Activities (p. 199-204)

Week Thirteen

Assignment: Introduce Visual Argument/Presentation
Opinion Piece due
MH: Chapter 11
GFC: Visual Argument Activities (photostory: p. 207-214, brochure: 220-227, poster: 231-238)

Week Fourteen

Assignment: Continue Visual Argument
MH: Chapter 11 continued; Chapter 16
GFC: Visual Argument Activities (photostory: p. 207-214, brochure: 220-227, poster: 231-238)

Week Fifteen

Assignment: Class Presentations
GFC: Presentation Guidelines (photostory: p. 215, brochure: p. 228, poster: p. 239)

Week Sixteen

Assignment: Class Presentations
GFC: Presentation Guidelines (photostory: p. 215, brochure: p. 228, poster: p. 239)
Visual Argument due on Final Exam day

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