College Writing and Rhetoric
Writing About Place & Identity
10:30 am – Monday, Wednesday, Friday
Teaching & Learning Center 247
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Office – Brink 113
Phone – 208.885.6156 (voicemails only)
Monday 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Wednesday 11:30 am – 1:00 pm
COURSE GOALS & LEARNING OUTCOMES –
English 102 is an introductory composition course that focuses on applied principles of expository and
argumentative essay writing, including summaries, critiques, and syntheses of texts, and the research
essay. Emphasis is placed on clear, concise, and vigorous prose.
This semester, we will explore writing techniques through the lens of place: How does our environment
shape both our lives and the events around us? How do we write about such issues across contexts and
audiences? We will engage with issues of place and identity through a diverse selection of voices,
perspectives, and approaches. You will be expected to write from your own personal experience as well
as engage in traditional research assignments, blog writing, op-eds, and social media—exploring new
contexts, genres, and audiences.
As we interrogate issues of place, we will work to develop various composition skills, including
freewriting, reflection, revision, synthesis, and research. We will then apply these skills to an array of
rhetorical situations, asking you to consider how effectively you are communicating the concepts and
ideas you are working with. How might your writing reach an audience, and what you would like the
audience to feel, think, or do? With a focus on our environment and how we are shaped by it, this course
will allow us to identify how place influences our lives and how we create and enact our own identities
and ideologies around it.
By the end of this course, you should be able to:
1. Demonstrate awareness and application of rhetorical strategies in the writing produced by
others and yourself.
• How writers use rhetoric:
o Comprehend college-level and professional prose and analyze how authors present
their ideas in view of their probable purposes, audiences, genres, modalities.
• Use rhetoric yourself:
o Accurately assess and effectively respond to a wide variety of audiences and
rhetorical situations and articulate your rhetorical purpose for writing, who you are
writing for, what you are saying, and how you’ve decided to present it (genre and
o Use evidence for a rhetorical purpose in writing a research paper.
2. Apply effective research skills appropriate for your rhetorical purpose.
• Locate, evaluate, organize, and use research material collected from a variety of sources,
including, but not limited to the following:
o scholarly library databases;
o other official databases (e.g., federal government databases);
o informal electronic networks and internet sources;
o print and online books and journals;
o and primary sources.
• Use evidence appropriately according to the rhetorical situation (e.g. paraphrase, summary,
quote, attributive tags, in-text citation, etc.).
• Correctly cite and document source material according to a current style manual.
3. Demonstrate critical thinking.
• Productively incorporate a variety of perspectives when considering or composing an
• Present ideas as related to, but clearly distinguished from, the ideas of others.
• Write critical analyses and syntheses of college-level and professional prose.
4. Demonstrate your understanding that writing is a process.
• Apply a variety of strategies for generating, revising, editing, and proofreading.
• Revise your writing using additional invention and re-thinking after initial draft is produced.
• Give and receive constructive feedback from peers.
5. Compose arguments that meet college-level expectations for academic compositions.
• Compose a focused claim supported with logical and clear reasons and evidence.
• Synthesize arguments made by other rhetors to develop and support your own claim.
• Apply current citation rules in situations like paraphrasing, summarizing, citing and
documenting borrowed material.
The university has certain deadlines of which you need to be aware if you want to drop the course at some
point during the term.
September 9 – Last day to drop the course WITHOUT a grade of W.
November 1 – Last day to drop the course WITH a grade of W.
Each of the assignments in this course will have a deadline and it is your responsibility to speak with me
in advance of that deadline if you will be unable to submit your work on time. In the event that you do
submit your work late, I will take off five points per day for major assignments. Deductions to minor
assignments will be based on the circumstances.
Note on Extensions:
Missing a deadline is a stressful experience. Sometimes it’s just the result of a one-off timing issue, but
sometimes it’s something more persistent—struggling with the material, life circumstances, mental
state—and the source of trouble is not always obvious from the outside. Students in this situation often
blame themselves and feel like they could just complete the assignment the next day if they just do what
they should but the next day might not be any easier if the issue is persistent, and the stress snowballs as
late penalties accumulate. Students sometimes fail classes because they get trapped in this cycle and
ultimately never submit the assignment.
If you are in this situation, I can help.
If you are going to miss a deadline:
1. Email me whatever you have before the deadline. If I get something from you, no matter how
incomplete, I will first day’s late penalty will be halved (or waived in certain situations).
2. Stay in contact with me until you finish. We will make a plan to get you back on track.
Please be mindful that I will only provide extensions in advance and in the case that you are facing
reasonable circumstances that will not allow for your work to be in on time. If you communicate with me
as soon as possible, I am happy to work with you to arrange an extension.
Nicotra, Jodie. Becoming Rhetorical. Cengage, 2018. ISBN 978-1-305-95677-3.
• Available at the VandalStore
Outside Reading: You will be responsible for additional readings outside the textbook, all of which will
be available via BbLearn as PDF files or external links.
Attendance in English 102 is mandatory. Missing more than six (6) classes in a semester is grounds for
failing the course. In the case of illness or other circumstances, you must email me before class in order
to be excused for the day. If you miss more two or more class periods in a row, you are encouraged to
come see me during office hours to make up for your absences.
Being in attendance means being physically present, awake, headphones out, not on your phone, and fully
prepared for class, with the day’s assignments completed. If you do not meet all of these conditions, you
might be marked absent for the day. You are responsible for making up all of the work that you missed in
a reasonable timeframe.
COURSE ETIQUETTE –
Classroom citizenship. The classroom is a learning community. Any behavior that disrupts this
community will not be tolerated. This includes speaking to other students while the instructor is talking,
obvious sleeping, passing notes, being rude or belligerent to the instructor or other students, etc. Please be
respectful of your fellow students and your instructor. If you have a problem with anything in the course,
you may speak to me about it privately after class or in my office hours.
Technology. Cell phones are a part of life, but they are not a part of the classroom. Texting and taking
calls is not permitted in class. Unless you have been given explicit permission to use your laptop or cell
phone in class for research or work purposes, all laptops should be shut.
Email etiquette. Feel free to email me any questions you might have about the course, your work,
meeting, etc. My address is email@example.com and I’ll do my best to answer as soon as possible. Note:
Since this is a writing course, I ask that you please treat your emails as professional correspondence. This
means they should feature a greeting, complete sentences, and a sign-off with your name at the bottom.
OFFICE HOURS –
I encourage you to come visit me in my office. I’m happy to talk about our coursework, writing, or life in
general. My door will be open during my office hours (listed above), or you can email me to schedule a
meeting if you cannot make it during office hours for any reason.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS –
In addition to large assignments, you will be required to keep (and bring to class) a Writing Journal.
Please select a designated notebook to serve as your Writing Journal and make sure to have it with you
during every class session. We will use these journals for in-class writing prompts, free writes,
brainstorms and drafting exercises. I also encourage you to use your journals for discussion prep, reading
notes, and any other ideas you may wish to get down on paper to help you with your preparation and
participation in the course.
Major Writing Projects
● Reading Response Discussion Posts: 500 words each / published to BbLearn discussion board
● Personal Narrative Essay: 4-5 pages / MLA formatting
● Annotated Bibliography: Three (3) sources / MLA formatting
● Exploratory Research Essay: 5-7 pages / MLA formatting
● Op-Ed Essay: 4-5 pages / MLA formatting
Each of the major assignments in this course will build on one another. In Unit One, we will be reading
personal narrative essays about place which will inform and inspire your own personal narrative essay.
The blog posts for this unit will give you the chance to reflect on these narratives and how the writers use
rhetorical techniques and place study in their own work. When you write your personal narrative essay,
then, you will be able to harness some of these techniques in your writing. Units Two will allow you to
dive deep into research on a specific topic of place – perhaps the same you wrote about in your personal
narrative, perhaps another – and think critically about that research in an annotated bibliography. Unit
Three will put this research to use in an exploratory research essay which will allow you to engage your
issue and analyze each side of the arguments around it. And, finally, in Unit Four you will take this issue
of place and write an op-ed that argues a solution to the problem you identified in that place.
All assignments, major and minor, will receive a grade in BbLearn, which you can check in the My
Grades tab (on the left side). If you fail to submit a major assignment, you are at risk of failing the course.
Smaller assignments, like blog posts or journal entries, are meant to help you prepare for the larger
projects, so please take them seriously. Furthermore, these points will add up quickly, and will contribute
to your passing grade in the class. Please note that you cannot pass the course if you don’t do the
8 Discussion Board
25 points each
Total 850 points
If you withdraw from this course on or before January 23, nothing will appear on your transcript. If you
stay registered for the course after that date, you will receive one of the following grades. Only the first
three are passing grades.
A Represents achievement that is outstanding or superior relative to the level necessary
to meet the requirements of the course.
B Represents achievement that is significantly above the level necessary to meet the
requirements of the course.
Grades of A or B are honors grades. You must do something beyond the minimum required in
order to earn an A or B.
C Represents achievement that meets the basic requirements in every respect. It signifies
that the work is average, but nothing more.
W Stands for Withdrawal. This is the grade you will receive if you withdraw from the
course after September 9 but on or before November 1. A W has no effect on your
GPA, but you can have only 20 W credits during your time as an undergraduate at UI
(about six courses. After November 1 you can no longer withdraw from the course.
N Stands for No Credit. A grade of N has no effect on your GPA, but it does mean that
you need to take the course again. You will earn a grade of N if your grade is an N and
you have done all the work for the course. You also must have made a good faith effort
to complete all the assignments. Handing in just any piece of writing just to avoid
getting an F will not work.
F Stands for Failure. A grade of F has a negative effect on your GPA. If you fail to hand
in any major writing assignment or do not make a good-faith effort to succeed at a
major assignment, you will automatically earn an F. If your average grade is an N but
you did not complete one of the major components of the course (one of the major
papers of all of the homework assignments or drafts), you will automatically earn an F
in the course. There is no reason for receiving an F in this course, unless you simply
fail to submit the required work.
I Stands for Incomplete. Under very unusual circumstances you could be assigned an
Incomplete in the course if something happened to you within the last two weeks of the
semester that made it impossible to complete the course (a serious accident or illness
that left you hospitalized and very significant personal tragedy, etc.)
POLICY ON PLAGIARISM –
In keeping with the spirit of academic integrity, I will assume at all times that you are doing honest,
original work. That being said, plagiarism is a serious matter. With this in mind, I feel that it is important
to explain the definition and consequences of plagiarism, intentional or otherwise.
At the University of Idaho, we assume you will do your own work and that you will work with your
instructor on improving writing that is your own. Plagiarism—using someone else’s ideas or words as
yours own without proper attribution—is a serious matter.
The Council of Writing Program Administrators defines plagiarism in the following way: “In an
instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or
other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source. This definition
applies to texts published in print or on-line, to manuscripts, and to the work of other student writers.”
(From “Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism: The WPA Statement on Best Practices,”
The consequences of plagiarism:
If evidence of plagiarism is found in student work in English 101, the instructor is empowered by
Regulation 0-2 of the general catalog to assign a grade of F for the course, a penalty that may be imposed
in particularly serious cases. In most cases of plagiarism, the instructor will also make a complaint to the
Dean of Students Office, which is responsible for enforcing the regulations in the Student Code of
Conduct. So in addition to the academic penalty of receiving an F in the course, you may also be subject
to other disciplinary penalties, which can include suspension of expulsion. Although such severe penalties
are rarely imposed for first-time offenders, the Dean of Students Office maintains disciplinary records as
part of a student’s overall academic record.
Instructors may demonstrate that a paper involves plagiarism in two ways:
1) By identifying the source.
2) By showing the discrepancy of style between previous papers and the paper in question.
If a paper involves misuse of sources or other materials--which the CWPA defines as when a writer
“carelessly or inadequately [cites] ideas and words borrowed from another source”-- the instructor may
ask you to rewrite the paper, using correct forms of documentation.
When you need to use words or ideas from another person—whether an idea, a picture, a powerful
statement, a set of facts, or an explanation—cite your source!
UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO CLASSROOM
LEARNING CIVILITY CLAUSE –
In any environment in which people gather to learn, it is essential that all members feel as free and safe as
possible in their participation. To this end, it is expected that everyone in this course will be treated with
mutual respect and civility, with an understanding that all of us (students, instructors, professors, guests,
and teaching assistants) will be respectful and civil to one another in discussion, in action, in teaching,
and in learning.
Should you feel our classroom interactions do not reflect an environment of civility and respect, you are
encouraged to meet with your instructor during office hours to discuss your concern. Additional resources
for expression of concern or requesting support include the Dean of Students office and staff (208-885-
6757), the UI Counseling & Testing Center’s confidential services (208-885-6716), or the UI Office of
Human Rights, Access, & Inclusion (208-885-4285).
CENTER FOR DISABILITY ACCESS AND RESOURCES REASONABLE
ACCOMMODATIONS STATEMENT –
Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have documented temporary or permanent
disabilities. All accommodations must be approved through the Center for Disability Access and
Resources located in the Bruce M. Pitman Center, Suite 127 in order to notify your instructor(s) as soon
as possible regarding accommodation(s) needed for the course.