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COURSE CODE: "EN 110-21"
COURSE NAME: "Advanced Composition"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2018

INSTRUCTOR: Stephanie Richards
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 8:30AM - 9:45 AM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Placement via JCU English Composition Placement Exam or completion of either EN 103 or EN 105 with a grade of C or above

This course reinforces the skills needed to write well-organized essays, focusing specifically on argumentative essays. Elements covered include thesis development, critical reading, organizing and outlining, paraphrasing and summarizing, and citation and documentation standards. Techniques of academic research and the use of the library and other research facilities are discussed. In addition to regular in- and out-of-class reading and writing assignments, students are required to write a fully documented research paper. Students must receive a grade of C or above in this course to fulfill the University’s English Composition requirement and to be eligible to take courses in English literature. Individual students in EN 110 may be required to complete additional hours in the English Writing Center as part of their course requirements.
This section of EN 110 will use the theme of crime and punishment as a springboard for discussion and writing development. The course will incorporate a wide range of engaging materials, such as a letter from Charles Dickens regarding Jack the Ripper; podcasts about identity theft; TED talks on education as crime prevention; and iconic films about bank robbery. The culmination of all our critical thinking, research and discussion will be a well-researched paper on a particular crime that incorporates one or more theories on why people commit crimes. 
Students will learn to write a well-organized and error-free argumentative research paper. By the end of the course students will be able to:

            Write sophisticated as well as grammatically and idiomatically correct English prose 

             Read to comprehend increasingly complex material
             Read and think critically

              Expand vocabulary through reading and writing
              Develop subject specific terminology through reading and writing

             Write well-organized essays, focusing specifically on argumentative essays
             Write a strong and developed thesis statement with supporting arguments
             Think, read, write critically for an academic audience
              Write a developed outline
              Paraphrase and summarize
             Cite and write using documentation
             Write a fully documented research paper

Research and sourcing (can be covered by a librarian in one or more workshops in the library)
                Be familiar with research and information literacy skills including                       
                        - A reinforcement of searching skills: catalog, database, and web sourcing
                         - Source evaluation
                         - Subject searching
                         - Utilize MLA style for all aspects of a research paper
                         - Understand how to avoid plagiarism


HomeworkSee Homework Rubric15
In-class EssayHandwritten essay based on previous research/preparation and an in-class reading15
Short Essay3-5 page response paper that incorporates minimal outside research. A first draft will be required and will account for part of the final grade of the assignment25
Annotated Bibliography and Literature ReviewFor your final (long) research essay you will be required to provide an annotated bibliography and lit review.15
Long Research Paper (with Rough Draft and Outline)8-10 page research paper that incorporates 10 outside sources. A first draft and outline are required and will account for part of the final grade of the assignment.25
Final presentation and testYou will present on your research paper in a well-organized and sophisticated manner. A short test on major concepts, such as thesis statement creation, supporting details, and citation will be administered the day of the final exam.5

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. The final exam period runs until ____________

Please refer to the JCU catalog for the attendance and absence policies.

Students are required to attend all scheduled class meetings. Students are allowed 4 absences during the term (excused or unexcused). Each additional absence beyond the four allowed will result in the reduction in the final grade for the course by half a grade (A to A-/B+ to B/etc.). Two late arrivals will count as an absence. Please note that there is homework in nearly every class, so if you are absent it is your responsibility to call a classmate for the assignment.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.



Theme: Crime and Punishment

This is the week-by-week schedule. It is subject to change, so class attendance and regular engagement are essential to understanding what is happening in class.

Week 1: 9/4-9/6

Class 1 (Introduction)

  • Welcome! Introduction to course

  • Grading scale for JCU, Syllabus

  • Class etiquette and policies

  • Short writing exercise about yourself. Let’s get to know each other.

Materials used:



Review the syllabus carefully. Check important dates with your personal calendar. Make sure you understand attendance and grading policies. You will be quizzed on this.

Answer the following questions about a letter to the editor written by Charles Dickens about the execution of the Mannings. Your answers can be brief; they should not be more than a couple short sentences.

  1. What is the author’s main point or argument?

  2. List at least two supporting details he provides for this argument.

  3. Who is the audience (i.e., who is the letter directed at? Who is he writing it for?)

  4. How does the author use language and tone for effect to influence the reader?

  5. How is the text structured?

Class 2 (Celebrity Crime)

  • Go over homework; discuss how homework is checked

  • Read and discuss article about crime in NFL

  • Short in-class response

  • Professional register (emails/letters)

Materials used:



Write a letter to the editor of a newspaper or journal about an article you’ve read. You should agree or disagree with the views expressed or with the content of the article.

Week 2: 9/11-9/13

Class 1 (9/11)

  • How to read and listen critically; annotating and note-taking (active reading)

  • What is a response paper?

Materials used:




and take a look at NYTimes headlines through August… deaths continue




Listen to the story “Exit Through the Gift Shop” on This American LIfe and write a response to it.

Class 2 (Racism)

  • What is the author arguing? Why and/or against whom?

  • Read and discuss New Yorker article about Sarah Jeong

  • Summary vs. Argument

Materials used:




Actively read both the New Yorker article and the article about Roseanne Barr. Write a response comparing and contrasting the cases.

Week 3: 9/18-9/20-9/21[make-up]

Class 1 (Parenting)

  • Discuss annotations and responses

  • How to use (quality) sources to make a strong argument

  • Watch and read about some controversial parenting choices

  • Introduction of short paper; brainstorming

Materials used:


https://youtu.be/2rPJHZIzw2s is free range parenting a good idea

https://youtu.be/u0ppy3eyh5s 4 things to know about free range parenting


Start reading and watching about free-range parenting and cases where the authorities have conflicted with parents. Make a list of 3-5 topics you’d like to write about within this theme for your short paper.

Class 2 (Intellectual Property Theft)

  • Using other people’s words or ideas

  • Academic honesty. Read JCU’s policy and compare it to “Plagiarisms, Authorships, and the Academic Death Penalty.” College English 57.7 (Nov. 1995): 708-36.

  • Paraphrasing exercise

  • Go over short paper topics


Read and write a response to Maggie Nelson’s essay “Writing With, From, and For Others.” Find at least one quality source on the parenting topic for your short essay and bring it in to next class.

Class 3 [Make-up for Nov 1]

  • Workshop responses

  • Share some interesting sources you’ve found for your short papers and practice paraphrasing with a partner.


Read handout on MLA. Go to the library and look around. Find a copy of the MLA handbook and take a look at it, just to familiarize yourself with it.

Week 4: 9/25-9/27

Class 1

  • Library session on sourcing and research (MLA)

  • Find at least one more quality source for your short essay


Actively read and take notes on your materials for the short essay. These include materials provided in class. Write a first draft of your short essay.

Class 2 (Education as Crime Prevention)

Materials used:



Finalize your first draft of the short paper. Remember that although you will have the opportunity to rewrite, you should never turn in sloppy or unfinished work. Turning in your best possible work is the only way for you to receive the best possible feedback and end up with a good paper.

Week 5: 10/2-10/4

Class 1 (Education)

  • Summarizing, paraphrasing and quoting (cont’d)

  • Framing quotes

  • Look at notes from TED talk. Could you use them in a paper?

  • Start watching film 13. Take good notes.


Actively read the article about framing quotes.

Class 2 (Mass Incarceration)

  • Watch 13

Materials used:

Locked In? Conservative Reform and the Future of Mass Incarceration


Write a response in which you incorporate the film 13, the previous TED talk on education and the article about mass incarceration.

Week 6: 10/9-10/11

Class 1

  • Workshop responses

  • Research methods, sources and writing for/with the internet


Finish final draft of the short paper. It is due next class.

Class 2 (Identity Theft)

  • Turn in short paper.

  • Smooth transitions/connecting all the parts

  • Compare and contrast two types of sources

Materials used:

government source: https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/public_comments/2017/10/00004-141444.pdf

private research company




Listen to Criminal podcast “Money Tree” about identity theft and write a response that incorporates information from the other materials discussed in class today.

Week 7: 10/16-10/18

Class 1 (Bank Robbery)

  • Discuss America’s fascination with bank robbery and watch excerpts from iconic films

  • Listen to podcast and take notes

Criminal podcast “American Dream” https://thisiscriminal.com/episode-31-american-dream-11-17-2015/

LandR “Choir Boy" http://loveandradio.org/2014/08/choir-boy/

article about Al Pacino https://www.avclub.com/al-pacino-improvised-the-most-famous-scene-in-dog-day-a-1823583153


Listen to another podcast (“Choir Boy”) about a young bank robber. Compare and contrast the two stories from “Choir Boy” and “American Dream” in preparation for in-class essay.

Class 2 (Bank Robbery)

  • In-class essay


Do short online quiz of course policies and fill out the mid-term evaluation.

Week 8: 10/23-10/25

Class 1 (Theories of Crime Causation)

  • Discussion of various theories of criminology

  • Final research paper introduced

    • You will find a theory or theories you find convincing and apply it to a crime story or stories of your choice


Make a list of topics for your final research paper.

Class 2

  • Forming a research question, proposal pitch

  • Workshop research questions for final paper


Write a proposal pitch.

Week 9: 10/30-11/1

Class 1

  • Library session on research


Set an individual appointment with the librarian

Class 2 NO CLASS

  • Workshop proposal pitch

  • The annotated bibliography

  • Review of annotating and note taking


Begin annotated bibliography and hand in draft next class. Finalize your proposal pitch

Week 10: 11/6-11/8-11/9 [make-up]

Class 1:

  • Literature Review

  • Proposal pitch presentations in small groups


Work on annotated bibliography. Take notes for literature review. Do library worksheet

Class 2

  • Thesis statements


Continue wok on bibliography and lit review. Start preparing possible thesis statements and bring to class on Tuesday.

Class 3 [make-up for Thanksgiving]

  • Outlining


Prepare possible thesis statements to bring on Tuesday.

Week 11: 11/13-11/15

Class 1

  • Outlining

  • Workshop possible thesis statements


Work on your literature review

Class 2

  • Drafting and introduction


Prepare a clear outline of your paper.

Week 12: 11/20- [11/21 THANKSGIVING NO CLASS]

Class 1

  • Workshop outlines

  • Work on draft


Work on draft. First draft of final paper is due next class (Tuesday 11/27). Bring TWO copies.

Class 2


Week 13: 11/27-11/29

Class 1

  • Workshop drafts

Homework: Sign up for your presentation date

Class 2

  • Transitions

  • Conclusions

  • Works cited


Look specifically at your transitions and how the different parts of your paper flow together and try to improve them.

Week 14: 12/4-12/6

Class 1

  • Last minute questions

  • Works cited

  • Interviews


Finish your final research paper.


  • Final research paper is due

  • Interviews

  • Presentations start (we will use the final exam day to finish these)


If you haven’t presented yet, finish your presentation. Prepare for the short test on major concepts of the class to be administered the final exam day. NB: we do not have a major final exam in this class.

December 7-9 are study days before finals week.

Finals week is December 10-14.