Syllabus & Policies

Composition 1100: 093 Discovering Ourselves, Auburn, and Our World

Introduction & Course Philosophy

Welcome to Comp 1100! This course will help you to expand your critical thinking skills, establish a personal writing process, and enter into academic discourse while learning more about yourself and, hopefully, Auburn. Writing will aid you in your future endeavors, regardless of your major and career goals. Being aware of the way language is manipulated and used by different individuals and organizations based on motivation, purpose, audience and genre, will allow you to interpret messages effectively and critically, identifying key arguments and analyzing them. This awareness of how language is used by others will help you to write effective, engaging and well-supported arguments in your classes, everyday life and future careers. While we will focus primarily on academic writing, the skills you learn will be transferable to other aspects of your lives.

As many of you are in the learning community themed “Discover Auburn,” we will be loosely basing the our class around this idea. Each of the papers will challenge you to discover something about yourself, the Auburn community, or how you and/or Auburn fit into the world. Throughout the course we will read and discuss a variety of works that will help you think critically about these concepts. In your papers, you will use the knowledge and ideas gathered from readings and class discussion to generate your own opinions. Not all assignments will be based around Auburn, so be prepared to discover more than Toomer’s Corner and the Football Stadium!

Please remember that this class is a forum for the generation and respectful communication of ideas. As a community of scholars, we will approach all readings and subjects, no matter how controversial, with an open mind and inquiring attitude. We should strive for an atmosphere of respect in which everyone can and should feel comfortable expressing thoughts, ideas and opinions. Most likely, you will encounter readings and assignments in this class that challenge you and your perceptions of others or particular situations. Effectively responding to those challenges will help you grow as citizens and as writers, so I hope that you embrace that opportunity.

Required Texts:

Axelrod, Rise B., Charles R. Cooper, and Alison M. Warriner. Reading Critically, Writing Well: a Reader and Guide. 9th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2008. Print.

Kidder, Tracy. Mountains Beyond Mountains.

Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference. Third Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005.

Most of our readings will come from the text book, however we will use Mountains Beyond Mountains, the Auburn Connects common book for this year, in our coursework. We will use the text for examples, inspiration for journal entries, and brainstorming. If you have not already read Mountains Beyond Mountains, I encourage you to do so as quickly as possible. You will need ALL of your books EVERY day in class.


In addition to objectives stated in the Introduction to this syllabus, the Department of English and Auburn Lists Three Main Objectives for Comp 1100:

  1. To develop students’ ability to write effectively, with an emphasis on developing a proficiency in the use of a writing process, the ability to make assertions and support them, a proficiency in the development and organization of an essay and a proficiency in the general skills of academic writing.
  2. To develop students’ ability to read, interpret and evaluate written texts, with an emphasis on developing a proficiency in critical and analytical reading of published texts and student writing, an ability to identify and analyze rhetorical issues in a written text, and an ability to communicate that critique to readers.
  3. To develop students’ ability to think critically with an emphasis on learning to identity and to analyze rhetorical patterns in a written text and to formulate an effective evaluation of a text.

As a class we will explore these goals as we develop the ability to read, consider, and write academic prose.

Paper Assignments

You will write four papers this semester:

Unit One: Analysis of One Text: What We Talk About When We Talk About Family

In this unit we will explore the influence your family has had on your personal development. This paper will challenge you to investigate and critically analyze the effect your family has had on you.

Unit Two: Analysis of Two Texts: Auburn Observations

For this paper you will observe a location around Auburn in order to create an original analysis about the Auburn community based on their behavior/interactions/actions at this location.

Unit Three: Argument in Relation to One Text: Film

For this paper we will view two films together, which we will determine as a class. You will write a paper addressing the discourses the film participates in, creating and supporting an argument with evidence from the film.

Unit Four: Argument in Relation to Two Texts: Auburn Advertisements

For this paper you will look at two advertisements for Auburn University or an Auburn business, attraction, etc, which participate in the same discourse. You will explore what each Advertisement adds to the discourse, how they address the discourse and each other, etc. You will create and support an argument with evidence from the advertisements.

Specific details of these assignments will be provided on the first day of each unit.

Grade Distribution

The course assignments are weighted as follows:

Paper 1: 15%
Paper 2: 20%
Paper 3: 20%
Paper 4: 25%
Final Reflective Essay: 10%
Participation/Homework/Journals: 10%

Grading Scale

Assignments will be graded according to the official Department of English Grading Criteria (see attached).

A   = 90-100                 B   = 80-89       C   = 70-79       D   = 60-69      F    = 0-59

If at the end of this semester you have earned a C in this class, it means you did what was minimally expected of you; came to all classes and did the work. If you want a B or an A, you must not only come to all the classes and do all the work, but you must do the work exceptionally well. Also, an 89.5 is not an A. I reserve the right to round grades up or not at my own discretion.

Final Exam/Final Reflective Essay

The final exam date and time is: Friday Dec 9 4-6:30 pm. We will discuss the details for this final essay later in the semester.


Class participation and homework/in-class assignments constitute 10 percent of your grade. Failure to participate in class and/or complete homework assignments will negatively affect your grade.

We will complete a series of in-class activities including journaling, free-writes, peer review workshops and revision to help you develop a unique writing process. In-class writing activities will contribute to your understand of the given subject and your growth as a writer.

Every day you will be given a question or prompt to answer at the beginning of class. These questions will not “test” you on course material; rather, the question of the day is an opportunity for you to practice writing and thinking in a more creative way. Some of the writing prompts will be quite challenging and you may have more to say some days than others. Each response will be graded with a √, √+ or + (these roughly correspond to C, B and A letter grades). These responses will make up the majority of your weekly participation grade.

In addition to in class activities, you will often have readings which have been assigned to help you think about and write your papers. Readings are due on the day they are assigned. Please bring your books and readings to class. I may post readings on blackboard, so please check the class blackboard page regularly. I reserve the right to assign reading responses and quizzes on readings as necessary. Homework is to be turned in at the beginning of class on the day it is due. All homework assignments are to be typed in MLA format unless otherwise specified.


Attendance: This is a writing course that involves many in-class discussions, activities, and group work. If you are not here, you and your classmates will not benefit. Therefore,you are expected to be in your seat, awake, prepared and ready to begin the day’s work at the beginning of class. Attendance will be taken at the beginning of each class. You are permitted three (3) unexcused absences. Upon your 4th unexcused absence, you will receive a grade of FA (failure due to absence) at my discretion. Excessive tardiness will also affect your grade. College serves as a period of development and professionalization; you wouldn’t show up 20 minutes late to staff meetings at your job without consequence. For each 3 times you are tardy, a tardy being 10 minutes or more late, you will receive one unexcused absence. Additionally, if you fall asleep in class or arrive unprepared and unable to perform class requirements (talking, reading, writing) you may be given an unexcused absence at my discretion. Please see the Tiger Cub for more information on excused absences. Remember, you must present an excuse (documentation or written explanation) immediately upon your return to class.

Cell Phones: Please turn your cell phones off during class time. Phones ringing/vibrating, etc in class is a distraction and is disrespectful not only to myself as your teacher, but to your classmates. Texting is also not allowed in class. I do not mean that it’s ok to text under the table. Do not text at all.

Conferences: Conferences are an extension of class-time that allows us to have a one-on-one conversation about your work. You will have at least 2 conferences with me this semester, maybe more. These conferences are mandatory. Failure to attend a conference will result in an unexcused absence. If you need to reschedule your conference time, please notify me at least 24 hours before your scheduled conference appointment.

Digital Communication: You can contact me at I check my email regularly. You’ll notice I did not list an office phone number. Even if you look up my office phone, I do NOT check my voicemail in the office regularly. You may call during my office hours, but email is the BEST, most reliable way to reach me. Similarly, I may send emails to the class. TigerMail is an official means of communication at Auburn, I expect you to check your email regularly. If you use an email other than your TigerMail account or are having issues receiving my emails, please let me know as soon as possible.

Format for Papers: Papers must be typed in 12 point Times New Roman with black ink. They should be double-spaced, standard 1” margins, on white paper. Do not try to make the paper longer by tweaking the margins, I will be able to tell if your paper has two inch margins.  Please staple pages together. Follow MLA format guidelines for headers and page numbering. We will discuss proper formatting in class, or you can consult your copy of Easy Writer. I will not accept papers over e-mail or on flashdrives or disks.

Late Papers: If your paper is late and you have an excused absence, your paper is due at the beginning of the first day you return to class. If your paper is late and you do not have an excused absence your paper is still due that day. Papers are considered late if they are not turned in at the beginning of class. For each day a paper is late, it will be marked down one full letter grade. By this I mean weekdays, not class days. A paper turned in one day late will be marked down one letter grade. A paper turned in two days late will be marked down two letter grades. After two days, a paper will not be accepted and will receive an automatic F.

Make-up Work: Should you miss class, it is your responsibility to obtain information and materials from class that day and to turn in the work that was due the day that you missed class. If your absence is excused, any work due the day you missed class will be due the first day you return to class. All make-up work must be turned in one week after your absence with the exception of extraordinary circumstances, in which case I must approve the extension.

Note: one day means one day, NOT one class day. I will not accept papers over email. Please plan ahead, printers are notorious for not working twenty minutes before your paper is due.

Office Hours: I have office hours every Tuesday and Thursday from 2-3:30 and by appointment. I encourage you to consider my office an extension of the class. If you have questions, comments, or concerns about class, please come to my office. I am more than happy to read drafts, answer questions and offer feedback during office hours.

Peer Review: We will be doing peer review in this course. On peer review days, you must come to class with enough copies of a complete draft of your paper for your entire group. You will be sharing your paper and reading your classmates’ papers. If you do not have a draft and copies on the assigned day, you are unprepared for class and will receive an unexcused absence for the day.

Plagiarism and/or Cheating: For this course, as with all of your classes, I expect you to follow the “Student Academic Honesty Code.” If I suspect you are plagiarizing and/or cheating, I will follow University guidelines as described in the Tiger Cub. If you have not done so, please read the descriptions in the Tiger Cub and make sure you understand it. All suspected plagiarism will be taken seriously.

Students with Disabilities: Students who need accommodations should arrange a meeting with me during office hours (or by appointment) during the first week of classes or as soon as possible (especially if accommodations are needed immediately). At this meeting, please bring a copy of your Accommodation Memo and an Instructor Verification Form. If you need accommodations but do not have an Accommodations Memo, make an appointment with the Program for Students with Disabilities, 1244 Haley Center, Phone: 844-2096.

Withdrawal from the Course: Following University guidelines, students who wish to withdraw from the course with a grade of “W” can do so without penalty before mid-terms. After the mid-term, students cannot drop a course unless exceptional circumstances exist, with the approval of the Dean and a signature form the instructor indicating whether the student was passing (“WP”) or failing (“WF”) the course.

Extra Credit Opportunities: Because this course has the theme Discover Auburn, I will, against my own best judgment, allow for a limited number of extra credit assignments. I will provide a list of events from the Auburn Connects! common book schedule which you can attend. If you attend these events and complete a writing assignment based on that event, I will permit you to receive 5 points of extra credit no more than 3 times. Specific details of the writing assignments required will be provided. Simply attending the event does not qualify for credit, and completion of an extra credit assignment does not guarantee that you will receive all 5 points. As with regular work, if you do a poor job you will receive a poor grade.

Auburn University Department of English Grading Criteria for Essays in ENGL 1100

The “C” Essay

This essay carries out the assignment in a competent but perfunctory way. It has a reasonable thesis or claim and offers some relevant support, but only in a general way. It’s predictable and conventional, with a formulaic pattern of organization with no thought to the needs of the reader. Voice and tone are generally appropriate (or at least not inappropriate), and the style is readable, though uninteresting and simplistic. There will be some grammatical errors and signs of awkwardness with language, though not enough to distract the reader or raise the hackles of the instructor.

The “B” Essay

This essay has many features of the “A” essay, though less competently or completely. And it is a considerable improvement over the “C” essay. The thesis reflects some originality or excites curiosity in the reader. Support is substantive, relevant, and interesting, though short of fully demonstrating the claim. The organization is clear and coherent, most of the time: the general trend is that the student has a grasp of the logic needed to write a good essay. Sentences are varied, show a facility with style, and help advance the paper’s argument, even if there is the occasional lapse. The essay is generally free of grammatical and mechanical errors.

The “A” Essay

This is an excellent paper, with an innovative and perceptive approach, for a composition course, to the assignment. The purpose is clear and focused, showing a command of the subject and a clear statement of claim or thesis. The support is interesting and thought-provoking, organization is clear and coherent, the writing demonstrates an understanding of the rhetorical situation, and the style is competent and fluent, demonstrating the student’s command of the language.

The “D” Essay

This essay only barely meets the requirements of the assignment, but it is flawed in one or more of the following ways. It is confused or too general and unsure of subject matter, topic, or claim. The support is general and unconvincing, inaccurate, irrelevant, or too narrow in audience or focus. The organization is unsuccessful in arguing for the claim or in explaining an issue or idea. The voice or tone is inconsistent or inappropriate, and the style may make the essay difficult to read. Grammatical and mechanical errors abound, and the student shows significant problems in using language effectively.

The “F” Essay

This essay fails to address the assignment or is seriously flawed in one or more of the following areas. There is no apparent purpose to the essay. The claim is nonexistent or poorly stated, and what claim there is lacks support. The essay is disorganized and logically flawed. There is no sense of tone or voice. The severity of a single flaw, or a combination of distracting problems, generally makes the essay ineffective. Perhaps the chief reason an essay fails is that it communicates very little, and what it does communicate is trite and commonplace.

Specific Grading Criteria Will Also Be Provided For Each Paper.