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Satya P. Tandon, Associate Professor, Humanities Department

Mohawk Valley Community College, 1101 Sherman Drive Utica, NY 13501









EN101: Composition | Syllabus





Fall Semester 2007



Instructor:      Prof . S. P. Tandon

       Payne Hall 311

      Telephone: 792-5543;

      E-mail: standon@mvcc.edu


Office Hours:    MWF   2:00 - 3:00;

      TH   12:20-1:30;         

      other hours by appointment.


Text:        Axelrod, Rice, and Charles Cooper. Reading Critically, Writing Well . 7 th ed. New York : Bedford/St. martin’s, 2005.



I. Catalog Description:


This course focuses on several kinds of writing--self-expressive, informative, argumentative/persuasive, and others. It emphasizes the composition of clear, correct and effective prose required in a wide variety of professions and occupations.


Prerequisite: Appropriate evaluation on the placement test writing sample, or successful completion of EN099: Introduction to College English, or successful completion of SL116 ESL4: Advanced Composition, or permission of Humanities Department Head.








                   (Rev. August, 2007)


EN101: English 1, p.2


II. Student Learning Outcomes :


At the completion of the course, the student will:


•  Demonstrate an ability to communicate ideas purposefully in self-expressive, informative, argumentative/persuasive writing to particular audiences in specific contexts at a level generally expected for successful students.


•  Develop an understanding of ways in which the interactions of writers and readers require an exploration of human knowledge, values, ethics, language, and social institutions.


•  Develop the intellectual independence and abilities to use language for the purposes of reading, learning, communicating and thinking critically.


•  Be introduced to the utilization of primary and secondary research sources.


•  Be introduced to a history and methodology of rhetoric and composition.


•  Attain a level of writing fluency adequate for success in college courses.


•  Demonstrate the application of clear writing skills in both professional and academic modes.


•  Demonstrate an understanding of proper documentation procedures to avoid plagiarism.








EN101: English 1, p.3


III. Course Process and Rationale:


According to the rhetorical theory our program reflects, there are four aims of writing: self-expressive, argumentative and persuasive, informative, and literary. English I will focus on the first two of these aims, and introduce the third. The student will also receive an historical overview of the rhetorical tradition. In this course we will discuss subjects such as finding, generating, organizing, and revising ideas, and communicating ideas purposefully to particular audiences in specific contexts.


English 1: Composition is also designed to develop the intellectual skills of thinking and language. A segment of the course will cover readings of professional and student essays. Class discussions will focus on analysis of the assigned readings to promote intellectual independence in students by developing their abilities to use language for the purpose of learning, thinking, and communication.


IV. Assignments:


A. Reading:

All reading assignments must be completed prior to class meetings. There will be quizzes and short writing tasks on the reading.


B. Journals :

Journal writing involves rapid and informal writing. Journals are important in writing courses and can be used to serve a variety of academic functions:

to practice writing regularly and often about topics important to a writer;

to discover, inform, and brainstorm; to workout ideas, materials, approaches, for longer papers and essays; and to experiment freely with form and style.


C. Essays:

Essay writing assignments are the longer, carefully structured and developed tasks. Topics for these essays should emerge from in-class discussion, reading materials, and your own interest in the subject matter that you want to write about. The essays will be graded.

EN101:English1, p.4


V. Course Administration:


1.   Attendance Policy : “State University of New York regulations require evidence of pursuit of prescribed course work Students who fail to satisfy these regulations may be deleted from the class on the official census dateâ€� (Student Handbook, 26).


English Composition is a writing/reading/discussion class. In courses of this nature students benefit most by working collaboratively with others. Hence, your regular presence and participation in the class is necessary and required. Attendance will be recorded at the beginning of each class meeting. If you come in after I have taken the attendance, it is your responsibility to notify me at the end of class. In cases of excessive lateness, your attendance will be affected. If you have to leave class early, please let me know ahead of time.


2.   In unusual circumstances, you will be permitted one week of absences. For each absence in excess, points will be deducted from the final grade.


Please note that your final grade will be adversely affected by poor attendance as explained below:


   Number of Absences      Highest Possible Final Grade


  One week           A

  One to two weeks         B

  Two to three weeks       C

  Three to four weeks       D

  More than four weeks       F



3.   All assignments are due as scheduled. Late assignments are marked down ten percent (one full grade) for each class day. This grade reduction is automatic and is waved only through the approval of formal written application required by the instructor. Assignments submitted for grades must conform to the following guidelines:
EN101:English 1, p.5


•  All essays to be on standard 8-1/2 x 11 paper.


•  All essays to be word-processed and printed. Please do not e-mail your essays.


•  Multiple sheets to be stapled or secured with a paper clip.


•  Essays submitted for grades must include the following



    Assignment title

    Student’s name and class

    Instructor’s name

    Date of submission


•  Assignments that do not meet the above requirements will not be

    accepted or graded.   


4.   Plagiarism: Cheating on any assignment will result in a failing grade for that assignment. It will also jeopardize your chances of passing the course. Plagiarism is defined as using ideas and information created by others without identifying them and giving them full credit for the borrowed information. Make sure you give credit to the source when borrowing information.


5.   Final Grade: Your final grade will be based on the accumulation of grades from various assignments:


•  Essays         50%
•  Final Writing       20%


•  Journals         10%


•  Business Writing       10%


•  Class Participation/

    Discussion/Leadership     10%

EN101: English 1, p. 6


VI. Grading Criteria:


Grade C


Thesis: clearly stated but rather commonplace.

Organization: satisfactory, though transitions between main ideas may not be well developed.

Paragraphs: adequate but not skillful development; too many unsupported generalities; there may be unconscious repetitions which serve no rhetorical purpose.

Language: generally appropriate to audience.

Mechanics: errors in grammar, spelling and punctuation do not obscure meaning.


Grade B:


Thesis: clearly stated, appropriate and mature.

Organization: material arranged according to an apparent logic and appropriate plan. A competent beginning interests reader and the ending shows relationship to the beginning.

Paragraph: coherent with smooth transitions.

Language: precise, economical use of an appropriate vocabulary; evidence of ability to use abstractions.

Content: mature and substantial with relative points and illustrative material; use of sentence variety.

Mechanics: errors in spelling and internal punctuation not common or serious enough to confuse meaning; no sign of carelessness in beginning and end punctuation.


Grade A:


Qualities of B plus: a more extensive vocabulary and an awareness of the expressive possibilities of language which could include greater sentence variety, use of figurative language, position and emphasis and other sophisticated rhetorical devices.


Demonstrates original thought, or shows an obvious development beyond the stipulated research requirements.


Evidence that the student has apprehended the complexities of the subject.


Grade D:


Thesis: present, but may be weak and not well thought out.

Organization: present, but not always logical nor consistently adhered to.

Paragraphs: sometimes lack coherence; beginning and ending not effective; over dependence on simple sentences.

Mechanics: several serious mechanical errors; misspellings confuse reader.

Content: Ideas lacking in depth and maturity.

EN101: English 1, p. 7


VII. Course Syllabus:


Following is a tentative weekly schedule; it will be updated as necessary. It is each student’s responsibility to attend classes and stay current with the changes. Detailed weekly schedule will follow.




1         Introduction to the course

Diagnostic Essay. Read Chapter One--Reading Critically and Writing Well


2          Self-Expressive Writing

        Read Chapter Two--Autobiography


3         Read Chapter Three—Observation

        Prepare draft of a Self-expressive essay


4         Self Expressive Essay 1 due

        Read Chapter Four—Reflection


5         Prepare draft of a Reflective Essay

        Collaborative work on the Reflective essay

        Self-expressive Essay 2 due


6-7          Informative Writing

        Chapters Five and Six


8         Prepare draft of an Informative essay

        Collaborative work on the informative essay

        Informative Essay due


9-11          Persuasive Writing

        Chapter Eight: Proposal to Solve a Problem

        Business Writing Assignment


12         Prepare draft of a Persuasive Essay

        Collaborative work on the Persuasive essay

        Persuasive Essay 1 due


13-14         Chapter Nine: Writing Situations for Position Papers

        Prepare a draft of Persuasive Essay 2

Collaborative work on Persuasive essay

Persuasive Essay 2 due


15         Course review

Final In-Class Writing



EN101:English 1, p.8



VIII. Miscellaneous Information:



1. P olicy pertaining to the use of cell phones and other such electronic devices in the classroom:


The student use of technologies not relevant to classroom, laboratory, library, studio, or clinical settings is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to, electronic communicating devices, MP3 players, and video/photo capture devices. Instructor discretion may be exercised if the technology is a component of the learning environment or by prior student notification.


2. Students With Special Needs:


I would appreciate hearing from anyone in the class who has any type of disability (e.g., physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) which may require some special accommodation. Please see me during my office hours so that we can discuss your needs. Before services can begin, you must also contact Lynn Igoe, Coordinator of Disability Services, 792-5413 (Voice or TTY), or Tasha Paterson, the Learning Disabilities Specialist, 731-5702; both are located in Room 153 of the Academic Building . (For classes on the Rome Campus, the contact person is Michael Badolato, PC A30, 334-7718). They are the staff memberswho review your documentation, determine your eligibility for these accommodations, and help determine what those accommodations will be.