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Rhetoric and Composition II

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Spring 2013
Bolin Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

Sec 212 TR 9:30-10:50 AM; Sec 215 TR 11:00 AM-12:20 PM

Dr. Peter Fields (view Profile)


LB Brief
Jane Aaron 4th edition
Writing Today
Richard Johnson-Sheehan & Charles Paine 2nd edition
Course Objectives

Standard Requirements for ENGL 1123 courses at MSU


  • Aaron, Jane. LB Brief. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2011. Print. ISBN 978-0-205-75155-6.
  • Johnson-Sheehan, Richard, and Charles Paine. Writing Today. 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2010.

 Standard Objectives:

  • Write thesis-based essays that provide strong support and specific details
  • Engage in a writing process that includes invention, drafting, and revision
  • Demonstrate proficient use of Standard Written English
  • Find, evaluate, and synthesize credible sources in support of a research paper
  • Document sources responsibly and follow a designated style guide  

Additional information about course objectives can be found on the department webpage,

Assignment                                                                              % of Grade

Minimum of 2 In-Class Essays (350-word min. each)                        

Minimum of 3 Formal, Revised Essays (750-word min. each)               

1 Annotated Bibliography (including both print and web sources)   

1 Final Research Paper (1500-word min.)                                           

Writing assignments should require students to produce approximately 5000 words of graded writing and count for at least 80% of the final grade. [NOTE: Writing is 100 % of the grade in Dr. Fields' ENGL 1123]

Specific Requirements for Dr. Fields ENGL 1123 212 & 215:

All research-based essays in ENGL 1123 require MLA in-body citing and an MLA-styled bibliography (Works Cited).

ESSAY ONE: The Freshman Fifteen. In Writing Today by Richard Johnson-Sheehan and Charles Paine, students bracket two passages in the article “Freshman Fifteen: Fact or Fiction?” (751-54). A passage should be at least a hundred words—the length of a substantial paragraph would be appropriate. A passage, ideally, offers several points. Students cannot use the abstract.

Thought: Divided the bracketed passage into sections A, B, and C. For each section, highlight or underline the key idea.

Par. 1 (introduction): The introductory paragraph begins with the student’s thesis (the position—the side the student is taking on a relevant controversial issue) and the supporting points in favor of that thesis (thesis and supporting points constitute the student’s rationale). Following the rationale, students provide attribution and summary for the first important source: i.e., “According to—” authors of the article, title of the article, and name of the journal (introductory clause), followed by a brief summary of the article (main clause). The first paragraph ends on a set-up for the Block Quote which follows. The set-up is a couple of sentences expressing a point in the Block Quote.

Block Quote: The introductory paragraph is immediately followed by a sustained verbatim quote—i.e., a Block Quote—from the relevant bracketed passage (at least five typed lines, indented an extra ten spaces on the left all the way down). The page number should be in parentheses at the end (after the period).

Par. 2 (body paragraph): The paragraph that follows the Block Quote should address all the points raised in the bracketed passage from which the Block Quote was drawn. Each time students finish addressing a point in that passage, they should provide the relevant page number in parentheses at the end of the most relevant sentence (prior to the period). Students will have two or three parenthetical page references in a given paragraph, including at the end of the last sentence.

Par. 3 (body paragraph): The third paragraph addresses the second bracketed passage. Students should provide one direct quote from the bracketed passage. This quote should not exceed four typed lines and requires quotation marks around it and a parenthetical page after the final quotation mark and before the period.

This shorter quote should be preceded by a set-up thought—a complete thought in the student’s own words—that expresses the important lesson contained in the quote.

Par. 4 (Conclusion): The final “wrapper-upper” paragraph begins with a restatement of the thesis and supporting points as well as a brief revisit to one or more of the memorable examples or illustrations. This paragraph is also an opportunity to offer a final reflection or insight at the end consistent with the student’s thesis.

IN CLASS: During class students will develop bullet-point outlines of their two body paragraphs (i.e., pars. 2 and 3 based on the two bracketed passages in the article). For each point in your bracketed passage (and we're hoping for three points), use these three steps:

Primary Support: Tell us the point-of-fact. A point-of-fact is not the fact itself. The point-of-fact is the significance—the general principle—implied by the given percentage or statistic or experimental outcome. Don’t restate the language in the bracketed passage. What is the point?

Secondary: Illustrate or explain the point-of-fact in your own words on your own terms. Use specific details based on your personal experience—set the scene, paint a picture.

LESSON: Before you go to the next point-of-fact, tell us what we just learned.

For each bracketed passage, you would end up with NINE thoughts, right?

ESSAY ONE WILL BE WRITTEN IN CLASS: This essay is composed in class on the student’s computer (open-book with pre-prepared bullet outline; bullet points can include the introduction and conclusion) and submitted to the instructor when class is dismissed. The essay requires an MLA-styled bibliographic citation at the end under “Works Cited.” The citation can be prepared ahead of time:

Works Cited

Carithers-Thomas, Jennifer A., Shelley H. Bradford, Christopher M. Keschock, and Steven F. Pugh. “Freshman Fifteen: Fact or Fiction?” College Student Journal 44.2 (2010): 419-23. Rpt. in Writing Today. Richard Johnson-Sheehan and Charles Paine. 2nd ed. Pearson: Upper Saddle River, NJ. 751-54. Print.


ESSAY TWO: “More than just a Pretty Face.” Students will once again bracket two passages in an article in our book: i.e. “More than just a Pretty Face: Men’s Priority Shifts Toward Bodily Attractiveness in Short-Term versus Long-Term Mating Contexts” (755-61). ESSAY TWO WILL BE WRITTEN IN CLASS.

As with Essay One, students will prepare for this essay by writing bullet-point outlines of the bracketed passages. Students must provide an introductory and concluding paragraph with the same elements as indicated for Essay One. Students must provided an MLA-source citation under “Works Cited” at the end: 

Confer, Jaime C., Carin Perilloux, and David M. Buss. “More Than Just a Pretty Face: Men’s Priority Shifts toward Bodily Attractiveness in Short-term versus Long-term mating contexts.” Evolution and Human Behavior 31.5 (2010): 348-53. Rpt. in Writing Today. Richard Johnson-Sheehan and Charles Paine. 2nd ed. Pearson: Upper Saddle River, NJ. 755-61. Print.


STUDENT RESEARCH PROJECT. In ENGL 1123 with Dr. Fields, students will develop a 16 paragraph research essay using MLA in-body citation and bibliography (Works Cited). Students choose the topic themselves with instructor approval. The topic must relate to the student individually, whether in regard to the student’s personal experience (including family history), or the student’s prospective field of study, goals, or career. Sources must be scholarly (e.g., peer-reviewed and recent research) and come from the Moffett-supported databases and/or Moffett book stacks. Errors in grammar and punctuation will affect the grade.

Students begin by finding their sources. Most students utilize Academic Search Complete and/or other Moffett Library databases and print out full-text scholarly articles based on search words pertaining to the topic they have chosen. 

Students are best advised not to choose their bracketed paragraphs from the center part of the scholarly article—usually the “methods” section which is very technical. Students should choose articles of some length (usually five or more pages) which offer a significant introduction (over-view/history at the beginning) and discussion (reflections at the end). The beginning and end offer the best options for bracketing passages. 

A bracketed passage should be of some length (several hundred words)—if we are talking about a two-column page of an article, then the bracketed passage should be several inches—but not an entire column. 

There should not be any gaps in the bracketed passage—the student is responsible for the entirety of the passage (the passage should not be a table or chart). 

Students need EIGHT passages altogether from no fewer than FOUR sources: i.e., most students are best advised to bracket two passages from the first source, two from the second, two from the third, and two from the fourth. 

ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY (must be signed by the instructor before students submit further work in the course): For each of the four sources, students need to make sure there are THREE things. First, the students provide a stand-alone attribution & summary statement for a given source—just one sentence (the following is an example and model): 

According to John Smith, Jane Doe, and Matthew Friend in their article “Ritalin’s Side-Effects” for the journal School Counselor, doctors are prescribing Ritalin to even very young children who have not yet started school. 

Second, students provide bullet points (a sentence or two) for each point-of-fact at stake in a bracketed passage. Following each point-of-fact, students provide a bullet point for the secondary material (illustration with specific details) and a bullet point for the lesson-learned (the moral, so to speak). 

Separate with an extra space the two sets of bullet points for each source. 

Finally, students offer an MLA-styled source citation (it stands alone after the two sets of bullet points for the bracketed passages). The following is an example and model: 

Smith, John, Jane Doe, and Matthew Friend. “Ritalin’s Side-Effects.” School Counselor 31.4 (2011): 44-54. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Sept. 2012.

The 31.4 means volume 31 and issue number 4. The 44-54 are beginning and ending page numbers. The 10 Sept. 2012 is the student’s download date. Academic Search Complete is the name of the Moffett-supported database. 

To create the hanging indent for a source citation: With their cursor, students should highlight the source information, click on “paragraph,” and then under “Special,” click on “hanging” and “double-spaced.” 

ROUGH DRAFT RESEARCH PROJECT: Students submit an eight-paragraph paper. Students flesh out the bullet-points for their bracketed passages and provide full paragraphs. A stand-alone (single sentence) statement of attribution and summary (“According to—”) is required as a heading prior to each source’s set of paragraphs. Following a source’s second paragraph, the MLA source citation should be provided. 

In each of these paragraphs (one paragraph per bracketed passage), students need to provide the points-of-fact from the bracketed passage (primary support) in their own words. Students then need to explain the point step-by-step with specific details (also known as secondary support). Before they move to the next point of fact for a bracketed passage, students should make sure the reader understands the moral of the primary and secondary support—what have we just learned? 

Parenthetical Page: When students have finished expressing the point-of-fact, before they go on the illustration (secondary support) they need to provide the relevant page number of the source at the end of a sentence. 

REVISED RESEARCH PROJECT (16 paragraphs altogether—i.e., adding Introductory and Concluding Paragraphs for each of the four sources—and separate Works Cited). In other words, the students will add two paragraphs to each of their source discussions which presently only feature two body paragraphs. 

The introductory paragraph should state the thesis and summarize the points the two body paragraphs will discuss. Students then provide attribution and summary of the source (incorporating the single-sentence attribution from the Annotated Bibliography). After attribution and summary of the source, students should summarize their secondary material (the illustrating examples). The introductory paragraph ends on set-up (one or two sentences) that expresses the lesson of the point-of-fact at stake in the Block Quote that follows—the introductory paragraph ends on a colon to introduce the Block Quote.

Block Quote (just ONE for the whole project): The Block Quote is a long verbatim passage (five or more lines of the student’s typing) taken from one of the bracketed passages. The Block Quote is set in an extra 10 spaces on the left and follows the introductory paragraph. The Block Quote comes from the bracketed passage addressed in the first body paragraph—the paragraph that follows the Block Quote. After the final period of the Block Quote, students provide the parenthetical page from the source. 

Four Shorter Quotes (ONE from EACH source). Each shorter quote is about two to three lines of student typing—no more than four. The shorter quote requires quotation marks (it is not set in 10 spaces on the left) and a parenthetical page prior to the period. The shorter quote comes from a bracketed passage, one from each source. The shorter quote is utilized within a body paragraph. It is anticipated by a complete thought followed by a colon.

Prior to the shorter quote, students should express the lesson-learned that is relevant to the quote that follows. The lesson-learned is a complete thought in the student’s own words and ends on a colon just before the shorter quote that follows. 

The concluding paragraph revisits the thesis, key points, and examples in economical terms—do not simply restate earlier language. The concluding paragraph also offers an implication, or series of implications, relevant to the body paragraphs and their discussion of the bracketed passages in the source. 

MLA-styled Works Cited: The source citations are moved to their own separate page (the last page of the revised project). The Works Cited must be SIGNED BY THE INSTRUCTOR PRIOR TO SUBMISSION OF THE REVISED RESEARCH PROJECT.


BLUE BOOK FINAL EXAM (PRE-WPE "Rehearsal" ESSAY): Students will hand-write a five paragraph in-class essay which is meant to prepare them for the WPE.

The BLUE BOOK hand-written essay should utilize both primary and secondary support (that is, both general principles and concrete details) to support a clear thesis—a position in support of, or against, a proposition. Every paragraph must clearly reinforce the student’s position. 

Students may concede sincerity, intelligence, and other positive traits to their opposition, but they must come back to, and otherwise reinforce, their own position in order to fulfill the requirements for a thesis-supported essay. 


Here are some of the research topics students have chosen in recent semesters: 

African-American AIDS Awareness, Alcohol Abuse, Amputees & Prosthetic Limbs, Antidepressants, Athletic Trainers, Attachment Disorder & Adopted Children, Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, Baby Pacifiers, Herniated Backs, Bariatric Surgery, Bilingual Education, Bipolar Disorder, Biracial Children, Birth Control, Black Holes, Bully-Victims, Border Fence with Mexico, Border Line Personality, Brain Tumors, Breast Feeding, Breast Reconstruction, Classroom Discipline, Coaching, College Athletes, Commotio cordis, Concussions, Congenital Heart Disease, Corticosteroids, Cosmetic Surgery, Credit Cards, Dental Care, Dissociative Trance Disorder, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Dream Act, Dyslexia, Eating Disorders,  Incarcerated Young People, Enforcing Title IX, Epidural Anesthesia, Ethical Business Model, Failure of NCLB, Families without Fathers, Female Body Image, Fertility, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Global Business Model, Global Food Shortage, Government Accreditation of Religious Colleges, Guantanamo, Hague Adoption Convention, Helms-Burton Act & Cuba, HIV Origin & Zoonosis, Housing Crash, Hooking Up, Incarceration, Inclusive Classrooms, Insomnia, Lorenzo’s Oil for ALD, Lucid Dreaming, Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse, Maternal Smoking, Martial Arts, Migraines, Military Families, Minority Enterprise, Multiple Personality Disorder, Music, Nanotechnology, Psychotherapy, Nursing (stress, substance abuse, counseling patients, hospice, neonatal), Nuclear Power, Oil drilling, Online controversies (dating, gaming, education), Organics, Palliative Care,  Parkinson’s & L-Dopa, PATRIOT Act, Physical Therapy, Police Stress, Prescription Drug Abuse, PTSD, Pre-School Education, Racism in Hiring of Coaches, Radio Frequency Identification for Inventory, Rebuilding New Orleans, Restructuring of Air Traffic Control, Robotics (e.g., in surgery), Sarbanes-Oxley, Schizophrenia, Sex Education, Shaken Baby Syndrome, Sickle Cell Disease, Single Mothers, Stem Cells, Surrogate Mothers, Sports (benefits for youngsters), Tanning, Tasers, Tattoos, and Vaccines.

Grading Standards

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

Grading and Evaluation

  • ESSAY ONE is worth 10 percent of the overall semester grade; ESSAY TWO is worth 20 percent. The Annotated Bibliography is not a grade, but it is required before students may submit further work—it must be signed by Dr. Fields and put in the pocket of the folder. The PRE-WPE BLUE BOOK FINAL EXAM is worth 20 percent. The Rough Draft Research Project (8 paragraphs) is worth 20 percent. The final Revised Research Project (16 pars.) is worth 30 percent.
  • Dr. Fields reserves the right to ask students to send him a computer file of their research project by e-mail attachment for archival purposes.
  • MSU Legal Stipulation By enrolling in this class, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and for educational purposes.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.


Final Exam 05/04/2013 10:30 AM-12:30 PM
Submission Format Policy


  • All writing must be typed (12 point Times New Roman), double-spaced, with a header for the student’s last name (in the default .5 setting in upper right corner), page numbers inserted (upper right, .5 setting), and MLA format for citing, including the Works Cited. However, while the top, right, and bottom margins should be set at one inch, the left margin should be an inch and a quarter to accommodate the folder. On the first page of an essay, the student name, instructor name, course, and date should be in the upper left, double-spaced.
  • Students must retain their typed assignments (with the instructor’s marks and comments) in the clasps (i.e., “brads”) of a folder (which has both brads and pockets) in the order that they were assigned. The folder is required for submission of the Rough Draft Research Project and the Revised Research Project.
  • The photocopy or printout of the relevant sources must be in the left pocket. Each source features the bracketing of two key passages. Photocopies/printouts (bracketed) are required for both due dates of the Research Project (Rough and Revised).
  • The Annotated Bibliography is kept in one of the folder’s pockets.
  • Students must submit their work in person (from their hands into the instructor’s hands). Submission for a due-date is never by e-mail attachment or under the office door, or left on a desk, or by surrogate (classmate or relative). Late work also must be submitted in person.
  • Work submitted apart from the guidelines of this syllabus will not be evaluated and must be resubmitted and penalized for lateness.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.
Late Paper Policy

An assignment is late if submitted after the class period it is due. If late by one period, the assignment will be penalized 10 points. If late by two class periods, the essay is penalized 20 points (the penalty is capped at 20 points). No late work may be submitted after the last official class period. A class period is officially over when the instructor dismisses it. All late work must be submitted IN PERSON.

If students are too ill to submit their work personally, they should submit it when they return to class. They may avoid penalty for late submission by obtaining documentation from a relevant professional in a timely fashion (e.g., a doctor or the Dean of Students’ office). Absence for the sake of others requires similar documentation.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Roll is taken right away as soon as class begins. The instructor is not obliged to count people present who arrive late. A student with three unexcused absences receives a warning from the instructor. As of the fourth unexcused absence, the instructor reserves the right to notify the Dean of Students and to initiate removal of the student from the course (including the possibility of a WF).

Other Policies

ENGLISH DEPARTMENT POLICY: Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation in the body of the paper and a listing in the "Works Cited" bibliography)—whether you use that material in a quotation, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not. 

Language too close to the student’s own documented sources: In our course, restating language word for word (or close to word for word) from the student’s own documented sources without using quotation marks or setting it off as a Block Quote puts the essay at risk of penalty in regard to the grade, even if the student provides a parenthetical page at the end of a sentence and includes the source in the Works Cited. 

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY & Non-Documented Sources: Students who use information and/or phrasing from sources that are not documented in the Works Cited bibliography are guilty of academic dishonesty and will receive a failing grade of 0 (no points) for the assignment even if the rest of the essay is original and the other sources are properly documented. The student in this case MUST withdraw from the course. If the student does not formally withdraw from the course, he or she will be removed by the instructor with a WF. Use of undocumented sources is an infraction of the university’s policy on academic dishonesty and must be reported to the Dean of Students.

An excused absence is when students follow up on their e-mail or voice-mail message to the instructor by showing documentation from a doctor or clinic or court. The instructor will also accept any message from the Dean of Students on the student’s behalf.  

  • MSU, of course, is a TOBACCO FREE campus; no tobacco use is permitted anywhere including CHEW tobacco. While “electronic cigarettes” are a positive alternative, they are not permitted in the classroom.
  • In the lab students should not have food, coffee, or soda—but water in a clear bottle is permitted.
  • Students should not spend time on computer sites the instructor has not authorized.
  • Once students walk through the classroom door, no use of their personal electronics is allowed. The instructor may insist on the removal of all visible electronics from the desktop.
  • Students may consult with each other during class (except during in class writing assignments) as long as they don’t hinder the progress of those around them.
  • Students may go to the restroom as the need arises except when the instructor is explaining a detailed point to the whole class.
  • Students must allow other class members to see their works-in-progress, including on the big screen. Most importantly, students should know that we write in class. Students should have their own memory device applicable to the lab computer. Students MUST demonstrate progress in the lab on the computer.
  • Students must have the instructor’s permission to leave class early.
  • If students miss class, they should e-mail the instructor or leave a message at 940-397-4246. They should indicate the circumstances.
  • An excused absence is when students follow up on their e-mail or voice-mail message to the instructor by showing documentation from a doctor or clinic or court. The instructor will also accept any message from the Dean of Students on the student’s behalf.  
Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at