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Rhetoric and Composition II

Course Details

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

Sec 107 TR 8:00-9:30 AM; Sec 108 TR 11:00 AM-12:20 PM

Dr. Peter Fields (view Profile)


Little, Brown Brief
5th edition
Writing Today
2nd edition
Course Objectives

Standard Requirements for ENGL 1123 courses at MSU


  • Aaron, Jane. LB Brief. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2011.
  • 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]


Course Expectations

ESSAY ONE (In-class): The Freshman Fifteen. In preparation for a FOUR paragraph in-class essay, students must (with a pen or pencil) bracket two passages in the research article “Freshman Fifteen: Fact or Fiction?” (751-54). A passage should be about 50 to 150 words (one to three inches of printed column). Essay One will be written and submitted in the same class period.

The essay requires the MLA-styled bibliographic citation which may pre-entered at the end of the bullet-point outline:

Works Cited (use hanging indent)

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.

OUTLINE: Each bracketed passage is the basis of a body paragraph. The outline should have a bullet-point sentence (each) for POINT, ILLUSTRATION, and LESSON

POINT: The POINT answers this question: what is the bracketed passage trying to say? In the actual body paragraph, the POINT may require additional sentences to clarify and explain the basic idea of the bracketed passage. 

ILLUSTRATION: The bullet-point sentence is a head start on what will definitely require at least several sentences in the body paragraph. An ILLUSTRATION goes beyond the POINT by demonstrating how the POINT works. The ILLUSTRATION may recapitulate the examples cited by the source itself in the bracketed passage—or be wholly invented by the student. The ILLUSTRATION may be based on the student’s own personal observations. The ILLUSTRATION uses specific details and examples to set a scene and paint a picture. Sometimes the best ILLUSTRATION centers on a scenario—a process or sequence of events with a beginning, middle, and end. 

LESSON: The bullet-point sentence is a head start on the LESSON of the ILLUSTRATION. The lesson is not necessarily interchangeable with the POINT. The LESSON is the student’s opinion—the student’s own take—for which the POINT is a point of departure. The LESSON is the implication or moral of the ILLUSTRATION. 

INTRO: The outline should have a bullet-point sentence as a head start on the THESIS. The outline should have a sentence each for the POINT, ILLUSTRATION, and LESSON of one of the bracketed passages (but not the same wording as the bullet-point sentences for the body paragraph). 

In addition, the INTRO outline should pre-enter the ACCORDING TO statement which comes at the end of the introductory paragraph: i.e., the authors, title of article, and name of journal in an introductory subordinate clause and a brief summary of the article in the main clause (see page 3 of this syllabus for an example). 

CONCLUSION: The outline needs a bullet-point sentence anticipating the concluding paragraph which reinforces the thesis and offers a final reflection. 

QUOTE: Students should pre-enter in the outline a verbatim (word-for-word) section of one of the bracketed passages. If under five lines, the quote is set off by quotation marks with a parenthetical page before the period. If five lines or more, the quote is set off by pushing it further in by 10 passages (or inch)—what we call a Block Quote for which the parenthetical page follows the period. The QUOTE should come after the POINT and before the ILLUSTRATION (see page 4 for an example of setting up a quote). 

ESSAY TWO (In-class): “More than just a Pretty Face.” In preparation for a FOUR paragraph in-class essay, 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 and submitted in the same class period.

The format for ESSAY TWO and the subsequent drafts of the RESEARCH PROJECT is the same as for ESSAY ONE. The MLA source citation can be pre-entered in the outline  after the bullet-point sentence for the conclusion (use hanging indent):

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 research essay over the course of several drafts, each one constituting more material than the previous. The final due date carries the most point value because the student has had three previous opportunities to draft all or part of the paper, and each draft has been marked and commented on by the instructor prior to the final version.

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 research articles (e.g., peer-reviewed) and come from the Moffett-supported databases and/or Moffett book stacks. MLA citation is required. Errors in grammar and punctuation will affect the grade.

Students begin by finding their FOUR sources. Sources may be either Moffett-supported databases or books from the Moffett stacks. Most students utilize Academic Search Complete and/or other Moffett-supported databases and print out full-text research articles based on search words pertaining to the topic they have chosen. Usually, the best articles are from the last five to 10 years. Books, of course, may be perennial depending on the topic or author. 

Students (with pen or pencil) bracket two significant passages from each of three sources and one significant passage from the fourth source (a total of SEVEN significant passages). A bracketed passage, ideally, should be about 50 to 150 words (ie., one to three inches of a printed left or right column in a PDF). 

NINE PARAGRAPHS & FOUR SOURCES. The final project will consist of an introductory paragraph, seven body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. Each body paragraph pertains to a bracketed passage in one of the FOUR sources (the fourth source provides just ONE bracketed passage).  

ANNOTATED OUTLINE AND BIBLIOGRAPHY (must be signed by the instructor before students write the actual paragraphs of their research essay): For each of the four sources, students need to make sure they have THREE things in their outline: 

First, the students provide a stand-alone ACCORDING TO statement (attribution & summary) for a given source. Notice below that the introductory subordinate clause pertains to authors, title of the article, and the name of the journal; the main clause (following the comma) briefly summarizes the article: 

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. 

For each bracketed passage, students provide a sentence in their own words for POINT, ILLUSTRATION, and LESSON. At the end of each POINT should be the parenthetical number for the page in the source. 

QUOTE: Students should put quotation marks around that part of the bracketed passage which would make a good verbatim (word-for-word the same) quote. The quote can be pre-entered after the POINT: 

Today, doctors are prescribing amphetamines and other psychoactive drugs to an ever younger school age demographic to the point that many children arrive in kindergarten already on prescription stimulants: “Today’s parents are beating the teacher to the punch and relying on doctor-prescribed amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate, or other psychoactive drugs just to keep their children calm outside the classroom” (22). 

BLOCK QUOTE: If the quote is five lines or longer (of the student’s typing), the quote should be set-off by pushing it in another inch from the left margin (without the use of quotation marks): 

Today, doctors are prescribing amphetamines and other psychoactive drugs to an ever younger school age demographic to the point that many children arrive in kindergarten already on prescription drugs designed to make them more amenable not only to teachers but also parents:

Teachers used to be the first professional to notice a child’s problems with paying attention or settling down in class. Today’s parents are beating the teacher to the punch and relying on doctor-prescribed amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methylphenidate, or other psychoactive drugs just to keep their children calm outside the classroom. “I can’t even dress my hyperactive child,” one mother lamented, “without giving him something to calm him down for at least five minutes.” (22) 

WORKS CITED MODEL: Finally, students need to provide an MLA-styled source citation in their bullet-point outline when they are done with the bullet-point sentences for a given source: 

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.” 


PART ONE (first due date) features the introductory paragraph, four body paragraphs (based on four bracketed passages from TWO sources), and a concluding paragraph. 

PART TWO (second due date): Adds two more body paragraphs from a THIRD source and features adjustments and corrections indicated by the instructor for PART ONE. 

PART THREE (third due date): Adds a final body paragraph pertaining to the bracketed passage in the fourth source and features corrections indicated by the instructor for PART TWO. This due date is also the first to feature a separate Works Cited page. 

REVISED RESEARCH PROJECT (final due date): Features final corrections of the whole paper and a pre-approved Works Cited page. 

BLUE BOOK (PRE-WPE) FINAL: On the day of the scheduled final exam, students will bring a Blue Book to write a five-paragraph essay modeled on the Writing Proficiency Exam. A model five paragraph essay is provided at the end of the daily schedule.

See tentative calendar which contains information supplemental to this syllabus.

Below are research topics students have chosen in the past (the instructor does NOT assign the topic):

African-American AIDS Awareness, Alcohol Abuse, Amputees, Antidepressants, Artificial Intelligence, Athletic Trainers, Attachment Disorder, Attention Deficit Disorder, Autism, Baby Pacifiers, 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, Cheerleading Injuries, Classroom Discipline, Coaching,  Commotio cordis, Concussions, Congenital Heart Disease, Corticosteroids, Cosmetic Surgery, Credit Cards, Dental Care, Dissociative Trance Disorder, Divorce, Domestic Violence, Dream Act, Dyslexia, Eating Disorders, Herniated Backs, Incarcerated Young People, Enforcing Title IX, Epidural Anesthesia, Ethical Business Model, 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, 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, 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, Sarbanes-Oxley, Schizophrenia, Service Dogs, 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 

  • All essays in ENGL 1123 require MLA in-body citing and MLA Works Cited. Students must avoid run-together constructions (Little Brown Ch. 36), fragments (LB 35), comma faults (LB 39), and errors of agreement (LB 29 & 31). Errors in grammar affect the grade. 
  • Essay 1 and, 2, and Parts 1, 2, and 3 of the research project are each worth 10 percent of the semester grade; the revised project is worth 30 percent and the final Blue Book, 20 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 12/09/2013 1:00-300 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 in-body citing and Works Cited.
  • 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 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.
  • Starting with the First Part of the research project, due dates MUST be submitted in a folder with brads and pockets. Essays One and Two (with the instructor’s marks and comments) are hole-punched and fixed in the brads. Each due date of the research project is the last item hole-punched and fixed in the brads.
  • Print-outs/photocopies of the sources (with key passages bracketed) are provided in the pockets of the folder (along with a signed copy of the annotated bibliography).
  • Work submitted apart from these guidelines will not be evaluated and must be resubmitted (correctly) 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 of the semester according to the MSU official calendar. 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

SEVEN absences from class (excused or not) will result in an automatic F for the semester grade. Roll is taken right away as soon as class begins. Late is the same as ABSENT. Naturally, some of these seven absences may be due to unforeseen accident, car breakdown, natural disaster, illness (even documented illness), illness of a relative (including son or daughter), court date (including for custody or to avoid jail), or university sanctioned sporting or theatre event—it does NOT matter. SEVEN of any sort of absence means an F for the semester grade. 

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 serious penalty in regard to the grade—any FOUR words in a row verbatim from the documented source is considered TOO CLOSE TO SOURCE. 

ACADEMIC DISHONESTY & Non-Documented Sources: Students who utilize ideas, information, and/or phrasing from a source or sources not acknowledged in the body of the essay and which are not documented in the Works Cited bibliography—i.e., information, ideas, or phrasing which, in the judgment of the instructor, offers a significant point or presence in the student’s essay (as of the FINAL due date)—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 properly documented. Subsequent assignments are also considered a “0” (no points). The student must withdraw or be withdrawn by the instructor with a WF.

Classroom Decorum:

  • In the lab students should not have food, coffee, or soda (only bottled water).
  • Students should not spend time on computer sites the instructor has not authorized.
  • Students must write in class and show progress—ideally on the computer!
  • Students may consult with each other during class (except during timed in-class writing) as long as they don’t hinder the progress of those around them.
  • Students may wear ear buds, take an important call in the hallway, or use the restroom at their own discretion except when the instructor is explaining a detailed point to the whole class.
  • Student topic and progress is NOT private; only in-class timed essays are private in regard to other students in the class while testing is going on. The instructor is ALWAYS at liberty to share a point in one student’s work with another student or the whole class.

Students must have the instructor’s permission to leave class for the rest of the period.

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