Prince George’s Community College

English 1100-LD01: Composition II

Writing About Issues and Ideas

Spring 2011


Professor Anthony Fulton


Marlboro Hall 3095

Office Hours

MW 3:30-5:00;

F 1:00-3:00

and by appointment

Office Phone

(301) 322-0585



Course Description

EGL 1100 focuses on reading, analyzing, and writing about contemporary American issues while demonstrating clear reasoning and persuasive writing skills.  A continuation and extension of the rhetorical principles and composition skills addressed in EGL 1010, this course aims to help students develop and sharpen their critical thinking and writing skills. Placing emphasis on evidence-based analysis, evaluation, interpretation, and persuasive presentation of conclusions, this course will explore a wide range of contemporary issues and controversial topics, including (but certainly not limited to) crime, political rhetoric and freedom of speech, online social networking, and cultural stereotypes in popular media. This course is ideal for students who are thinking about careers in political science, criminal justice, journalism, government, and law, as well as for students who are interested in improving their argumentation skills.


Prerequisite:  Grade of a “C” or higher in EGL 1010.


Expected Course Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

·         Summarize an argument, including its principal claim and supporting evidence and reasons

·         Analyze the evidence and reasons supporting an argument

·         Evaluate the soundness of the evidence and reasons supporting an argument, including identifying fallacies in reasoning

·         Develop clearly defined claims for various types of arguments (such as definition, casual, resemblance, evaluation/value, and proposal/policy arguments

·         Support an argument with sound evidence and reasons

·         Integrate researched material appropriately in support of a clearly defined claim, correctly using a standard documentation format such as MLA or APA

·         Write essays demonstrating the abilities listed above, using a clear thesis, clear topic sentences, well-organized and well-developed paragraphs, clear sentences, and conventional grammar and punctuation


Required Text


Lunsford, Andrea, John J. Ruszkiewicz, and Keith Walters. Everything’s an Argument (Without Readings).

5th ed. Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s, 2010.


Recommended Text


Hacker, Diana. Rules for Writers. 6th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2009.

Or, any writing handbook used in EGL 1010



This course is divided into four units. Within each unit, students will complete a Major Writing Project, composing multiple drafts and receiving feedback from their peers and myself before formally submitting it for a grade. After I return a Major Writing Project with a grade, students can choose to revise and resubmit it, along with a reflective memo that discusses the changes made. The first two Major Writing Projects for this class will focus on analyzing the persuasiveness of various types of arguments, using assigned questions and course readings. Through these projects and the response essays, we will explore a number of broad themes and issues. For the final two Major Writing Projects, students will focus on a specific problem that is related to one of these broad themes and issues and then investigate that problem through a wide range of writing and research activities. These final projects are designed so that students can focus on an issue that relates to their major or is a topic that interests them.


Major Writing Projects

Unit 1

Rhetorical Appeals Analysis

Students will analyze how effectively a speaker utilizes various rhetorical appeals in a political speech

Unit 2

Visual Argument Evaluation

Students will write a professional report, analyzing the persuasiveness of a magazine advertisement

Unit 3

Problem Description and Analysis

Students will narrow in on a specific societal problem related to one of the issues discussed in class and argue why this problem must be addressed

Unit 4

Problem/Solution Essay

Focusing on the problem developed in the Unit 3 paper, students will propose a viable yet creative solution to that problem


Response Papers

During the semester, students will compose five short response papers to explore and debate various contemporary issues. In these short (1-2 pages) papers, students will respond to specific questions generated during class discussions. As this is a course on writing about issues and ideas, these response papers will give students a chance to explore more emergent themes and issues and to begin developing a topic for the later projects. While not as formal as the Major Writing Projects, students are expected to provide detailed responses. Each response paper will be worth 20 points for a total of 100 points. Because the purpose of these short assignments is to generate ideas for the larger projects, students will not have the opportunity to revise these essays.


In-Class Writing/Homework/Class Participation

In addition to the essays described above, students are expected to contribute to class discussions and participate in daily activities, such as peer reviews and small group work. Students will regularly compose short, preliminary texts in class and outside of class to prepare them for the Major Writing Projects. These short assignments will include responses to readings, practice with invention and style, peer responses, and other forms of writing and research that exercise students’ critical reading and writing abilities. Unless otherwise noted, most of these informal exercises will be graded on a checkmark system: Check=5 points, Check Minus=2.5 points, Minus=0 points, and the ever elusive Check Plus=6 points.


Grade Breakdown

Unit 1: Rhetorical Appeals Analysis                                        15%

Unit 2: Visual Argument Evaluation                                        15%

Unit 3: Problem Description and Analysis                               15%

Unit 4: Problem/Solution Essay                                                           20%

Response Papers (5)                                                                15%

In-Class Writing/Homework/Class Participation                                   20%



Plagiarism Statement

Plagiarism is using someone else's work (for instance, information from a book, a magazine, a newspaper, or another student's essay) without giving credit to the original source. Credit to the source must be given in either the text of the paper or in a footnote or endnote. There are five basic forms of plagiarism:


1.      Copying a source word for word without using quotation marks and without identifying the source

2.      Extensive borrowing of words and phrases from a source without using quotation marks and without identifying the sources.

3.      Too close paraphrasing.

4.      Using others’ ideas or information (including graphics, statistics, observations, or research data and findings) without giving credit to the source in the text of your paper in a footnote or endnote.

5.      Submitting the work of someone else as your own.

Be advised, these forms of plagiarism can be carried out both intentionally and unintentionally. In this class, plagiarism issues will be handled on a case-by-case basis. However, plagiarism in any form is dishonest and carries severe academic penalties, which can include receiving an “F” for an assignment, failing the course, having the incident reported to the Office of the Vice President for Student Services for disciplinary action, and being suspended from the college.


Class Attendance, Tardiness, and Late Work

Because this is an activity-based writing course, it is important that all students come to class on time, ready to participate. Please note that students who are late 10 minutes or more to class will be marked absent and will not receive credit for that day’s work. In terms of attendance, unexcused absences totaling 10 or more class meetings (roughly 25% of the semester) will result in an automatic failure for the course. Students who do accumulate this many absences should consider dropping the course. If you are forced to miss a class, please contact me in advance to arrange submission of any projects prior to your absence. In the event of a family or personal emergency, please contact me as soon as possible. I will require official written documentation, which will vary on a case-by-case basis, to excuse you from class. Once documentation is submitted and approved, we will meet to talk about making up any missed work as a result of any excused absences.


Missed homework, quizzes, and in-class writing due to unexcused absences cannot be made up. For the Major Writing Projects and response papers, five points (roughly a half-letter grade) will be deducted for every class day that a project is late. Major Writing Projects and response papers submitted after the class period in which they are due will be considered late.


“Q” Grades

A “Q” grade is assigned to students who never attended the course or ceased attending during the first part of the semester. Faculty are required to report the date of last attendance for each student receiving Q or F grade(s) in order for the college to report this date to a variety of federal agencies as mandated. The date of last attendance is considered the date of the student’s termination from the course, regardless of the date of grade submission. Early termination from a course may result in reduction in student loans and financial aid and may require the student to reimburse funds to the funding agency.


Classroom Conduct

Throughout the semester, we will be discussing many controversial and challenging issues. While lively and healthy class debates are certainly encouraged, students must respect each other’s comments, beliefs, and opinions; disparaging comments aimed towards another student or myself during class discussions or in writing will not be tolerated. Other forms of disruptive behavior, including (but certainly not limited to) disrespectful treatment of instructor or peers, repeated tardiness, and actions that cause others to feel threatened, will also not be tolerated. Disruptive students will be asked to leave class and, in certain cases, could even face disciplinary action, which includes suspension from the college. Students barred from class for disruptive behavior will receive a zero for all missed work, and each missed class day will count as an unexcused absence. 


Please put away all cell phones, pagers, iPods, and other electronic devices prior to the beginning of class, and place all cell phones and pagers on vibrate. You may not answer calls or text during class or leave the room during class to take calls or respond to texts. Failure to adhere to this policy will result in receiving a zero for the day’s work and being asked to leave class for that day. For repeat offenses, you will receive a zero for the entire week. If you are experiencing a family or personal emergency that requires you to leave your phone turned on, please alert me before class, and we will discuss the issue.


Disability Support Services

Students requesting academic accommodations should contact the Disability Support Services Office (B-124) or call (301) 322-0122 to establish eligibility for services and accommodations. Students with a documented physical or learning disability should discuss the matter privately with me at the beginning of the semester to discuss arrangements.