Sample Syllabus — Single-authored ENG-W131ML

ENGLISH W131ML: Elementary Composition Multilingual

WH 203

Fall 2014

Instructor information

Name Katherine Blake

Office Hours

235 Weatherly

M 2:30-4:30; F 11-12 (Location TBA)


Course description and goals

ENG W131 Multilingual is designed to introduce you to college-level reading, writing and research as those are conducted at an American university. In this course, you will investigate issues critically, fully, and evenhandedly. Most of the major assignnments will demand that you inquire deeply into an issue, articulate a research question from that inquiry, and develop an informed and complex response to that question. What this means as a practical matter is that in this class you will practice ways of reading, investigating, reasoning, questioning, and inventing ideas–the work of a university. We will look at how writing changes when used for different purposes, and how genres of academic writing are shaped for different audiences and disciplinary contexts. Because this is a section designed for multilingual writers and non-native speakers of English, we will also spend time studying relevant sentence-level and rhetorical elements of academic writing that might be less familiar to you if are unfamiliar with the types of discourse that go on in western research universities.

Required materials

  • Reading Critically, Writing Well, by Axelrod and Cooper, 10th Edition (TIS, IU Bookstore, and online)
  • Additional handouts and readings in Oncourse (you must print and bring to class)
  • Access to the following software: Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat Reader, a Web browser, and a working Indiana University e-mail account (available on any STC computer across campus). Word, Acrobat, and browsers are available at
  • Access to a program called “Marca,” available for $15 at


For this course you will complete three major papers in a sequenced writing project based on an idea that you identify and develop into a critical argument. For all major papers, you will write two complete drafts, receiving feedback from me and sometimes from your peers on the first draft. Additionally, you will write four shorter assignments that focus on fostering the abilities you need to complete the major assignments. Your final grade in the course will reflect the following weighting schema:

Short Paper 1: 5%

Essay 1: 15%

Short Paper 2: 5%

Short Paper 3: 10%

Essay 2: 20%

Short Paper 4: 10%

Essay 3: 25%

Homework: 10%

Evaluation and grading SCALE

You should feel free to meet with me at any time if you are unsure of your performance or your grade. Each assignment has specific evaluation criteria, but generally speaking, your projects will be evaluated on the basis of content and argument, development of ideas, use of sources, organization and coherence, language and vocabulary, and grammatical and stylistic conventions. You must complete both drafts of each major paper in order to receive full credit for the assignment. Below you will find the grades available to you and their numerical equivalents:

A+, A                                             4.0

A-                                                   3.7

B+                                                 3.3

B                                                    3.0

B-                                                  2.7

C+                                                 2.3

C                                                    2.0

C-                                                   1.7

D+                                                 1.3

D                                                    1.0

D-                                                  .7

The University’s grading policies are spelled out clearly in


Classes like ENG W131 are most successful when we build intellectual community together. Because this class is often conducted like a workshop rather than a lecture, and because we depend upon each other to improve our writing, attendance is required at all class sessions and conferences. The standard attendance policy for ENG W131 allows 3 absences over the semester; do not feel obliged to use them merely because you can. More than 3 absences will result in your final grade being reduced by 1/3 of a letter grade for each additional absence (for example, from B to B-). Exceptions to this policy include military duty, religious holidays, or extended hospitalization. If you know that you will be missing class for reasons having to do with the practice of your religion, you must submit a form to me by the second week of the semester. See: If you have excused absences, I will work to assist you in catching up in the class; otherwise, if you miss class, you are responsible for acquiring notes, handouts, etc

Late work

I do not accept late essays; I do, however, have an extension policy. You may take one 3-day extension for a major paper (final, not a draft) if you give me 24 hours notice.

Oncourse & marca

In order to turn in assignments, you will need access to Oncourse and MARCA. Access oncourse at and Marca at Marca is a third-party website that makes it possible your peers and I to edit your work over the web. It will enable you to complete peer review remotely, and it will allow you to keep your peers’ comments and mine all in the same place. On MARCA you will submit reading and reflection journals, first, second, and final drafts, complete peer review, and view my comments on your graded essays. Visit “Annoucements” on oncourse to view detailed instructions for signing up for Marca.

Preparation and participation

We will spend our class sessions discussing, analyzing, and revising writing or work-shopping as we all move through various stages of the writing process. You will often work in groups, read each other’s drafts, and be expected to speak in class. Therefore, your improvement as a writer depends greatly on the quality of your preparation and participation–and that of your classmates. To prepare for class, please bring (unless otherwise instructed) your textbook, along with any materials needed for that day’s activity. To prepare for conferences, you should review your peer workshop comments and be ready to discuss what you think are the strong and weak points of your paper.

Shared/common language

While most of us are multilingual in this class, the medium of instruction is in English, for several reasons. First, you have few opportunities outside of this class to engage in focused listening, writing, and speaking in English; second, we must speak a common language so that none of us is excluded from the conversations that make up the typical class meeting.

Technology Use in the Classroom

No laptops in class; you can use your cellphone to translate. If you abuse this privilege, I’ll count you absent for the day.

Plagiarism and academic integrity

At IUB, plagiarism is considered a violation of academic integrity and can result in automatic failure of the course (please see “Part II: Responsibilities” of the Code of Student Conduct for more information: Plagiarism literally means “the act of kidnapping” and occurs when you represent someone else’s work as your own work in the following ways:

  • having someone write your paper for you or turning in someone else’s work
  • purchasing someone else’s work and using it as your own
  • copying and pasting published information into your paper without attribution
  • using sources deliberately without proper attribution

In this class, using any portion of one’s own work from another course without permission from me will be considered a breach of academic integrity, and I will not accept or grade the paper.

Writing tutorial services

In addition to meeting with me in your one-on-one conferences, I highly recommend that you visit Writing Tutorial Services (WTS, pronounced “wits”), is located in the Wells Library. WTS is open Monday-Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. [This may be subject to change.] You can make an appointment by calling 855-6738 or by walking in; however, it is best to call in advance because the tutorial schedule fills up quickly. WTS tutors are sympathetic and expert readers; in addition, they know a good deal about W131ML and the demands of writing in a second language. One of the local myths about WTS is that “they don’t help with grammar.” Untrue. You should not expect WTS tutors to edit or proofread your papers for you, but if you specifically request help in reducing your sentence-level errors, they will be happy to do that.

Support services

Disability Services and The Adaptive Technologies divisions of the Office of Student Affairs can arrange for assistance, auxiliary aids, or related services if you think a temporary or permanent disability will prevent you from being a full participant in the class. Contact them at or 855-7578 with any individual concerns. Students with special needs must be registered with Disability Services before classroom accommodations can be provided.

Class schedule

*this schedule may change during the semester. please check oncourse for updates.

Week 1

in class/topic

due today

M 8/25

Course introduction

W 8/27

Intro to academic writing

Axelrod & Cooper 1-9; 175-178

F 8/29

Assign Short Paper #1 Emily Nussbaum’s “Say Everything” (oncourse)
Week 2

in class/topic

due today

M 9/1

Labor Day – NO CLASS

W 9/3

Reading curiously and thinking rhetorically; Identifying an author’s argument


Daniel J. Solove’s “Speech, Privacy, and Reputation” (oncourse)

F 9/5

Summary A&C 86-87; 518-521 (Summarizing and paraphrasing)
Week 3

in class/topic

due today

M 9/8

Annotating; Thinking critically / rhetorically

Short Paper #1 (Summary) DUE

W 9/10

Discussion of Monshi & Zieglmayer

Assign short paper #2

Bardia Monshi and Verena Zieglmayer “The Problem of Privacy in Transcultural Research” (oncourse, annotated)

F 9/12

Introduction to explanatory writing

Reread Monshi & Zieglmayer

A&C 178-191 (Explaining concepts)

Week 4

in class/topic

due today

M 9/15

MLA style; Quoting; Writing with effective “scaffolding” (transitions, attributive tags, and topic sentences) A&C 230-240; 569-580 (A guide to explaining concepts & using sources)

W 9/17

Assign Essay #1; Peer review short paper 2 Short Paper #2(Explain a concept) Rough Draft DUE

F 9/19

Introduction to synthesis

Short Paper #2 DUE
Week 5

in class/topic

due today

M 9/22

Informative synthesis

Informative synthesis worksheet & thesis statement

Wilhoit “Informative Synthesis” (oncourse)

W 9/24

Review of readings; making a claim A&C 525-537 (Looking for patterns of opposition, comparing and contrasting related readings, and evaluating the logic of an argument)

F 9/26

Comparing & contrasting

A&C 520-524 (Synthesizing & exploring the significance of figurative language)-


in class/topic

due today

M 9/29

Peer Review

Essay #1 (Informative synthesis) Rough Draft DUE

W 10/1


F 10/3


Week 7

in class/topic

due today

M 10/6

Watch Mean Girls

Essay 1 Final Draft DUE

W 10/8

Watch Mean Girls

F 10/10

Fall Break – NO CLASS









Week 8

in class/topic

due today

M 10/13

Introduction to visual analysis

A&C 609-617 (Strategies for analyzing visuals)

W 10/15

Assign Short Paper #3 Henry Giroux “Children’s Culture and Disney’s Animated Films” 83-98 (oncourse)

F 10/17

Introduce “expository” writing Giroux, 99-114

Annotations for Giroux

Selection of text for Essay 2

Week 9

in class/topic

due today

M 10/20

Discuss Sobchack; Assign Essay 2 Vivian Sobchack “The Postmorbid Condition”

Annotations for Sobchack

W 10/22

Evaluating sources Short paper #3 rough draft DUE

F 10/24

Evaluating sources

Short Paper #3 (Visual analysis) DUE


Week 10

in class/topic

due today

M 10/27

Discuss Ray Robert B. Ray “The Thematic Paradigm” pp. 398-401 (oncourse)

W 10/29

Discuss ray Ray pp. 401-404

Annotations for Ray

F 10/31

Essay 2 workshop Outline for Essay 2



in class/topic

due today

M 11/3

Peer review Essay 2 (Visual analysis with evidence) Rough Draft DUE

W 11/5


F 11/7



Week 12

in class/topic

due today

M 11/10

Introduction to argumentative synthesis

Essay 2 Final Draft DUE

W 11/12

Persuasion & argument; claims versus opinions A&C 312-324 (Arguing for a position)

F 11/14

Meet in computer lab; Assign short paper 4

Finding sources worksheet


Week 13

in class/topic

due today

M 11/17

Discuss Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense” pp. 362-365 (oncourse)

W 11/19


“On truth” 366-369

F 11/21

Nietzsche; Assign Essay 3

“On truth” 369-371

Short Paper #4 DUE (Abstract + Annotated bibliography)


in class/topic

due today

M 11/24-F 11/28

Thanksgiving Break – NO CLASS



in class/topic

due today

M 12/1

Peer Review Outline

Outline Essay 3

W 12/3

Peer Review #1

Essay 3 (Argumentative Synthesis) Rough Draft DUE

F 12/5

Peer Review #2

Essay 3 Rough draft #2 DUE


in class/topic

due today

M 12/8


W 12/10


F 12/12


Essay 3 Final draft DUE

F 12/9