ENGL 101: College Composition

Instructor: Rosamond (Roz) Thalken

Office: Avery 223

Email: rosamond.thalken@wsu.edu

Office Hours: M 9:00-11:00, and by appointment

Catalog Description

Course Prerequisite: Appropriate Writing Exam score or completion of ENGLISH 100 with an S grade. Designed to further develop students’ academic writing, critical thinking, rhetorical strategies, reading and library skills. Credit not granted for more than one of ENGLISH 101 and 105.

Course Description

This is an introductory course to composition and writing practices. Together, we will consider how we use writing in our everyday lives and already adjust these practices to the proper rhetorical situations. In this course we will refine the knowledge we already have on this topic and become familiarized with recognizing and using rhetorical strategies. We will focus mostly on academic writing conventions, but with an understanding that all genres and forms of writing are appropriate to different situations. We will collaborate often, especially by considering how we can help each other revise and rethink our own writing strategies. By the end of this course, we will create a full portfolio of revised writing that exemplifies knowledge gained of the portfolio outcomes: Rhetorical Awareness, Critical Thinking, Information Literacy, Composing Processes, and Conventions.

Topic: As technology has become nearly inseparable from our lives, our discussions will often consider how communication and writing practices have changed with the influence and prevalence of digital tools and networks. We will use the topic of digital technology to ground our practices in writing in a collective class subject-matter.

Required Texts

The Academic Writer (4th ed.) by Lisa Ede

Course Goals

By the end of ENGLISH 101 students will

  • Understand that critical thinking and reading are integral parts of composing processes.
  • Understand and demonstrate how rhetorical knowledge and awareness can improve communication.
  • Illustrate knowledge of information literacy in selecting and using resources in their writing.
  • Understand that composition processes require multiple drafts, revision, and reflection.
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of textual format, structure, and mechanical conventions.


All ENGLISH 101 courses are portfolio-based. The portfolio is the primary means for evaluating student work in the composition program at WSU because it honors both the processes and products of writing.

Your portfolio must include revised drafts of at least three of your four major projects; you must include the major research project, but you have choice in which two of the remaining three projects to include. Two of these projects must illustrate source-based composing. The portfolio must include final drafts as well as earlier drafts with teacher feedback. The requirements of each project included in the portfolio will be determined by the specifics outlined in each of the assignments. You may include your multimodal project in the portfolio. The portfolio must include a reflective cover letter that considers your progress in ENGLISH 101 and guides the reader in how to evaluate your portfolio.

You will receive extensive feedback on your writing from both your peers and your instructor, but you will not receive grades on the drafts of your portfolio projects. Every composition course at WSU uses this method of postponed grading in order to ensure that the focus of the course is on your writing. After I return the draft with my comments, you have the rest of the semester to revise your projects before submitting them for the portfolio. The portfolio will be evaluated holistically at the end of the semester and may be reviewed by other readers. You must turn in every project in order to pass the course. Save all drafts! 101 Policy states that I can refuse to accept a project for which you have not submitted a preliminary draft for teacher feedback.

Portfolio Outcomes

All students in ENGL 101 will be assessed on the following Outcomes:

  • Rhetorical Awareness (Meets Goals 1, 4, 5, 6)
  • Critical Thinking (Meets Goals 1, 4, 5, 6)
  • Information Literacy (Meets Goals 1, 4, 5, 6)
  • Processes of Composing (Meets Goals 1, 4, 5, 6)
  • Knowledge of Conventions (Meets Goals 1, 4, 5)

Items in parentheses indicate which of the Seven Learning Goals of the Baccalaureate are met by ENGLISH 101.

Major Assignments

Project 1: Rhetorical Analysis

  • Due September 6; Peer Review Draft Due September 4
  • Write a 2-3 page essay analyzing a music video according to its rhetorical situation.

Project 2: Synthesis

  • Due September 27; Peer Review Draft Due September 23
  • Write a 4-5 page essay synthesizing related ideas from multiple sources. Two of these articles will be assigned in class and you will choose a third related source.

Project 3: Argumentative Research Paper

  • Due November 1; Peer Review Draft Due October 28
  • Write a 6-8 page paper on a topic related to “Being Human in a Digital Age.” Use at least 4 scholarly sources and 6-7 total sources to frame and provide evidence for your essay.

Project 4: Multimodal Revision

  • Due November 13; Peer Review Draft Due November 8; Presentations on November 13, 15, and 18
  • Create a Multimodal Revision of your Argumentative Research Project through whatever mode you believe is most appropriate for a chosen argument. Write a 2-3 page accompanying reflection on the multimodal project.

Grade Distribution

60% Portfolio

10% Smaller assignments (5 short discussion posts, 1 email activity)

10% Annotated Bibliography

5% Summary and Response

10% Class Participation (attendance, in-class writing and discussion, group work, peer-review)

5% Multimodal Revision Presentation

Grading Scale

94-100%                       A

90-93%                        A-

87-89%                        B+

84-86%                        B

80-83%                        B-

77-79%                        C+

74-76%                        C

70-73%                        C-

67-69%                        D+

64-66%                        D

0-63%                         F

WSU Grading Standards

The grading for ENGL 101 follows WSU standards:

A: Outstanding achievement-awarded only for the highest accomplishment

B: Praiseworthy performance-above average in most respects

C: Satisfactory performance-work meets the standards for competency

D: Minimally passing-effort and achievement less than satisfactory.

Midterm Grades

Due to the nature of the portfolio system, which emphasizes process over product, students who are making satisfactory progress in the class (i.e., turning in assignments on time, meeting basic assignment requirements, attending class regularly, etc.) will receive a midterm grade of “X,” which indicates that coursework is in progress. Students who are not making satisfactory progress will receive a grade of C- or below as a warning and are strongly encouraged to meet with their instructor.  Students who belong to an organization that requires proof of satisfactory progress (not a grade) in writing may request that their instructor sign a Progress Report Form.

Project Submission Guidelines

As I have given you the course schedule on the first day of class, I expect all work to be turned into Blackboard on its assigned due date. I will accept submissions up to a week late, but expect you to communicate with me directly if you cannot meet a deadline. To pass this class, all major writing projects must be submitted to me before the end of the semester.

Instructor Communication

For simple questions, please reach me at my WSU email and expect to hear back immediately between the hours of 8 am – 5 p.m. on weekdays. I will try to respond outside of those hours and during the weekend, but do not expect immediate responses. Plan to check your emails most every weekday (this is a good habit, in general) just in case I send reminders or new information over email. For any extensive discussions or questions about the course, please attend my office hours or set up an appointment to meet in-person.

Attendance Policy

Attendance in this class is vital for your success. This course is collaborative in nature and requires extensive in-class work. Therefore, consistent attendance is integral to your learning. As your instructor, I want you to attend class and succeed. As students, you are responsible for communicating with me when you are absent; you are also responsible for the missed material (see course Make-Up policy).

Attendance will be taken daily to encourage regular attendance.  After two total weeks of absences, the following attendance penalty will apply:

For students who miss seven (7) or more total classes, any overall course grade above a C will automatically decrease to a final grade of C.  Final grades of C- or below are still possible.

 Regardless of the number of absences, students are responsible for meeting the English 101 Portfolio Outcomes. The daily course work and in-class activities directly support these Outcomes. Therefore, missing key course material presented in class due to excessive absences may further reduce a student’s final grade, even after the attendance penalty is applied. This policy does not distinguish between “excused” and “unexcused” absences. Per the WSU Academic Regulations, absences for military service or Access Center accommodations are considered separately. All other absences, including University Excused Absences, count toward the total number of absences. Students with multiple and/or extended absences should communicate with the instructor as soon as possible.

Note: Students are required to turn in all major assignments and the Final Portfolio in accordance with the instructor’s Late Work policy in order to pass the class.  Students who do not turn in one or more major projects will fail the course, regardless of attendance.

 Make-Up Work

If you are unable to attend class or miss an in-class graded assignment, please communicate with me immediately. I generally will not allow you to make up in-class work, but I understand that unexpected events happen and that personal needs might outweigh academic needs. By emailing me or working with me at my office hours, we can collaboratively determine a plan to make up the grade.

Name/Pronoun Syllabus Statement

I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate/preferred name or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this preference early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records.

 Personal Communication Devices/Laptops

I allow personal computers or digital readers in my class, but they must be used for course purposes. If you have an emergency and need to make a call, please quietly excuse yourself from class.

Academic Integrity

The Council of Writing Program Administrators (CWPA) states that “In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledg­ing its source.” The WSU Academic Integrity Policy (based on State of Washington Code) expands the CWPA definition of plagiarism as well as explaining other categories of academic misconduct. As a WSU student, you are bound by these policies and are responsible for being aware of and abiding by them. Students who commit intentional acts of plagiarism will be reported to the Assistant Director of Composition and the Office of the Dean of Students and will fail the class.

Reasonable Accommodations

Students with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodations are available for students with documented disabilities or chronic medical conditions. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please visit the Access Center website to follow published procedures to request accommodations: http://www.accesscenter.wsu.edu. Students may also either call or visit the Access Center in person to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. Location: Washington Building 217; Phone: 509-335-3417. All disability related accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center. Students with approved accommodations are strongly encouraged to visit with instructors early in the semester during office hours to discuss logistics.

WSU Safety Statement

Classroom and campus safety are of paramount importance at Washington State University, and are the shared responsibility of the entire campus population. WSU urges students to follow the “Alert, Assess, Act,” protocol for all types of emergencies and the “Run, Hide, Fight” response for an active shooter incident. Remain ALERT (through direct observation or emergency notification), ASSESS your specific situation, and ACT in the most appropriate way to assure your own safety (and the safety of others if you are able).

Please sign up for emergency alerts on your account at MyWSU. For more information on this subject, campus safety, and related topics, please view the FBI’s Run, Hide, Fight video and visit the WSU safety portal.

Office of Equal Opportunity Syllabus Statement

Discrimination, including discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct (including stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual violence) is prohibited at WSU (See WSU Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct (Executive Policy 15) and WSU Standards of Conduct for Students).

If you feel you have experienced or have witnessed discriminatory conduct, you can contact the WSU Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) and/or the WSU Title IX Coordinator at 509-335-8288 to discuss resources, including confidential resources, and reporting options. (Visit oeo.wsu.edu for more information).

Most WSU employees, including faculty, who have information regarding sexual harassment or sexual misconduct are required to report the information to OEO or a designated Title IX Coordinator or Liaison. (Visit oeo.wsu.edu/reporting-requirements for more info).

Additional Resources

Avery Microcomputer Lab (AML)

All English 101 students have access to the services and facilities of the AML (Avery 101, 103, & 105), including free printing.

Writing Center

The Writing Center provides free, walk-in peer consultation services.  Use of the Writing Center is strongly encouraged. Online tutoring is available through eTutoring.org.


A one-credit writing workshop. Beginning the 3rd week of classes, students and a facilitator meet in small groups once a week to revise projects for English 101 or any other course. Contact The Writing Program for more information.

Student Wellbeing

Counseling and Psychological Services

If a student poses an immediate threat to self or others, call 911. If you are in crisis, come in to Counseling and Psychological Services (Washington Building, Room 302) or call 509-335-4511. After hours, weekends and holidays call 509-335-2159 for evening and weekend crisis services. https://counsel.wsu.edu/

Sex and Gender Based Violence

WSU is committed to ending sex and gender-based violence on our campus. We are here to listen and support you. Do not hesitate to reach out. If you have any questions, please contact the Office for Equal Opportunity at 509-335-8288, stop by our office in the French Administration Building, Room 225, or email us at oeo@wsu.edu.

Food Help: Women’s Resource Center

The Women’s Resource Center provides gently used clothing for children and feminine hygiene products, and has a small food pantry located in Rosario’s Place. The food pantry is open 24/7 and is located in Wilson-Short Hall. Food is available for any WSU student. https://women.wsu.edu/resources/food-pantry/