What is this course about?

This English 1102 course provides guidance and opportunity as you practice constructing persuasive claims based on thoughtfully considered, detailed evidence and reasoning. “Like English 1101, this course focuses on methods of or­ganization, analysis, and research skills, but all with the goal of increasing your ability to build scholarly arguments that synthesize your ideas with the work of other academics.” This semester, we will ask you to focus on connection and synthesis, employing your deeply informed imagination to make claims about the particular meaningfulness and value of a major cultural artifact: the AIDS memorial quilt, cultivated and managed by the NAMES Project Foundation headquartered here in Atlanta.

Throughout the semester we will choose sections of the quilt to focus discussions and practice regarding matters of research and composition. This work will include primary and secondary research as we conduct detailed observations, produce thick descriptions of material cultural artifacts, actively read scholarly and popular works and put the ideas explored in those works in dialogue with each other and with the artifacts we are exploring. Our writing will help us shape the way we, and our audiences, think about the quilt’s significance in American and global history and contemporary life.

As we make the physical material of the AIDS quilt central to our attention and study this semester, this course also asks us to bring our attention to the digital technologies that shape the way we think about and present our thinking about this material. We will use the digital space of the WordPress blog to compose and organize our thinking and research (see Technology Statement). And we will read scholarship devoted to questioning the digital space in terms of privacy, personal and professional reputation, intellectual property, public speech, civility, and rhetorical ethics. Our intention is that the course encourages you to cultivate an awareness of the role technology plays in shaping who we are as individuals, writers, and researchers.

Over the course of the semester, in the reading responses, multimedia annotated bibliographies, primary source descriptions, and final analysis essay, students will examine the AIDS Quilt as a historical artifact in which part of the US response to the ongoing public health crisis of AIDS/HIV is documented and embodied. Working together, we will collaboratively build an online exhibit that begins to tell that history for a public audience.

You will learn to analyze how rhetorical artifacts such as the AIDS Quilt employ the five rhetorical modes—linguistic, aural, visual, spatial, and gestural—to communicate information about their purposes, creators, users, and the social and historical context from which they emerge and with which they engage. You will also learn how to use these five modes in your own academic research and composition process. Think of everything we do in this course—reading, research, writing, documenting, note-taking, etc.—as the multiple stages and processes in a single, semester-long project, culminating in the analysis essay and contributing to a collaborative archive of information about the AIDS Quilt and how AIDS/HIV has affected various communities and individual lives.

While the course will build on the writing proficiencies, reading skills, and critical thinking skills you have acquired in your previous English courses, this is a composition class, where you will practice the fundamentals of rhetoric, academic research methods, and multimodal composition. It incorporates work with primary and secondary sources in addition to expository, persuasive, and argumentative techniques. A passing grade is C. Projects will integrate a focus on academic writing with multimodal composition strategies designed to prepare students for working with and creating multimedia texts.

By the end of this course, students will be able to: Analyze, evaluate, document, and draw inferences from various sources; identify, select, and analyze appropriate research methods, research questions, and evidence for a specific rhetorical situation; use argumentative strategies and genres in order to engage various audiences; integrate others’ ideas with their own; use grammatical, stylistic, and mechanical formats and conventions appropriate for a variety of audiences; critique their own and others’ work in written and oral formats; produce well-reasoned, argumentative essays demonstrating rhetorical engagement; and reflect on what contributed to their writing process and evaluate their own work.

What will we be doing and how will my grade be calculated?

This course has five required major projects, each of which is a stage in a course-long project to document and analyze sections of the AIDS Quilt:

  • Reading Responses (2)
  • Annotated Bibliographies (10)
  • Primary Source Descriptions (2)
  • Analysis Essay
  • Participation

This course awards both quantity and quality if work by assessing via points instead of letter grades. The only letter grade you will receive this semester is the final grade. These final grades will be assigned along these lines:

If you earn…

2200 points = C

3700 points – C+

4600 points – B-

5355 points = B

5525 points – B+

5750 points – A-

5985 points = A

(exceptional, above-and-beyond production = A+)

So how do I earn points during the semester?

You will earn points for just about everything you do in this course—attending class, completing in-class work, studying, major projects, contributing material to our collaborative archive about the AIDS Quilt, etc., etc. You earn points on major projects as follows:

Reading Responses (2, 50-250 points each, 100-500 points total)

Annotated Bibliographies (2, 5 entries=100-500 points, 10 entries=200-1000 points, 300-1500 points total)

Primary Source Descriptions (2, 250-500 points each, 500-1000 points total)

Analysis Essay (3 stages, Complete draft=500-1500 points, Poster presentation=250-1000 points, Revised final draft=250-1000, 1000-3500 points total)

General Participation: 300-???

You can only lose points by missing class (100 points per absence w/o doctor’s note), or coming to class late or unprepared. At the end of the course, if you have completed all five of the major projects (reading responses, annotated bibliographies, primary source descriptions, and primary source analysis), your letter grade will be assigned based on the points you’ve earned. In order to pass the course, you must complete all five of the major projects. FAILURE TO COMPLETE ANY OF THE MAJOR PROJECTS WILL RESULT IN AN AUTOMATIC GRADE OF “D” or lower MEANING THAT YOU WILL HAVE TO RETAKE THE CLASS.

If you complete and earn the minimum points for all of the major projects, complete all of the class prep, and attend every class, you will earn at least 2,200 points and a grade of “C.” If you complete all of the major projects and class prep, and accrue at least 5,355 points you will automatically receive a “B.” Once you complete all of the major projects and class prep, and accrue 5,985 points, you will automatically receive an A in the course!!!

Your points will be recorded on Gradian and your feedback in a Google doc, which will be shared with you and available for you to view at any time (see Technology Statement).

In general, the more you put into the course, the more you will get out of it—with regard to both your learning and your grade.


English 1102, section 282

Spring 2018 | Classroom South, room 310

Tuesday/Thursday 2:30-3:45

Instructor: PD Arrington (Mrs. A)

Contact: parrington2@gsu.edu

Office hours: Tuesdays/Thursdays 1:00-2:15 pm, by appointment

I’m able to meet via WebEx or Google Hangout if you can not be on campus

Catalog Course Description Prerequisite: grade of C or higher in English 1101. This course is designed to develop writing skills beyond the levels of proficiency required by English 1101. It stresses critical reading and writing and incorporates several research methods; readings will be drawn from a wide variety of texts. A passing grade is C. Previous sections of English 1102 have focused in more depth on argumentative writing, from civic writing and political arguments to literary response and essays. Instructors have introduced students to the study of argument and rhetorical theories by using texts that either, 1) focus on rhetorical theory, types of argument, and a variety of nonfiction essays, or 2) teach students to create arguments about topics that draw from literature, or both. In 1102, we want students to try out a variety of arguments that draw on different types of sources as evidence. Although we have introduced them to research and library work in English 1101, we offer additional research instruction and guidance for particular assignments. English 1102 offers more practice writing from sources, including summary and paraphrase, quoting and citing sources, evaluating and drawing conclusions from sources, synthesizing sources, and other techniques for researched writing. Students learn more sophisticated argumentative strategies, including developing appeals to fact or reason, values, character, and emotion; building credibility; developing effective reasons; using appropriate evidence; and analyzing and developing various types of argument. We also find that students continue to need help with academic usage and structures. However, English 1102 offers more attention to style and usage as rhetorical strategies. Rhetorical strategies covered in English 1101 become practical considerations for English 1102.

Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

Georgia State University complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Students who wish to request accommodation for a disability may do so by registering with the Office of Disability Services. Students may only be accommodated upon issuance by the Office of Disability Services of a signed Accommodation Plan and are responsible for providing a copy of that plan to instructors of all classes in which accommodations are sought. According to the ADA (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:s3406enr.txt.pdf): ‘‘SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF DISABILITY. ‘‘As used in this Act: ‘‘(1) DISABILITY.—The term ‘disability’ means, with respect to an individual— ‘‘(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual…major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working. ‘‘(B) MAJOR BODILY FUNCTIONS.—For purposes of paragraph (1), a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze, evaluate, document, and draw inferences from various sources.
  • Identify, select, and analyze appropriate research methods, research questions, and evidence for a specific rhetorical situation.
  • Use argumentative strategies and genres in order to engage various audiences.
  • Integrate others’ ideas with their own.
  • Use grammatical, stylistic, and mechanical formats and conventions appropriate for a variety of audiences.
  • Critique their own and others’ work in written and oral formats.
  • Produce well-reasoned, argumentative essays demonstrating rhetorical engagement.
  • Reflect on what contributed to their writing process and evaluate their own work.
  • Compose in and combine all five representational modes – linguistic, visual, aural, gestural, and spatial.
  • Articulate how multimodal compositions (either their own work, or work authored by others) respond to the rhetorical situations in which they are embedded, and in doing so, demonstrate an understanding of key concepts and vocabulary associated with each of the five representational modes (linguistic, visual, aural, gestural, and spatial).
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how technologies influence rhetorical situations in a variety of ways, and use technologies intentionally to craft more effective academic arguments.




-100 points per unexcused absence.

Students are expected to adhere to the Georgia State University student code of conduct. This includes the university attendance policy. Excused absences are limited to university-sponsored events where you are representing GSU in an official capacity, religious holidays, and legal obligations such as jury duty or military service days.

In the event of extended illness or family emergency, I will consider requests for individual exemption from the general attendance policy on a case by case basis.

Academic Honesty/Plagiarism

The Department of English expects all students to adhere to the university’s Code of Student Conduct, especially as it pertains to plagiarism, cheating, multiple submissions, and academic honesty. Please refer to the Policy on Academic Honesty (Section 409 of the Faculty Handbook). Penalty for violation of this policy will result in a zero for the assignment, possible failure of the course, and, in some cases, suspension or expulsion. Georgia State University defines plagiarism as . . . “ . . . any paraphrasing or summarizing of the works of another person without acknowledgment, including the submitting of another student’s work as one’s own . . . [It] frequently involves a failure to acknowledge in the text . . . the quotation of paragraphs, sentences, or even phrases written by someone else.” At GSU, “the student is responsible for understanding the legitimate use of sources . . . and the consequences of violating this responsibility.” (For the university’s policies, see in the student catalog, “Academic Honesty,”http://www2.gsu.edu/~catalogs/2010-2011/undergraduate/1300/1380_academic_honesty.htm)

Learning Technology

If you have them, you may bring laptops or mobile computing devices to class for use in in-class activities. Students should use these devices responsibly for class-related work. If they become a distraction for you, me, or other students in the class, I will ask you to put them away. Occasionally I will will request a device-free learning environment for a discussion or learning activity, and students are expected to honor such requests.

Language Conventions

This course presumes that because you were exempt from or passed English 1101, you have a basic knowledge of standard American English, including but not limited to variations in sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, pronoun-antecedent agreement, parallel structure, dangling modifiers, grammatical expletives, possessives and plurals, punctuation, capitalization, word choice, and various other grammatical and mechanical problems. If you are someone for whom this knowledge and practice are a struggle, this course gives you time to improve. If you do not, your grades will be severely affected. You have resources available at GSU to help you improve your knowledge. In the Writing Studio (http://www.writingstudio.gsu.edu/) you can work one-on-one, in private, with a tutor to improve. Writing Studio tutors can also help you to help you refine already strong competence, moving from good to excellent. The Purdue OWL (https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/) has resources to assist you with identifying and correcting common grammar, punctuation, and usage errors, and to help you with formatting citations and bibliographies.

For English Majors

The English department at GSU requires an exit portfolio of all students graduating with a degree in English. Ideally, students should work on this every semester, selecting 1-2 papers from each course and revising them, with direction from faculty members. The portfolio includes revised work and a reflective essay about what you’ve learned. Each concentration (literature, creative writing, rhetoric/composition, and secondary education) within the major may have specific items to place in the portfolio, so be sure to check booklet located next to door of the front office of the English Department. Senior Portfolio due dates are published in the booklets or you may contact an advisor or Dr. Dobranski, Director of Undergraduate Studies. See the English office for additional information.

Receiving a Grade of Incomplete

In order to receive an incomplete, a student must inform the instructor, either in person or in writing, of his/her inability (non-academic reasons) to complete the requirements of the course. Incompletes will be assigned at the instructor’s discretion and the terms for removal of the “I” are dictated by the instructor. A grade of incomplete will only be considered for students who are a) passing the course with a C or better, b) present a legitimate, non-academic reason to the instructor, and c) have only one major assignment left to finish. Note: Only under the most immediate and severe circumstances will I consider giving an Incomplete for this course. If such circumstances occur I will need a detailed, specific plan for when, how, where, and with whom the student will complete the work.

Student Evaluation of Instructor

Your constructive assessment of this course plays an indispensable role in shaping education at Georgia State. Upon completing the course, please take time to fill out the online course evaluation.

What texts and other resources will I need?

In all of my classes, I make every effort to keep text and materials costs under $75. Unless otherwise noted below, I expect students will have access to all required texts and resources from the first day of class. Students should not expect to “get by” without reading assigned texts. Unlike some lecture classes, where the lecture is a review of assigned reading, this is a seminar course in which the assigned reading is preparation for a discussion or application of the information and ideas presented in the text. To put it another way, by completing assigned readings before class, we establish a basic shared knowledge base upon which we can build thoughtful conversations and productive work sessions. It’s OK if the reading sometimes raises more questions than it answers; I expect that to happen often, in fact. Make a note of your questions. Let them circulate in your thoughts in the hours before class, and then bring them up in your blog posts and our class discussions.

Required Reading

  • Gaillet, Lynée, Angela Hall-Godsey and Jennifer L. Vala. Guide to First-Year Writing. 4th Edition. Southlake, Texas: Fountainhead P, 2015. Print. (Yes it must be this edition.)
  • Additional readings linked to the course under Readings and Protected Course Readings

Recommended Reference

  • Arola, Kristin L., Jennifer Sheppard, Cheryl E. Ball. Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects. (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2014) — http://bit.ly/1tbI2aI

Required Materials and Tools

  • Help documentation for most of the technology we’ll be using is available here.
  • Access to a laptop or desktop computer for daily use.
  • Access to email on a daily basis.
  • An active student account on sites.gsu.edu.
  • Access to computer software and programs used for digital composition and editing (I am always able to recommend free or very low-cost open source alternatives to more expensive proprietary software such as Microsoft Office, InDesign, Photoshop, etc.)

On Campus Learning and Tech Support