EN102 - Leland's Freshman Composition

Core Course Goals

This course should introduce you to writing college level argument essays. You may expect to write a paper a week and to help revise your colleagues' papers in class. All sections of EN102 require the core texts Michael Keene and Katherine Adams' Easy Access Handbook, and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 10th edition. In addition, you must purchase Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau's Current Issues and Enduring Questions and Tim O'Brien's The Things they Carried. Late work will be marked down.

The work of the fourth class year is designed to help the student master the two fundamental tools for learning: language (needed for learning in all the disciplines, but especially in the humanities and social sciences) and mathematics (the tool most needed for learning in the scientific and technical disciplines). The use of these tools during the first year will lay the foundation for proficiency in such areas as: 1. critical thinking and reading; 2. precision in written and oral communication; 3. academic and professional ethics; and 4. commitment to lifelong learning and physical health. Attainment of these four objectives not only should help the student see the interconnections among the various disciplines, but should also lead to expertise in the cadet's major field of study.

Departmental Course Goals

EN102 reinforces the writer's understanding of the writing process, including the practices of invention, arrangement, and revision; refines the writer's awareness of audience, occasion, organization, and style; enhances the writer's ability to craft a defensible argumentative thesis and to avoid logical fallacies in developing it; develops the writer's ability to use research to inform and advance an argument; and refines the writer's ability to edit for clarity and correctness in grammar and mechanics. In addition, students in this section of EN102 will use drama as one subject of their argumentation, thus allowing them to address substantial and perennial questions of the importance of literature. Students who have passed EN102 will have demonstrated their understanding of research resources, methods of incorporating acquired information (quoting, paraphrasing, summarizing), and conventions of documentation by writing argumentative research essays designed to inform and persuade a particular, specified audience. They will also have cultivated their ability to appreciate literature, both in its own right and as the oldest and most enduring way to express ideas.

Links

Colonel Baragona has compiled the following links for cadets - Composition Home Page 

Papers

  1. Diagnostic paper.

    The purpose of this paper is to give me an idea of how you write; I will therefore not clutter your mind with directions.

    Please respond to the M. L. King speech, "I Have a Dream" in a 2-3 page paper.

  2.  Valentine's Day paper.

    The purpose of this paper is to review basic library and Internet research skills, documentation rules, and your ability to evaluate and combine sources into a readable essay aimed at a general audience of your peers.

    Write a three page paper researching some aspect of Valentine's Day. Your paper should use both the Internet and Preston Library sources. Feel free to illustrate and to use less conventional sources, such as fellow students, VMI faculty, etc.

  3.  Flag paper.

    The purpose of this paper is to reinforce your research and documentation skills while forcing you to write an argument on an inflammatory issue that adheres to your textbook's outlines for an argumentative essay [76] or a legal argument [315]. ]. In this paper, you will have to define an issue, summarize its history, and take a stand one way or the other on it, while recommending solutions.

    Write a three page essay that explores the constitutional, legal, and moral issues behind a] the flying of the Confederate flag over the South Carolina state capital, b] VMI's forbidding of the use of or display of the Confederate flag at school functions, or c] the Supreme Court's position on burning the American flag.

  4.  Sexual Harassment/Racism

The purpose of this paper is to reinforce your research and documentation skills while forcing you to write an argument on an inflammatory issue that adheres to your textbook's outlines for an argumentative essay [76] or a legal argument [315]. In this paper, you will have to define an issue, summarize its history, and take a stand one way or the other on it, while recommending solutions.

Write a three page paper that evaluates VMI's commitment to policing sexual harassment or racism on Post. You must place VMI's policies in a legal and constitutional framework , trace their history [as far as you can ascertain it], and recommend whatever -- if any -- changes you feel necessary. You may, of course, argue for or against such policies. 

    5.   Movie analysis.

The purpose of this paper is to apply the skills you have learned in arguing political and "real-life" issues to the analysis and evaluation of film. You will use many of the skills you learned in EN101 regarding the analysis of texts.

Locate at least three reviews of the movie [pro, con, and mixed] we have watched as a class. Using these as guides both to format and content, write your own two page analysis of the movie.

   6.    O'Brien book review.

The purpose of this paper is to apply the skills you used in the preceding paper to the analysis of literature.

Locate at least three reviews representing a range of opinions of O'Brien's and use these as a guide to write your own three page review.

   7.    Book review.

The purpose of this paper is to apply the skills you used in the preceding papers to the analysis of literature.

Locate at least three reviews of the 200-page length book you have chosen to read on your own and use these as a guide to writing your own book review.

Syllabus

Writing assignments are marked with an asterisk; don't freak - many of these are revisions.

Jan 19 introduction: "I Have a Dream"; argument [logic and emotion]
Jan 21 Current Issues, pages 22-34; Summary Checklist - p34; (Paper #1) Diagnostic Paper on King due [2 copies]; swap and chop *

Jan 24 King revisions due; Current Issues, pages 50-76; Argument Checklist - p76; discussion *
Jan 26 return papers; argument discussion; conferences
Jan 28 advertising argument project due; conferences *

Jan 31 return advertisements; discussion
Feb 2 statistics discussion
Feb 4 argument and statistics discussion

Feb 7 library research
Feb 9 (Paper #2) Valentine Day paper; swap and chop *
Feb 11 revisions due; discussion; extra credit Valentine assignment *

Feb 14 Current Issues, pages 308-315; Legal Argument Checklist - p315; discussion
Feb 16 internet research: flag-burning or Confederate flag issue
Feb 18 (Paper #3) Flag paper; swap and chop; discussion *

Feb 21 flag revision due; discussion *
Feb 23 return flag papers; conferences
Feb 25 Current Issues, pages 598-616; discussion 

Feb 28 (Paper #4) Sexual harassment/ racism paper due; discussion *
Mar 1 No Class - Assessment Day; midterm grades due
Mar 3 return papers; conferences

Furlough

Mar 13 Analyzing art: movies
Mar 15 library research - movie reviews
Mar 17 discussion

Mar 20 (Paper #5) Movie analysis paper due; swap and chop *
Mar 22 movie analysis revision due; discussion *
Mar 24 return reviews; discussion; conferences

Mar 27 movie
Mar 29 discussion; optional paper due *
Mar 31 return papers; discussion; grades due

Apr 3 Literary Analysis and O'Brien
Apr 5 short stories and discussion
Apr 7 ditto

Apr 10 O'Brien (Paper #6) book review due; short story and discussion *
Apr 12 ditto
Apr 14 covering a reading; Tim O'Brien visit

Apr 17 discussion
Apr 19 O'Brien paper due; swap and chop *
Apr 21 O'Brien revision due; discussion *

Apr 24 writing book reviews; discussion
Apr 26 library research - book reviews
Apr 28 book (Paper #7) review due; swap and chop; discussion *

May 1 book review revisions due; discussion *
May 3 return reviews; discussion; conferences
May 5 evaluations