1020 Syllabus

Classroom: Liberal Arts Tech Wing 110

Class Time: Mon and Wed 2:10-3:25pm

Office: 144I (across from Tech Wing, 1st floor of Liberal Arts)

Professor’s Email: khowar20@aum.edu

Office Hours: 9:30am-12:30pm Tues, 1-2pm Wed, and 10am-12pm Thurs

Class Websitehttps://bettercallcomp.wordpress.com (along with Blackboard) 

Course Prerequisite

A grade of C or higher in English 1010 or special permission of the Director of Composition.

Materials Required:

Palmquist, Mike, and Barbara Wallraff. Joining the Conversation. Bedford/St. Martin’s,

  1. ISBN: 978-1-4576-2928-0.

Rollins, Brooke, and Lee Bauknight, ed. Green. Fountainhead Press, 2010.

ISBN: 978-1-59871-415-9.

Free WordPress blog with user name firstnamelastinitial1020.wordpress.com

Course Description

English Composition II is the second of five writing, or writing-intensive, courses students will take at AUM. You will learn how to analyze arguments, compare persuasive techniques, and research and develop your own projects. In this course you will be prompted to change your perspective about ordinary objects and places you encounter on a daily basis and consider how those places and things make arguments (some call this material rhetoric).

The tasks of each assignment build on what students learned in 1010: writing with a variety of purposes, writing for various audiences, and writing in a variety of genres. Some people find that this class is noticeably harder than 1010, and I would agree. Research is about entering a conversation that often challenges you more than writing about an advertisement or a movie you like. However, I’m here to help you succeed, and if you work hard, you will. You will be collaborating with other students on many tasks, and I hope this helps you not only succeed in the course but also build relationships that are essential for college survival. Therefore, write down the contact information of two classmates and USE IT.

Name and Contact Information of Classmates: (min. of 2 required)

  1. __________________________ Email ___________________
  2. __________________________ Email ___________________

AUM’s 1020 courses are themed so as to provide you with a focused topic we can all explore together. During this class, we will discuss pop culture representations associated with our theme–GREEN–in order to help you develop a topic that connects with your interests.


1.To understand writing as a conversation, not an individual, isolated process.

  1. To create and maintain a research project based on sincere inquiry and curiosity.
  2. To identify ways things and places make arguments in our local environment.
  3. To apply the systems that honor authorship and creativity.

This semester our mission is to conduct an inquiry into our immediate surroundings and learn how to write about what we find. The QUALITY of your writing is not what is primarily at stake in this semester. Instead, you will be evaluated on your curiosity, your willingness to commit to an idea, and your responsible treatment of information online and in hard copy. The good news: STYLE is NOT the thing that will earn you an ‘A,’ although it certainly helps. The bad news: if you are used to writing something with little to no effort and passing easily, well, that same talent doesn’t work in the same way here. Research ethics and pursuit of knowledge matter more.

This semester you will research and write an argument about a landmark, town, or place in the vicinity of AUM. What this involves is looking at the infrastructure and inner workings of a physical location so that you might think more responsibly about how to protect resources.That said, your project does NOT have to be about saving the environment. Sometimes the best way to argue for improvement is to suggest ways to revitalize a town, to market it in a way that tourists will want to come and spend money in local businesses. If you are INTERESTED in pursuing a topic that involves sustainability and environmental awareness, that is great, but it is NOT a requirement of the course. The main focus is learning how to conduct research and learning how you can make an impact on or improve  your immediate surroundings.

[Examples: taking an abandoned place and arguing for repurposing it, improving on the ways a town attracts tourists, suggesting a new way to improve the infrastructure or management of certain resources, building awareness about a place that many have overlooked in the past, and so on]

It may be that a traditional research document is the best way to make your case, but it may also be that a brochure or documentary will be a better approach. We’ll talk about the genres you may play with, explore, and polish this spring.


Grades are based on a 100 point scale (90-100 =A, 80-89 = B, and so forth).

 Unit 1:  “On Location” Exploration 10%     (20pts)
 Unit 2: Chernobyl Project 15% (30 pts)
 Unit 3: Research Proposal for Individual Topic 10%(20pts)
 Unit 4: Outline w/Annotated Bibliography 10%(20 pts)
 Unit 5: Final Project  (also includes final presentation on last class day) 30%(60 pts)
 Ongoing: Blog, quizzes, writing activities in class 25%(50 pts)*

*This number may go up or down depending on what we do together.

 Reading Quizzes:

You MAY be given regular reading quizzes following a reading assignment. These are worth 3 to 5 points. 

Writing/Research Blog:

You will keep a journal on wordpress.com that includes text, photos, and videos related to the theme of the course. Your entries should be at least 200 words (unless notified otherwise) and pertain to thoughts and ideas related to films and/or shows we watch, photography we discuss, field trips we take, assigned readings, and/or any other topics directly related to the writing and research for this course. This blog is worth a total of 40 points by the semester’s end. I award 20 points prior to the midpoint of term, and I award 20 at the end of the semester.

 Length Requirements:

Each major writing assignment has a specific length requirement. Be aware of these requirements. For example, if you turn in a document 3 pages long, and the final project is supposed be 7-8 pages, the most you may earn on that project is 50% (barring no other problems). This holds true for all of our assignments.

Late Work:

I cannot accept late work because it will create a situation where you fall behind and cannot follow the research process. In other words, our projects will build specifically on what we do in our class meetings, and they go in sequential order, so each must be finished in the time allotted for each unit. Students are given extensive notice and regular reminders of due dates. The final paper may be turned in 1 day late with a point penalty.

General Policies

Attendance Policy: Students are expected to attend all classes, and extra points for borderline grades are often given to those with perfect attendance because 1020 is a workshop-based class in which writers learn by doing and by having regular conversations. Therefore, you are allowed only two unexcused absences in this class. Once you pass two, there will be a grade penalty for each day missed. If you miss five days or more, you will receive a failing grade. Excessive tardiness may also result in grade penalties.

Following an absence, it is your responsibility to get notes, assignments, and other information from classmates (see contacts above). Work should be completed in a timely manner, and your research blog should remain up to date at all times.

Students with Disabilities: It is the policy of AUM to accommodate individuals with disabilities.  Students who need accommodations are asked to arrange a meeting the first week of classes, or as soon as possible if accommodations are needed immediately. To set up a meeting, please contact me via e-mail or just before or after class time.  Bring a copy of your Accommodation Memo and a Faculty/Student Accommodation Worksheet to the meeting. If you do not have an Accommodation Memo from the Center for Disability but need accommodations, contact the Center for Disability Services (CDS) located in the Taylor Center Room 147 by (334)-244-3631 (phone) or (334)-244-3754 (TDD) or email at cds@aum.edu. I am here to make this course as accessible to your learning style as I possibly can. If it helps to have you sit near the front, let me know. If you need hard copies in addition to digital, let me know. I will do what I can to help.

Withdrawing: Students may withdraw from the course using Webster.  Withdrawals are recorded as “W” on your transcript and do not affect your GPA.  After the drop date, you may only withdraw from a course if you can prove that an extreme situation makes you unable to complete your work in the course.

Guests in Class: Please do not bring guests to class.

Academic Dishonesty: 

All work submitted must be your own. Any use of quotations, paraphrases, or ideas from outside sources, including internet sources, must be documented (an “outside source” means anything other than your own unique creation).  We will discuss plagiarism as the course progresses when we talk about MLA  and citation, but it is assumed that as an AUM student, you know what constitutes cheating and have a basic sense of what it means to pass off someone else’s work as your own.  Please see me if you have any questions about plagiarism or your use of sources. I’m here to help.

Don’t recycle or reuse work that you wrote for another class, including any other English course at AUM or another university—especially do not use any work from a composition class you previously took.  Recycling text results in a very low grade due to how it fails to fit a specific teacher’s expectations.

In cases where plagiarism or other academic dishonesty is clearly established, the penalty could be a grade of “F” in the class.

Email Etiquette: The primary form of communication for this class is email. When you email me, you are most likely to get a timely response if you–

  • Use your AUM email address
  • Add a subject line so I know what you want, and address me as Dr. Howard.
  • Sign off with your full name and class section.
  • Tell me about how you attempted to find answers on your own (looking at syllabus, etc).

Student Assistance


If you have questions, comments, concerns, etc., please stop in during my office hours, schedule an appointment, or send me an email.  I am happy to answer questions via e-mail and in most cases I will respond within the day; however, please allow up to 48 hours in some cases (some Saturdays, when I’m away at a conference, and so on).

The Learning Center: 

The Learning Center provides one-on-one tutoring free of charge to AUM students who need help with their writing. It is located in 225 Library Tower. Drop-ins are accepted when tutors are available, but if you make an appointment, you will be guaranteed help. Please call 244-3470 to schedule a session. See the webpage for more info: http://www.aum.edu/learningcenter.

 The Counseling Center:

The Counseling Center provides professionals to help AUM students deal with problems beyond the classroom. They can help you figure out techniques to manage time, stay focused, get through a personal difficulty, or simply help you determine a major that works for you. All services are confidential and free of charge to current AUM students. The Counseling Center is located in 319 Taylor Center; their phone number is 244-3469.

I am looking forward to working with you this semester!  Keep in mind that research is about asking questions, not just finding answers.





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