1020 Syllabus

“Everything will be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.” (John Lennon)

 Office/Student Hours: 9:30am-12:30pm Mondays and Wednesdays

My Teaching Hours: Tues and Thurs (9:25-10:40 and 10:50-12:05, 2rd and 3rd periods)

Class Website: https://bettercallcomp.wordpress.com (click on the 1020 Apocalypse tab)

This website is where you will look to find your homework assignments and the schedule of all of our class events. Always consult it prior to your class meetings.

Course Prerequisite

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

Likewise, students must make a C to be considered “passing” for ENGL 1020.

 Course Description

Welcome to English Composition II! This class covers the essentials of argument/persuasion and information literacy in order to prepare students for ongoing writing instruction in other courses. You will learn how to analyze arguments, compare persuasive techniques, and research and develop your own persuasive projects. The tasks of each assignment build on the general writing proficiency students gained through ENGL 1010 in writing with a variety of purposes, writing for various audiences, and writing in a variety of genres.

AUM’s 1020 courses are themed so as to provide you with a focused topic upon which to develop your argument. During this class, we will discuss pop culture representations associated with our theme—Apocalypse–in order to help you develop a topic that connects our theme with your interests. You will want to choose a topic and thesis that makes a difference to you or sparks your genuine interest. You are also encouraged to choose a topic that relates to your major field of study.

Baseline Goals for ENGL 1020 Apocalypse:

  1. To analyze writing as a conversation, not an individual, isolated process.
  2. To create and maintain a research project based on sincere inquiry and curiosity.
  3. To propose solutions for future emergencies that may affect the city in which you live.
  4. To apply the systems that honor authorship and creativity.

 AUM Department Outcomes:

Critical Thinking:

  • Explore and evaluate diverse perspectives in order to advance a specific thesis
  • Form a sound argument using evidence and examples from a variety of sources (scholarly, primary, etc.)
  • Locate and evaluate (for credibility, sufficiency, accuracy, timeliness, bias and so on) primary and secondary research materials
  • Critique own and others’ writing

Writing Process:

  • Develop a writing project through multiple drafts, and use composing processes and tools as a means to discover & reconsider ideas
  • Revise a draft according to feedback
  • Adapt composing processes for a variety of technologies and modalities
  • Manage and sustain an inquiry-based research project

Rhetorical Knowledge:

  • Write for a variety of rhetorical contexts and vary voice, tone, formality, genre, and medium accordingly
  • Organize ideas rhetorically and logically
  • Develop the rhetorical tools of inquiry and analysis to create new arguments based on careful consideration and research of multiple and diverse perspectives

Knowledge of Conventions

  • Use citation conventions of the style guide of their discipline (MLA, APA, Chicago)
  • Use appropriate linguistic structures, including grammar, punctuation, and spelling
  • Compose texts in digital and print media to address various audiences
  • Apply appropriate design conventions to create a multimedia presentation

Reflection and Transfer

  • Reflect on how learning composition concepts shapes your own theory of writing
  • Demonstrate understanding of composition key terms: exigence, discourse community, critical analysis, knowledge, context, circulation
  • Articulate future applications of writing knowledge and practices


This semester you will research and write an argument about something that will help the city of Montgomery in the event of an environmental disaster (e.g. flood, nuclear attack, tornado, disease). The conditions must include a loss of power/electricity, access to the Internet, and easy access to major highways. You may take this further and consider a shortage of water and food as a possibility or even consider that the air itself is poisoned by radiation.

Your idea may be something concrete or abstract. It might involve looking at the infrastructure and inner workings of a physical location that could serve as a shelter. On the other hand, it may involve the composition of a citywide emergency management plan. The main focus is learning how to conduct research and learning how you can improve the lives of others during a precarious time.

To put it simply, you’ll do the following:

  1. Describe the state of things today using both research and your own experience.
  2. Hypothesize an apocalyptic event that disrupts the state of things.
  3. Propose an interesting and unique solution to make life better for the citizens of Montgomery after this event, using research and your own ideas.

Textbooks & Course Materials

  • BLACKBOARD for the grade book function and for announcements.
  • An AUM email account that you check on a DAILY basis.
  • Regular access to the course website https://bettercallcomp.wordpress.com
  • A free WordPress blog established early in the semester


Grades are based on a 100 point scale (90-100 =A, 80-89 = B, and so forth). Students should earn a C or better in order to avoid repeating the course. Students with Ds must take 1020 again.

Unit 1: Exploration and Proposa 20%

(50 pts)

Week 4
Unit 2: Annotated Bibliography 20%

(50 pts)

Week 8
Unit 3: Research Project and Presentation 20%

(50 pts)

Week 12
Unit 4: Portfolio 20%

(50 pts)

Week 15
Ongoing: small research tasks, homework, classwork 20% (approx 50 pts) ongoing

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 100 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. I will tell you when you must write in your blog; however, you are encouraged to add additional entries. At the end of the course, additional blog entries will make a difference if your grade or attendance record is a borderline case. The blog is worth 50 points of your grade: 10 points will be awarded monthly for its completion. The blog is based on Anne Lamott’s theory of “short assignments,” which we will read together.

Reading Responsibilities: You MAY be given regular reading quizzes following a reading assignment for homework. These are worth 5-10 points. Homework in 1020 is absolutely essential to success; skipping readings will make class harder to follow and assignments more difficult to complete.

BOTTOM LINE: If you do your homework regularly for this class, you will do well. If not, come see me, and I’ll do everything in my power to help you do well and earn the grade you desire.

 Late Work:  Projects and homework are due at the beginning of class on the day noted on the assignment sheet. If you communicate with me in advance, occasional exceptions may be made for valid reasons. Communication is key to all of these policies.

Attendance Policy: ENGL 1020 is a workshop-based class in which writers learn by doing. You are allowed three unexcused absences in this class. After four unexcused absences, your grade will be FA (“failure to attend”). Following an absence, it is your responsibility to get notes, assignments, and other information from fellow classmates. In addition, it is your responsibility to make arrangements regarding any missed coursework. Use your peers! Write down numbers and emails to ask questions when you miss a course meeting.

Student Contact 1 _______________________________________

Student Contact 2 ________________________________________

Excused absences include official university events with letters provided in advance, student illness/medical emergency or emergency for immediate family, death of immediate family member, military orders, jury duty or court subpoena, religious holiday (with note prior to the day), weather emergencies or perilous driving conditions.

  • Late Arrivals:Late arrivals are disruptive to the entire class and will result in unexcused absences over time. Please let me know if you foresee a problem with this.
  • Leaving Early:If you need to leave early, please let me know before class starts.

Students with Disabilities:  Students who need accommodations are asked to arrange a meeting with me the first two weeks of classes, or as soon as possible if accommodations are needed. If you do not have a 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.  Bottom line: we all learn differently. I want to help you be successful in your work. If you know of a way that makes that easier, please don’t hesitate to tell me!

Technology: Please remove all cell phones from your desk when in this class. Avoid texting or surfing on them when we are in session. Students who do not follow this instruction are likely to feel disoriented, unfamiliar with course policies, and unsure of how to complete major assignments. Remember you must make a ‘C’ in this course to pass. “Tuning out” will make passing incredibly difficult, perhaps more so than in 1010 or other first semester courses.

Academic Dishonesty: All work submitted to this class must be your own and must be written exclusively for this class. Any use of quotations, paraphrases, or ideas from outside sources, including internet sources, must be properly documented (in this case an “outside source” means anything other than your own unique creation).  We will discuss plagiarism further as the course progresses when we talk about MLA format and resource citation.  Please see me if you have any questions about plagiarism or your use of sources.

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 but failed.  While re-using text you created is not improperly using outside sources, it is academic dishonesty and often results in a poor performance because it does not fit the assignment parameters as you might expect. In cases where plagiarism or other academic dishonesty is clearly established, the penalty could be a grade of “F” in the class, regardless of the value of the assignment.

Email Etiquette: The primary form of communication for this class is email. When you email:

  • Use your AUM email address
  • Add in a subject line so I know what you want and so we can track our conversation.
  • Address me as Dr. Howard.
  • Sign off the email with your full name and include the course in which you are enrolled.

Curtiss Course Critiques:

Students are given an opportunity to evaluate the course through an online system called Curtiss Course Critiques. These will be completed online, usually two weeks before the term ends. Still, please see me in my office or online via Skype before that time if you have a problem with the course or your progress in it. I would like to have your ideas and feedback on what helps you succeed. You will complete these two weeks before the final exam.

More on Assistance

 Professor: 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 for a response in some cases (some Saturdays, when I’m away at a conference, and so on). I do not keep work email access on my phone.Bottom of Form

The Learning Center: The Learning Center provides one-on-one tutoring free of charge to AUM students who need help with their writing. The Learning Center is located in 225 Library Tower, and their hours are Monday–Thursday 9–5. 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 Learning Center’s webpage for more information: http://www.aum.edu/learningcenter.

The Counseling Center: The Counseling Center provides trained professionals to help AUM students deal with problems beyond the academic sphere. Don’t wait until you’re at a crisis point to seek help; they can help you figure out techniques to manage your time, stay focused on your schoolwork, 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.



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