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Tunxis Community College
Composition II Syllabus

Composition II ENG*103: 3325

Semester: Fall 2019 Sem/Clock: 3/3

Instructor: Steve Ersinghaus

Times: MW 11:30-12:45 PM

Important Links:

College Policy on Plagiarism and Other Policies
Academic Calendar
The 2019 Student Handbook

Professor Contact Information

Office: F19
Office Hours: See Contact Information
Email: See Contact Information

Course Description

Focuses on the process of research and research writing in the academic community.The course also strengthens competencies in exposition, persuasion, logic, textual evaluation, and critical analysis. Students will write a variety of research essays, one of which will be of substantial length.

Prerequisite: C- or better in Composition

Required Texts

No text is required for this course other than materials provided by Tunxis Community College and the professor. There is no textbook to purchase.

Student Contact Information

It is typical that students will be informed about important course-related information via their community college-issued email accessed via myCommnet. This email can be linked to an existing email account.

Student Email Information


Attendance will be taken every day. If you miss class for whatever reason, you’re responsible for work due or to be completed at the next meeting in the same way as those students in attendance. Typically, missed information will be demonstrated in the assessed materials required for the course. Issues in attendance my be complicated by work, health-related issues, weather, or family responsibilities. Make sure you plan ahead to schedule other appointments so that they do not conflict with class session times because there is no such thing as an “excused” absence. All absences from class mean that you miss the materials, concepts and ideas presented on that day and these cannot be made up. It’s advised that you take contact information from other students in class so that you can share notes.

I reserve the right to change, reword, add and/or subtract materials in order to meet changing circumstances, expectations, and course requirements on the Course Calendars. This means that it is possible that if you miss a particular day, you may miss new assignments, new assessment criteria, or changes to an assignment. Note that it is the student’s responsibility to keep a close eye on the Course Calendar which is online and always available.

Another issue with attendance has to do with how learning is constructed in the course. Each class meeting adds to what has come before in a specific way, so missing class leaves gaps that are nearly impossible to reconstruct. So the second sentence in the above paragraph is deceptive. Life happens, so “requiring” perfect attendance is impossible. On the other hand, choosing not to attend will affect your ability to perform at peak.

There are days on the Calendar that are required for your attendance. These include all days where work must be handed in, days where a quiz may be given, and peer review sessions. Note that no work provided in other ways other than indicated on the Course Calendar will be accepted for review or for a grade.

A Note on Classroom Decorum

Here are a few items that must be addressed to keep the class running smoothly. Technology is encouraged in class sessions as we often have the need for students to draw from their own resources during discussion and to look things up. Smart phones, laptops and tablets are encouraged but no personal use of these technologies is permitted, such as texting. I do have a predictable problem with people coming in late or with people persistently leaving during session.

Ability-Based Learning

At Tunxis Community College students are assessed on the knowledge and skills they have learned.  The faculty identified the General Education Abilities critical to students’ success in their professional and personal lives.  In every class, students are assessed on course abilities, sometimes program abilities, and, in most classes, at least one General Education Ability.  Students will receive an evaluation of the degree to which they have demonstrated or not demonstrated that General Education Ability.

In this course, you will be introduced and expected to practice discipline based and General Education abilities. What follows is a list of the specific expectations. Each statement begins with The student:

Course/Discipline Abilities

1. Completes college-level research tasks, demonstrating proficient use of Web, database, and other library resources
2. Writes articulate arguments with increasingly sophisticated claims using authoritative, documented evidence, and appeals
3. Applies advanced methods of evaluation and critical inquiry to college-level writing assignments
4. Clearly expresses ideas in writing through the effective use of standard English and applies documentation rules consistently

Download the full rubric for the course

General Education Ability and Rubric

Students will be prepared to develop written texts of varying lengths and styles that communicate effectively and appropriately across a variety of settings.

Demonstrates:  Writes articulate texts using appropriate evidence and appeals as determined by the rhetorical situation.

Does Not Demonstrate:  Writes texts lacking appropriate evidence and appeals as determined by the rhetorical situation.


See The Student Portfolio page for end-of-semester submission requirements.

In this course, evaluation is OPPORTUNITY. Papers and other required assignments are a means for students to demonstrate ability and understanding at certain points of the semester; they are not meant as work for a grade. The deadlines, therefore, form a window for this opportunity. The course calendar will tell students when a particular evaluation of an assignment will be made available. Students may seek an evaluation of a particular assignment up to the deadline. Typically, evaluation is a processes where the instructor makes students aware of weaknesses and strengths and where content may be improved using standards language which are put into the form of a rubric. It will be up to students to study their evaluations and to revise, rewrite, and rethink with the course and general education abilities in mind. All evaluation returns will be made available in the Digication ePortfolio system unless they follow more traditional forms, such as standard printed documents.

Students will be responsible for 2 major research projects and up to 5 assignments that accompany them, usually involving shorter assignments and in-class writing.

1. All written material for this course, with the exception of in-class writing, must be typed or word processed. This work should be double-spaced and presented in 12 point and Times New Roman fonts.

2. All written work should be submitted double-spaced with page numbers, with your name, my name, the course title, and the date placed at the top left of the first page (MLA style). All work should have a title that articulates the subject or point of view of the essay. The title should be centered and fixed 2 spaces beneath the date. See this MLA sample paper for reference.

3. All research must be credited in a documentation format.

4. No work will be evaluated after the due date has passed. There are really no exceptions to the deadline rule. If a paper is late or missed, simply move on to the next assignment.

5. I allow and encourage resubmission of work as a function of revision and learning. If you are rated at 1 according to the ability-based model on a paper, in other words, you can always show improvement by revising the paper and focusing on weaknesses or missing elements. These revisions will be submitted in the end-of-semester portfolio. In fact, this is a basic premise of the course: we don’t learn anything if we don’t practice for improvement.

Conventional Grade Breakdown

A=95-100 C+=77-79 D-=60-63
A-=90-94 C=74-76
B+=87-89 C-=70-73
B = 84-86 D+=67-69
B- =80-83 D= 64-66

Ability-Based Equivalents and Their Values

1 Not Satisfactory is D and F
2 Satisfactory is C through B+
3 Distinguished is A- and A

The Evaluated Projects and Course Theme

This semester we have no course theme or concentration. Rather, you will chose a topic to research and write about from the Issues and Controversies database accessible from the Tunxis Library databases.

You may choose a topic to research from this list of topic areas:

Media, Journalism, and Social Networking

Energy and Environment

Race, Rights, and Liberties

Global Issues and Foreign Policy

Society, Culture, and Religion

Departmental Portfolio Assessment

The Humanities Department at Tunxis practices portfolio assessment of student work. A random sample of student portfolios from this class will be read by other faculty members in the Humanities department and graded on a pass/no pass basis. This grade is advisory, meaning that the instructor has final determination over the student grade for the course.

The portfolio is your way of demonstrating that you have met the abilities of the course as well as a means of tracking your progress week by week and month by month, depending how we approach the process. The portfolio can even provide a model for assessing your progress through your career in college. It is essential to a consistent experience in a program or degree as a way of demonstrating your ability to express what you’re learning in writing and other expressive modes. It answers a lot of questions: can you express ideas and analysis in writing; can you organize often complex information for yourself and others; have you put in practice-time, not just in Composition courses, but in other academic disciplines.

The portfolio is the primary means for me to evaluate your progress through the course, and certain parts of the portfolio will form materials that will go before the English faculty’s Portfolio Committee for review at the end of the semester.

To keep your work in order, you should work with a spiral-bound notebook for note-taking. The notebook should be used for in-class notes and for keeping tabs on research. The notebook should always be dated so that you know when something was added and why. You should also keep a pocket folder for the syllabus, loose handouts, and for workshop readings. There are digital equivalents for this too, like weblogs.


1. Well-named computer files to keep track of drafts