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Tunxis Community College
Composition II Syllabus

Composition II ENG*103
CRN: 1314
Semester: Spring 2020
Monday and Wednesday, 11:30 AM – 12:45 PM, Room 6-273

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

Professor Contact Information
Faculty Name: Steve Ersinghaus
Office: F-19
Office Hours: See Contact Information
Email: sersinghaus at

As a Tunxis student, you have been given an official student email address, which is the primary way you will receive communications from all of your professors and the college. It is your responsibility to check your Tunxis email every day for all or potential communications. Emails are not sent to personal email accounts; however, you can easily forward your college email to your personal email. To access your email, go to:

Course Description and Prerequisite

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, but this is not advised.

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


Resources, Policies & Procedures

The Tunxis Values and Principles—integrity, responsibility, respect, excellence, open communication, and humor and well-being—guide the important work of our college community. We hope these policies and statements will help all students to achieve their educational and career goals in a welcoming and inclusive environment.

Academic Integrity

Tunxis is committed to academic integrity and we expect our students to be academically honest. The work you submit, including tests, papers, reports, presentations, or written ideas, must represent only your own academic achievement and knowledge.


Academic Dishonesty includes, but is not limited to:

  • Plagiarism (submitting another person’s work as your own or submitting work which includes borrowed words or ideas without proper citation)
  • Copying to any extent the work of another student
  • Intentionally assisting another student during an examination
  • Having access to material related to an examination during an examination
  • Possessing or having access to unauthorized copies of an examination
  • Departing from any stated examination conditions


Plagiarism and cheating will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs and may result in suspension, expulsion, or removal of college privileges.


Course Withdrawal Policy

If you stop attending class or submitting work but do not formally withdraw from the course, then you will receive zeros for all missing work, and they will be calculated in your final grade. To formally withdraw, you need to go the Records Office. Instructors cannot assign a grade of “W” to students who simply stop attending class and/or submitting work.


If you are thinking about withdrawing from a class, speak to the instructor first. The instructor will be able to give you an idea of how you are doing overall and may be able to offer you suggestions for improvement and explain other options available.


Withdrawing from a class can impact your current funding (e.g. Financial Aid, Veteran’s benefits or Scholarships, etc.) and may also impact your FUTURE funding. For more information:


Student Code of Conduct

At Tunxis, we work to create a community where individuals are respected and valued, and interact and communicate effectively and respectfully. You are expected to behave according to the standards of the College as listed in the “Student Code of Conduct” in the Tunxis Catalog. Failure to comply with the College’s guidelines for conduct may result in disciplinary action as outlined in the Student Discipline section of the Tunxis Catalog.


Class Cancellations

If class is cancelled by Tunxis due to inclement weather conditions or other emergency, students will be notified via the school’s web page and myCommNet Alert. Alerts are sent out via text, email, and voicemail. All students are automatically enrolled in the alert system based on the phone number entered at time of admission. You are strongly encouraged to review and update your information at Follow these instructions:


Although closing information may be broadcast on local news and radio stations, you are encouraged to check the college website or information line for the latest closing information. If class is cancelled by your instructor, students will be informed by an official college notice posted at the door of the classroom.


Academic Success & Tutoring Center

Free tutoring, study labs, and workshops may be available for this course. For more information visit


Tunxis is committed to the full participation of all students in its programs. Students with disabilities who feel they may require specific accommodations are encouraged to contact the Learning Disabilities Specialist in the Academic Success & Tutoring Center. Students with documented disabilities are eligible to receive reasonable academic services accommodations. For full information:


Additional Resources

If you find yourself experiencing personal difficulties which are impacting your ability to be successful in college, please contact your advisor or faculty member or reach out to our Counseling Office for assistance. Email or stop in the Counseling Center for access to emergency gift cards, gas cards, thePantry@Tunxis (our food pantry), Tunxis’s clothing closet, and more. For more information, please go to:


Title IX: Discrimination, Harassment, & Sexual Misconduct Reporting

Tunxis is committed to fostering a safe and productive learning environment. Title VII, Title IX, Board of Regents, and Tunxis policies prohibit harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct. Sexual harassment (including sexual violence) refers to behavior that interferes with an individual’s work or academic performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment. Sexual harassment in any form will not be tolerated at Tunxis.


We encourage anyone experiencing harassment, discrimination, or sexual misconduct to talk with a Tunxis faculty or staff member so they can get the support they need and Tunxis can respond appropriately. A list of resources and contacts are available at


Additional College Policies & Information

Please review all college and Board of Regents policies beyond those noted above at: