Syllabus: ENG 103

Course Description
Welcome to English 103. Rhetoric and Writing introduces and develops understanding of principles of rhetoric; basic research methods; and elements, strategies, and conventions of persuasion used in constructing written and multi-modal texts. Throughout the semester, we will be working with composition in a variety of genres and forms, looking at real-world examples collected in the reader and drawn from other sources in order to examine rhetoric in action.

By the end of the semester, you will have performed a rhetorical analysis, proposed a solution to a problem, presented a comparison between opposing arguments, and composed an editorial piece, as well as completing several smaller preparatory exercises.

Course Goals

  • Understand that persuasion—both visual and verbal—is integral to reading and composing.
  • Understand how persuasive visual and verbal texts are composed for different audiences and different purposes.
  • Develop effective strategies of invention, drafting, and revision for different rhetorical situations and individual composing styles.
  • Compose texts in various media using solid logic, claims, evidence, creativity, and audience awareness.
  • Integrate primary and secondary research as appropriate to the rhetorical situation.
  • Develop strategies for becoming more critical and careful readers of both your own and others’ texts.
  • Demonstrate a professional attitude towards your writing by focusing on the need for appropriate format, syntax, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Take responsibility for your own progress.
  • Develop the ability to work well with others on composing tasks.

Required Texts and Supplies

  • Everything’s an Argument (Sixth Edition: ISBN-13: 978-1-457-60606-9)
  • BallPoint Volume 1 (online)
  • Science and Society (ISBN-13: 978-0-321-31811-4)

Assignments Overview and Grading System
Writing Project #1: Rhetorical Analysis (200 points)
For your first project, you will select a text and analyze how it functions on a rhetorical level—for example, its awareness of audience and context; its appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos; and its author’s stylistic choices. You will compose an essay discussing these elements and evaluating its effectiveness in making an argument.

Writing Project #2: Problem and Solution (200 points)
For this project, you will identify a problem—locally, nationally, globally, or beyond—and propose a solution, using research to support your proposition. You will need to pay special attention to your audience, choosing an approach that will best convey your argument to the right people.

Writing Project #3: Opposing Arguments (200 points)
This project asks you to select an issue that is currently debated and compose a multimodal text that presents two—or more—sides of the issue, including primary sources. This could take the form of a podcast, a short documentary, a written report with graphics, or many other possibilities. Your role will be as moderator, portraying the arguments accurately, remaining objective.

Writing Project #4: Editorial (200 points)
Your final project involves taking an informed position on an issue and expressing your stance in an engaging, approachable way.

Revision: (75 points)
You will turn in a revision of one of your writing projects. This will require you to take in and respond to feedback, as well as look critically at your own work. Along with your revision, you will write a brief reflection on your process.

Rhetoric Presentation: (75 points)
Once during the later part of the semester, you will be responsible for bringing in a piece of rhetoric and giving a 5–10-minute informal presentation about it. You will then pose a few questions to your classmates to start a discussion.

Participation, Misc.: (50 points)
Throughout the term, we will have many discussions, both in class and on Blackboard, along with small group work and in-class activities. It is important that you engage in these. Small assignments and/or quizzes may be used to supplement scheduled work if I feel this becomes necessary.

Your work, unless otherwise noted, is due in print at the beginning of class. Unless prior arrangements have been made, assignments may be submitted by email with a 10% penalty.

Throughout the semester, you will have the opportunity to revise any of the other three writing projects beyond the required revision to improve your grade by up to one letter (e.g., B- to A-). Students wishing to revise must meet with me as well as visit the Writing Center. Revisions will be accepted, in print, at the beginning of class, up to three weeks (not including breaks) after the previous draft was returned. Please note: Writing Center time slots do fill up, and exceptions will not be made because of inability to get an appointment.

Grading Scale:

(out of 1000) 935–1000: A 900–934: A-
875–899: B+ 835–874: B 800–834: B-
775–799: C+ 735–774: C 700–734: C-
675–699: D+ 635–674: D 600–634: D-
599 and below: E

Please note: In order to fulfill the University’s Core Curriculum requirement in Writing Program courses, you must earn a minimum grade of C to pass; a grade of C- is not considered acceptable. Writing Program courses may be repeated as many times as necessary to meet the requirement, but …

  • The first and all other grades will show up on the transcript.
  • All grades except the first will be used to compute the GPA.
  • Course credit hours apply only once to graduation requirements.
  • Students who do not successfully complete ENG 104 before earning 90 credit hours will not be able to take the Writing Proficiency Exam. These students will instead need to take an additional writing course (WP 393) after completing ENG 104.

Late Assignment Policy
Late work will be accepted for up to one week with a 10% penalty, plus 5% per day including weekends and holidays. (Because of this, late work may be turned in by email without receiving an additional 10% penalty.) For example, an assignment worth 10 points could earn a maximum of 9/10 turned in after the beginning of class on the due date, 8.5/10 one day after that, 8/10 two days after, 7.5 three days after, etc. Although after six days, the assignment will receive a failing grade, 5.5/10 is nevertheless better than a zero.

Under special circumstances, extensions may be granted at my discretion. This will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Please note: An excused absence does not automatically mean an approved extension, and you do not necessarily need to have an excused absence to qualify for an extension.

Attendance and Tardy Policy
I expect you to attend every class session. However, things happen, and you will be permitted three absences, no questions asked. Any subsequent absence will lower your final grade by one partial letter (i.e., an A- becomes a B+) unless it is excused by university policy.

Tardiness of five minutes will constitute ¼ absence; tardiness of more than 30 minutes will count as a full absence. As such, if you doubt your ability to arrive on time, consider switching to a different ENG 104 section; early-morning practices, long commutes, oversleeping, etc., will not excuse lateness.

Per department policy, students who miss more than nine classes will fail the course. This is non-negotiable and beyond my control.

Academic Integrity Policy
Using someone else’s ideas or words as one’s own on any assignment is plagiarism. It is a violation of the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities as defined in the student handbook (or at and will be treated as such. If you are concerned about inadvertently violating this policy, see me before completing the assignment.

Disability Statement
If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. My office location and hours are listed on the first page of this syllabus.

Classroom and Student Expectations
I expect you to be prepared for and engaged in each class period. This requires you to complete the assignments—reading and writing—and contribute to discussions. If I feel these things are lacking, I may give in-class quizzes.

This class will ask you to respond to your peers’ ideas and writing, and I expect you to be thoughtful, in terms of both showing respect and giving well-developed feedback.

I believe that technology can be a powerful learning tool, and as such, I will permit the use of laptops in class for academic purposes. However, if I feel that class participation or attentiveness is lacking, I reserve the right to change this policy. This is a situation where the few can ruin it for the many.

A Note from the Writing Center
Want extra feedback on your papers? The Writing Center is a community of Ball State students who value writing. Come and collaborate with one of our trained peer tutors on any project for any major. The Writing Center is a comfortable, supportive environment for writers from all communities and backgrounds. We are located in RB 291. Our hours are Mon–Thurs 10AM–8PM and Fridays 10AM–2PM. To make an appointment, go to

Comments are closed.