Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All the best for the coming holidays

In case you check this blog again, I want to let you know that I've posted your semester grades. You've had a lot of work to do this semester, and I hope you've benefited from it. I've enjoyed working with you and pray you'll be blessed during the Christmas holiday.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Literature essay

Choose one of the topics below for a 500-word essay, due Tuesday, December 8, 2009.
  • What life lessons does "The Jilting of Granny Weatherall" suggest to the reader? Use specific examples from the story to make your points.
  • Demonstrate how the duke's character is progressively revealed in "My Last Duchess" and evaluate how the speaker's voice is different from the poet's.
Your essay doesn't have to be a research paper, but referencing one or two critical works could well make your paper stronger.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Poetry writing assignment

Demonstrate how the duke's character is progressively revealed in "My Last Duchess" and evaluate how the speaker's voice is different from the poet's.

A little poetry

"My Last Duchess"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Extra credit opportunities

A few members of the class have asked about extra-credit opportunities. As I've said, the best way to improve your grade in this course is simply to concentrate on doing the regular assignments well. I do accept extra-credit work, but please understand that it takes much more work to raise your grade than to simply make a high grade at the outset.

With that caveat, you may choose to write a 300- to 500-word essay to replace one quiz grade and one in-class writing grade. The essay will be graded pass/fail and will not hurt your grade unless you plagiarize. A passing grade will be averaged as a 100 in both your quiz and in-class writing averages.

Choose one of the following statements and argue for or against it, with examples and citations:
  • The best option for the U.S. in Afghanistan is to cut and run; we need to withdraw our military forces now.
  • The tea party movement is a shining example of democracy in action.
  • Sarah Palin is a force to be reckoned with in American politics.
  • The government's new mammogram recommendations are a good idea.
  • The U.S. policy toward nuclear containment in Iran is working as it should.
Papers are due no later than Thursday, December 3, 2009.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reading for Thursday, November 19, 2009

OK, scholars, here's your assignment for Thursday. Please remember, this story is for you to read before coming to class. It won't do you much good (either for your quiz grade or for your understanding) if you try to read it for the first time on the screen while we discuss it Thursday morning.

"The Jilting of Granny Weatherall"

Also, please have some idea of what the story is saying and what's really going on. "Jilting" has been around long enough that a simple Google search will give you more than enough critical writing on the story. Here's a good plan: read the story first, come up with your best interpretation, and then check your theory against some of what's been written online. Whatever you do, don't come to class with an "I have no idea" attitude.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Vocabulary for Tuesday, November 17, 2009

fiat (not the car)

Reading for Tuesday, November 17, 2009

1. Read "Why the Gun is Civilization"
2. Do a Google search for this title and see if you find the same essay attributed to another author.
3. Who really wrote the article? What's the story here?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Vocabulary for Tuesday, November 3, 2009


*Spelling corrected

Reading assignment for Tuesday, November 3, 2009

"A Lexicon of Death"

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reading for Thursday, October 29, 2009

"Gun Control's Twisted Outcome"

Works Cited exercise

Use guidelines in Patterns and LBH to develop a Works Cited page from the following sources.

The World Health Report 2007




"Revolutionary Elite in the Periphery"

Finding Common Ground

Research paper help--H1N1

For those of you wanting to write on H1N1 but having trouble developing a strong position for argumentation, here is a collection of links to a few articles that might help you in that process:


Remember, simply describing or explaining public health responses to H1N1 does not constitute an argumentative essay. For your research paper you need to take a stand on a debatable issue and argue in favor of it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Questions to ask in evaluating web sources

  • Who is the author of the article?
  • Is the author writing as an advocate of a particular position or ostensibly writing as an impartial reporter?
  • Is the author expressing only his or her opinions or that of an organization, publication, or website?
  • Is the author qualified to write on the topic at hand?
  • Does the author have known biases?
  • Does the author have a reputation for telling the truth?
  • What is the parent website?
  • What organization is behind the website?
  • Does that organization take an official position on the issue at hand?
  • If so, what is that position?
  • Whatever the organization’s position or values, is its work reputable and trustworthy?
  • If the website is the work of a single author, is that author a legitimate authority in the field under consideration?
  • Is the article in question a primary or secondary source?
  • Does the article cite sources for information?
  • If so, do these sources appear to be valid for the subject at hand?
  • If the article purports to be an unbiased treatment, are both sides of the issue treated fairly?
  • If the article takes a position on an issue, does it acknowledge and interact fairly with opposing views?
  • Does the article deal with a broad enough subject to be of more than anecdotal value?

Exercise on evaluating web sources

Campus Speech
"Bucknell University Slams Door on Student Satires of Obama Stimulus Plan, Affirmative Action"
"The Price of Free Speech: Campus Hate Speech Codes"

Guantanamo Bay
Close Guantanamo and End Military Commissions
"Don't close Guantanamo until terror war ends: Cheney"
"Obama to order Guantanamo Bay prison closed"
"Poll: Don't Close Guantanamo Bay"
"Don't Close It"

Health Care Reform
"Health Care Bill of Rights for Seniors"
Health Reform
"10 Health Care Reform Myths"
"The President's Plan"
"The Truth About Health-Care Reform and Abortion"

Responses to H1N1
"CDC: 'Encouraging Signs' H1N1 Less Deadly Than Past Pandemics"
"H1N1 Panic Abates"
"How Deadly is the H1N1 Virus?"
"Take H1N1 Seriously"
"Use of pandemic influenza A (H1N1) vaccines"

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

No class Tuesday

I think I have flu and will not be in class Tuesday. I had thought about giving you an online assignment. But I need rest, and why don't you get some rest, too? I expect to be well and to see you again Thursday.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Vocabulary for Tuesday, 10/6/09 quiz


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monday, September 28, 2009

Research paper topics

Choose one of the following subjects and narrow it into the topic of an 8-10 page argumentation essay and research paper.
  • U.S. military involvement in Iraq or Afghanistan.
  • U.S. responses to Iranian or North Korean nuclear development
  • Health care reform in the United States
  • Public health responses to H1N1
  • Concealed carry laws in Tennessee
  • Deficit spending by the United States government
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Free speech on college campuses
  • The Patriot Act
  • The Fairness Doctrine
  • Militarization of civilian police forces in the United States
  • Red-light or speeding cameras
  • Taxpayer tea parties
  • Guantanamo Bay prison

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Vocabulary words for Tuesday, 9/29/09

Please make sure you understand the meaning of these words before reading the essays.

pseudo- (prefix)
articulate (adjective)

Readings for Tuesday, 9/29/09

"Has the Right Surrendered in the Culture War?"
"Touching at Work: The Good Ole Girl Network"

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Course requirement: electronic copies

Please remember, as explained in the syllabus, that you're required to turn in an electronic copy of every out-of-class essay. That means you will not receive a grade if I don't receive an electronic copy of your essay. If you have still not emailed me an electronic copy of your informal argumentation essay, please do so now.

Questions for reflection

Its Time to Stop the ‘Redneck’ Slurs” by Danny Glover

1. What negative term does Glover use to describe the word “redneck”?

2. How, according to Glover, do some writers from other regions use the word “redneck” inappropriately?

3. What kind of bias does the college student’s essay describe?

4. Do you agree that “For whatever reason, it remains perfectly acceptable to insult a large swath of the U.S. population—the common folk who live in ‘flyover country’—as ‘bitter’ or ‘racist’ or ‘redneck’”? Have you ever encountered this kind of bias? Write two or three sentences on your thoughts and feelings about his idea.

Questions for reflection

"One Man, Many Wives, Big Problems” by Jonathan Rauch

1. What is the main idea of Rauch’s essay? Does he state it explicitly? If so, where?

2. On what grounds does Rauch oppose polygamy? What evidence does he cite to support his position?

3. Is polygamy an “individual choice issue”? Why or why not? How did Rauch’s essay affect your views on this issue?

4. Is marriage an area the government ought to regulate? Why or why not?

5. If true, is it relevant that “no polygamous society has ever been a true liberal democracy”? Why or why not?

6. Does Rauch seem to oppose or support “same-sex marriage”?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vocabulary words from Tuesday's class

For Thursday's class, be prepared to use each of the following words in an illustrative sentence.

wanton (adj)
monogamy, polygamy, polyandry, polygyny, polyamory

Monday, September 21, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vocabulary words for Thursday, 9/17/09


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Comments section improved

Starting this afternoon it's easier to comment on this blog. If you've had trouble leaving a comment in the past, it should be easier now.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Assignment clarification

I'm afraid I may have given the impression in class this past Thursday that I expected you to read more of Chapter 14 than in fact I do. Let me clarify: you need to read only through the Martin Luther King Jr. essay, which ends on p. 601. If you're a super student and have gone ahead and read an additional one hundred pages, don't despair; you now have some outstanding extra-credit opportunities.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Help with critical errors

Here are a few links for guidance on overcoming the critical errors we're discussing in class today:

Fused sentence or comma splice
Sentence fragment,
Dangling modifier,
Subject-verb agreement error.

I hope these are helpful. If you'd like more help with these, I'll be happy to work with you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

About your instructor

I'm honored to be your teacher this semester. In case you're interested, you can find out more about me here:

Curriculum vitae
Short essays
Full list of publications
Shorter list of publications

Once again, I look forward to working with you this semester to help you improve your writing, reading, and thinking skills.

Class motto

Accept it; you're all right a lot.



Instructor: Milton Stanley, M.F.A.W., M.Div.
Office hours: TR 8:30-9:20, TR 1:00-1:50, and by appointment

Required Materials
* Patterns for College Writing: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide, Eleventh Edition
* The Little, Brown Handbook, Eleventh Edition
* College dictionary
* Composition folder
* Notebook for freewriting, written responses, and quizzes

Course Description
English 1020 builds upon the basic skills covered in ENGL 1010. This course is designed to help you enhance and build your critical thinking skills through an emphasis on argumentation essays, literary analysis, and the completion of a research paper. For a comprehensive list of course goals and objectives, see the ENGL 1020 Weblog.

Class Requirements
• Do all assigned readings in time for quizzes and class discussions.
• Always come to class ready to write.
• Participate in class discussions.
• Complete and turn in all writing assignments on time.
• Do all in-class assignments in dark ink on wide-ruled paper.
• Turn in both printed and electronic copies of out-of-class assignments (please talk to me if you do not have access to word processing and printing services).

To complete this course, you’ll write three out-of-class papers:
* Essay 1 Brief argumentative essay
* Essay 2 Research paper (long argumentative essay)
* Essay 3 Literary analysis
Several of your in-class papers may also receive a letter grade.

Grades in this course will be assigned according to the following scale:
* A = 90-100
* B = 80-89
* C = 70-79
* D = 60-69
* F = 0-59
Remember that, according to academic convention, a C is an average grade. The grade of B indicates above-average work, and an A is given only for outstanding performance. I want you to make the best grade you honestly can. I’m willing to work individually with you through the semester to help you improve your grade. I urge you also to take advantage of a wide range of services offered by Motlow State. Late-term begging, however, is a very bad idea.

Your final grade will be determined according to the following formula:
* Research paper 30%
* Other out-of-class essays 20%
* Exams 15%
* Quizzes 15%
* In-class writing 15%
* Class participation 5%
In short, 50 percent of your final grade is determined by what you do in class. No matter what your other averages may be, however, you must have an average of D or better on your out-of-class essays to pass this course.

Essay Format
For all out-of-class papers, use a 12-point standard font. Double space your essays on plain white paper with one-inch margins. See The Little, Brown Handbook for manuscript guidelines. Please follow MLA format.

Major Error Policy
During this course you’ll be reminded how to eliminate these major grammatical errors:
* Fused sentence (FS)
* Dangling modifier (DM)
* Comma splice (CS)
* Lack of subject-verb agreement (SVA)
* Sentence fragment (Frag)
Each instance of one of these errors in an essay will result in a one-half letter grade penalty.
Attendance Policy

You are expected to attend classes regularly, and attendance is sometimes critical for mastering the skills developed in this class. Please remember that quizzes and in-class writing assignments will be given almost every day and cannot be made up.

Classroom Deportment
Please keep in mind we’re all adults here. Texting, talking on the telephone, or web browsing during class is simply rude and shows disrespect to your teacher, your fellow students, and yourself.

Plagiarism is copying someone else's work without giving proper credit to the author. It's cheating and can cause you to fail the course if you're caught. Even inadvertent plagiarism, such as failing to cite a source, is a serious academic offense. Make sure you avoid plagiarism with everything you write. If you're not sure what plagiarism is or how to avoid it, review your Little, Brown Handbook. Use other resources as well, such as the Writing Center and the Turnitin online service. I am available to help you in person or by e-mail, provided you come to me before turning in your paper.

Assignments, helpful information, and special notices will be posted each day on the course weblog: http://mscc engl 1020.blogspot.com/. Be sure to check the site frequently for important information about the course. Please see me if regular Internet access is a problem for you.

Writing Centers and SmarThinking
You can get one-on-one help with your writing at one of the MSCC writing centers. The McMinnville Writing Center is located in MC 191. The center is open Mondays and Wednesdays noon-4:15 and Fridays 9-10 and 1-2. You also have the benefit of online tutorial help from the SmarThinking service at http://mscc.edu/smartthinking.html. Please take advantage of both.

Other Information
I accept late work only in unusual circumstances. In no circumstance will I give make-ups for daily quizzes or in-class writing assignments. Late work will be lowered at least one letter grade. I do not accept very late work (e.g., saving all your essays till the end of the semester).

In most cases, in-class essays will be graded pass/fail. For the in-class average, every passing essay will be averaged as a grade of 100 and every failing essay as a 50. A missed assignment is averaged as a 0. That said, the vicissitudes of life are sometimes outside our control, so I'll cut you some slack. I will drop your three lowest quiz grades and your three lowest in-class essay grades. You will also be given the option of rewriting one out-of-class paper. For rewrites, I will accept only papers that have already been graded and returned.

Please see me if you need special accommodations in keeping with the Americans With Disabilities Act.

You’ve paid money for this course, and I want you to get what you’ve paid for. Should the McMinnville campus be closed due to a Swine Flu or other pandemic, we will, if possible, soldier on using the course weblog and other online resources.

This syllabus hits only the high points and cannot include everything you need to know during the semester. Stay tuned for more.

A Final Note
Don't let all these dos and don'ts get you down. If you've made it this far, you probably have what it takes to make it through this course. I want you to do as well as you can, and I'll do my best to help you. But remember that you're the one in charge of your education, so take the initiative in doing the work, asking questions, and seeking help when you need it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


This weblog is for Motlow State Community College students in Milton Stanley's ENGL 1020 classes, meeting in McMinnville. Be sure to check back here daily for important course information. Please keep in touch, and may your work this semester be fruitful, rewarding, and enriching.