Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Outstanding work, scholars

Well, the grades are in, and they are truly exceptional. As a class you have performed as well or better than any group of Comp. 2 students I've ever had the privilege of instructing. Grades aside, you have all risen to the occasion, improved your writing, and added to the discussions in class. I hope this course has prepared you in many ways for an enriching life as a citizen of the United States.

Thanks, too, for the course evaluations. I've waited to read them till the grades (and this blog entry) were posted, but I'll be reading them in a moment.

May your summer be restful and enriching. Please keep in touch.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Readings for Thursday, April 28, 2011

Your final reading assignment for the semester is four short poems. They are indeed short but may take some work to understand and appreciate. I hope you find these poems reward the time you put into them.

"The Daffodils"
"John Anderson, My Jo"
"Pied Beauty"
"God's Grandeur"

Remember: it helps to look up any words you don't understand. It helps even more to take advantage of the textual notes.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Final graded essay

Your final essay of the semester is a 500-word essay on the following topic:

Using specific examples from at least three literary works we've studied this semester, show how literature serves to shed light on some aspect of truth about ourselves, others, the universe, or God.
Include a works cited page in MLA format. Among your three or more citations, be sure to cite at least one short story and one poem we've studied in this course.

Essays are due Thursday, April 28, 2011.

Assignments for Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"My Last Duchess" by Robert Browning

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Assignments for Tuesday, April 12, 2011

  • Bring the outline, draft essay, and Works Cited page of your research paper to class. Your research paper should be almost ready to turn in.
  • Be prepared to workshop your paper in class.

Policies for rewrites

You can rewrite any one of the first three out-of-class essays for a new grade. Here are the stipulations for rewrites:
  1. To get credit for the rewrite, you need to turn in your original, graded copy of the essay along with the rewrite. This applies to whatever essay you choose to rewrite.
  2. If you choose to rewrite your research paper, you will receive full credit on the rewrite only if you made an A, B, or C on the original paper. If you make a D or F on the original paper, you can still rewrite it, but your rewrite grade will be lowered one letter grade for your not having taken more care on your paper the first time.
Rewrites are due Tuesday, May 3, 2011.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Assignments for Tuesday, April 5, 2011

  1. Do you agree that attention spans are declining among Americans? Give evidence to support your answer.
  2. If you agree that attention spans are declining, do you think educational institutions have kept up with these changes in attention spans? Give an example or two to support your answer.
  3. Has your educational experience at Motlow encouraged you to deal more with “long-form” content?
  4. Have you come across an example of what appears to be unwise revealing of personal information online? What action, if any, did you take in response?
  5. To what degree is it government's responsibility to help users erase embarassing or incriminating digital information from the web?
  6. What is your reaction to the idea of employers keeping track of employees through personal computers and other technologies?

In-class writing assignment

Read the following articles:
Write a one-page (1-3 paragraph) research paper explaining the current Project Gunrunner to fellow members of the Motlow community. Cite at least the first three articles in your paper, and create a separate works cited page in MLA format.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Assignments for Tuesday, 3/29

  • Complete mini-research paper if not completed in class
  • Read LBH 620-25 (Integrating sources into your text)
  • Read LBH 635-43 (Writing the paper)
  • Understand LBH 644-55 (Using MLA in-text citations)
  • Be on time for conferences on Tuesday with mini-research paper and prewriting for major research paper

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Works Cited

Koski, Elizabeth. “How Worried Should We Be About Radiation from Japan’s Nuclear Plant?” Popular Mechanics. Hearst Communications, 16 Mar. 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2011.

Munger, Frank. “Ex-Sandia Engineer Talks About Some of the Worst Things That Could Happen in Japan.” Knoxnews.com. Scripps Interactive Newspapers Group, 16 Mar. 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2011.

Tucker, William. “Japan Does Not Face Another Chernobyl.” The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Co., 14 Mar. 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2011.

In-class writing assignment

Write a one- or two-paragraph article answering the following questions:
  • What caused the current nuclear situation in Japan?
  • What, in layman's terms, has been happening in the reactors?
  • What are the biggest dangers from this situation? Is a nuclear explosion possible?
  • How dangerous is this situation for the public in Japan and elsewhere (e.g., the U.S.)?
  • How many have died from the radiation? How many are expected to die?

Make sure your essay does more than simply list answers to these questions; be sure to include an introduction, conclusion, and appropriate transitional phrases.

Assignments for Thursday, March 24, 2011

  • Learn the following vocabulary words: anti-Semitism, atrocity, Auschwitz, catalyst, coerce, cognition, connote, conscript, crematorium, denote, genocide, improvise, latent, pogrom, propaganda
  • Be able to pronounce all of the above words correctly
  • Read the following article: "In Jedwabne"

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Assignments for Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Remember, scholars, these readings are intended to give you practice in evaluating real-world arguments in real time. This isn't a physics or engineering class, so you won't be quizzed over the technical terms and processes discussed in these articles. It is important, however, to understand the general thrust of the ideas put forth in these articles. All three articles are from non-technical publications and are the kinds of readings any well-educated adult should be able to follow and understand.
In addition to helping you understand and compose argumentation essays, this assignment has a side benefit: if you put a reasonable amount of time into reading and studying these articles, you will become nine of the most knowledgable members of the Motlow community (including faculty) on nuclear accidents and reactors. Whether that prospect is inspiring or frightening (or both) is for you to decide.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Assignments for Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In-class writing

What have you read or discussed so far in this course that has persuaded you to change your opinion or belief in some way? Why was it persuasive? If nothing you've read has changed your opinions or thinking in any way, then what reading has come closest or missed the most widely? Why?

Assignments for Thursday, March 3, 2011

Here are your assignments for Thursday:
Starting with Thursday's quiz, we'll have a few more questions on the content of readings and fewer on vocabulary. You'll still benefit greatly from learning and being able to use these vocabulary words, but quiz questions on readings will be more balanced between vocabulary and content.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Assignments for Tuesday, March 1, 2011

  • Turn in process essay
  • Learn vocabulary in PCW, p. 355
  • Read "Guns and Grief," PCW, pp. 350-53
  • Be prepared for quiz we were originally supposed to have Thursday, February 24, 2011 [Yes, I'm relenting on my original intention of having three quizzes on Thursday. Instead we'll have two quizzes on Thursday, February 24 (2/17's and 2/22's), and two on Tuesday, March 1st (2/24's and 3/1's)].

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Assignments for Thursday, February 24, 2011

Updated update: OK, three quizzes is a little much, so we'll have today's quiz next Tuesday. We'll still be having the two we missed earlier, however, so please be prepared.

: Well scholars, I don't know exactly why our Tuesday class was cancelled, but I do know we don't have the luxury of simply skipping a day of work. That means your Thursday assignment will still be due on Thursday, and we'll have three quizzes when we meet. That means almost half the class will be given over to the quizzes we were supposed to have this Thursday, the previous Tuesday, and the previous Thursday; please be prepared. The good news is that you also have a couple of extra days to do Tuesday's reading and work cited assignment.
  • Vocabulary: credentialed, default (financial sense), dumbfounded, exploitative, fortitude, incomparable, mediocre, rigor, unscathed
  • Read "The Terms of Child Neglect Have Changed"
  • Read "Many Students Learn Little to Nothing in College. Surprise?"
  • Create a Works Cited page in MLA format for these two articles
  • Begin work on a 500-word process essay on the following topic: Describe the process you are using to craft your research paper. Your process essay is due Tuesday, March 1, 2011
  • Bring your prewriting (at least the opening paragraph and rough outline) for your process essay to class on Thursday

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Assignments for Thursday, February 17, 2011

  • Finish evaluating all web sources (if we don't finish in class)
  • Learn the following vocabulary words: cite, demographic, fascist, indifference, maternal, paternal, procreation, subsidy, unwitting
  • Read over LBH Ch. 46 (pp. 644-90). Make sure you understand the general idea of citing sources by the MLA format and be prepared to format a few example sources in an open-book quiz
  • Read "The Parent Trap"
  • Writing assignment: Answer each of the following questions with one to three sentences. I’ll take up your responses at the beginning of class:
    1. What is the main idea of "The Parent Trap"?
    2. Why are children no longer an economic boost to families?
    3. Who is Vladamir Putin?
    4. What are some of the “social costs” of parenting in the U.S.?
    5. What is evidence that parenting has declined in prestige in recent decades?
    6. What recommendations does Reynolds suggest to remedy the parent trap?

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? Who funds it?
  • 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?

In-class exercise: evaluating web sources

Current economic crisis
Tea party movement

Global Warming

Terrorism & Freedom

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Instructions for plagiarism essay

If you scored less than 80 on the plagiarism exam, you're required to write a 300- to 500-word essay as a make-up. The grade on your essay will replace your exam grade. Your essay must include the following information:
  • Definition of plagiarism and why it's considered a serious academic offense,
  • Standards in this course for determining sloppy and flagrant plagiarism,
  • The penalties in this course for either sloppy or flagrant plagiarism,
  • Difference between a direct and indirect quote and what is required to keep each from being plagiarism,
  • Specific information on exactly when quotation marks or indentations are required in referencing a source.
In addition to providing good information on plagiarism, please pay careful attention to spelling, punctuation, and grammar, as they will be factored into your essay grade. It should go without saying that if you reference any source (including this blog post) in writing your paper, you must attribute that source properly (in MLA format, as best you're able to decipher it from LBH, Section 46). Please keep in mind that the purpose of this essay is to show you understand the rules of plagiarism and how to avoid it; don't worry about whether or not the essay is especially entertaining.

Your essay is due no later than Thursday, February 24, 2011. Please see me before then if you hit any snags or need any assistance in writing your essay.

Keeping track of sources

Every time you use a source for your research paper, make sure to keep track of the following information for future reference:
  • 1. Name of the author
  • 2. Title of the article
  • 3. Title of the larger work in which it appears
  • 4. Organization or person publishing the larger work
  • 5. Library database in which article found (if applicable)
  • 6. Date published
  • 7. Date accessed
  • 8. URL.
We'll come back later and study how to put this information into MLA format. In case you're interested in doing that now, you can find information on MLA format in section 46 of LBH.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Research paper topics

  1. The U.S. economy desperately needs to create more jobs, and here’s how.
  2. Global warming is perhaps the most critical issue facing the world today, and action needs to be taken now to reduce its risks.
  3. The issue of so-called global warming has been greatly exaggerated.
  4. The tea party movement is one of the most positive political movements in recent decades.
  5. The tea party movement is one of the most dangerous political movements in recent decades.
  6. The threat of terrorism requires the curtailment of some civil liberties in exchange for safety and security.
  7. If we allow our civil liberties to be sacrificed in pursuit of safety from terrorism, then the terrorists have already won.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Assignments for Tuesday, February 8, 2011

  • Read LBH, Chapter 42
  • Vocabulary: acquiescence, authoritarian, copious, deprivation, egalitarian, evangelical, hierarchy, infanticide, polyamory, polyandry, polygamy, polygyny, regime, scarcity (Please remember: it helps to learn these words before doing your online reading)
  • Read “One Man, Many Wives, Big Problems
  • Be prepared for plagiarism exam in the second half of class (As we discussed in class Tuesday, if you don't make at least an 80 on the exam you will be required to write an essay about plagiarism)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Assignments for Thursday, February 3, 2011

We've got a lot to cover between now and Thursday, but when we're finished we should have caught up from the missed day at the beginning of the semester.
  1. How, according to Glover, do some writers from other regions use the word “redneck” inappropriately?
  2. What kind of bias does the college student’s essay describe?
  3. 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 this idea.
Be prepared to discuss in class your answers to both the worksheet items and reading questions.

Argumentation essay -- prewriting checklist

1. Main idea or thesis statement

— Is the main idea clear and concise?

— Does the main idea narrow the topic sufficiently for a 500-word essay?

— Is the main idea on the well-worn and off-limits topics of abortion, gun control, or capital punishment?

— Is the main idea truly the thesis of an argumentation essay? Is it a debatable point?

— Can the writer readily find supporting evidence for this topic?

— Does the author take a stand on the issue?

2. Paragraph outlines

— Is it clear what the main idea of each paragraph will be?

— Does the outline include an introductory paragraph? A concluding paragraph?

— Does the outline include three or more supporting paragraphs?

— Does the main idea of each supporting paragraph actually support the main idea of the whole essay?

— Does the main idea of each paragraph appear to be supportable with evidence?

— Do you see obstacles to fleshing out any of the supporting paragraphs?

3. Supporting evidence

— Has the writer included any supporting evidence in the outline?

— If so, is supporting information from other sources clearly marked so as to avoid plagiarism?

— Is bibliographic information included for any supporting information?

— If he or she has not already found sources, what is the writer’s plan to find three good sources for supporting information?

— What precautions is the writer taking to avoid plagiarism?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Assignments for Tuesday, 1 February 2011

  • Finish plagiarism worksheet
  • Read LBH, chapter 9
  • Finish prewriting for first essay
  • Come to class prepared to discuss your planned essay

First essay topics

Choose one of the following topics for a 500-word essay due Thursday, 3 February 2011. You don't necessarily have to agree with the topic you choose; just write the essay as if you do. Your target audience is your teacher and fellow classmates in ENGL 1020.

  1. Studying persuasive writing is a waste of time, and it should not be a required course for graduation at MSCC.
  2. Persuasive writing is the most valuable course a Motlow State student can take (Don't assume I prefer you choose this one. While this one is closer to my view, reading an essay on #1 would be much more fun).
  3. The so-called Tea Party movement is the most significant grassroots movement in American politics this century.
  4. The so-called Tea Party movement is dangerous and un-American.
  5. Religion is a highly personal matter, and discussing religion in public is inappropriate.
  6. Humans are religious beings, and efforts to cleanse religion from public life are not only futile, but dangerous.
  7. Fluency in Lithuanian should be a graduation requirement for all students at Motlow State (Yes, this one is goofy, but if you're creative it could also be fun).
Come to class Tuesday with at least a topic, main idea, and rough outline. If you want to do more, up to and including writing a rough draft, please don't hesitate, but it's not required. We'll spend a few minutes in groups discussing your main idea and how you plan to support and develop it. For this essay you don't need any sources or works cited, but you certainly may cite sources if you want to do so and are comfortable in documenting them.

I'll go over the mechanics of the paper on Tuesday, but for those of you who are interested, here's a little early guidance:

  • 500 words
  • Typed, double-spaced
  • 12-point standard font (Times New-Roman, Arial, or other sans-serif font)
  • No cover page

Happy prewriting!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Assignments for Thursday, January 27, 2011

Vocabulary (Remember: it helps to learn word meanings before doing the readings).

"Really Bad Ideas: The Tyranny of Science"
"Social Harmony" Note: Please be careful in printing this essay--the web page prints out as about 60 pages.

What makes a good persuasive essay

Here are a few points to consider in evaluating a persuasive essay (yours or someone else's):
  1. Is the main idea stated clearly?
  2. Does the writer take a firm, clear stand on a debatable issue?
  3. Does the writer employ adequate evidence to support that stand?
  4. Does the writer consider his or her audience?
  5. Are main arguments based on logic but employ emotion effectively?
  6. Does the argument take into account and refute counter-arguments?
  7. Does the writer offer or call for solutions?

This post is one worth coming back to throughout the semester.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Assignments for Tuesday, January 25, 2011

We missed the first day of class for snow, so we've got some catching up to do. Your assignment for Tuesday is therefore a little longer than usual.
  • Learn all vocabulary on Patterns, page 579 (vocabulary projects 1). Remember: it helps to learn these words before reading the Declaration of Independence.
  • Read Patterns, pp. 547-78
  • Read “Excitement Deprives Children of Happiness
  • Tuesday's quiz will include plagiarism readings from this week.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Assignment for Thursday, January 20, 2011

  • Know the class motto and slogan
  • Know and be prepared to use the following vocabulary words or phrases: cognitive, Potemkin village, rigor
  • Read "What Happens When College is Oversold"
  • Read Patterns, pp. 766-69
  • Read LBH, pp. 626-35; do exercise 44.1

Course syllabus


Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:40-2:55 p.m.
Instructor: Milton Stanley, M.F.A.W., M.Div.
Office hours: By appointment

Be sure to check this site frequently for important information about the course. Please see me if regular Internet access is a problem for you.

Required Materials
  • Patterns for College Writing: A Rhetorical Reader and Guide, Eleventh Edition
  • The Little, Brown Handbook, Eleventh Edition
  • College dictionary
  • Paper 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.

Course 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 will 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 or misplaced modifier (dm, mm)
  • Comma splice (cs)
  • Lack of subject-verb agreement (agr, 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, web browsing during class, or getting up to leave before class is over 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 a single instance of flagrant plagiarism will 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. I am available to help you in person or by e-mail, provided you come to me before turning in your paper.

You have the benefit of online tutorial help from the SmarThinking service at http://mscc.edu/smartthinking.html. Please take advantage of it.

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 unforeseen circumstances, we will, if possible, soldier on using the course weblog and other online resources.

The final exam for this course will be given in accordance with the MSCC exam schedule.

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.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Class motto

Accept it; you're all right a lot.

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 in this semester.


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.