“A mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
― Tyrion Lannister, from A Song of Fire and Ice by George R.R. Martin
English 102 Syllabus (PDF, 938 KB). Contains full course description, required materials, discussion of course policies, overview of class assignments, and grading standards. Updated: 9 January 2017. Changelog: corrected essay assignment points.
English 102 Rubric (PDF, 262 KB). Updated: 25 December 2015.
Course Description and Objectives
Welcome to English 102: Academic Essay and Research Paper Writing.
English 101 (or the honors or transfer equivalent). It is your responsibility to make sure you are in the right class. You will also need basic computer and Internet skills. It is assumed that you already have basic knowledge and skill in grammar, punctuation, style, and usage as well as a willingness to identify and work on your own problem areas in and out class (for example, going to the Writing Center).
College is not high school – we want you to level up. High school is like playing a video game in Easy Mode. That is a good level for a beginner, but with college, you are entering higher education – thus a higher level. College, then, is like playing in Normal Mode, without any cheat codes, with the goal of having you play at Hard Mode, without cheat codes or even walkthroughs, by the time you graduate. You will need to access previously learned skills and then build on them to level up. I look at you as adults who are working on the goal of becoming professionals.
“When I was a child, I spoke like a child and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish ways.” – 1:Cor:13:11 (New Living Translation)
Do not expect Freshman English classes to be plug-and-play, paint-by-the-numbers, or rote memorization classes. We expect you to learn to critically think and to incorporate and synthesize and not just regurgitate information or mimic procedures. Thus, it should be no surprise that what passed for an A in high school will not pass for an A in college.
This class will introduce you to the research process through writing about literature. We will use critical thinking skills–skills required of all majors–to analyze and evaluate literary texts and criticisms. You will learn more about what makes an effective university-level essay and will know some strategies that can improve your papers in content, organization, word choice, grammar, and mechanics. You will be more familiar with the research process, with MLA (Modern Language Association) documentation style, with a variety of literary genres and works, and with different ways of interpreting them. You will be challenged in this course, but in a good way. Be open to the learning process, stretch yourself, and absorb all of the nuances of the material. It will serve you well in the course of your education.
According to Joseph Campbell, as detailed in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, the circular hero journey is a universal motif. At the end of his adventure, the hero returns to his starting point having gained physical, moral or psychological maturity. As T.S. Eliot wrote in “The Little Gidding”: “And the end of all our exploring / Will be to arrive where we started / And know the place for the first time” (5. 27-29). While we will use other critical approaches (formalist, biographical, psychoanalytic, reader-response, historical, Marxist, feminist, etc), we will return often to the hero’s journey.
We will be looking for the hero journey in our readings, and the hero journey in our own life.
For more detailed course information, including, required materials, discussion of course policies, overview of class assignments, grading standards, and general course rubric, check out the syllabus (see the link above).