ENG 1020: Introductory College Writing

Mapping Our Writing Ecologies

Wayne State University

[Fall – 2016]


Instructor: Nicole Guinot Varty                   Office: 9205.4 Maccabees (5057 Woodward)

Time: Sect. 006 – 10:00-11:15

             Sect. 042 – 11:30-12:45

                                                                                  Office Hours: M-W, 1-2pm./by appt.

Place: Sect. 006 – 1168 OLD MAIN

             Sect. 042 – 235 STAT


Department of English Description


Building upon students’ diverse skills, English 1020 prepares students for reading, research, and writing in college classes. The main goals of the course are (1) to teach students to consider the rhetorical situation of any piece of writing; (2) to have students integrate reading, research, and writing in the academic genres of analysis and argument; and (3) to teach students to develop analyses and arguments using research-based content, effective organization, and appropriate expression and mechanics.

To achieve these goals, the course places considerable emphasis upon the relationship between reading and writing, the development and evaluation of information and ideas through research, the genres of analysis and argumentation, and the use of multiple technologies for research and writing.

Mapping Our Writing Ecologies

Understanding that we live and write in contexts that include, but are not limited to, the university, this course asks students to undergo a semester-long project to map their own writing ecologies. Because we are constantly adapting our communication to the various contexts we live and work in, reflecting on how we adapt can help us take this knowledge and writing flexibility with us as we move between these contexts (called discourse communities). The discourse communities we inhabit make up our writing ecology, and the ability to take knowledge with us from discourse community to discourse community can help us develop into flexible writers. Reflecting on our writing ecologies will help us develop more intentionally, and will give us stronger awareness of how we can be flexible and adaptive writers at the university, and beyond.

Key Terms for this semester:

Literacy/Literate Practices = practices of writing, reading and “ways of being” (Gee) that characterize our identities in and interactions with the world

Writing Ecology = the wide ranging combination of reading and writing practices across a multitude of contexts and discourse communities that make up the complex network of our literate experiences

Rhetoric = an act of communication designed to accomplish a particular purpose, and to persuade an audience of that purpose.

Genre = a type or sort of communication, in our case, of written communication that can be identified by patterns of form and by rhetorical function.

Discourse Communities = groups of people who share common goals, conventions of language use, ways of sharing information, genres (typified forms for written communication), special language, and ways of controlling membership to the community (Swales).

Reflection = looking back or thinking back over experiences, concepts or processes in order to make sense out of, or make new meaning with, what has been learned.

Guiding Questions for the semester:

  • How does literacy function for me in various discourse communities I am a part of?
  • What is my writing ecology?
  • What do I already know about writing? Where can or does that apply to my current context? How might it need to be adapted? Changed? Revised? Discarded?

WSU Undergraduate Bulletin Description

Cr 3. Prereq: placement through ACT score, English Qualifying Examina­tion, or passing grade in ENG 1010. A course in reading, research, and writing skills that prepares students to write successfully in col­lege classes.

Course Placement for ENG 1020
Students are placed into ENG 1020 by different means (see the ENG 1010-1020 Placement Rules handout at <>). Most students are placed via ACT scores: students with an ACT English score of 21 or above are placed into ENG 1020. Students can also be placed into ENG 1020 via the English Qualifying Examination (see the EQE Information handout at <>).

Students also may enroll in ENG 1020 if they received an S grade in ENG 1010.

General Education Designation
With a grade of C or better, ENG 1020 fulfills the General Education Basic Composition (BC) graduation requirement. Successful completion of Basic Composition is a prerequisite to enrolling in courses that fulfill the General Education IC (Intermediate Composition) requirement for graduation (e.g., ENG 3010, 3020, 3050, Literature & Writing courses).

Learning Outcomes


  • Use reading strategies in order to identify, analyze, evaluate, and respond to arguments, rhetorical elements, and genre conventions in college-level texts and other media.


  • Compose persuasive academic genres, including argument and analysis, using rhetorical and genre awareness.
  • Use a flexible writing process that includes brainstorming/inventing ideas, planning, drafting, giving and receiving feedback, revising, editing, and publishing.


  • Use a flexible research process to find, evaluate, and use information from secondary sources to support and formulate new ideas and arguments.


  • Use written reflection to plan, monitor, and evaluate one’s own learning and writing.

Required Text

 Photo on 8-31-15 at 4.20 PM

The Wayne Writer. 2nd ed. (the yellow cover, NOT the green cover!!) New York: Norton, 2015. [ISBN: 9781323136492.]

* a writing handbook, such as the Foresman Writer, or efficient use of an online guide such as the OWL at Purdue, is recommended.

Course Writing and Grading Breakdown:

Students are required to write a minimum of 32 pages (8000 words) in ENG 1020 (including drafts and informal writing).


We will create individual blogs as a space to begin crafting a digital writer’s persona and portfolio. This blog will serve a couple of purposes: first, it will serve as a spot to generate much of the thinking-through, process writing that we’ll do, especially in relation to the course readings. Blog topics may vary, but they will serve as a space for you to think through your reading, writing and research processes, as well as give and receive feedback between yourself and your classmates and instructor. Blogs will be about 250-300 words each. The second purpose of the blog you create is for you to work on your digital writing presence. To this end, you will receive a portion of the points for the blog based on how thoughtfully you craft it, from the aesthetics to the tone, as you imagine not only a particular audience, but also how you wish to present yourself as a writer online (i.e., how you develop your ethos).

Invention Writing—40pts.

Invention writing assignments serve as a kind of “jump-start” for many projects, or places to shape ideas and process them. They give us opportunities to grapple with concepts presented in class, as well as to practice reading, writing, research and reflection strategies. These pieces will typically be about 500 words each, and provide spaces to generate ideas, as well as reflect on aspects of the larger project.

Reflection Journals—120 pts.

Reflection journals are handwritten journal entries designed to help you reflect on your progress in each project, the development of your writing process, and your learning and growth in the course overall. Each journal entry is worth 10 pts, and I will periodically check journals to review what you’re writing and give you credit for completing each entry.

Project Drafts—100pts.

For each project, we will go through multiple drafts. Initially, a shitty first draft will be due to Blackboard for feedback from me. This feedback will address big issues and patterns in your writing, and is designed to help you revise. A shitty first draft is a complete first pass at the project. After you revise your shitty first draft to address my feedback, you will bring that revised draft, a Reader Review draft, to class for peer feedback. Reader Review drafts are considered more than a rough draft, though less than a polished draft. They are an almost finished draft of a project. Reader Review is an important feature of this class that is both highly valuable to you and highly representative of the writing process. You must be present and you must bring a Reader Review draft to receive credit for Reader Review Day.

Participation: Attendance, in-class writing and Group Work—50pts.

As this is a writing course, we will write a LOT. In class, out of class, in various modalities and for multiple audiences. In class writing may include journals, reflection pieces, impromptu presentations, notes, responses to others’ writing, lists, questions, etc. We will spend a significant amount of time in groups, and participation in these groups will be assessed in various ways—primarily by the quality of the work the group produces, both in content and presentation.


Project 1: Genre Analysis—100pts.

The Genre Analysis project will ask you to investigate a genre of writing that you engage in. We will practice identifying, reading, annotating and analyzing genres of writing, and then focus on samples of a genre you have written in order to compose an analysis essay that makes a claim about who you are as a writer, based on the evidence you present from your genre samples.

Project 2: Rhetorical Analysis—100pts.

The Rhetorical Analysis asks you to shift perspectives a bit, from your own writing and writer-identity to the writing of someone else. We will practice identifying, reading, annotating, and analyzing an argument composed by an author, who’s rhetorical choices and efficacy you will then evaluate in your rhetorical analysis essay.

Project 3: Researched Argument—200pts.

The Researched Argument asks you to first, identify a discourse community you are a part of or are interested in. Then, you will engage in secondary and a bit of primary research to evaluate this discourse community. We will practice the reading and analysis skills we’ve built throughout projects 1 and 2, as well as key research skills that you will maintain throughout your university career, to build an argument about the discourse community you are investigating.

Project 4: Infographic—75pts.

The Infographic asks you to engage in skills of visual rhetorical analysis and composition to translate research data into a particular visual genre. The Infographic you create should present a persuasive argument based on evidence you have collected through primary and secondary research methods.

First Year Writing Showcase—25pts.

This event is a required class presentation. We will be putting together a display to represent the work you have done in ENG 1020 for an audience of ENG 1010 students, as well as English Department graduate students, instructors and administrators.

Project 5—Digital Portfolio—150pts.

The work done in ENG 1020 is extensive and important for continued growth as a reflective writer, reader and researcher—at the university and beyond. Because of this, for your course portfolio, you will be asked to complete three steps: First, you will choose 4 pieces of writing from anything you have written this semester, to serve as evidence of your work with the learning outcomes. You will compose 2-3 paragraphs for each artifact, describing how they represent your growth in the outcome and pointing to specific parts of that artifact that demonstrate your claim. Second, you will use all your knowledge from this class—including your work with the learning outcomes—to create a digital version of your Writing Ecology Map in Piktochart, or a similar platform. Third, you will compose a 3-4 page reflective essay in which you describe the content of your map, your compositional and rhetorical choices in creating your map, and reflect on the connections readers can draw between your map, your experience in this course, and your development as a writer. The reflective argument calls for thoughtful, thorough and impeccably executed composing, in which you will draws on your own experiences with composition and the pieces you’ve created to serve as evidence of growth in the course learning outcomes. The digital portfolio as a whole should serve as a reflection, but also as a presentation of your best work, evidence of what you can do as a writer as you complete ENG 1020.


Blog                                         40 points
Invention Writing 40 points
Reflection Journal 120 points
Participation                           50 points
Project Drafts 100 points
Writing Showcase 25 points
Project 1 100 points
Project 2 100 points
Project 3 200 points
Project 4 75 points
Project 5 150 points
Total Possible Points: 1,000 points

Percentage = your total earned points/ Total Possible Points

University Grading Scale:

A            94-100%

A-           90-93%

B+           87-89%

B            84-86%

B-           80-83%

C+           77-79%

C            74-76%

A grade of C or better in ENG 1020 fulfills the General Education Basic Composition (BC) graduation requirement and the prerequisite for Gen Ed Intermediate Composition (IC) courses.

C-           70-73%

D+           67-69%

D            64-66%

D-           60-63%

F            <59%


Unless noted otherwise, all assignments, including drafts, must be completed using word processing software (i.e., typed). Per MLA format, all papers must:

  • have one-inch margins on all four sides
  • be written in 12-point, standard font (seriously, readers can tell the difference!)
  • be edited, spell-checked, and proofread
  • contain a title that captures both the topic and theme/focus of the work
  • include the writer’s first and last name, instructor’s last name, assignment name, and date in the upper left corner (no cover pages unless specifically requested)
  • include citations and an MLA-style Works Cited page for all research sources

Late Work Policy


Thank you for not turning in late work. In class assignments cannot be made up. I do realize that life is complicated, but there will be consequences for coordinating actions. You must contact me in advance if work cannot be submitted by the due date. If process writing assignments are late, they will not receive credit. Submission drafts will receive lowered grades, depending on how late they are. No comments will be provided for late work. I reserve the right to determine specific grade reductions based on timely prior notification, whether revised deadlines are met, and similar factors.

Attendance Policy


We do A LOT in class, which requires your attendance. Because we do so much discussion, writing, revising, explaining, collaborating and just plain working in class, you really only hurt yourself if you’re not here. In the event of an absence, regardless of the reason for your absence, you are responsible for any material that you miss. Students who do not regularly participate in class should expect to receive lower grades in the course, due to missed information, in-class assignments and so forth. Additionally, it is rude and distracting to enter class late and to leave early (see respect policy below). If you arrive after the attendance sheet has been passed, you will be counted absent. If you miss more than two class sessions (i.e. a week of class), you would expect a significantly lower grade, not only in relation to the participation grade, but also in terms of the material/ announcements/ turn-in dates you would miss.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the act of copying work from books, articles, and websites without citing and documenting the source. Plagiarism includes copying language, texts, and visuals without citation (e.g., cutting and pasting from websites). Plagiarism also includes submitting papers (or sections of papers) that were written by another person, including another student, or downloaded from the Internet. Plagiarism is a serious academic offense. It may result in a failing grade for the assignment or a failing grade for the course. Instructors are required to report all cases of plagiarism to the English Department. Information on plagiarism procedures is available in the Department.

Other Course Policies:

R-e-s-p-e-c-t policy


Thank you for being punctual, prepared for class and ready to explore the topics at hand. It is essential that we show the highest degree of respect for each other in this class, in every way. This respect should translate from our interpersonal interactions to how we address each others’ writing to how we ourselves write.

Rude, mean, divisive, and/or dismissive attitudes or comments are not appropriate for the college classroom, nor will they be tolerated. I expect attentive and thoughtful conduct in every situation.

Don’t make Re-Re  give you this look:


Please show the same respect to others that you wish to be shown to you!

Cell-phones, pagers, i-pods, boom boxes, mixing turntables, etc.


The respect policy extends to these items, simply because attention to and awareness of others is a clear way to show respect for them. Be present. Cultivate awareness. Do NOT use any electronic gadgetry in our class that does not pertain to class work. I mean, just don’t do it. Do not leave them on ‘vibrate.’ Turn them off. Don’t stab me in my teacher-heart.

Communicating with me (your instructor):

One of the best things you can do for yourself in this course is to keep up a solid, consistent and respectful line of communication with me. Stopping by my office during office hours (or with an appointment) is a great way to do that. Also, email. I make myself as available as I can—you have to do your part and avail yourself of the resources that are provided (i.e. emailing me with questions, being prepared for class, stopping by the writing center, etc.). I check my email frequently, and really do want to hear from you!!

One caveat is this: while I check my email a lot, I don’t check it every hour of the day. Don’t email me at midnight the night before something is due with a question…because I won’t be able to answer it in time. Do give me about 24hrs during the week—48 on weekends (usually less, but still) to respond to emails, so that I can give you the careful, thoughtful responses you deserve.

A second caveat: unfortunately, emails I receive that lack information or correct/respectful etiquette are often impossible to respond to. This is especially true of emails that have no identifying information, such as those sent directly from a phone. A basic template for a respectful, appropriate email is—

Dear Nicole,

Thing that I want to ask you/tell you about in regard to our class and/or my work in the class.

Thank you,

Student Name

Warrior Writing, Research, and Technology (WRT) Zone

The WRT Zone is a one stop resource center for writing, research, and technology. The WRT Zone provides individual tutoring consultations, research assistance from librarians, and technology consultations, all free of charge for graduate and undergraduate students at WSU. Tutoring sessions are run by undergraduate and graduate tutors and can last up to 50 minutes. Tutors can work with writing from all disciplines.

Tutoring sessions focus on a range of activities in the writing process – understanding the assignment, considering the audience, brainstorming, writing drafts, revising, editing, and preparing documentation.  The WRT Zone is not an editing or proofreading service; rather, tutors work collaboratively with students to support them in developing relevant skills and knowledge, from developing an idea to editing for grammar and mechanics.

Librarian and technology support is a walk-in service. Consultants will work with students on a first come-first serve basis. Consultants provide support with the library database system, finding and evaluating sources, developing research strategies, organizing sources, and citations. Consultants will also provide technology support including, but not limited to: video editing, graphics creation, presentation building, audio recording, MS Office support, and dissertation formatting. The WRT Zone has several computers with the Adobe Creative Suite for students who want to work on multimedia projects. Our location is also equipped with two Whisper Rooms where students can work on multimedia projects in a more private and sound isolated environment.

To make a face-to-face or online appointment, consult the WRT Zone website:

For more information about the WRT Zone, please contact the Director, Jule Wallis (email:

Student Disability Services

Students who may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss specific needs.  Additionally, the Student Disabilities Services Office coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities. The office is located in 1600 David Adamany Undergraduate Library and can be reached by phone at 313-577-1851. Please consult the SDS website for further information:




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