Expanded Composition Fall Semester


The University of Southern Mississippi

Fall 2012


Comp I-Expanded is a two-semester sequence of classes linked through a common instructor—for both semesters, students usually have the same teacher, work with the same group of students, and often even have the same classroom. We designed this program to help build a real writing community, as everyone has an entire year to work together to develop critical writing and reading strategies that will be crucial throughout their academic careers.  Upon completion of the first semester of ENG 100E, students will receive a traditional letter grade.  However, because we want to place emphasis on continuity between the two semesters, students will conference with instructors at the beginning of the spring semester to discuss their grades from the fall semester and the role their previous essays will play in the 101 section of the course.  In addition, the students’ final portfolios will include revisions of their work from both semesters.


Composition I-Expanded aims to introduce students to the strategies, tools and resources necessary to become successful communicators in a wide range of academic, professional, and public settings. Four assumptions are fundamental to this work:

1)       writing is a form of social interaction. Thus, successful writers must not only consider their audiences and the contexts in which they write, but the personal, social and political implications of writing (or not writing) more generally;

2)       the organization of modern society requires that people inhabit and move among several  discourse communities every day. Because each discourse community has its own rules and assumptions (often unstated) about what can be said, by whom, when, and how, becoming an effective communicator means learning to recognize, analyze, and negotiate the differing expectations of these communities;

3)       writing and thinking are intimately connected activities. Becoming a successful communicator means not only learning how to think carefully through writing, but to reflect critically about writing, both one’s own and the work of others. Thus, honest self-reflection and a thorough understanding of what it means to truly revise are essential aspects of learning to write effectively;

4)       genres are types of writing that have emerged over time to address recurring situations. Each genre has particular features, conventions and structures for organizing and presenting information. Being an effective writer requires not only learning how to analyze one’s rhetorical situation and use such conventional forms strategically, but evaluating the costs and benefits of violating such conventions, and when desired, how to go about doing so.


USM’s Composition Program has identified specific learning outcomes for each of its first-year writing courses.  At the completion of ENG 101, students will be able to:

  • See that writing is a form of social interaction
  • Analyze rhetorical situations and make effective choices based on audience and context
  • Responsibly synthesize material from a variety of sources
  • Make claims and support them with appropriate evidence
  • Use writing to critically explore, explain, evaluate and reflect on their experiences and those of others
  • Understand and effectively use a range of genres/forms
  • Use conventions of expression appropriate to situation and audience
  • Effectively revise and provide substantive feedback to others on their writing
  • Articulate a revision strategy based on an understanding of their own writing processes
  • Recognize the importance of technology in research, writing, and other forms of social interaction


  • Mauk, John and John Metz. The Composition of Everyday Life: A Guide to Writing, 3rd Ed.  Boston: Wadsworth/Cengage, 2010
  • A 3-ring binder and loose leaf paper
  • Folders for turning in projects
  • Regular access to Blackboard to download and print supplemental readings from the course website


  • Lunsford, Andrea.  The Everyday Writer, 4th Ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010


In order to pass both semesters of our expanded composition program, you must satisfactorily complete all of the following:

  • complete all six major writing projects, each to be submitted in a folder with any rough drafts, workshop notes and/or supporting research materials relevant to the project;
  • complete the Final Revision and Portfolio/Self-Evaluation Projects, to be submitted at the end of the fall and spring semesters (in lieu of final exams);
  • submit all required writing sketches required throughout the year.
  • maintain a response log, consisting of all in-class and informal writing assignments given as homework, which will be collected and evaluated periodically over the course of the semesters;
  • complete all reading assignments and homework; actively participate in class discussions and workshops, and maintain regular classroom attendance.
  • meet with instructor for all required individual conferences.
  • utilize USM’s Writing Center and Speaking Center as directed by instructor.


In addition to readings in the assigned textbooks, a number of required resources and materials will only be available online through Blackboard/WebCT. You can log into the online component of this course by first going to http://southernmiss.blackboard.com, and then following the log-in instructions. You will need to have your EMPLID and password (the same information you use to access SOAR and register for classes.) If you have any questions or run into difficulty accessing the Blackboard/WebCT material for this course, please call the iTech Helpdesk at 601-266-4357, or e-mail them at helpdesk@usm.edu. You can also get help as well as specific instructions on how to use various components of Blackboard/WebCT by visiting http://www.usm.edu/lec/des/students/blackboard_student_tutorials.php,



Writing and thinking are complex processes that take time to develop. Thus, your overall grade for the first semester of this program is as dependent on how much your writing improves over the course of the semester, your demonstrated commitment to learning and support of your peers, the careful completion of homework and class assignments, and your own assessment of your strengths and progress, as any strict calculation of paper grades. Indeed, much of your final grade for this course will be determined by your participation in the writing community we are creating.  In addition, remember that the papers you write for this section of the course will be revisited in the spring semester of ENG 101E. We will talk individually about your fall semester grades, so you will know exactly where you stand starting your spring semester.  The following should serve as only a guide to how grading for the first semester of this class will be approached:


Project One: Personal Essay/Learning Autobiography (10 pts)

A brief paper (750-1000 words) in which you will analyze and reflect on a significant learning moment in your life in a way that is meaningful for someone else.  Due Wednesday, September 19.

Project Two: Profile (15 pts)

A paper (1000-1500 words) in which you will interview and profile a member of a specific community that interests you.  Due Friday, October 19.

Project Three: Media Image Analysis (20 pts)

A longer paper (1000 – 1500 words) in which you will analyze and explore an advertisement and offer a defense of your interpretation of the ad.  Due Monday, November 19.

Self-Evaluation/Revision Project (15 pts)

One of the three projects, systematically and thoroughly revised; as well as completion of the first-semester, self-evaluation assignment.  Due during final exam period.

Course Journal/Writing Sketches (10 pts)

A collection of in-class and homework assignments that encourage you to reflect on writing and the course material. Individual entries will not be graded, and in-class writing cannot be made up in the event of an absence.  Writing Sketches are brief (300-500 words) drafts of your most promising materials that will be submitted for response and feedback.

Class Participation (30 pts)

Your contributions to class-discussions; your work as part of a facilitation group; participation in peer review workshops; quizzes; Writing and Speaking Center attendance; etc.

Note: For program assessment purposes, some final portfolios may be randomly selected for institutional review at the conclusion of the spring semester. In such cases, portfolios will be collected anonymously from among all available sections of Expanded Composition I. This review is intended solely to improve the quality of the curriculum, and will not affect your grade in any way.


In addition to completing reading and writing assignments, preparing for class means being ready to discuss and intelligently question issues raised by the material. This does not mean, however, that you must master the material. On the contrary, it is perfectly reasonable that you may be confused by some readings the first time we encounter them. But in such cases you should be prepared to discuss what you specifically found puzzling, aggravating, thought-provoking, engaging or difficult about the assignment. In other words, if you feel you have nothing to state about a piece of writing, actively develop a list of questions about it. Remember, much of your grade in this course will be determined by how much you improve, so there’s really no such thing as a stupid question, provided that you ask it in the spirit of honest inquiry.


The framework of this course – with its emphasis on class discussion and group work – demands that you attend class regularly. Failure to complete in-class work, such as peer reviews, in-class writing assignments, and group meetings will result in the lowering of your grade. Indeed, no in-class activities (including quizzes) may be made up due to tardiness or absence, and students who accumulate more than three unexcused absences over the course of the semester will automatically have their final grades lowered. More than six absences in a semester will result in your failing the course (Note: You are responsible for keeping track of your own absences).


You will be marked tardy if you arrive more than five minutes after the beginning of class. After fifteen minutes, you will be counted absent for the day. Three tardies and/or early departures from class equal one absence.


Late work will only be accepted if you can demonstrate that you have encountered a valid obstacle before the deadline (i.e., that you’ve been working on the project in good faith, but have run into some problems). If you feel you may be unable to complete an assignment on time, you should contact me as soon as possible, but no later than two days before the due date. After reviewing all the work you’ve done on the assignment, we will set a new deadline together. In all other cases, late work will automatically be docked one letter grade per day past the deadline, beginning the day the assignment was due.

Note: Unless specified otherwise, no papers submitted electronically will be accepted, and work magically appearing in my mailbox without a prior agreement with me will also be considered late.


It is important to me that we maintain a positive, engaging, and professional atmosphere in the classroom. Cell phones must be on silent or turned off during class (as opposed to being set on vibrate, which everyone can still hear). Please DO NOT check or send text messages or emails; if you do so, you WILL GET A ZERO for participation points and, in certain cases, may be asked to leave class and take an absence for the day. If you have an emergency and must leave your phone on, please tell me before class. All other electronic devices (including cell phones and music devices) should be turned off and/or silenced before coming to class; please remove any earpieces as well. You may bring your laptop or e-reader to class in order to view the PDF reading assignments. Electronic devices should remain in your bag unless you make prior arrangements; if you want to use such devices you must read and sign the “Electronics Agreement” at the end of the syllabus and return it to me before you use your device


All members of the academic community at the University of Southern Mississippi are expected to take responsibility for academic honesty and integrity. Therefore, it is very important that you understand and follow the academic community’s rules about plagiarism. Plagiarism is the unauthorized or unacknowledged use of another person’s academic or scholarly work. Done on purpose, it is theft or fraud. It is no less serious when done accidentally, because learning these rules is fundamental to your success in academic writing.The penalties for plagiarism can include being failed for the course and in some cases even expulsion from the university. If you have any doubts as to what constitutes plagiarism, please refer to your student handbook for USM policies on Academic Honesty, or come talk to me.


The University of Southern Mississippi is committed to providing equal access to its programs, services and activities for people with disabilities. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that reasonable accommodations be provided for students with physical, sensory, cognitive, systemic, learning, and psychiatric disabilities. If you feel you may need accommodations in this or any class, please contact the Office of Disability Services (118 College Dr. #8586, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0001) at 601-266-5024 (Telephone), 601-266-6837 (TTY), or 601-266-6035 (FAX).


The Writing Center is a free program available to all student writers at the University of Southern Mississippi. It offers one-on-one help with any kind of writing project, at any stage of the writing process. The Writing Center is located in Cook Library 112.  The Writing Center will play an important role in the design of this course.  For more information, and hours of operation, you may contact The Writing Center at 601-266-4821.


The University of Southern Mississippi offers a Speaking Center, with consultations available at no cost to all students, faculty, and staff.  The center is available for advice on all types of oral communication—formal individual presentations, group presentations, class discussion, class debates, interviews, campus speeches, etc.  Tutors at the Speaking Center will work with you on brainstorming, organizing and outlining, editing and revising, and practicing delivery.  The center also offers several practice rooms for recording presentations and practicing with delivery aids (PowerPoint and internet access are available).  Visit the center in Cook Library 117, call the center at 601-266-4965, or visit the web site at www.usm.edu/speakingcenter.


Student Counseling Services provide quality services to Southern Miss students by promoting sound mental health and the coping skills necessary for successful pursuit of their educational and life goals. As mental health professionals, we work in a spirit of collaboration within the Division of Student Affairs to support individual responsibility, personal growth, and wellness of all members of the student body. The counseling center is located at 200 Kennard Washington Hall. You can reach them by phone at 601-266-4829 or visit their website: http://www.usm.edu/student-counseling-services.


Labor Day Holiday: Monday, September 3

Last Day to Drop Full-Semester Classes without Financial Penalty: Wednesday, September 5

Last Day to Drop Full-Semester Classes without Academic Penalty: Wednesday, October 3

Fall Break: Thursday, October 11 – Friday, October 12

Last Day to Process an Add/Drop/Withdraw Form: Tuesday, November 20

Thanksgiving Holidays: Wednesday, November 21 – Friday, November 23

Last Day of Classes: Friday, December 7

 Course Schedule

Note: Course assignments, readings, and project due dates are subject to change.

CEL = The Composition of Everyday Life

BB = Blackboard

RL = Response Log

Week One

W 08/22 Introduction to the course; Student introductions; Review syllabus
F 08/24 In-class diagnostic essay


Reading: CEL Ch. 1 pp. 4 – 25

Week Two

M 08/27 Discuss “Inventing Ideas”; Introduce Project One


Reading: CEL Ch. 2 pp. 28 – 29Sedaris, “Me Talk Pretty One Day” (BB reading)


Writing: RL 1: on BB, respond to the questions posted on the “Me Talk Pretty One Day” discussion board. Respond to at least one other person’s post.
W 08/29 Discuss “Me Talk Pretty One Day” and Ch. 2; In-class invention (Exploring Ideas #1 p. 40)


Reading: CEL Ch. 2 pp. 43 – 48Tocknell, “That’s What We’re Doing Here” (BB)
Writing: RL 2: On BB, respond to the questions posted on the corresponding discussion board. Respond to at least one other person’s response.
F 08/31 Library/Writing Center/Speaking Center Orientation: meet in foyer of Cook Library at the beginning of class (TENTATIVE)


Reading: Bosley, “How I Lost the Junior Miss Pageant (CEL 33-35) and Jacobs “The Truth About Nakedness” (BB)
Writing: RL 3: On the discussion board for this reading, answer Exploring Ideas #2-3 p. 36. Respond to at least one other person’s post.

Week Three

W 09/05 Discuss “How I Lost the Junior Miss Pageant,” “The Truth About Nakedness” and “Analysis” 


Reading: CEL Ch. 2 pp. 49 – 51Nafisi, excerpt from Reading Lolita in Tehran
Writing: RL 4: On BB, answer the questions on the Reading Lolita discussion board. Respond to at least one other person’s post.
F 09/07 Discuss Reading Lolita in Tehran; In-class invention exercises and discussions of theses


Reading: CEL Ch. 2 pp. 52 – 53Tengelitsch “The Greatest Gift” (pp. 532 – 534)
Writing: Sketch #1: Introduction (one page typed)

Week Four

M 09/10 Discuss “The Greatest Gift” and “Rhetorical Tools”; Workshop introductions


Reading:Writing: CEL Ch. 2 pp. 54 – 59Begin drafting Project One; bring draft to class
W 09/12 Discuss “Organization Strategies,” “Writer’s Voice,” and “Vitality”; Discuss student drafts


Writing: CEL Ch. 2 pp. 60 – 62Draft #1 (full-length, typed, and printed)
F 09/14 Discuss “Peer Review” and “Delivery”; Workshop Project One


Writing: Revise Project One; Prepare Draft #2 (full-length, typed, and printed)

Week Five

M 09/17 Workshop Project One; Style workshop


Writing: Revise Project One
W 09/19 PROJECT ONE DUE; Decompression


Reading: CEL Ch. 4 pp. 100 – 101Hebdige, “Subculture: The Meaning of Style” (BB)  (Will be discussed 9/26)

“WCU How to write a profile” (BB) – print and bring to class on Monday

F 09/21 Library Day: Using databases to find sample profile essays (Meet in LIB 110) – TENTATIVE


Reading: Use the library databases to locate a sample profile essay; read the profile and bring it to class Monday
Writing: RL 5: (on BB) Did you find the portrayal of the subject interesting?  In what ways did the author attempt to draw you into the story?  What were the most interesting details?  What techniques or styles might you use in your own profile essay?

Week Six

M 09/24 Discuss “Observing” and “Writing Profiles”; Discuss students’ sample essays


Reading: Palahniuk, “Where Meat Comes From” (BB)Murphy “Tips for a Good Profile Piece” (BB – YouTube video)
Writing: RL 6: On BB, answer the questions on the corresponding discussion board. Reply to at least one other response.
W 09/26 Discuss “Subculture,”“Where Meat Comes From” and “Tips”; Read and discuss “Point of Contact” p. 114


Reading:Writing: McNamara “General Guidelines for Conducting Research Interviews”“Don’t Call Me a National Treasure” (BB)

Sketch #1: Develop interview questions

F 09/28 Meet in the Speaking Center for interview questions workshop


Reading:Writing: “Badlands: Portrait of a Competitive Eater” (BB)Revise interview questions and schedule your interview

RL 7: Make a list of the descriptions of Badlands’ physical appearance and/or behavior you found most interesting.  What impression did these descriptions create?

Week Seven

M 10/01 Discuss and “Badlands,” “Don’t Call Me…”; Read and discuss “Analysis” pp. 116-117


Reading:Writing: CEL pp. 118-119Sketch #2: Respond to the Invention Questions on p. 116 and the Public Resonance Questions on p. 118
W 10/03 Discuss “Public Resonance”; Discuss student sketches; Discuss sample student profile essays on BB


Reading:Writing: Palahniuk, “Demolition” (BB)RL 8: On BB, respond to the questions on the discussion board.
F 10/05 Discuss “Demolition”; In-class writing


Writing: Sketch #3: Bring typed interview notes to class Monday for group workshop

Week Eight

M 10/08 Sketch workshop: moving from Q&A to narrative


Reading: CEL pp. 120 – 125
Writing:  Draft #1: At least two pages, typed and printed
W 10/10 Discuss “Thesis,” “Rhetorical Tools,” and “Organizational Strategies”; Workshop drafts


Reading: CEL pp. 126 – 131
Writing: Draft #2: Full-length, typed and printed

Week Nine

M 10/15                  Workshop drafts; Style workshop on quotations
                                              HW: Reading: CEL pp. 132 – 133
Writing: Revise Project Two
W 10/17                PROJECT TWO DUE; Decompression; Introduce Peer Evaluation
                                              HW: Writing: Peer Evaluation
F 10/19 Peer Evaluation DUE


Reading: CEL Ch. 6 pp. 170 – 171;Davis “The Power of Images” (pp. 568 – 571)

Week Ten

M 10/22 Discuss Analyzing Images and “The Power of Images”; Introduce Project Two


Reading: CEL Ch. 6 pp. 186 – 187Thoman “Rise of the Image Culture” (pp. 172 – 176)
Writing: RL 9: Respond to Writing Strategies #1-5 p. 176
W 10/24 Discuss “Rise of the Image Culture”; Discuss “Point of Contact”


Reading: Johnson “The Mighty Image” (pp. 177 – 180)
Writing: RL 10: Exploring Ideas #2 p. 180
F 10/26 Discuss “The Mighty Image”; In-class writing


Reading: CEL Ch. 6 pp. 188 – 195

Week Eleven

M 10/29 Meet in Writing Studio (LAB 334) to work with images; bring laptop if you have one


Writing: Select at least three images you consider interesting and bring them to class in print or on your laptop.RL 11:  Discuss why you chose each image.
W 10/31 Discuss student images; Discuss analysis; In-class analysis


Writing: RL 12:  Select the text you will analyze for project two and respond thoroughly to the invention questions on p. 191.


Reading:  CEL Ch. 6 pp. 196 – 197Clough “Cartoons ‘n Comics” (pp. 566 – 568)

Week Twelve

M 11/05 Discuss “Cartoons ‘n Comics”; Discuss “Thesis”; In-class writing


Reading:Writing: CEL Ch. 6 pp. 198 – 201 Hollingsworth “An Imperfect Reality” (pp. 181 – 183)

RL 13: Respond to Writing Strategies p. 183 #1-3

Begin drafting Project Two

W 11/07 Discuss “An Imperfect Reality”; Discuss “Rhetorical Tools,” and “Organizational Strategies”


Reading: CEL Ch. 6 pp. 202 – 205
Writing: Develop Sketch #2 with a working thesis and evidence (one page, typed)
F 11/09 Discuss “Writer’s Voice” and “Vitality”; Discuss student sketches


Writing: Draft #1: At least two pages, typed, and printed)

Week Thirteen

M 11/12 Discuss “Peer Review” and “Delivery”; Invention Workshop (p. 206); Writing Center workshop preparation


Writing: Prepare/exchange/read drafts for workshop
W 11/14 Meet in Writing Center for workshop – DATE TENTATIVE


Writing: Draft #2: Full-length, typed and printed
F 11/16 Draft workshop; Style workshop


 Writing: Revise draft

Week Fourteen

M 11/19 PROJECT 3 DUE; Decompression; Begin discussing Final Portfolio


Reading: Begin reading through your essays for this class and making notes
F 11/23


Week Fifteen

M 11/26 Introduce Final Portfolio Project


Writing: RL 14: Revision Plan
W 11/28 Student conferences
F 11/30 Student conferences

Week Sixteen

M 12/03 Discuss revision strategies; Discuss self-assessment


Writing: Revise essay and begin composing self-assessment
W 12/05 Workshop Final Portfolios


Writing: Continue revising essays and self-assessment
F 12/07 Workshop Final Portfolios


Writing: Final Portfolios DUE Exam Week

Final Portfolios Due: TBA


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