Course Overview


The Call to Write, 5th ed., John Trimbur
Ball Point, BSU Writing Program handbook (the password is on your syllabus)


This course prepares you to write in a variety of situations. We will practice writing in a number of genres and learn how to size up a rhetorical situation, so that you can adapt to writing situations you will encounter beyond this course.

I will run the course as a workshop. This means that we will spend class time doing things—writing, revising, working in small groups, sharing and responding to drafts, participating in class discussions, and reflecting on your writing and learning. Throughout the semester, you will complete four major projects, as well as a number of smaller writing assignments. At the end of the semester, you will reflect back on all you’ve done, taking stock of where are as a writer.


1. Understand how nearly all writing tries to persuade readers
2. Understand how visual images—as well as writing—can be used to persuade
3. Understand how writing and images are composed for different audiences and for different purposes
4. Compose persuasive texts in various genres and media, using solid logic, claims, evidence, creativity, and audience awareness
5. Integrate primary and secondary research into your writing as appropriate to the situation
6. Develop strategies for becoming a more critical and careful reader
7. Develop strategies for invention (creating ideas and text) and revision (evaluating and changing text)
8. Develop strategies for thoughtfully and usefully responding to the writing of peers, and for evaluating your own writing
9. Reflect on your writing and learning
10. Demonstrate a professional attitude towards your writing by addressing on the need for appropriate format, syntax, punctuation, and spelling

See also the ENG 103 Course Description on the Writing Program website.


In English 103, you will be required to complete
• assigned readings, exercises, and response papers;
• informal writing assignments;
• a number of brief class presentations;
• course-related library instruction;
• four essays and revisions;
• an online portfolio and final reflective essay.

You will also be expected to participate actively in class discussions (on and offline) and peer-editing workshops.


Final course grades will be determined by combining grades in the following manner:
• Final drafts of four graded essays (75%)
• Class participation, including attendance, discussion, peer response, informal writing, in-class writing, library quizzes, and essay drafts (15%)
• Final reflective portfolio (10%)
Note: In order to fulfill the University Core Curriculum’s requirement in Writing Program courses, you must earn a minimum grade of C; a grade of C- is not considered acceptable. Further details regarding this policy are available in Ballpoint.

See also the Writing Program Grading Rubric.



To have a successful learning environment, we need you. Since much of the work of the class will take place in class—including discussion, group work, presentations, etc.—attendance is mandatory.
1. You are allowed three absences (one week of class) free and clear, no excuses necessary. You don’t need to provide any documentation to explain your absence, but you only get three, so use them wisely.
2. After your three absences, any and all absences, regardless of the reason, will adversely affect your grade as follows. For each absence after the third, your class participation grade (15% of the total course grade) will be lowered by 10 percentage points.
3. After nine absences (three weeks), you will fail the course. I will be following the English department policy which mandates that a student who misses 20% of the class meetings will automatically fail the class; for a Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule, that means nine or more absences result in a failing grade. Thus, only eight absences are allowed. Refer to Ball Point, Ch. 1, for the Writing Program explanation of this policy.
4. If you are absent, you are responsible for submitting the assigned homework, for making arrangements to get the materials for the next class, and for coming prepared to discuss the next class materials. If you have an illness or family responsibilities that require a long absence you should contact me as soon as possible (NOT after an unexplained absence of several weeks).


Keep in mind:
• In-class writing cannot be made up.
• Absence is not an excuse for late work: assignments must be turned in the day they are due. If you will be absent when an assignment is due, arrange to have someone turn in the assignment for you or email me the assignment. If you cannot make such arrangements, contact me before the due date.
• Technology is not an excuse for late work. Plan ahead for the inevitable problems with printers, flash drives, etc.
• A late essay will be penalized one full letter grade (e.g., from a B to a C) for each class day it is late (e.g., the essay is due Monday but not turned in until Wednesday).


Honesty, trust, and personal responsibility are fundamental attributes of the university community. Academic dishonesty by a student will not be tolerated, for it threatens the foundation of an institution dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. To maintain its credibility and reputation, and to equitably assign evaluations of scholastic and creative performance, Ball State University is committed to maintaining a climate that upholds and values the highest standards of academic integrity.


Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty (such as turning in a paper originally written for another course) will be punished in accordance with the Ball State disciplinary policy. If you plagiarize, you will fail the paper for sure, and you could fail the class.

See also Ball Point and The Call to Write for discussions of plagiarism. We will discuss strategies for avoiding plagiarism in class.


If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible.