Reading Quizzes.  In all first-year composition courses, reading quizzes will be assigned.  You are not assigned reading quizzes to “catch you” at not doing the assigned reading; quizzes are assigned to prompt you into reading the assigned texts closely and to help you focus your thoughts on the ideas presented by the authors before the readings are discussed in class.  By asking you to sort through the themes and ideas in a reading as multiple choice quizzes are structured, you will find it helps to create a comprehensive understanding of a text.

  1. If you are a registered student with the Academic Success Center:  You have the option to take reading quizzes at the ASC in Regina Hall.  The ASC will have all reading quizzes on file.  You have within 24 hours of a scheduled reading quiz to take the quiz at the ASC. 

  2. For students who miss a reading quiz due to a school-sponsored event:  You should notify your Instructor throughout the semester when you are going to miss a class due to a school-sponsored event.  It is your responsibility to arrange an appointment for a Test Proctor at Dwyer Learning center at There are no drop-in hours for Text Proctoring.  You must make your appointment 24 hours in advance of the time you wish you take your quiz.  You have within 24 hours of a scheduled reading quiz to take the quiz at Dwyer. 

  3. For students who miss a reading quiz due to an illness excused by a doctor’s note:  You will need to arrange a time with your Instructor to make up a missed reading quiz Again, only with an absence excused by a doctor’s note should you schedule a makeup reading quiz.

Participation & Preparation.  Not only is it important for you to be present in class, it is also crucial that you have a voice in discussions, group work, and in-class writing.  Active, engaged participation is therefore required on your part.  You should come to class prepared to participate every day.  This means completing all reading and writing assignments, as well as being prepared to discuss what you’ve learned, observed, loved, and even hated.  Know that I have a tendency to call on people at random to get a sense of what is on everyone’s mind.  I don’t do this to make anyone feel awkward or uncomfortable—I do it because some people tend to talk more in class, some less.  I do not think that being quiet in class necessarily means you are unprepared.  By calling on people, I want to create a space in which we can all engage with one another equally and openly; I want to hear what you have to say, and so will your classmates.  This classroom is a safe haven for all ideas.  This means that we will respect each other as equal participants in our learning.

Grading Scale.  Grades will be assigned according to the scale indicated in the College catalog:

Course Goals and Outcomes

In this course, you will learn to build on the skills you first acquired in your first-semester writing course.  You will continue engaging with the various forms of the writing process.  You will learn how to work closer with research materials as you build on your argument skills first adapted in your previously course work.  The skills of rhetoric that focused on alphabetic text will now move to digital platforms.  Finally, you will enter research into the specific writing in your field of study, thus closing out two full semesters of intensive writing instruction.

In EN101, all students will work toward the goals as articulated in the Notre Dame College Core Curriculum (2016-17 Catalog, p. 30):

  1. “Written Fluency. The strength of a liberal arts education depends on its ability to teach students how to translate critical and creative thinking into writing. Employers continue to stress clear communication skills, especially writing, as essential to a successful career.”

Therefore, students in EN101 will

  1. Construct sustained, coherent argument or presentation in more than one medium for general and specific audiences.

  2. Work in collaboration with others to address a social, personal, or ethical dilemmas.

  3. Demonstrate effective communication skills using conventions of Standard English for academic writing.

My objective in EN101 is to help you learn how to think critically, argue effectively, and voice an opinion confidently.  This course will focus on writing, reading and the thinking process.  You will be developing critical thinking skills, allowing you to voice your opinion in classroom discussions and through various written forms.  You will engage in both informal and formal writing, peer response, and revision as a means to sharpen your reading and writing skills both inside and outside the college environment.  Process writing will be stressed in this class:  you will be involved in peer reading sessions with other students and you will have opportunities to revise and rework drafts before handing them in for a grade. 

As articulated in the Notre Dame College Core Curriculum (2016-17 Catalog, p. 30):

  1. “Creative Inquiry. In a liberal arts college, students have the priceless opportunity to explore and hone their creative abilities. The study of music, art, theater, or creative writing stimulates the mind and fortifies the spirit. Students learn about the elements, forms, and styles of different media. By doing so, they understand themselves and their engagement with others critically, thoughtfully, and meaningfully.”

As a result, students in EN101 will

  1. Develop both creative and analytical thinking through the exploration of the creative process.

  2. Define and apply the vocabulary related to the elements, forms and styles of the respective media.

I expect that you will be prepared to discuss what you’ve learned, observed and loved in the texts we are reading.  Likewise, I offer you the space to disagree with any of the issues we discuss this semester as you explore your own subjectivity in relation to the issues we will be considering.  Finding your voice and gaining the confidence to use it will be stressed in this class.

Course Description

College Composition II (EN101) is part of the First-Year Composition Course curriculum. Through writing as inquiry, in this course students will practice critical analysis to evaluate arguments, research and organize evidence and learn to understand contexts by studying the rhetorical situation out of which a text arises. This course will meet for three class hours a week.  If students have already taken EN100, they should enroll in EN101: College Composition II to complete the composition course requirement for First-Year Composition.

EN101: College Composition II

Spring 2017    Section A    Mon  / Wed  / Fri    9:30-10:20a    211 Admin

Professor: Dr. Michele Polak      Office:  419 Admin

email:      Office Hours:  MWF: 12-1p; T: 10-noon

Required Materials

  1. The Norton Field Guide to Writing, Fourth Edition, by Bullock, Daly Goggin & Weinberg

  2. A Pocket Style Manual, Seventh Edition with 2016 MLA update by Hacker & Sommers

  3. digital back-up source: USB key / memory stick / jump drive

  4. ear buds or headphones

Notre Dame College, a Catholic institution in the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame, educates a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional, and global responsibility.

Course Requirements

Grading Policy.  All requirements will be assigned a letter grade based upon the following points.  You are eligible for 1000 points for this course:

Reading Quizzes  ........................................

Library Exercise  .........................................

Diagnostic Essay  ........................................

Argument Paper  ........................................

Proposal Abstract & Annotated Bibliography ...

Visual Analysis  ..........................................

Workplace Writing Memo  ............................

Reflection Essay & Portfolio  .........................

100 pts

150 pts

100 pts

150 pts

100 pts

100 pts

100 pts

200 pts











A grade of “A” or “A-“ represents excellence, extraordinary achievement.











Course Policies

Drafts.  You are welcome to bring any assignment at any stage of progress to my office for me to look at; there are no limitations on how many drafts I will read.  I will be glad to comment and help you make revisions. Taking advantage of this opportunity will assure you the grade you desire for this course. Note that I will accept no draft up for discussion through email.  I will only be able to help you properly revise if you meet with me in person. 

Late Work.  All assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the assigned due date.  If you are absent the day that something is due, you are still required to submit your assignments to me by the beginning of class time. Late assignments are NOT ACCEPTED except under extraordinary circumstances and only after prearranged negotiations with me.  If you do not submit the assignment by the due date indicated, you will receive an F for that assignment.

Attendance.  We cannot form a community of scholars if the members of the community do not show up.  I have a strict attendance policy.  Attendance for this course is mandatory.  You should come to class having printed out, read and annotated all required reading.  You are considered absent if: you are more than five minutes late or leave before class is over; you are unprepared for class having arrived without the required material as listed in this syllabus; you use technology to virtually ‘leave’ class.  Any extenuating circumstances must have documentation; if you are absent due to any college-sponsored organization, proper documentation must be provided.

You will be allowed three absences over the course of the semester.  Each subsequent absence will drop your final grade by a full letter grade; if you are absent seven days, you automatically fail the course.  Get to know your classmates early in the semester so that you have a contact to turn to.

You are responsible for attending every class scheduled for this course. This includes through finals week.  Do not make arrangements to leave town before the semester ends unless you are prepared to accept the penalty concerning absences.

Academic Dishonesty

Academic Dishonesty includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. the completion or attempted completion of any academic work by means other than those permitted

  2. the alteration of a document relating to the grading process, including changing an instructor’s grade book, or changing answers on a test after the time to complete the test is over.

Examples of Academic Dishonesty include but are not limited to: unauthorized collaboration, copying another student’s answers, unauthorized aids on a test, using purchased or pre-made term papers, plagiarism, and destroying another student’s work.  Plagiarism occurs when an individual presents the ideas, thoughts, or words of another as his or her own.

Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to: using phrases, sentences, or ideas from a published source, including the internet, without citing that source, representing another’s unpublished work as your own, rewriting or paraphrasing the work of another without giving credit to that person by citation, submitting a paper as one’s own work that has been copied, in whole or in part, from another’s work.

Academic Dishonesty may carry specific penalties including but not limited to: failure on the specific assignment, failure of the course, and/or a letter detailing the offense, which is kept in the Office of Academic Affairs.

The Writing Lab @ Dwyer Learning Center

Students seeking help with writing assignments, as well as those wishing to develop their writing skills in general are invited to visit The Writing Lab, located in 208 in the Administrative Building and across the hall from Dwyer Learning Center.  Staffed by undergraduate students majoring in a variety of disciplines, tutors offer one one-one writing assistance and are trained in proven writing center methods.  The Writing Lab is open for walk in hours 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., Sunday.  Students may also set up an appointment by sending an email to

Dwyer Learning Center

The Dwyer Learning Center offers free educational support for all NDC students. Services are designed to help students achieve academic success with subject area tutors, a writing lab, and study groups. The current schedule is posted on myNDC under Dwyer Learning Center.  Students are encouraged to utilize the Dwyer LC in Student Success to facilitate progress.

Disability Accommodations

A student with a documented disability who wants to receive academic accommodations must meet with Jeanne Christian, Director of the Dwyer Learning Center, by September 1 in order to determine the accommodations and services which can contribute to academic progress. Only students who have made such arrangements can request academic accommodations. All such arrangements are confidential. Additional information can be found in the Notre Dame College Student Handbook.

Disruptive Students

The College seeks an environment that promotes academic achievement and integrity, that is protective of free inquiry, and that serves the educational mission of Notre Dame College. Similarly, the College seeks a community that is free from violence, threats, and intimidation; that is respectful of the rights, opportunities, and welfare of students, faculty, staff, and guests of Notre Dame College; and that does not threaten the physical or mental health or safety of members of the College community. As a student at Notre Dame College you are expected adhere to the Student Code of Conduct.

The Digital Classroom

For our learning this semester, we will be utilizing the digital technologies that are available to us on our campus.  I advise you to save all your work and back up your files often on whatever digital back up source you have purchased for this class (required for this course).  As technology is not always 100% reliable, having a copy of a completed assignment will save you the risk of receiving an F on an assignment that is not handed in on time due to technological errors.  I will not change my Late Policy if you have problems with lost files on your computer—this will get you into the habit of backing up your electronic work!  For this class, you should frequently check your Notre Dame email account, as I will notify you of any important class changes through your Notre Dame email address.

Personal Technology.  If you choose to use a laptop, tablet, or any other device for taking notes or drafting in class, this is allowable.  However, you should not choose to use a personal device for any purpose unrelated to our class.  All devices not used for learning purposes should be silenced.  Smartphones should be put away, except in the rare instance that I ask you to use them for an activity. I should not see a smartphone at any time during class. I recommend that you power them down.  If there is a serious need to leave your smartphone on, such as a family emergency, please put it on vibrate and let me know.  If you leave the classroom to take a call, I’ll understand why.  If you leave the classroom to take a call without letting me know why, I will consider you absent. If I have to ask you more than once to put your smartphone away, I will consider it an absence. 

Course Moodle Site.  While the course website will be where you will find all of the information for this course, I will activate our course Moodle site so that we may access group class emails, if needed.  You have been automatically added to Moodle. I will be using Moodle to update the class on any assignment changes or late-breaking news; if you have not activated your Notre Dame email, please do so as it is the only email account that can be used through Moodle.

The Drafting Process

The first stage of the drafting process is a Peer Draft that will have gone through the peer response process.  This involves an exchange of writing and responding to each other’s writing.  You must come to class that day with a hard copy of a full, working draft ready to exchange with your peers; having only notes, or only an outline is not acceptable and will lower your final assignment grade by a full letter grade.  You will be receiving credit for not only having a proper draft for peer response but also for the response you give to your peers.  Should you miss class the day peer response is scheduled, you are still required to take part in the peer response process.

The second stage is an Instructor’s Draft which is a revised draft based on the comments offered by your peers and continued class discussion.  This draft will be handed back to you with a grade and suggestions for revision, should you care to take advantage of the revision option for this draft.

The third or Revised Draft is an optional draft based on my feedback.  You have the option of revising any Instructor’s Draft with a grade of B or lower if you feel you would like to revise for more feedback on your writing or for a grade change.  Your final assignment grade will then be averaged between the original grade assigned to your Instructor’s Draft and the new grade you receive on your Revised Draft. While all Revised Drafts are due with your Portfolio Assignments at the end of the semester, you are welcome to submit a Revised Draft at any point during the semester.

Handing in Work

  1. All assignments are due at the start of class unless otherwise indicated.

  2. Do not compose your assignments on a smartphone!  While cell phone technology has come a long way, smartphones are not reliable enough for you to draft entire papers; software developed for the smartphone platform is not designed to work well with lengthy prose or file saving.  It is a guarantee that any assignment you draft on your smartphone will be lost at some point during the semester.  While tablets are a bit better, your safest form of drafting is to compose all your assignments on a computer or laptop.

  3. All writing is to be formatted in with 1” margins all around, double-spaced, and using an academic or professional font such as Times or Times New Roman, 12pt. unless otherwise specified. (Make sure you check this info in whatever word processing program you use as Microsoft Word often defaults to 1.5” margins.) 

  4. A page of text must fill at least 3/4 of the page to be considered a full page.

  5. All digital files for this class must be exchanged using NDC email addresses.

  6. Microsoft OneDrive: When submitting a draft for either your peers or the Instructor, you must first download it from your OneDrive and only then attach it to an email.  Drafts emailed through the Microsoft OneDrive do not properly convert 9 out of 10 times.  You are responsible for submitting your drafts properly and emailing a draft as an attachment is the best way to ensure this happens.

  7. If you are a user of Google Docs: When submitting a draft for either your peers or the Instructor, you must first download it from Google Docs and only then attach it to an email.  Too often, Google Docs assigns a password to your files and it can often only be accessed through another Google account. 

  8. If you are a Mac user and are using Pages for Mac: You will need to export your files into a Word document before submitting your assignments to your peers and to me for grading.  I will not accept any file saved in Pages for Mac.