Required Materials

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.

  1. From Critical Thinking to Argument by Barnet and Bedau

  2. Contemporary & Classic Arguments: A Portable Anthology by Barnet and Bedau

  3. Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects by Kolln & Gray, Eight Edition

  4. A Pocket Style Manual, Seventh Edition with 2016 MLA update by Hacker and Sommers

FROM THE COURSE CATALOG: “Students will develop proficiency in expository, analytic and critical writing that strengthens the rhetorical skills necessary for those planning to enter fields involving substantial writing.”  The goals of EN215 are to explore the modes of composition, extending your range as a writer as you refine the skills learned in first-year composition.  You will work with advanced forms of argument in this course, both by analyzing various argumentative texts and writing your own well-researched arguments.

In EN215, all students will work toward the goals as articulated in the Notre Dame College Core Curriculum (2016-17 Catalog, p. 30):

“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 EN215 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.

This is a discussion-heavy course!  You will be required to read for every class and you should be prepared to discuss the reading amongst your peers.  You will learn critical thinking skills in this course, along with various forms of analysis and argument.

Course Goals and Outcomes

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

“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 EN215 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

You will be offered the space to both agree and disagree with any of the topics we discuss this semester as you utilize the skills you are learning.  As part of a liberal arts education, EN215 will also encourage you to identify and express your personal and professional goals for life beyond the college environment.

Course Requirements

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.

Grammar Worksheets  ...........................................

Short Grammatical Excursion  ................................

Long Grammatical Excursion  ................................

Short Analysis of an Argument  ..............................

Long Analysis of an Argument  ...............................

Fallacy Response  ..................................................

Toulmin / Rogerian Paper .......................................





















GRADING SCALE.  Grades will be assigned according to the scale indicated in the College catalog.  A grade of “A” or “A-“ represents excellence, extraordinary achievement:

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

150 pts

50 pts

150 pts

100 pts

200 pts

100 pts

250 pts

Course Description

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.

Course Policies

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.

Academic Dishonesty

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 The Writing Lab.

The Writing Lab

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.

Dwyer Learning Center

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.

Disability Accommodations

Disruptive Students

  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 EMAILED using your NDC 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.

Digital Sources

Handing in Work

hard copy .pdfSyllabus_files/215spring17syllabus_1.pdfSyllabus_files/215spring17syllabus_2.pdfshapeimage_2_link_0

Spring 2017      Section A      Mon / Wed      10:30 AM – 11:20 PM      126 Regina

Professor:  Dr. Michele Polak      email:

Office:  419 Admin Building      Office Hours:  MWF: 11:30-12:30p; Tues: 1-2p

EN215: Argument & Rhetoric