You Have The Right To Remain Silent….” Or Do You?

Politics and Liberty in Western Culture


English 111W & Political Science 111D

Learning Community Fall, 2006

MWF 9-9:50 Hopwood 025


Dr. Chidsey Dickson

Office: Carnegie 222



Required Materials


The Call To Write, 3rd Edition. John Trimbur

(We’ll use this book for the entire year)


1 project folder


1 notebook (for notes and low-stakes writing in class)


Course Description


Writing is less a “skill” (like riding a bike) than a practice (like getting along with others, playing soccer, etc) consisting of many skills and strategies, as well as some accrued judgment about which skills and strategies best apply to a particular situation. To communicate well, regardless of medium or purpose, you have to develop and hone a writing process that is flexible enough to handle a variety of rhetorical situations. Editing at the sentence level (for clarity and correctness) is one important, but relatively small part of the whole process. To help you improve your ability to write in a variety of contexts, you’ll do a lot of low-stakes, informal writing in response to readings that will acquaint you with a variety of genre: essay, manifesto, letter of complaint, profile, and one multi-authored project (a zine, ezine or audio essay).


This section of Composition I is linked with Dr. Meinke’s 111D. This “learning community” is organized so that you will be more familiar with your classmates and thus more accustomed to discussing and debating issues with them, which may spill over into interactions outside of class.  There will also be opportunities for you to think “interdisciplinary” ways—to imagine how one discipline (its methods and questions) informs (or provides a critical perspective on) another one. For example, you will probably have occasion to draw upon the work that you do in Dr. Meinke’s class on political theory to help you shape some of your writing projects in this class, many of which hope to make civic “interventions” through writing. Finally, these linked classes will share an common thematic interest in how communities commemorate themselves and compose their histories through monuments. This topic will be covered in a few readings in both classes and experienced in the Lynchburg community through a field trip, “Monuments and Erasures”, scheduled for October 11th.


Teacher Licensure


This course is designed to assist students preparing to meet Virginia Department of Education, Teacher Licensure Competencies in English as follows: 


Competency 1: Understanding of the knowledge, skills, and process of English as defined in the Virginia Standards of Learning. (SOLS are 9.6-9.7; 10.7-10.9; 11.7-11.8 for ENGL 111; and all of these plus 9.8-9.9; 10.10-10.11; 11.9-11.10; 12.7-12.8 for ENGL 112).


Competency 3: Knowledge of grammar, usage, and mechanics and their integration in writing




Attendance and Participation in Group Activities (Peer Critique, etc)


1-1 Conference Preparation (2 required @ %5)


Writing Center Visits (3 required @ 2%)


Hope in the Unseen Essay


Connect Web Posts (20 1-page entries)


Writing Projects (5 @ 10%)




To achieve an A in the class you:

  • Prepare fully for every class—have all reading done, writing accomplished, and be generally prepared to help the class or your group engage with the material for the day. Slouching down in your seat, hood-or-iPod-earpiece-wearing, sleeping or head-on-desk: all indicate a lack of preparation and engagement.
  • Participate actively in class—listen attentively to what others are saying (not just the instructor), question the ideas presented by peers or professor for their relevance and coherence, and generally be willing to interact
  •  Turn in all assignments at the appropriate time (exceptions can be negotiated as they arise, but must involve good reasoning and be discussed in a timely fashion).
  • Exhibit "A"-level reading and produce "A"-level writing in your CW exploratory writing and in formal assignments. What determines "A" level for low-stakes vs. high-stakes writing will be discussed and negotiated—in other words, we will develop a shared understanding of "A"-level work as the semester proceeds. .
  • Miss no more than three classes (extreme exceptions can be dealt with on an individual basis).

To achieve a B, you will generally need to meet the criteria of an A, but with some inconsistencies. This inconsistency could happen in any area, but generally it shows up as not being prepared for every class (not having the reading done, not handing in assignments on time), writing projects that don't meet all the assignment criteria, sporadic participation in class, or attendance or tardiness problems. The key here is that you are generally meeting the criteria for an A, but occasionally or in a particular area you are not.

To achieve a C, those inconsistencies would need to become more of a norm rather than an exception. Any of the inconsistencies listed above that become the typical way that you interact in class—writing that continually misses assignment criteria, little to no participation in class discussions, routinely late writing assignments, etc.—would result in a C grade.

Consistently failing to meet the criteria to receive any of these grades will result in a D or failing grade.

Attendance/Class Behavior


More than three unexcused absences from class indicates that, regardless of your writing ability or performance, you are not really invested in the course. After three absences, I might ask to speak to you about what’s hindering your full engagement (problems with workload, difficulty of assignments, etc.). Students who have six or more absences automatically fail the class. Since the class is only 50 minutes long (5 minutes of which is taken up with roll-taking and announcements), being on time is absolutely necessary. If you are chronically late, I will have to begin to count each lateness as one half an absence. No food is allowed in class but you can bring a drink if there is a top. Please use the restroom before you come to class, but if you need to go, you don’t need to ask permission—just be quiet as you leave and return. Also, sometimes during the middle of class you just need to stretch your legs and take a deep breath—if you can do this quietly I have no problem with it.


Behavioral Standards for Learning Environments

(excerpted from the Hornet)

The values and attitudes that should guide student behavior consistent with maintaining an environment conducive to learning are set forth in the Lynchburg College catalogue and The Hornet. Responsibility and authority for maintaining order in the learning environment are assigned to faculty in Section 3.12.3 of the Faculty Handbook.

The following standards and procedures apply to all learning environments. However, each School and each instructor may have codes to specify additional standards suitable for learning environments or activities.

No student in Lynchburg College classes, laboratories, performances, lectures, and/or organizations shall behave in any way that obstructs or disrupts the normal functioning of the environment. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to, behaviors that persistently or grossly (1) inhibit the ability of other students to learn; (2) interfere with the meaningful participation of other students; or (3) inhibit the ability of an instructor or presenter to do his/her job. Specifically, students should foster an optimal learning environment by doing the following:

  • Arriving on time.
  • Being seated when it is time to begin and being attentive throughout.
  • Refraining from engaging in conversations with others unless participating in group activities.
  • Using a courteous tone when speaking.
  • Using appropriate language.
  • Refraining from leaving the event while it is in progress (except for illness or with prior approval).
  • Treating others with respect.
  • Refraining from eating.
  • Respecting the process of discussion and group activities.
  • Leaving the facility in a neat and clean condition.


Missed Classes


Due to sickness, athletic events, family problems, etc., you will probably miss one or two classes during the semester. There’s no need to notify me if that’s all you miss. It is your responsibility, though, to have contact information for another person in the class (email and phone number) so that if you do miss a class you can find out what you missed, possible changes to the syllabus, etc.. More than three unexcused absences results in a drop in your semester grade by ½ letter grade.


Picking Up Work After an Absence


Most of my response to your writing will occur online, but you will occasionally turn in hard copies. If you are absent on the day I return a hardcopy of your work, you can pick it up later outside my office door in a cardboard box marked “ENGLISH 111 Dr. Dickson.”


Class Preparedness and Late Assignments


Late assignments are penalized a half a letter grade for every day they are late. My feedback to your work will be prompt if it is turned in on time, but if you turn something in late, I cannot promise that I will have time to turn your work around as quickly. It may be 4-7 days before I have time to respond.




Plagiarism is a serious act of intellectual theft and will not be tolerated. All language and ideas you deploy in formal projects that you derive from sources must be credited. We will discuss the MLA guidelines for incorporating and documenting sources. As far as CW posts go, you are on your honor not to read your peers’ posts and merely paraphrase what they say. If I see that this is a problem, I will speak to you individually. If the problem is not addressed, I may choose to turn off your ability to see your peers’ posts, which disrupts part of the point of the electronic forum: seeing what others have to say.



What to Bring to Class (this is part of your participation grade)


  • Notebook and pen
  • Textbook on days when there is a reading assignment


Writing Center (Hopwood 04)

All writers can benefit from discussing their work with another interested writer; hence, the individual attention provided by the Writing Center tutors is a helpful resource for all students in ENGL 111-112.  You should decide at what point in your writing process discussion with a tutor would be most helpful: 

-          invention and focusing the thesis in the early stages

-          developing and organizing ideas in the rough draft

-          integrating and documenting sources in a second draft

-          editing and proofreading before the final draft

You may like to visit the Writing Center more than once per assignment as your purpose changes at various points in the writing process, but a requirement of this course is that you make at least three visits to the Writing Center.  To avoid being blocked out of the Writing Center, make the appointments well in advance.  Afterwards, the tutor will send me an email form, which outlines the main points of your discussion.  


Writing Projects: Overview


WP#1 “Analyzing a Literacy Event”

Genre: Essay

Focus: Organization (Document, Paragraph)

WP#2 “Intervening Through a Letter”

Genre: Letter

Focus: Organization (Document, Paragraph)

WP#3 “Intervening Through a Public Document”

Genre: Manifesto, Charter or Petition

Focus: Sentence Construction (Clarity, Emphasis)

& Recognizing and Fixing Mechanical Errors

WP#4 “Intervening Through a Profile”

Genre: Commemoration or Expose

Focus: Visual Design

WP #5 “Group Project”

Genre: Open (Zine, E-Zine, Audio Essay)

Focus: Navigation/Coherence


Specific Requirements for the Writing Projects


Each project involves reading about a genre, looking at examples of it, and then trying out the genre yourself. Because your writing in college and in the workplace and civic arena requires knowledge of conventions beyond the academic essay, you’ll engage several genre this semester that belong to more your life as a citizen than as a student. Learning to collaborate (as you will in the final project) will be of particular help to you in the workplace, where hardly anyone writes alone. For each assignment, we will focus on one aspect of the “nuts and bolts” of writing (organization, mechanics, layout, coherence). My comments to you in CW will address the rhetorical effectiveness of your work and how well you’ve done on the “focus”. You will receive a grade the first time you turn a document in. Revisions, which are turned in as HARD COPIES (with first drafts—including my comments—ATTACHED), are required and graded on how well they address the comments I made on your previous draft. It is possible to pull a grade up ½ a letter point with a couple quick fixes, but to bump it up a full letter grade (or more) requires substantial revision. If you don’t turn in the previous draft (with my comments), the highest bump up in your grade you can get is a ½ letter grade.


Schedule of Assignments Fall 2006



Due (at the beginning of class)

R = Read

W = Write (on CW before 7 a.m. the day of class. You can miss

3 CW Discussion Posts without penalty. After that, it affects

Participation grade)

CW= ConnectWeb


Class time is dedicated to active learning. No lecture in this class. Which means you have to participate!!!

screen =overhead LCD;

group =3-4 peers work on small assignments and then turn back to big group to discuss. Q =question for us to consider. T=task to do.


M 28


Course Syllabus and Policies Game Show

W 30

Due: Essay on Hope in The Unseen. Upload to CW.

I will help anyone who needs it with uploading to CW from 12-2 in my office, Carnegie  222.


 F 1

R 2-29. W 29 “Reflecting on Your Writing”

screen examples of writing Q: what’s high school and what’s college writing?

M 4

R 29-35 W 35 “For Critical Inquiry”

group on the importance of Detail vs. Generalization

W 6

R 534-537 W 537 “Reflecting”

group work

 F 8

Due WP#1 (“Analyzing a Literacy Event”)


M 11

R 37-46

R 557-562 W 568 “For Critical Inquiry”

Sign Up for Conferences!

T 12

Conferences (Required)

I’ll discuss in class your preparation for this meeting

W 13

R 568-576 W Xerox pg 578

& do “Exercise” (described on 577). Bring Xerox to class.

R 578-582 W 580 “Exercise”

screen some paragraphs T: fix them.

 F 15

Make significant progress on your revision. Bring your Revision Checklist (& drafts) to class


M 18

Due: Revision of WP#1 (“Analyzing a Literacy Event”); remember revisions are hard copies and you must attach a hard copy of the first draft with my comments visible; R 61-73

screen letters to the editor T: name the issue

W 20

R 73-74 W “Exercise” (Important: Use one of the scenarios in WP#2 for your “controversy”).

R 80-85; 88-89

R 74-77

screen contentious exchanges T: identify “what’s at stake” (key assumption) & the rhetorical appeals

F 22

R 109-116 W “For Critical Inquiry”

R 138-140


M 25

Due: WP#2 (“Intervening Through the Letter”)


W 27

No class: Conferences (Required)


F 29

R 186-194 W 195 “Critical Inquiry” # 3, 5



M 2

Due: Revision WP#2


W 4

R 52-55

R 195-201 W “Critical Inquiry” # 1, 4

screen writings w/ different voice/tone Q: how achieved? strategic?

Note: you may want to make an appt with a Writing Center tutor for Thursday or Friday (to help with the initial process of WP#2)

 F 6

R 202-216 W: Select and begin process on WP#3. One page of brainstorming on the “rhetorical situation.”


M 9

R 211-213 W 212 “Exercise”


W 11

Due: WP#3 (“Intervening Through the Public Document”)

R 681-685

Field Trip – “Monuments and Erasures”

We’ll meet in the circle outside the Daura Gallery after breakfast. Please dress in layers and bring a water bottle. No cell phones allowed. You will lose 10 points on a WP if you bring a phone.

screen sentences Q: how is the idea structured?

Note: you may want to make an appt with a Writing Center tutor for Monday or Tuesday of next week (to help with organization, tone, mechanics).

F 13

R 686-695

R 696-707 “Proofreading Sentences: Ten Common Problems”

W Field Trip Notes

screen sentences Q: how to improve this sentence?


M 16

Fall Break


W 18

R 220-227 W “For Critical Inquiry” #2, 3

screen 3 profiles Q: how do they create a dominant impression?

F 20

Due: Revision of WP#3


M 23

R 232-236 W #1,2,3


W 25

R 250-257 W 250 “Exercise” # 1,3,4


F 27

R 522- 526 W 251 “Exercise” (Develop Purpose; Decide What You Need to Know from Research)


M 30

R 472-473 475-476; 478 (“Where Sources Stop”); 480 (“In-Text Citations”); Bibliography 484

Meet in Library



W 1

W: 1 page of brainstorming on “Dominant Impression” (252)


 F 3

R: 253-257 W Two pages of Draft for WP#4


M 6

Due: WP#4 (“Intervening Through a Profile”)

After you receive feedback on WP3, make an appt with a Writing Center tutor.

W 8

R 614-627 W Gather images related to your profile subject (in particular, look for those that could help you visually convey your dominant impression—but not in a heavy-handed way)


F 10



M 13

Due: Revision WP#4

**Bring to class a one-page document that summarizes/describes one of your projects (WP1, WP2, WP3 or WP4)—the one you’d like to develop/refine in a collaborative writing project (WP#5). You may just want to copy and paste the first paragraph of your document [and then add--in brackets like this--what the rest accomplished]. Prepare to speak to the class for one minute on what your project did and why it interests you.

find groups for collaborative writing project

W 15

R 586-595


F 17



M 20




Thanksgiving Break

M 27



W 29




 F 1



M 4



W 6



 F 8

Due: WP#5 (“Group Project”)

Last Class