English 102 Policy
Freshman Composition

Instructor: John B. Padgett
Office: 108 Vardaman
Telephone: 232-7103 (office)
E-mail: egjbp@sunset.backbone.olemiss.edu
Office Hours: 12-1, 3:45-4:45 TTh
Other Hours by Appt.

Spring 1996
The University of Mississippi
Oxford, Mississippi


English 102 is the second of a two-semester sequence in freshman composition. It resembles English 101 in several regards; however, in this course, there is a greater emphasis on academic research and argument than in the previous course.

In addition, students enrolled in this section will be required to participate in an online email discussion group and to use the World Wide Web in their research.

Required Materials

You will need the following paper texts:

Additional readings will be available on-line via email and/or at the course web page.

Because you will be required to participate in an online email discussion group, you will also need an email account, if you do not already have one. Students can secure an email account (or "user ID") at the computer help desk in 302 Powers Hall. Though you have a choice of machines on which you can secure email accounts, I recommend you procure an account on "Sunset." If you will be accessing your email account via a modem through a telephone line from a home computer, you will also need a "Nexus" account. ("Nexus" is the gateway to all of the university's computer facilities for dial-up users.)


Attendance is mandatory. You will be allowed three absences without penalty. For each absence beyond the third, your final grade will be lowered by one-half letter grade. I make no distinction between excused and unexcused absences. Work missed as a result of absence will receive a "zero" for that day.

Course Structure and Evaluation

Roughly the first two-thirds of the semester will be devoted to reading assignments, writing first and second drafts of five separate essays, responding to written works (both readings from the texts and essays written by classmates), and practicing writing and revision skills. The last one-third of the semester will be devoted for the most part to compiling the writing portfolio upon which the bulk of your course grade will be based. The contents of the portfolio will be drawn from the essay drafts written earlier during the semester, so the focus during the last few weeks of the semester will be almost entirely on revision.

The writing portfolio is a 14- to 28-page collection of written work which you will select to be evaluated for a grade. It represents your opportunity to choose, in consultation with your classmates and me, your best writing from English 102. You will select three of the five essays written earlier in the semester and revise them for inclusion in the portfolio. In addition, you will be required to write an opening letter in which you introduce yourself and reflect on the contents of the portfolio.

Reading Assignments

The assigned readings from the texts will provide exercises in writing and reading and in some cases will serve as the basis for the essay writing assignments. In addition, in small groups or online you will read classmates' essay drafts and respond to them, offering specific ways in which they could be improved.

Writing Assignments

Written assignments in English 102 will consist of a variety of out-of-class and in-class writing, but in general assignments will fall into one of two main categories:
informal writing and essays.

(1) Informal writing will consist primarily of email to an online discussion group and will include (a) responses to class activities; (b) summaries, observations, and questions about reading assignments, and (c) information pertinent to your longer writing assignments, as well as required journal-type entries about topics of your own choosing. The minimum acceptable length of a typical entry is the equivalent of one or two handwritten pages roughly two or three screens of text.

"Padge": An online discussion group, titled "padge," will be the target of most of your informal writing in English 102. It offers a writing environment similar to that of a journal, but with the key difference that your writing will be read by others. Because this course will focus primarily on argument writing in which you attempt to convince an audience of the rightness of your positions "padge" will also offer you a forum in which to interact with and respond to others' writing and to receive feedback on your own writing.

You will be required to write substantive "posts" (at least two full screens) on padge a minimum of two times per week. You may write additional posts if you choose. On some occasions you will be writing on assigned tasks; often, though, your online posts will be on topics of your own choosing. Responding at some length to the posts of others also will count toward meeting the minimum requirement of two posts per week. While you will not receive a grade for content, I will be checking to see that you do the work. You must do the work on time. You may not make up work for past weeks, and neither may you post future weeks' requirements ahead of time, unless you know you will be unable to do so and get permission from me in advance.

(2) Essays make up the course's major writing assignments. Each is generally 4 to 6 typed, double-spaced pages. Some essay assignments may be based on the course reading materials, and most will require additional research, either from online sources and/or from the library.

For each essay assignment, you will first write a first draft, which you will submit for a reader response from your classmates. (In some cases, this may be performed online.) Upon receiving feedback from your readers, you will then revise the essay and submit the revised draft to me, along with previous draft(s) and reader responses. I will then read it and offer my own feedback. (Again, in some instances, this step may be performed online via email.) Near the end of the semester, if you choose the essay for inclusion in the final portfolio, the essay will undergo further revision and reader response.

Online Publishing: Near the end of the semester, you will be required to submit at least two of the essays you have written for publication on the World Wide Web. Because your work will be available to a worldwide audience, it is imperative that you strive to do the best work you can. You will have the choice either to create your own Web page or to post it directly onto the course web page. Regardless of the method you choose, all essays will be linked from the course web page.

Except for those selected for the final writing portfolio, essays will not be evaluated for a grade. Each student will select a single essay from those already written to serve as the basis for the student's midterm grade, but that grade represents only the student's progress to that point in the semester; it does not necessarily reflect what the student's final grade in the course will be.

All essay drafts are due on the date assigned. Failure to have drafts on assigned dates will result in an absence on that day; failure to have other written assignments on the date due will result in a daily-work grade of "zero."


In order to pass the course, students must complete all assignments.

Your course grade will be calculated according to the following percentages:

Final writing portfolio 75 %
Daily work/participation 20 %
Final exam 5 %

"Daily work" will include all online writing activity, reader responses, class participation, and work produced in small-group activities. The day on which the final exam will be held will be announced later in the semester.

The final writing portfolio will be turned in the last week of class and will be read and evaluated by at least two other instructors in the Department of English. The letter grade it receives will be based on this evaluation. The portfolio will be judged on the basis of such criteria as content, organization, diction, sentence style, and its overall effectiveness of purpose. It will be judged as a whole. The essays which constitute the portfolio will not receive individual grades.

Word Processing, Online Access, and Academic Services

All essay drafts must be produced by computer word processing. If you do not have access to a word processor of your own, Macintosh computers are available at the university Writing Center, located in Room 04 (in the basement) of Bondurant Hall. Consultants there can acquaint you with the word processing software available there. The Writing Center telephone number is 232-7689.

The Writing Center's consultants are also trained tutors who can assist you in specific problem areas in your writing or in your overall writing process. .

Students needing access to email accounts may use the IBM and Macintosh computers in the Weir Hall labs.

In no case is a computer malfunction or access problem a valid excuse for not having work on assigned due dates.


Plagiarism is a serious form of cheating. To plagiarize is to claim another's ideas or writing as one's own. In a sense, it is a form of stealing.

Plagiarism can take several forms. Students often associate the term with writers who copy entire passages from a book, magazine, encyclopedia, or other printed source and turn them in to an instructor as their work. This is, perhaps, the most blatant form of plagiarism as well as the easiest for instructors to detect. After all, English instructors have spent years studying style, and they can usually recognize a passage lifted from Time magazine or other sources with distinctive styles. In fact, instructors can usually recognize professional writing, even if they cannot immediately identify its source.

But plagiarism takes several other forms. For instance, students plagiarize when they borrow ideas from other writers without giving them credit. In this case, students might not even use the other writer's language; nevertheless, they are stealing the writer's content. Students also plagiarize when they present another student's work as their own. Thus, documentation involves more than just citing the source of direct quotations.

Because plagiarism is such a complex concept to come to grips with in its entirety, take note of the following summary definition:

I. Plagiarism includes the literal repetition without acknowledgement of the writings of another author . All significant words, phrases, clauses, or passages in a student's paper which have been taken directly from source material must be enclosed in quotation marks and acknowledged either in the text itself or in the endnotes.
II. Plagiarism includes borrowing without acknowledgement another writer's general plan, outline, or structure of argument in the creation of one's own organization.
III. Plagiarism includes borrowing another's ideas and representing them as one's own. To paraphrase the thoughts of another writer without acknowledging is to plagiarize.
IV. Plagiarism includes allowing any other person or organization to prepare the paper and submitting it as one's own work.

Plagiarism in this course will not be tolerated. Any student who turns in plagiarized work in this course will be dealt with severely. Penalties for plagiarism include, but are not limited to, failure in the course, suspension, and permanent expulsion from the university.

Students are responsible for acquainting themselves with the University of Mississippi's policies regarding academic dishonesty. For more information, read the sections on "Academic Discipline Policy" in the M Book: Handbook of Standards and Activities, A Guide for Students.