Hours: TH 6:30-9:40pm
Location: HUM 207
Instructor: Sean M. Donnell
Phone: (310) 660-3593 x3187
Office Hours: MW 9:00-9:30am
This course focuses on the development of critical thinking skills. Students will apply these skills to the analysis of written arguments in various forms and genres, both classic and contemporary, and to the writing of effective persuasive essays. Students will learn to evaluate and interpret data, to recognize assumptions, to distinguish facts from opinions, to identify and avoid logical fallacies, to employ deductive and inductive reasoning, and to effectively assert and support argumentative claims.
“Language is a Trojan Horse” – Jed Rasula, The American Poetry Wax Museum.
Expected Student Learning Outcomes
SLO #1 Compose an argumentative essay that shows an ability to support a claim using analysis, elements of argumentation, and integration of primary and secondary sources.
SLO #2 Identify and assess bias, credibility, and relevance in their own arguments and in the arguments of others, including primary and secondary outside sources.
SLO #3 Organize an essay in proper MLA format and will also be technically correct in paragraph composition, sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and usage.
Lunsford and Ruszkiewicz. Everything's an Argument. 6th Edition.
Carver, Raymond. What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.
Mosley, Walter. Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned.
O'Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried.
Woodrell, Daniel. Winter's Bone.
Four Essays, each worth two letter grades
Two Socratic Seminars, each worth two letter grades
Participation, worth one letter grade
All outlines, drafts and papers are due on the date assigned on the syllabus.
Midterm and Final exams must be taken on the day that they are given, for classroom participation is an integral part of these examinations. If you know that you are going to be absent on the date of an exam, schedule an appointment to take the test ahead of time. Makeup exams, while permitted, shall be marked down one letter grade per class that they are late—no exceptions.
Quizzes shall be administered at the beginning of classes. All quizzes must be taken in class and on the time and date that they are assigned. I do not publish the dates when you will be quizzed. As a result, it is imperative that you keep current on class readings because you will never know when I will bust out a pop quiz on you. Quizzes shall comprise the majority of your final participation grade for the class. There are no make up quizzes—no exceptions.
Essays handed in late shall be marked down one letter grade per class that they are late—no exceptions. If you know that you are going to miss class when an essay is due, make sure that you hand it in early.
Late outlines and / or drafts shall not be accepted. On the day that an outline or a draft is due, you will need to be present in class, with a printed copy of your outline or draft, ready to work in peer-editing groups. I shall initial each outline and draft that is brought to class on the due date. When you turn in your final draft of an assignment, you will staple behind it the initialed outline and draft for the corresponding assignment. Any assignment turned in without the corresponding outline and draft stapled behind the final draft shall be marked down one letter grade per missing assignment. For example, if you turn in your final draft of Essay #1, but you fail to turn in the initialed copies of your outline and rough draft (even if you did them but unfortunately misplaced them), the best grade you can hope for on this assignment is a C. If you turn it in one day late, the best grade you can hope for is a D. Bottom line: it is vitally important to be in class on the days when outlines and drafts are to be turned in. Moreover, it is critical that you do not lose your initialed copies of these documents, for you must turn them in with your final draft of your Essay assignments.
Assignments shall be graded A through F for turned in work. Assignments NOT turned in shall count as a ZERO; consequently, any assignment not handed in will be averaged into your grade as an F weighted TWICE AS MUCH as the value of the original assignment. For example, if you turn in Essay #1 and receive an F on it, that will count as ONE F in your final grade calculation. However, if you do not turn in Essay #1, then that assignment shall be recorded as TWO Fs in your final grade calculation. Simply put, it is better to turn in something and receive an F on it than it is to turn in noting. At least an F means that you did SOMETHING. As a result, your received a grade that is less than 60% of an A on the assignment. If you turned in NOTHING, then you received a grade that is 0% of an A on the assignment. Consequently, a ZERO assignment counts as TWO Fs rather than just one for this assignment.
If you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic accommodations please let me know. You may speak to me after class, during my office hours, or by phone or email. Your privacy will be protected. You are also encouraged to contact the Special Resource Center on campus (310-660-3295) to discuss what accommodations and services are available.
order for you to maximize your understanding and appreciation of Critical
Thinking and Composition, you must attend class faithfully.
According the El Camino College Catalog, an instructor has recourse to
drop students whose absences exceed 10% of the scheduled class meeting time.
Keeping this in mind, a total of TWO (2) absences—excused or
otherwise—are allowable without penalty; however, exceeding this limit may
result in your being dropped from the course.
This is meant as an incentive to keep you coming to class.
Do not expect me—under any circumstances—to automatically drop you
just because you quit coming to class. That
is not the intent of this rule. If
you wish to drop this course, you must be responsible for it yourself.
I will not be responsible for dropping you from this course.
If you have not withdrawn from class before the final drop deadline
requiring the Dean’s signature for withdrawal from this course, you will
receive a grade for this course—no exceptions.
Whether you come to class every day is your business; however, you should
remain aware that there are consequences to your actions.
Consistent and faithful attendance and participation in this class is a must. Regular exams and frequent quizzes on readings shall be administered to ensure consistent in-class participation. I will try to vary class activities so that everyone will be able to actively participate. It is crucial that you read all assignments by the dates given to you so that you will be able to fully participate. We may not always be able to cover everything assigned for reading in our class discussions, but you will still be responsible for all of them.
By now, many of you have possibly taken composition classes in which you have shared your writing with peer group members and/or the entire class. However, some of you may have reservations about sharing your writing with others. I strongly believe, and I think you will find, that a key to developing your writing skills is interaction with your peers. As editors of each other’s work, you will learn to critique and improve the texts of others, thus internalizing skills necessary for strengthening your own writing effectiveness. From time to time, I may choose to read one of your papers aloud to class, or—better still—to have you read your paper aloud to the class. This is not meant to embarrass you; rather, I choose papers that demonstrate the landmarks of good college-level writing. I will ask permission before I read from a paper, and you will not be penalized for choosing not to have your paper read.
Cheating on exams or quizzes is considered academic dishonesty, and it is unacceptable. The use of someone else’s words or ideas without acknowledging the source is plagiarism, another form of academic dishonesty; it is likewise unacceptable. Because you will be working with many readings in your writing assignments, you must be careful to cite other people’s words and ideas that you incorporate—by way of quotation, paraphrase, and summary—into your essays. If you fail to do this, it is plagiarism. If you plagiarize on one of your assignments, you will receive an "F" grade on that assignment. If you plagiarize on your Research Project, you will receive an "F" grade for the course. If I find you committing Academic Dishonesty (e.g., cheating on a test, turning in someone else's work, or plagiarizing), I will immediately report you to the Director of Student Development, and I will ask for the harshest sanction possible, which may include: a notation of Academic Dishonesty on your transcripts, removal from my class, or even expulsion from the college. I have zero tolerance for cheating and plagiarism.
In an era of increasingly prevalent mobile technology, cellular phones and other electronic devices (laptop computers, PDAs, IPODs, MP3 players, etc.) have become an interruptive nuisance in the classroom. As such, these devices are not allowed to be turned on or used on in our classroom unless you have cleared it with me first. Here are some examples of inappropriate electronic activity (this list is not exhaustive): your cell phone rings or vibrates in class; you answer your cell phone or leave to make a call on it; you are text messaging in class; or you listen to your IPOD or MP3 player in class. The first time your electronic device interrupts the class, I will give you a verbal warning. Upon the second interruption, I will remove you from the class for the day, give you a written reprimand, and report you the Director of Student Development for the appropriate disciplinary procedures. Upon the third interruption, I will suspend you from class for two class periods (including the current one), and I will file another report with the Director of Student Development. Any subsequent interruptions, and I will seek your immediate and permanent removal from my class. Depending on other Code of Conduct violations, this may further result in your expulsion from the college. Please reference the El Camino College Student Code of Conduct and Discipline for further information. The bottom line is that I am attempting to create an atmosphere in the classroom that is conducive to learning. If you cannot discipline yourself, I will be forced to do it for you.
Code of Conduct
adhere to the following rules in order to maintain a positive and productive
Any Code of Conduct violations are cumulative with electronic device interruptions. The first time students break the class code of conduct, I will give you a verbal warning. Upon the second violation, I will remove you from the class for the day, give you a written reprimand, and report you the Director of Student Development for the appropriate disciplinary procedures. Upon the third violation, I will suspend you from class for two class periods (including the current one), and I will file another report with the Director of Student Development. Any subsequent violations, and I will seek your immediate and permanent removal from my class. Depending on other Code of Conduct violations, this may further result in your expulsion from the college. Please reference the El Camino College Student Code of Conduct and Discipline for further information. The bottom line is that I am attempting to create an atmosphere in the classroom that is conducive to learning. If you cannot discipline yourself, I will be forced to do it for you.