Rhetoric and Writing Studies (RWS)

English 1311 – Composition, Rhetoric, and Writing Studies

Robert Tinajero

For course or RWS program information, contact

Dr. Helen Foster (RWS Director)


Vowell 103 (in front of Education Building)                         101 Vowell Hall     747-6623

Office Hours: Wed (1-3) Fri (1-3)

Required Texts:

A Guide to First-Year Composition. 10th Ed. El Paso: Hayden McNeil, 2007.

Axelrod, Rise B. , Charles R. Cooper, and Alison Warriner.  Reading Critically Writing Well. 7th Ed.

New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005. [RCWW on Semester Calendar]

Course Packet from UTEP Library Copymine (1st floor)

Essays/Documents posted on WebCT (my.utep.edu) throughout the semester

Course Objectives:

-become aware of different tools used in “good” writing

-become better writers and discuss what “better writers” means/implies

-discuss foundational concepts in the field of Rhetoric and Writing Studies

-become better writers of traditional essays

-work in groups to achieve a common persuasive purpose

-learn about citation and citations styles

-become more complex thinkers and writers


Loose-leaf binder with plenty of loose-leaf paper (keep everything we write all semester in this binder)

[group work may later require materials such as a poster board and markers]

You should always save your papers on your computer and a disk/flashdrive and online if possible


It is very important that you attend each class period in order to participate in discussions, group activities and in-class assignments.  If you miss more than 4 classes, your grade will drop.  If you miss more than 5 classes you will be dropped from class. Be especially careful with your absences during group projects because your absence will affect your group mates.   I make no distinction between excused and unexcused absences.  If you miss class you are responsible for obtaining class notes and assignments from fellow students.  Being absent the day something was assigned is not an excuse from turning the work in late.

Guidelines for Papers:

All papers must be double-spaced in 12-point font with one-inch margins all the way around.  All assignments are due at the beginning of the class period and are due in class.  Only hard copies (printed out) will be accepted.  Late papers will be deducted an entire letter grade for each class period they are late. Students are responsible for assignments regardless of whether they were present when work was assigned.


Do not turn in someone else’s work and remember to cite everything that you get from an outside source. We will discuss plagiarism and citation this semester.  The basic rule: if you use information that is not yours, you must tell me where you got it from.


Essay I (w/revision)                                        10%

Research and Citation Assignment                  10%

Essay II (Analysis Paper)                                15%

Essay III                (Position Paper)                15%

Group Grade (Political Campaign)                    10%

Essay IV (Argumentative Paper)                       25%

Professionalism Grade*                                    15%

*the professionalism grade takes into account attendance, tardiness, class participation, in-class assignments, journal writings and overall conduct

Group Assignments:

Group assignments can sometimes create tricky situations.  Some students don’t always “pull their weight” and this upsets group members that are doing their work and being good contributors to the group.  Despite this, I believe group assignments are valuable because they help students work together for a common goal.  Group work is a “real life” reality and learning how to work in a group will be central to one of the projects in this class.  Students who are not doing their group work can be voted off of their groups and will have to complete the entire work of a group on their own. Further group instructions will be discussed when we begin the Political Campaign group assignment.

Semester Calendar: (begins on next page)

Weekly Semester Calendar:

Week of…

Aug. 27                 Introductions of professor, students, class, WebCT

Discussion of “English Studies,” RWS, and joining the scholarly conversation

Diagnostic Exam

Sep. 3                    Organization, clarity and flow in writing

Discussion of essays from RCWW and student essays

Sep. 10                 Organization, clarity and flow in writing (with readings)

Assign 1st paper

Sep. 17                 Discuss revisions; Final drafts due

Sep. 24                 Research and Citation

Research and Citation Assignment

Oct. 1                    Discuss critical reading; Text analysis; note taking                           The Analysis Essay

Discuss essays (RCWW: p609ff, p574ff, p330ff, p535ff)

Oct. 8                    Discuss Essays: “The Aggressive Egg”; reading from Victor Villanueva

Assign Analysis Essay (essay: “This Bud’s Not for Me” by Bill O’Reilly)

Oct. 15                  Analysis Essay Due

Explain group Political Campaign Project                                                             The Political Campaign

Ethos, Pathos, Logos; Evaluating Arguments (RCWW p666-678)

[discuss Position Essays; Group Candidate/Speaker responsibilities; Technology

Leader responsibilities]

Oct. 22                  Engineering Issues/Structural Issues

Campaign Question: What will your candidate do about structural issues in the United

States so that there is not a repeat of the Minnesota bridge collapse of Summer 2007?

Discuss Essays; Group Work

Oct. 29                  Race Issues

Campaign Questions: How does race impact the United States?  Is race an important

issue in the United States? How will you work to ease racial tensions?

Discuss Essays (“Genealogy of Racism,” “Everyday Racism,” “Tenuous-Solidarity”)

Group Work

Nov. 5                   Language Issues

Campaign Questions:  What are your thoughts on Ebonics and Spanglish?  What do you

think about the English-Only movement?  What are your thoughts on bilingual

education?  Should Ebonics and Spanglish be used in teaching in public schools?

Discuss Essays (“Whose Culture? Whose Literacy?” “Students on the Border,”

English-Only movement essays; Group Work

[Formally assign position papers]

Nov. 12                 Position Paper Due

Watch video of “great” speeches (Martin Luther King, Jr., JFK, Barak Obama)

Show campaign commercials; show website; group Candidate speeches;

Short debate; Voting by guest panel of voters/judges

Nov. 19                 Introduction to rap/Hip Hop                                                                       Music and Society

Discuss Hip Hop lyrics (2pac, Eminem, Dead Prez, Talib, Lil Wayne, NWA, Mase, etc.)

Nov. 26                 Writings on Hip Hop: From popular to scholarly (Bill Cosby to Kermit Campbell)

Discussion of essays

Dec. 3                    Read and discuss essays on the negative/positive effects of music/Hip Hop

Discuss and Assign Final Paper

Dec. 10                 Final Paper Due

Useful Websites:

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