Dr. Dean Taciuch
George Mason University

Fall 2008


English 101:MT3
Course Syllabus

Course Description

This section of English 101 is linked to Government 101 (Democratic Thoery and Practice). As such, most of the coursework will be shared with the Government course. In the English class, we will develop the writing, researching, and critical thinking skills required for college coursework, including the Government course.

These skills are not merely academic; they are necessary to understand complex issues, and to make oneself understood to others. So while the English course may focus on seemingly mundane points such as comma usage, the focus will never be on the merely correct. An ungrammatical sentence isn't bad because it is ungrammatical; it's bad because it is ineffective. Clear writing is evidence of clear thinking.

We will also explore some of the rhetorical methods used by the writers in the Theories of Democracy textbook. How did Thomas Paine make his points? How did the ancient Greeks think? We can answer these questions by reading and analyzing their words.


Hacker, Writer's Reference, 6th edition (2007) Bedford/St Martin's.
ISBN: 0-312-45025-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-45025-0

Exercises for Writer's Reference

English 101 course website: https://gmu.blackboard.com/webct/logon/35835766001
Government 101 course website: https://gmu.blackboard.com/webct/logon/35855039001

In addition, we will discuss many of the Gov 101 texts in the English class.


Linked (These assignments will recieve grades in both the Government and English classes; you should turn in copies to both instructors.)

Response 1 (20%): The first response will be a 3 page paper using one or more of the readings from Theories of Democracy to offer a definition of "the evolving liberal tradition."

Response 2 (20%): The second reponse paper will relate the DC trip to one or more of the readings from Theories of Democracy.

Response 3 (20%): The third response will relate one or more of the readings from Theories of Democracy to the U.S Presential debates and election.

English (These will recieve grades in the English class only; you will only give these to me.)

Summary (10%): For the English class, you will summarize the selection from Thomas Paine's Common Sense from Theories of Democracy in 250 words or less (one page).

Annotated Bibliography (20%): As a final project in the English class, you will construct a bibliography of 5 sources on a topic related to the Government course. For each source, you will write a one to two paragraph evaluation.

Exercises (10%): Most weeks, you will have exercises from the Writer's Reference online exercises. Most fo these will be done outside of class, although a few will be done as in-class exercises.

Course Policies

Grading: Grades on the essays will be based primarily on the quality of the writing. I value clear, focused writing with plenty of examples. The audience for the essays will be the class itself, and I expect the papers to be written with this audience in mind.

Grades on the annotated bibliography will be based primarily on your evaluations of the sources and secondarily on the citations themselves.

I will give all assignments letter grades. I calculate final grades by converting the letter grades to a 100 point scale using the following values:

A+ 100  
A 95 C+ 78
A- 90 C 75
B+ 88 C- 70 *
B 85 D 65 *
B- 80 F below 60 *

* A note on final grading: English 101 uses Special Undergraduate Grading. The available grades range from A to C; any grade below a C is recored as NC (No Credit).

Late Assignments: Unless you make prior arrangements with me, late assignments will lose one letter grade per day. The lost grades cannot be made up by revision.

Revisions: The essays may be revised for a higher grade, but they must be substantially revised. You cannot lose a grade by revising, but a higher grade is not guaranteed. I have found that "B" papers (or higher) are often more difficult to revise, since serious revision requires thoroughly changing the essay's structure, and "B" papers usually have a fairly good structure. "C" papers (or lower) often respond more dramatically to revision, since the major changes they require are often more straightforward. I recommend revising "C" papers or lower only. If you plan to revise a "B" paper, please see me beforehand so we can discuss a revision strategy.

All revisions must be submitted by Nov 20.

Plagiarism: Students in the course are expected to follow the GMU Honor Code. I will report suspected cases of plagiarism to the Honor Committee. We will cover both MLA and APA citations formats in the class; errors in citations will require revision, but will not be referred to the Honor Committee.

Attendance: I will not take attendance, but it is not possible to do well in this course without regular attendance. In class assignments make up part of your grade. Class discussions of the readings are necessary for the papers, exercises, and the research project. Topics will develop from the class discussions.

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