Tues. and Thurs. Noon-1:15 PM
Thompson Hall, Room L004
CRN 73817    

Fall 2018

Prof. Joyce Johnston
Dept. of English


Office Hours:
Thursdays 10:30-noon

Room 206, Robinson Hall B
Skype: joyce.johnston48

This section of English 302 uses Blackboard and PBWiki as course software.  Access Blackboard at http://mymasonportal.gmu.edu.  After logging in using your MasonLive user ID and password, click on the Courses tab at the upper right of the screen.  Then click on the course name to access the Blackboard course folder. Both the Course Schedule and the Course Policies can also be accessed on the professor's website, available at http://mason.gmu.edu/~jjohnsto


Methods of Instruction

Honor Code;
Student Safety



In the university catalog, the focus of English 302 is listed as a required part of the Mason Core Integration Requirement in Written Communication.  The focus of English 302 is described as follows: 
"Intensive practice in writing and analyzing expository forms such as essay, article, proposal, and technical or scientific reports with emphasis on research related to student’s major field." English 302 will help prepare you understand how knowledge is created and transmitted in your field or discipline; understand key methods and conventions of scholarly research in your field or discipline; articulate and refine your own question for scholarly inquiry; situate your investigation in an ongoing context or conversation in your field; and design a final project that adds new perspectives to the conversation. Advanced composition will help you engage in scholarly inquiry as you work on narrowing a research question and engaging with your discipline or field of study.

English 302, a 3-credit course, focuses on "intensive practice in writing an analyzing expository forms sucnh as essay, article, proposal and technical or scientific reports with emphasis on research related to the sstudent's major field." This course is designed to build on the general writing skills and techniques you have acquire in English 101 and other university courses, and to prepare you for completing advanced level writing , analysis and research tailored to your major discipline and possible future workplace.  We will, therefore, practice the various genres of writing you are likely to encounter.

Throughout the semester, you will also learn to recognize the way(s) that knowledge is constructed in business-related disciplines, adapt your writing to common purposes and audience needs, conduct and synthesize research, use computer technologies as part of your research and writing process, and produce writing that employs the organizational techniques and genres typical in each discipline.   

Building on the strong basis in textual analysis gained from your 200-level English courses, students should endeavor to develop a flexible, literate writing style appropriate to a mature mind both in multiple disciplines. Development of an individual, yet field-appropriate vocabulary and tone are primary, as is development of audience awareness. Familiarity with research techniques and sources--whether cyber, human or paper--is also essential.  At the same time, the fact that 302-M sections are open to students from all majors provides a unique opportunity to compare and coordinate discilines to achieve shared goals.

Since English 302 is an upper-division course, please familiarize yourself with the English Department's description of and requirements for the course to be sure that you meet the criteria.


This section centeres around the combined concepts of community and discourse.  Within our classroom, it strives toward community in the traditional sense of  "a feelling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests and goals." (Google Dictionary).   Since the university defines English 302 as focused on writing in each student's academic discipline, the course then moves outwards into ever-widening circles of research and professional communites. It begins with the student's department, then to networking with other professionals in the same discipline, then to employment,  and finally to research which contributes to one's disciplinary community.  At each stage, course activities prompt students to examine not just the personal dynamics of each community, but its written discourse as well, so that teach student learns to speak, write and research in a fashion that is compatible with that particular community's practices. (Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Naming What We Know.)  As the culminating activity of the semester, each person will briefly share with the classroom community an important research issue in his her/her discipline, along with his/her plans to contribute to that research conversation.



Students who enter English 302 must meet the following requirements:

Please note that the Volgenau School of Engineering requires students enrolled in the following majors to take ENGH 302N: applied computer science and computer science, electrical engineering, computer engineering, systems engineering, and statistics. The school also requires students in the following majors to be enrolled in either 302N or 302M: bioengineering, cyber security engineering, mechanical engineering and civil engineering. Information technology majors may enroll in 302N, 302M, or 302B.

Students enrolled in another version of ENGH 302 should contact their advisor immediately to make sure they are enrolled in the right course. Students in the School of Management are very strongly recommended to take English 302B.


Full instructions for submitting a portfolio and taking an essay exam to attempt to waive English 302 may be found on the Waiver of English 302 page. 
Any student who does not waive the course MUST take it in order to graduate, since it is one of the Foundation Requirements in Written Communication.

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This course is part of the Mason Core (General Education) Program, which is designed to help develop "a Mason Graduate [who is] an engaged citizen, a well-rounded scholar, and someone who is prepared to act for the world" (Mason Catalog). For more information on the mission of the Mason Core, visit https://masoncore.gmu.edu


This course participates in the Students as Scholars (SaS) program, a university-wide initiative that encourages undergraduate students to engage in scholarly research. Across campus, students now have increased opportunities to work with faculty on original scholarship, research, and creative activities, through their individual departments and the OSCAR office (http://oscar.gmu.edu).

At the end of the course, the Office of Institutional Assessment and the Composition Program will collect random samples of students’ final research projects to assess the effectiveness of the Students as Scholars Program. This assessment has no bearing on your grade in the course.


• CORE: Articulate and refine a question, problem, or challenge.

• ETHICAL: Identify relevant ethical issues and follow ethical principles.

• DISCOVERY: Distinguish between personal beliefs and evidence.

• METHOD: Gather and evaluate evidence appropriate to the inquiry.

• METHOD: Appropriately analyze scholarly evidence.

• CONTEXT: Explain how knowledge is situated and shared in relevant scholarly contexts.


Advanced Writing Goals: Students who successfully complete ENGH 302 will demonstrate that they have continued to develop their research and writing strategies to an advanced level. They will be able to:

• Use writing as a tool for exploration and reflection in addressing advanced problems, as well as for exposition and persuasion

• Employ strategies for writing as a recursive process of inventing, investigating, shaping, drafting, revising, and editing to meet a range of advanced academic and professional expectations

• Identify, evaluate, and use research sources

• Employ a range of appropriate technologies to support researching, reading, writing, and thinking

• Apply critical reading strategies that are appropriate to advanced reading in your academic discipline and in possible future workplaces

• Recognize how knowledge is constructed in your academic discipline and possible future workplaces

• Analyze rhetorical situations – audience, purpose, and context – of texts produced in your academic disciplines and possible future workplaces

• Produce writing that is appropriate for a range of rhetorical situations within your academic disciplines and possible future workplaces

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All course readings will be done online, using uploaded articles, links provided in the syllabus, and material e-mailed to the class by the instructor. Please note that online readings are no less required than paper texts are in other classes.

A research handbook is highly advisable, as students will be expected to use their appropriate professional format flawlessly by the end of the semester.  A good general guide is Writing with Sources: A Guide for Students(3rd edition) by Gordon Harvey.  The paperback version can be purchased from the GMU Bookstore for about $10.00.  If ordering elsewhere, the ISBN number is 97816246665547.For the School of Business, Educations and the Volgenau School, the format is APA, so the handbook is the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Assocation (6th edition.)  Be sure to acquire the current (6th) edition, as previous versions have significantly different formatting.  For majors in arts and humanities, the format is MLA, so the handbook is the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (7th edition). For history majors, the handbook is The Chicago Manual of Style (17th edition.) These are all available at the GMU Bookstore, or any commercial bookseller, including Amazon.

Diana Hacker's A Writer's Reference (7th ed.) is an optional but extremely valuable resource for questions of grammar, usage and research documentation.  It contains a section on APA formatting, so could be substituted for a research handbook. There is also an alternate version titled A Writer's Reference with Resources for Multilingual Writers and ESL (7th ed.)


Since this class is a distance learning section, it is BYOD (bring your own device.) Students must use their own personal electronic devices to class every day to participate in class activities.  Smart phones are generally NOT adequate to this purpose due to the difficulty of extended writing on such small screen sizes.

The course will be conducted using Blackboard's course folder for our class, available at https://courses.gmu.edu .  Log in using your Masonlive user name and password, then click on our course folder.  At the top of the course menu on the left, you will see a link to a video titled Orientation to Our Blackboard Home Page, which explains how to navigate in our course.

Check email regularly, preferably daily. Any student not regularly using his or her GMU email account must set that account to forward to the student's preferred email address.  Failure to do so will mean that the student will not receive any class notices, warnings of missing assignments or individual contact from the instructor, all of which are sent to the class list maintained by the Registrar's Office. In return, please email the instructor at jjohnsto@gmu.edu with any questions or concerns.

If using a PC, use either Chrome or Mozilla Firefox as your browser. Blackboard, our course Learning Management System, does not play well with Explorer. If using a Mac, use Safari and Mac OS10.5 or higher.

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Students are responsible for verifying their enrollment in this class. Deadlines are included in the Course Schedule for this class as well as the GMU Three Year Calendar.

For Fall 2018, the Last Day to Add or to Drop without tuition penalty is Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018.

The absolutely Last Day to Drop is Friday, Sept. 28, 2018.  After the last day to drop a class, withdrawal requires the approval of the Dean and is only allowed for nonacademic reasons. 

Undergraduate students may choose to exercise a selective withdrawal option, which may be used no more than three times in a student's undergraduate career at George Mason and must be completed within the selective withdrawal period. For Fall 2018, the period lasts from Oct. 1-Oct. 26.  See the GMU Office of Undergraduate Affairs for selective withdrawal procedures.


In accordance with English Department policy, each student will submit a minimum of 3500 words in the course of the semester, which will serve as the basis for the course grade. Any student with a documented disability which could impact the completion of this requirement must notify the instructor at the beginning of the semester, using a Faculty Contact Sheet.  Students needing documentation must contact the Office of Disability Services, located in SUB 1, Room 4205, phone number (703) 993-2474.  Documentation is required to obtain course adaptations to ensure that students recieve appropriate support and assistance for success in the class.


All assignments must be submitted to Blackboard with the exception of the Disciplinary Resources Wiki, which is completed entirely within PBWorks. The instructions file for each assignment contains the link to submit it when finished.

It is the student's responsibiity to retain a copy of work submitted in case of submission problems, plus all graded files until the final course grade appears on their transcripts at the end of the semester.

If extraordinary cirmcumstances prevent a student from submitting to Blackboard on time, it is his/her responsibility to email the assignment to the instructor before the due date to avoid late penalties.  

IMPORTANT: Both the Research Paper and the visual presentation project on situational leadership have non-negotiable due dates due to the necessity of submitting final grades in time for graduation. They cannot be submitted late.


The instructions for each assignment include the correct title for the file(s) submitted.

Assignments MUST be submitted in Word (.doc or .docx) format. The ONLY exception to this is screen shots of quizzes, which may be submitted as JPEG or PDF files.  No other file types will be scored. If using a Mac or  a Word equivalent like Open Office or Libre Office, it is the student'sresponsibility to ensure that his/her submissions can be read in Word 2016.


Extra credit is not awarded in this class.


All assignments should be submitted to Blackboard on time.

Late work may be delayed in being graded and returned; delay is usually one week but may be more. Please keep this in mind, especially near the end of the semester.


Be aware that writing is a time-intensive activity.  It is thus very difficult to make up any significant amount of lost time. Anyone who must unavoidably miss class activities is advised to notify the instructor promptly to avoid falling behind.  In an online class like this one, course work and deadlines go on as scheduled, regardless of weather-related closings, unless there is a network outage or Blackboard crash.

If a major religious holiday will interefere with the ability to participate inclass activities or submit an assignment on the due date, it is the student's oblilgation to provide the prpofessor with the date(s) within the first two weeks of the semester.  See the Mason University Life Religious Holiday Calendar for dates.

Since group work is conducted online, it is crucial that each person contribute meaningfully to the group to which s/he is assigned. Therefore, participation in the class environment is an important part of the semester grade, especially for the civility blog, the wiki project and the peer reviews of research papers.  The instructions files and scoring rubrics for these activities explain the type and level of participation required. It is not possible to earn an "A" in this class without timely, meaningful group contributions. When interacting with others in the class, as well as the instructor, remember the core rules of Netiquette.  Be sure to carefully craft communications to show respect and avoid misinterpretation.

Active presence in online conversations is essential.  This implies brain awareness, without other distractions, as well as the basic courtesies of formal social gatherings. A student who is seriously unprepared for class or group work--having no draft ready for group mates to critique, for example, will lose class participation points for that activity.  Any serious breach of good online conduct may cause the loss of all participation points.


Any questions or correspondence should be directed to the instructor's GMU email address: jjohnsto@gmu.edu. All GMU-related correspondence is handled through that address and ONLY that address. When contacting the instructor about a message sent to the class list, students should be sure to reply to the instructor's email address rather than to the entire list.  This places class communications within the requirements of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

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It is University policy that in all Mason Core English classes (English 100, 101, 201 and 302), students must achieve a grade of C (73) or higher to receive credit for the course. Students with averages of C- or lower will receive an NC (No Credit) for the course.

It is also university policy that all students in English 302 must successfully complete a major research assignment in order to earn credit for the course.  In our case, this is the Research Paper. 

It is the policy of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences that once final grades have been recorded, instructors should not accept any additional work from a student to change a grade.

In addition, the University requires that students submit a minimum of 3500 words in course of the semester, upon which the course grade is based.


Each assignment, as well as the final course grade, is based upon a total of 100 points. Grading ranges are:

A+ 100-97.5% | A 97.4-93% | A- 92.9-90% | B+ 89.9-87.5% | B 87.4-83% | B- 82.9-80% | C+ 79.9-77.5% | C 77.4-73% | C- 72.9-70% | D 69.9-60% | F below 60%.


Essays are graded using the following general criteria:


Assignments are individually graded on a scale of 0-100, as described in the previous section.  They are then assigned percentage values (sometimes known as weights) to calculate the final semester grade.  Calculations are handled by Blackboard's grade book function.

In ascending order, weights/percentage values for course assignments are:

Quiz on Course Policies
Class Civility Blog and Survey
2, 6
What is Your Academic Discipline? Worksheet
1, 3, 4, 6
Quiz: Writing with Quotations
2, 3, 6
Peer Review of Literature Review
3, 5
Proposal and Conference for Literature Review
5% 1, 5, 6
Memo on Choosing a Professional Association
1, 4, 6
Plagiarism Test
2, 3
Course Communication Observation and Analysis
1, 3, 4, 5, 6
Poster and Presentation: An Important Issue in the Discipline
1, 5, 6
Elements of a Primary Research Article
2, 4, 5, 6
Literature Review
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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There are four MAJOR WRITING ASSIGNMENTS for this course, each in a different format. Each assignment has an instructions containing goals, skills developed by the assignment, procedures to complete the assignment, and grading criteria. There are also help files supplementing each assignment, designed to provide support in locating materials and/or developing needed critical analysis and research skills.

  1. The Disciplinary Resources Wiki--prepares for research in a specific field of study by constructing a simple database--a wiki--that identifies some basic resources, scholars, organizations, questions, issues and writing conventions
  2. Memo on Choosing a Professional Association--compares the qualities of a discourse community in two professional associations that offer valuable opportunities for networking, hiring, reading materials, conferences/training, outside contacs and benefits to an aspiring professional.  IMPORTANT: this is the only assignment that can be rewritten for a higher grade.  Specific conditions apply; see Instructions file for details.
  3. An analysis of a primary research article from a major journal in the student's discipline, identifying the traits that represent superior research and writing
  4. The Literature Review--reviews current professional and scholarly knowledge about an issue which holds great present and future importance to the student's discipline.  Successful submission of a complete paper by the due date is required to earn credit for this course.  At a minimum, a complete paper must contain an title page, abstract page, body with internal citations for sources and a references page.


Five SHORT WRITINGS will establish appropriate online behavior norms, used for critical reading, writing and reflection on research material:

  1. A class blog in which students compare appropriate with potentially challenging topics for online interaction, followed by a survey to establish a class code of conduct for a classroom discipline community
  2. A worksheet designed to introduce and reinforce the concept of an academic discipline and compare it to  professional definitions of the same discipline
  3. Peer review of classmates' drafts of their literature reviews
  4. Poster Presentation and speech explaining the issue examined in the Literature Review to a general academic audience
  5. A proposal for the literature review, explasining the research articles and gray literature which support the student's identification of an important issue in his/her discipline


Three QUIZZES, taken online, will cover concerns in business research and writing.

  1. The first will cover course policies and procedures
  2. The second will test proficiency with formatting direct and indirect quotations in researched writing
  3. The third will review plagiarism and intellectual propertyIt is a prerequisite for acceptance of the research paper, which in turn is required in order to pass the class.  
After the due dates for the quizzes, students will be expected to use these elements accurately and appropriately, with grade penalties if this goal is not achieved.  Otherwise, grammar will be taught in this class only occasionally, on an as-needed basis. Please consult the instructor if a particular grammar question arises.

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George Mason University has an Honor Code, which requires all members of this community to maintain the highest standards of academic honesty and integrity.  Cheating, plagiarism, lying and stealing are all prohibited.   Instructors in the Composition Program support the George Mason Honor Code, which requires them to report any suspected instances of plagiarism to the Honor Council. All judgments about plagiarism are made after careful review by the Honor Council, which may issue penalties ranging from grade-deductions to course failure to expulsion from GMU.


Plagiarism means using words, opinions, or factual information from another source without giving that source credit. Writers give credit through the use of accepted documentation styles, such as parenthetical citation, footnotes, or endnotes; a simple listing of books, articles, and websites is not sufficient

This class will include direct instruction in strategies for handling sources as part of our curriculum. However, students in composition classes must also take responsibility for understanding and practicing the basic principles listed below.


To avoid plagiarism, meet the expectations of a US Academic Audience, give their readers a chance to investigate the issue further, and make credible arguments, writers must

• put quotation marks around, and give an in-text citation for, any sentences or distinctive phrases (even very short, 2- or 3-word phrases) that writers copy directly from any outside source: a book, textbook, article, website, newspaper, song, baseball card, interview, encyclopedia, CD, YouTube video, movie, etc.

• completely rewrite—not just switch out a few words—any information they find in a separate source and wish to summarize or paraphrase for their readers, and also give an in-text citation for that paraphrased information

• give an in-text citation for any facts, statistics, or opinions which the writers learned from outside sources (or which they just happen to know) and which are not considered “common knowledge” in the target audience (this may require new research to locate a credible outside source to cite)

• give a new in-text citation for each element of information—that is, do not rely on a single citation at the end of a paragraph, because that is not usually sufficient to inform a reader clearly of how much of the paragraph comes from an outside source.

Writers must also include a Works Cited or References list at the end of their essay, providing full bibliographic information for every source cited in their essay.

While different disciplines may have slightly different citation styles, and different instructors may emphasize different levels of citation for different assignments, writers should always begin with these conservative practices unless they are expressly told otherwise. If student writers ever have questions about a citation practice, they should ask their instructor! Instructors in the Composition Program support the Mason Honor Code, which requires them to report any suspected instances of plagiarism to the Mason Honor Committee. All judgments about plagiarism are made after careful review by the Honor Committee, which may issue penalties ranging from grade-deductions to course failure to expulsion from GMU


George Mason University values diversity. Through the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Multicultural Education (ODIME), Mason seeks to create and sustain iclusive learning environments where all are welcome,valued and supported. It is committed to providing equal opportunity and an educational and work environment free from any discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation or age.  GMU adheres to all applicable state and federal equal opportunity/affirmative action statutes and regulations.

George Mason University is also committed to a campus that is free of sexual misconduct and incidents of interpersonal violence.  If you experience or witness such an incident, contact the Title IX Coordinator's Office at (703) 993-8730 for available options and resources at the Office of Diversity Services and Programs. This office works specifically with  African Heritage, Hispanic/Latino, Asian/Pacific American, American Indian, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning populations. 

The Student Support and Advocacy Center , available at (703) 993-3686, offers educational programming, one-on-one consultations, and resources in the areas of interpersonal violence, personal wellness, and alcohol and drug use. Students seeking additional counselling or advice should contact Counseling and Psychological Services at (703) 993-2380.   In an emergency, call Crisis Link at (703) 527-4077 or go to Lifeline Chat, sponsored by the National Suicide Prevention LifelineYou may also call the campus police at (703)-993-2810, especially if a problem arises at night when daytime offices are closed.

The University Catalog is the central resource for university policies affecting all students, faculty and staff conduct in university academic affairs.  Other policies are available at http://universitypolicy.gmu.edu/.  All members of the university community are responsible for knowing and following established policies.


The University Writing Center: The Writing Center is one of the best resources you will find on campus. The center’s website offers a wealth of online resources for student writers. You can schedule a 50minute appointment with a trained tutor to help with any phase of the writing process. You can obtain assistance with papers by visiting the online writing center. Go online, call, or drop in to make an appointment

The University Library: In addition to a wealth of printed resources, the library hosts around 150 electronic databases indexing hundreds of journals. GMU is also a member of the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC), which means you have hasslefree access to the library resources of eight area universities! Please take some time to explore the library’s offerings; you may also instant message the library with any questions. In our distance learning environment, the library's Online Education Services are particularly helpful

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