Composition: Policies & Info

Course Description

Composition is an introduction to the occasions and standards of college writing. Students develop writing abilities through the study and practice of writing processes. Students explore flexible strategies for inventing, generating, drafting, reading, editing, sharing, and presenting their work. The study of ideas, evidence, organization, style, and convention is essential.  Coursework stresses the importance of reading and writing for inquiry, learning, thinking, and communication. Students write for varied situations, in a variety of genres, and in response to personal experience, reading, research, argument, and demand. Students examine both the rhetorical and visual impact of the texts they produce. By the end of this course, students are better prepared for the writing they will do in college and beyond.


The Composition requirement is intended to help students become responsible writers who can take charge of their own writing process. It is satisfied by the course EN 1200 or its equivalency.

Students learn how to draft, respond to feedback from peers and instructor, revise, and edit successful college prose. By the end of the course, they should be able to write essays that are unified by a central thesis, well-developed in carefully organized paragraphs with vivid details, and grammatically appropriate with effective sentence structure and correct mechanics.

Students also learn to read comprehensively and effectively in order to relate ideas and arguments to their writing and thinking. They are expected to summarize different kinds of texts, paraphrase the ideas of someone else, analyze others’ arguments and positions, compare and contrast ideas, and generate their own thoughts and ideas following research and observation. Students are required to engage in library research and to write papers based on their research. Thus the General Education skills being given special emphasis in this course are writing, reading, conducting research, and collaborating with others.


This is your class.  WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH IT?

Course Objectives (Student Created)

By the end of this course, I will:

Big Picture 🙂

  1. have built a digital environment which I control, which reflects my unique personality and my learning goals, and which can be useful to me as I continue my lifelong learning;
  2. feel a sense of ownership over my learning process and my learning goals;
  3. have identified my writing challenges and made progress towards overcoming them;
  4. have identified my writing goals as they relate to my academic and vocational interests, and made progress towards achieving them;
  5. be able to revise and develop my work effectively and with patience over time;
  6. be able to plan a writing project and execute it on a timeline;
  7. understand the dimensionality of multi-media writing and capitalize on the potential of the digital environment for communication;
  8. see research as an organic part of most writing projects, and will be able both to research and to incorporate research into my own writing effectively;
  9. have developed efficient organization and time management skills;
  10. be able to see a connection between current events, what is going on in the world today, my own life, and my own writing;
  11. be able to analyze and critique context and different point of views, and respond with my own informed opinion;
  12. be able to better critically understand the processes of artistic mediums by analyzing film, arts, and anything along the non-reading lines;
  13. know how to use Twitter effectively in class and decide whether I want to keep it or not after the course is over;
  14. be able to have a good start to my resumé, even though it won’t be 100% finished by the end of this class;
  15. know how to connect with peers to work on assignments and improve each other’s work.

Mechanics/Small Stuffs

  • be able to recognize run-on sentences (including comma splices and run-together sentences) and fragments (including semi-colon errors) and be able to avoid them in my writing;
  • be able to avoid my own most common grammar mistakes.


Grading (Student Designed):

Each assignment will be graded on a simple scale:

  • 0: was not posted;
  • D: was posted, but barely fulfilled the assignment;
  • C: was posted and fulfilled the assignment, but needed significant editing, revision, or expansion;
  • B: was posted and very solid if not highly original or useful to readers; may have benefited from minor editing, revision, or expansion;
  • A: was posted and outstanding, fully correct and well-developed, and contributed significantly to the field to which it relates.

Students may grade their own assignments if they wish, but must address grammar and mechanics, organization, multimodality, course and assignment objectives, research, and contribution to the field. If students wish to grade themselves, the final grade will be a collaborative grade generated by consensus between student and professor.  The basic rubric for self-grading can be found here.

All assignments can be revised and improved as many times as a student wishes, until the deadline in early May. All revisions must be accompanied by a Revision Sheet emailed to Robin at, and significant revision time is expected to improve a grade. All revision grades will be given by Robin.  Revision cannot lower a student’s grade.

All assignments will count for the same amount unless the class decides that some assignments should be worth more or less.  All assignments should connect to learning outcomes and have clear assignment objectives.

Required Texts

All texts will be free and digitally available. We will use openly licensed texts (OER) whenever possible.

Academic Integrity
You must adhere to the Academic Integrity policy as outlined in the PSU Academic Catalog.

Plymouth State University is committed to providing students with documented disabilities equal access to all university programs and facilities. If you think you have a disability requiring accommodations, you should immediately contact the Disability Services Office (DSO) in Plymouth Academic Support Services located in the Lamson Learning Commons (535-2270) to determine whether you are eligible for such accommodations. Academic accommodations will only be considered for students who have registered with DSO. If you have a Letter of Accommodation for this course from DSO, please provide the instructor with that information privately so that you and the instructor can review those accommodations.

Students have created the following attendance policy:

Students will receive no extra credit if they miss 4 or more classes.  Students who miss three classes will be awarded 2 extra points on their final grade.  Students who miss two classes will receive 4 extra points on their final grade.  Students who miss one class will receive 6 extra points on their final grade.  Students who miss no classes will receive 8 extra points on their final grade.  Being late by ten minutes or more will count as an absence, though you are always encouraged to come to class no matter how late you are.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.