The Research Project (including an annotated bibliography, outline, rough draft peer reviews, and final draft)
You will write a six- to eight-page research paper on a contemporary topic (see the list below). Although the first assignment for the research paper–the annotated bibliography–isn’t due until Sunday, June 15, you will need to begin your research immediately in order to create a successful research project. Begin by researching several different possible topics. Decide what your topic will be by the end of the first week of the semester, Sunday, June 1. I strongly suggest that you seek the assistance of the reference librarians at any of the EPCC campus libraries to help you become oriented to the process. These librarians are a priceless resource who will do everything in their power to help you produce the best research paper possible.
Your annotated bibliography will list a minimum of twelve authoritative sources with three to four-sentence summaries of the main points of each source and your research paper will cite a minimum of ten authoritative sources. You will need to download or Xerox copies of every source you use in your paper; I do not require that you submit these copies UNLESS I have a question about one of your sources, in which case I will require you to submit the copy of the source for my review. The detailed requirements of the paper can be found on the assignment tool.
The following are questions that present possible topics. You are not limited to these, but if you want to write about something not listed here, you must first get my approval.
Why is it that while an overwhelming majority (estimated at 99.9%) of the world-wide scientific community accepts evolution as the dominant scientific theory of biodiversity, over one-third of Americans do not accept the theory of evolution?
What are the most significant findings scientists have made from their study of people who are twins?
Who are the Koch brothers and how have they influenced American politics?
How have cells phones changed the way Americans communicate with each other?
What are the best treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
What role did social media play in the Arab Spring?
What are the results of the thirteen-year war fought in Afghanistan?
How did the current changes in campaign finance reform affect the last presidential election?
How successful has the United States’ “War on Drugs” been?
What does it mean to be transgender? What are its implications and challenges?
How accurate are eyewitness accounts in the prosecution of criminals?
How has DNA testing affected the judicial system?
How effective is torture in obtaining information?
How did the Mexican drug cartels manage to become so powerful?
Why has so little been done to address the problem of world over-population?
How accurate is Wikipedia?
What are the psychological or sociological needs met by conspiracy theories?
Could liberalization of drug laws reduce crime in the U.S.?
What is the connection between the Taliban and the heroin trade?
Why has the number of people getting married in the U.S. declined?
Quizzes – Each week’s quizzes can be accessed by clicking on “Assessments”
You will take a total of 20 quizzes (including a quiz over the syllabus) during the semester over your assigned readings in A Writer’s Reference and in Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. While we’re working on the research project, you’ll have one to two quizzes each week. When we switch to literature, you’ll have three quizzes a week, one over each story (except for the last week of the semester, when there will be only one quiz). Always check the calendar at the end of this syllabus and/or the “My Tasks” link on the homepage to see each week’s assignments.
There is a 30 minute-time limit on each quiz. You may take the scheduled quiz beginning at 12:00 a.m. of the Monday of the specific week the reading is assigned through 11:59 p.m. of the following Sunday night. You must begin the quiz at least 30 minutes prior to the cut off time in order to be able to submit it. Once you begin the quiz, you must finish it in one sitting. You may only attempt each quiz one time, and your score will be released to you at the end of the availability period.
Quizzes over the assigned readings in A Writer’s Reference
There will be 7 quizzes relating to your research paper. Each of these quizzes will have ten questions and will be drawn from the assigned readings about the research process.
Quizzes over the assigned readings in Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing
There will be 13 quizzes relating to your literature readings; you will take three literature quizzes each week once we begin our study of it (except the week when we read Oedipus the King, in which case there will only be one quiz that week). Each of these quizzes will have five questions, plus one extra credit question over grammar. Two of the five questions will be over two vocabulary words from that reading. On the Monday of each week, I will post the two vocabulary words that you will need to define (according to the author’s use and intended meaning) on the course homepage under “My Tasks.”
I also highly suggest that you take the two scheduled self-assessments (found on the assessment tool) over the assigned pages relating to the conventions of writing about literature in A Writer’s Reference (see the calendar at the end of this syllabus). These self-assessments will not count toward your grade average, but will give you an indication of how well you understand the assigned material that you will need to master in order to write a successful critical essay.
Discussion board participation
Because we are a virtual class, all of our discussions about what we read will be held through the discussion tool (on the left hand column of the home page). The discussions are particularly important because they are where the topics for your critical essays will come from. All students are expected to participate within the time period specified, which is the same as the quizzes (12:00 a.m. Monday through 11:59 p.m. Sunday). The quality of your contributions to our discussions will be graded and are worth 10% of your overall grade. You will earn one discussion grade for each week that we’re working on the research project and three discussion grades each week once we switch to the study of literature (except for the last week of the semester when you will answer only one discussion question). To earn full credit (100 points) for each discussion question, you must post with at least 150 words.
Your discussions will also be graded on several additional criteria: 1) the depth and complexity of your response; 2) your interaction with other students’ responses; and 3) your writing professionalism, which refers to the use of correct spelling, punctuation, grammar, and word choice. Your posts should be as professional as possible. Proofread them carefully before hitting the “submit” button to make sure you have corrected any errors. The grades for your discussions will be posted at the beginning of the following week.
Here is an example of a discussion question posting that earned a 100:
Discussion question: What are the causes of the narrator’s madness in “The Yellow Wallpaper”?
I agree with you 100% Dominique. The main cause for her madness is the mental and physical confinement her husband/doctor puts her in. Her husband figures that she just needs rest and confines her to this room that is described as if it were a room to house the mentally ill. The bed was nailed to the floor and there were bars on the window. As if being physically confined weren’t enough, her husband keeps her bound mentally. He believes that her wild imagination is the reason for her being so tired. He proposes that she not write, which she describes as a mental release. The more and more she writes the farther she disassociates with the real world. She creates her own little world in order to find who she really is. She then realizes that the figure she is so curious about in the wallpaper is actually herself, for she is locked up and aching to get out, the trapped figure aching to get out. The narrator then realizes that she is the one stuck in the wallpaper and asking for release. She wants to be free from the room and completely disassociates with the real world. She had to sacrifice her mind and go mad just to find true inner identity.
Notice that the student posted with at least 150 words. You may need to do a word count on your posts until you become better acquainted with what 150 words looks like.
During the period we are studying literature, you will write two critical essays over the works of literature that we have read as a class. These essays are considered academic essays, and, as such, should not use “I” statements, such as “It seems to me that the narrator suffers from paranoia…” Instead, you should write declarative sentences to express your points, such as “The narrator seems to suffer from paranoia.”
Each essay will have a word count and limit of approximately 800 words and will be word-processed in MLA format (see the learning module tool and the index of your A Writer’s Reference). Aim to exhaust the word account and limit. These essays require you to analyze and argue something about one of the works of literature we read based solely on your own interpretation. You may want to choose a topic suggested by one of our discussion questions, but you can also come up with a different, original thesis. You may not use any outside sources for your critical essays. Further, any evidence of plagiarism from an outside source, i.e., the internet, will result in a zero for the essay. You will be given additional information regarding these topics later in the semester.
It is your responsibility to be aware of the due dates for assignments. These due dates will be posted on the assignment tool and on the calendar at the end of this document. If you miss a due date for one of the assignments—the essays, the annotated bibliography, the outline, the rough draft of your research paper or the final draft of your research paper, there is a twenty-four hour grace period in which you can still turn in your work without penalty. However, if you miss this grace period, there will be ten points deducted for each day an assignment is late.
Missed quizzes or discussions
Please remain aware of the fact that every week of the semester you will take either one or two quizzes and answer one to two discussion questions. If you miss a given week’s quiz or discussion questions, I will give you the opportunity to finish a limited number of these missed assignments during the last week of the regular semester (during finals week). You may make up no more than three quizzes and six discussion questions during the last week of the semester. This last week of the semester is the only time I will re-open the quizzes and discussion questions. Your three make up quizzes must be quizzes that you missed completely and not quizzes that you did take but made a low score on. Please keep this in mind.
A Final Word about English 1302
This is a wonderful and exciting course. You must, however, have a firm grasp of the basics of expository writing and grammar. If you passed English 1301 with an A or B, you will probably do quite well if you apply yourself. If you barely passed English 1301 with a C, you may have a difficult time with the course. I will communicate with you early in the semester to give you my assessment of your writing skill. Further, any student needing writing help should immediately visit one of the Writing Centers at any of the EPCC campuses in El Paso. Please call the main number 831-2000 to request more information.
V. Calendar. Note: Assignments listed on this calendar are from Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing and from A Writer’s Reference. Assignments from the latter are designated as “AWR.” Further, this calendar is subject to change with notice.
Week 1 –Monday, May 26 through Sunday, June 1
Orientation to the class. Buy your texts. Study the syllabus. Post your questions regarding using Blackboard, the official course description of English 1302, or my instructor course policies on the discussion board. Take Quiz #1, the syllabus quiz. Read the list of research paper topics (see above) and decide on one by the end of the week. Post your chosen topic (or email me with your own ideas for a topic if none on the list appeal to you) on the discussion board. Go to the Learning Modules tool and read “Savings documents in rich text format” and “The basics of MLA format.” All of your upcoming assignments (but not your discussion posts) will be written in MLA format and saved in rich text format. Read sections R-1 through R-3 in AWR . Take Quiz #2 (found on the Assessment Tool) over these pages. Watch the video titled “Searching Online Databases” found in the Research folder on the web links page. Read the sample student research paper titled “Aliens” on the Learning Module link. Write a 150-word post in response to the discussion question regarding “Aliens” found on the discussion board link. Begin research on your research question with the online databases (access to which can be found on the EPCC library homepage).
Week 2 – Monday, June 2 through Sunday, June 8
Continue your research. Read “Authoritative Sources” found on the web links tool in the Research paper folder. Read pages 373-379 and 408-412 in AWR. Take Quiz #3 and Quiz #4 over these pages in AWR. Read another sample student research paper, “Online Monitoring,” on the Learning Module link. Write a 150-word post in response to the discussion question over “Online Monitoring.” Read the sample student annotated bibliography found on the assignment tool. Write a 150-word post answering the discussion question regarding the sample student annotated bibliography. Post any questions you might have about either your sources or your annotated bibliography on the discussion board.
Week 3 – Monday, June 9 through Sunday, June 15
Continue your research. Read section MLA-3 in AWR. Take Quiz #5 over the information in these pages. Read section MLA-4 in AWR and take Quiz #6. Post any questions you might have about either your sources or your annotated bibliography on the discussion board. Annotated bibliography of at least twelve sources due Sunday, June 15. See the specific instructions on the assignment link.
Week 4- Monday, June 16 through Sunday, June 22
Continue your research. Take Quiz #7 over detecting plagiarism. Complete sentence outline due Sunday, June 22. See the specific instructions on the assignment link.
Week 5-Monday, June 23 through Sunday, June 29
Write a 6-8 page rough draft in MLA format that cites at least ten of your sources within the text of the paper and that lists those sources on a works cited page. Make sure that your introduction includes an arguable thesis as the last sentence of the introduction. Rough draft of research paper, including the works cited page, due Sunday, June 29. See the “Checklist for your rough and final draft” on the assignment link. Optional conferences in my office, B277, on the Valle Verde campus.
Week 6-Monday, June 30 through Sunday, July 6
Read “A Worn Path” by Eudora Welty, “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien, and “The Shawl” by Cynthia Ozick. See the course homepage for this week’s vocabulary words. Take Quiz 8, Quiz 9, and Quiz 10. Write three 150-word posts, one for each story, that answers the discussion question related to that story (see the discussion board). Final draft of research paper due Sunday, July 6.
Week 7-Monday, July 7 through Sunday, July 13
Read “First Confession” by Frank O’Connor, “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and “An Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri. See the course homepage for this week’s vocabulary words. Take Quiz 11, Quiz 12, and Quiz 13. Write three 150-word posts, one for each story, that answers the discussion question related to that story (see the discussion board). Also read sections L1 through L3 at the back of your A Writer’s Reference and take the self-assessment over L1-L3.
Week 8-Monday, July 14 through Sunday, July 20
Read “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway, “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell, and “A Good Man Is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor. See the course homepage for this week’s vocabulary words. Take Quiz 14, Quiz 15, and Quiz 16. Write three 150-word posts, one for each story, that answers the discussion question related to that story (see the discussion board). Also read sections L4 and L5 at the back of your A Writer’s Reference and take the self-assessment over L4-L5. First critical essay due Sunday, July 20. See the “Checklist for a Critical Essay” on the Learning Modules link to make sure you’ve followed all of the conventions for writing a critical essay.
Week 9-Monday, July 21 through Sunday, July 27
Read “This Is What It Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona” by Sherman Alexie, “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edgar Alan Poe. See the course homepage for this week’s vocabulary words. Take Quiz 17, Quiz 18, and Quiz 19. Write three 150-word posts, one for each story, that answers the discussion question related to that story (see the discussion board).
Week 10-Monday, July 28 through Friday, August 1
No vocabulary words this week. Read “Oedipus the King” by Sophocles. Take Quiz 20. Write one 150-word post that answers the discussion question related to the play (see the discussion board). All quizzes and discussion questions will be re-opened. You may make up no more than three quizzes and six discussion questions. The last day of the semester is Friday, August 2. Second critical essay due Friday, August 1.