Engl 1020 Critical Thinking and Argumentation, sec 15, Spring 2014, O'Donnell

[ Policies ] [ Calendar ] [ Readings ]

last update: January 21, 2014


I.  About This Course
Engl 1020 Critical Thinking and Argumentation, sec 015--Emphasis: Scientific Exploration

MWF 11:30am-12:25pm, Burleson 303


In this course, you will practice reading and writing about academic texts.  You will evaluate, quote, and cite written sources and documentary videos.  You will learn to write prose that is clear, readable, interesting and engaging.  You will discuss with classmates the interesting issues raised in the class readings. 


The disciplinary emphasis for this section of Engl 1020 is "Scientific Exploration."  The Department of Lit and Language describes it this way:  "Scientific Exploration will explore the implications of scientific and technical advancements in the everyday world. These sections are open to students of any major; research and writing projects may relate to technology, environmental studies, philosophy, physical sciences, mathematics, and medicine."  In the first few weeks of the semester, we will read a range of articles about various topics connected to science.  You will then focus on a particular issue or area of inquiry, which will form the basis for your further reading and writing.  (See "V. Sample Issues / Areas of Inquiry...," below, for ideas.) 


II.  Instructor Information

Dr. Kevin O'Donnell, http://faculty.etsu.edu/odonnell/, odonnell@etsu.edu 423 439-6679
Office: Burleson Hall 313

Spring 2014 Office Hours: MTW 12:30-2:30pm


III.  Course Texts and Materials Required

- A Writer’s Reference, 7th Edition, by Diana Hacker and Nancy Sommers.  Bedford/ St. Martin's, 2010.  ISBN: 0312601433. 

- A 3 ring binder and a hole puncher. 

- a 9-3/4"x7-1/2" stitch-bound composition notebook. 

- Computer access--active ETSU NET ID and email account; Microsoft Word, Adobe Reader; money for printing costs.  (At the beginning of the semester, you are given $25 credit on your eBucs account.  You can thus use your ETSU ID to print in any on-campus lab, for $0.10 per black-and-white page.) 


IV.  Printing Policy

You will NOT use the McGraw-Hill Reader that is required for most ETSU sections of this course.  Instead, you will read articles available on the internet.  (See "Calendar," above, for specific assignments and links.)  However, you ARE required to print out course readings from the web, and to bring the printouts to class on reading due dates.  So put aside some of the 80+ dollars that you will save from not having to buy the reader, and spend that money on a 3 ring binder, hole puncher, and printing costs. 


This semester you will be assigned to read numerous articles posted on the internet.  In the weeks during which you are assigned internet reading, I require that you print at least 2 full articles per week.  In addition, I require that you print any article about which you write a Reading Response Essay (which is included in the minimum of 2 per week). 


V.  Assignments and Final Grade Breakdown

1.  Reading response essays, 300 to 600 words each (lowest grade out of 6 essays dropped, excluding F's):  25%

2.  Review essay (in which you review either a book or a nonfiction documentary film), 1000-1500 words, plus a proposal and draft:  20% 

3.  Annotated bibliography, plus a proposal and draft:  20% 

4.  Research essay, focusing on a particular issue or topic within your area of inquiry, 1500-2000 words, plus a proposal and draft:  25% 

5.  Participation in writing groups:  5%

6.  Final exam:  5%


VI.  Sample Issues / Areas of Inquiry, Considered under the Heading of "Scientific Exploration"

Here are some of the topics that will come up in our readings.  You're welcome to pursue these, or other lines of inquiry, in consultation with me, when you select an area of inquiry for your review essay, annotated bib, and research essay. 

- Appalachian mountaintop removal coal mining

- Ethanol, biofuels

- Food safety and ethics in the U.S. 

- Fracking

- Global warming

- GMOs 

- Health sciences, recent developments

- Interactions between humans and nonhuman animals

- Orcas and entertainment at Sea World

- Renewable energy


VII.  Attendance and Due Dates

Attendance:  The official English department policy: more than 9 absences and you fail the course.  In addition, I have the following policies: 1) You may miss two classes, no problem.  2) For any classes you miss over 2, I reserve the right to lower your grade one increment (from B to B-, for example).  3) No excused absences, so use your freebies wisely. 


Due Dates:  I don't accept late work.  If you must miss class on a due date, email me the assignment (odonnell@etsu.edu) before class time.