Dual Enrollment English Syllabus & Materials

University of Memphis

Spring 2018

ENGL 1020––English Composition Syllabus


As the city of #gritandgrind, Memphis is made beautiful by its resilience—by a history of invention, contradiction, and even tragedy. Like dry-rub ribs, the Bluff City seems to be something you either get or you don’t. Some people think writing is the same way: that it is something you either get or you don’t…that you can be born a good or a bad writer. While this idea that people are born with innate writing talent is quite common, the reality is that successful writers read a lot and work hard to improve their writing skills. Everyone can become an effective writer, but effective writing requires hard work. Effective writing requires grit and grind.

Consequently, this class will continue to build on the skills you developed in ENGL 1010 while focusing on Memphis as a subject of study and a place where writing is an essential part of community and society. In this class, you will read, research, and write about Memphis, recognizing that writing and reading go hand in hand. Following the writing about writing approach of ENGL 1010, this course will take a rhetorical approach, focusing on audience, the rhetorical situation, and rhetorical strategies in order to continue to build the analytical skills necessary for successful academic writing. As a class, we will consider how rhetoric functions in the Memphis community by analyzing argumentative prose and by developing our own research-based arguments. Further, we will recognize the changing nature of communication in the twenty-first century by composing both alphabetic and digital writing. This course also emphasizes revision and remediation, asking students to create three different versions of an argument of their choice.

Learning Outcomes

By the conclusion of ENGL 1020, students should do the following:

  • Demonstrate rhetorical knowledge by writing effectively for different contexts, audiences, genres, and purposes.
  • Illustrate an awareness of composing processes, particularly when it comes to invention, drafting, revision, and delivery.
  • Demonstrate an ability to conduct research-based inquiries by posing research questions, conducting academic research, evaluating secondary sources, integrating sources to support claims, and citing sources appropriately.
  • Indicate an ability to thoughtfully use digital writing technologies when appropriate to the rhetorical situation.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of conventions by producing organized, stylistically appropriate, and carefully proofread writing.


All students enrolled in English 1020 must have completed ENGL 1010 with a minimum grade of "C-" or met the requirements for receiving ENGL 1010 credit.

Required Texts
Fredlund, Katherine and Vincent Kenny-Cincotta, editors. Writing Memphis. Hayden-McNeil, 2017.


Course Requirements and Grading


 Rhetorical Analysis: You will select an argumentative piece of writing (from a list provided by your teacher) and analyze how the author presents an argument. The purpose of your rhetorical analysis is to analyze another writer's argument.  Of course, your essay should address what the writer has written, but the emphasis of your rhetorical analysis essay should be a close examination of how the writer has presented an argument. Your purpose is not to argue with (or state your agreement with) the writer's position. Your primary purpose is to analyze the strategies and features another writer has used to be persuasive.

Researched Argument Draft 1: Your argumentative research paper will use academic sources to present an argument about Memphis. While there are obvious topic choices (The Blues, Beale St., Elvis, BBQ, etc) you can localize just about any topic you care about. For example, if you are interested in healthy eating, then you could do research on food deserts or school lunch programs in Memphis. If you are interested in business, then you might do research on FedEx or Autozone and use that research to argue that Memphis is a great place to start a business.

You will choose your own topic and continue working with this topic for the remainder of the semester, so make sure it is something that you are REALLY interested in. This paper will be 6 pages and should use at least 5 sources (4 of which should be considered academic sources).

New Media Group Presentation: In groups of 4 to 5, you will teach the rest of the class how to use an open-access production tool. Your instructor will provide you with a list to choose from and will create the groups. Students in the class should leave the group presentations knowing how to use 4-5 new media production tools to create things like animations, infographics, new media slide shows, videos, etc.

New Media Writing: When you present an argument, you need to consider the rhetorical situation, and when that situation changes, your argument will change too. Thus, to give you practice at adapting to new rhetorical situations (while also allowing you to refine your argument), your next assignment will ask you to turn your researched argument into a new media writing project. Since your audience will change from an academic audience to a more general audience, this project will likely have a more conversational tone, use different argumentative tactics, and rely far more on visuals.

Revision of Researched Argument: Successful writers are successful revisers. Writing courses often don’t build in time to allow for revision, leaving the false impression that effective writing can actually happen in a few days. Thus, your final and major project for this course will ask you to take all that you have learned about writing, research, and revision in order to revise your researched argument. This is worth the largest portion of your grade, and the work that goes into it should reflect that. You may use writing you produced in your first draft, but if the paper does not change significantly, then you will fail the project. Your goal for this paper should be to improve your argument and to improve your presentation (tone, sentence structure, organization) of that argument. This paper should be 8-10 pages and use a minimum of 8 sources (5 of which should be academic).

Homework and Quizzes: Throughout the semester, you will be asked to complete short writing assignments that are intended to help you fine-tune your writing skills, engage with the course readings, and/or prepare for larger projects. Quizzes will be given ensure students are reading. They will not be announced ahead of time. Your homework and quiz scores will be averaged at the end of the semester.

Attendance and Participation: Your attendance and participation are vital to your success in this course. You cannot participate in class if you are on your phone or paying more attention to your computer than class discussion. Thus, this portion of your grade will be decided based on how you participate (including paying attention and remaining off of your devices). After six absences, please remember that you may fail the course, and each absence beyond three will deduct one percentage point from your attendance grade.




Due Date

Rhetorical Analysis



Researched Argument Draft 1



New Media Group Presentation



New Media Writing



Revision of Researched Argument



Homework and Quizzes


See Syllabus

Attendance and Participation




Semester Grade Percentages


A+ (98 – 100)

A (94 – 97)

A- (90 – 93)

B+ (88 – 89)

B (84 – 87)

B- (80 – 83)

C+ (78 – 79)

C (74 – 77)

C- (70 – 73)

D+ (68 – 69)

D (64 – 67)

D- (60 – 63)


F (0 – 59)