ENGL 1102: Composition II

General Syllabus


Prerequisite: ENGL 1101 or ENGL 1101H. A composition course focusing on writing skills beyond the levels of proficiency required by ENGL1101 that emphasizes interpretation and evaluation and that incorporates a variety of more advanced research skills. Students will learn to organize and present ideas and information effectively in research essays.


ENGL 1102: Composition II is the second of two composition courses all VSU students take to fulfill in part the core curriculum requirements in Area A: Essential Skills. ENGL 1101 and 1102 are designed primarily to improve students’ writing abilities. ENGL 1102 addresses the following content standards:

  • Students will learn to manage a more complex writing process that includes incorporating a variety of sources into their writing, accurately representing source material, and effectively synthesizing materials from a variety of sources.
  • Students will learn to use information technology, both print and electronic, to locate, evaluate, incorporate, and document material from a variety of sources.
  • Students will learn advanced computer skills to research, format, draft, revise, and edit essays incorporating sources.
  • Students will develop advanced analytical, evaluative, and argumentative skills by reading and responding to a variety of written sources.
  • Students will develop an advanced ability to analyze and articulate their own value systems while engaged in researching the ideas of others.


To fulfill successfully the composition requirements of Area A in the core curriculum, students must achieve a final grade of D or better in ENGL 1102. Students who earn an F as a final grade in the course must repeat it and make a D or better before they can enroll in any of the sophomore world literature courses: ENGL 2110, 2120, 2130, or 2140; ENGL 1102 is the prerequisite for each of these courses.

Because ENGL 1101 and 1102 are primarily writing courses, final grades are largely determined by the quality of students’ work on writing assignments. Students, then, must earn at least a D average on their essays in order to receive a final grade of D or better. Although other grades earned during a semester, such as those made on tests, daily assignments, and class discussion, will not pass students who have not achieved a D average on writing assignments, these grades may either raise or lower the final grade of a student who has an average of D or better on essays.


Although individual instructors may call some of the elements of composition by different names, students can expect their writing to be assigned grades based on their performance on the following kinds of criteria:

  • Ideas, including elements that might be called subject, purpose, main/central ideafocusthesis, and audience awareness.
  • Development, including elements that might be called details, examples, points, reasons, evidence, arguments,critical/logical thinking, and tone.
  • Research, including elements that might be called (annotated) bibliography, note-taking, primary and/or secondary sources, and print/nonprint/online sources.
  • Documentation and Format, including such elements as citing and listing sources (in a list of works cited) according toModern Language Association (MLA) style.
  • Organization, including elements that might be called structure, paragraphing, coherence, unity, plan, and transitions.
  • Style, including elements that might be called sentence structure, word choice, diction, and vocabulary.
  • Grammar, including elements that might be called usage, mechanics, editing, punctuation, spelling, conventions, andStandard English.

The grade given writing is not a subjective impression, but a summary of a student’s performance on the above criteria. General descriptions of each grade follow. Instructors may provide students with requirements and criteria specific to an assignment, the fulfillment of which is essential for a passing grade.

  • Writing that earns an A is distinguished by clear, thoughtful, and significant ideas expressed with an awareness of audience; logical, detailed, and relevant development; incorporation of thorough and appropriate research; correct documentation; coherent and effective organization that supports the development; sophisticated style (varied, readable, and skillfully constructed sentences, as well as diction that is fresh, precise, economical, and idiomatic); and correct grammar.
  • Writing that earns a B is distinguished by most of the qualities listed above. However, it may be characterized by somewhat less insightful ideas; occasionally less pertinent and detailed development for an audience; less thorough and appropriate research; only minor mistakes in documentation; some paragraphing and transitions that may not aid the audience as they might; style that is competent but not distinctive; and generally correct grammar.
  • Writing that earns a C is characterized by generally clear but conventional ideas; overly general development; research that is not always thorough and appropriate; documentation that is marked by occasional errors in content or form; clear but mechanical organization; unremarkable style (restricted vocabulary and sentences that lack variety); and occasional problems in grammar that hinder the writer’s purpose.
  • Writing that earns a D is characterized by ideas that are sometimes unfocused and confused; development that is sometimes irrelevant or altogether lacking; research that is often not thorough or appropriate; documentation that shows little knowledge of correct content or form; organization that sometimes lacks order or paragraphing; sometimes incoherent sentence structure and inappropriate word choice; and grammatical mistakes that often distract the audience and undercut credibility.
  • Writing that earns an F is characterized by unfocused ideas expressed with seemingly no concern for the audience; little or no development; little or no research or inappropriate research; little or no regard for correct documentation; little or no organization; frequent incoherent sentence structure and inappropriate word choice; and frequent grammatical errors that make the writer’s purpose impossible to achieve.


All students are required to purchase the latest edition of The St. Martin's Handbook, by Andrea A. Lunsford. Instructors may assign other texts in addition and may require students to purchase computer disks for work in the Writing Center or electronic classroom, make photocopies, use materials on reserve in Odum Library, and so on. Students are advised to purchase a college-level dictionary.


Students requiring classroom accommodations or modifications because of a documented disability should discuss this need with the instructor at the beginning of the semester. In order to receive special accommodations, students must be registered with the Access Office for Students with Disabilities (1115 Nevins Hall). If students are not registered, then they should contact that office at 245-2498.


Students must not engage in academic dishonesty.  In accordance with the Student Handbook's Student Code of Conduct, academic dishonesty includes writing another student's essay, using another student's writing as one's own, or using writing obtained from an online paper mill; obtaining or providing in an unauthorized manner "any material pertaining to the conduct of a class, including but not limited to tests, examinations, laboratory equipment, and roll books"; and engaging in plagiarism, the undocumented use of words and/or ideas from sources such as books, articles, and the World Wide Web. Academic dishonesty is punishable by an F in the course.


Students are expected to be civil.  The following is not an exhaustive list of requirements for civil behavior: do not engage in educationally disruptive behavior or language; turn off cell phones and pagers; refrain from eating, sleeping, reading extraneous material, and browsing the Internet or checking email in computer classrooms; do not arrive late or leave early without permission.  Disruptive students may be asked to leave the classroom and may not be permitted to return to the course.


VSU’s Undergraduate Catalogue notes, “The University expects that all students shall attend all regularly scheduled class meetings held for instruction or examination. . . . A student who misses more than 20% of the scheduled classes of a course will be subject to receiving a failing grade in the course.”  Because content standards of courses across the curriculum differ, students are also “held responsible for knowing the specific attendance requirements as prescribed by their instructors. . . .”