Thursday, November 16, 2017

Leading up to Week 13

On the last night of class, we will have our "final exam" activity which is worth 20 of the 200 participation points for the semester. There is no way to earn those 20 points other than by participating in this activity on that date.

The activity will be based on reading of  "A Jury of Her Peers" by Susan Glaspell. You must print, mark up, and read this story, and bring it to class on the final night. Of course, you should read it much earlier and prepare your arguments.

The debate will happen in 3 rounds, each round being devoted to one question. You need to prepare responses to both sides of each of these  questions because in class you will be randomly assigned ONE side to defend for each question. Each student participates in two of the three debates and acts as a "judge" for the other debate.

Your arguments will not be strong unless you can quote passages from the text in support, so expect a low grade if you have no marked-up text to work with. 

Here are the questions:

1. From a moral (not a legal viewpoint), did Mrs. Hale and Mrs. Peters do the right thing by hiding the evidence against Minnie? This question does not ask whether they would face legal repercussions for their actions (of course, they would). Rather, it is a question about morality. Argue whether or not you feel they should be punished for their actions, regardless of what the law actually is.

2. Assume for this question only that it is proven that Minnie did indeed strangle her husband to death. By today's legal standards (and you may want to do some research in preparation as to what those standards are) could Minnie avoid a guilty conviction regardless? By what arguments?

3. At the time this story was written, it was illegal for a woman to serve on a jury. Does this story build a case in favor of allowing women to serve on a jury, or does it build case against it? As part of answering this question, examine what the story seems to be saying about the differences in essential nature between men and women (the ways in which each is "better" or "worse" than the other). You should also do some research into what the phrase "jury of one's peers" means exactly, what is controversial about the idea of forming a jury out of "peers," and what is significant about naming the story "A Jury of Her Peers."

On another note, class on the night of November 21/22 is optional. I will spend the night looking at complete (only) drafts of Essay 4. If you have a draft you want me to review, bring it and I will look at it one-on-one in the order you arrive. I will not use that time to help you think about an essay that is incomplete or not yet begun. I will only look at complete, typed drafts.
On yet another note, the last night to drop a class is November 17th. After that, you will not be able to request a grade of "W" from the college. To know your position in the class, simply go to and look at your percentage. 90-100 = A, 80-89 = B, 70-79=C, 60-69 = D. If you are missing Essay 1 or Essay 2 you obviously don't enough points to be passing at this point. As to whether you can make up for it with the last 3 essays, participation, final exam, and presentation, you will have to work the numbers to judge for yourself. There are 580 points left to be earned and you need 700 to pass with a "C."

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Leading Up to Week 12

Remember to bring the class textbook every week. We will be using it regularly,

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Leading Up to Week 11

Remember that Nov 17 is the last day to drop classes and receive a "W" rather than an "F" for non-completion. State law prohibits us from giving a "W" to anyone still in the class past that date.

Essay 2 grades have been posted to Add up your scores for Essay 1 and Essay 2. Keep in mind that the participation score is currently out of 100 points to represent the first 8 weeks of the semester. At the end of the semester, another 80 points for participation will be included (largely reflecting your work on the Honora Parker presentation), plus 20 for the "final exam" debate activity.

Get your total, then divide it by 420 to get an idea of what percentage of points you currently have. 294 is the minimal passing grade, and 58% of the points are yet to be earned.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Leading Up To Week 10

Assignment for Oct 31/Nov 1
For Oct 31/Nov 1, see the post just before this one for the instructions -- you need to post to an example of a flawed statistical study that you will discuss in class. Due to instructor absence last week, this assignment is postponed for now. We will discuss it at the upcoming class.

Groups for Presentation Leading Up to Essay 4
If you have been absent ever since we formed groups, you may no longer be in a group at all. You need to contact me at so that you do not end up having to present all on your own.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Class Cancelled October 24 AND 25

Class is cancelled for October 24 and 25. Please meet with your groups at the library or elsewhere if necessary. Otherwise, go home!

For the Tuesday class only, the groups presenting on Juliet's mom, Juliet's dad, and Pauline's dad will present first on November 7. The others will present on November 14. You will only get a little time on October 31 to meet with your group, so do what you have to do tonight or outside class.

If you are in the Wednesday class, the groups presenting on Juliet's mom, Juliet's dad, and Pauline's dad will present second on November 15. Everyone else will present on November 8.

If you were never placed in a group, email me right away at to avoid being dropped from the class.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Leading up to Week 9

  • I have posted Participation grades for the first half of the semester on Use the gradebook feature on that site to view. This is out of 100 points with 100 points more being given at the end of the semester. There is no reason that the second score can't be much higher or lower than the first score. 20 of those points come from the first-week assignment. The other 80 are based on participation in weeks 2-8.
  • I get many extra credit requests at the end of the semester. My reply is always that the opportunity to raise the grade is present all semester long in the form of Participation points. Owning the texts is helpful. Reading them, more helpful still.

Heads up: At the upcoming class I will ask you -- before class on on Oct 31/Nov 1 -- to find and post an example of a flawed/misleading statistical study. Due to instructor absence on 10/24 - 10/25, this assignment has been postponed for now. There are different ways a study can mislead. The problem might be with ambiguous terminology, inaccurate graphic representations, faulty conclusions, bad assumptions, or illogical methodology. An example of a bad statistical study due to ambiguous terminology: A study showing that 75% of English major graduates are successful after college. "Successful" is not defined, which could lead to meaningless results. Example 2: A study showing that 30% of homes in a neighborhood contain at least one criminal. What is a criminal? Does that include people who speed, who walk their dogs off-leash, who were cited for a noisy party, who littered?

Post your example (a link to the article) to the Discussion Forum as you did for the DUI ad. Your post should consist of the link to the article. You will explain the problem with the study in class.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Leading up to Week 8

  • Continue bringing Elements of Argument to class.  Essay 2 is due at next class, following guidelines in syllabus as before.
  • Scores for Essay 1 are posted on There is a gradebook feature in turnitin that will show your score as well as feedback.
  • It's important that Essay #2 reflect a thorough familiarity with the text and its details. Essays that look like they could have been written without having the read the novel won't get satisfactory scores.
  • Office hours on October 16 and October 30 only will be changed to 4-6 pm
On Oct 17-18, everyone was placed into a group for the purposes of the Honora Parker Murder presentation. The groups are listed below. If you were absent please tell me at promptly the way you want your group to contact you (email or phone). And indicate your permission for me to give that info to your group. Also, see the syllabus for Essay #4 under the timeline section -- you will see that an annotated bibliography is due as hard copy at the next class. Yes, in addition to that being the Essay 2 deadline. Read the instructions in the syllabus and google "what is an annotated bibliography" to see what to do. How many sources do you need? As many as you can reasonably find and contribute to your group.

If you were in class but had an absent member in your group, I will send you contact info for that person via whatever email address you supplied to No need to contact me.


Juliet's Mom (Axis of Evil)

Juliet's Dad (Legion of Doom)

Pauline's Mom (Zany Abusers)

Pauline's Dad (Combustible Pandas)

Juliet (Spambots Unleashed)
Stephanie R
Stephanie N

Pauline (Disenfranchised Ghouls of the Hard Rock Cafe)


Juliet's Mom (Axis of Evil)

Juliet's Dad (Legion of Doom)

Pauline's Dad (Raiders of the Lost Arf)

Juliet (Combustible Pandas)

Pauline (Disenfranchised Wraiths of the Hard Rock Cafe)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Preparing for Week 7

It's extremely important to finish reading Notes on a Scandal before the deadline listed in class and to bring the book to class that week. No participation credit will be given that day to anyone without a text. This is our only day to lay a groundwork for writing the essay, so better preparation means better discussion, which means better essays.

We viewed the film Notes on a Scandal in class. If you were absent, you must view it on your own. It is not on Netflix streaming unfortunately, but it can be rented for streaming for $2.99 at Amazon Instant Video. It is also available on DVD from Netflix, and can be purchased on DVD for one cent plus shipping at Amazon. It can also be borrowed from many local public libraries.

In addition to bringing the novel Notes on a Scandal to class, continue to bring Elements of Argument as well.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Prepare for Week 6

Recall that you must have completed reading Notes on a Scandal by the beginning of class on October 10 (Tuesday class) / October 11 (Wednesday class). Expect a 0 in participation for that day if you haven't. You must bring the book with you on that day.

If you are not in class this upcoming week (October 3-4), you will need to view the film of Notes on a Scandal on your own.  It is available for streaming from various platforms including Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play. It can also be purchased easily on DVD or found in most public libraries.

Finally, remember that there are small reading assignments in Elements of Argument over the next few weeks. Check the syllabus for those page numbers.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Preparing for Week 5 -- DUI Ad assignment

For the upcoming class of Sept 26 (Tues class) / Sept 27 (Weds class), you have been asked to bring to class an advertisement warning against drunk driving. The advertisement must be a visual still image (a photo, not a video).

You will "bring" the ad to class by submitting a link to the ad as a Comment on the turnitin discussion board. You will not be uploading the actual picture, just providing the link. No hard copy is necessary.

You must also be prepared to present it to the class and provide an analysis. Some questions to consider in this analysis: What makes it effective? How does each specific element of the ad (text, image, placement, color, facial expressions, body language, clothing, symbolism, and double meanings) contribute to the overall effect? To whom is this meant to appeal? Why would or wouldn't it achieve its objective?

Separately, I recommend you begin reading Notes on a Scandal by now since we will discuss the entire novel on Oct 10 (Tues class) / Oct 11 (Weds class), and you will lose a considerable number of participation points if you aren't prepared on that date.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Preparing for Week 4

Remember that it's required to bring the textbook Elements of Argument to class every week. You cannot expect to receive any participation credit if you are locked out of all discussion by not having the text. I realize books are expensive, but they are requirements of this course.

Be sure to review the requirements for how to turn in your essay this coming week. They are in the syllabus. You must follow the directions exactly for your paper to be considered "on time."

You should probably start reading Notes on a Scandal by now to finish on time.

Check the syllabus, as always, for next week's reading assignment.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Change in Monday Office Hour for Rest of Semester

For the rest of the semester, my office hours on Monday will be 11 AM - 1 PM. They will no longer be held from 6 PM - 8 PM.

Other hours are the same as in the printed syllabus.

As always, it's recommended to email in advance to save a time slot.

Please see below for notes related to the upcoming week of class.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Leading up to Week 3

For those trying to add the class, I have already given away all the spots that are available. I regret to say that if you did not receive an add code last week, there is no more room to add.
I have made a new prompt for Option 1 of Essay #1. If you are in the Tuesday class and already began work on the original Option 1 and/or want to stick with the original Option 1, that's fine. You can alternatively use the prompt I am about to describe. If you are in the Wednesday class, you need to use the prompt below instead of the original Option 1. Both classes are also free to write on Option 2 (search/spyders) or Option 3 (uber/airbnb) instead.

Guy travels to a home in the middle of the night believing that he will find there a fifteen-year-old child who contacted him online for sexual relations. In fact, the child does not exist and the invitation came from an undercover police officer who arrests Guy when he arrives. He's charged with Attempted Sexual Assault.

Salle, an otherwise mentally competent adult woman, sincerely believes that she can kill her neighbor by lining the threshold of her doorway with salt. Hating her, Salle lines the threshold of her doorway with salt. A police officer discovers her intentions and she is charged with Attempted Murder.

Write an essay in which you formulate a definition of an Attempt crime. Use your definition to argue that one of the above individuals is guilty while the other is not. If your definition is too broad, it will catch both Guy and Salle. If it's too narrow it will catch neither.

In addition, present two other cases of attempted crimes to use as comparison points to help argue why Guy or Salle is guilty and the other not. These other cases can be from the news, a researched court case, or a fictional case from literature, film, or television. Cite all sources.
Remember to bring the textbook, Elements of Argument, 11th edition, to class next week and every week for the rest of the semester. You will not be able to successfully participate without the book.

For the upcoming class, print, read, and bring the online short story, "A Flock of Lawn Flamingos."

Remember also that you must create your turnitin account if you did not already do so. Make sure you can upload a "fake essay" to the Sample assignment before the due date for Essay 1 comes around, so that you will not be caught off guard by inability to upload when the essay is due. Directions are in the syllabus.

Essay 1 must be turned in on time to (no hard copy required). There are only two kinds of essays: on-time and not on-time. The circumstances (emergencies, technical problems, absence, confusion) do not change this outcome.

See the syllabus for other requirements regarding the essay. See below for a link to a transcript of Minority Report which you can use if you like to help you with facts for your essay.

For those who missed class
We watched a portion of the film Minority Report. You can view the film either by a) streaming it on Amazon Instant Video (about $4 to rent); b) borrowing the DVD from a public library; or c) employing some other method.

As a very last resort, use a transcript of the movie from the Internet. The scenes we watched are the opening scene (roughly the first 14 minutes, in the transcript from the beginning to "[he finally goes limp]." and the scene where Spyders are used to search a building (for about 10 minutes starting at 1:17:00 in the film, in the transcript starting with "[As Evanna, unaware that Anderton is in the building]" and ending with "[All eight spyders come under the bottom of Anderton's door and start back down the hallway.]"). You can use CTRL-F to find those phrases and know where to stop/start.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Welcome to English 1C

You'll need to visit this website regularly. Each week, I will post information about readings and assignments that are due for the upcoming class. Some of the assignments will not be announced in class, and you are responsible for knowing about any assignments announced here on this site for the first time.

This blog also lets you download important documents like the syllabus, assignments, and class handouts, and it has links to readings and other assignments. Always check the blog if you miss class.

Those hoping to add the class should appear at the first two class meetings to see if there is room. Decisions about who may add will not be made until after the second class meeting. Priority is given to those who are on the school's waitlist if they attend both class meetings. Second priority goes to other students who attended both class meetings. If you are trying to add the class, you should do the homework assignment listed below since I will not accept it late even if you add late.

This is the highest level composition class our school offers. As such, you are expected to write essays completely free of grammatical or spelling errors. If you still have problems with basic grammar or sentence structure, you are encouraged to review these skills before attempting this class. As well, if you cannot commit to reading the lengthy assigned materials on time, you are unlikely to succeed. The class also requires active participation in discussions on a weekly basis. Your understanding, as expressed by your contributions to our regular debates, form a large part of your grade.


For the second class meeting, bring a single page (hard copy) on which you type your response to the following prompt. This assignment is worth 20 points of your semester grade. You get all the points if you successfully follow directions, 15 for making an honest effort or 0 points if you do not. I will use this page to make my recommendation as to whether you are prepared for this class at this time. You are limited to one, double-spaced sheet of paper. Therefore, do not make a formal introduction or explain the purpose of the writing as you would do if this were a full essay. Jump right in with "The article's claim is accurate/inaccurate with respect to [insert state here] because. . . ]. ALSO, be sure to UPLOAD this page to before coming to the next class.

In this class, deadlines are enforced rigorously and uniformly with no credit or recognition for work turned in late. As mentioned, the purpose of this assignment is to assess your readiness for English 1C. If you miss this very first deadline, you should reflect as to whether that will be a pattern for you in this class. Not understanding the assignment is not a good excuse (just try). Not having Internet access during the whole week is not a good excuse (rely on friends, family, public libraries, school campus, your or someone else's cell phone).


Find a news article from the Internet that bears a misleading headline. This misleading headline is usually, though not always, the text clicked on to get to the article in the first place (the "clickbait"). Be sure you are focusing on a misleading headline, meaning that the headline purposely creates an impression that the text of the article does not correspond with. Do not choose an article merely because the headline is sensational. Also, do not choose an article just because you believe the whole article is false or poorly supported ("fake news"). You are looking specifically for an article with a headline that creates an impression the article itself does not support.

Explain in a one-page, double-spaced writing why you believe the headline is misleading. First explain the impression that the headline gives and then quote the article to show the discrepancy between the headline and the article. If your explanation does not fill a full page, move on to a second article and discuss that one, and if necessary, a third or fourth article until the page is full. I am just looking for a writing sample here, not an essay, so simply stop writing when you reach the bottom of the page. You can even end in mid-sentence and do not need to include an introduction, conclusion or works cited page.

Example: There is an article with the headline: "Chicago Housewife Shoots Cheating Husband." This creates the impression that a woman shot her husband because he was cheating or even upon finding him cheating. It paints her as vengeful and with poor self-control and implies that she is a criminal. The article itself, however, reveals that the reason she shot him had nothing to do with his cheating. He was cheating on her, but the actual reason she shot him is because he came home drunk one day and tried to stab her with a knife. So yes, she did shoot her husband, and yes, he was cheating on her, but one thing had nothing to do with the other. The headline in this example actually contains no false statements, but it is misleading and almost anyone who reads it would assume a cause-and-effect relationship.

It's very important that each of you create your turnitin account right away. The purpose of the Week 2 assignment is to ensure that you are well prepared for English 1C before the drop deadline of September 8. The only way for me to be sure you get your score (20, 15, or 0) by then is for you to create your turnitin account. I will post your score promptly. If there's a major problem with your writing competency, I will send an email to the address you associate with your turnitin account. But I can't do any of that if your account doesn't exist. Remember that the class ID and class password you'll need are in the syllabus (available via link on right side of this page).

I will not accept the Week 2 assignment late. If you missed the deadline, you will not get those 20 points. Timeliness is important.