Required Texts and Materials:

(Please buy the editions indicated here.)

  • All PDFs, articles, videos, online exhibits, archives, and links posted on the syllabus
  • Arola, Kristin L., Jennifer Sheppard, and Cheryl E. Ball. Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects (Bedford/St. Martin’s), 978-1457600456
  • Schnapp, Jeffrey T., and Matthew Battles. The Library Beyond the Book, 978-0674725034
  • Sloan, Robin. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel (Picador), 978-1250037756
  • Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research, Third Edition (University Of Chicago Press), 978-0226065663

Student Learning Outcomes

ENG 332 is a GEC course at USM, and students taking this course are expected to meet the following GEC learning outcomes:

  1. the student is able to develop a topic and present ideas through writing in an organized, logical, and coherent form and in a style that is appropriate for the discipline and the situation.
  2. the student can observe conventions of Standard English grammar, punctuation, spelling, and usage.
  3. the student can find, use, and cite relevant information.

In addition, the Composition Program at Southern Miss has identified specific learning outcomes for each of its writing courses that are meant to complement our GEC outcomes.  At the completion of ENG 332, students will engage with the following learning outcomes:

  • Students will learn to adapt their purposes and language uses to meet the expectations of a variety of audiences.  By understanding how rhetorical situations influence reading, writing, speaking, and thinking, students will be able to approach each writing situation as an opportunity to analyze the perspectives and conventions of their audience and apply that analysis in their writing.
  • Students will analyze the basic features of a variety of academic, professional, and public genres, and they will be able to select genres appropriate for their writing purpose and audience.  Students will also learn how to modify the features of a genre in response to new rhetorical situations, and they will demonstrate their ability to use genres to carry out their purpose and focus.
  • Students will learn to recognize the different types of research methods and approaches appropriate to a variety of rhetorical situations and academic or professional discourses.  Thus, students will be able to adapt their research methods to their writing purposes, and they will learn to incorporate research in their writing more effectively.
  • Students should recognize that the credibility and effectiveness of their documents depend on their ability to choose and employ writing conventions—including grammar and mechanics, as well as documentation—appropriate for their audience and purpose.  Therefore, students will focus on developing the precision tools available to them for effective communication.
  • Because writing is a form of social interaction, students will learn to collaborate with others in creating and revising documents, and they will develop a professional approach to working in teams and managing group projects.
  • Students will be able to understand and select from a range of technologies to use in any stages of their writing process, from research and invention to editing and publishing.  Students will examine technological tools and platforms both as aides in composing and as modes for composing.
  • Because an integral part of the revision process is discovering meaning and rethinking rhetorical choices, students will engage in careful, close revision to demonstrate their ability to think critically about their own writing processes and products, as well as the rhetorical situations in which writing takes place.

Policies and Procedures:


Grades are earned, not given. Students should not expect to earn a grade of an A by simply completing the assignments and showing up for class. I use a standard 100-point grading scale in which 90-100=A, 89-80=B, and so forth. Final grades will not be rounded up.

  • A work is considered superior or excellent. The student demonstrates deep critical thinking and sophisticated use of language throughout the semester.
  • B work is above average. It still meets the standards of A work but may not have the same level of excellence or consistency.
  • C work indicates satisfactory, college-level work.
  • D and F grades represent work that is below college level.

I will not discuss grades until at least 24 hours after handing back your work. This is to give you time to carefully review your work and my written comments on it. I will likewise not discuss grades over email. These matters can be discussed during my office hours or by appointment.

Late Work                  

All assignments are due at the beginning of the class period noted on the syllabus. Assignments turned in late will be lowered one letter grade per calendar day the assignment is late. The same rule applies for all assignments submitted electronically. They should be submitted before class begins.


The attendance policy is that there is no distinction between “excused” and “unexcused” absences. Every student is allowed a maximum of 4 absences. Any absence over that number will count directly against your final grade. I will deduct 5 percentage points from your final grade for every absence starting with your fifth. If you miss more than six classes you will automatically fail the course.

There is no need to alert me of an upcoming absence. You may send an email as a courtesy, but please do not ask me to provide you with material that you missed. If you are absent on a day when written work is due, you are still responsible for completing the assignment. If it is not an online assignment, you should either send it with a classmate or email it to me as an attachment before the start of class. Please rely on your classmates to provide you with notes and announcements that you miss. You should also regularly check the course website for current information. I will not make an exception regarding an assignment because you were not in class when it was assigned or changed.


I am happy to respond to questions by e-mail, and I try to do so whenever possible within 24-48 hours. Before you contact me, however, please make sure the information you are seeking can’t be located either on the syllabus or by asking one of your classmates first. When writing emails, students should conform to acceptable email etiquette and use a salutation, correct language, and a closing with their full name.


I enjoy working with students to help develop ideas, brainstorm paper topics, and improve your skills. I encourage you to use me a resource. Feel free to stop by my office hours or to make an appointment to discuss grades, assignments, readings, and any matter related to the course or your future goals.

Digital Etiquette

To ensure responsible and attentive participation, all cell phones and/or other devices should be turned off before you enter the classroom. If your phone rings once during class, we’ll laugh and I’ll ask you to turn it off. If your phone rings again during the semester, I’ll ask you to leave and this will count as an absence. If I see anyone sending text messages during class, I will also provide one warning and then mark you absent.

You may use a laptop or tablet to take notes in class. However, in-class laptops also present temptations that many students find irresistible. So to be clear: you may not use a laptop or tablet in class to follow a game, check your friends’ statuses on Facebook, respond to email, post a Tweet, etc. Such activities not only distract you but they distract anyone around or behind you. If you often seem distracted by what’s on your screen, I will ask you to put your laptop away, perhaps for the duration of the semester. If the problem continues, I will ask you to leave the class for the day; this will count as an absence.

Student Code of Conduct

USM’s policy is that students conduct themselves in a respectful manner in keeping with the academic environment. Among other things, this means maintaining polite discourse in class discussion and a non-combative attitude with both the instructor and fellow classmates. I reserve the right to ask any student not adhering to this behavior to leave the classroom and/or to drop the course.

Writing Center

Students should follow their own best practices when it comes to their writing practices, but all students can benefit from crafting multiple drafts and visiting the USM Writing Center. As stated on their website, “The Writing Center is a free tutorial service available to any USM student who wants assistance with a writing project. We offer one-on-one writing instruction that’s designed to help you become a more effective writer. This tutorial service is offered on a walk-in basis or by appointment (on the hour for 45 minutes). However, the appointments often book up several days in advance, so making an appointment is always a good idea.” The Writing Center is located in Cook Library. Appointments can be scheduled by phoning (601) 266-4821 or by visiting their website located at


Plagiarism, which is the presentation of someone else’s words or ideas as your own, is a serious offense in the academic community and will not be tolerated. Plagiarism is defined in the USM Undergraduate Bulletin as follows: “Plagiarism is scholarly theft, and it is defined as the unacknowledged use of secondary sources. More specifically, any written or oral presentation in which the writer or speaker does not distinguish clearly between original and borrowed material constitutes plagiarism. Because students, as scholars, must make frequent use of the concepts and the facts developed by other scholars, plagiarism is not the mere use of another’s facts and ideas. However, it is plagiarism when students present the work of other scholars as if it were their own work. Plagiarism can be committed in a number of ways:

  1. Reproducing another author’s writing as if it were one’s own;
  2. Paraphrasing another author’s work without citing the original;
  3. Borrowing from another author’s ideas, even though those ideas are reworded, without giving credit; and
  4. Copying another author’s organization without giving credit.

Please feel free to ask if you are ever unsure about what constitutes plagiarism or if you need any help in synthesizing, quoting, and/or citing a source. For more information on plagiarism, visit the USM library website’s section on plagiarism: The library website also offers a Plagiarism Tutorial:

Academic Dishonesty

Academic dishonesty can take the form of plagiarism and/or cheating, neither of which will be tolerated. The following is from the USM Undergraduate Bulletin: “When cheating is discovered, the faculty member may give the student an F on the work involved or in the course. If further disciplinary action is deemed appropriate, the student should be reported to the Dean of Students. In addition to being a violation of academic honesty, cheating violates the Code of Student Conduct and may be grounds for probation, suspension, and/or expulsion. Students on disciplinary suspension may not enroll in any courses offered by The University of Southern Mississippi.”

Students with Disabilities

This course follows all university regulations for students with disabilities. If a student has a disability that qualifies under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and requires accommodations, he/she should contact the Office for Disability Accommodations (ODA) for information on appropriate policies and procedures. Disabilities covered by ADA may include learning, psychiatric, physical disabilities, or chronic health disorders. Students can contact ODA if they are not certain whether a medical condition/disability qualifies.

Address The University of Southern Mississippi
Office for Disability Accommodations
118 College Drive # 8586
Hattiesburg, MS    39406-0001
Telephone: (601) 266-5024 or (228) 214-3232
Fax: (601) 266-6035

Individuals with hearing impairments can contact ODA using the Mississippi Relay Service at 1-800-582-2233 (TTY) or email Suzy Hebert at


All parts of the syllabus and the course, including the schedule, are subject to change to meet the needs of students in the course. I reserve the right to make changes as I see fit.

Paper Format

In order to help me grade fairly, all assignments (except those completed in class) must be typed, double-spaced, and in Times New Roman 12-point font with one-inch margins. Assignments of more than one page must be stapled. To reduce padding, include only your name and the course number in the heading (e.g., Mary Smith, ENG 332).