Participation: Participation is more than showing up to our zoom lectures and discussions *with cameras on* unless some technical difficulties make that impossible (in which case you should definitely let me know what’s going on or risk being counted absent). You should strive to engage in discussions and activities with alacrity and to avoid distractions (electronic or otherwise).

Attendance: Students must attend at least 75% of the class meetings to receive a passing grade. Consequently, accumulating more than 4 absences is grounds for failing this course. Attending class, however, is necessary but not sufficient for success. You must also participate (see above) and avoid being tardy or distracted while in class (or you may be counted absent). That said, sometimes absence is unavoidable. In these cases, keep up with the work – talk to your classmates about getting notes – and of course let me know. Whenever possible I will do my best to accommodate you.

Due Dates: Turn in your assignments on time, if not early. If you feel you cannot meet a particular deadline, let me know and I’ll do my best to accommodate you whenever possible. LATE WORK will receive a FAILING GRADE.


Paper Sequence (60%)

  • One Text (5%)
  • One Word (5%)
  • One Sentence (10%)
  • One Page (15%)
  • One Essay (25%)

Exams (15%)

  • Final (15%)

Activities (15%)

  • Quizzes, Workshops, Forum Posts (15%)

Participation (10%)

  • Attendance (5%)
  • Overall Participation (5%)

I will calculate your final grade according to the following scale:

A 94-100%      A- 90-93.9%

B+ 88-89.9%      B 84-87.9      B- 80-83.9

C+ 78-79.9%      C 74-77.9%      C- 70-73.9%

D+ 68-69.9%      D 63-67.9%      D- 60-63.9%

F 0-59.9%


compositions – whether written, aural, or visual – represent exceptional work that more than fulfills the requirements of the assignment. A compositions tackle the topic in an innovative way, with a clear sense of the rhetorical situation (audience, purpose, etc.), with an insightful or novel ideas conveyed in a compelling manner, with appropriate and effective, and carefully planned organizational logic and “flow.” A compositions excel at not just summary but analysis, synthesis, and argument. The style is energetic and precise: when written, A compositions maintain varied sentence structure and thoughtful diction. How the writer or speaker or designer says/shows things is as excellent as what the writer says/shows. There is evidence of careful editing since the essay contains few (if any) grammatical and/or mechanical errors and, if necessary. A compositions have careful use and documentation of research in an appropriate format.

compositions are clearly above-average and more than meets the requirements of the assignment. Like the “A” composition, it demonstrates clear thinking and organizational strategies, providing a unified, coherent, and developed support for its argument and assertions. While B compositions takes some “risks,” attempts complex strategies of development, and pays attention to audience, it falls short of the “A” composition in one or more of the following ways: the argument may not be as interesting or insightful; there may be weaknesses in organizational strategy or its execution (flow); the support may not be uniformly conclusive and convincing; and the style may not be as energetic or the diction as thoughtful. B compositions show strong evidence of editing since there are relatively few grammatical and/or mechanical errors and B compositions have clear use and documentation of research in an appropriate format (with only few errors).

compositions are average, solidly meeting the requirements of the assignment but not exceeding them. C compositions have an argument and organizational plan, which demonstrate thought on the composer’s part, a generally clear style, an awareness of audience, and adequate documentation (though possibly flawed). C compositions have unified and coherent support, but may have difficulty with any of the following: the argument may be too general or vague; the evidence may be predictable (more summary than analysis or synthesis), may not be thoroughly interpreted, or may not be clearly related to the writer’s point; with written compositions, paragraphs may be uneven in development and lack effective transitions. Even with “C” compositions, there should be relatively few grammatical or mechanical errors–not enough to interfere with readability—but these errors may cause distractions; the student has done some editing, even though it may be superficial and/or incomplete.  C compositions, finally, have clear use and documentation of research in an appropriate format (with only few errors).

compositions are below average work that demonstrates a serious attempt to fulfill the assignment and shows some promise but does not fully meet the requirements of the assignment. D compositions may have one or several of the following weaknesses: it may have a general or implied argument, but the idea may be too broad, vague, or obvious; it may have some awareness of audience, but may not be evident in use of inappropriate tone or diction for the genre; the organizational plan may be inappropriate or inconsistently carried out; evidence may be too general, missing, not interpreted, irrelevant to the argument, or too repetitive; documentation may be incomplete or inaccurate; the style may be compromised by repetitive or flawed sentence patterns and confusing syntax. Grammatical and mechanical errors may interfere with readability and indicate a less-than-adequate attempt at editing or unfamiliarity with some aspects of Standard Written English. D compositions, finally, may have research but it is not used or cited effectively or in appropriate format.

compositions are substantially below average for the assignment. F compositions exhibit one or several of the following: they may be an attempt to meet the requirements of the assignment, but it may have no apparent thesis or a contradictory one, or the composition is so general or obvious as to suggest little thinking-through of the topic. They may display little or no apparent sense of organization; they may lack development; evidence may be inappropriate and/or off-topic or may consist of generalizations, faulty assumptions, or errors of fact; it may display little or no awareness of audience. They may fail to handle borrowed material responsibly and/or to document appropriately. They may be plagiarized or simply off-topic. The style suggests serious difficulties with written, oral, or visual fluency, which may be revealed in short, simple sentences and ineffective diction. Grammatical/mechanical errors may interfere with comprehension or indicate problems with basic literacy or a lack of understanding of Standard English usage. F compositions, finally, do not have research or the research is not cited correctly. 

*A note on grading: you are always welcome to discuss your work with me in office hours. Before coming to see me, you must first craft a formal email petition stating clearly (and succinctly) a case for why your work merits a higher grade based on how your work aligns with the above rubric. Based on your argument + a review of your original work, I will regrade accordingly. Please be aware that this petition may result in the raising or lowering of your grade based on the merits of your work: If I reassess your work and find that it merits a higher grade, I will change your grade accordingly. If I reassess your work and find that it merits a lower grade, I will change your grade accordingly.

Sakai: Sakai is a web-based instructional environment that will be our digital home for this semester. Here, you will find links to the syllabus as well as additional resources, dropbox for submitting work and forums for drafting workshops and perhaps important announcements when necessary and the gradebook for posting grades. Your username and password for Sakai are your university ONYEN and password. To sign into sakai, go to https://sakai.unc.edu/welcome/

PlagiarismThe Instrument of Student Judicial Governance defines plagiarism as “the intentional representation of another’s words, thoughts, or ideas as one’s own” (4). Failing to correctly cite sources is plagiarism. I support the University policy on plagiarism. In this digital age, it is difficult to plagiarize and get away with it, so please don’t try it.  I will not hesitate to report plagiarism to the Honor Court; if you are found guilty, you will face one semester suspension and will fail the course. See me if you have questions or doubts about what constitutes plagiarism. Remember that all drafts and non-graded work are also subject to this policy (in addition to all graded materials).

Academic Etiquette: In addition to participating in all class activities (which include listening and contributing to discussions, participating in group activities, impromptu presentations, writing, and researching), I expect all students to refrain from non-productive activities during class time, such as IM-ing or emailing, carrying on extraneous conversations, or doing work for other classes.  Further, students will show respect for the course, the instructor, themselves, their classmates, and opinions that may differ from their own in deference to the educational atmosphere. If you fail to maintain appropriate academic etiquette relations with your classmates or instructors, I will ask you to leave the classroom (whether digital or physical), you will be counted absent for that day, and you will not be able to make up any work you missed for that day.  If your behavior is in violation of the school Honor Code, I will contact the Dean of Students regarding the incident and you may be subject to further reprimand.

Honor Code: Cheating, plagiarism, or other acts of academic misconduct will result in prosecution from the UNC Student Court, who may censure, suspend, or expel a guilty student. For more information, see the UNC Honor Code: http://honor.unc.edu/

Email:  You must use and check your UNC email. Check your email early and often. It may have important announcements concerning assignments or class location changes. Failing to check your email is not an excuse for missing class announcements or assignments. If you think you are not getting emails, contact ITS immediately to fix the problem.

Accessibility Resources & Services: Any student who identifies as differently abled, who feels he or she cannot participate to the fullest expression of his or her abilities due to a learning issue should contact me as soon as possible so that we can discuss class requirements and recommendations necessary to ensure full participation. UNC-Chapel Hill facilitates the implementation of reasonable accommodations for students with identified learning disabilities, physical disabilities, mental health struggles, chronic medical conditions, temporary disability, or pregnancy complications, all of which can impair student success. Please see the ARS website to set up an appointment if you haven’t done so yet: https://accessibility.unc.edu/

The Writing Center: The UNC Writing Center offers free writing tutoring services for students. You may visit the writing center to ask for help with a specific paper, whether you are concerned with developing ideas and content, organizing your assignment, or working on style issues. You can book online appointments (whether online or in person) via their website: https://writingcenter.unc.edu/

Counseling and Psychological Services: CAPS is strongly committed to addressing the mental health needs of a diverse student body through timely access to consultation and connetion to clinically appropriate services, whether for short or long-term needs. Please visit https://caps.unc.edu or visit their facility on the third floor of the Campus Health Services building for a walk-in evaluation.

Pronouns: Please tell me your preferred mode of address and gender pronoun (either in person or via email). For instance, my pronouns are she/her and I liked to be called by my last name (Boyd) with the title Professor (Dr. is acceptable too). Please refrain from calling me Mrs. Boyd, Miss Boyd, Miss Sarah, Ms. Sarah, Mrs. Sarah: these modes of are not only inappropriate and inaccurate, but they are also disrespectful, sexist, and potentially misogynist. 

***Policies and Calendar Subject to Change as necessary–but I’ll give you as much advanced notice as possible!