Course Syllabus

A pdf of our full course syllabus is downloadable from this link.

Course Rubric

Textual Analysis 1 – 20 pts
Textual Anlysis 2 – 20 pts
Group Presentation – 20
Multimodal Composition – 20 pts
Attendance – 10
Participation – 10

Total Points: 100

Course Policies

Attendance Policy

ENG 215 requires prepared, active participation during class sessions.

  • While attendance is mandatory, students should not expect to do well simply by attending.
  • Being absent from class does not relieve students of responsibility for completing all course work by the scheduled due dates.
  • The instructor has the right to lower a student’s final course grade as the sole result of his or her repeated absences and tardiness
  • Students who miss more than 25% of the classes will automatically fail. In a MWF class, this is 11 or more absences.
  • There are no “excused” or “unexcused” absences.

I keep and report daily attendance. You will receive an automated email each time you are absent. This email is also sent to your advisor. If you receive an email in error, please let me know immediately.

Policy on Electronic Devices

I am generally welcoming to technology in class. Use it for class purposes, and please don’t allow it to become a distraction for yourself or others. Turn off any ring tones or audible notifications before entering class. If you are anticipating a call that will need to be answered let me know ahead of time, and step outside of class to answer your phone.

Work Acceptance Policy

Assignment postings will cue you to the means and timing of work due dates. If you need exceptions please contact me ahead of the due date. Late work will be discussed on a case-by-case basis, as will revisions.

Because written assignments are submitted digitally I will check writing requirements using word count and not page length. Keep your papers the appropriate length. You are all encouraged to see me at any time to discuss your progress in class, but if you wish to discuss your grade do so in a timely manner. I can’t help you improve your grade the last week of the semester.

Important Sites

Blackboard –

Course Site –


Course documents, schedules, assignments, discussion forums, communication, and secure file storage in the Content System are available through the Blackboard learning management system or through your VCU portal. You are required to check Blackboard on a regular basis and are completely responsible for the consequences of not reading announcements, assignments, or other posts in a timely fashion. The library has computers with Internet connections available for student use. If you have technical difficulties with Blackboard, VCU email, or your computer, it is your responsibility to resolve those difficulties through the appropriate channels in a timely manner. The technology help desk can be reached at 828-2227 or online here.

Digital Technologies and Online Learning and Sharing

You may do work in online environments for this class. Working in an online environment opens up tremendous learning and sharing possibilities; however, it also creates unique challenges especially regarding your privacy and intellectual property rights. It is therefore important for you to know your rights and responsibilities when learning, sharing, and posting academic work online.

Visibility: Online platforms allow you to control the visibility of your work (i.e. restricted to specific users, restricted to the VCU community, or publicly accessible). At a minimum, you must allow your instructor to view your work. Please consult with your instructor if you would like more information about restricting the visibility of any online work created for this course.

Licensing compliance: Familiarize yourself with any user licensing agreements and applicable laws that may apply to the technologies you use. You should understand and comply with end-user licenses, platform policies, and applicable laws for any open-or protected-access sites that you use in support of your academic work. This includes sites such as Blackboard, YouTube, Google Drive, Slideshare, or any cloud storage you might use.

Intellectual Property Rights: You have intellectual property rights to the work you generate in support of your studies at VCU as described in the VCU Intellectual Property Policy, If a class project requires use of a site for which users must waive intellectual property rights, you have the right to utilize an alternate platform for posting or submission of your materials. Please consult with your instructor for more information.

Consent for Group Work: No group work may be posted online or used in any manner other than submission to the course instructor without the full consent of all group members.

VCU policies and regulations regarding the network and resources are also applicable.

University Policies

Campus emergency information

What to know and do to be prepared for emergencies at VCU:

  • Sign up to receive VCU text messaging alerts. Keep your information up-to-date. Within the classroom, the professor will keep his or her phone on to receive any emergency transmissions.
  • Know the safe evacuation route from each of your classrooms. Emergency evacuation routes are posted in on-campus classrooms.
  • Listen for and follow instructions from VCU or other designated authorities. Within the classroom, follow your professor’s instructions.
  • Know where to go for additional emergency information.
  • Know the emergency phone number for the VCU Police (828-1234).
  • Report suspicious activities and objects.
  • Keep your permanent address and emergency contact information current in eServices. 

Class registration required for attendance

Students may attend only those classes for which they have registered. Faculty may not add students to class rosters or Blackboard. Therefore, if students are attending a class for which they have not registered, they must stop attending.

Honor System: upholding academic integrity

The VCU Honor System policy describes the responsibilities of students, faculty and administration in upholding academic integrity, while at the same time respecting the rights of individuals to the due process offered by administrative hearings and appeals. According to this policy, “Members of the academic community are required to conduct themselves in accordance with the highest standards of academic honesty, ethics and integrity at all times.” In addition, “To support a commitment to the Honor System, all members of the VCU community are required to:

  • Adhere to the Honor System policy and its procedures;
  • Report any suspicion or knowledge of possible violations of the Honor System;
  • Answer truthfully when called upon to do so regarding Honor System matters;
  • Maintain appropriate confidentiality regarding related to Honor System matters.”

More information can be found at in the VCU policy library.

In this class, because coursework will be at times collaborative, particular issues of integrity arise. You should not copy or print another student’s work without permission. Any material (this includes ideas and language) from another source must be credited, whether that material is quoted directly, summarized, or paraphrased. In other words, you should respect the work of others and in no way present it as your own.

The nature of this course demands that original work be submitted for every assignment. In this spirit, submitting an assignment in this course implies that the work is original to the course. Therefore, submitting the same work for credit in this course completed for another will be regarded as academic misconduct and subject to action under the University’s honor code. If you wish to build upon prior work, please consult your instructor first. 

Important dates

You can view important dates for the semester in the academic calendar. 

Managing stress

Students may experience situations or challenges that can interfere with learning and interpersonal functioning including stress, anxiety, depression, alcohol and/or other drug use, concern for a friend or family member, loss, sleep difficulties, feeling hopeless or relationship problems. There are numerous campus resources available to students including University Counseling Services (804-828-6200 MPC Campus, 804-828-3964 MCV Campus), University Student Health Services (MPC 804 828-8828, MCV Campus 804 828-9220) and the Wellness Resource Center (804-828-9355). 24 hour emergency mental health support is available by calling 828-1234 and asking to speak to the on-call therapist or utilizing the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-784-2433).

Mandatory responsibility of faculty members to report incidents of sexual misconduct

It is important for students to know that all faculty members are mandated reporters of any incidents of sexual misconduct/violence (e.g., sexual assault, sexual exploitation and partner or relationship violence). This means that faculty cannot keep information about sexual misconduct/violence confidential if you share that information with them and they must report this information immediately to the university’s Title IX Coordinator. In addition, department chairs, deans, and other unit administrators are required to report incidents of sex or gender-based discrimination to the university’s Title IX Coordinator. Once a report is made, you will receive important information on your reporting options, on campus and off campus resources and remedial measures such as no-contact directives, residence modifications, and academic modifications. If you would prefer to speak with someone confidentially for support and to discuss your options for reporting, contact:

  • VCU’s Wellness Resource Center – 804.828.9355,,
  • Greater Richmond Regional Hotline (Community program) 804.612.6126, a 24-hour hotline
  • VCU’s Counseling Services 804-828-6200

For more information on how to help, please click here. The Policy on Sexual Misconduct/Violence and Sex/Gender Discrimination, can be found in the VCU policy library. For more information about the University’s Title IX process, please visit

Military short-term training or deployment

If military students receive orders for short-term training or for deployment/mobilization, they should inform and present their orders to Military Student Services and to their professor(s). For further information on policies and procedures contact Military Student Services at 828-5993 or access the corresponding policies.

Student conduct in the classroom

According to the Faculty Guide to Student Conduct in Instructional Settings, “The university is a community of learners. Students, as well as faculty, have a responsibility for creating and maintaining an environment that supports effective instruction. In order for faculty members (including graduate teaching assistants) to provide and students to receive effective instruction in classrooms, laboratories, studios, online courses, and other learning areas, the university expects students to conduct themselves in an orderly and cooperative manner.” Among other things, cell phones should be turned off while in the classroom. The Student Code of Conduct also prohibits the possession of or carrying of any weapon. For more information see

Student email policy

Email is considered an official method for communication at VCU because it delivers information in a convenient, timely, cost-effective, and environmentally aware manner. Students are expected to check their official VCU email on a frequent and consistent basis in order to remain informed of university-related communications. The university recommends checking email daily. Students are responsible for the consequences of not reading, in a timely fashion, university-related communications sent to their official VCU student email account. This policy ensures that all students have access to this important form of communication. It ensures students can be reached through a standardized channel by faculty and other staff of the university as needed. Mail sent to the VCU email address may include notification of university-related actions, including disciplinary action. Please read the policy in its entirety at the VCU Policy Library. 

Student financial responsibility

Students assume the responsibility of full payment of tuition and fees generated from their registration and all charges for housing and dining services, and other applicable miscellaneous charges. Students are ultimately responsible for any unpaid balance on their account as a result of the University Financial Aid Office or their third party sponsor canceling or reducing their award(s).

Students representing the university – excused absences

All student athletes should provide their schedules to their instructors at the beginning of the semester.

Students with disabilities

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, require that VCU provide “academic adjustments” or “reasonable accommodations” to any student who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. To receive accommodations, students must register with the Disability Support Services Office on the Monroe Park Campus (828-2253) or the Division for Academic Success on the MCV campus (828-9782). Please also visit the Disability Support Services website and/or the Division for Academic Success website for additional information.

Once students have completed the DSS registration process, they should schedule a meeting with their instructor (s) and provide their instructor (s) with an official DSS accommodation letter. Accommodation letters will outline the required classroom accommodations. Additionally, if coursework requires the student to work in a lab environment, the student should advise the instructor or a department chairperson of any concerns that the student may have regarding safety issues related to a disability. Students should follow this procedure for all courses in the academic semester.

Withdrawal from classes

Before withdrawing from classes, students should consult their instructor as well as other appropriate university offices. Withdrawing from classes may negatively impact a student’s financial aid award and his or her semester charges. To discuss financial aid and the student bill, visit the Student Services Center at 1015 Floyd Avenue (Harris Hall) and/or contact your financial aid counselor regarding the impact on your financial aid.

Academic Resources at VCU

Campus Learning Center
Hibbs Hall, 1st Floor | 827-8108

The Campus Learning Center offers a variety of community learning opportunities to support your work in most 100 and 200 level courses. You can receive one-on-one or group based learning support at no charge. Study skills assistance is also available. Check out the CLC website for complete information.

Cabell Library

VCU Libraries are one of the largest research libraries in Virginia – with nearly two million volumes; almost 24,000 journal and other serial titles; more than 3.18 million microforms; film, video, sound, comic, manuscript and book art collections; and the largest health sciences library in Virginia. James Branch Cabell Library is the university’s center for study and research in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and physical sciences.

The Writing Center
Academic Learning Commons, 4th Floor, Room 4203 

The Writing Center offers support for currently enrolled VCU students and faculty. Services for students include one-on-one consultations and workshops on a wide variety of topics associated with academic writing, reading, and critical thinking. As you work on your writing assignments, you will benefit the most if you plan multiple visits to the Writing Center – for brainstorming and planning, for developing and organizing, and then for revising. Students are now able to schedule appointments online. They can do this via UCMe, or they can also click “Advising Appointments” in the VCU portal.

English Language Resources at the Writing Center provides specialized support to English Language Learners at VCU. This service encourages success by helping students develop their vocabulary and reading comprehension, fluency in composition, oral communication, and understanding of American academic rhetorical expectations.

The Office of Multicultural Student Affairs
Student Commons room 215

OMSA coordinates month-long celebrations such as Hispanic Heritage Month, LGBTQ History Month, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and more. Their programming also includes regularly intercultural dialogues, cultural excursions, a diversity film series, and discussion groups for men of color, women of color, and LGBTQIA students. Their second floor offices have study and recreational space, as well as walk-in support for students