ENTC 1510: Student in University (Fall 2013)

Course Syllabus

Instructor: Rachel Dinsmore                                                                          E-mail:

Office: Wilson-Wallis 213D                                         Office Hours: Tues 9-11, Fri 1-2, and by appointment

Course Purpose/Goals:

Student in the University is meant to be an introduction to college life, which has you treading new ground academically, socially, intellectually, physically, emotionally, and in many other senses. We will talk about each of those aspects in this class.

This is a writing intensive course, which means that we have to produce a certain amount of formal writing in this class. Each student is required to write 15 pages, at least 5 of which have to be revised and resubmitted. We’re getting 10 of those pages done in the form of weekly 1 page journals. I will give you some prompts—a question, an argument where I ask you to choose one side and defend that position, a topic I want you to explore in depth—and let you answer in an essay form that will be submitted in the dropbox in D2L. We will also be working a little bit on writing skills to reinforce what you should already be learning in ENGL 1010 and 1020, so I want you to make sure that your weekly essays are reflecting the writing skills we have covered in class. To meet our revision requirement, at least 3 of these essays will be revised and submitted as an updated draft; I may ask you to revise for content, for the logical and rhetorical validity of your argument, for style, for clarity, for grammar and mechanics, or for any combination thereof.

You will also write campus event reports based on events you have attended throughout the semester. These essays will be 2 pages each. Your final assignment will be an extended reflection (4-5 pages) on our major course text, So Good They Can’t Ignore You and our other readings and discussions. I will ask you to write about what you have learned in this class. This essay, however, will not be simply a summary. You will talk about how the knowledge you have gained here will help you advance your career (either in the academic or professional sense).

The online presence for this class will be primarily based at our class blog: (Certain other readings will be posted in D2L.) You’ll be able to see the readings and activities (including short assignments, video tutorials, documentaries, podcasts, web pages to review, etc.) for each class period as well as campus events and information about student organization activities. When you complete your weekly journals, I want to see you drawing on our class readings and discussions for these assignments. Be advised that readings are listed on the schedule on the day we will discuss them, meaning that you are expected to come to class having already read and spent some time thinking over that day’s readings.

Major Topics:

College Life, College Success Skills, Campus Issues and Resources, Educational and Career Planning, Health and Well-Being

Course Objectives:

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

Explain a variety of campus issues that affect all students, especially students in their first year.

Understand the structure and function of ETSU and the Department of Engineering Technology, Surveying, and Digital Media.

Locate and utilize the ETSU resources and opportunities.

Feel comfortable interacting with faculty and staff.

Show improvement in their writing, speaking, and studying skills.

Develop positive attitudes concerning a healthy living style.

Understand some of the career opportunities available to them as Engineering Technologists and Surveyors.

Major Assignments:

Weekly essays

Campus Event Essays

Final Project

Grade Calculation:

Your grade will be calculated as follows:

Class Participation (This includes   completing assigned readings, participating in discussion board activities by   responding thoughtfully to prompts and to your classmates’ writings) 35%
Weekly Journal (10 total at 3% each) 30%
Campus Event Reports (3 total at 4% each) 12%
Library research group project 3%
Final Project 20%

Late assignments cannot be accepted.

Grading Scale:


Letter Grade

Quality Points


































Attendance Policy:

This class is not a content dump, but instead an interactive forum that is designed to allow students to discuss their college experiences with their classmates and instructor.  This ongoing interaction is critical to your success in this course and the depth and value of your in-class contributions will be products of your commitment to completing the class readings and activities on schedule.

Academic Integrity Policy:

Academic misconduct such as cheating and plagiarizing will not be tolerated.  All papers submitted to this course will be submitted to a plagiarism detection service and penalties will be in accordance with University academic misconduct policies.

Technology Policy:

We are fortunate to live in an age in which information is always at our fingertips. Smartphones and tablets are quick resources that can often aid our class discussions and in-class group project, while laptops are great for taking notes in class more quickly than writing by hand. Technology, however, is often a distraction. I trust that you, as adults, are capable of discerning the difference between helpful and obstructive uses of technology in our classroom and will make your decisions accordingly.

I do ask, however, that cell phones and tablets be put away during guest lectures.

Required Texts:

ISBNs are listed here for your convenience, but alternate editions are fine


So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport (ISBN 978-1455509126)

The Little Red Writing Book by Brandon Royal (ISBN 978-1582975214)

 Other resources and references:

We will be reading excerpts from these sources, along with various articles from the internet. These readings will all be made available in PDF form on D2L, but you may consider buying some of these in the future if they’re useful to you.

How to Win at College by Cal Newport (noted in reading schedule as “Win”)

Spunk & Bite: A writer’s guide to bold, contemporary style, by Arthur Plotnik (noted in reading schedule as “S&B”)

Freakonomics Podcast

They Say, I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing by Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein

Note:  Many of our activities in this class are dependent on the schedules of guest speakers and/or the cooperation of the weather.  For this reason, there may come a time when we need to move things around. Therefore, this syllabus and course schedule is subject to change at the instructor’s discretion.  Any revisions will be announced in class or on our class blog (  Students are responsible for checking their campus E-Mail on a daily basis.

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