The Modern Western

Ashley Robinson's Composition II

Course Policies

Policies and Procedures

ENGL 1023:  The Modern Western


Instructor:  Ashley Robinson

Office Location:  KIMP 232                                               

Office Hours:  T/R by appointment

Course Websites: and

Email:  asuffle AT

Required Materials:

  • True Grit by Charles Portis
  • Jonah Hex: Face Full of Violence by Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmotti
  • Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • Outside readings provided on BlackBoard and
  • The St. Martin’s Handbook  (7th Edition) by Andrea A. Lundsford
  • Access to a computer with a reliable Internet connection


General Goal: General goal: The general goal of English 1023 is to help students with the reading, thinking, and writing processes associated with academic discourse. Specific goal: The specific goal of English 1023 is to provide students with an opportunity to apply the broad, source-oriented skills and composing strategies learned from English 1013 towards the study of texts (the novel, film, short fiction, and the essay) emphasized in a particular academic discipline (English)


Transferrable Skills: Summarizing, critiquing, synthesizing, analyzing, and evaluating literary and critical sources. Drafting and revising essays for reflective analysis, sound argumentation, and clear organization. Drafting and revising paragraphs in terms of focus, development, and coherence. Writing and editing sentences for correct grammar, punctuation, and usage. Researching and documenting secondary sources.


Special Topics Goal: This class covers the rise and influence of the American frontier and the American myth through the genre of the Western.  Over the course of this semester, we are going to work to answer the following questions:

  • Why is the American West and the frontier so important to American identity?
  • What is the American myth?  Does it still exist?
  • What does the evolution of the Western teach us about the world around us, our nation, our identity, and ourselves?



15%   Paper One

20%   Paper Two

25%   Paper Three

15%   Blogs

10%   Attendance and Participation

15%   In-Class Assignments, Journals, and Homework


Critical Essays:  All critical essays must be submitted electronically through SafeAssign by midnight on the due date. Otherwise I will consider it late.  Late essays will be marked down 10 points per day.  In other words, an essay that was due Monday but is turned in Wednesday will lose 20 points right off the bat. Additionally, I expect submitted work to follow MLA guidelines.  I WILL NOT ACCEPT EMAILED PAPERS—NO EXCEPTIONS.  

Additionally, these essays need to be formatted according to MLA guidelines, which you can find in your St. Martin’s Handbook or on the web ( ).  Failure to format your papers correctly will result in a five point deduction on that paper grade.


Rough Drafts: I’m happy to look over rough drafts as long as we do so prior to in-class peer review days.  After that, I’ll answer questions but I won’t read full essays.  If you ever want me to go over a draft with you, let me know and we’ll schedule a time that works for you.


Course Website and BlackBoard:  The course website ( will be the main hub for this course.  Here you’ll find news updates, resource links, assignments, and the class syllabus.  We will use BlackBoard strictly for outside readings and paper submissions. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with the site and BlackBoard, and you should check them regularly.

In terms of BlackBoard, all of your major assignments will be turned in electronically through SafeAssign by midnight on the specified due duate.  It’s your job to make sure SafeAssign works with your computer; I won’t accept “SafeAssign didn’t work” as an excuse for late assignments.  If you’re having issues, contact


Homework, In-Class Assignments, and Journals:  To better explore the readings in class, I will often assign group work, individual writing assignments, reading quizzes, and take home projects to encourage critical thinking.  These assignments cannot be made up, even if an absence is excused.  For more on excused absences, see below.


Attendance and Participation:  Attendance in this class is required and counts for 10% of your total grade.  Absences work like this:  0-4 absences = no grade reduction; each additional absence will lower your grade in this category 10 points.  For example, if you miss 2 days of class, your attendance grade will be a 100, but if you miss 6, you’ll have an 80.  If you are tardy by more than five minutes and miss roll or leave the class before it is dismissed, you will receive half an absence.   Having 10 or more unexcused absences is grounds for course failure.

However, warming your seat without opening your mouth does not equal perfect attendance!  I expect all of my students to make a concerted effort to contribute thoughtful ideas, perspectives, and criticisms to our discussion of cultures and texts.  Ergo, you must do the reading if you want to succeed in this course.  If you are not an active member of this class, expect your grade in this category to be significantly lowered.


Excused Absences and Make-Up Work:  Absences will only be excused if the student can produce valid documentation.  This means a doctor’s note for illness, an obituary for a funeral, a legal document for a court date, etc.  These excuses must be provided on the next day of class. In-class assignments cannot be made up for any reason, even if the absence is excused.

You are responsible for the material covered in class.  If you are absent, it is your responsibility to get notes from one of your classmates.  If you are unclear about the lesson, you can come in and discuss the material with me during my office hours.  I will not give you a mini-lesson at the end of the next class period.


Required Materials:  It is important that you bring the assigned readings to class every class period.  Some of our readings are in the public domain, others are .pdfs.  These outside readings are listed on BlackBoard and on our course website.


Cheating:  As a core part of its mission, the University of Arkansas provides students with the opportunity to further their educational goals through programs of study and research in an environment that promotes freedom of inquiry and academic responsibility. Accomplishing this mission is possible only when intellectual honesty and individual integrity prevail.

Each University of Arkansas student is required to be familiar with, and abide by, the University’s ‘Academic Integrity Policy,’ which may be found at Students with questions about how these policies apply to a particular course or assignment should immediately contact me.


Inclement Weather Policy: Unless the University closes, we will hold class.  University closures are always posted on the homepage.


Email:  I send many emails throughout the semester, often with attachments.  Check your UARK account regularly.  Additionally, do not turn in assignments via email.  I will not accept them.


Cell Phone Policy:  When you enter the classroom, you should make sure that your phone is either off or on silent, and put it out of sight.  This means that cell phones cannot be placed on your lap, on the top of your backpack, on your desk, or sneakily hidden anywhere else.  Talking on the phone and/or texting during class not only drives me nuts, but distracts your peers as well.  Any violation of this policy will result in being asked to leave the class.  Additionally, you will receive a 0 on any in-class work and an absence for the day.


Laptop/E-reader Policy: Since we’re going digital, feel free to bring your reading device with you to class (please don’t bring them on days we’re viewing films).   Notice I said “reading;” that means I expect you to turn your Wi-Fi off when you enter the classroom.  Please refrain from surfing the web, checking Facebook, or tweeting.  Just like texting, it’s distracting for everyone.  If you abuse your technology privileges, I’ll ask you to leave your device at home for the rest of the semester.  Then you’ll have to either a) buy books or b) print off copies of the assigned readings, and no one wants to do that.


Quality Writing Center:  This is an invaluable resource for writers of all skill levels.  The staff is incredibly helpful, and they will help you improve the content of your paper.  You can visit the Center on the third floor of Kimpel, or check out their website at


Classroom Etiquette: By coming to class, you are pledging to fulfill the role of a student.  In return, I strive to maintain a classroom atmosphere where you can learn effectively and without distraction.  In order to give everyone the opportunity to learn, if you are talking excessively, sleeping, texting, checking FaceBook, passing notes, working on assignments for other classes, reading the newspaper, doing a crossword or Sudoku, or engaging in any other disruptive behavior, I will ask you to leave the classroom.  If you are asked to leave, you will lose attendance credit and receive a 0 on any in-class work for that day.


The Golden Rule:  This goes without saying, but I’m going to point it out anyway.  This class is discussion oriented, and I want everyone to feel comfortable participating.  Additionally, we will be dealing with charged topics like belief systems, sexuality, and violence.  To this end, I ask that the classroom atmosphere remains one of encouragement and respect at all times.  In other words, treat others with the respect you would like to receive. 


 If you have any questions about an assignment or need extra help, please do not hesitate to visit me during my office hours!  If they don’t work with your schedule, speak with me after class and we’ll find a time that works for both of us.  I am more than happy to answer questions via email as well.  I usually respond quite quickly, and will certainly get back with you within 24 hours.  Remember—I want you to succeed!