Course Syllabus

English 2H: Critical Thinking & Writing II Honors, Winter 2019

Dr. Julia Voss

Contact Info:

Class Meeting Times:
10:20 am -12:00 pm

O'Connor 110

Office Hours: 
Monday 3:30-4:30 pm & Tuesday 3:45-4:30 pm, or by appointment

St. Joseph Hall 203

Campus Life and Learning at Santa Clara

In CTW1, we focused on culture and purpose of college in America writ large. In CTW2, you’ll produce original research a higher education issue found at Santa Clara. Readings and classroom activities on analyzing & reporting data and on designing digital texts will guide you through the process of design a multimedia research document, conducting empirical research research, interpreting data, and presenting your findings to scholarly and stakeholder audiences.

Information literacy–locating, evaluating, and skillfully using sources–is a major focus of CTW2. Locating and using relevant print and digital sources will cultivate critical thinking, research, and writing skills that build on your analytical and rhetorical skills from CTW2. This course also includes a digital literacy component that asks you to use multiple media (alphabetic, graphic, audio, and/or video) to present primary data in a digital platform. As in CTW1, we will spend considerable time learning about, practicing, and polishing your composing skills, especially ones highlighted by the digital environments in which you'll write in CTW2. 

Learning Objectives

  1. Locate and select information that genuinely considers multiple, credible perspectives
  2. Demonstrate an engaged, ethical approach to the use of sources, including accurate citation
  3. Compose texts that effectively integrate sources for a clear purpose, audience, and occasion in different modes of presentation
  4. Use writing and information literacy as tools for learning and discovery

Course Resources, Devices, Communication

Course Resources

Devices & Materials to Bring to Class

  • Bring your laptop or tablet computer to class every day, charged and ready to use throughout class.
  • We will use these devices for in-class activities, and you can use them to refer to readings and your out-of-class writing work. 
  • Bring to class the books, articles, and/or pieces of writing indicated on the course schedule for that day
  • We'll have workshop time during most class periods: bring to class with you the current materials for your research project to use these workshops productively.


  • I'll communicate with you outside of class via your Santa Clara email address, which means you need to check your email between classes. 

Assignments/Grade Breakdown

This class consists of series of stages (listed below) through which you'll work on your research project. Your grade will be distributed across the assignment stages according to the percentages listed below. Assignments will be graded using rubrics to calculate percentages (rounded to the nearest whole number), which will be converted into letter grades, following SCU's standard grade conversions:

  grade scale-1.jpg

Project Planning (group) -- 9%

Based on our discussion of collaborative research and writing in class on Week 1 -- Day 1 and (if applicable) my comments on your original project proposal (submitted at the end of CTW1), you'll write a group charter, create a project timeline, and begin a record of your project work and ideas in your group's Writing & Research Log.

Links to Learning Objective: 4

Project Background & Site Design Pitch (group) -- 8%

In order to begin drafting the design of your multimedia report project and explaining the background/context of your research site, you'll "pitch" these aspects of your project to your peers. These pitches are developmental, designed for you to get useful feedback from your peers and from my as you work on the field research phase of your project, which you'll explain how you'll use in a "response plan." (individual credit also given for feedback on peers' pitches)  

Links to Learning Objectives: 1, 4

Exhibit Analysis (individual) -- 25%

Using methods discussed in class and readings, you’ll closely analyze a set of primary data you’ve collected (interviews, documented events, survey responses, observations, etc) to gain experience in analyzing empirical data. This assignment uses close analysis of Exhibit sources to answer your project's research questions and. This assignment will be produced as a unique page on your project website.

Links to Learning Objectives: 2, 3, 4

Literature Review (individual) -- 20%

To support your analysis of original data by connecting it to existing research, you’ll describe what the research literature has to say about your topic, using 5+ relevant, original research Argument sources relevant to your analysis of your Exhibit sources. Your lit review will be organized thematically, synthesizing existing research to show the consensus, disagreement, and gaps in existing research, setting the stage for your own findings and what they add to this conversation.

Links to Learning Objectives: 1, 2, 3, 4

Presentation of Findings (group) --8%

To begin drafting the introduction, literature review, discussion, and conclusion portions of your research project and connect them to your findings, you'll present your ideas on these topics to your classmates for feedback. Where the Pitch focused on setting up the general context your research project and presenting its visual/structural design, this presentation focuses on the research conversation your project fits into (drawing on group's combined Literature Reviews), what your findings add (drawing on drawing on group's combined Exhibit Analyses), and explaining the conclusions/implications that follow from your findings. You'll also share the updated version of your project website, indicating the changes made in response to Pitch feedback and soliciting further design feedback. This presentation is developmental, designed to solicit feedback from me and from your classmates, which you'll explain how you'll use in a "response plan." (individual credit also given for feedback on peers' pitches)

Links to Learning Objectives: 1, 2, 3

Communicating Findings to Scholarly & Stakeholder Audiences (group) -- 25%

The culmination of your research will take 2 forms: 

  1. Complete Project Portfolio: a multimedia scholarly project website that combines and revises the work developed throughout the term in the assignments described above
  2. Communicating Findings to Stakeholders: a document in the genre and medium of your choice communicating the relevant findings of your project to the stakeholders who need to hear it most

Links to Learning Objectives: 1, 2, 3, 4

Learning Goals & Reflection (individual) -- 5%

As in CTW1, you'll set individual writing and research-related learning goals for yourself and monitor your progress on them, implementing new strategies to identify successful ones to transfer into other academic, professional, civic, etc contexts. We'll do 3 of these check-ins over the course of the term, and a final reflection at the end of term.  

Links to Learning Objective: 4


Office Hours: To delve deeper into topics we discuss in class, prepare for assignments, get additional feedback on drafts, check your progress in the course, or anything else related to this class or your SCU experience, I strongly recommend that you meet with me outside of class, either during office hours or by scheduling a time to meet. This is a valuable way to get the most out of CTW, prepare effectively for assignments, and benefit from the mentoring opportunities provided by SCU's focus on student learning. 

HUB Writing Center: In addition to writing exercises and peer review workshops that are part of this course, SCU's HUB Writing Center. offers additional support for writing assignments including the ones in CTW. I encourage you to use their services, which follow the model of peer review and feedback used for in-class writing workshops.

Accessibility: Everyone is entitled to equal access to learning resources in this class. Please discuss your needs with me face-to-face or via email so that I can arrange accommodations. I am also happy to work with the the Office of Disabilities Resources. to ensure your success in this class. Students who are pregnant or parenting are also entitled to accommodations--please discuss your needs with me.

Cowell Center: To support SCU students' mental and physical health, the Cowell Center. provides on-campus medical and psychological services. If you're facing health issues, having trouble managing workload or your life, etc., contact the Cowell Center to set up an appointment. 

Undocumented and Recent-generation Resources: Many members of our community—students, faculty, and staff—are either undocumented, first-generation, or are affected by these issues. SCU's LEAD Program serves as a clearinghouse of information, resources, and advising on issues relating to documentation.

Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct (Title IX): Santa Clara University upholds a zero-tolerance policy for discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct. If you (or someone you know) have experienced discrimination or harassment, including sexual assault, domestic/dating violence, or stalking, I encourage you to tell someone promptly. For more information, please consult the University’s Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy at or contact the University's EEO and Title IX Coordinator, Belinda Guthrie, at 408-554-3043/ Reports may also be submitted online through the Office of Student Life or anonymously through EthicsPoint

Course Policies

Technology UseYou will bring in your own laptop/tablet computer for use in class each day. In addition to technology-mediated activities I assign, I invite you to use your devices productively during class for other purposes, for example, finding relevant online material during class discussions or pulling up notes during in-class writing activities. However, because of the wealth of activities devices make possible they can be major distraction if not used thoughtfully. This is especially problematic because irrelevant screen content distracts not only you, but also those sitting behind you who can what's on your screen. Because of its damaging effects on our classroom community, if digital distraction is a persistent problem, I'll ask you to leave class.

Attendance & Participation: Attendance and participation are important for the success of this class as a whole and for your individual development as a thinker and writer. In-class activities including small/large group discussion, analysis/research/writing activities, peer review, etc. are designed to provide practice and feedback for the assignments on which you'll be graded. These activities include a variety of formats, inviting you to participate in ways that are familiar and unfamiliar to you. If you have commitments (such as religious observation, university athletics, or family responsibilities) or complications (such as mental and physical health issues) that interfere with either your attendance or participation in this class, please let me know and we will negotiate them in order to support your success as an individual thinker and writer and to benefit the class as a learning community.

Conduct: This class is an intellectual community created by the contributions of each member of the class. This entails both active participation and refraining from negative participation: intellectual exploration and spirited debate are welcome; personal attacks are not. Treat yourself and your classmates as serious thinkers and writers, keeping in mind that we spend 20 weeks together in CTW.

Academic Integrity: From the SCU Undergraduate Bulletin: “The University is committed to academic excellence and integrity. Students are expected to do their own work and to cite any sources they use. A student who is guilty of a dishonest act in an examination, paper, or other work required for a course, or who assists others in such an act, may, at the discretion of the instructor, receive a grade of “F” for the course.” We will cover source use and citation throughout CTW. The bottom line is that the work you turn in must be your own. In addition to the fact that passing off someone else's ideas or writing as your own is illegal (constituting fraud and possibly theft), if you don't do the work yourself you won't learn the necessary skills to do well in CTW or other courses throughout your college career. We will discuss information use and intellectual property throughout CTW.

Assignment Submission: Unless otherwise specified, you will turn in assignments as digital files to Camino, and I will return them to you there with grades and feedback. Some assignments will have particular submission instructions—i.e. to submit your work to a Google Drive folder, provide a link to a draft on a Google Sheet, etc. Make sure to follow these general submission instructions and any instructions specific to individual assignments to receive credit for the assignment.

File formats: Camino cannot read some file formats, particularly .pages files. I recommend submitting your work in .doc, .docx, or .pdf format, or as a Google Doc.

Late Work: Assignments must be turned in on time. I will only accept late assignments if you have made prior arrangements with me, at which time we will discuss grading penalties. Contact me in advance to discuss any deadline issues. 

Mandatory Reporting DisclosureWhile I want you to feel comfortable coming to me with issues you may be struggling with or concerns you may be having, please be aware that there are some reporting requirements that are part of my job at Santa Clara University. For example, if you inform me of an issue of harassment, sexual violence, or discrimination, I will keep the information as private as I can, but I am required to bring it to the attention of the institution’s EEO and Title IX Coordinator. If you inform me that you are struggling with an issue that may be resulting in, or caused by, traumatic or unusual stress, I will likely inform the campus Student Care Team (SCU CARE).

If you would like to to request assistance directly from the Student Care Team, contact them at If you would like to talk to the Office of EEO and Title IX directly, they can be reached at 408-554-3043/ Reports may be submitted online through or anonymously through Ethicspoint: Additionally, you can report incidents or complaints to Campus Safety Services and local law enforcement. For confidential support, contact the Counseling and Psychological Services office (CAPS), the YWCA, or a member of the clergy.

Finally, please be aware that if, for some reason, our interaction involves a disruptive behavior, a concern about your safety or the safety of others, or potential violation of University policy, I will inform the Office of Student Life. This is to keep OSL apprised of incidents of concern, and to ensure that students can receive or stay connected to the academic support and student wellness services they need.

Course Schedule: see Home page for Course Schedule

Course Summary:

Date Details