Course Syllabus

Instructor: Tom Ryan


Phone: 425.564.2077 (voicemail only)

Office Location: R230

Office Hours: Monday, 10:30am-11:30am

Course Description: Our world is saturated with technology -- digital and otherwise. Our phones are likely the first thing we see in the morning, and likely the last thing we see at night. And in between our world is driven by technology that makes things easier, more efficient, and convenient. With seemingly every advancement in technology, however, there is a reaction against it. Early philosophers were suspicious of writing; the printing press was met with skepticism early on, as well; and over the last couple of decades, a library of sources has been written about the dangers of social media, mobile phones, and the internet. Rather than casting all technology as "good" or "bad" -- or even some combination of the two -- this quarter we'll evaluate the ways technology shapes our world and our personhood, and learn to think critically about some of the issues, questions, or problems inherent in our use of technology.

As a result, our work this quarter is to take you step by step through the process of writing a major research paper. We will break the process of writing a research paper down into several manageable phases. Throughout the quarter we will read and analyze both our own writing, readings and the additional sources you gather during your research process. We will learn to use various research tools, including those located in the library and elsewhere, in order to locate relevant resources. I will also introduce methods for reading and effectively evaluating your sources, such as note-taking strategies, methods of constructing and organizing an annotated bibliography, and following proper citation conventions appropriate to the writing’s context. The final research paper should represent evidence of your ability to summarize and critically analyze outside material, while synthesizing it to effectively support a clear and engaging, evolving, original thesis.

Course Outcomes: After completing this class, students will be able to

  • An objective summary of college-level material which identifies primary and supporting assertions.
  • An evaluation of different types of evidence (i.e. statistics, logical reasoning, qualitative)
  • A synthesis of source material with own writing
  • An original and clearly supported thesis
  • Proper in-text citations and works-cited page
  • A breadth of varied primary and secondary sources

How Outcomes Will be Met:

Writing. We will be writing three major essays this quarter, with several smaller writing assignments interspersed throughout (see Canvas for full details). Each is designed to clarify your thinking on your research topic while also practicing strategies I will ultimately want to see in your final research paper. The major essays are as follows:

Rhetorical Analysis. You will select one cultural artifact and conduct a short rhetorical analysis based on the readings and class discussion. 800-1000 words.

Literature Synthesis. Designed to get you writing integratively, this essay will weave together summaries and comparisons of three different articles distributed in class, while emphasizing the thematic moves found in each. 1000-1200 words.

Research Paper. Drawing on the kinds of writing displayed in the first two assignments, you will write a well-researched essay that provides your own, thoughtful engagement with a complex problem or question. 1500-2000 words.

Reading. The reading assignments are a crucial part of this course, forming the basis of most of our discussions and serving as instruction on writing. I expect careful, analytical reading. This level of reading requires you to give the text your full attention and you should be able to discuss it intelligently; this means being able to wrestle with the ideas presented in both large and small groups, and in your writing. We will talk about strategies for critical reading within the first couple weeks of this course.

Quizzes and Online Discussions. You will be assigned quizzes on the reading, so it’s important you keep up with the assigned readings. You will also be required to engage in weekly discussion board postings due each week.

In general, you can expect to complete reading, a reading quiz, and a discussion board post weekly, in addition to developing a working thesis and topic on your research paper.

Grading: Assignments will be graded according to a rubric distributed prior to each writing assignment. Generally speaking, the average course grade will be a “B,” which means a student has done good work that meets the requirements of each assignment and demonstrates a good grasp of the writing process. Grades in the “A” range mean that a student has demonstrated excellence and exceeds the requirements of the assignment. Grades in the”C” range and lower mean the student is lacking competency in some key areas. Further information on the College’s Grading Policy is located on page 10 of the Course Catalog and also on the web at:

Letter grades will be calculated via the following:

A    100% - 94%

A-   90 - 93

B+  87 - 89

B    84 - 86

B-   80 - 83

C+  77 - 79

C    74 - 76

C-   70 - 73

D    66-69

F    65 and below

*Late Assignments: If you experience a personal and/or medical emergency that impacts your ability to submit an assignment in a timely manner, please notify the instructor as soon as possible via email. An “emergency” is not constituted by poor time management or “too much homework.” It is your responsibility to structure your schedule and your commitments in such a way that you’re able to complete the work as assigned. All late assignments will be reduced by the following scale:

One day late                       10%

Two days late                     20%

Three days late                   30%

Four days late                     No Assignments Accepted

*Extra Credit: No extra credit will be offered at any time during this course. 

*Submissions: No assignments will be accepted via email. All writing assignments must be uploaded to Canvas for you to receive credit. Additionally, unless I state otherwise, no hard copies of assignments will be accepted in class.

*Attendance: Please note that attendance in this course is required in class on a daily basis. However, I am aware that sometimes emergencies and other “life” circumstances beyond your control can arise, therefore you are allowed up to 4 unexcused absences for the quarter. Each unexcused absence thereafter will result in a 5% reduction of your final, overall grade for the course. It is the general policy of the Arts & Humanities Division that any student who misses more than 10 class meetings will earn an “F” for the course. Please note, should you begin to struggle to keep up with attendance or completing your assignments, it is the student’s responsibility to notify the instructor as soon as possible.

*Class Participation: It is my expectation that students attend every class, are actively engaged in discussions, and display a general level of curiosity and helpfulness to one another. I consider our classroom to be a “learning community,” which means we are all responsible for helping one another become better writers, thinkers, and students. My expectation is that you will take this responsibility seriously. A failure to do so will impact your class participation grade. This includes (but is not limited to): lack of participation in group/peer reviews, and the use of phones, computers, or other devices.

Books and Materials Required

  • From Inquiry to Academic Writing: A Text and Reader, Fourth Edition. Available via the College bookstore and other online retailers (Amazon, etc.)
  • Other Readings will be made available via Canvas.

CANVAS. Should you require any assistance with Canvas, please consult the College’s HelpDesk at


Technology Policy: The use of computers, tablets, and cell phones is not allowed during our in-person class sessions. It is, however, essential for this hybrid course. You will need to access Canvas on nearly a daily basis to keep up in the course.

Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity: Students are responsible for knowing and adhering to the Student Code of Conduct at Bellevue College, including: 

*Plagiarism: The principle of academic honesty underlies all that we do and applies to all courses at Bellevue College. One kind of academic dishonesty is plagiarism, which may take many forms, including, but not limited to, using a paper written by someone else, using printed sources word-for-word without proper documentation, and paraphrasing or summarizing the ideas of others without acknowledging the source. Plagiarism can also occur when non-written ideas are taken without documentation -- using someone else's design or performance idea, for example. In short, plagiarism is passing off someone else's ideas, words, or images as your own; it amounts to intellectual theft -- whether or not it was your intention to steal. Bellevue College instructors have access to commercial plagiarism detection software, so please be advised that any work you submit may be tested for plagiarism. Participating in academic dishonesty in any way, including writing a paper or taking a test for someone else, may result in severe penalties. Dishonestly produced papers automatically receive a grade of "F" without the possibility of make-up. The Dean of Student Services will also be notified of such conduct, and repetition of the behavior will result in progressively more serious disciplinary action (for example, an instructor may recommend that the student fail the course for a second offense or even that a student be expelled for a serious offense, such as stealing an exam). Grades lowered for plagiarism or other forms of dishonesty may be appealed through the regular channels, and any further disciplinary action taken by the Dean may also be appealed through existing processes.

*Affirmation of Inclusion: Bellevue College is committed to maintaining an environment in which every member of the campus community feels welcome to participate in the life of the college, free from harassment and discrimination. We value our different backgrounds at Bellevue College, and students, faculty, staff members, and administrators are to treat one another with dignity and respect

*Values Conflicts: Essential to a liberal arts education is an open-minded tolerance for ideas and modes of expression, which might conflict with one’s personal values.  By being exposed to such ideas or expressions, students are not expected to endorse or adopt them but rather to understand that they are part of the free flow of information upon which higher education depends. To this end, you may find that class requirements may include engaging certain materials, such as books, films, and art work, which may, in whole or in part, offend you. These materials are equivalent to required texts and are essential to the course content. If you decline to engage the required material by not reading, viewing, or performing material you consider offensive, you will still be required to meet class requirements in order to earn credit. This may require responding to the content of the material, and you may not be able to fully participate in required class discussions, exams, or assignments. 

Disability Resource Center (DRC): The Disability Resource Center serves students with a wide array of learning challenges and disabilities. If you are a student who has a disability or learning challenge for which you have documentation or have seen someone for treatment and if you feel you may need accommodations in order to be successful in college, please contact the office as soon as possible. If you are a person who requires assistance in case of an emergency situation, such as a fire, earthquake, etc, please meet with me to develop a safety plan within the first week of the quarter. If you are a student with a documented autism spectrum disorder, there is an additional access program available to you. Contact or 425.564.2764. ASN is located in the Library Media Center in D125. The DRC office is located in B132 or you can call the reception desk at 425.564.2498. Deaf students can reach the office by video phone at 425-440-2025 or by TTY at 425-564-4110. Please visit their website for application information into their program and other helpful links at

Note Bene: This syllabus is considered a “working document” and will be subject to revision by the instructor at any time throughout the course of the quarter. If there is any dispute or discrepancy in due dates and/or expectations, the most recent version of the syllabus will be consulted. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure they are working from the most recent version (always available on Canvas).

Course Summary:

Date Details Due