Academic Research & Writing

Course Details

Course Number
Section Number
Spring 2017
Bea Wood Hall
Classroom Number
Days & Times

MWF 1:00-1:50 PM

Dr. Peter Fields (view Profile)


Ender's Game
by Orson Scott Card
Ender's World
Edited by Orson Scott Card
LB Brief w. MLA 8 Pamphlet
By Jane E.Aaron/6th edition

Course Objectives


  • Apply knowledge of rhetoric to make decisions about written communication.
  • Engage in a writing process that includes invention, drafting, and revision.
  • Write thesis-based academic arguments that provide strong support and specific details.
  • Find, evaluate, and synthesize credible sources in support of a research paper
  • Use sources ethically and in contextually appropriate ways and follow a designated style guide: i.e., MLA. See MLA Documentation and Format in LB Brief.
  • Demonstrate proficient use of Standard Written English.
  • Additional information about course objectives can be found on the department webpage,


Course Expectations


Assignments and percentage value of semester grade: Students produce approx. 5000 words of graded writing for 100 % of the grade.


  • Three typed double-spaced (12 point font Times New Roman or Garamond) essays. Each is approx. 1000 words (approx. three pages) and 10 percent grade value (30 percent of semester grade for all three).
  • The THIRD 1000 word essay requires students to rehearse their use of secondary sources for the researched academic argument. The THIRD essay is a rough draft of the researched academic argument.
  • Students will peer-review the three 1000 words essays in-class. In-class workshops answer specific questions and are graded according to a rubric: the average grade of peer-review workshops is worth 5 percent of semester grade.
  • Each of the three typed essays begins as an in-class Blue Book essay (300 words) each worth 5 percent grade value (15 percent for all three). Each in-class essay answers a prompt distributed prior to the in-class essay.
  • The first in-class essay serves as a diagnostic for purposes of assessment in the English program.
  • The researched academic argument (RESEARCH PAPER) may be as long as 2000 words (approx. six pages) and is worth 40 percent of the semester grade. Sources must be from the Moffett book stacks or databases, or approved by Dr. Fields or the Faculty Partners.
  • The RESEARCH PAPER reflects the suggestions and corrections indicated by Dr. Fields on the third 1000 word essay which requires correct quoting from the four sources students will use for the RESEARCH PAPER. The third typed 1000 word essay is a rehearsal for the research paper and may be longer than 1000 words.
  • The longer length of the RESEARCH PAPER arises from addressing the concerns of Dr. Fields as indicated in his comments on the third typed 1000 word essay.
  • The final exam is a typed (300 word) response to a prompt students will receive the last regular class period and submit when they arrive for the scheduled final (10 percent of the semester grade).
  • Grammar is a factor in all grades as is proper MLA format for in-body citing of primary and secondary sources (all grading is by a standard rubric). The RESEARCH PAPER requires a Works Cited page.




Grading Standards

Grading and Evaluation

The three in-class essays (Blue Books) are each 5 percent of the overall grade (15 percent total) and each one is a response to a prompt; an average grade for the three workshop rubrics is worth 5 percent. Each Typed 1000 word essay is worth 10 percent (30 percent for all three). The second Typed Essay requires two of the Moffett sources for the RESEARCH PAPER; the third requires all four Moffett-supported sources (databases and/or books) for the research paper. The researched academic argument (RESEARCH PAPER) is worth 40 percent. All four sources for the RESEARCH PAPER must be Moffett-supported or approved by Faculty Partners and/or the instructor. The FINAL TYPED essay responds to a prompt and is prepared ahead of time for the scheduled final. (10 percent).

This class will not use the plus/minus grading system. In this class, the following numerical equivalents for final grades are used: A = 100-90%; B = 89-80%; C = 79-70%; D = 69-60%; F = 59-0%. 

According to MSU’s Undergraduate Catalogue, “letter grades have the following significance:

  • A indicates excellent work
  • B indicates good work
  • C indicates satisfactory work
  • D indicates passing work
  • F indicates failing work.” 

Consequently, essays that meet the basic requirements earn a C, not an A or B.  If you wish to earn As and Bs, you will have to work harder to produce better than satisfactory, or average, writing.


Final Exam

05/10/2017 1:00-3:00 PM

Submission Format Policy

Be sure to introduce or remind us who your source is (both the author and title of work the first time). Lead with the thought in your words. Let the quote come after your point in your words in order to let the quote serve to prove, finish, or reinforce what you were already saying in your own words. Then after the quote, remind us again as to what you were trying to say.

 In Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game, the officers of the Battle School decide not to tell Ender that his altercation in the shower ended with the death of his attacker. After Ender leaves for earth with Col. Graff (a brief hiatus before Ender advances to Commander School on Eros), Major Imbu admits to Major Anderson (who has just been promoted to colonel and made supreme over the Battle School) that Ender’s methods were somewhat “scary” (226). But both are agreed that Ender is coming along just fine as a future commander of the IF’s forces: “On the one hand,” says Anderson, “Ender Wiggin not only survived, he passed a threshold, he graduated in dazzlingly good shape […]” (226). Yes, Ender was a youngster who continued to fight his bullies even after they were beat, but his over-kill is not necessarily a bad thing.  Unlike Mazer Rackham who failed to finish off the Formic menace, Col. Graff’s protégé and prophesied savior is somebody who has proved himself dedicated to finishing a conflict and achieving a final victory: “Ender Wiggins isn’t a killer,” observes Anderson to Imbu. “He just wins—thoroughly” (226). Ender’s nick-name says it all. Ender would end the war with the Buggers once and for all.

When quotes are longer, set them off 10 spaces on the left once they exceed four lines:

 Valentine, Ender’s sister, is the prime empathetic figure in Ender’s Game. Card does not allow her to be ignorant of her gift. She knows she can manipulate people with her gift, and she takes rueful but genuine pride in Peter’s acknowledgement that her skills at controlling others are more effective in the long run than his own tactics: “When he first pointed this out to Val, she resented it. She had wanted to believe she was good at persuading people because she was right, not because she was clever” (127). She was aware that she manipulated people based on her instinctive knowledge of how they felt about themselves: “She could control, in a way, what they wanted to do. She was ashamed that she took pleasure in this power, and yet she found herself using it sometimes” (127). If Peter could be more like Valentine, he could rule the world. Ultimately, his “net” identity as Locke—a role not at all like himself but closely modeled on Valentine (while Valentine’s Demosthenes was more like Peter)—one day would allow Peter to attain the supreme power of Hegemon. At the end of the novel, Valentine tells Ender that everyone is manipulated by other people, and it’s not necessarily a terrible thing:

“Welcome to the human race. Nobody controls his own life, Ender. The best you can do is choose to fill the roles given you by good people, by people who love you. I didn’t come here because I wanted to be a colonist. I came here because I’ve spent my whole life in the company of the brother that I hated. Now I want a chance to know the brother that I love, before it’s too late, before we’re not children anymore.” (313)

NOTE: A Block Quote does NOT require quotation marks. The Block Quote above has quotation marks (“ ”) because the character is talking to someone. 

Citing sources in our required anthology of essays, Ender’s World:

According to Hilari Bell in her essay “Winning and Losing in Ender’s Game” in Ender’s World, Ender’s initial experience at the Battle School is one of profound alienation. The whole system never fails to pit Ender against his peers. But he overcomes their resistance and his gift for working with people wins them over: “From the start, the teachers set out to isolate Ender, first from his family, then from all the friends and allies he makes throughout the book—completely overlooking the fact that Ender’s real genius, his real strength, comes from his ability to build alliances” (71). Ender’s impact on people shines most when he seems the most isolated and marginalized. He instinctively reconfigures his social model, realigning and resorting people, in order to make his given group more creative, flexible, and effective. 

In her essay “Mirror, Mirror” for Ender’s World, Alethea Kontis argues that just because a child is gifted in some way does not mean that the child is emotionally ready for adult-level responsibility: “In our world, gifted children are singled out by simply being labeled gifted and subsequently burdened with all the baggage that comes with it: the expectation that they will always do a perfect job, without ever screwing up, and that the solutions to problems will come to them easily, every time” (115). A gifted child is not a little adult naturally equipped with the maturity to handle life’s complexities. 

According to Orson Scott Card in his introduction to Ender’s World, Col. Graff and the Battle School were concerned that the highly-empathetic Ender would not send his friends into harm’s way. Graff especially goes out of his way to set Ender apart from his peers and make them hate him. The ironic outcome is that Ender shines all the more as someone who is gifted not only at military strategy but also in bringing people together, especially outliers—misfits—who do not share the same outlook as most people in their group: “It is only because he is deliberately excluded from the normal wider community that he is forced to make a community out of misfits like Shen, and then gradually win over hostile or rejecting competitors like Alai and then Bernard” (ix). Ender’s successes in battle all really depend on his ability to connect with and deep-down understand how people feel. Even his arch-nemesis Bonzo instinctively recognizes that Ender is a superior leader with a special gift for connecting with people and forming powerful social units: “Indeed, I think Bonzo hates Ender at once precisely because he himself is drawn to Ender” (x). Ironically, Bonzo’s instincts are dead-on accurate. No matter what Bonzo does, he will lose to the superior leadership—and empathy—of Ender Wiggins.

 Citing scholarly journals (like those found on Moffett-supported databases):

Melissa Gross, in her article “Prisoners of Childhood? Child Abuse and the Development of Heroes and Monsters in Ender’s Game” for Children’s Literature in Education, argues that Ender is not so much trained by his Battle School teachers and platoon commanders as he is abused by them: “The word ‘training’ here is a euphemism for institutionalized, government sanctioned, manipulation of children in service to developing the traits believed necessary in the greatest military commander ever known” (117). The Battle School is both the ultimate abuser and ultimate educator. Gross makes the point that the child abuse model of the Battle School is fraught with unintended consequences (116-119). Ender and other children become suspicious of their teachers and assume that adults are misrepresenting the nature of earth’s adversary (117-118). Ender especially becomes cynical, disgusted, and, ultimately, burned out. He has no passion for winning by the time the IF is ready for him to fulfill his promise as savior of humankind (118).

Works Cited

Bell, Hilari. Winning and Losing in Ender’s Game.” Card, Ender’s World, pp. 69-83.

Blackmore, Tim. “Ender’s Beginning: Battling the Military in Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game.” Extrapolation, vol. 32, no. 2, 1991, pp. 124-42. Academic Search Complete, Accessed 12 Jan. 2017.

Brown, John. “The Monster’s Heart.” Card, Ender’s World, pp. 17-37.

Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. New York: TOR Tom Doherty Associates, 1991.

---, ed. Ender’s World: Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender’s Game. Dallas: BenBella, 2013.

---. Introduction. Card, Ender’s World, pp. v-xv.

---. Q and A. Card, Ender’s World, pp. 234-38, 254-56.

Day, Sarah K. “Liars and Cheats: Crossing the Lines of Childhood, Adulthood, and Morality in Ender’s Game.” English Studies in Canada, vol. 38, no. 3/4, 2012, pp. 207-25. Academic Search Complete, Accessed 12 Jan. 2017.

Doyle, Christine. “Orson Scott Card’s Ender and Bean: The Exceptional Child as Hero.” Children’s Literature in Education, vol. 35, no. 4, 2004, pp. 301-18. Academic Search Complete, Accessed 12 Jan. 2017.

Gross, Melissa. “Prisoners of Childhood? Child Abuse and the Development of Heroes and Monsters in Ender’s Game.” Children’s Literature in Education, vol. 38, no. 2, 2007, pp. 115-26. Academic Search Complete, Accessed 12 Jan. 2017.

Kontis, Alethea. “Mirror, Mirror.” Card, Ender’s World, pp. 113-23.

NOTE: Hyphens (---) indicate the same author as the entry directly above it. To create the hanging indent, students should highlight the entry, then on the toolbar click on PARAGRAPH, and then under Special, click on Hanging, and make sure By is set at the default for “0.5” and Spacing is double; all boxes on the left side (left, right, before, & after) should be “0.”


  • IN-CLASS ESSAYS ARE HANDWRITTEN IN A BLUE BOOK (or typed on a laptop, depending on arrangement with instructor).
  • All typed documents must be 12 point Times New Roman or Garamond double-spaced.
  • TYPED documents: For header and page number in the .5 default position: click on “insert,” then “page number,” “top of page,” and “plain number 3.” The cursor will show to the immediate left of the page number. Simply type your last name, and it will magically appear.
  • TYPED documents: Top, right, and bottom margins should be set at one inch; the left margin should be an inch and a quarter to accommodate the folder.
  • NOT A HEADER (first page only): Your name, instructor, course, and date (double-spaced, upper left corner.
  • FOLDER WITH BRADS & POCKETS REQUIRED AS OF THE DUE DATE FOR THE SECOND TYPED 1000 Word Essay. Print-outs/photocopies of two sources (key passages highlighted) should be in the front pocket; prior to the clean 2nd Typed Essay is the uncorrected First Typed Essay (with instructor’s marks and comments), both hole-punched and fixed in the brads. SAME FOR THIRD TYPED 1000 WORD ESSAY but FOUR sources in the front pocket and Typed Essays 1 & 2 uncorrected (w. instructor’s marks) hole-punched and fixed in the brads with the clean THIRD Typed Essay hole-punched and fixed last in the brads.
  • FOLDER & RESEARCH PAPER, complete print-outs (with highlighted passages) of database sources or photocopies (with highlighted passages) of book chapters are provided in the front pocket of the folder. Here is the order:
  • Left pocket: sources printed/photocopied in full and highlighted.
  • Right (back) pocket: graded rubrics, the three Blue Books for in-class essays.
  • Hole-punched and fixed in the brads: first, the three uncorrected 1000 word typed essays (w. instructor’s marks) and, last, the clean RESEARCH PAPER (the last page of which is the Works Cited the instructor has approved and signed).
  • By enrolling in this class, the student expressly grants MSU a “limited right” in all intellectual property created by the student for the purpose of this course.  The “limited right” shall include but shall not be limited to the right to reproduce the student’s work product in order to verify originality and authenticity, and for educational purposes.
  • Dr. Fields reserves the right to ask students to send him a computer file of their research project and/other work by e-mail attachment for archival purposes.
  • Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

If late by one period, the assignment will be penalized 10 points. If late by two class periods, the essay is penalized 20 points (the penalty is capped at 20 points). Students must arrange to make up missed in-class Blue Book essays. They cannot be made up in class. The typed 1000 word essays and the researched academic argument (RESEARCH PAPER) must be submitted in person. The penalty for late submission is forgiven if valid documentation is provided.

Plagiarism Policy

Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception.

Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters.

We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student.

We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed.

Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, (940) 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement

The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor

All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

 Students who miss class can expect lower grades than those who attend regularly and benefit from what they learn in class. Students will be held responsible for what is discussed in class. E-MAIL the instructor when you miss a class even if you aren’t going to be able to document the absence—keep him in the loop!

WARNING: Students who do not bring their Ender’s Game and Ender’s World to class on a regular basis and have them open, following along, can expect to be withdrawn. CHRONIC absenteeism (averaging or approaching an average of missing class once a week), CHRONIC lateness (most class periods), and/or persistent lack of participation (i.e., not following along in the books) may incur a warning and then removal with a “WF.” Problematic students may avoid the worst by bringing the instructor a withdrawal form from the registrar’s office prior to the end of the last day for a penalty-free “W.”

Other Policies

Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument without appropriate acknowledgement and MLA documentation—it is NOT tolerated and violates the student honor code.

Plagiarism and Proper Documentation

Any use of a non-documented source as if it were a student’s original work is considered plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Plagiarism can be of ideas; it can be of exact phrasing. In either or both cases, if the student has failed to acknowledge the source in the body of the essay and to document it in the Works Cited, the grade will be a “0” (no points) for the assignment even if the rest of the assignment is original and use of other sources properly documented. Upon being informed of the plagiarism, the student is no longer welcome in the class. The student may withdraw from the course with a penalty-free “W” if available; if not, the student must cease attending and the grade will be whatever points the student has accumulated minus the plagiarized document and any other tests or assignment as yet not completed (which are forfeit).  If the student continues to attend, the instructor will contact the Dean of Students or Student Conduct office and withdraw the student with a WF.

Phrasing that is too close to the student’s own documented sources.

Students who reproduce the phrasing of their own documented source(s) as if it were their own phrasing will be penalized for language that is too close to source. Students can use terminology they find in their documented sources, but four words in a row are too much without quoting and attribution.

 NO USE OF PERSONAL ELECTRONICS (phones, ear-buds, etc) is permitted in class unless the instructor has given specific permission.

NO BROWSING THE WEB FOR IDEAS. Students who randomly browse websites for ideas are flirting with academic dishonesty (stay away from Wikipedia, Spark Notes, Good Reads, etc).  


Writing Proficiency Requirement

All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed the 6 hours of Communication Core and and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.

>Calendar Attachment

Campus Carry

Senate Bill 11 passed by the 84th Texas Legislature allows licensed handgun holders to carry concealed handguns on campus, effective August 1, 2016. Areas excluded from concealed carry are appropriately marked, in accordance with state law. For more information regarding campus carry, please refer to the University’s webpage at

If you have questions or concerns, please contact MSU Chief of Police Patrick Coggins at