English 101-11 Fall 2002 – G. Warlock Vance (instr.)
A Lesson Before Dying – Earnest Gaines
The College Writer’s Reference: Third Edition – Fulwiler and Hayakawa
Writing Matters – Jones, Grutsch-McKinney, and Tower
The Seagull Reader – ed. Joseph Kelly
You will also be provided with other short essays, articles, etc.
Other Class Materials You Will Need:
Two pocket folders to hold loose pages.
College English 101 is designed to help you improve your writing skills. In addition you will learn methods of analyses that can help you with the interpretation of texts, the construction of cogent arguments, how to communicate ideas effectively, evaluate materials in an objective manner from various points of view and how to present your work in a logical and cogent fashion.
At the completion of this course, the student will be able to:
--Interpret and evaluate argumentative discourse, including writing and speech
--Construct cogent arguments
--Communicate those arguments clearly, coherently and effectively
--Locate, synthesize, and evaluate relevant information
--Demonstrate an understanding of the aims and methods of intellectual discourse
--Weigh evidence and evaluate the arguments of differing viewpoints
You all will be required to write in and out of class, to keep up with the assigned readings, to participate in class discussion on those readings and on other topics, to make journal entries each week on particular subjects (to be announced), to do a variety of group tasks and group presentations, and to produce three major papers over the course of the semester. You will produce about 25 pages of writing before the end of the term.
This semester we will be utilizing Portfolios. With the Portfolio method you will have the opportunity to revise your work several times during the semester. How many times is entirely up to you. This interesting method allows you not only to explore new possibilities for your ideas, but also to learn as you go. No real grade shall be given on any piece until the end of the semester when the Portfolio will be graded as a whole. You will receive a mid-term grade, but the mid-term is actually a reflection of how you are progressing – not an actual grade for the materials in your folder. This might sound confusing or disconcerting – the idea of not having a tangible grade on each paper, but you will soon see it is better to have the chance to improve on each piece rather than moving on to the next idea and hoping to bring your grade up by having to ace the next assignment. Portfolios offer you the freedom to explore your own unique ideas without the pressure of worrying if it’s perfect the first time.
Time Travel: Until we master the art of traveling through time, (so that we may finish work late then travel back to the past to turn it in), you will be expected to turn your work in on the day it is due. If it is not ready on that day you will receive an F for the assignment – no exceptions. If you are ill or absent for some other reason please contact me via email and I will send you the assignment or call you to explain.
Conferences: I will schedule regular conferences with you so that we may discuss current assignments and to provide you with help in those areas where you feel you need the most assistance. I am also available for meetings at other times – please feel free to schedule an appointment with me if my general office hours are not convenient.
Students With Disabilities: In accordance with University policy, if you have a documented disability and require accommodations to obtain equal access to this course, please tell me now, at the beginning of the semester. Please let me know if you needs are not being met or contact the office of Disability Services (334-5440).
Classroom Behavior: This is where we discuss the matter of respect. Respect is one of those funny things that some people seem to demand, but I believe respect is something one earns. I shall endeavor to earn your respect and I hope you will reciprocate. This said, I do have certain rules – show up for class on-time (if you are going to be late, stay home and accept the fact that you’ve earned an absence – it is too disruptive to have people wandering in after class has already begun), do not talk out of turn – allow the person who is speaking to complete their thought, do not try to talk over me – I’ll bring in a megaphone if I have to, no poking fun at someone or intimidating them about their race, beliefs, or religion – this will definitely not be tolerated, sexual harassment is also unacceptable – and please, NO CELL PHONES in this class – turn them off before you enter the classroom. I want this class to be a place of sanctuary from reality. I’m hoping this room will be a place where you feel comfortable – a place where you feel you can learn in a relaxed atmosphere.
Withdrawal: You are required to handle your own withdrawal from this course in the event that you decide to drop. If you fail to properly withdraw and do not attend this course you will receive a failing grade. The last day to withdraw from Fall 2002 courses is 11 October 2002.
Plagiarism: This funny word means STEALING SOMEONE ELSE’S WORK AND CLAIMING IT AS YOUR OWN. As you can see, plagiarism is a CRIME and will NOT be tolerated. We will sometimes work on papers that utilize cited information. Failure to cite any quoted source is considered plagiarizing, as is paraphrasing. If you plagiarize I will know – you will receive an F for the course. Please be aware that other academic sanctions may result in your dismissal from the college. Plagiarism is so easy to avoid – it is NOT worth getting kicked out of school over.
Grading: A lot of professors have a rigid grading scale based on percentages. I like to average grades based on how well you did on your papers, group projects and on your overall improvement, then weigh in your class participation and attendance. You need ALL OF IT to receive a good grade in this class.
Attendance: I cannot stress to you enough how important attendance will be. Should you miss more than 3 classes your grade is in jeopardy. You get the first 3 days to do with whatever you want – miss class on account of oversleeping, visit a friend, etc. 6 or more absences will result in a failing grade for the course.
Office Hours/Place and ?: If you have more specific questions that I have not answered, please feel free to ask them now. You may also visit me in my office (over in the basement of the Petty Bldg.) M and W directly after class from 12pm – 1pm. You may also contact me to set up an appointment to discuss whatever we happen to be working on, or an assignment you do not understand.
Syllabus: Rather than having a day-by-day overview of what I hope to accomplish for the entire semester, I have decided to free up the schedule a bit so we can work at a pace that matches all of our styles. Here’s a look at the first few weeks. We will cover the novel by Earnest Gaines later in the term, but you can begin reading this ahead of time if you like.
M – in-class writing and discussion of outside reading
W – group activity
F – more discussion of weekly readings and lecture
If you see a reading listed for a particular day it is your responsibility to have read the material
BEFORE the class begins.
19 Aug. Monday – First day, explanation of the syllabus and getting to know one another; letter to the future; begin journal work
21 Aug. Wednesday – discuss pgs 11-22 in WRITING MATTERS
23 Aug. Friday – discuss “On Keeping a Notebook” by Joan Didion
26 Aug. Monday – discuss “Learning to Read” by Fredrick Douglas and “A Homemade Education” by Malcolm X, discuss various examples from WRITING MATTERS on paper styles
28 Aug. Wednesday – group activity or I’VE GOT A SECRET!
30 Aug. Friday – discuss “No Name Woman” by Maxine Hong Kingston; journal pages due
2 Sept. Monday – Labor Day (no class)
4 Sept. Wednesday – group activity, THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES
6 Sept. Friday – discuss “Once More to the Lake” by E.B. White, rough draft #1 due
9 Sept. Monday – discuss “A Modest Proposal” by Jonathan Swift
11 Sept. Wednesday – group activity based on Swift’s essay, WHAT’S RIGHT OR WRONG ABOUT IT?
13 Sept. Friday – discuss intro to If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler… by Italo Calvino, turn in rough draft #2.
16 Sept. Monday – (to be announced)
18 Sept. Wednesday – group activity
20 Sept. Friday – final draft of paper #1 due (reading to be announced)
Syllabus updates will be given to you ahead of time so you’ll know what’s coming up. If you happen to think of a question later on – contact me via email or try to see me in my office after class.
A last note about the Writing Center…
The Writing Center is located in room 101 of McIver. This place is a terrific resource for assistance with paper writing for ANY class – not just English. If you are having difficulty with any aspect of paper writing from brainstorming for ideas to more elaborate grammatical structure problems do not hesitate to utilize this resource. The people who work there are often folks just like yourselves – students who have been in your shoes – the other nice thing about the service is that it is FREE! You can call them to make an appointment or just walk-in during their hours of operation. The contact info is as follows:
101 McIver Bldg.
M-Th – 9am – 8pm
F – 9am – 3pm