McIver 230A, MWF 12:00-12:50 p.m.
Office hours: 02 Petty, MWF 9:30-10:30 a.m.
Phone: 334-3294 (office hours only), 218-0429 (home)
No man who values originality will ever be original. But try to tell the truth as you see it, try to do any bit of work as well as it can be done for the work’s sake, and what men call originality will come unsought.
Writing has many purposes, but what it really is all about is communicating, getting our ideas across to others, telling “the truth as we see it.” If we want others to “listen,” we must learn to write in ways that are informed, logical, and appealing. That’s what this course is all about. I’m not going to ask you to get all obsessed about style and doing fancy things with words at the beginning. We are just going to jump right in and start writing . . . and keep on writing. I think you will find that practice and experimentation will bring great rewards to you as a writer: confidence, ability, a sense that writing, though hard work, can be fun.
Our course focus will be on the “Persuasive Principle,” or the idea that all writing, from mere description to a position paper, is an effort to persuade an audience about something. Through our readings, in-class work, and writing, we will study and practice writing with a thesis, or an overriding point that we wish to persuade others to agree with. We will develop our skills to generate a meaningful thesis and then back it up with effective arguments.
Of course writing as communication needs—guess what—a reader, even if it’s just yourself. With that in mind, we will be developing our skills as readers as well. Careful reading, whether it be of newspapers, magazines, novels, textbooks, or other students’ papers, also brings great rewards: clarity and depth of thought, a better grasp of difficult subjects, a better understanding of others, models for effective writing, an expansion of ourselves.
All assignments and activities in this course will be an effort to meet one or more of the following:
· Through frequent practice of the process of writing, students will learn to approach
writing assignments with confidence and thoroughness.
· Students will learn to improve aspects of their writing: clarity, focus, depth, voice,
organization, vocabulary, style, and grammar.
· Students will learn to work effectively in groups for the purposes of collaboration and
· Students will be challenged to think critically and insightfully about themselves and the world
around them, as shown through careful observation, reading, and writing.
In addition, students in this course will meet the following University-wide Reasoning and Discourse student learning goals:
· Interpret and evaluate argumentative discourse, including writing and speech.
· Construct cogent arguments and 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.
Writing Matters (with supplement). UNCG English Dept.
A Lesson Before Dying. Gaines.
Because so much will be going on in this class, it is vital that you attend all sessions. Any absences after FOUR will lower your final grade by a third of a letter grade. The four absences allowed should be enough to cover illnesses, emergencies, school-sponsored activities, etc. If you accumulate more than eight absences, you will be dropped from the class. If you have two or fewer absences for the term, I will add points to your grade. Frequent tardies may also have a negative effect.
If you do miss class, it is your responsibility to find out what you missed. Talk to me beforehand, e-mail me, come by during office hours, check the website (http://bb.uncg.edu), or talk to another student before the next class. Be sure to come prepared to the next class period.
My evaluation of individual papers will be in the form of comments rather than hard and fast letter grades. This tells you what I really value—revision. Have you made a concerted effort to work on areas of weakness in your writing that we have discussed in conference? Have you taken my (and your fellow students’) comments to heart and addressed them in your revisions? Are your revisions more than just minor corrections?
Your final grade will be based on your completion of all course requirements (objectives and assignments), the midterm and final portfolios, your class participation, and your overall effort to improve your reading and writing skills throughout the semester, not just when final papers are due. Feel free to talk with me at any point about your progress in the course.
Class Participation 25% Midterm Portfolio 25%
Group Project 10% Final Portfolio 40%
Plagiarism is strictly prohibited and will be dealt with severely! Consult the Student Handbook for further clarification.
Late assignments will not be accepted.
I strongly encourage you to go to the Writing Center as another resource to help you with your writing. It is open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The phone number is 334-3125.