Office: 136A McIver; 334-4697
Office hours: 12:00-2:30, W; and by appointment
This course helps you devise strategies you can use in all the writing you will do in college. You will learn skills of composing—how to come up with ideas, get them on paper, revise them and make them interesting and acceptable to readers. Writing well involves more than following a set of rules or formulas. It means understanding and using the relationship between who writers are and who their readers might be. This class aims to help you understand that relationship by practicing it.
During the semester, you’ll do a lot of writing both in and out of class. You’ll write for yourself and others, analyze each others’ texts as well as your own, reflect and respond and argue and do research. We’ll talk about how you develop your own style, how you develop ideas and how you change them, and how you understand your audience. Our discussions will often happen in small groups, and your work in your group is important to your success. Writing in this class will make you more confident of your ability to write for a variety of purposes and help you discover how writing matters to your thinking.
Learning Goals for 101 include:
Writing and evaluating arguments
Communicating clearly and effectively
Evaluating and using relevant information
Understanding aims and methods of intellectual discourse
Evaluating different viewpoints
Texts: The Writer’s Presence, McQuade and Atwan
The Things They Carried, Tim O’ Brien
3-4 essays (about 20 pages of revised, edited writing)
*journal of reflections, responses (only loose leaf paper will be accepted)
group presentations and activities
2 conferences with me
*Your journal is made up of all in class and out of class writings that I assign; in addition, the journal will include writings that you will do three times a week for thirty minutes each; I will periodically ask to see your journals so I can gage your progress as a writer (we’ll talk more about this in class)
Policies and grades: Most of this class involves you directly in writing and responding and reporting in small and large groups. It’s not possible to make up that kind of work. Let me say that again: It’s not possible to make up that kind of work. Therefore, regular attendance and participation is crucial to your success in this class. More than two absences (a week’s worth of class) can compromise your grade. Talk with me in advance if you’re worried about meeting a deadline or missing a class. Like I said, you’ve got two cuts you can use. Use them wisely. Any more than two absences will require a doctor’s note or an official university excuse or a family emergency or something of this nature. If something like this comes up, I’ll work with you. Not communicating with me about such matters will only hurt your grade.
There will be many reading assignments that are due in class on the day they are listed on this syllabus. Do everyone a favor and be prepared. I will give unannounced pop quizzes on some of the material assigned for a certain day. These quizzes will factor in to your final grade. So do your reading and you will be fine.
I will not give a grade on individual papers or journals. I will give you
a grade-so-far before the midterm, which will describe your progress in the
class. My comments to you on journals and papers should give you a sense of
my evaluation of your work. I encourage you to talk with me anytime about your
grade. Success in this class depends on:
1. meeting all the requirements
2. the quality of your written and oral work
3. your willingness to try new perspectives, to revise, rethink, to take chances.
Your final grade will be based on the quality of your work in your journal, your participation and involvement in class activities, and your final portfolio. Another way of breaking down your final grade is to realize that 60% of your grade will be your portfolio. The other 40% will be made up of your journal entries, in-class writings, group participation, and pop quizzes. So basically what you need to do is come to class and participate. When it comes down to the portfolio at the semester’s end, if you have done a thorough job and participated in class, your portfolio will reflect this in its content and quality.
One last note: Let me just say that writing is the way you will be asked to formulate and organize your deepest, most intelligent and provocative thought processes throughout your college career. We are lucky as writers to have this freedom.
The Writing Center is in McIver, room 101. The Center is an extension of our classroom and I encourage you to use it. The Writing Center is open five days a week. Stop by and make an appointment.
Class by Class Syllabus
Aug. 17—Course Introduction; handout assignment
19—In-class writing assignment; group assignments; discussion of handouts
24—Toi Dericotte, p. 13; Joan Didion, p. 16, The Writer’s Presence
26—In-class writing assignment; Sherman Alexie, p. 61, WP;
David Sedaris (handout)
31—Raymond Carver, p. 86, WP; Andre Dubus (handout)
Sept. 2—personal essay due (first draft, 2-3 pages); group workshop
7—E.B. White, p.281, 287; Thomas Lynch (handout)
9—in-class writing assignment; guest reader
14—personal essay due (second draft, 4-5 pages)
16—Dorothy Allison, p. 589; James Baldwin, p. 597, WP
21—no class (student conferences)
23—no class (student conferences)
28—Cornel West, p. 799; Leslie Marmon Silko, p. 752, WP
30—argumentative essay due (first draft, 3-4 pages); group workshop
Oct. 5—in-class assignment; Bertrand Russell, p. 729, Lewis Thomas, p. 784, WP
12—argumentative essay due (second draft, 5-6 pages)
14—“The Things They Carried” & “Love”, The Things They Carried
19—“Spin” & “On the Rainy River”, The Things They Carried
21—“Enemies” & “Friends” & “How to Tell a True War Story”, The Things They Carried
26—“The Dentist” & “Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong”, The Things They Carried
28—in-class writing; short short handouts
Nov. 2—Raymond Carver, p. 837; Jamaica Kincaid, p. 840, 842, WP
4—short story due (first draft); group workshop
9—Flannery O’ Connor, p. 854, 867, WP
11—John Updike, p. 888, WP
16—Denis Johnson handout
18—short story due (second draft)
23—discussion of portfolios; groupwork
25 –No Class--Happy Thanksgiving
30—Mark Richard handout
Dec. 2—Last Day of Class; FINAL PORTFOLIOS DUE!!
14—Meet during final exam period 12:00 noon-3:00 pm