Class Description: This course is designed primarily to help you become a better writer. To reach that end, however, requires that you also become a better reader and thinker. In the end, hopefully, you will even feel that you are a better person, one more capable of communicating with others and more understanding of others because of increased self-understanding. The most important element in achieving this goal is not an already established ability to write, but the more difficult ability of keeping an open mind.
This course is centered on writing, and lots of it. You will write numerous small writings in response to readings, to your own life, and to other topics. Sandwiched among these smaller writings are larger essays. The goal of all this writing is to produce a portfolio of at least twenty pages of "polished" prose.
Student Learning Goals:
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
Text and Materials:
Writing Matters. Published by the English Department of UNC-Greensboro. 2005 edition.
Aaron, Jane E. The Little, Brown Essential Handbook for Writers. Third Edition. New York: Longman, 1999
MacNolia, A. Van Jordan
The Mercury Reader. UNCG’s English 101 Composition Reader.
Class Requirements and Policies
Formal Papers: You will most likely write 3-4 formal papers, each about 3-5 typed pages. I’ll be giving you assignment sheets for each of these essays with specific instructions and important dates. Aside from the in-class writings, all writings that are turned in are to be typed (double spaced with 12pt Times New Roman font and one inch margins).
Writer’s Notebook: This is a 3-ring binder with dividers to keep all of your class work. You will have the following sections: Free-write, Reading Response, Observation, Literacy, MacNolia, and Passion. Fill it with plenty of loose-leaf paper. I’ll check it twice during the semester (probably during conferences) and give you a grade for it. It is important that you save all the pieces or drafts of pieces that you complete in this journal, as anything you write in this class can potentially be used in your final portfolio. Be sure to keep it safe and remember to bring it to class everyday.
Free-write: I will assign writing responses at different times throughout the semester. This is the time when you can think about the readings and play with paper ideas. This section will only be graded as to whether or not you did the work. I might ask you to share your informal writing with classmates, but I will be sure to notify you first. Write here without fear.
Reading Response: You will type at least five reading responses this semester, analyzing or responding to a single issue in a text. This is not a summary or a “like/dislike” paper. A good response is usually 1 or 1.5 pages of typed text.
In-Class Writing Leadership: Each class member will take a turn as the in-class writing leader. Students will bring in a topic for the class to write about for the first 10 minutes of class. The leader’s responsibilities for the day include: 1) bringing in a topic 2) sharing it with the class 3) keeping time, and finally, 4) leading a brief discussion of what the class wrote. Bing in whatever you want for topics: poems, news items, photographs, songs, brief video clips, etc. You shouldn’t come to class empty handed. Just find something that catches your attention and you think others might be interested in, too. You’ll have to hand in a reflection the class period after your presentation.
Group Work: It’s important to the success of the classroom that you let your voice be heard in class discussion. By sharing your writing, helping peers workshop drafts of essays, and responding to readings, you will grow as a writer and a student. It also shows me that you are keeping up with the assignments. Much of the activity in this class will be centered on group work. You will be placed in a group that will stay together for the entire semester. Much of the group work will be based on responding to the reading we do for class, but the group will also be helpful as a support group and as readers of your writing.
Portfolio: At midterm and at the end of the semester you will submit a writing portfolio for evaluation. This will include final versions of essays as well as the drafts of these essays in progress, and a reflective introductory letter. You might also include excerpts from informal writings. I’ll be giving you more information on the portfolio later in the semester. Just remember to Save Everything (see below)! I’ll have more on this later in the semester.
Conferences: You will meet with me for one-on-one conferences at least two times over the course of the semester: once before Midterm Portfolios and once again before the end of the semester. Bring with you any drafts, works in progress, and questions you want addressed. If you miss one of the scheduled mandatory conferences, it will be treated as an absence.
Attendance: Class discussion and participation are important are important to the function of the class. After six absences you will fail the course unless you withdraw before the deadline. Any absence after three will negatively impact your participation grade. I think three absences should be more than enough to accommodate any "necessary" absences: illnesses, doctor’s appointments, hangovers, sunny days, etc. It’s your job to make arrangements with me to turn any work that is due on that day in ahead of time. It is also your responsibility to get in touch with a classmate to find out what work you missed and what is due on the day of your return. Do not come to the next class unprepared.
Plagiarism: Simply said, don’t do it. It’s not worth it. Using someone else’s words or ideas as your own on any assignment is plagiarism. It is a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy as defined in the Student Handbook on-line. Plagiarism is grounds for failing an assignment or possibly failing the course. A clear definition of the school’s plagiarism policy is located online at the following address: http://studentconduct.uncg.edu/policy/academicintegrity/
Grading Policy and Late Work: The grading in this course may be a bit different from what you have previously encountered. Grades will only be given on your portfolio at midterm and at the end of the semester. You will still get credit for all work that is completed on time, and this work will count towards your final grade. Instead of receiving letter grades on assignments, you will receive comments that will guide you in the revising process.
Two things will determine your grade: participation and portfolio. If you
are a percentage type of person, here is the breakdown:
40% Participation (Group Work, Writing Exercises, Attendance, etc.)
Late work will not be accepted without prior consideration.
Accumulated Writing: I expect you to become a writing packrat: KEEP EVERYTHING that you do for this class – in-class writing, pre-writing activities, progress reports, group work, rough drafts, reading responses, etc. The material that you keep will be useful to you when you decide what to revise and what to place in your portfolio. Also, please keep in mind that I have an “open draft” policy – a draft is never finished – you may reedit/rewrite/restart to your heart’s content before submitting the final portfolio.
The Writing Center: This is a resource open to all university students. Make an appointment or just drop in to have a one-on-one conference with a writing consultant. They are there to assist you in every stage of your writing process. It’s there. It’s free. What do you have to lose? If you miss a workshop, you are required to take a draft by the Writing Center. It’s located in 101 McIver and open Mon.-Thurs. from 9-8, Fri. 9-3, and Sun. evenings 6-9.
Last day to drop course with refund: Friday, Aug. 19
Labor Day Holiday: Monday, Sept. 5 – NO class
Midterm Portfolio Due: Wed. Oct. 5
Last day to drop without academic penalty: Friday, Oct. 7
Fall Break: Oct. 10 – NO class
A. Van Jordan Reading: Oct. 19
Thanksgiving Break: Wednesday, Nov. 23 + Friday, Nov. 25 – NO class
Last day of class: Monday, Dec. 5
Final Portfolio Due: Monday, Dec. 5
Final Exam Day: Friday, Dec. 9 (12:00 - 3:00)
*** I reserve the right to tinker with the syllabus as the semester unfolds. Fear not, for I will make you aware of any changes that may occur. ***
Tentative First Unit Calendar
M 8/15 English 101: Why am I here? What am I doing?
W 8/17 Introduction to Observation
F 8/19 Observing an Object
M 8/22 Observing Place
W 8/24 Observing Visuals
F 8/26 Observing Others
M 8/29 Writing an Observation (Peer Feedback on Brainstorming)
W 8/31 Introduction to Peer Review
F 9/2 Peer Review Workshop
M 9/5 Labor Day Holiday
W 9/7 Observation Paper Due