The goal of this course is to give you a solid foundation for the types of thinking and writing you will be doing in college. You will learn the basics of composition: formulating ideas, getting them on paper, revising them, and polishing the final product. The type of work we will do here will prepare you for your other academic work through collaborating in group, introducing you to research methods, developing critical thinking skills, and most importantly, practicing how to effectively communicate your thoughts to a reader.
During the semester you will do a lot of writing, both in and out of class, for yourself and for others. You will be analyzing others’ texts along with revising your own and we will spend class time discussing the writer’s voice and purpose. You will collaborate with others in order to analyze reactions and insights. The work you do in this class will give you confidence in your ability to write for a variety of purposes and to think in a variety of ways.
STUDENT LEARNING GOALS:
By the end of the semester, you 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.
TEXTS: The Best American Non-Required Reading 2003, Dave Eggers
Macnolia, A. Van Jordan
The Brief Handbook 4th Edition, Kirszner and Mandell, eds.
Materials on Blackboard
REQUIREMENTS: 4 essays (about 16 pages of revised writing)
Journal of reflections and responses
In-class writing leadership
In-class writing/Group activities
Individual Conferences with me
Writing Portfolio (about 20 pages of revised writing)
REVISION/DRAFTS: Revision will be a major focus of this class. We will concentrate on the process of writing, with an emphasis on revising your ideas and language. I will give you feedback on drafts for formal papers, and you will work on revising your own drafts of papers with your small group and with a partner. On our draft workshop days, you will need to bring enough copies for your work to share.
JOURNALS: Usually on Friday (unless previously announced), you will hand in 2-3 pages from your journal where you will reflect on your writing and reading, on class activities and discussion, or on some aspect of the world in which you live. Occasionally, I will ask you to write on a specific topic. Your journal entries must be typed; no late papers will be accepted.
IN CLASS WRITING LEADERSHIP: Each class member will take a turn being the in class writing leader. This person will bring in a topic for the class to write about for the first 15 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. Bring in whatever you want for topics: poems, news items, photographs, songs, brief video clips…whatever. (If you will need special audio-visual equipment, let me know ahead of time so we can be ready). Just find something that catches your attention and you think others might be interested in, too.
GROUP ACTIVITIES: Working in groups will give you an opportunity to discuss your reactions to various pieces of writing with other class members. Group work will be both formal and informal. You will get a chance to work on different skills when in groups, such as reading, listening, and responding to others’ work.
PORTFOLIO: Instead of a final exam, you will hand in a portfolio that will contain around 20 pages of revised and polished prose. The portfolio will be organized around a main theme (of your choosing) and might include essays with drafts, excerpts from your journal, in-class and group writings, or creative work.
POLICIES: You are expected to be here and to be on time. This course involves
a great deal of in-class discussion that is impossible to make up outside of
class. If you miss more than 3 classes (excused or unexcused), I will subtract
5% from the Attendance portion of your grade for each absence. Excessive tardies
and absences will significantly and negatively affect your grade. If you miss
6 classes (the equivalent of two weeks of class), you will be dropped from
A few other policies that will help our class run smoother. . .
-- Please be on time, lateness is rude and distracting
-- I will distribute an attendance sheet at the beginning of each class period; if you do come in late, it will be your responsibility to sign the attendance sheet
-- No late papers will be accepted; if you anticipate a problem, please see me in advance
PLAGIARISM: According to UNCG’s Academic Integrity Policy, plagiarism occurs when you use someone else’s words and/or ideas and call then your own on any class assignment. Please refer to the entire policy at http://saf.dept.uncg.edu/studiscp/Honor.html. If you have questions about plagiarism please consult me before any problems arise. Plagiarism will result in an automatic 0% on the assignment, and you will be subject to University sanctions.
GRADES: Since our focus is on writing as a process, I will evaluate and make extensive comments concerning each piece of writing you submit, but I will not give grades on individual papers or journals. I will assign a percentage grade to the second or third draft of each essay, which, combined, will account for 20% of your final grade. I will give you a grade-so-far before the midterm. Your final grade will be based on your completion of all course requirements, the writing portfolio, your class participation, and your overall effort to improve your reading and writing skills throughout the semester, not just when final papers are due. The course grade is broken down like so: 15% for attendance, 15% for in class writing/journals/etc., 20% for the 4 essays, 10% for in-class writing leadership, and 40% for the writing portfolio. Feel free to talk to me at any point about your progress in the course.
DAILY EXPECTATIONS: For this class to be successful, you need to be an involved
and active class member. This entails coming to class with the assigned material
read and with questions and comments to add to the class discussion. 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 and rethink, to take chances
THE WRITING CENTER: I encourage you to use the Writing Center to get new and different perspectives on your writing. The Center is an extension of our classroom community and will give you useful feedback. The Writing Center is located in McIver 101, and the hours are (starting Sept. 2): Sunday 6-9 pm, Monday-Thursday 9am-8pm, Friday 9am-3pm.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Learning is an active process, and what you do affects the quality of your education. Your job as a student is to think seriously about writing, to read the assigned materials, to discuss the materials in class, and to write intelligently in response to what you learn and know. If you do these four things, you will find yourself a better writer, thinker, and student at the end of the semester.
Learning involves interacting with others. I expect each student to participate in discussion, for in these discussions you try out your ideas and arguments on a live audience, who will respond to your opinions and make you develop your points more thoroughly. I do not wish to lecture; I want you to participate in creating a learning community in the class by constantly responding to each other.
Finally, learning can only thrive in an atmosphere that encourages the honest and fair exchange of ideas. As I stated before, the taking of another’s ideas – lying, cheating, and plagiarizing – will not be tolerated by the University or me. Please see me if you need any assistance.
Mon. 8/15: Introduction/Expectations
Wed. 8/17: read Writing Matters “Journaling 101”, “So Happy Together: Making the Most of Group Assignments”, and “Rhetoric! Huh. What is it Good For?”
Fri: 8/19: Hand in “Letter to Lee”; read Writing Matters “Student-Teacher Conferencing”; “Rooster at the Hitchin’ Post” by David Sedaris p. 263; discuss Essay 1
Mon. 8/22: Individual Conferences
Wed. 8/24: Individual Conferences
Fri. 8/226: Journal 1 due; “The Littlest Hitler” by Ryan Boudinot p. 24
Mon. 8/29: “A Primer for the Punctuation of Heart Disease” by Jonathan Safran Foer p. 135
Wed. 8/31: “Shooting Dad” by Sarah Vowell (on Blackboard)
Fri. 9/2: Journal 2 due; “Trying to Save Piggy Sneed” by John Irving (on Blackboard)
Mon. 9/5: No Class – Labor Day
Wed. 9/7: “Lives of the Bohemians” by Jonathan Lethem (on Blackboard)
Fri: 9/9: Journal 3 due; “Orientation” by Roy Blount, Jr. (on Blackboard)
Mon. 9/12: Individual Conferences
Wed. 9/14: Individual Conferences
Fri. 9/16: Journal 4 due; “Visiting Hours” by Judy Budnitz p. 97
Mon. 9/19: Workshop Essay 1 – Bring 2 copies of essay to class
Wed. 9/21: Essay 1 due; discuss Essay 2
Fri. 9/23: Journal 5 due; “13,1977,21” by Jonathan Lethem (on Blackboard)
Mon. 9/26: “Take the Cannoli” by Sarah Vowell (on Blackboard)
Wed. 9/28: TBA
Fri. 9/30: Journal 6 due; Macnolia pp. 15-44
Mon. 10/3: Macnolia pp. 45-74
Wed. 10/5: Workshop Essay 2 – Bring 2 copies of essay to class
Fri. 10/7: No Class – Essay 2 due by 12:00pm
Mon. 10/10: No Class – Fall Break
Wed. 10/12: discuss Essay 3; Macnolia pp. 75-107
Fri. 10/14: Journal 7 due; Macnolia pp. 108-131
Mon. 10/17: “How to Advertise a Dangerous Product” by James B. Twitchell (on Blackboard)
Wed. 10/19: “Illusions Are Forever” by Jay Chiat (on Blackboard); A. Van Jordan Reading – Cone Auditorium
Fri. 10/21: Journal 8 due; “My Nike Media Adventure” by Jonah Peretti (on Blackboard); Workshop Essay 3 – Bring 2 copies of essay to class
Mon. 10/24: Individual Conferences
Wed. 10/26: Individual Conferences
Fri. 10/28: Essay 3 due; discuss Essay 4
Mon. 10/31: “The Pretenders” by Chuck Klosterman p. 150
Wed. 11/2: “Tales of the Tyrant” by Mark Bowden p. 33
Fri. 11/4: Journal 9 due; No Class – work on Essay 4
Mon. 11/7: “Riot Baby (Life in South Central Los Angeles” by Daniel Voll p. 294
Wed. 11/9: “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved” by Hunter S. Thompson (on Blackboard)
Fri. 11/11: Journal 10 due; “How Susie Bayer’s T-Shirt Ended Up On Yusuf Mama’s Back” by George Packer p. 224
Mon. 11/14: Essay 4 due; Paper presentations
Wed. 11/16: Paper presentations
Fri. 11/18: Paper presentations
Mon. 11/21: Portfolio Workshop – Bring at least 2 portfolio pieces to work on
Wed. 11/23: No Class – Thanksgiving Holiday
Fri. 11/25: No Class – Thanksgiving Holiday
Mon. 11/28: Individual Conferences
Wed. 11/30: Individual Conferences
Fri. 12/2: Portfolio Workshop – Bring at least 2 portfolio pieces to work on
Mon. 12/5: Writing Portfolio Due
Wednesday, December 7: Final Exam Meeting Time 3:30-6:30pm