Required texts and materials:
1. The Mercury Reader (for UNCG English 101 Composition). Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2005.
2. Jordan, A. Van. Macnolia: Poems. New York: Norton, 2004
3. Aaron, Jane E. The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. 5th ed. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2006.
4. Writing Matters. Published by the English Department of UNCG. 2005 ed.
1. One three-ring binder, no smaller than 1”, with pockets or folders inserted and at least five dividers. Loose leaf
paper (so that you can turn in entries from your journal without having to turn in a whole notebook/binder).
2. A folder with pockets for your midterm and final portfolio (can be one folder, or two separate folders—you decide).
1. Online access (available in the library or any computer lab on campus)
2. Email Address – this is the best way to reach me outside of class.
3. Blackboard Account – (http://blackboard.uncg.edu)-- login/password provided when you open your student computer
This syllabus is subject to change when deemed necessary by the instructor.
Course Description: The aim of this course is to develop your critical thinking,
reading, and writing skills, so expect a great deal of thinking, reading, and
writing. Our attention will focus mainly on how “texts” (and these
include your own writings as well as the assigned readings, visuals, cultural
symbols, etc) are inherently persuasive, even something as seemingly innocuous
as the personal narrative. We will also consider historical / sociological
contexts that inform texts and shape their persuasive power. At the heart of
this class is your own writing process: exploring, developing, and improving
your skills as a writer. Ultimately, this class will help you make connections
between the skills you learn in the academic setting and the world outside
of it …how reading, writing, and critical thinking are connected to “real” life.
By the semester’s end, you will
1) Interpret and evaluate argumentative discourse, including writing and speech
2) Construct cogent arguments and hone writing processes /skills
3) Communicate those arguments clearly, coherently, and effectively (through not only thoughtful content, but proper documentation, formatting, grammar and punctuation)
4) Locate, synthesize, and evaluate relevant information
5) Demonstrate an understanding of the aims and methods of intellectual discourse
6) Weigh evidence and evaluate the arguments of differing viewpoints.
Attendance: Attendance is extremely important in a college classroom and will be taken daily. A maximum of three unexcused absences will be allowed before your final grade is penalized. In the event that you miss class, it would be a good idea to obtain the phone numbers of at least two other classmates so that you can catch up on what was missed. If the student has more than three unexcused absences by the end of the semester, the student's overall grade will be lowered by one letter grade. If the student has more than 6 unexcused absences by the semester's end (three weeks of class) they will be assigned a final grade of F, regardless of the student's performance in class participation or the final portfolio. For excused absences: A valid doctor's excuse for the date of the absence, court appearance / jury duty papers, proof of participation in university activity (such as sports), etc count as official excuses-- in other words, something more substantial than word of mouth or a note from good ol’ mom. I still reserve the right to determine whether an absence is excused, even if you have these documents. Absence due to a death will be excused at my discretion.
Portfolios: This is a portfolio-driven course, which means that while each essay you write is evaluated, it is not “graded” in the sense that it will receive a letter grade. Students receive careful comments from the instructor (based on the standards expressed in my Evaluation Policy sheet), and they will have opportunities to discuss the progress of their writing and revise their essays. Other short/informal writing assignments / responses can also be included in the portfolio. It is very important to understand that the grade is given for the entire portfolio, and this grade is determined at the end of the course, although we can discuss at anytime where you are in terms of performance and what you must do to improve your performance in the class. You will turn in your portfolios to me twice during the semester: first, at midterm, where you will receive a “grade-so-far” and a progress report, and then at the end of the semester, from which I will determine your final portfolio grade. The midterm portfolio should include 8-10 pages of writing, the final portfolio 18-20. More specific portfolio guidelines will be given to you in the first couple of weeks of class.
Format of Assignments: You must type all written assignments for this class (except work done in-class). Make sure your title/page number formatting follow MLA guidelines (see handbook or any good website on MLA). Use one-inch margins all around (top, bottom, left, and right). Please, no script fonts—use New Times Roman or Arial only. Fonts for your work should be 12-point—I won’t accept the work if you use something bigger and, yeah, I can tell the difference.
Formal Assignments: For this class, you will write three formal essays: (1) Personal Narrative; (2) Text Analysis; (3) Critical Essay. Length should be between 3-5 pages, but should be no shorter than 3 and no longer than 8 pages if they appear in your final portfolio. In addition to these three essays, you are required to do a research project that includes an oral presentation (I will provide more details about this assignment at a later date). Keep all drafts of papers in a special section of your binder—especially those that I’ve critiqued. Not only do drafts help you learn about and from your writing process, but they help me to see your revision work, an integral part of your final portfolio grade.
Short/Informal/ In-Class Writing Assignments & Responses: These include, but are not limited to, short writing exercises, free writes, short answer quizzes on readings, and 1-2 page responses (as well as shorter, more informal responses). These types of assignments are accounted for in your participation grade and so cannot be “made up” if you are absent or late for class, and many of them can be revised for inclusion in your final portfolio. These assignments serve several purposes, but mainly, they provide an opportunity and place for you to: (1) discover and play around with paper ideas; (2) engage more deeply with the assigned readings.
Journal: The journal (10% of your final grade) is a place for you to play
with language, reflect on the readings and themes discussed in class, and to
explore your writing process, thoughts, observations, ideas. Journal entries
may be revised and included as part of your final portfolio. You must write
one entry per week, but are welcome to write more should the mood strike you
(I will read and comment on additional entries as well as those assigned).
I will pick these up every week on Tuesdays. Most of the time, I will give
you a topic to write on, but not always. Please remember: the journal for this
class IS NOT A DIARY. It’s not a record of what you did that day. Also
remember that I read everything you write, so please do not tell me anything
that you wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing or anything illegal.
Participation: (25% of final grade) This course depends heavily on large and small group work/writing workshops/class participation. However, this does not mean that you simply receive credit for dragging your body to class; credit for peer review requires you to bring in a rough draft and for you to read and help revise another student’s paper, and discussions (especially in reading circles and on Blackboard) usually require you to have much more to say than “I agree with ____ on this point.” Group work in general assumes that all members of the group work toward their goal—not just one or two particularly vocal students. If you’re not participating in your group, you won’t receive credit for the activity (you will have to report to me what you’ve done in the group in some way, shape, or form). I tell students ahead of time when an activity will count as participation credit, and what they must do to receive it.
Blackboard: A classroom environment via Blackboard software has been established and details as to how to access this environment will be given within the first few weeks of class. In Blackboard, students will be able to access an electronic version of the class syllabus, download / print out writing assignments, read class announcements, participate in chat board discussions of readings by posting questions and comments, and access readings through Jackson Library’s E-Reserves. Most postings to Blackboard will be considered mandatory and part of your participation grade.
The Writing Center: If you find that you’re having difficulty with any of the assignments/essays, you’re more than welcome to come and see me during my office hours and by appointment. However, there may be times when I’m not available to you, or when you cannot come and see me, or when you simply need a different pair of eyes to read your papers. In that case, swing by room 101 in McIver and any of the writing consultants there can help you with your work (you can make an appointment or simply walk-in). Make sure you bring all of your materials with you (i.e. assignment sheets, rough drafts, notes, outlines, and whatnot) and try to have specific problems for the consultants to focus on (note: they will not simply “edit” your paper for you).
Conferencing: Success in this class will depend greatly on individual conferencing
with me. I will try to meet with you all at least THREE times this semester:
once, in the beginning, as a sort of “getting to know ya” meeting;
at midterm, before you turn in your midterm portfolio; and then before the
final portfolio is due. These conferences will be approximately 10-15 minutes
long, and I hope to get you all in on one to two days. However, exceptions
may be made. If you miss your conference (and if you do, you’d better
have a really good reason), it will count as one absence.
Late Work: Because of the portfolio system we will use in this class, I do not accept late papers. Yes, I’m serious. If you anticipate that you will miss class the day an assignment is due, make arrangements to get your work to me ahead of time, either by placing it in my box in the English Department, emailing it to me as an attachment (not as the text of the email), or using the Digital Drop Box option on Blackboard. Whether you include the phantom assignment in your final portfolio or not, missing the initial deadline is considered in your final grade.
Plagiarism and Other Forms of Academic Dishonesty: All verified cases of academic dishonesty (including cheating and plagiarism, the use of another’s text or ideas without proper credit and citation) will be reported to the proper university officials (Office of Student Services) and may earn students a variety of instructor-imposed sanctions, from having to repeat the assignment to failing the course. Such reported cases will put the students at risk of university sanctions against cheating, which include expulsion from the university as one of many consequences. Please see UNCG’s “Academic Integrity Policy” online at <http://studentconduct.uncg.edu/policy/academicintegrity/> or in the 2005-06 Undergraduate Bulletin.
General Classroom Guidelines:
? Students are solely responsible for personal conduct and assigned work. You must take responsibility for your own learning-- I am not here to force anything on you. I will aid you in the learning process, but, ultimately, learning is your choice. If you are absent, it is your responsibility to find out (not for me to hunt down and tell you) what you missed in class that day. It is your responsibility to get your work in on time. It is your responsibility to stay awake in class, to know that if you have to get up and leave for anything during class, you should do it quietly, and to let me know ahead of time if you need to leave early so that it is not is disruption. It is your responsibility to take your papers to the Writing Center for revision work or to make an appointment to see me in my office, be on time for conferences, and so on. You get the picture.
? Respect others’ comments and contributions to class discussion. If
you ridicule what someone else has said in a derogatory and disrespectful manner,
you will be asked to leave the class for that period and allowed back in only
after a private conference with me.
? I can't believe I even have to say this, but unfortunately, some people need reminding: do not talk while I am talking or while other students are commenting in discussions. It's extremely rude and distracting. I reserve the right to ask you to leave if you disrupt the class in this manner.
? Turn off all cellular/digital/technological/noisemaking devices (including pagers). I’m likely to confiscate them otherwise.
? Students will not leave class until they are dismissed by the instructor. That means you may not pack up, stand up, sit on the edge of your seat in intense anticipation, etc… until I have finished making my closing remarks and said, "Okay, you can go."
? Tape recorders are allowed in class so long as they are not disruptive.
Adjustments for Disabilities: Students in university classrooms who have various disabilities (whether visible or invisible) are, of course, welcome, and their rights protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. However, it is imperative that students with disabilities register with the Office of Disability Services (334-5440) and inform the instructor of any special needs as early as possible so that the necessary arrangements or adjustments can be made.
Final Portfolio- 60% Participation/Group Work/Individual Conferences- 25%
Journal- 10 % Oral Presentation-5%
Fri, August 19—Last day for schedule adjustment; to drop for tuition refund
Mon, Sept. 5—LABOR DAY HOLIDAY—no classes
Tues, Sept. 13—Personal Narrative Essay Due
Tues, Oct. 3—Text Analysis Essay due; MIDTERM PORTFOLIO DUE
Fri, Oct. 7—Last day to drop courses without academic penalty
Mon/Tue, Oct. 10-11—FALL BREAK
Thur, Nov. 10—Critical Essay Due
Wed-Fri, Nov. 23-25—THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
Fri, Dec 2—FINAL PORTFOLIO DUE BY 12PM
Fri, Dec 9—Final Exam Period (3:30-6:30 pm)
Tentative Class Calendar
First Unit (Other Units will be given at a later date)
(This calendar is subject to change as deemed necessary by the instructor)
Week One—August 15-19
T: Course Introduction/Explanation of Syllabus, Policies/Transition from High School to College Writing (handout)/Emergent Literacy Response
R: Diagnostic Exercise (Cisneros handout); brief introduction to argument and persuasion; sign up for first conferences
Week Two—August 22-26 Home & Family: Your Life as a Text
T: Walker, “Everyday Use,” pp. 218-226 MR; Roethke, “My Papa’s Waltz” (handout) and Plath, “Daddy” (MR pp. 311-14); Savu, “Reading Actively,” pp. 19-22 WM
R: Hughes, “Salvation” (handout); Wagner, “Creative Writing in the Composition Classroom,” pp. 56-57 WM; Must have met me by this date for first conference.
Week Three—August 29-Septemeber 2
T: Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues” (e-reserves); Jones-Hyde, “Journaling 101,” pp. 51-53 WM; Workshop—Observation: bring an artifact that reminds you of home/special-significant family member
R: Brandon, “So Happy Together: Making the Most of Group Assignments,” pp. 29-31 WM; Writing Workshop: Writing About Memories.
Week Four—September 5-9
T: Rogers, “Workin’ It: Workshops in the Classroom,” pp. 32-34 WM; Tying it all together—working with free writing, responses, and journal entries in writing and revising your personal narrative
R: Draft Workshop—bring three copies of your rough draft to class
Week Five—September 12-16
T: Personal Narrative Essay Due