English 101-23, Spring 2003 Instructor: Nick Crawford
326 McIver; TR 12:30-1:45 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office: 137B McIver Or email@example.com
Tel: 336-334-5867 Office Hrs: TBA
English Composition I
This course helps you become a more skillful and confident writer. Whether your task in the future is to fashion an academic essay, a business memorandum, or a short story, you will find that you have acquired useful tools for the job. The various individual and group exercises you will perform over the semester will lead you to a greater understanding of both the writing process and techniques to gain control of it. And because writing connects with reading, critical thinking, personal life, and the world at large in complex ways, your appreciation for how these networks operate will also grow.
Think of me as more coach than teacher and think of this class as more practice field than lecture hall. Your principal role in this course is not to absorb information from me but to work at the craft of written composition and to improve the evaluative and argumentative skills you need to enter into academic discourse. My role in this course is not primarily to lecture (although I will do some of that) but to guide your efforts, to hone your critical thinking skills, and to make sure that you have learned how to develop and improve upon whatever writing you produce.
Although we will be reading mostly short stories, plays, and poetry this semester, your essays will not focus primarily on literary analysis. Instead, we will use the literature anthology as a way to connect to our own experiences, and as a springboard to investigating and debating broad cultural and rhetorical issues. While there is no single theme to which all the literature selections conform, the discussion content and many of the essay assignments in this course will be loosely organized around an exploration of identity, persona, and language: how we talk about ourselves, how others talk about us, how and why we and the literary characters we are reading about adhere to or resist behavioral and linguistic norms. More generally, we will look through a wide variety of lenses at the ways in which identity is tied to such factors as class, race, gender, nationality, occupational roles, and sexual orientation, and how these elements manifest themselves in discourse and performance. I will offer you many more questions than conclusions on these broad topics because, again, my chief goal is not to profess my views on literary and cultural studies but to help you engage critically and write effectively on a range of subjects and with a variety of purposes.
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
Ability to effectively revise and improve written work
Texts: Making Literature Matter (anthology)
A Pocket Style Manual
Requirements 4-5 essays (several drafts)
Double-entry journal of reading responses and reflections (submitted bi-weekly)
Group activities and presentations
Attendance and class participation
2 conferences with me
Final Portfolio (about 20-25 pages of revised, edited writing to be culled from your essay work, your journal, and other writing done in and outside of class)
Individual essay assignments, the contents and expectations of your final portfolio, as well as the methods and purpose of your double-entry journal will be discussed in detail in class and in future handouts. Your essays will be descriptive, expository, evaluative, analytical, reflective, argumentative, and sometimes they will conform to several of these modes simultaneously. Although I will not require a research paper, I will introduce you to methods of incorporating research into your writing and help you familiarize yourself with the conventions of documentation.
Policies and grades: A significant portion of class time will be spent writing, responding, and reporting in small and large groups. It is not possible to make up that kind of work, so regular attendance and participation are crucial to your success in this class. More than three (3) absences for whatever reason will have a negative impact on your grade, as will chronic tardiness. Missing a conference is equivalent to missing a class. Please talk to me in advance if you are worried about either missing classes or habitually arriving late. Papers must be handed in when the class meets on the day they are due, not later in the day. Any paper turned in late will not be accepted except under the most extraordinary circumstances, and only then if I have been notified beforehand.
I will not give you a grade on individual papers or journals. I will assign you a grade-so-far around the middle of the term, which will give you a sense of your progress in the class. My comments on your journal entries and on your papers will also serve as an ongoing evaluation of your work. Please feel free to talk to me at any time about your grade.
Your final grade will be based on your participation and involvement in class activities (about 20%), the quality and completeness of your double-entry journal (about 20%), and your final portfolio (about 60%).
The Writing Center: I encourage you to use the Writing Center to get useful feedback. Think of it as an extension of our classroom. It’s in McIver 101 and is open every day and some nights.
Plagiarism will result in a failing grade in the course and possibly in expulsion from the university. Read and understand the University’s Academic Integrity Policy and page 102 of Writing Matters. We will also discuss the matter in class so that there is no confusion as to what plagiarism.
1/14&1/16 Week 1: Introduction to the course. Why write better?
In class writing
Writing Matters 7-16 & 20-22
1/21&1/23 Week 2: How writing happens
Essay #1 assignment: Describe/Narrate
(Work or important activity. Are you what you do?)
Read: Updike, “A&P”
Writing Matters 44-48
1/28&1/30 Week 3: Writing, work, and alienation
Read: Melville, “Bartleby, the Scrivener” and Kafka, “The Hunger Artist”
2/4&2/6 Week 4: Rhetoric
2/6 Essay #1 due
Read: Walker, “Everyday Use”
Essay #2 assignment: Report and Interpret
(Grounding persona and place:“ethnography”)
Writing Matters 23-25
2/11&2/13 Week 5: Voice
Read: Delillo, “Videotape” (Dislocating persona and place)
Read: Carver, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love”
2/18&2/20 Week 6: A World of Discourse (gender, nation, race, sexuality)
Read: Hwang, M. Butterfly
2/25&2/27 Week 7: M. Butterfly (cont.)
3/4&3/6 Week 8: Conferences 3/4
Essay #2 due 3/6
3/11&3/13 Week 9: Spring Break
From week 10 until the end of the semester we will maintain a similar pattern of reading, writing, and work-shopping, but we will begin to shift our focus to preparing our final portfolios. Additional materials will be introduced as handouts or placed on e-reserve in the library.