27 December 2010

College Writing II Spring 2011

College Writing II Professor Mead
Spring 2011 9:00 & 11:00 AM

10 M Introduction. KIRSTI IN CLASS
12 W The Iliad, pp.3-67
14 F Style: Lessons in Clarity & Grace, Lesson One
19 W The Iliad, Books 1 & 2. Two-page summary of Knox Introduction.
21 F SLCG, Lesson Two
24 M The Iliad, Books 3 & 4
26 W The Iliad, Books 5 & 6
28 F SLCG, Lesson Three
31 M The Iliad, Books 7 & 8
2 W The Iliad, Books 9 & 10
4 F SLCG, Lesson Four
7 M The Iliad, Books 11 & 12
9 W The Iliad, Books 13 & 14
11 F SLCG, Lesson Five
14 M The Iliad, Books 15 & 16
16 W The Iliad, Books 17 & 18
18 F SLCG, Lesson Six
23 W The Iliad, Books 19 & 20
25 F SLCG, Lesson Seven
28 M The Iliad, Books 21 & 22
2 W The Iliad, Books 23 & 24
4 F SLCG, Lesson Eight
7 M Edit Session
9 W Edit Session
11 F SLCG, Lesson Nine. Paper #1 Due.
23 W Paths of Glory, Foreword, Introduction, pp. 3-42.
25 F SLCG, Lesson Ten
28 M Paths of Glory, pp. 42-80
30 W Paths of Glory, pp. 83-109
1 F SLCG, Lesson Eleven
4 M Paths of Glory, pp. 113-154
6 W Paths of Glory, pp. 154-180
8 F SLCG, Lesson Twelve
11 M Paths of Glory, pp. 182-190
13 W Library/Office Visits
15 F Library/Office Visits
18 M Edit Session
20 W Edit Session
27 W Paper #2 Due. Evaluations/Speeches
Students who have special needs must contact the professor as soon as possible, and he will make all reasonable accommodations.
Please remember that you must complete all assignments on time to pass the course.
Keep copies of your drafts and your final papers for security.
Office: OM312B MWF 10-11, TR 8:30-9:30, 11-1* AND BY APPOINTMENT
tel. 438-4336 smead@stmartin.edu You may leave me a voice- or email message, but I cannot promise to respond before the next class meeting.
*I sometimes have meetings during part of these hours.
PLEASE CHECK YOUR CAMPUS EMAIL REGULARLY FOR IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS. This is the only way I have to get in touch with you outside of class, and I need to be reasonably sure you are getting the messages.

Now, what are we doing in this class?
ENG102 is designed to strengthen a student’s ability to forge thesis-driven essays and to give the student the opportunity to begin learning original, academic research. In other words, you are going to be creating new knowledge, not just writing about how you feel or transferring information from a source to your readership. This section of ENG102 will pursue the course goal by intensive reading of two literary texts: The Iliad and Paths of Glory. Both of these books are challenging for the twenty-first century student in that they are from foreign cultures and different periods of history. This challenge is in part because the reader (you) has to stow away her or his personal world-view in order to understand what the rules seem to be in the worlds created inside the texts. But these works are also challenging because they treat a hard subject unflinchingly: they are both war stories, and in these wars the world is violent, cruel, and unpredictable. But each work reaches through the hardships of human conflict to reveal the inherent greatness of humanity and its ability to shape its moral destiny.
In most classes we will have an open-ended discussion of the sections of the text for that day. It is crucially important to keep in mind that participation in class discussion is an integral part of the writing process; you simply cannot expect to be silent in class and to produce later your best written work. We will also have several “edit sessions.” At these, each students arrives to class with the best draft of the paper he or she can come up with on his or her own (no “rough drafts”). Students will be paired and read and suggest revisions for one another’s paper. The point here is to be as critical as you can with your partner’s paper, to challenge the thesis, its methodology, and its presentation so that your partner can re-write the paper into something clearer, stronger, and more elegant. You will want them to do this for you.
In addition to one short summary due early in the semester, you will produce two 10-page research papers. The first will be an interpretive argument about some aspect of artistic meaning in The Iliad, one that challenges conventional interpretations (and of course to know that, you’ll have to research what the conventional interpretations are) and that uses scholarly outside sources (i.e., articles in refereed journals or books from university presses) to support, locate, or challenge your thesis or sources that give you historical background or methodological tools. Ask me about this in class. The second paper will be the same kind of paper, but used either Paths of Glory or both Paths of Glory and The Iliad for its subject. These papers should include discursive notes and a Work Cited page, all in MLA format.
You are expected to meet throughout the semester, on your own initiative, with your instructor, a reference librarian, and peer readers at the Writing Center.
We will also be taking every Friday “off” to discuss the Style book and to do as many exercises as we have time for. There will be no graded work with this, except your participation.
Grades: Summary 10%, Paper #1 30%, Paper #2 (including drafts) 40%, Participation 20%.
Finally, if you have ANY problems, complaints, questions, or concerns, please speak to me, and I will do all I can to remedy the situation.

26 December 2010

Shame the Devil

“I lost twenty-five pounds of plagiarized papers last semester following this one, weird trick!”

After more than a few decades of rehashing my plagiarism statement, and after watching several very scary news programs on what is politely referred to as “academic dishonesty,” I have shifted my perspective on plagiarism: no longer will I explain what it means or why it is bad; I’m just going to try and make it really hard for you to pull it off.

Now, we just have a simple rule for every written assignment you hand in.

The Simple Rule

All papers must be submitted in a cardboard folder with at least two earlier drafts of the final paper. These drafts must illustrate your writing process from the free-write stage to the penultimate, pre-polished versions. If I suspect the paper is not original, you will explain how I am mistaken by analyzing what the drafts show about the growth of your idea.

22 December 2010

The Writing Process in the College Classroom

Every activity in the classroom, and in your work for the class, is part of the writing process. That means we begin our writing for this class TODAY. The list below is not strictly sequential: of course you have to read before you can think about what you’ve read, but many activities--researching expressing, conferring, and reflecting--occur many times while we are reading and writing.

1) Reading means a lot more than denoting words on a page. To read effectively, a student has to read critically. Common critical activities include acknowledging the context of the text (where was it written? who was it written for? what was the author like? what genre is the work? what does the book expect of the reader? what other kinds of books is this book meant to be like or compared to?). More concretely, an effective reader takes notes while reading, underlines important passages, and re-reads.

2) Reflecting is simply thinking about the reading afterwards. Not just in a casual, haphazard way, but perhaps with a journal or a conversation of twenty minutes with someone else who has read the book. We often feel two ways about what we’ve read: how we feel when we’re reading it and how we feel after we’ve read it. It’s often helpful to make yourself aware of, and to record, how your sense of a text changes over time.

3) Expressing your ideas in the classroom—and being open to those ideas changing, developing, or receding—is the sole reason for class discussion. If we ALL put our ideas together, we will conjure up better stuff than if we just think on our own.

4) Researching can help both to formulate ideas and to test them. Try to read a few essay on the text just to see what kinds of things people write about. As you develop your research, you will look for sources that support your argument—but also sources that challenge you to strengthen, specify, and make clearer your own argument. Sometimes, you just use others’ essays to show the reader that you are familiar with the conventional interpretations, a practice that heightens the reader’s trust in the writer.

5) Conferring with your professor is a good way to touch base, maybe learn a few shortcuts or simply to ease your mind that your idea isn’t too crazy. Surprisingly, most students learn to be more daring after speaking with their professors—weak writing is often characterized by apparent theses or descriptive papers that make no argument. Professors can also give students novel approaches to sources and methodology.

6) Writing is re-writing and re-re-writing and revising and editing and polishing.

Writing = first draft

Re-writing = all subsequent drafts

Revising = seeing the paper in a new way (modifying thesis, changing
methodology, re-assessing sources, etc.)

Editing = clarifying language and ideas, re-shaping paragraphs, re-ordering
sequence of ideas, eliminating repetitions or unnecessary

Polishing = checking spelling, grammar, usage, punctuation, correctness
of paper format (margins, indentions, Notes Page, Works
Cited page, etc.)

7) Reviewing your paper after the professor returns it is a crucial part of the learning process. Where did you succeed? Where was your logic flawed? Where were you eloquent? Where did you sound unimpressive? What might have made the paper better? Where could it have gone further, if there had been more time? It’s also a good idea to meet with your professor after you’ve looked over her or his comments if you have questions or need further clarification. HINT: professors loathe being asked to defend their grades, but they love being asked to explain their responses to your writing. Students who meet this way with professor almost always do better on the next paper—usually a lot better.

Participation, Attendance, and All That

For traditional students, college is the beginning of professional life (non-traditional students have already been living professional lives). But whether it is one’s first time or not, in college one’s actions, words, attitudes, habits, and works construct tangible and lasting consequences.

Perhaps you have attended classes in which your presence and activity in the classroom is of secondary or tertiary importance, classes in which your final grade depended upon merely having notes from a professor's lecture, or having read the textbook, or test scores or projects tenuously connected to the classroom experience. This class is nothing like that. Because your instructor embraces the time- and data-tested concept and practice of process writing, you need to understand that writing and developing an independent intellect are closely connected. Further, students need to embrace the concept that the writing process is very much occurring in the classroom (See my handout “The Writing Process in the College Classroom” in my blog).

The reading and studying to do before class; the work you do in the classroom; the conversations you have with other students, instructors, and library educators; and the writing you do for paper assignment—these are all part of a single (albeit complex) activity of learning and pursuing your education (and you are pursuing that education; it will not pursue you!).

Therefore, these are my expectations for the class:
1) Students will arrive on time, prepared to begin class work. They will have their texts read, marked up, and OPEN. They will have a notebook (dedicated to this class) open with a pen or pencil ready.
2) Students will take notes throughout the class, asking for the instructor or other students to repeat what they have said if necessary. The bound notebook should be dedicated to this class.
3) Students will attend each class from beginning to end. You are allowed three absences (not counting edit days) with no penalty. I will not presume to deem whether your absence is “excused” or not. After three absences, your final grade will be lowered. Excessive absences may results in your being asked to withdraw from the class. Plan ahead: unless it is an emergency, do not leave the classroom during class.
4) Students who miss class should arrange with other students to share notes, hand in assignments, and report any new assignments. Students understand that they are responsible for all work assigned or performed in their absence.
5) Students who may be forced to miss more than three classes due to their athletic schedule should arrange alternative duties within the first two weeks of the semester.
6) Students will arrange a meeting with the professor at least once during the first six weeks of the course to review their progress in the class. They will bring in a filled-out participation self-evaluation for discussion.

Course Participation Self-Evaluation

Participation Self-Evaluation Name: ________________________
Course: _______________________ Term: _____________________
Circle the number that best describes your class participation: 1= excellent, 2= very good, 3= average, 4= just getting by, 5= poor
I have conscientiously prepared reading assignments. 1 2 3 4 5
I have reflected seriously upon discussion topics. 1 2 3 4 5
I have tried to bring empathetic understanding
to reading and research. 1 2 3 4 5
I have attended class regularly. 1 2 3 4 5
I have remained involved and engaged in this course. 1 2 3 4 5
I have contributed thoughtfully to class discussion. 1 2 3 4 5
When I talked in class, I remained on topic. 1 2 3 4 5
I have worked to bring depth to my comments
by preparing more than superficially for class. 1 2 3 4 5
I brought my questions to class or to the professor. 1 2 3 4 5
I have engaged in the questions and comments of
my fellow students. 1 2 3 4 5
I have spoken up when I disagreed, constructively. 1 2 3 4 5
I have been an active learner in the class. 1 2 3 4 5
I have treated my fellow students and my professor
with courtesy and respect. 1 2 3 4 5
I have brought any grievances forward appropriately
and promptly. 1 2 3 4 5
I have encouraged the best work from my fellow students. 1 2 3 4 5
I have read through comments on my work carefully,
and asked questions when I did not understand. 1 2 3 4 5
I have made appointments with my professor when I
needed assistance or wanted to discuss the material 1 2 3 4 5
Other Comments:

I assign myself the following letter grade for class participation: ______

1. Do you have any ideas for encouraging class participation (e.g. role playing, having groups of students come up with questions, writing short journal entries)?

2. If you feel you are not learning as much as you could from the class, what would help? Do you think that adding an exam or quiz would help you to learn the material, for instance?

3. Are there any concerns you have with the class? Is anything going on outside of class about which you’d like to talk with me?

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