Introduction to College Writing
Fall 2005, UWEC, MW
10-11:50 a.m. and F 11-11:50 a.m., HHH 323
Office: HHH 425
Number: (715) 836-4369
Office Hours: MWF
12-1 p.m., M 11 p.m. to 12 midnight, T 5-7 p.m.,
W 10-11 p.m, and By
Elizabeth Schweitzer, and Matthew White,
COURSE FOCUSES AND AIMS
1. Writing with style.
2. Autobiographical writing.
3. The writing process/the powers of revision.
4. Critical and argumentative writing in relation to
controversial contemporary issues.
5. Writing in relation to ‘texts’ from diverse kinds
6. Research writing as means of and contribution
toward compelling, convincing, and persuasive argumentation.
7. Writing as means of and contribution toward
engaged citizenship: 'writing in the world'.
8. Exploring how to make an effective transition to
the life of a university student, as well as how to find a satisfying
place at UWEC.
English 110 is an intensive, demanding, five-credit
introduction to "college writing." Although all sections of
English 110 share a broad set of common objectives, we who teach these
sections interpret meeting these objectives according to a range of
different conceptions of precisely what to teach, how, and why. I
(along with a significant number of my colleagues) teach English
composition to focus on argumentative writing, writing as ‘critical
citizenship’, and ‘writing in the world’.
Who are “College
Writers”? College Writers, College Writing, Social Struggle, and Social Change
I conceive "college writers" to be men and women who
know and care about what is happening in the world, and who strive to
do what they can to make this world a better place. I teach
"Introduction to College Writing" to people whom I approach not merely
as "students," but also, more importantly, as adult human beings
seeking to learn and understand, and to act and interact-to
intervene-by joining with and contributing to ongoing struggles for
urgently needed social change, change that extends far beyond the
limited confines of the classroom, the course, or even the
university. These are men and women who conceive of college
education as entailing a social responsibility, and who commit
themselves to do what they can, in practice, to meet this
"College writers" are not, therefore, as I see it,
simply those men and women who have "mastered the rules," who have
"learned how to play the game," and who can, as such, write in
technically competent and skillful fashion sufficient to enable them to
"get by" in their college courses, and to obtain "good jobs"
afterward. "College writers" do not approach their writing as a
mere means of finding the best way to "fit in," "obey orders," submit
to authority, and conform to the dictates of those in dominant
positions of power.
Writing as a
Process of Thinking and a Mode
of Committed, Activist Practice
"College writers" conceive of writing not as a mere
"product" that displays what these women and men have thought, in an
"acceptable form," after the thinking is done, and after these writers
have self-censored anything that might "upset" or "disturb" anyone
else. On the contrary, college writers conceive of writing as a
process of thinking, and as a process, more precisely, of exploring,
inquiring, reflecting, interpreting, evaluating, expressing,
communicating, and of taking up and pushing forward positions to which
the writer can and does commit herself with sincerity, determination,
passion, and enthusiasm.
Writing with a
Purpose; Writing as Unity of Form and Content, and of Text and Context;
and What it Means to Think, Read, and Write Critically
Writing is always intrinsically connected with
reading, thinking, feeling, speaking, and acting. What's more,
how we write always depends upon what we write, for whom we write, and,
especially, why we write. It is, therefore, of crucial
importance that writing be learned as a unity both of form and content,
and of text and context. Writing is not merely form; forms never
really exist separate from contents. Neither is writing merely
text; texts never really exist separate from contexts. "Composition" is
not manipulation: it is construction, design, and creation. To
learn how to compose in written language is to learn how to express,
communicate, develop, and refine ideas, beliefs, thoughts, and feelings
of significance and urgency.
The Rhetoric and
Politics of Reading and Writing; Writing to Persuade and Compel
In the process of learning to read and write
critically, it is necessary to focus particular attention upon both the
rhetoric and the politics of reading and writing. "Rhetoric"
refers to the art of using words effectively to express and communicate
thoughts and feelings in speaking and writing. In particular, you
will learn how to produce arguments capable either 1. of persuading
others to accept and/or identify with a particular position with which
they are not already previously in agreement, or 2. of compelling these
others to reformulate and rearticulate previously maintained positions
in response to the pressure your arguments have exerted upon their
previously maintained positions. "Politics" does
not refer merely
to that which it is conventionally understood to refer–campaigning and
voting for election to legislative and executive positions in
government–but rather to the entire sphere of conflict and struggle, as
well as the regulation and adjudication of this conflict and struggle,
among individuals and social groups over right of access to, and
opportunity for the exercise of, natural and cultural resources,
powers, and capacities. The "politics of reading
refers to the ways in which the activities of reading and writing–and
the texts we read and write in the process of pursuing these
activities–are both affected by and in turn affect this conflict and
struggle over access to and exercise of resources, powers, and
capacities. Rhetoric focuses upon how writing is done: how to
make it as effective as possible so as to persuade or compel its
audience. Politics focuses upon what writing is designed to
persuade or compel its audience to do and why this writing is designed
to enable such ends and serve such interests.
Writing and Critical Citizenship
The ultimate goal of learning to write critically is
to enhance your ability to engage as a critical citizen.
citizens strive, within the communities of which they are a part, to
help make these better places–i.e., more just and fair as well as more
meaningful and fulfilling–for those who live within these communities
(and not just for themselves or their immediate family members and
close friends). One of the principal aims of a liberal arts
education, such as what we offer you at the University of Wisconsin-Eau
Claire, is to provide you an opportunity to reflect on how you will
engage as a critical citizen, as well to reflect on where you can do
this–and where you are needed to do this–while assisting you in
developing and refining the abilities that doing this work will require
(and these include abilities such as thinking, reading, and
writing critically; speaking forth publicly with confidence and
conviction; and arguing compellingly and persuasively).
is the most fundamental and indeed
indispensable means of discourse (i.e., social use of human language)
for all kinds of serious intellectual work and especially for all forms
of effectively critical citizenship. Argument is essential to
practices of inquiring and investigating, convincing and compelling,
persuading and moving, contesting and cooperating, and negotiating and
resolving. This section of English 110 will focus on education in
This does not mean we will neglect "other kinds of
writing," as effective argumentative writing necessarily draws upon and
incorporates all of the following subsidiary writing practices:
paraphrasing, summarizing, citing and quoting, comparing and
contrasting, analyzing and synthesizing, reporting and informing,
researching and investigating, reflecting and commenting, imagining and
inventing, describing and explaining, revising and editing, and
demonstrating and presenting. Moreover, we will also continually
address questions of grammar, usage, punctuation, and mechanics over
the course of the semester, but in this course you will develop and
improve your mastery of the rules and conventions of Standard Written
English by learning how and why mastery of these rules and conventions
will facilitate and strengthen the effectivity of your arguments on
issues of social interest and concern. And, beyond all of this,
you should note well, in reviewing the schedule below, that we will
begin the semester with five weeks focused on issues of style, and the
process of revision, before turning directly toward consideration of
argumentative reading and writing.
The following required texts
may be purchased at the UWEC Bookstore in Davies Center:
1. Trimble, John R. Writing with Style. 2nd
Edition. Prentice-Hall, 2000. ISBN#: 0-13-025713-3.
2. Bishop, Wendy, ed. Acts of Revision: a Guide for Writers.
Boynton/Cook, 2004. ISBN#: 0-86709-550-4.
3. Crusius, Timothy W. and Carolyn E.
Channell. 5th Edition. The
Aims of Argument: a Brief Guide with Student Access to Catalyst.
McGraw-Hill, 2005. ISBN#: 0073-196762.
4. Tomasino, Anna, ed. Music and Culture. A Longman
Topics Reader. Pearson/Longman, 2005. ISBN#:
may feel free to purchase these from any other
bookstore or book outlet, including by means of on-line ordering
outlets (such as amazon.com), as you wish, as long as you acquire them
in time to use in and for class.
*** Please note well: all reading assignments
indicated in the schedule below are due AHEAD of the class meetings in
which we will discuss these readings. You are responsible for
bringing the course book or books to class on the days in which we will
be discussing readings from this book or these books. Failure to
do so will negatively affect your learning and contribution grade;
students who consistently fail to bring their books to class, or who
fail to come prepared to discuss the assigned readings, will suffer the
loss of one full letter grade per unit. ***
WS=Writing with Style AA=The
Aims of Argument
AR=Acts of Revision MC=Music
F 9/2: Introduction and Orientation, Part 1.
W 9/7, F 9/9: Introduction and Orientation Part 2; Thinking Well and
Read for Class, By W
9/7: WS, Chapters 1-2,
M 9/12: Openers, Middles, and Closers.
Read for Class, By M
9/12: WS, Chapters 3-5,
W 9/14: Diction and Readability.
Read for Class, By W
9/14: WS, Chapters 6-7,
Autobiographical Essay Assigned. *****
F 9/16: Superstitions.
Read for Class,
By F 9/16: WS, Chapter
M 9/19: Introduction to How to Write a Critical Analysis.
Read for Class, By M
9/19: WS, Chapter 9,
W 9/21, F 9/23: Punctuation.
Read for Class,
By W 9/21: WS, Chapter
M 9/26: Quoting, Abbreviations, and Tips on Usage.
Read for Class, By M 9/26: WS,
Chapters 13-15, 133-159.
W 9/28, F 9/30: Editing and Proofreading.
Read for Class, By W
9/28: AA, “Appendix: A
Short Guide to Editing and Proofreading,”
W 9/28: Autobiographical Essay Due. *****
M 10/3, W 10/5, F 10/7, and M 10/10: Revision.
Read for Class, By M
“Introduction,” v-x, “Chapter 1: Revising Attitudes,”
1-11, and “Chapter 2: Revising Out and Revising In,” 13-27.
Read for Class,
By W 10/5: AR, “Chapter
6: Subterranean Rulesick Blues,” 61-69,
and “Chapter 9: The Case of Creative Non-Fiction–Retouching Life,”
Read for Class, By F
10/7: AR, “Chapter 4:
Revising Research Writing: a Theory and
Some Exercises,” 38-50.
***** M 10/10: First Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper
W 10/12: Understanding and Reading Arguments.
for Class, By W 10/12: AA,
Chapters 1-2, 3-43.
F 10/14 and M 10/17: Reading and Writing About Visual Arguments.
for Class, By F 10/14: AA,
Chapter 4, 59-91.
M 10/17: First Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper Due. *****
W 10/19, F 10/21: Arguing to Inquire.
for Class, By W 10/19: AA,
Chapter 6, 145-188.
***** W 10/19: Argument and Research Paper Assigned. *****
M 10/24, W 10/26: Arguing to Convince.
for Class, By M 10/24: AA,
Chapter 7, 189-225.
F 10/28, M 10/31: Arguing to Persuade.
for Class, By F 10/28: AA,
Chapter 8, 227-265.
M 10/31: Argument and Research Paper Topic, Issue, Stance, and Working
Thesis Statement Due. *****
W 11/2: Writing Research-Based Arguments.
for Class, By W 11/2: AA,
Chapter 5, 93-141.
F 11/4 and M 11/7: The Appeal of Music.
for Class, By F 11/4: MC,
4-23 (Copland, Etheridge, Cobain).
M 11/7: Annotated Bibliography Due, Argument and Research Paper. *****
W 11/9, F 11/11: Out of Tune: Youth and Morality.
Read for Class, By W
11/9: MC, 32-84 (Bloom,
Hamerlinck, Cobley, Weinstein, Senate
Committee on the Judiciary, Rosen).
M 11/14: Music and Sexuality.
Read for Class, By M
11/14: MC, 85-104 and
107-115 (Paglia, LaFrance, Reynolds and
Press, and Aaronson).
W 11/16: Musicians and the Challenge of Navigating the Racial Terrain.
Read for Class,
By W 11/16: MC, 128-156
(George, Holloway, Krims, and Rose).
F 11/18 and M 11/21: Con$umeri$m: The Business of Music.
Read for Class,
By F 11/18: MC, 164-192
(Hay, Stanley, Mann, Recording Industry
M 11/21 and W 11/23: Creativity, Craft, and Culture.
Read for Class,
By M 11/21: MC,
199-208, 216-226, and 230-241 (Kendall,
Lombardi, Mitchell, and Sanneh).
W 11/23: Argument and Research Paper Due. *****
M 11/28, W 11/30, F 12/2, M 12/5, W 12/7, F 12/9 M 12/12: Class
W 12/14: Conclusion.
Second Learning and Contribution Reflection Paper Assigned. Due
by 5 p.m. W 12/21 in my English Department mailbox, HHH 405. *****
*** THIS SCHEDULE
IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE ***
THE GOALS OF THE UWEC BACCALAUREATE
This university is a liberal arts institution;
education in the liberal arts (and sciences) represents the historic,
central commitment of what we do together on this UW campus-not
vocational training and pre-professional development. According
to the UWEC administration, the baccalaureate degree shall work to
develop the following for UWEC students:
1.) an understanding of a liberal education.
2.) an appreciation of the University as a learning community.
3.) an ability to inquire, think, analyze.
4.) an ability to write, read, speak, listen.
5.) an understanding of numerical data.
6.) a historical consciousness.
7.) international and intercultural experience.
8.) an understanding of science and scientific methods.
9.) an appreciation of the arts.
10.) an understanding of values.
11.) an understanding of human behavior and human institutions.
UWEC strives to help
you meet these objectives in the course of the higher education you
pursue here. Please note that in making these our foremost aims,
we at UWEC clearly distinguish ourselves from technical colleges as
well as from all other UW schools, especially places like Stout and
River Falls. English 110, Introduction to College Writing aims to
help contribute to you meeting goals 1-4 and 10-11.
These goals cannot be met passively by the student:
each requires your striving toward it to be met. Striving means learning actively,
completing assignments in a thorough and timely fashion, participating
in class discussion, and making connections (above and beyond those
emphasized by us in the classroom) between what we do while meeting in
class and what you do when engaged outside of the classroom.
ON INTELLECTUAL CHALLENGES, ACADEMIC
FREEDOM, AND CURRICULAR INTEGRITY
The English Department would like to call your
attention right away to one key difference between high school and
college. In short, at this institutional level we will
consistently address and treat you as adults, not children. Our
aim as such is to provide you with an intellectually challenging
education. This means we will often include texts and introduce
topics in our courses that may well run sharply counter to your
preconceived understanding, based upon high school experience, of what
is and is not “appropriate” for direct engagement in class. We
will, in short, candidly explore adult texts and topics, including ones
offering representations that may, on occasion, prove unsettling,
disturbing, and even offensive to some of you.
The higher educational academy is not a “safe space”
separate from the rest of the “real world” where you can expect to be
sheltered from encountering anything you might find disagreeable or
objectionable. On the contrary, we expect you to take up the
challenge to confront these kinds of texts and topics in a mature,
responsible way, and that means bringing directly to bear your negative
reactions-including your reactions of shock, dismay, and discontent-in
class discussions and in your writings and presentations for
class. If you find a position or practice represented by a text
or topic included in the assigned readings or screenings for class to
be objectionable, it is therefore of crucial importance that you raise
your objections openly and honestly, not simply claim personal
exemption from having to see, hear, or talk, read, and write about
these kinds of matters. After all, disturbing positions and
practices exist extensively outside of the classroom as well as in what
we read, see, hear, and otherwise confront in and for class; what we
confront in class exists in this institutional space as symptomatic of
positions and practices that operate beyond the confines of the
classroom, the course, and the university. If and when you find
any text or topic genuinely appalling, you maintain the
ethical responsibility, as a mature adult and as a responsible citizen,
not simply to try to hide from these positions and practices but rather
to work to critique and change them.
Students should expect therefore that you may well
on occasion encounter representations that you will find troubling, in
this UWEC course and in many others as well; within this Department you
will receive no right of exemption from engaging with these and no
welcome for simply complaining (especially to a higher administrative
authority) about their inclusion. Instead you should bring your
objections forthrightly to bear in your contributions to class
discussion. Finally, to conclude this particular point of
discussion, a professor differs from a high school teacher in many
respects, but one key difference is that we maintain a principal
professional, ethical responsibility forthrightly to represent the most
advanced knowledges in our fields of expertise and to proceed from
there to work toward their further development and
dissemination. In short, we must create, advocate for, and
profess these knowledges; you should expect that your professors may
from time to time take strong and indeed controversial positions on
difficult and challenging issues, eschewing the pretense of
disinterested neutrality. To do anything less than assume this
responsibility, and to do so with alacrity, would be to shirk our
professorial responsibility and to render ourselves unworthy of
maintaining our professorial positions.
THE FIRST-YEAR EXPERIENCE PROGRAM
This section of English 110 is one of a large number
of first-year experience program courses taught across the University
of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. The goals of these courses are as
1.) To introduce students to liberal education and to awaken
2.) To enhance skills needed for academic success: reading, writing,
speaking, listening, thinking, inquiry, analysis, use of information
technology, library skills, and time management.
3.) To strengthen students’ connection to the University.
4.) To engage students in meaningful academic and non-academic
5.) To enhance students’ accountability for their education.
In order to assist us in meeting these goals,
first-year experience program courses are limited in enrollment to a
relatively much lower maximum number of students than you will
encounter in most, if not all, of the other courses in which you will
enroll over the course of your first year at this university.
This relatively smaller class size will enable more extensive and
inclusive discussion in class as well as greater opportunity for me
(and your senior student mentors) to work with you individually and in
small groups outside of class.
At the same time as maximum enrollment is limited to
a relatively low number of students, all first-year experience program
courses also have senior student mentors who work with course
instructors to help you make a successful transition to the life of a
student at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. In this
section of English 110, your senior student mentors are Aaron Kroska,
Elizabeth Schweitzer, and Matthew White. Aaron, Elizabeth, and
Matthew will also each hold regular weekly office hours at times
and places where it will prove convenient to meet with you; these will
be determined after surveying your schedules early this semester. These
people will help evaluate your contribution to the course, especially
in the form of your Desire 2Learn postings. They will work
together with me as well to help you on diverse matters of curricular
and extracurricular interest and concern, and they will be responsible,
in consultation with me, for organizing a series of extracurricular
class outings and workshops for us to participate in as a class.
Further details concerning these activities will be forthcoming as the
semester proceeds. You are required to attend as many of these
extracurricular activities and events as possible. You will be
given credit for doing so.
I encourage you to meet with me in conference during
office hours or at another mutually convenient time to discuss any
issue of interest or concern related to what we are doing in this
course. Learning that takes place in conferences can at times be
equally as important, and in fact occasionally even more important,
than what takes place in class. Please do not hesitate to meet
with me during office hours or to ask for an appointment at any time
you think this might be helpful; I regard making myself available for
conferences with you outside of class to be an indispensable part of my
responsibility as your teacher. Moreover, I always
sincerely do welcome getting to know and work with my students outside
as well as inside of class. I am ready to do whatever I can to
help you in your understanding of issues addressed in discussions,
readings, and screenings, as well as to help you in your writing for
and participation in this course. I want to make sure that I do
all that I can to help you succeed in this course and I want to help
you, as far as I can, to gain as much out of it as possible through
your participation in and work for it. You may also feel
free to write me via e-mail, and to call me–or leave a message for me
on the answering machine–at my office. I enjoy meeting and
working with students outside as well as inside of class; I really
do. I would rather talk with you during my office hours than do
anything else, so please do not worry about “disturbing” me in coming
to talk with me; my office hours are time that I have set aside to
meet, talk, and work with you. PLEASE DO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS
Likewise, please keep in mind that Matthew White,
Elizabeth Schweitzer, and Aaron Kroska are joining this class as senior
student mentors to help you; seek them out and take advantage of their
assistance. These people will all hold regular weekly
office hours, at times and places to be announced, and can meet with
you at other times and places as well, by appointment.
Any student who has a disability and is in need of classroom
accommodations, please contact the instructor and the Services for
Students with Disabilities Office early in the semester. *
THE WRITING CENTER
The Writing Center, located in HHH 605, provides
free tutoring for students enrolled in English 099, 110, and 112.
The Center is open from 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday,
and 9:00 a.m.- Noon on Friday (from September to May). You should
contact English Department Program Assistant Jude Agema (836-2644) to
arrange to work with a tutor.
Do not hesitate to consult a tutor about even a
relatively "minor" question, concern, or difficulty, and go to the
Center to start working with a tutor, should you decide that you need
this extra help, as early in the semester as possible–the earlier you
go, the sooner you will be able to work with a tutor and the sooner you
will be able to make progress. Please note well, however, that a
tutor will never do your work for you. An effective tutor
will facilitate your work by providing careful guidance without being
directive. For more information about tutoring and related
assistance, see the Writing Center webpage:
ORGANIZATION AND CONDUCT OF CLASS SESSIONS
Class will proceed according to a variety of
discussion formats. I will, from time to time, make short,
relatively informal presentations (and even perhaps somewhat longer and
less informal ones on rare occasion, as need be). Yet, for the
overwhelmingly majority of class time, I plan directly to involve you
in actively participating as part of the work of educating both
yourself and the rest of the class through what you have to say as well
as share with us in written form. I want you to work with me in
learning; I always find people tend to learn better, at least in this
kind of class, this way rather than by remaining quiet and taking notes
during the course of long lectures. Many times you will be
working in groups in class, and many times you will be sharing your
writing with the rest of the class, either prepared before class meets,
or during class time itself. At other points, you will be asked
to do some relatively simple research and bring the results of this
research to class to share with the rest of us. You will also be
working outside of class in groups–to prepare for the class debate,
and, most likely, on other occasions as well. In addition, we
will from time to time refer to your postings on our Desire2Learn
electronic classroom while meeting and talking together in class.
Throughout this process, and in all of these projects and discussion
formats, I will help you in every way I possibly can. I
want you to succeed.
I will maintain ultimate responsibility, authority,
and control for the direction of our class discussions (assisted by the
mentors), yet I aim to insure that we hear extensively from everyone
else. I recognize and respect that the students enrolled in this
class represent considerable differences in prior knowledge,
experience, training, work, or other preparation versus the diverse
subjects we will engage, as well as versus the kinds of skills that the
course will require. Likewise I well know, and understand, that
students differ considerably in terms of how more versus less inclined
as well as more versus less comfortable they feel in speaking as part
of class discussions. Yet I expect that these differences, along
with differences in social, cultural, economic, political, and
ideological ascriptions, affiliations, and commitments, all will be
brought to the fore so that each member of the class can contribute to
its success from both where she is at and toward where he aspires to be.
GENERAL EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENTS
While I am providing you an elaborate framework to
direct our work together, I firmly believe that the success of any
course I teach depends as much–if not often in fact much more–on what
my students bring and give to the process of learning as what I
do. I see college teaching and learning as a collective project
and this means its success–or failure–depends upon the degree and kind
of commitment and the quantity and quality of contribution of everyone
involved. Some of the best teachers with whom I have ever worked
have insisted that they do not teach their students as much as they
teach their students how to teach themselves. It is impossible to
teach someone who does not sincerely want and who does not assiduously
strive to learn. I will always work equally hard and equally
seriously to help students who demonstrate this kind of effort succeed,
both within my courses and beyond.
I expect you to approach this course as one that you
sincerely want to take, and in which you sincerely want to learn.
I expect you to work hard in this course and to approach this course
with both diligence and enthusiasm. I expect you to become, and
to remain, interested in the subject matter of the course as an end in
itself and not merely as a means to achieve a passing grade and five
credits. Remember, a liberal arts undergraduate education means
giving priority emphasis to a broad--general– education, not giving
priority emphasis to a narrow–major–area of specialization. You
will do well at UWEC if you keep this in mind: this university values
general education courses as much as, if not in fact more than,
specialized courses within specific major fields.
I expect you to be actively engaged in class
discussion, in an intellectually serious manner. Some students
prefer courses in which teachers simply tell them what is right, what
is true, and everything that these students are supposed to do, so that
the students need merely repeat all of this back to their teachers to
obtain a good grade while not expending much of any intellectual energy
or demonstrating virtually any genuine intellectual growth. This
is definitely not that kind of course, and if you approach your work in
and for this section of English 110 as a passive learner you will do
If you experience problems at any point over the
course of the semester I expect you to contact me right away and
discuss these forthrightly with me; I am ready to do whatever I can to
help you if and when you experience problems in this course, or
elsewhere, as long as you are candid and sincere, but I can't help if
you are not upfront about what's going on and if you don't level with
me. I am a compassionate as well as a passionate person, so don't
hesitate to talk with me about problems if and when you experience
them; we can work past many of these, if you contact me in time and if
we work together. Likewise, please do seek out assistance from
Elizabeth, Aaron, and Matthew as well if you should experience
problems; they are prepared to help and committed to doing so.
SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR THE COURSE
In evaluating all work done for this course, I will
take account of how carefully, seriously, intelligently,
enthusiastically, and imaginatively students engage with the concepts,
issues, positions, and arguments addressed in the course and
represented by the texts we read, by me, by the mentors, and by each
This course cannot contribute effectively to
students' learning if students do not attend class. What
happens in class is an indispensable part of this course. Therefore,
the following attendance policy will apply for students enrolled in
this section of English 110:
1.) Students who exceed a maximum of three
absences will suffer a penalty of a loss of one full letter
each additional unexcused absence.
2.) Students should provide me with written
confirmation of a debilitating injury or illness, or of any other
serious individual or family emergency, for the acceptance of
further absences beyond
the maximum of three unexcused absences.
3.) In addition to the maximum of three unexcused
absences, students may miss a maximum of four excused
suffering a grade penalty. Eight total absences
will result in a
loss of two full letter grades. Students who miss
eight classes total should withdraw from the course and enroll again in
a subsequent semester; otherwise they will receive a grade of F.
Students are expected to arrive for class on time
and to stay through the very end of class. If you don’t do so,
you won’t be counted as attending class. In addition, you
need to be awake, alert, and attentive while in class; this means you
can’t expect to sleep or rest in class. Again, if you do so, this
will count as an absence from class. And the same is true of
doing other school work in class or attending to other–personal–matters
irrelevant to the focus of what we are about in this course (e.g.,
Contribution/Learning and Contribution Reflection Papers
What This is and Why it is Important
My foremost aim in teaching this course is to help
you to learn something of significance and value. I will judge
you to a significant degree on what you learn, how- and how hard-you
strive to learn, and on how-along with how well-you contribute to the
learning for the rest of the class.
You cannot learn or help others learn if you do not
contribute. If you don't contribute to the work of this class not
only will you fail to derive as much gain from it as would be the case
if you did contribute, but also you will deprive everyone else of the
benefit of your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, values, knowledge, and
experience. In fact, to remain passively silent in class exploits
the work of others who actively engage.
Class participation represents an important
opportunity to learn, not just a place in which to demonstrate what you
have learned. By raising questions, testing and trying out ideas,
taking risks and making mistakes, you learn a great deal-and help
others learn a great deal as well. You learn through
just talk to show what you have learned. Don't hesitate to
forth in class if you have anything at all to throw into the mix.
At the same time, just talking a great deal does not
necessarily mean that you are making a quality contribution to the
class by aiding the learning that we aim to accomplish. Quality of
participation is much more important than quantity, although a
sufficient quantity is indispensable to insure quality. Still, I want
to emphasize here that I perceive talking which pulls us off on
far-fetched tangents, which remains disconnected from and disengaged
with the reading and the rest of the class, or which effectively
silences others, to be negative participation.
Quality class participation does not, moreover,
involve merely asking questions of me and responding to my questions;
quality class participation requires you to work as assiduously as you
can to advance a serious and substantial discussion with your peers
about the texts and topics subject to discussion. Students should,
therefore, be prepared to engage with and respond to each other in
class discussion, and I will take particular note of how well you do so.
I would like you to come to class with strong
opinions on the topics of discussion, to be ready to share your
opinions with the class, and to be open-minded enough to debate your
own and others’ thoughts and to push them as far as they will go.
In evaluating class participation, I find the
following modification of a system designed by my colleague, Professor
Mary Ellen Alea, useful: A = Nearly daily response, and with
consistently useful, insightful comments and questions; B= Daily
response, with regular, relevant comments and questions; C = Less
frequent, occasional questions and comments; D = Almost always entirely
quiet; F= Engaging in behavior that disrupts the learning processes of
you and your fellow students, such as talking while others are
speaking, not paying attention in class, or doing other work or
attending to other interests during the time class is meeting.
Alternative Forms of Contribution
Contribution to the class certainly can extend far
beyond mere speaking in class: it may include a variety of ways in
which you can bring to bear your insights to help yourself as well as
the rest of us gain from the experience of this course.
Excellent writings for and in response to class (on Desire2Learn,
see below) and as part of your learning and contribution reflection
papers (see below as well) can help make up for limitations as far as
participation in class goes. At the same time, listening
carefully, respectfully, and thoughtfully in class discussions is yet
another important means of contribution.
Learning and Contribution Reflection Papers/Learning and Contribution
Learning and contribution will constitute a
significant proportion of your overall course grade. As
part of this grade, you will write two learning and contribution
reflection papers. For these papers I will ask you questions that
will require you to sum up what, most significantly, you have been
learning as a student enrolled in this course, and to assess how, along
with how well, you have been contributing to your own learning, and to
that of others in the class.
As I see it, these papers provide you a useful
opportunity to communicate with me how you believe you are doing with
the course, as well as why so, and to demonstrate your
self-reflexivity, the hallmark of a liberal arts education.
you are assessing your own learning and contribution, you may include
thoughts in reaction to issues raised in class discussion that you did
not have the opportunity or did not feel comfortable enough to share in
class; these additional reflections will help me get a better sense of
what you have been thinking about and how you have been responding to
class discussions, as well as to the readings. I will take into
account what you write in determining your learning and contribution
grade for the preceding semester period; performance on these papers
represents a vital component of your learning and contribution grade.
I will provide you specific directions in the
assignments I give you for each of these papers; please note well that
the questions you address will change from the first to the second
reflection paper. The first learning and contribution grade
(including the first learning and contribution reflection paper) will
be worth 10% of
the overall course grade. The second learning and
contribution grade (including the second learning and contribution
reflection paper) will be worth 20% of the
overall course grade.
Near the beginning of unit one students will be
assigned to write an autobiographical essay. The specific details
of this assignment will be announced and explained in class.
initial finished version of this assignment will
be ungraded. I will however respond to what you write by offering
extensive comments, critiques, and suggestions and recommendations for
revision. You then will take all of these into account in
revising this paper. The first revision
of the autobiographical
essay will be due one week after I return the initial finished version
of this paper to you, and will be worth 10% of the
grade. I will then once again offer comments,
and further suggestions and recommendations for yet further
second revision of your autobiographical essay will
take what I wrote in response to your first revision into account, and
this second revision will, once again, be due a week after I return the
first revision to you, and worth another 10% of
the overall course
I strongly advise you to take time carefully to plan
out each version of your
autobiographical essay before writing it, and
to write, and then revise and edit, at
least one rough draft before
preparing the version you turn in to me. Be prepared for me
to ask that you give me copies of your pre-writing notes and/or
outlines, as well as your edited rough drafts in relation to any and/or
all versions of these papers.
Argument and Research Paper
During the course of unit two students will be
assigned to write an argument and research paper. The specific
details of this assignment will be announced and explained in class.
For this assignment you will be required to write an
argumentative paper drawing upon independent research on a
controversial contemporary issue exercising an urgent impact upon
college and university students today and in their future
lives. You will choose your topic, subject to my approval,
and your goal will to be persuade, or at least compel, an audience that
does not already agree with you, and which, in fact, approaches this
topic with a strong inclination toward skepticism about your position.
As indicated in the course schedule above, I will
ask you to submit the following to me prior to the time in which this
paper will be due:
a clear, precise, concrete statement of your chosen topic, the
issue in relation to this topic you choose to address, your
this issue, and your working thesis.
2.) second, an annotated bibliography
sources you are drawing upon in writing your paper.
The argument and research paper will be worth 20% of the
General Formatting Requirements: Papers and Essays
All papers should be typed, double-space, on single
sides of standard white letter-sized (8" X 11") typewriter, computer
printer, or photographic paper. You may use any standard font you
wish but your print size must remain between 10 and 12 points. Pages
should be numbered, and your name should be at the top of the first
page. The pages of your paper must be stapled together and you
are responsible for doing so; I do not bring staplers to class.
You are also responsible for proofreading your paper
before you turn it in; if you catch any typographical errors, you
should neatly cross these out and write your corrections on top of
these with a pen (but not a pencil).
I will expect you, furthermore, to observe all the
rules and conventions of Standard Written English to the very best of
your ability in writing each of these papers, including MLA format for
citation and documentation of sources for the argument and research
Late papers will lose 1/3 of a letter grade per day
late unless you have made arrangements ahead of the time with me to
turn in these papers late due to a serious personal or family
problem. Consistently late Desire2Learn postings will lead
to lower evaluations as well.
A Word on
Plagiarism and Academic Honesty
Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic
dishonesty are serious offenses. They not only undermine the goal
of learning but also are exploitative of the work of others.
Dishonesty in written work as part of this course will result in a
failing grade. In addition, dishonesty may result in further
disciplinary action on the part of the University administration;
dishonesty can ultimately lead to expulsion from the
University. It will be very difficult to buy a paper for
this course from another source, given the nature of the assignments
you will be asked to address, yet if you try to do so, please keep in
mind we in the English Department know all of the sites, and we will
catch you. Also, If you directly echo someone else’s thoughts as
articulated in the course of class discussion you should add the last
name, followed by the letters CD (for class discussion), followed by
the date, in a parenthetical citation right after the end of the
sentence, viz: (Nowlan, CD, 10/8/03).
In unit three you will be given an assignment to
participate in a class debate organized in response to a proposition
that relates to our reading and discussion of Music and Culture.
As part of this assignment you will also be required to work
extensively preparing, including researching, ahead of the actual
debate itself. At the end of the debate you will have an
opportunity to evaluate your own performance, as well as those
participating on your team. Specific details of this assignment
will be announced and explained in class. The debate will be
worth 15% of the
Postings (Reflections, Comments, Critiques)
Students will be asked to post short reflections,
comments, and/or critiques approximately every two-three weeks on a
Desire2Learn electronic classroom website that I have prepared for this
class. I will explain how to access this site and where to post,
as well as retrieve, your responses, comments, and critiques (along
with other material I post to this site).
All students must do this six times during the
semester, three times for the first
half of the course, and three
for the second half of the course.
For each posts assignment you will respond twice:
first, to a specific question or problem, and then, second, to what
your classmates have posted in response to this same question or
problem. The assignment will always relate to course content
and/or issues of college life.
The mentors will enter into dialogue with you in
relation to what you write in these papers. I will take
account of the mentors’ recommendations in grading you on your
performance for these assignments, where I will be looking for
seriousness of effort and initiative as well as careful thought and
active engagement. These posts are, nonetheless, semi-formal,
meaning that we will not be sticklers for stylistic perfection, yet you
should try always to express yourself and communicate to the rest of
your classmates as clearly and cogently as possible.
The D2L posts will give you a chance to test out and
explore ideas, as well as to raise questions and engage in extended,
serious conversations outside of class time with your peers and your
senior student mentors. For those who are relatively quiet in
class this is a great opportunity to show the mentors and I that you
are in fact paying careful attention, well-prepared, and seriously
Your Desire2Learn posts for the first half of the
semester will be worth
7.5% of the overall course grade, while your
Desire2Learn papers for the second half of the course will be worth an
additional 7.5% of the overall course grade.
You will receive extra credit for participating in
first-year experience program outings and workshops that
and I will arrange for this course. The mentors and I will also
recommend that you attend various extra-curricular events
and ask that you then
engage in a thoughtful discussion with one or
them about this experience. You may earn up to 10% extra credit
for participating in the workshops, outings, and
events. This is not just extra credit, however: if you do
not participate regularly in workshops, outings, and extra-curricular
events, I will actually reduce your overall course grade, by one full
letter grade. It is important, and the University expects
that you will take full advantage of the opportunities enrollment in a
first-year experience program class provides. We do not ask you
to participate in a definite quantity of these first-year experience
program activities, as we are much more interested in quality than
quantity, and we do not want students approaching this as simply a task
that you should seek to accomplish by merely going through the motions
such that you merely seek to reach a total of number of occasions where
you put your body in a place the mentors and I recommend. The
spirit of engagement is the key here, so keep this in mind and
most of these opportunities.
I strive to be as responsible and as accountable to
my students as possible. I believe it is crucial that students
become aware of the ideas and the values that shape and direct their
education, and I believe students should expect that all of their
teachers will be prepared to explain why they teach as they do.
take the time, as early as you can this semester, to
read through and think carefully about my "Statement of Teaching
Philosophy" that I have posted on my UWEC faculty website:
This statement explains WHY I teach as I do. I think it is
extremely important that you know and understand where your teachers
are coming from in teaching you as they do. You will find me one
who trusts you sufficiently always to be frank and honest about this
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Professor Bob Nowlan
Last Updated: August 28, 2005