English 110, Section 013: Introduction to
Spring 2006, UWEC,
MW 10-11:50 a.m. and F 11-11:50 a.m., HHH 323
Office: HHH 425
Office Phone Number: (715) 836-4369
Office Hours: MWF 12-1 pm, M 6:40-7:30
pm, T 8:50-9:30 pm,
W 5:40-6:30 pm, and By Appointment
E-mail: Professor Bob Nowlan
Senior Student Mentor
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'.
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
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
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 and writing"
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. Critical
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).
Argument 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. Lazere, Donald. Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy:
The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric.
Paradigm, 2005. ISBN#: 1-59451-085-7.
You 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 each half
of the semester. ***
with Style AR=Acts of
and Writing for Civic Literacy
M 1/23: Introduction and Orientation, Part One.
W 1/25: Introduction and Orientation Part Two/Thinking Well and Getting
Launched, Part One.
Read for Class, By W 1/25: WS, Chapters 1-2, 3-24.
F 1/27: Thinking Well and Getting Launched, Part Two.
M 1/30: Openers, Middles, Closers.
for Class, By M 1/30: WS,
Chapters 3-5, 25-52.
Essay Assigned *
W 2/1: Diction, Readability.
for Class, By W 2/1: WS,
Chapters 6-7, 53-81.
F 2/3: Superstitions.
for Class, By F 2/3: WS,
Chapter 8, 82-93.
M 2/6: Introduction to How to Write a Critical Analysis.
Read for Class, By M 2/6: WS,
Chapter 9, 94-98.
W 2/8 and F 2/10: Punctuation.
for Class, By W 2/8: WS,
Chapter 12, 105-132.
Essay Due (F 2/10) *
M 2/13: Quoting, Abbreviations, Usage.
for Class, By M 2/13: WS,
Chapters 13-15, 133-159.
W 2/15 and F 2/17: Editing and Proofreading.
for Class, W 2/15: “A Short Guide to Editing and Proofreading”
(To Be Distributed).
M 2/20: Revision, Part One.
for Class, By M 2/20: AR,
“Introduction,” v-x, “Chapter 1: Revising Attitudes,” 1-11, and
“Chapter 2: Revising Out and Revising In,” 13-27.
W 2/22: Revision, Part Two.
for Class, By W 2/20: AR,
“Chapter 6: Subterranean Rulesick Blues,” 61-69, and “Chapter 9: The
Case of Creative Non-Fiction–Retouching Life,” 108-124.
F 2/24: Revision, Part Three.
for Class, By F 2/24: AR,
“Chapter 4: Revising Research Writing: a Theory and Some Exercises,”
M 2/27: Revision, Part Four.
* Learning and
Contribution Reflection Paper #1 Assigned *
W 3/1 and F 3/3: Introduction to Critical Citizenship.
for Class, By W 3/1: RWCL,
“Chapter 1: An Appeal to Students,” 3-41, and Chapter 3, “Definitions
and Criteria of Critical Thinking,” 63-88.
M 3/6: Introduction to Argument.
for Class, By M 3/6: RWCL,
“Chapter 2: What is an Argument? What is a Good Argument?,” 42-62.
* Learning and
Contribution Reflection Paper #1 Due *
W 3/8 and F 3/10: Viewpoint, Bias, Fairness/Questioning Culturally
Conditioned Assumptions and Ethnocentrism.
for Class, By W 3/8: RWCL,
“Chapter 5: Viewpoint, Bias, and Fairness: From Cocksure Ignorance to
Thoughtful Uncertainty,” 125-147, and Chapter 6, “Questioning
Culturally Conditioned Assumptions and Ethnocentrism,” 148-182.
M 3/13: Overgeneralization, Stereotyping, and Prejudice;
Authoritarianism and Conformity, Rationalization and
for Class, By M 3/13: RWCL,
“Chapter 7: Overgeneralization, Stereotyping, and Prejudice,” 183-203,
and “Chapter 8: Authoritarianism and Conformity, Rationalization and
W 3/15 and F 3/17: Semantics in Rhetoric and Critical Thinking;
Avoiding Oversimplification and Recognizing Complexity.
for Class, By W 3/15: RWCL,
“Chapter 9: Semantics in Rhetoric and Critical Thinking,” 222-243, and
“Chapter 10: Avoiding Oversimplification and Recognizing Complexity,”
* Critical and
Argumentative Thinking, Reading, and Writing Paper One Assigned (W
M 3/27 and W 3/29: Some Key Terms in Logic and Argumentation; Logical
and Rhetorical Fallacies.
for Class, By M 3/27: RWCL,
“Chapter 11:Some Key Terms in Logic and Argumentation,” 260-287, and
“Chapter 12: Logical and Rhetorical Fallacies,” 288-297.
F 3/31: Causal Analysis.
for Class, By F 3/31: RWCL,
“Chapter 13: Causal Analysis,” 298-323.
M 4/3: Uses and Misuses of Emotional Appeal.
Read for Class, By M 4/3: RWCL,
“Chapter 14: Uses and Misuses of Emotional Appeal,” 324-347.
* Critical and
Argumentative Thinking, Reading, and Writing Paper One Due *
** Critical and
Argumentative Thinking, Reading, and Writing Paper Two Assigned **
W 4/5 and F 4/7: Special Interests, Conflict of Interest, Special
Pleading; Varieties of Propaganda; Advertising and Hype.
for Class, By W 4/5: RWCL,
“Chapter 17: Special Interests, Conflict of Interest, Special
Pleading,” 425-443, “Chapter 18: Varieties of Propaganda,” 444-467, and
“Chapter 19: Advertising and Hype,” 468-482.
M 4/10 and W 4/12: Writing Argumentative Papers; Collecting and
Evaluating Opposing Sources: Writing the Research Paper; Documentation;
for Class, By M 4/10: RWCL,
“Chapter 4: Writing Argumentative Papers,” 89-122, “”Chapter 21:
Collecting and Evaluating Sources: Writing the Research Paper,”
512-527, “Chapter 22: Documentation,” 528-530,” and “Chapter 23:
Research Resources,” 531-538.
** Argument and
Research Paper Assigned (M 4/10) **
W 4/19 and F 4/21: Thinking Critically About Political Rhetoric.
for Class, By W 4/19: RWCL,
“Chapter 15: Thinking Critically About Political Rhetoric,” 351-390.
* Critical and
Argumentative Thinking, Reading, and Writing Paper Two Due (F 4/21)*
M 4/24: Thinking Critically About Political Rhetoric
(Continued)/Thinking Critically About Mass Media.
for Class, By M 4/24: RWCL,
“Chapter 16: Thinking Critically About the Mass Media,” 391-422.
W 4/26 and F 4/28: Thinking Critically About Mass Media (Continued).
M 5/1, W 5/3, and F 5/5: Class Debate Preparation.
* Argument and
Research Paper Due (M 5/1) *
M 5/8: Class Debate Preparation (Continued).
* Learning and
Contribution Reflection Paper Two Assigned *
W 5/10: Class Debate.
F 5/12: Conclusion.
** M 5/15, By 12
noon in my English Department Mailbox, HHH 405: Learning and
Contribution Reflection Paper Due **
*** 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 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 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, 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
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.
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 and
readings, 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 OPPORTUNITY!
Also, Shane Leonard has joined this class as a
senior student mentor because he wants to work with and help
you. Shane will be helping me in teaching the class, so you
should get to know him well. Please also feel free to
contact and meet with Shane outside of class about any matter of
interest or concern; he too will hold regular office hours and be
readily accessible to assist you. Shane can be of great help do
you; take advantage of the opportunity to work with him.
* 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. 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
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 a number of other occasions as well. In
addition, we may 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 Shane, 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 to 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 Shane as well if you should experience problems; he is
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 Shane, and by each other.
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
unexcused absences will suffer a penalty of a loss of one full
letter grade for 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 excusing of any 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 three
excused absences without suffering a grade penalty. Seven total absences
will result in a loss of two full letter grades.
Students who miss more than seven 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., text-messaging). *
** In addition, IT IS VERY IMPORTANT IN THIS CLASS THAT YOU COME TO
CLASS HAVING DONE THE READING REQUIRED OF YOU PRIOR TO CLASS. The
quality of your own learning, and that of the rest of your classmates
depends upon you taking this seriously and carrying it our
Learning and 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 talking, not
just talk to show what you have learned. Don't hesitate to speak
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
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.
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.
Contribution Reflection Papers/Learning and Contribution Reflection
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 critical
self-reflexivity, the hallmark of a liberal arts education. As
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 12.5% of the overall course
grade. The second learning and contribution grade (including the
second learning and contribution reflection paper) will be worth 17.5%
of the overall course grade.
Additional Essays and Papers
At the beginning of the second week of the semester
you will be assigned 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 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
overall course grade.
I strongly advise you to take time carefully to plan
out both versions 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 each
version of these essays.
Critical and Argumentative Thinking,
Reading, and Writing Papers; Argument and Research Paper
During the course of our work with Donald Lazere’s Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy:
The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric (from W
3/1 through F 4/28) you will write two
short critical and
argumentative thinking, reading, and writing papers, and one short
argument and research paper. In each case the assignment
will relate directly to the specific readings and concepts from
Lazere’s book that you will have been reading, studying, and discussing
in classes immediately prior to, and up through, the paper assignment
in question. The first critical and argumentative thinking,
reading, and writing paper will draw upon and relate to chapters 1-3
and 5-10; the second critical and argumentative thinking, reading, and
writing paper will draw upon and relate to chapters 11-14 and 17-19;
and the argument and research paper will draw upon and relate to
chapters 4, 15-16, and 20-23. Specific details of each
assignment will be announced and explained in class. The first and second
critical and argumentative thinking, reading, and writing papers will
each be worth 10% of the overall course grade, while the argument and
research paper will be worth 12.5% of the overall course grade.
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 the rules
and conventions of Standard Written English to the very best of your
ability in writing these papers, including MLA format for citation and
documentation of sources for the argument and research paper.
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
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, 2/8/06).
Toward the end of the course 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 chapters
15-16, and possibly also chapter 20, from Donald Lazere’s Reading and Writing for Civic Literacy:
The Critical Citizen’s Guide to Argumentative Rhetoric.
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. Preparation for and
performance in the debate will be worth 10% of the course grade.
Desire2Learn Postings (Reflections,
Students will be asked to post short reflections,
comments, and/or critiques approximately every two 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).
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.
Shane will enter into dialogue with you in relation
to what you write in these posts. I will take account
Shane’s 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 precisely 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 Shane and I that you are
in fact paying careful attention, well-prepared, and seriously engaged.
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.
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.
Please, therefore, 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