You will be given a range of assignments in this course, including a self-assessment, various reading and writing exercises, three major papers, and a final portfolio. Much of this work will not be graded, but that does not mean it is unimportant. Students who prepare diligently for class, participate actively, and take the homework exercises and drafts seriously generally learn more and write better final papers than those who do not.
Self-Assessment: At the beginning of the semester, you will be asked to submit a written self-assessment in which you take stock of your reading and writing abilities and establish some personal goals you wish to pursue over the course of the semester. For grading purposes, your self-assessment will be considered your first exercise. If you missed the first day of class, please download and complete the assignment as soon as possible.
Exercises and Journals: We will use the term exercises to refer to various low-stakes assignments and activities that you will be asked to complete over the course of the semester. You will do some of these exercises in class; others will be given as homework. I recommend that you purchase a notebook to contain your in-class writing and that you bring this notebook with you to class each day. You may use a laptop as long as you do not distract other students in the class. Your exercises will not receive explicit grades, although you will receive credit for completing them on time. Your performance on these assignments may also affect your participation adjustment (see below).
Prospectus: You will be expected to a prospectus for your last formal paper this semester that outlines your proposed topic and methodology before the first draft is due. Your prospectus should be included as a part of your Portfolio.
Annotated Bibliography: You should include an annotated bibliography to be worked on throughout the second half of the semester. You will be asked to make annotated bibliography entries for all of your papers as you are working on them; these entries should appear as a part of each stage of your Portfolio.
Major Papers (drafts and final versions): We will use the term draft to refer to unfinished or preliminary versions of your three major papers. You will be required to write at least one draft of paper 1 and at least two drafts of papers 2 and 3. For papers 2 and 3, one of your drafts will receive comments from me, either in written or verbal form; the other will receive feedback from your classmates. Drafts will not receive explicit grades, although you will receive credit for completing them on time. Remember that you are more likely to write a better final paper if you write a substantive draft. Your performance on your drafts may also affect your participation adjustment (see below). Your course grade will be determined primarily by the quality of the final versions of your major papers. All drafts and final papers must be word-processed and be documented in either MLA or Chicago style. Please include a word count (available as a function on most word processors) at the end of all written work.
Portfolio: At the end of the semester, you will be asked to submit a portfolio containing your self-assessment, major papers (drafts and final versions), a prospectus, an annotated bibliography, other supporting artifacts, and an introductory essay. The portfolio provides you with an opportunity to document and reflect on your development as a reader and writer over the course of the semester. Your portfolio will contain work that has already been graded. This work will not be re-graded in the portfolio. Rather, your grade for the portfolio will be based on those things that make the portfolio itself a coherent work: the introduction, any additional framing (annotations, captions, etc.), the selection and arrangement of artifacts, and overall organization.
Format: All drafts and finished papers must be typed or word-processed and adhere to MLA, APA, or Chicago format. Please include a word count (available as a function on most word processors) at the end of all written work. Papers should be submitted via email or through Digication.
Sharing of Student Writing: Experienced writers routinely share their work with others, because they understand that the best way to improve a piece of writing is to test it out with actual readers. In this class, you will learn how to respond productively to the writing of others and how to use feedback from others to improve your own work. All students in the class will be required to share at least one draft of each paper. If you are concerned about sharing your writing, please talk with me about your concerns.