DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

Course Requirements and Expectations

As a writing seminar, WR 150 requires both a good deal of reading and writing and your active involvement in a variety of class activities.

Specific course requirements are:

  • three finished papers, each presented in the context of a portfolio
  • ungraded writing, including in-class assignments, comments on peers’ work, and a weekly informal reading journal
  • attendance and participation
  • two conferences with instructor



Required Texts – All texts may be found at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Kenmore Square unless otherwise indicated.

– Course packet (available online)

– Norton Writing Handbook (free online)


Craft of Research (U. Chicago)

Prospero’s Daughter by Elizabeth Nuñez (Ballantine)

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Bedford/St. Martin’s*)

Macbeth by William Shakespeare (Classical Comics*)

The Tempest by William Shakespeare (Arden)

* this edition required

Always bring texts for the day to class.

Course Packet includes excerpts from Faith and Treason by Antonia Fraser and articles on genetics, eugenics, slavery, and evolution. Additional materials will also be available online.

Films: Scotland PA (2001), directed by Billy Morrissette and V for Vendetta (2005), directed by the Wachowski Brothers. There will be screenings scheduled, but attendance is not mandatory. If students do not attend screenings, they are welcome to rent or purchase films on their own, or students may view the films at the Geddes Language Lab on the 5th floor of CAS.

The Digication site for this course will have links and downloads pertinent to the class. Assignments sheets, handouts, and readings will all be available online for students to download and print. The Course Packet for this course is only available online. Students may use the computer labs at Mugar Library to download and print the readings.



Our class has a Digication online Instructor’s Portfolio that contains the syllabus, assignments, and other course-related materials.  Our Digication Portfolio page is bu.digication.com

The Class Portfolio on Digication will have all materials related to class – handouts, readings not found in purchased books, etc. Students may also use the Digication software to turn in assignments.

All students will be creating their own online portfolios for the semester using Digication and can  log in using their Kerberos username and password. Students may choose to use their portfolios to turn in assignments throughout the semester.


Writing Assignments

You will be given a variety of types of writing assignments in this course: in-class writing, homework exercises, prospectuses, an annotated bibliography, drafts of papers, finished papers, and portfolios.  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.

In-Class Writing: You will regularly be asked to write during class.  I recommend that you purchase a notebook to contain this work and that you bring this notebook with you to class each day.  You may use a laptop as long as it does not disturb or distract other students in the class.  Your in-class writing will not be graded.

Homework Exercises & Journals: You will periodically be assigned brief homework exercises and writing journals that will help you work with the readings, generate ideas for your papers, or practice skills you will use when writing your papers.  Your homework exercises will not receive grades, but your performance on these assignments may 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 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.
Drafts: In this class, we generally will use the term draft to refer to unfinished or preliminary versions of your three major papers.  You will write at least two drafts of each paper.  One of these will comments from me, either in written or verbal form; the other will receive feedback from your classmates. Drafts are required but do not receive grades.  Remember, though, that you are more likely to receive useful feedback—and therefore produce a better finished paper—if you write a substantive draft.  Your performance on your drafts may also affect your participation adjustment (see below).

Finished Papers:  Your final grade in the course will be determined largely by the quality of your three finished papers, evaluated in the context of your portfolios (see below).  The best way to produce strong finished papers is to take seriously the ungraded writing you will do for the course.

Portfolios: In this class, the term portfolio means a finished paper accompanied by selected supporting materials and a reflective introduction.  You will be asked to submit each of your finished papers in the context of such a portfolio.  Details about what these portfolios should include will be provided with your major paper assignments.

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.

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 develop your abilities to respond productively to another’s writing and to use feedback from readers 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.



Grading and Evaluation

Your final grade will be calculated as follows:

Paper/Portfolio 1:                               20%

Paper/Portfolio 2:                               30%    

Paper/Portfolio 3:                               50%

Your final grade may be adjusted to reflect your attendance and participation as described below.


Late and Missed Assignments:  Unless you make other arrangements with me in advance, graded assignments will be penalized by one-third of a letter grade for each day they are late. 


Much of the work required for this class will not be graded, but you should still submit this work on time.  I cannot promise to read late work in time for my comments on it to be useful to you.  If you do not turn in drafts of your major papers, you are still responsible for turning in the final, finished papers.  Please note too that we will regularly work with our homework exercises and drafts in class.  If you are habitually late with your assignments, you will be unable to participate fully in the class.


Participation and Attendance: Since this course is a seminar, your regular attendance and participation are essential both to your own learning and to your classmates’ learning.  Consequently, your final grade may be adjusted up or down by one-third of a letter grade to account for the quality of your participation and ungraded work over the course of the semester.


You may miss four classes without penalty.  I ordinarily do not distinguish between excused and unexcused absences, so please save your absences for when you need them.  If you exceed the number of allowed absences, your course grade may be lowered as follows:


Number of absences                            Final grade penalty

            5                                              1/3 of a letter

            6                                              2/3 of a letter

            7                                              full letter

            8                                              1 1/3 letters

            9                                              1 2/3 letters

            10                                            F


If you have a special obligation that will require you to miss several classes (e.g., varsity athletics, religious observances), please talk with me at the beginning of the semester.  Missed conference appointments will be counted as absences.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.