Critical Reading and Writing
Instructor: Lara Southgate
Course Days and Time: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 8:00-8:50 a.m.
Course Location: Sharp Lab 120
Office Location: Memorial Hall 116
Office Hours: Monday 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.; Tuesday 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (I will usually respond within 24 hours, excepting weekends)
All information on this syllabus is subject to change and is available on the course Sakai site.
This course is an introduction to the critical reading and writing necessary for success, both in college and beyond. Through reading, writing, and discussion, you will be analyzing a variety of texts in order to develop clear, coherent written arguments about contemporary topics. Since good writing involves a development of ideas and style, you will be creating multiple drafts of your writing to hone your rhetorical and argumentative skills with the help of peer revision and one-on-one conferences. Throughout the course, you will also be navigating technology—both academic (library databases, campus email) and non-academic (blogs, newspaper Web sites)—to experience how writing takes shape in an increasingly digital world.
By the end of the course, you will be able to:
- Read and respond analytically to a variety of texts in a variety of genres
- Understand your personal processes in writing your papers
- Use writing and revision as a way to discover, clarify, explain, and advocate ideas in order to enter into conversation with contemporary academic and cultural thought
- Develop pieces of writing for different occasions and diverse audiences
- Support researched arguments with quotations, paraphrases, and summaries accurately using current MLA citation conventions
- Use technology to enhance your academic and professional presentation, communication, and composition
Required Texts and Supplies
- The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing. Concise 6th edition. John D. Ramage, John C. Bean, and June Johnson. New York: Pearson Longman, 2012. [referred to as A&B]
**Bring this text to each class.
- Harris, Joseph. Rewriting: How to Do Things with Texts. Logan: Utah State UP, 2006.
- The Little Penguin Handbook. 2nd ed. Lester Faigley. New York: Pearson Longman, 2012. [referred to as LP]
- The Arak Anthology. 19th ed. Newark: University of Delaware, 2012-2013.
- Course notebook, preferably with perforated pages. Bring this and pens/pencils to every class period.
- A reliable Word processor, preferably Microsoft Word, but others are fine as long as you can convert documents to a .doc or .docx file.
- Access to paper and/or printing supplies
- Reliable internet access outside of class. Our campus has multiple computer labs and wi-fi spots; so this should not be a problem.
In addition, a flash drive, digital drop box, or other means of backing up your course materials is highly recommended. If you do not have a flash drive, I would at least recommend emailing copies of your papers to yourself so that a computer crash will not fully erase your work.
Numeric Grading Conversions
Note that University policy says that you cannot pass this course without earning a grade of C- or higher.
A 93-100; A- 90-92; B+ 87-89; B 83-86; B- 82-80; C+ 79-77; C 73-76; C- 70-72; D+ 67-69; D 63-66; D- 60-62; F below 60
If you are unhappy with a grade that you have received, I ask that you wait 24 hours before discussing it with me. Letting time pass generally allows for more perspective. Discussing a grade is not a negotiation, but it does allow you to better understand how and why I came to give you the grade, and it can help you learn how to improve your efforts in the future.
Journal entries and small writing assignments 20%
Participation (including reading quizzes) 20%
Personal Narrative Essay (with source) 15%
Research Paper 30%
Blog, Blog analysis essay, and Presentation 15%
For this class, you will submit three finished essays, a personal narrative (of about 1,500 words), a research paper (2,400-3,000 words in length, not counting bibliographic data), and a blog analysis essay (about 1,500 words). In preparation for all of these essays, you will be turning in brief (1-page) responses to prompts meant to build your writing and researching skills.
Essay 1 – Personal Narrative (4-5 pages)
This essay is meant to help you think about personal views and experience in relation to a larger cultural context while also getting you to think rhetorically about choices in wording and sentence structure. For this essay, you will describe a personal experience that has helped make you who you are today, and you will reflect on the aspects of your experience that are common in our society as well as the aspects that are unique to you. You will also be finding one academic source related to your topic that you can use to help you think about your experience in a wider context.
Essay 2– Research Paper (8-10 pages)
For this paper, you will develop a logical and well-researched argument. You will use closed-form prose to create a strong, tension-filled, and specific thesis which indicates your strong stance on the topic. Your sources should be used to support and add to your argument, not to write the paper for you
Essay 3– Blog analysis essay (5 pages)
At the end of this class, you will create and begin a professional blog using WordPress or Tumblr, and will describe and discuss your rhetorical choices in creating your blog. Why did you choose one blogging site over the other, and how does that relate to your (possible) major or professional goals? Who is your target audience? What visual elements did you use, and what effect do you want these visuals to have?
Format: All essays should be submitted in black ink, printed double-spaced (on one side only) in 12-point Times New Roman font with your name, instructor, class, and date at top left, a centered title, and your last name and page number at top right (use the header function). Indent your paragraphs ½” with the Tab key; do not put spaces between paragraphs. These are the MLA [Modern Language Association] guidelines for submitting essays; using them makes each paper easy to read and grade. See A&B, p. 362 for an exact model.
Critical Reading and Writing is not a lecture course. Your full participation in all class work is expected—and graded. Participation includes observable, active engagement in class discussions, peer groups, and class writing. Respectful listening to faculty and classmates is expected at all times: no sleeping in class, no wearing of headphones, no working on homework for other classes, no reading materials not related to this class. All phones should be turned off and put away. You are allowed to bring laptops to class, but if you do, I ask that you email me your notes at the end of class. I will mark you absent if I see you texting, checking Facebook/other unrelated Web sites, or working on other coursework in my class.
In addition, you should check your university email account at least once daily, as it is an important resource both for this course and for college life in general. Materials for this class will also be regularly posted to the Sakai site, including this syllabus, specific writing assignments and directions, a calendar, and your current grades. Check this site for notifications prior to each class.
Attendance is necessary for your success in this course. You are expected to be on time and prepared for every class meeting, and you must stay for the duration of every class. You are allowed three absences. After your third absence, your final course grade will drop three percentage points for every missed class period. Any absence after the third, regardless of the reason, will require a conference with me. If you are absent, you are still responsible for any work due—you will be developing a network within a group of classmates for that purpose.
If you will be missing a class for religious reasons, let me know by email no later than two weeks before the class that you will be missing so that we can work out a
Please note: Students who come to class without a working draft (with multiple copies, if that is part of the assignment) on the date of a peer review session will be marked absent that day, as it is understood that on that particular day you must have the working draft in order to fully participate in class.
If serious illnesses, family emergencies, or other crises occur during the term, one of the key things you must do is to contact the Assistant Dean of your College as soon as possible. This office can assist you in notifying faculty and in validating for your teachers what has happened. Such validation will be necessary for you to make up missed classwork and assignments.
If you enter the classroom after 8:00 a.m., you will be marked late. Every three times you are late will count as one absence. Leaving a class early will also count as a lateness.
All final drafts of essays will be submitted in hard copy at the start of class. Final papers not in my hands five minutes into the class period will be marked late, and will lose five percentage points if turned in by the end of the day. I do not accept papers after midnight on the date they are due
Journal entries and second drafts of essays will be due on Sakai by the time specified on the syllabus or on the Sakai prompt. Late journal entries will not be accepted.
Computers, internet, and email are going to be integral parts of your professional lives. Technology problems are not an excuse for late work. Be sure to give yourself time to address any technological issues, and be sure to contact me immediately upon encountering an issue (especially regarding Sakai) rather than waiting until the assignment deadline. If Sakai is malfunctioning for whatever reason, then let me know in an email, and include an attachment of your work if you need to meet a deadline. If you are unable to turn in an assignment for emergency reasons, please inform me ASAP. If for some reason class is canceled on a day that an essay is due, the essay is STILL DUE unless otherwise stated; you will need to check Sakai and your email for further instruction.
You will also be creating a professional blog at the end of this course; again, if you encounter problems with your blog, let me know ASAP. I will give you more information regarding blogging as the assignment approaches.
Any work that you submit at any stage of the writing process—draft, thesis and outline, bibliography, etc., through final version—must be your own; in addition, any words, ideas, or data that you borrow from other people and include in your work must be properly documented. Failure to do either of these things is plagiarism. The University of Delaware protects the rights of all students by insisting that individual students act with integrity. Accordingly, the University severely penalizes plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty.
The Writing Center
The Writing Center in 016 Memorial Hall ((302)831-1168) provides free one-on-one instruction to students who have writing assignments in this or any course. You may go online to make an appointment: www.english.udel.edu/wc/. Or you may call or stop by the Center to make an appointment. Appointments are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so you should make your appointments as far in advance as possible.
Disability and Special Needs
If you need special assistance and/or classroom accommodations because of a disability, please let me know as soon as possible. To register and request accommodations, you will need to contact the Americans with Disabilities Act Office ((302)831-4643) for physical or emotional disabilities or the Academic Enrichment Center ((302)831-2805) for learning disabilities/ADHD.
A final expectation of the course is for you to complete the online student evaluation. this survey will be available for you to complete during the last two weeks of the semester. Apart from being an expectation of the course, your evaluation provides valuable information to me and to the English Department.
All reading and writing assignments are due in class (or on Sakai) on the day under which they are listed (ex.: for Friday, 8/31 you should come to class having already read pp. 15-21 in A&B).
|Wednesday, 8/29||Course introduction|
|Friday, 8/31||Purpose, audience, and genre||A&B pp. 15-21|
|Wednesday, 9/5||Ethos, pathos, and logos||A&B pp. 51-59
Post personal introduction to Sakai
|Friday, 9/7||Rhetoric in open-form essays||Read sample open-form essays on Sakai (and bring to class)
|Monday, 9/10||Examining rhetorical projects
Bring Rewriting to class
|Rewriting, pp. 1-19 (up to “Noting Keywords and Passages”)
Journal entry due online by 10 p.m.
|Wednesday, 9/12||Summary writing||A&B pp. 86-101
Scene descriptions using angle-of-vision assignment (from A&B, pp. 81-83)due
|Friday, 9/14||Peer review procedures
|Possible reading TBA
First draft of personal narrative due on Sakai by 8 a.m.
|Monday, 9/17||Peer review||Post peer review letters on Sakai by the start of class Bring first draft of personal narrative AND copies of your peer review letters to class
|Wednesday, 9/19||Library Orientation
(meet in Morris Library, exact room TBA)
|Friday, 9/21||MLA Citation||A&B Ch. 14; bring LP to class Second draft of personal narrative due on Sakai by the start of class|
|Monday, 9/24||“Coming to terms”
Bring Rewriting to class
|Rewriting, Ch. 1|
|Wednesday, 9/26||Strong responses
|A&B pp. 103-113
Arak essay (TBA)
|Friday, 9/28||Classical and proposal arguments||A&B pp. 206-25 and 245-55
Journal entry (preliminary research topic proposal) due by 10 p.m.
|Monday, 10/1||Getting started||A&B pp. 288-300
Personal narrative final draft due in class
|Wednesday, 10/3||Introduction to statistics||Possible reading TBA
Topic proposal and annotated bibliography of three sources due on Sakai by midnight Thursday
|Friday, 10/5||Class canceled—conferences Friday, Monday and Tuesday||Bring topic proposal and annotated bibliography to conferences|
|Wednesday, 10/10||Source integration (and avoiding plagiarism)
|A&B Ch. 13
|Friday, 10/12||Logical fallacies||A&B pp. 226-7
Bring Rewriting to class
|Rewriting Ch. 2|
Bring Rewriting to class
|Rewriting, Ch. 3|
|Friday, 10/19||“Forwarding” and “countering” practice||First draft of research paper (first 6 pages) due on Sakai by 5 p.m.|
|Monday, 10/22||Peer review||Bring peer review letters and your draft to class|
|Wednesday, 10/24||Analyzing an Arak essay Bring Arak
|Arak essay TBA|
|Friday, 10/26||Analyzing an Arak essay, continued
|Monday, 10/29||Writing introductions||A&B pp. 301-07|
|Wednesday, 10/31||Writing introductions, continued|
|Friday, 11/2||Notes on grammar and punctuation||Possible reading TBA
Second drafts of research papers due on Sakai by 8 a.m.
|Monday, 11/5||Transitions at the idea and sentence level||A&B pp. 307-23|
|Wednesday, 11/7||Transitions, continued|
|Friday, 11/9||Writing conclusions||A&B pp. 329-31|
|Monday, 11/12||Writing conclusions, continued|
|Wednesday, 11/14||In-class writing day||Bring a copy of your research paper to work on, either on your laptop or in hard copy|
|Friday, 11/16||Rhetoric and self-presentation in the digital age||Possible Library meeting TBA
Final drafts of research papers due in class
|Monday, 11/19||Visual rhetoric||A&B pp. 171-195|
|Wednesday, 11/21||Visual rhetoric: analyzing advertising||A&B pp. 186-195|
|Friday, 11/23||Visual rhetoric and Web presentation||A&B pp. 74-80|
|Monday, 11/26||Public speaking||A&B p. 261
other reading TBA
Publish blog by 10 p.m. Tuesday
|Wednesday, 11/28 &
|No Class –Thanksgiving Break|
|Monday, 12/3||Blog Presentations|
|Wednesday, 12/5||Blog Presentations||Blog analysis essay due by 10 p.m. on Sakai|