Bridgewater State University School of Arts, Science, and Design English 303 Writing Our Heritages Spring 2013
Nicole Williams Tillinghast 303 Office Hours: M W 12:15-1:15, T 2:00-3:00 Phone: 508-531-2001 Email: Nicole.email@example.com Website: http://www.nicoleannwilliams.com
Texts Required: Beah, Ishmael. A Long Way Gone: Memories of a Boyhood Soldier. Sarah Crichton Books, 2008. Macdonald, Michael Patrick. All Souls: A Family Story from Southie. New York: Ballantine, 1999. Obama, Barack. Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. Crown, 2007. Kramer, Mark and Wendy Call. Telling True Stories. New York, NY: Plume, 2007. Rule, Rebecca and Susan Wheeler. True Stories: Guides for Writing from Your Life. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2000. Zinnser, William. Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past. De Capo Press, 2005.
Materials: Notebook, 2 folders, pen Suggested: camera, tape recorder, old family photo albums, old family journals and letters Course Description:
This course will focus on writing about the connections among identity, family history, landscape, and heritage. To explore the options we have as writers, we will read essays by memoirists as well as longer memoirs. Most of the course, though, will focus on researching and writing about our own heritages. We will investigate family stories, migrations, and heritage using oral history, family photos, field research, archival research, genealogical research, and library research. Students will draw from this research as well as their own life experiences to write either a series of short essays or one longer memoir. This course is about sophisticated and in depth writing about family history and how it has shaped our own identity. It requires interviewing, field research, and secondary research.
By the end of this course, you should be able to: Develop effective research questions that explore the complexity of your heritage. Know how to locate resources that would allow you to answer your research questions.
Conduct research into your heritage using primary sources, such as interviews, family photos, diaries, and exploring landscapes important to your heritage. Conduct research into your heritage using secondary sources, such as scholarly works on history, migration, places, and cultural groups. Conduct research into your heritage using literary sources, such as novels, short stories, nonfiction essays and books, poetry, and drama that explore aspects of your heritage. Explore and reflect on your memories, experiences, and researched material in relation to your heritage. Draw on your memories, experiences, and research to write either a series of short essays or a longer memoir. Lead a discussion on an essay or memoir that explores both what the reading is about and the research and writing techniques used in the writing. Read essays and book-length memoirs as a fellow writer, reading for ideas on how to research and write about your heritage.
Course Policies: In order to successfully pass this course you must attend class, participate in class discussions, complete in class writings, outside readings, homework, and complete all four formal writing assignments. Successful completion of the formal assignments includes turning in all required drafts and attending workshops and conferences. Attendance: Since this is a 300 level course I believe that you all want to be here and that it goes without saying that what happens in class each day only works if everyone is here to participate as much as possible; therefore, attendance is mandatory. You are allowed two absences (a week worth of class), free and clear, no excuses necessary. After your two absences any and all absences, regardless of the reason, will adversely affect your final grade in the course. Your grade will be lowered by a 1/3 of a letter grade for each additional absence. (ex. A B+ will go down to a B). After 4 absences (two weeks worth of class) you could fail the course. Participation: This course depends heavily on your readiness and willingness to contribute to class discussions and activities daily. I expect each of you to work with me and each other to make this a real community of writers. The best of writers work with their trusted peers to share ideas and drafts. Therefore, you must come to class each day fully prepared having done all assigned readings and work ready to participate in class. Class activities are designed to build off of outside work; therefore, I will know if you are unprepared and your grade will reflect it. In addition keep in mind: 1 Being absent is not an excuse for turning in late work. All assignments are expected to be turned in at the beginning of the class period they are due. If you are not going to be in class e-mail your work to me by the beginning of class time. Late assignments will not be accepted unless prior arrangements have been made with me. 2 In class work cannot be made up so it would be wise to come to class prepared each day.
Format for Assignments: All formal writing (except multimodal compositions) should be: 1 Computer generated/typed 2 Double-spaced in a 12 point readable font 3 1 inch margins on all sides 4 Name, instructor, course, and date should be listed on the top left, double-spaced. 5 Do not double space between paragraphs
Do not include cover sheets unless specified Documented using MLA Style
Classroom Behaviors: 1 You may have computers in front of your throughout class which may pose several distractions. Checking e-mail and surfing the web during class time is both rude and inappropriate. This behavior will not be tolerated and will affect your participation grade. 2 Please remember to turn off all cell phones, ipods, mp3 players, and other communication devices that pose a distraction to our class. Failure to follow the policy will result in my asking you to leave class and an absence. 3 Class time is not a time for private discussions amongst each other. Such behavior is rude and disruptive to the class. Please save such conversations for after class. Respect: Respect for others in our classroom is non-negotiable. We will be discussing many ideas and concepts that may challenge your current thinking. This is the fun of college! Have respect for one another and be open to new ideas. Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but everyone is allowed a chance to express that opinion. Plagiarism: Presentation of someone else’s work as your own is dishonest and unacceptable. If I find out that you have plagiarized you will receive a zero for the assignment and, possibly, fail the course. Be assured that I will find out if you have plagiarized, therefore it would be wise for you to do your own work and cite any and all material you take from other sources. Plain and simple-if it isn’t your own words or idea than tell me where you found it. If you are ever unsure of whether or not you are committing academic dishonesty please come speak to me, and I will be happy to assist. I take academic honesty and integrity very seriously and will follow all steps outlined by Bridgewater State University if I find a student plagiarizing. This could result in a meeting with the Dean and possible expulsion from the University. Departmental Writing Committee’s Academic Honesty Policy (Approved Spring 2010) Academic Honesty: Academic Honesty refers both to plagiarism and misrepresenting your work in other ways. Plagiarism is the use of someone else’s words or ideas without acknowledging the original source. Acts of academic dishonesty include the following: Turning in another students essay as your own Turning the same essay (that you wrote) in for credit in two different classes. (Note: It is fine to write about the same idea in two courses, to branch off of a project to create a new one, or to push an idea that you’ve started developing in one paper significantly further in another, but it is academically dishonest to turn in the same writing project in two courses.) Including information or ideas from a print or online source in your essay without including a citation to indicate the origin of the words Including phrases or sentences from a print or online source in your essay without using quotation marks to mark the words as coming from an outside source (even if you include a citation) If you have a question about whether you need to cite a course, ask your instructor or writing studio consultant or simply take the safe route and cite the source. The consequences of plagiarism are serious. Course Adaptations: In accordance with BSU policy, I am available to discuss appropriate accommodations that you may require as a student with a disability. Requests for accommodations should be made during the drop/add period so that proper arrangements can be made. Students should register with the Disability Resources Office in Boyden Hall for disability verification and determination of reasonable academic
accommodations. Writing Studio: The BSU is a valuable source that you should take advantage of throughout the semester for all your courses and as you continue your studies at BSU. The Writing Studio is located in the Academic Achievement Center on the ground floor of Maxwell Library. You can make an appointment by stopping by the Writing Studio in person, calling 531-2053, or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about The Writing Studio visit their website at http://www.bridgew.edu/WritingStudio/ Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) and Adrian Tinsley Program: The OUR and ATP provide BSU students with the opportunity to do scholarly research by funding projects, providing presentation forums through research symposiums, and publishing opportunities in the Undergraduate Review. The OUR is located in 200 Maxwell Library. To learn more about the OUR visit their website at www.bridgew.edu/our. On a personal note, I cannot speak highly enough of the opportunities the OUR and ATP provide to BSU students for enhancing your education while at BSU and providing you with skills that will make you competitive in both the job market and in graduate school.
Publication Opportunities: Embracing Writing- The English Departments first and second year writing composition textbook. The Undergraduate Review- Published annually by the Office of Undergraduate Research, showcases student research and creative work done as part of a class or under the mentorship of Bridgewater Faculty. The Bridge- A Creative journal that published by the English Department annually that showcases poetry, prose, and fine art. Course Requirements Formal Essays:
During the semester, you will write three essays. You can choose to write three shorter essays or use Pieces 2 and 3 to build on the previous pieces. For each piece, you will write five to seven new pages of writing, and build on two new “Beginnings” writings. Each essay should be 5-7 pages. If you are adding to a previous essay then 5- new pages of text should be written. We will workshop essays in class using a variety of methods and I will meet with you in groups for readings to provide feedback to help you revise before turning in the final essay. For each essay use a folder with two pockets to hand in the following: Final draft of the essay Workshop draft of the essay Two sets of “Beginnings” writings written in the weeks before that helped shaped the essay
Readers Notes (One Pagers): For each reading, as marked on the schedule, you will be required to write a “One Pager” about the reading for that day. Your Readers Notes should be one page. They should not be a summary of the reading. Instead, spend half the page analyzing the content and the other analyzing the writing technique. Beginnings Throughout the semester you will write 9 shorter pieces. These will come from the list of prompts I have posted on our course site. You will use the prompts as a place to begin you writing. The Beginnings will then help you form your essays.
In-class Writing: During class time you will be asked to write on a variety of issues, ideas, and prompts that relate to readings and class material. These writings will assist in class discussion and serve as a tool for both of us to reflect on the work you are doing. You will find that each of you has your own section on the discussion board where you will produce these assignments. This will allow you to view them all in one place when it comes time to put together your portfolio. Portfolios: The best way I have found to help students understand and appreciate what it means when I say “writing is a process” is to include a portfolio component in my writing classes. At the end of the semester you will be responsible for collecting and revising the work you’ve done in and outside class. You will turn in both formal and informal writing, some of it revised, some of it not. You will also include an introduction that discusses what you’ve learned and provide a self-evaluation of your writing. These portfolios will be returned with formal letter grades attached that evaluate the work in the portfolio as well as your success in the class. Readings: Outside readings will be assigned for each class period. They are listed on the schedule. It is vital to your grade that you complete all readings and come to class prepared to discuss them. . Writing Groups: At the beginning of the semester we will form writing groups. We will utlize these groups throughout the semester for a variety of tasks including workshop of formal essays, discussions, and group meetings with me . Conferences: Each writing group will meet with me outside of class in the days before each formal essay is due. The purpose of these meetings is for me to provide feedback to each of you to assist in revising for the final draft. You will be responsible for meeting with me once during the semester outside of class. The conference will be at the end of the semester to talk about the progress of your final portfolio revisions. The meetings will be about fifteen minutes long. I will tell you very specifically what you should bring to the meeting at the time we schedule it. Failure to come to these conferences and/or failure to come to these conferences prepared with a draft to work on will count as an absence-furthermore, do not waste my time or your own by not showing up or showing up unprepared. I am just as busy as you are, but if you are prepared to invest time in your writing then I am too. A sign up sheet will be passed around as time the time approaches for conferences. Additionally, feel free to come to my office hours at any time during the semester. Note: All writing you do in this class-drafts, revisions, in-class writing, journals-should be saved so you have a wide selection to choose from when putting together your portfolio. It is imperative that you save all your writing so you can see how you have developed as a writer throughout the course of the semester. Evaluation and Grading Policies: In this course non-formal writing (readers notes, in-class writings, and Beginners) will be checked for completeness and given checks. Beginners will also receive comments to help you with your formal writing. For your formal essays you will receive comments and tentative letter grades. You will then have the chance to revise these essays for your final portfolio to improve your grade. You will be given a final portfolio grade based on your effort, revision, and the quality of your formal essays. Grading Percentage Breakdowns Different assignments in this course require different levels of effort. The following breakdowns should
provide you with an idea of the amount of time and energy needed for each. Readers Notes (One Pagers) In-class writings Formal Writing Assignments3 essay Drafts (10% each) Final Portfolio
10% 10% 30% 50%