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#418905 Instructor: Department: Office Hours: Room 1371 Phone: (305)237-6358 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Alejandro Salinas Communication, Arts, & Philosophy M: T: R: F:
Course Description: The purpose of this course is to help you improve your writing skills, which you're going to be depending on as you advance through your academic career in college and, more likely than not, as you advance through your professional career in the real world. The course is based on the idea that the best way to become a better writer is by seeing how others do it and by doing it yourself. The best way to learn, in other words, is by simply doing a lot of reading and writing. In the process, you’ll be asked to participate in a dialogue with the rest of the class so that we think through important issues in the world and our lives to form personal opinions. This class doesn’t require you to memorize and write about the “right answers” but to always ask the most important questions: What do I think? And why do I think it? You will be asked to analyze and problem-solve—to think critically. These critical thinking skills are vital to good writing. You'll spend most of your time writing essays in response to the readings from our textbook, drawing from your personal experiences and current events. The plan is to examine a variety of models illustrating good writing, and to practice, practice, practice applying the many tricks they teach us. Always underlying our work will be an emphasis on writing as a process: We will get used to the idea that writing good essays doesn't mean casually tapping away at your keyboard until you reach the page requirement. It doesn't mean turning in whatever happens to come out off the top of your head. Instead, writing should be a more elaborate process in which you plan what you're going to say beforehand, and in which you go back to repair and polish once you've finished. The actual writing is only part of the job. Required Texts: All our readings will come from handouts and internet links, but you are required to get a handbook that covers research and grammar. If you don’t have one, I recommend Hacker (listed below), which is available at the bookstore. Note that you can also purchase an online version for a little less. If you’re interested in the online version or aren’t sure if the handbook you have is acceptable, please see me. •Hacker, Diana. Rules for Writers, 5th Ed. Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004 •(Can purchase online version at dianahacker.com/bedhandbook) Assignments: You'll be required to write five essays. Length requirements will range from one to six pages. For some of your essays, you'll have peer workshops, in which you'll get into groups, exchange essays, and offer each other comments on how you can improve them. Using this feedback,
you'll have a chance to revise your essay and turn it in again. The second time around, I'll assign a grade. Besides writing essays, you'll also be required to complete several shorter assignments. If you do an adequate job on an assignment, showing that you’ve put some time and thought into it, you will receive a check (√), worth 10 points toward your final grade. If you do a less than adequate job, you will receive either a check minus (√-), worth 5 points, or a zero. Among the most common shorter assignments are informal, 1-pg. responses to readings from the textbook, which are sometimes completed as announced reading quizzes during the class period. You may talk about a personal experience the reading called to mind, you may agree or disagree with a position being taken, or you may comment on points about style or structure that you noticed in the writing. Sometimes you will be given a topic to respond to, and sometimes you will have the freedom to talk about anything, as long as you're coherent and thoughtful. Although the essays make up much of your final grade, the homework and responses/quizzes will be averaged together to make up another big part, so don't neglect them. Service-Learning: Please note that this course has a service-learning component. You will participate in an eighthour service-learning project that will account for about 15% of the semester's grade, and which will be the subject of some of our writing and class discussion. This semester we will work as tutors and mentors with children, mostly low-income, in community centers and schools near our campus. The interactions we have with the children give us a powerful context for understanding the psychology of people and social problems like poverty and racism. Please note that I will suggest some sites for you to complete your service-learning, but that you’re also welcome to find a site on your own that is more convenient and fits the purpose of the project. Service-learning is one of the most exciting and challenging aspects of the course. Keep in mind, though, that it is not volunteer work. It is not extra work. Service-learning is one of the many tools we’re using to learn the course content, and it is mandatory. Grading Criteria: Letter Dialect assignment Group media essay Service-Learning project *Expectations ssay (10%) *Journal (5%) *Hours (5%) Homework Final Essay 94-100% = A 84-90% = B 74-80% = C 64-70% = D 50-60% = F Policies: 15% 10% 20% 20%
•Plagiarism means producing a work that is fully or partly someone else’s and claming it as your own. Plagiarized work will receive an “F.” If you plagiarize or engage in any kind of cheating or academic misconduct, you also risk expulsion from the college. •Late homework and classwork: If you are absent when homework or classwork is due, it will not be accepted. It is your responsibility to be in class in order to receive all assignments. •Late essays: If you fail to turn in an essay on the due date, you can turn it in within a week for a half-letter grade penalty. After one week, the essay will receive a zero. Remember that failing to turn in any major essay, because they all weigh heavily toward your final grade, will seriously hurt your chances of passing the course. •I will hand your papers back to you to keep; it is your responsibility to hold on to them. •Please turn off cell phones and beepers before coming to class. Attendance and Participation: •Class participation is an integral part of a satisfactory grade. Many times, averages fall on the borderline of two grades, and class participation can make the difference—up to four percentage points in your overall average. •Family and medical emergencies are the only valid excuses for absences. A documented emergency will be dealt with on an individual basis. •If you are absent three consecutive sessions, you may be automatically dropped from the course. •Attendance is taken at the beginning of the period. Coming to class late may count as an absence. Drops: If students are unable to continue in the course, they must notify the instructor. It is their responsibility to fill out an official withdrawal form with the registrar’s office. If they do not officially withdraw, they may receive an F in the course. Academic Integrity: You are expected to adhere to the policies of academic integrity as outlined in the Students' Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. Violation of the policies will result in disciplinary action also outlined in the handbook. COURSE OUTLINE
(subject to change)
Week 1 8/30 Thurs. – Introductions: each other and the course; diagnostic essay Week 2 9/4 Tues. – Review prewriting; letters: format and purpose 9/6 Thurs. – Review essay structure; post writing inventory #1; guest presentation: Young People’s Project Week 3 9/11 Tues. – Read “First Drafts” (Facebook); reading quiz; review details 9/13 Thurs. – Continue details; second draft of letter due; peer reviews Week 4 9/18 Tues. – Guest presentation: I Have A Dream program; “Little Havana & Overtown: The Line Between Stereotype & Reality” (presentation); final draft of letter due; post writing inventory #2 9/20 Thurs. – Report Findings for “Little Havana & Overtown: The Line Between Stereotype & Reality”
Week 5 9/25 Tues. – First draft of Little Havana & Overtown essay due; peer reviews; servicelearning orientation; review introductions/conclusions 9/27 Thurs. – Post second draft of Little Havana & Overtown essay; Prejudice Workshop: What is it and Who Cares? Week 6 10/2 Tues. – Read “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” (handout); reading quiz; watch “Que Pasa USA?” 10/4 Thurs. – Flex day: writing circle, service-learning or dialect class work (Between 10/4 – 10/11, you can use one day for service-learning but must be in class for two sessions, either for writing circles or to work on an assignment.) Week 7 10/9 Tues. – Flex day: writing circle, service-learning or dialect class work 10/11 Thurs. – Flex day: writing circle, service-learning or dialect class work Week 8 10/16 Tues. – Read “Nobody Mean More to Me than You” by June Jordan (handout); listen to rap music and Martin Luther King sermon 10/18 Thurs. – Dialect assignment presentations Week 9 10/23 Tues. – Grammar review; dialect assignment due; post dialogues 10/25 Thurs. – Flex day: writing circle, service-learning or grammar class work (Between 10/25 – 11/1, you can use one day for service-learning but must be in class for two sessions, either for writing circles or to work on grammar assignment.) Week 10 10/30 Tues. – Flex day: writing circle, service-learning or grammar class work 11/1 Thurs. – Flex day: writing circle, service-learning or grammar class work Week 11 11/6 Tues. – Service-learning group reflection; introduce argument 11/8 Thurs. – Read “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” (http://www.thekingcenter.org/prog/non/letter.html or Facebook); reading quiz Week 12 11/13 Tues. – Review logic exercises; TV/music day 11/15 Thurs. – TV/music day; group work Week 13 11/20 Tues. – Group work 11/22 Thurs. – Thanksgiving; no class Week 14 11/27 Tues. – Group work 11/29 Thurs. – Class debates Week 15 12/4 Tues. – Class debates 12/6 Thurs. – Final draft of debate essays due; self-evaluations Week 16 12/11 Tues. – The sticker exercise; discussion on segregation
12/13 Thurs. – Continue discussion on segregation; read chapter from “Culture of Make-Believe (handout); post: do you agree with the author’s opinion about America being a racist “police state”? Exam Week 12/18 Tues. – Final essay due 12/23 Thurs. – Looking back on the semester and feedback
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