English 271-2 is concerned with expository and rhetorical non-fiction prose rather than short stories or poetry: assignments may include personal essays, memoir, review, and some light research and persuasion. The content and form of compositions will be the most important aspects to consider, but grammatical clarity and correctness will also factor in. It does no good to be brilliant and creative if the reader can't make sense of the piece.
There is one required textbook for this class: The Writer's Presence (Fifth Edition) is our collection of essays, and we'll use it for examples, models of what we do and don't like, and topics to generate our own writing and thought. If you do not have a handbook for reference purposes or a similar text leftover from 101, 092, or 3, you might pick up a copy of The Writer's Pocket Handbook (by Rosa and Eschholz, Longman's Publishing) as a refresher; if you have been away from writing for a while and have not concerned yourself with form and structure of essays during that time, this is a very straightforward but concise explanation of the writing process, from pre-writing techniques, to organization, research forms, as well as editing and grammar mistakes. I also recommend The Writer's Harbrace Handbook, which covers research form in more depth, as well as every grammatical snag you'll ever need to know about. Either choice is, a fine reference book to follow you through a university career.
Throughout the quarter, English 271-2 will generate 4-5 essays, 3-7 pages long (750-1750 words). These will be run through different levels of development, beginning with a draft that will be edited in group sessions. Two to three rhetorical analysis essays, participation in the editing, as well as written critiques of peer essays, will factor in with the essays to determine the quarter grade.
Participation in threaded group discussion is also required. Topics will be set out roughly once every week or ten days, and each student must make a minimum of one, three-to-four line comment responding directly to each topic question, and at least one reply to another student's thread. (More comments are warmly encouraged.)
Assignments will be posted on the Course Content page, along with the weekly lectures.
Basically, your grades will come from your writing; however, that 'writing' means a little more than just the essays you create. You will also receive grades for the written editing critiques you will send me (2), and rhetorical analyses (3), and will receive credit for your threaded discussion participation. In all, 60% of your grade will be from the essays, with 25% for the written critiques of editing sessions and analyses, and another 10% for threaded discussion participation, which can take a large chunk if ignored. There is 5% I reserve for an instructor slush fund, to credit improvement. It will never work against you, but it helps me to figure grades accurately in terms of a student's whole performance.
Work turned in late will lose credit points every day it's past the due date, roughly to one-third of the grade. For instance, if your paper would have been an A- on the day it was due but you turned it in the next day, it would now be a B+; if you turn it in another day later, it will be a B. You can see the trend. Work turned in late will lose credit points every day it's past the due date, roughly to one-third of the grade. No work will be accepted more than a week after the posted due date.
If something genuine and difficult prohibits you from turning your essay in on time, please let me know; I can be reasoned with in some instances. Also, be sure to let me know if you're having trouble with or are confused by an assignment; again, we can work from there. However, due to the nature of the on-line class, punctuality needs to be respected.
A WORD ABOUT HONESTY
This being an on-line course, we will never actually see each other as a whole, trapped in a class room together on a cold winter evening or fighting to stay awake on a sleepy, overheated afternoon. Be advised, though, that teachers actually can pick up a student's individual style fairly quickly, and therefore, can detect when essays come from sources other than the student's own hand. We also now have software which runs checks on suspected plagiarized essays, and I will run such a check at the slightest provocation. If any work done for this course is plagiarized, the student will receive a zero for the assignment with no chance of rewriting it. More than one such episode, and the student will receive an F for the course. Do not be tempted by on-line essays floating out there in the ether; to tell you the truth, most of them aren't really all that good anyway.
Lecture One: What is this All About?
Readings: "On Keeping a Notebook", by Joan Didion,
Writer's Presence 21
"On the Essayist" by E.B. White 317
"The Joy of Reading and Writing" by Sherman Alexie 73
Begin First Essay Assignment--(see Course Content)
"On Smells" by Michel de Montaigne (essay attached to lecture page and here,
"On Smells," By Michel de Montainge)
"The First Hours" by Tim Townsend 51
"The Saint" by Camile Paglia (attached to lecture page and here as well!
"The Saint," by Camille Paglia)
Thread Questions posted
First Essay Assignment Due 4/13
Topics for Second Essay Assignment
Group Editing Sessions Begin: Post drafts of Essay Two to Groups no later than 4/17
Lecture Three: Memoir and the Personal Essay
"My Father's Life" by Raymond Carver 103
"A Clack of Tiny Sparks: Remembrances of a Gay Boyhood" by Bernard Cooper 121
"A Few Words About Breasts">"A Few Words about Breasts," by Nora Ephron)
Written Editing Critiques Due 4/20
Lecture Four: Aristotle, The Essay, and Other Literary Stuff
"Silent Dancing" by Judith Ortiz Cofer 110
"Dwellings," Linda Hogan 456
Still More Thread Questions
Second Essay Due 4/26
Topics for Third Essay
"Calculated Risks," by K.C. Cole
"This is the End of the World," by Barbara Tuchman 579
Post Drafts to Groups 4/30
Written Editing Critiques Due 5/2
Topics for Third Essay Assignment
Lecture Six: Exposition in Function
"Throwing Like a Girl" by James Fallows 416
"Why Boys Don't Play With Dolls," Katha Pollitt 545
Third Essay Due 5/9
Topics for First Analysis Assignment
Lecture Seven: Fine Lines Leading into Persuasion
"A Well-Regulated Militia" Paul Fussell 683
"In the Combat Zone" Leslie Marmon Silko 798
First Written Rhetorical Analysis Due 5/18
Week Eight: May 20th-26th
Lecture Eight: Writing Arguments
"Corn Pone Opinons" Mark Twain 853
"Drugs" Gore Vidal 858
Post Drafts of Essay Four Over Weekend
Analysis Two Due 5/25
Week Nine: 5/27-6/2
Lecture: Critical Analysis, Academic Evaluation, Truth and Beauty
"Where I Lived and What I Lived For" HD Thoreau (see discussion thread for
"The Insufficiency of Honesty" Stephen L. Carter 349
Essay Four Due 6/1
Week Ten: June 3rd-9th
Stephanie Coontz: "Too Close for Comfort" (attached to discussion
Analysis Three Due 6/7
Last Discussion threads
BCC Final Exams June 13-15
There is no final exam for this class
Course Grades accessible on the BCC website no later than 6/18