ENGLISH 201 M (1104)
, TTh firstname.lastname@example.org
and by appointment
Required text: The Simon
and Schuster Handbook for Writers (Seventh Edition),
Lynn Quitman Troyka
This course is designed to guide you step by step through the process of writing a major research paper. We will break this process down into several manageable phases, each culminating in either a short 2-3 pages paper or the presentation of research materials. Throughout the quarter you will read and analyze both each other’s and previously published writing. You will learn to use the library to locate relevant resources, and then read and confidently evaluate that material. You will be introduced to effective note-taking strategies, methods of constructing and organizing a bibliography, and proper source citation. The final paper will present evidence of your ability to summarize and critically analyze outside material while synthesizing it effectively to support a clear and engaging thesis.
“At the end of this course,” says the College, “students will be able to write a humanities-style research paper which includes as part of its composition or process:
1. An objective summary of college-level material which identifies primary and supporting assertions
2. An evaluation of different types of evidence
3. A synthesis of source material with own writing
4. An original and clearly supported thesis
5. Proper in-text citations and works cited page
6. A breadth of varied primary sources which demonstrates a familiarity with library research skills”
This course is designed to give you maximum flexibility in choosing a topic to research that will interest you, while giving us all enough in common to work on the same basic skills. We’ll start from a common theme, but will quickly branch off into specific areas that you choose.
You will get out of the experience what you put into it. Essentially this is a course in using resources: finding, identifying, analyzing them and extracting information from them that helps you develop an informed position, which you then try to persuade your reader to adopt. It requires creative, independent writing and thinking on your part. Everything you need—your raw materials—are already available to you; I am a resource, just as your books are a resource, the library is a resource, the newspaper and your relatives, TV and the internet are all resources. Your grade depends on the degree to which you make use of your resources. My job is to cultivate some independent thinking and confidence in your own judgment. Those of you who need to be told what to do and what to think will find this class frustrating. Those of you with an interest in being more than spectators will be limited only by certain academic conventions and your own imaginations.
Education is not something you get. It’s something you do.
This is not a “warm body” class—one you attend half-conscious, take the occasional note and leave after fifty minutes. Writing is an act of communication, and the class is built around a give and take that both models that communication and provides feedback to improve it. I place very heavy emphasis on class participation, in other words, and each of you is responsible for more than just your individual success or failure. If you, for whatever reason, are not prepared or able to be an active, responsible participant, another class may suit you better.
What follows are our course policies. While they may seem somewhat rigid and daunting, they are designed to make your work easier by keeping everyone on task and on schedule and, therefore, keeping stress to a minimum.
All assignments are due in class on the specified date. Checkpoints and other assignments that are confirmed in person will not be accepted late. I will not accept late papers unless you make special arrangements with me before the class in which the paper is due. I will permit such an arrangement only once during the quarter.
You’re tardy if you’re more than five (5) minutes late for class. I will allow you to be tardy three (3) times. For every time you’re late after that, you risk forfeiting one (1) final grade point. Walk into class late ten (10) times, and you’ll receive no credit for the course.
1. Miss the first week of class: No credit
2. Students who miss fewer than 5 classes receive 1-5 bonus points on their final grade. You forfeit two (2) final grade points for each absence over four.
3. TEN ABSENCES, NO CREDIT.
4. Get missed information from your classmates. I will supply you with any missed handouts (of which there are several) only if you know which they are.
5. Those with exceptional circumstances should speak to me in person BEFORE those circumstances affect their attendance record.
All papers must be typed and double-spaced. Besides the rough and final draft of an 8 – 10 page research paper, three shorter papers (2 – 3 pages, one of which may be revised and resubmitted*) are required for you to receive credit for this course. Throughout the quarter you will be required to meet various Checkpoints (evidence of research done to that point). For each Paper Checkpoint met, you receive two (2) points; failure to meet a Paper Checkpoint results in a loss of two (2) points from your overall grade points. Also, those without drafts on paper checkpoint days will be excused to go work on them and receive an absence for that class.
* You may rewrite one of the following: the Summary, Critique or State of the Debate paper. Rewritten papers must be accompanied by the graded draft with my comments or they will not be accepted.
Please save all work, including work I’ve graded and handed back.
Participation and collaboration are fundamental to the structure of this course. You will have the opportunity to participate in different ways, including working in small groups, so even if you’re not comfortable speaking in front of the class as a whole you should be able to meet this expectation. I’ve tried to set it up so you’ll want to talk about what you’re learning, so hopefully this won’t be a problem. If you are unable or unwilling to participate in any of the ways provided, you should take a different course.
I realize that many of you are in this class only because it’s required, not something you’re interested in. That’s fine and perfectly understandable. I have worked hard to make the class as open as possible to your interests, and to ensure that class time will be productive for you, even if it is not always terribly exciting. In return I expect you to treat me, your classmates and yourself with respect. This means that you should be here every day prepared to work, alert, attentive and ready to participate. If you can’t manage to participate, you can still be attentive and respectful towards others. I will consider you absent if you’re reading material not related to the class, doing homework for another class, chatting with friends, talking or text messaging on your cell phone, if your head’s on the desk or if in any other way you give evidence of being mentally absent and/or disrespectful toward the rest of the class.
If you need course adaptations or special accommodations because of a disability, or if you have medical information that needs to be shared with me in the event that the building needs to be evacuated, please contact me or come see me during office hours. If you require accommodations due to a diagnosed disability please contact the Disability Support Services office in B132. Phone: 425-564-2498 (Voice), TTY: 425-564-4110.
This class is built on the assumption that diverse perspectives are fundamental to learning. It’s only when we’re challenged by knowledge and viewpoints different from our own that we can learn and grow. The course is structured to make the most of our differences by giving you many opportunities to interact with all of your classmates. We’ll be dealing with topics that can sometimes look different depending on where you stand—topics that can become somewhat controversial as well. This is just the sort of situation where we benefit most from experience and perspectives different from our own. But for this to work we must all be willing to listen to each other respectfully. A few basic guidelines can make a big difference here:
· Treat each other with respect.
· When disagreeing, question the quality of the argument, not the validity of personal beliefs.
· Speak from experience.
· Avoid generalizations about groups of people.
· Share air time.
· Listen respectfully to different perspectives.
· Don’t blame or scapegoat.
· Focus on learning, not on winning arguments.
The Paragraph Outline, Critical Reading Summary, and
all Checkpoints except the
Review of Research” receive either a minus (-), a check (ü) or a plus (+), for 2, 3 or 4 points (the
fourth is a bonus point). 10% of final
2. Summary paper, due Thursday, April 14: 10% of final
3. Critique paper, due Thursday, May 5: 20% of final
4. State of the Debate paper, due Thursday, May 19: 20% of final
5. Preliminary Review of Research, due In conference the week of May 31 – June 3: 20% of final
6. Final research paper, due Tuesday, June 14: 20% of final
For those of you interested in keeping score: There are 200 possible grade points (excluding bonus points). Each paper will be evaluated with a worksheet that assigns scores from 1 (unacceptable) to 5 (outstanding) on various aspects of the paper, which you can then add up for a total score, with 40 being the highest possible score. Except for the Summary paper, all scores translate directly to final grade points: if you get a 32 on your Critique paper, you receive 32 final grade points. To calculate grade points for your Summary paper, divide the scores that appear on your paper by two. Your final grade is based on the total of your paper points as well as points awarded for meeting other requirements. An average of a B (32 out of 40) on your papers does not mean that you will receive a B as a final grade. You also receive points simply for doing some assignments (checkpoints) regardless of the quality of that work. And there is ample opportunity to receive bonus points for attendance, rewrites and exceptionally well executed checkpoints.
Total grade points translate to letter grades in the following manner:
167 – 173
131 – 139
99 – 107
189 – 200
153 – 166
117 – 130
86 – 98
174 – 188
140 – 152
108 – 116
74 – 85
Plagiarism means representing another’s written work as your own. It can take different forms, including submitting a paper someone else wrote with your name on it; including someone else’s exact words in your paper without giving credit for them; including someone else’s ideas in your paper without giving credit; and letting someone else do so much work on your paper it’s as if they wrote it, or part of it.
In this culture plagiarism is a form of theft. It is the
most serious crime you can commit in an academic setting. Plagiarism will
result in a zero for the assignment. Extensive plagiarism is grounds for
failing the course and can get you kicked out of school.
In a class like this, where your writing depends so heavily on the work of others, plagiarism is a special danger. Be extra careful when using someone else’s words to quote exactly, put quotation marks around their words, and give credit using the proper documentation format. Be sure to take careful notes so you remember what are your words and what are your sources’. When paraphrasing, rewrite the idea completely so the words are entirely your own—don’t just change a few words here and there and call it yours. That’s plagiarism too. (See the Simon and Schuster Handbook, Chapter 33, for more on how to avoid plagiarism.)
Most of the time people plagiarize for one reason: panic. They feel unable to do the assignment, don’t ask for help, grab something that looks good and hand it in. Stop this problem before it starts. If you’re having trouble see me. I will do everything I can to help you complete the assignment successfully. But I can’t help if you don’t talk to me. Also, see the Simon and Schuster Handbook, Chapter 33, for advice on how to avoid plagiarism.
Thursday, April 7: Paragraph outline due
Tuesday, April 12: Paper Checkpoint: Summary draft due for peer review
Thursday, April 14: Paper 1 (Summary) due
Tuesday, April 26: Summary of reading for Critique Paper due
Tuesday, May 3: Paper Checkpoint: Critique Paper draft due for peer review
Thursday, May 5: Paper 2 (Critique) due
Tuesday, May 10 BY EMAIL: Mandatory Checkpoint: 10 Bibliography cards due
Friday, May 13 BY EMAIL: Outline for State of the Debate paper due
Tuesday, May 17: Paper Checkpoint: State of the Debate draft due for peer review
Thursday, May 19: Paper 3 (State of the Debate) due
Tuesday, May 24: Paper Checkpoint: Topic Outline due
In conference the week of May 31 – June 3: Mandatory Checkpoint: Preliminary Review of Research due
Tuesday, June 7: Paper Checkpoint: Research paper draft due for peer review
Tuesday, June 14: Final Research paper (including rough draft with my comments) due. No extensions. Exceptional circumstances must be brought to my attention no later than Monday, June 6, for me to consider an alternate due date.
I am interested in helping you do well in this class. If you’re having difficulty, speak to me about it. If you show me that you’re concerned with doing good work in this class, I’ll do what I can to help you around the obstacles. Communication is key here. Keep me informed and you should do fine. Talk to me after things fall apart, and there may be little that I can do.