English 110N: First-Year English Composition
Summer 1998, T/R: 7:30-9:18, Derby Hall 24
This course focuses on multiple, divergent—yet always convergent—conceptions
of literacy, personal, academic, public, and compositional. Our primary
goal is to come to know what literacy is. Though no single definition
exists, I have a strong suspicion that any understanding demands critical thinking,
active reading, and reflective writing. Reading does not exist without
writing; understanding does not exist without practice. Therefore, to
read we must write, and vice versa. To that end we will do much reading
in Writing Lives—the course reader—and Works in Progress—the course rhetoric.
We will respond to the reading with informal written response and class discussion.
To more fully develop our thinking on the subjects, we will engage in formal
writing. And finally, so that we may re-view and re-envision our own writing,
we will engage in peer response and substantive revision.
Ede: Work in Progress, 3rd ed. (available at Long's)
Garnes, et al., eds: Writing Lives (Long's)
Lunsford and Connors: The Everyday Writer (Long's)
Course Packet (COP-EZ at Bricker)
a folder (almost everywhere)
Assignments and Grade Distribution
Grades are based upon how well you fulfill the expectations of each assignment,
which in turn are related to the goals of the class. If you don't understand
what is required or being asked of you, please talk with me about it.
The course's grade distribution follows:
Formal Essay 1, 20%
Formal Essay 2, 25%
Formal Essay 3, 30%
Informal Writing, 10%
The articles, essays, stories and poems that you are
required to read are designed to stimulate class discussion and your own contemplation
of subjects you may wish to write about in your own examinations. I reserve
the right to give pop quizzes (to affect your peer/participation grade) if I
believe that you are not completing the reading. In order that I not dominate
your class with my perspective (and ramblings), you will at numerous points
in the quarter prepare brief reactions/questions (also for the peer/participation
grade) for class discussion based on a reading.
Approximately every other class period you will react
in informal writing to readings or issues. These short, three-fourth to
one (¾-1) page single-space (or 1.5 space if typed) assignments of approximately
250-350 words are designed to commence your thinking toward the formal papers.
If you put thoughtful, conscientious effort into the work and turn it in on
time (at the beginning of class), you'll get full credit; if you don't, you
won't. For every informal writing assignment you turn in late, you will
lose one-half (½) of a letter grade from the cumulative informal writing
grade (an “A” will become an “A-” ). Not turning an informal assignment
within one (1) week of its due date will result in an additional deduction of
one-half (½) of a letter grade from the informal writing grade.
If you use spiral-bound notebook paper, cut off that
nasty little straggly paper from the margin. Your should head your responses
|| Informal Response
||Alex E. Blazer
Title (which in some way indicates the prompt or assignment)
Skip a line, and then commence your contemplative reaction.
You will write three (3) formal papers relating, to
personal, academic, and, finally, public literacies. First drafts will
be responded to by your peers and myself. Second drafts will be graded
by me. Due dates, length, and format rules apply to ALL drafts.
In other words, penalties in first drafts will carry over into the final grade,
no matter what the revision.
Turn all required drafts (i.e., those designated due
on the syllabus) in on time at the beginning of class. Your peers and
I will be reviewing your work in order to give you feedback the next class period.
If you don't supply us with your paper on time, we can't prepare our responses.
I will mark down all drafts one (1) letter grade for each day (24 hours, not
class period) that they are late, excluding Saturday and Sunday—no leniency
given. IF YOU DO NOT TURN IN A DRAFT WITHIN ONE WEEK (SEVEN DAYS, 168
HOURS) OF ITS DUE DATE YOU WILL FAIL THE COURSE. Turning in Essay Three
after 8:30 P.M. on Tuesday, September 1 will result in a two (2) letter grade
deduction for each day it is late. TURNING IT IN AFTER THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER
3 AT 8:30 P.M. WILL RESULT IN YOUR FAILURE OF THE COURSE.
The page ranges and word counts of the formal essays
vary slightly Essay 1 = 4-6 pages with no less than 1000 words, Essay 2 = 4-6
pages with no less than 1000 words, and Essay 3 = 5-6 with no less than 1250
words. On the first draft of a paper, if the text of your draft
does not extend down at least one-fourth (¼) of the minimum page requirement
page, you must compose in that unused space several typed (not spur of the moment),
substantive, reflective questions and concerns regarding where your paper is
going and how it might be improved upon. Otherwise, I will deduct one-half
(½) of a letter grade from the final, graded draft. Second drafts
have less lee-way. I will penalize a paper's second, graded draft one-half
(½) of a letter grade if its textual length does not come within at least
four (4) lines of the bottom of the page minimum. I will NOT waffle on
this point. If you have a question as to whether or not your paper meets
the page length or format requirements (for format, see below), I strongly urge
you to contact me. I know padding when I see it. The quantity that
I ask for must constitute quality and not page-lengthening fluff. Your
papers should constitute precise critical thinking and not feather-filled, sleepy-time
All drafts of your formal essays should be stapled (not
paper clipped), double-spaced (except for your name, class, and so on), and
fully marginalized with one inch (1") margins. Do not skip lines between
paragraphs as I do here. (This syllabus has different formal and format conventions
than your essays in interests of conservation.) The 12 point (not 13,
14, 15, 16, 17, or 18) font should be Arial, Courier, Times/Roman, or similarly
appropriate (Don't use bold, block fonts; they reek of filler.)
Instead of using title pages, commence your paper in single-spacing like this:
|| Essay Number
|| Draft Number
||Alex E. Blazer
After skipping one line (not two) begin your paper in
double-spaced (I know, my syllabus isn't double-spaced; but I'm trying to save
paper). On subsequent pages (not the first page, only the second through
final) your last name and page number should appear on the upper right corner
as a header positioned approximately one-half inch (½") from the top
margin. In order to maintain the one inch (1") top margin border, the
body of text should start a bit less than one-half inch (½") from the
page header. Consult your computer or word processor manual or find a
computer lab assistant to help you meet these margin and page header specifications.
(It can be done!) Refer to the top of this page as an example of page
numbering. Again, I won't be a pushover; don't do it and your grade will
be affected. If you think your format does not meet these requirements,
contact me before you print it out because I will deduct one-half (½)
a letter grade from any draft that does not meet all the requirements of this
format—and this deduction will affect the paper's final grade.
The First-Year Writing Program and I encourage revision,
the continual process of (re)writing. To that end, I will not grade first
drafts. (Instead, I will comment with criticisms and suggestions, but beware
as they will become more sparse as the quarter proceeds.). You should
strive to produce the most developed, thoughtful, and polished paper you can
because you will be showing all essays to your peer group and me. Both
your peers and, for the first essay, I will respond to and evaluate them.
You then have the opportunity to (let's not mince words, you must if you desire
a good grade) improve your papers with substantive changes based on our critical
feedback and your own consideration in a second draft due one and a half weeks
after the first. As I will be looking over you peers comments, be sure
to include their responses with your second draft. (I advise turning in
Draft 2 along with accompanying drafts in a folder in order that papers not
be lost; further, peers may wish to make a copy of their responses in case they
get lost in the paper shuffle.) Even an “A” paper can be improved; any
writer can make her work better. The degree of revision depends upon both
the response to your paper and your evaluation of those responses. However,
be aware that grammatical correction does not constitute revision, although
it is expected. This second draft will receive a grade. But, even
the second draft/grade is not final. You can, if you so choose, utilize
all of the responses to your first two drafts in order to (re)envision a third
and final revision due no later than two weeks after graded Draft 2 is returned
to you. However, you must have an individual conference with me if you
wish to compose a third draft (no conference = no revision). All previous
drafts that I've accessed must accompany revised drafts or I will not grade
them. Again, no exceptions.
Because your work deserves attention and criticizing
others' work helps you in your own writing, not only I but also you will be
giving constructive, critical feedback. To that end, you will respond
to first drafts in writing and small group discussion. As with informal
assignments, if you compose a well-thought out response, you will receive full
At least once this quarter, we will have an individual
conference to talk about your work. As you will sign up for a time when
we can meet, this will be considered a class meeting. Attendance will
be mandatory and the attendance policy will be in effect. Though no more
individual conferences are required, I encourage you to see me during my office
hours (or by appointment) to talk about your progress in the course, especially
after turning in drafts.
Don't do it. Using someone else's words, ideas,
or work without proper citation and representing them as your own is the most
serious of academic offenses. Please note the information on plagiarism
in Ede and Connors' The Everyday Writer (281-3). Read the policy
carefully and be sure to ask any questions you might have. All cases of
suspected plagiarism will be reported to the Committee on Academic Misconduct.
All assignments are due at the beginning of class.
I do not tolerate late work. If you've forgotten, refer to the above sections
on informal and formal writing assignments for the relationship between late
work and grade deductions. If you foresee a problem with turning in an
assignment, especially a first draft which needs to undergo peer response, on
time, see me about it before it's due.
Because much of our work in this class is discursive
and peer-responsive, unexcused absences will not be tolerated. Family
emergences, illness/injury with doctor's note, jury duty, athletic or other
collegiate competition, religious holidays, and so forth constitute excused
absences (Bring these notes within one (1) week of your return to class or I
will not except them). Two-thirds (?) of a letter grade will be deducted
from your final grade for every unexcused absence beyond two (2) (An “A”will
become a “B+”). Peer response days are especially critical. If you
miss one (1) of these days without providing an excuse, your peer/ participation
grade will be automatically marked “B.” Miss another, and I will deduct one
(1) letter grade from that essay whose peer response you missed. Finally, five
(5) unexcused absences will result in your failure of the course. I do
not tolerate tardiness either. Two (2) tardies equals one (1) unexcused
absence (Note, therefore, that tardies will affect your grade; and ten (10)
tardies (or any combination of tardies and unexcused absences) will result in
your failure of the course). If you know in advance that you have to miss
or arrive late to a class, especially one near a peer response day, please notify
me before that class.
On the Monday after finals week, I will make available
any work not yet returned to you. Contact me to make an appointment to
pick up your work. Otherwise, I will keep your work for two quarters,
during which time you can pick it up. If you do not retrieve it, I will
The staff of the Writing Center serve as readers
and responders to writing for English 110 and other university disciplines.
Besides giving feedback, these English graduate students can help with other
writing issues such as topic development, organization, coherence, clarity,
and self-editing. To make an appointment, call 292-5607 or stop by 338
Denney Hall M/W 8:30-5:30, T/R 8:30-7:30, and F 8:30-1:30.
First-Year Writing Ombud
The Ombud is a resource for students and teachers
of English 110. If you have any concerns about the course but feel you
cannot speak with me, please feel free to consult with the Ombud. All
conversations are confidential.
|Ombud: Tara Pauliny
||Office Phone: 292-5778
|Office: Denney Hall 363
|Office Hours: M-R 11:00-1:00
Office of Disability Services
If you have any specific needs or concerns, please
feel free to discuss the issue with me during office hours. Students with
disabilities who need accommodations should be registered at the Office for
Disability Services (292-3307).
Once again, I welcome you to come and see me during
my office hours. If you can't make it, then we'll set up an appointment.
I encourage you to talk with me about your writing, the class, or anything else
you may be concerned with. Also, don't hesitate to call me at home (before
10 P.M.) if you have questions about an assignment.
WL = Writing Lives; WP = Work in Progress; CP = Course Packet
Like thought, this schedule is subject to change.
Unit 1: Personal Literacies
What Is Literacy?
WL: O'Brien, "The Things They Carried" (50-62)
Eigner, On Dumpster Diving" (63-74)
WP: Chapter 1 (1-27)
Essay 1 Prompt
Due: Response (O'Brien Exploration 1 or Eigner Writing before
WL: Mellix, "From Outside, In" (75-85)
Torgovnick, "On Being White, Female, and
Born in Bensonhurst" (109-20)
CP: Hurston, "How It Feels to Be Colored Me" (35-9)
WP: Chapter 2 (28-56)
Due: Response (TBA 6-25)
||No Class: Independence Day
Literacy in Society
WL: Douglass, Ch7 from Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (103-8)
Scribner, "Literacy in Three Metaphors"
WP: Chapter 3 (57-82)
Due: Essay 1, Draft 1
Unit 2: The Academy
Sites of Language
WL: Heath, "The Fourth Vision: Literate Language at Work"
CP: Newman, "The Idea of a University" (34-42)
Essay 1 Peer Response Groups
Due: Essay 1 Peer Responses
The Poet vs/and the Academy
WL: Hughes, "Theme for English B" (140-1)
Moraga, "It's the Poverty" (192-4)
CP: Eliot, "Gerontion" (488-90)
WP: Chapter 4 (83-102)
Due: Response (Hughes Exploration 2 or Moraga Explorations 1,
2, and 3)
WL: Stafford, "Final Exam: American Renaissance" (207-8)
Freire, "The Banking Concept of Education"
Essay 2 Prompt
Due: Essay 1, Draft 2
WL: Levine, "M. Degas Teaches Art & Science at Durfee
Intermediate School" (246-7)
Anyon, "Social Class and the Hidden Curriculum
of Work" (248-67)
WP: Chapters 5-6 (103-57)
Due: Response (Anyon Explorations 5 and 6)
The Academy in Popular Culture
WL: Hirsch, "Cultural Literacy" (195-206)
Barber, "America Skips School" (282-93)
Due: Essay 2, Draft 1
Unit 3: Public Stuff
WL: Adatto, "The Incredible Shrinking Sound Bite" (357-66)
Katz, "Rock, Rap, and Movies Bring You
the News" (367-77)
WP: Chapter 7 (158-87)
Essay 2 Peer Response Groups
Due: Essay 2 Written Peer Responses
Our Generation: Media Targets
WL: Sizer, "Public Literacy: Puzzlements of a High School
Charles, "Always Real: Coke Chillin' in
The Hood" (352-6)
Due: Response (Charles Explorations 1 and 2)
The Effects of Targeting
WL: Solomon, "Masters of Desire: The Culture of American
Zinn, "Move Over, Boomers: The Busters
Are Here—and They're Angry" (342-51)
WP: Chapter 8 (188-212)
Due: Essay 2, Draft 2
WL: Ventura, "Report from El Dorado" (385-97)
Due: Response (Ventura 1 and 3)
Those Damn Malls
WL: Guterson, "Enclosed. Enclyclopedic. Endured.: "One
Week at the Mall of America" (398-412)
CP: Ferlinghetti, "Director of Alienation" (185-8)
WP: Chapter 9 (213-248)
Essay 3 Prompt
Due: Response (React to Guterson or Ferlinghtetti)
Pressuring the Citizens
CP: Rich, "Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence"
Movie: Bulworth [meet at Cinemark Movies 12 at 7:15PM]
Due: Response (React to Rich or movie)
CP: Huxley, "The Arts of Selling" and "Education for Freedom"
WP: Chapter 10 (249-264)
Due: Essay 3, Draft 1
Deconstructing the Codes
CP: Three Rivers, " Cultural Etiquette: A Guide" (821-4)
Wright, "The Ethics of Living Jim Crow"
Essay 3, Draft 1 Peer Response Groups
Due: Essay 3 Written Peer Responses
What Can We Believe?
CP: Herzog, "The Death of Lies" (15-27)
Ellison, "On Becoming a Writer" (433-40)
WP: Ch11 (265-289)
Due: Response (React to Herzog)
Essay 3, Draft 2 Peer Response Groups
Due: Essay 3, Draft 2
||Essay 3, Draft 3