I often hear complaints that my classes are a lot of work. They are. I don’t know of any other way to see improvement in writing and thinking than to provide ample opportunities to wrestle ideas onto the screen or paper. I write this down as a way of disclosure, my means of being honest with you so that as the semester progresses you know full well what to expect.
We will write three major essays and a number of short writing assignments. One of the three essays will be a research paper that we will begin working on sometime around Week 3 of the semester, after our first writing conference.
The short writing pieces will be done at home; some of these will be timed and you will need access to a computer during the time our class meets virtually in order to turn them in.
When working on longer essays, I expect for you to use the following process: draft the text (on your own), share with your writing group, revise (on your own), share with your writing group, revise (on your own), take the revision to the Writing Center, revise one last time on your own, prepare the document to share with me. During this whole process, I encourage you to ask me questions, show me the paper, and seek advice. It’s critical, however, that you see the writing process as an extended one, where you slowly shape what you want to say and where you take the time to clean up any issues with grammar, punctuation, or spelling.
Class time is very limited and precious. Please come prepared every class with any work that is due. We will often break into groups; being prepared for these will make the difference between a fruitful experience or a waste of time.
I will monitor your work and encourage you to talk with me if you see that you are falling behind. Failure to keep up may lead to a drop from the class. Attendance is mandatory. I reserve the right to drop students after three unexcused absences.
One last thing, plagiarism has not been a major issue for most students I teach. I’d like to keep it that way. Please note that borrowing the work of others and not properly citing the source is a serious offense. Any work that is plagiarized will receive an “F.”
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask during class or here. Again, I want to be as clear as possible with you regarding work expectations from the very beginning and give you the option to stay in the class based on an informed choice.
I look forward to a great semester, one where we explore and write and find pleasure in the process of discovery and learning.