Timeline

Week 1 January 22 and 24

Tuesday  Introduction and discussion of course theme and book selection

For next time: Read material on wildness page. Follow links and think about and with the concept of wildness. Bring your questions to Thursday’s class

Thursday In-class discussion of writing sequence: texts and contexts

For next Tuesday:

Write a 1500 word (approximately five pages double-spaced) narrative about your experiences writing in school. I encourage you to refer to at least one essay (or essays) you have written to tell your story. Please give the story a title.

The first writing you will do in this class is a reflection on your experiences as a writer in school—both before you came to college, as well as in your college classes. Your reflections will help us begin our conversation this semester about the essay as a genre of writing. The project assumes that 1) you are familiar (and practiced) at writing essays (including the persuasive essay requiring you to support a claim with reasons, evidence and analysis; 2) you have given some thought to your experiences as a writer; and 3) that you are willing to identify and describe the expectations and conventions of the forms that fall under the title “academic writing.”

Most college-level writing assignments use the term essay with a term that describes what is expected from the writer. “Academic,” “argumentative,” “analytic,” “persuasive,” “research” or “personal”–assignments that use these terms most often include a list of required elements: introduction, thesis, topic sentences, evidence, conclusion, and a works cited page, and so on. In addition, most of you have also learned in your high school English classes that essays are assessed using relatively common standards. These standards are represented by such words as clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, significance, and fairness.

Academic essays serve a number of purposes. They are used to test an argument or arguments; to persuade the reader; to demonstrate that you have completed the required reading; or to assess your understanding of subject matter. Often, the essay is taught as part of a writing process, working from the principle that writing can improve by thinking about what you have written and then making changes based on further thinking. But in most every case, the essay is a means to a particular end—whether exploring or developing thought, “getting it right,” or “getting a grade.”

As you think about this project, and the academic essay, you might consider the following questions. Why write an essay? What are the motives that underlie the essay (both your own, and those of your teachers)? What is the relationship between the writing process and the product? In your experience, what qualities distinguish your most successful academic essays? When you sit down to write an essay, what do you actually do? Are there particular elements of the essay that have been difficult for you? Has writing essays helped you become a more effective writer?

Week 2 January 29 and 31

Tuesday Due: Essay about your experiences writing in school. In-class discussion of book selections. Order books no later than Wednesday.

For next time: e-mail to mlong@keene.edu your book choice and the Rationale: a one-page single-spaced explanation why you chose the book. This piece of writing will talk about your interest in the subject matter, and will note relevant information about the author (academic or intellectual training, cultural background, etc.), the context or time period when the book was written/published, the genre of writing, and the field of study or inquiry. Attach the document to your e-mail and format the document using the “Standard-Manuscript Format” (though in this case single-space the whole document).

Thursday Writing Workshop: reading as a writer

For next class session: today I asked you to choose one of three essays on the Wildness page of the course blog:

With your chosen essay this is what you need to do:

  1. Read the essay and take notes
  2. Choose 2-4 sentences or passages from the text that you will use to explain the concept and term “wildness” and send the sentences with page numbers to me no later than Monday morning at 10 AM
  3. In class on Tuesday, we will work in groups to generate a working knowledge of the term wildness and how the term can help us more clearly describe the relationship between “nature” and culture

Week 3 February 5 and 7

By Monday of this week, choose one of three essays on the Wildness page of the course blog:

With your chosen essay this is what you need to do:

  1. Read the essay and take notes
  2. Choose 2-4 sentences or passages from the text that you will use to explain the concept and term “wildness” and send the sentences with page numbers to me no later than Monday morning at 10 AM
  3. In class on Tuesday, we will work in groups to generate a working knowledge of the term wildness and how the term can help us more clearly describe the relationship between “nature” and culture

Tuesday  Writing Workshop: writing as a reader

Thursday Due: two-page list of quotations (with page numbers) and two-page close reading (“page about a page”)

Week 4 February 12 and 14
Tuesday Due: two-page summary or précis of the book. Introduction to the writing project

UPDATE: The weather forecast for Tuesday afternoon has convinced me to cancel our class session on Tuesday. You will submit the summary on Thursday with the two-page commentary. See the Writing page for details of the writing tasks 

Thursday Due: two-page commentary on issues in book that discusses the text and the relevant context(s) for reading the book (biographical, social, historical, cultural, literary). Introduction to the writing project (continued). Sign up for individual conference

Week 5 February 19 and 21
No class meetings this week: Individual Conferences in Mark’s office, 206 Parker Hall. Bring 2 Copies of your Statement of Purpose and Motivation to the conference. If you are writing the optional Book Review (see grading and assignments page), please bring the Review with you to the conference.

Week 6 February 26 and 28

Week 5, our first conference week, is for meeting with Mark and then following up the meeting with a plan of work for the next few weeks. Your guide for the work and the specific expectations for reporting out on your research is found in the Research Installments description on the Writing Page of this course site.

Now that you have settled on an area of interest, you will set out to learn as much as you can. There are two research installments. The first is due on Monday of week 7 and the second is due on Monday of week 8. Each of the two written research installments has two parts: 1) a narrative summary of what you have read and how that reading has furthered your thinking and writing and 2) an annotated works cited page (in a sentence or two, summarize the argument or purpose of each piece of writing) with at least five entries organized by author’s last name, just as you would a bibliography or works cited page.

Tuesday Writing Workshop: Topics and Questions

Thursday Writing Workshop: “Poking and prying with a purpose”: Methods and Strategies. Preparing Research Installment #1

Week 7 March 5 and 7
Monday by midnight: send Mark research installment #1

Tuesday Writing Workshop: Writing with Sources

Thursday Research Installment #2

Friday at midnight: Research Installment #2 Due

Week 8 March 12 and 14

Spring Break!

Week 9 March 17-23
This week you will be working on the first version of your essay.

Tuesday Writing Workshop

Thursday Writing Workshop

Week 10 March 26 and 28
This week you will be working on the first version of your essay.

Tuesday no class: conferences with Mark this week

Thursday Writing Workshop. Due: First Version of Essay

Week 11 April 2 and 4

Tuesday Writing Workshop: Questions, Problems, Arguments, Claims. Mark will hand back written comments on your first version.

Thursday Writing Workshop: Questions, Problems, Arguments, Claims

Week 12 April 9 and 11
Tuesday Writing Workshop: Arcs of Coherence; or Moving from One Place to Another. How Do I End my Paper?

Thursday Writing Workshop. Due: Version 2 of Essay (please include version 1 of the essay with my comments). Sign up for conference with Mark.

Week 13 April 16 and 18
Tuesday No class: Individual conferences
Thursday No class: Individual conferences

Week 14 April 23 and 25
Tuesday Writing Workshop on how to find primary sources in and from secondary sources

For next time: Read the chapter The Art of Quoting from Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkstein’s book They Say / I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing (2006) before we meet on Thursday. This brief chapter will serve as an introduction to our in-class writing workshop.

Thursday Writing Workshop: in-text citation review and the question of style

Week 15 April 30 and May 2
Tuesday Preparing the Writing Portfolio. Writing a reflective letter and using materials in portfolio as evidence of your learning

Thursday Writing Workshop on Editing and Copy Editing

Week 16 Finals Week

Reading Day: Portfolios due in my office between 9-10 or 12-1