Syllabus

Course Description
This class is for writers interested in becoming more aware of the resources of language and the subject of style through reading, independent research and experimentation with forms of grammar, punctuation, phrasing, and syntax.

Learning Objectives and Outcomes
Students will analyze and edit their own and others’ documents with a focus on style; Students will learn to use grammar, punctuation, voice, and syntax for rhetorical and aesthetic effect; Students will identify and correct common errors in their own writing; Students will identify and correct errors in public documents

Learning Expectations and Requirements
Regular attendance is expected and required. Absences have a devastating effect—on the quality of your thinking and writing as well as on the educational experience of other students in the course. If you must miss a class, please let me know in advance. For every two classes your final grade will be one full letter grade lower. If you miss six or more class sessions you will need to withdraw from the course

Pre-class preparation and in-class participation is expected and required. You are expected to read carefully and thoughtfully and to be prepared to discuss what you have read in class. You are also required to post your writing before class on your blog. Class sessions will be run as writing workshops.

Computer and mobile phone use. Turn off your phone and/or your social media feeds when you arrive in class. If you must use your computer or phone for something other than class work, that is your choice, but please leave the classroom and take the absence for that class session that you have earned

Thoughtful and timely writing is required: You can expect to be writing during every week of the semester. Short writing exercises will help you think through the material and will help me shape the learning trajectory of the class. Some of you might want to think about your short writing posts as quizzes—though I hope that you will become interested in thinking and making stylish things–in this case, phrases and sentences and paragraphs. All of your written work will be archived on your style blog. In addition to the exercises you will be writing weekly blog posts on style. Please read the “Exercises” and the “Weekly Posts” pages for more detail

Grading
Your course grade will be earned by the thinking and writing you complete each week and your engagement in class. I will be reading the writing on your blog every week, before and after class, and will be keeping a record of your work. The blog is also a portfolio of your writing that I will use to help me determine your final grade. To this end, I encourage you to “curate” your blog as we go deeper into the course.

  1. Writing Exercises: these exercises will receive credit or no credit. To receive credit for each exercise you must do the following:
  • complete and post your work on your “Exercises” page no later than before 9PM on the days before class
  • title the post so a reader knows what kind of exercise you are doing (i.e. “Periodic Sentences”), include the date and the exercise or writing question/prompt
  • be composed thoughtfully and written with care (as opposed to hastily or mechanically)

You must complete all of the exercises to pass the course. Please note that you are control of earning your grade. If you are working for an A in the course you must complete all of the exercises and post them on your blog by the due date. If you are working for a B in the course you must complete all but two of exercises by the due date. If you are working for a C in the course you need to complete all but four of the exercises before the due date.

  1. Weekly Posts These blog posts are due every Monday by 9PM. Each week you will write and post on your blog a brief essay or commentary on what you find interesting and worth knowing about style. The style for these weekly postings will be informative and engaging. Each entry will have a title,  be dated, and provide you with an opportunity to share with your reader what you have learned )or are learning) about style. What you have discovered that all of us would agree is worth knowing about language/style? What have you realized that causes you to say to yourself, “how did I not know that?” How might you take the reader from the simple to the complex, the commonplace to the exceptional?

To receive credit for each blog post you must also do the following:

  • complete and post your work on the home page of your blog before 9PM on the days before class
  • title the post so a reader knows what kind of exercise you are doing (i.e. “Periodic Sentences”), include the date and the exercise or writing question/prompt
  • be composed thoughtfully and written with care (as opposed to hastily or mechanically)

If you are working for an A in the course you must complete 14 posts. If you are working for a B in the course you must complete 12 posts. If you are working for a C in the course you must complete 10 posts.

  1. Engagement To receive a passing grade in the course you will complete all of the writing assignments and 1) attend the individual conference; 2) contribute to the collective intellectual work of the class through careful listening, thoughtful comments and questions, and engaged conversation; and 3) demonstrate a commitment to developing more complex thinking and professional presentation of your thinking in writing.

I welcome questions at any point about your progress in the course. Please make an appointment during my office hours. We will review your learning goals and your progress meeting those goals in our individual conference during week eight.

If you are a student with a disability the Office of Disability Services (ODS), Elliot Hall, 8.2353, is available to discuss eligibility requirements and appropriate academic accommodations that you may require as a student with a disability. So all arrangements can be made, requests for academic accommodations need to be completed during the first two weeks of the semester. You are responsible for making an appointment with ODS for disability verification and determination of reasonable academic accommodations.

Emergency Operations In the event the College closes for a major disaster, students are responsible for regularly checking their e-mail, voice mails, and Blackboard for information on alternative course delivery procedures and course work submission. Students will be responsible for completing their assignments and ensuring that they have completed all of the core requirements for their courses before they will receive a final grade for the course.

Reading, Thinking and Writing are the primary activities in this course. As you read, you will want to think about the reading, whether by keeping marginal notes in your books (or a notebook). In this way, writing becomes thinking—or, as you read your thinking will be begin to take shape as you find your way through writing. In addition, you will also be asked to listen carefully and to share your thinking by speaking in class.

Reading: Successful students do the assigned reading and more. If you have difficulties keeping up with the assigned reading, please make a schedule to complete the reading in a timely way.

Thinking: Your writing will make visible your thinking about language and style. Your weekly investigations into style will require you to think through complex issues—both through reading and writing.

Writing: The writing you produce will be published on a Word Press web log (or blog). I will post the writing assignments on the Writing with Style course blog. Your blog will be available for me and for other members of the class to read; it will also be open to anyone else who chooses to read your work.

Success in this course begins with discovering an interest and enthusiasm for attentive reading, engaged dialogue and purposive writing. Should at any time you have a question or concern, please contact me, or drop by during my office hours to talk.

 

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