Instructor: Dr. John M. Green
In writing courses you have taken in the past, you probably wrote a series of essays, finishing each one and handing it in to the teacher before beginning the next one. In this course, we will be doing things very differently. You will turn in three drafts of each assigned essay, and you will sometimes start work on one essay before you have written the final draft of the previous one. Different kinds of drafts will be evaluated in different ways. On your rough drafts, what will count will be whether you have found a lot of interesting things to say about your topic. On your revised drafts, what will count will be the overall organization of your essay. Correctness in grammar, spelling, and so forth will count on the final drafts of each essay that you write, but not on the earlier drafts (unless your errors on those drafts make it hard for a reader to understand your ideas).
You will be doing a variety of different kinds of writing in this class.
Your first essay will be based on one of your own personal experiences
in the past. In the next two essays, you will be writing about topics
suggested by your reactions to books we will read: a novel (Election) and
a nonfiction book (Having Our Say). In your fourth essay, you will
write about a community service learning experience that you will have
this semester. (See below for more information.) You will also
be doing informal writing of various kinds.
There will be four assigned essays, and each one will be completed in four stages: preparation and idea gathering (prewriting), rough drafts, revised drafts, and final (corrected) drafts.
1. Preparation and idea gathering (prewriting). The purpose of prewriting is to get lots of ideas before you even begin writing your first rough draft. How you do this will depend partly on the type of essay you are writing. It will also depend partly on your own personal learning style.
Essay #1 will be about a personal experience you had at some time in the past. We will work with a variety of strategies for getting ideas on a topic of this kind so that you can find out what strategies work best for you.
The next two essays will be based largely on books, and will require different strategies for getting ideas. In Essay #2, you will write about your reactions to the novel Election. In Essay #3, you will write about your reactions to the nonfiction book Having Our Say. One strategy you will use in order to get lots of ideas for these essays will be to keep a double-entry response journal as we read the books in class.
Essay #4 will be about a community service learning experience that you will have this semester. This will differ from the personal experience writing you did in Essay #1 in several ways, one of which is that you will know in advance that you are going to write about your experience, and so you will be able to make extensive notes in the form of a journal while you are having the experience.
You will receive more information about possible kinds of experiences for this assignment early in the course.
The web site of Salem State's Community Service Corps includes information about community service opportunities.
I will be checking your progress in gathering information for this assignment on the following dates:
- Wed Sept. 22: Deadline for you to select an issue and organization for your community service experience
- Fri Oct. 8: First progress check on your journal record of your experience
- Fri Oct. 22: Second progress check on your journal record of your experience
2. Rough drafts. When a rough draft assignment is due, you will hand in three and a half pages of rough draft material. This is called a "rough" draft because first drafts almost never represent the best version of an essay that a writer can produce. Good writers accept this, because they know that expecting a first draft to be "perfect" is likely to lead to writer's block. Rough drafts are often somewhat disorganized, and they often have mistakes in grammar, spelling, and so forth. The important thing in writing a rough draft is to write down in preliminary form the ideas that you have gathered in the prewriting stage, without trying to get your essay "perfect" on the very first try.
3. Revised drafts. In this stage, you will revise your rough drafts for organization and overall clarity. Revision is not about finding mistakes and correcting them; that comes later, at the very end of the writing process. Revision is about making sure that you have organized your ideas as effectively as possible. For each revised draft assignment, you will revise one of the rough draft assignments you handed in earlier.
4. Final (corrected) drafts. In the final stage, you will edit your revised drafts for correctness -- grammar, punctuation, spelling, and so forth.
For each essay, the three drafts must be completed in the order above. You must hand in a rough draft before you hand in a revised draft, and you must hand in a revised draft before you hand in a final draft. Guidelines for each kind of draft will be circulated separately from this syllabus.
Deadlines for drafts will be on the following Mondays:
September 13 - Rough draft #1
September 27 - Rough draft #2
October 4 - Revised draft #1
October 18 - Revised draft #2
October 25 - Edited (final) draft #1
November 1 - Edited (final) draft #2
November 8 - Rough draft #3
November 15 - Rough draft #4
November 22 - Revised draft #3
November 29 - Revised draft #4
December 6 - Edited (final) draft #3
December 13 - Edited (final) draft #4
To get a good grade in the course, it is important to hand in work on time. Late work will usually be accepted (with some exceptions), but it will receive a lower grade than work handed in on time.
There will be no final exam in the course.
Attendance is required, and excessive absenses and/or tardies can result in a low grade or even a failing grade in the course.
Each student is responsible for completing all course requirements and
for keeping up with everything that goes on in the course (whether or not
the student is present).
If you are absent, you should:
Plagiarism: Plagiarism is using the words or ideas of someone else and submitting them as if you had written them yourself. It is both dishonest and against the law. Penalties for plagiarism can include an automatic grade of F for the course, as well as being reported to the Vice President, Academic Affairs, which can lead to suspension or expulsion from the college. See the 1998-2000 catalog, page 266, for the full description of the college policy on academic dishonesty.
Equal access policy (students with disabilities): "Salem State College is committed to providing equal access to the educational experience for all students in compliance with Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act and The Americans with Disabilities Act and to providing all reasonable academic accommodations aids and adjustments. Any student who has a documented disability requiring an accommodation, aid or adjustment should speak with the instructor immediately. Students with Disabilities who have not previously done so should provide documentation to and schedule an appointment with the Office for Students with Disabilities and obtain appropriate services." (Salem State College 1998-2000 catalog, p. 267.)