EN105 First Yr Wrtng Seminar I: Critical Reading,Writing and Thinking Across Contexts.

for FA 2010

Printer Friendly

Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


EN 105 First Yr Wrtng Seminar I:Critical Reading,Writing andThinking Across Contexts.


FA 2010 HOB


Okerstrom, Dennis R.


Professor, English


Ph.D.-- English and History

Office Location

305 Copley Hall

Office Hours

10 a.m. - 12 noon,  2 - 3 p.m. M & W, or by appointment

Daytime Phone




Semester Dates

16 August-- 10 December 2010

Class Days


Class Time

8 - 8:50 a.m.

Credit Hours



Portfolio Keeping: A Guide for Students, Reynolds and Rice.
The Craft of Revision, Murray.  5th ed.
50 Essays: A Portable Anthology, Cohen. 2nd ed.
Easy Writer, Lunsford.
All textbooks are available through the Park bookstore.

Additional Resources:

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.

Course Description:
EN 105 (C) First Year Writing Seminar I: Critical Reading, Writing and Thinking Across Contexts: An introduction to the recursive processes of writing, the course will emphasize discovery and writing-as-thinking. Students will engage various personal and academics genres, with attention to analyzing the audience and purpose for different writing situations. Course readings expose students to a variety of genres and topics from a range of cultural contexts to promote critical thinking and dialogue. Peer response, reflection and revision are emphasized through a summative course portfolio. 3:0:3

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Apply the writing process to the creation of personal and formal essays (pre-writing, revising, editing, proof-reading, and formatting).
  2. Develop a specific theme and focus that controls and informs the paper.
  3. Develop and clarify material through the inclusion of appropriate details, examples and transitional devices.

Core Assessment:

Every course has a Core Assessment, which is one assignment given in all sections of the course. For En 105 the Core Assessment consists of one final-draft essay from each student’s portfolio, chosen by the student, plus a Reflective Essay. Written at the end of term, the Reflective Essay must describe in significant detail the student’s strengths and a discussion of opportunities for improvement as revealed in the complete portfolio. The reflective essay must also analyze the student’s overall development as a writer over the duration of the semester/term.

Although all students in all sections will present a portfolio that includes evidence of prewriting and multiple drafts, the Core Assessment will consist only of one final-draft essay and the Reflective Essay.

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

Papers, through various drafts.
Peer editing and other collaborative activities.
Portfolio, including a reflective text.


This will be primarily--surprise!!--a writing class.   But writing is more than putting down symbols to be decoded.  It is a physical manifestation of a cerebral process.  So all writing begins with ideas, and the magic is to articulate clearly and concisely the writer's inner vision.  So we will be writing in this class, naturally enough, but we also are going to be reading, thinking, and communicating in a variety of ways.  We will focus on the process of writing (pre-writing, writing, re-envisioning), as well as interpreting, analyzing, and synthesizing the writing of others. 
We will also be working on editing skills.   Remember, even that old guy Hemingway had an editor so you deserve no less.  Editing as we will use it here will go beyond simply correction of spelling and grammar: as peer editors, you will begin to ask serious questions about the intended audience, the purpose of the text, as well as the approach, the organization, and the clarity.  You will evaluate the effectiveness of a peer's writing.  Too soon to panic.  My job is to show you how to do that.
Okay, so what about those grades?  That's what this space is supposed to address, right?  So, first an admission: I believe this should be a pass/fail class, but have been unable to convince many others of the rightness of my thinking.  So, the next best thing will be for you to effectively select your own grade.  Here's how you'll do that:
For a C, write three essays, with multiple drafts, in three different modes (expository, persuasive, analytical, etc.).  Keep all of your drafts to include in your portfolio, to be submitted at the end of the semester.  Participate in peer-editing exercises and other in-class projects and assignments.  Using an FDOM (see Learning Rubric below) format, score an average "2" in each category by the final draft of all essays.  In a short reflective essay, discuss your writing as it evolves through the semester.  
For a B, do all of the above, and score a minimum average of "2.5" for all essays.
For an A, do all of the above.  Score minimum average "3" in each category.
Your prof will give you specific suggestions on improving your drafts, and you will have peer editors to help. 

Late Submission of Course Materials:

In the real world there are absolute deadlines (think April 15) with consequences for missing them.  In the academic world, where we seem to be constantly striving to emulate the real world, submitting material late is a pain in the how-you-say to your professors, and unfair to other students.  So don't do that.  (If you are absent for a really good cause, such as your own funeral, there may be some wiggle room for late submissions).

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Grown-up rules apply.  Don't run with scissors.  Be respectful.  Turn off your cell-phone, including that texting thingee or your next text message will be "Just flagged 105."  And here's one that's not really a rule of conduct, just a well-intentioned heads-up. Do not, in this class or any other, miss a day and then ask your prof: "Did we do anything important in class the last time?" 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Week One: Introductions and all that.  Words and context:  Is that Bow as in Tie, or Bow as in Wow?  Quick start on a quickie "Who I am" mini-essay. 
Weeks Two through Five:  Expository: The personal essay and self-awareness.  Read Angier, "Men, Women, Sex, and Darwin" in Cohen, 29.  In what ways are we products of biology, and how does environment (read: culture) affect who we are?  Read Bryson, "How You Became You," Cohen, 93;  Gould, "Women's Brains," Cohen, 184; Angelou, "Graduation," Cohen, 16; Mairs, "On Being a Cripple," Cohen, 267.
Weeks Six through Ten:  Argumentative:  Reconsidering the Other.  Read Said, "Clashing Civilization?" in Cohen, 365.  What is the essential ingredient in conflict?  How do we obtain our information?  What is our obligation as educated humans?  Read  Liu, "Notes of a Native Speaker," Cohen, 251; Mukherjee, "Two Ways to Belong in America," Cohen, 298.
Weeks Eleven through Fifteen:  Analytical:  Parsing the words.  Read Jefferson, "The Declaration of Independence," Cohen, 211; Ericsson, "The Ways We Lie," Cohen, 174. 

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93
If you are still uncertain about exactly what plagiarism is, best to ask your professor.  DO NOT PLAGIARIZE.  If you do, you will fail this class.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96
I can't teach you if you are not in class, nor can you participate in peer-editing or other necessary tasks.  So, I will give you--gratis, as in free--three absences without penalty.  For each additional two absences, your final grade will be lowered one letter.

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
1, 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
The main point, or thesis, of the essay is not only abundantly clear to the reader, but gracefully expressed in a clear, personal voice. The main point, or thesis, of the essay is clear, although could be expressed more gracefully. The voice is personal for the most part. The essay lacks a main point and instead presents several potential theses. The voice, while personal, does not always appropriately address the topic. No portfolio is turned in or guidelines are not followed. 
1, 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
The essay presents relevant and tasteful detail in a personal voice that supports the thesis and provides an appropriate sense of exploration of topic, with attention to ambiguities as well as certainties. The essay presents relevant detail, but needs further explanation. It is not always clear how the information supports the thesis. Ambiguities are not addressed, or are addressed within a rigid framework. The essay lacks appropriate and relevant detail, and emphasizes information rather than interpretation. Ambiguities are not addressed. No portfolio is turned in or guidelines are not followed. 
1, 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Details are organized logically, and with a pleasing sense of exploration. Digressions are appropriate and add to the overall argument. Details are logically organized, but are stiff and lack a natural sense of presentation. Digressions are sometimes puzzling. The organizational plan is confusing and often irrelevant to the stated purpose of the essay. No portfolio is turned in or guidelines are not followed. 
Content of Communication                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
1, 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Central topic is substantial, relevant, and creatively addressed with fresh insight. Personal experiences are appropriately discussed and analyzed to make a point. Personal voice is consistently graceful and appropriate throughout. Central topic is potentially good, but could be further developed. Personal experiences are not always relevant or adequately analyzed. Personal voice is good, but prosaic. Central topic lacks clarity. Personal experiences do not support any obvious point. The voice does not match the purpose of the essay. No portfolio is turned in or guidelines are not followed. 
Technical Skill in Communication                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Writing employs conventions of Standard Written English with grace and style. Writing employs conventions of Standard Written English adequately, with only occasional gaps. Writing shows persistent problems with the use of Standard Written English. Statements are often illogical or incomprehensible. No portfolio is turned in or guidelines are not followed. 
Understanding Audience and Purpose                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
The purpose of the essay is abundantly clear through the use of a clearly stated thesis. The writer addresses a specific audience using an appropriate level of discourse and anticipating possible questions. The purpose of the essay is essentially clear, though the thesis could be further clarified. The writer addresses a specific audience, though does not always anticipate reader's questions. The purpose of the essay remains unclear. The writer does not consider the needs of the audience and does not include appropriate discourse. No portfolio is presented or guidelines are not followed. 
Rhetorical Strategies                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
The writing presents information skillfully and uses appropriate strategies and organization. The writing presents information adequately using appropriate strategies, although the organizational plan is not always clear. The writing does not employ appropriate rhetorical strategies and lacks a clear sense of organization. No portfolio is presented or guidelines are not followed. 


This material is protected by copyright and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:8/10/2010 2:24:02 PM