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

for FA 2010

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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 HOH


Shawver, Brian


Associate Professor of English


M.F.A., Creative Writing-Fiction, University of Iowa
B.A., English, University of Kansas

Office Location

Copley 319

Office Hours

MWF 10-12; TR 1-2

Daytime Phone

816 584-6474



Semester Dates

8/16 to 12/10

Class Days


Class Time

2:25 - 3:40 PM



Credit Hours



Cohen, Samuel, ed. 50 Essays: A Portable Anthology. 2nd edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2007.

Lunsford, Andrea. Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference. 4th edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2010.  

Murray, Donald. The Craft of Revision. 5th edition. Boston: Thomson-Wadsworth, 2004. 



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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

Educational Philosophy:

I believe that improving your ability to write is the most important thing you will do in college. Strong writing skills offer their rewards quickly (if you can write a good essay, you will have a large advantage in almost all your other classes) and in the long-term (surveys indicate that employers prioritize candidates who write well). But most importantly, becoming a competent writer is a moral imperative; it speaks to a person’s desire to offer coherence, clarity, and elegance to his/her fellow human beings, and it signifies the belief that one’s own thoughts are significant enough to treat with respect.

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:

Assessment in this class will be comprised of the following elements:

Participation--This includes active involvement in class discussion, regular attendance and punctuality, consistent preparation, and general engagement with the course.

Quizzes--Students will occasionally be asked to write responses to prompts about the reading assignments. These may take the form either of short take-home essays or unannounced in-class quizzes.

Journal--Students will keep a journal throughout the semester in which they record all their assigned exercises, brainstorming activities, reading responses, et cetera. 

Essays--Students will write three essays throughout the semester.

Portfolio--The final portfolio will include revised versions of three essays, plus a reflective essay, as discussed under "Core Assessment."


Your semester grade will be based on your score out of a possible 1000 points. The specific grading chart is as follows:

895-1000 A

795-894   B

695-794   C

595-694   D

Below 59.4 F

Here are the possible point values for each assignment:

Participation:  100

Quizzes:        100

Journal:            100

Essays:             300 (100 points each)

Portfolio:          400 (100 points per revised essay, 100 points for reflective essay)

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Here is the policy on make-up work:

In-class quizzes cannot be made up at all. If you miss a class during which a quiz was given, you get a zero on the quiz. If you have an excused absence, the quiz will simply be removed from the record.

If you are going to miss a class during which a writing assignment (either an essay, a take-home quiz, or a journal assignment) is due, you have the option of turning the assignment in ahead of time. To do this, you must turn in a hard copy (no e-mailed assignments) either to me or my mailbox at least two hours before class. If you don’t do this, you can still get some points for the assignment by bringing a hard copy to the class period following your absence. Your score, however, will be cut in half—a paper that would have earned a 94 will get a 47. No work will be accepted later than that.

The portfolio may not be turned in ahead of time. If you are not in class when it is due, your only option to get credit is to hand it to me personally during my office hours the calendar day after it is due; if you do this, you'll get half credit. If it's any later than that, you can't get points for it.  

Classroom Rules of Conduct:

Here are a few basic rules of conduct for the classroom, although I may think of other ones to add later:

1. Please do not bring food into the classroom.

2. If you carry an electronic device with you, please turn it off before you enter the classroom (excepting, of course, devices that are necessary for health or disability reasons). This includes laptop computers, ipods, cell phones, pretty much anything that has a battery. If you have to have your phone on because you’re expecting a call, please let me know ahead of time.

3. Please raise your hand if you want to speak—we don’t want things to be too formal, but we need to keep the discussion organized.

4. Please do not do other work when you’re in our class—you may think you’re being surreptitious, but it’s pretty noticeable and distracting when a student keeps looking at an algebra textbook in her lap. 

5. Please exhibit respect for the class materials, the university, your fellow students, and your instructor. This involves many things, but three in particular are punctuality, generosity of tone, and positive body language. 

I consider these general guidelines for appropriate behavior at the university level, and I hope you’ll feel obliged to follow them simply because you're a mature, considerate person. However, violations of any of these will also result in the loss of participation points. 

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

This is a rough outline of what we’ll be doing throughout the semester. It is very likely to change, depending on the pace we establish, so don’t refer to it as the ultimately authority regarding what to read or bring to class.

Week 1:           Introduction to course and subject, discussion of rubric and goals, traditional writing process, discovery draft, Murray readings in-class

Weeks 2-3:      Discussion of approaches—autobiographical, argument-driven, analytical; Discussion of Focus; development of first essay; Murray Chapter 4; readings from 50 Essays

Weeks 4-5:      Discussion of Development; Murray Chapter 8; readings from 50 Essays; first essay due (week 4)

Weeks 6-7:      Discussion of Organization; Murray Chapter 6; readings from 50 Essays; second essay assignment exercises and peer review discussions

Weeks 8-9:      Discussion of Clarity and Voice; Murray Chapters 9 and 10; readings from 50 Essays; second essay due (week 8)

Week 10:         Meetings to discuss first two essays and portfolio plans

Week 11:         General topics; Readings from 50 Essays; third essay assignment and portfolio specifics

Week 12:         Make-up day (Veterans Day week—just one class period)

Weeks 13-14:  Final preparation of portfolios, general revision issues and techniques, Murray Chapters 7 and 11

Week 15:         Portfolios due, final discussions and formatting issues


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

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
Excused absences will be determined on a case-by-case basis. They are rare, however, and usually involve things like hospital stays, funerals, et cetera, and they require documentation and advanced notice when possible.

You can have two unexcused absences without having your participation grade affected. After that, each unexcused absence will take ten points off your total participation grade (out of a possible one hundred points). Once you miss your seventh class, you are no longer eligible to pass, regardless of your point totals in other areas.

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. 


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Last Updated:8/13/2010 9:28:22 AM