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

for SP 2011

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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.


SP 2011 HOB


Dickerson, Rhiannon


Adjunct English Instructor


M.F.A. Poetry, Iowa Writers' Workshop, University of Iowa
B.A. English, University of Central Missouri

Office Location

Mabee 410B next to the McAfee Library

Office Hours

T TH 9-10 or by appointment. I'm also happy to meet with you online for discussion.



Semester Dates


Class Days


Class Time


Credit Hours



  • Murray, Donald. The Craft of Revision. 5th edition. Boston: Thomson-Wadsworth, 2004. ISBN: 0838407153
  • Cohen, Samuel, ed., 50 Essays. 2nd edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008.
  • Lunsford, Andrea. Easy Writer: A Pocket Reference. 3rd edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2009.
  • Reynolds, Nedra and Richard Rice, Portfolio Keeping:A Guide for Students. 2nd edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2006.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville 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

Because this class is an intensive writing course in a condensed summer format, you should be prepared for a heavy workload and lots of fun! You should always come to class prepared: read the assigned texts, do the assigned work and come ready for discussion.

Educational Philosophy:
We are all writers. Writing is an art that requires sustained effort, vision and revision. All writers at one time or another have experienced moments of uncertainty, or times when they felt diffident about their own ideas and expressions. Uncertainty is natural. Writers at all stages of their careers feel this way. In this class, you will gain confidence in your own writing, as well as develop your critical and creative thinking skills. It is my goal in this class to challenge, surprise and reinvigorate you.

En105, unlike 106, is not primarily a research class. The focus of this class is your writing. We will experiment with different genres of writing and have fun while doing so! We are going to be creative in this class!

The three most important aspects of becoming a better writer are reading, frequent writing and revision. The first step in the writing process is reading. As writers, it behooves us to read not only for pleasure, but also to read critically for ideas and forms. In this course we will have weekly reading assignments from the texts. You will be reading essays that are meant to challenge you. You do not have to like or agree with the essays. In fact, I encourage you to challenge and resist ideas or methods of writing that don't sit well with you.

Because writers rarely write in solitude, you will also read your peers' writing in workshop. Not only will workshop help you to improve others' writing, it will also allow you to refine your own writing. The workshop dialog fosters a more intimate and personal approach to writing. This class comes equipped with an audience for your writing. You will have the opportunity to discuss your work with other writers. You MUST come to class on workshop days; attendance is mandatory. If you miss a workshop you will be docked 20 points--a full two letter grades. The dynamic of workshop is only successful if you come to class prepared and with your own draft in hand.

In addition to the three major assignments in this class, you will also develop an emerging mastery of composition through frequent informal writing assignments. We will have in class writing assessments on a regular basis. The more you write, the better your writing will become.
On occasion, you will write a response to an essay prior to our discussion of it in what David Bartholomae refers to as a "moment of silence." This approach will allow you to explore and discover your own ideas without being influenced by others'. Other times, you will write after discussion and chart they ways your ideas have shifted, deepened, or solidified.

This brings us to the third element of the class--revision. Revision is a re-visioning of what you have already written. It does not only mean editing; rather, revision is a process through which you learn to see your writing anew. You will make substantial changes to your first draft in terms of grammar, but more importantly in terms of ideas. Your peers are an important part of revision. We will workshop all major papers in the class to give you feedback and help improve your writing style. In order to benefit from workshop, you must come to class prepared and be willing to exchange ideas and suggestions in a critical and constructive manner.

Your writing is the primary focus of this course. Accordingly, throughout the semester, I will bring in examples of writing from you and your peers. The writing will be anonymous. The conversation will be constructive and respectful.

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:

Essay 1: Draft                         20pts.
Essay 1: Initial Graded Draft   100
Essay 2: In-Class Draft            20
Essay 2: Workshop Draft        20
Essay 2: Initial Graded Draft   100
Essay 3: Draft                          20
Essay 3: Initial Graded Draft    100

Participation:                             50pts
In-class Writing, Quizzes, etc.  100
Reflective Essays (papers 1-3)   30
Final Reflective Essay                 40
Student Portfolio                      150

Total Points                             800

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Course work is due on the day assigned. Late work will be docked one full letter grade each day after the due date. Seriously!

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Cell phones are NOT ALLOWED in my classroom. Please leave them at home. If I catch a student texting during class, I will ask the student to leave. You will NOT be allowed to make up any missed points. If you text on more than one occasion in my class, I will drop you from my class! NO EXCEPTIONS! Using cell phones in class is disrespectful and distracting. DON'T DO IT! Additionally, unless you have a documented need for using laptops, please do not bring one to my class.

Come to class prepared. Read the assigned texts and openly engage in critical and respectful discussion.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:


Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:


Week 1: Syllabus; Name Game; Interview; Reading: "Is Public Education Working?" (E.B. White, handout).
Speech of Introduction; Diagnostic Essay over White assigned;

Reading: W.J. Reeves, "College Isn't For Everyone" available via this url: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1272/is_2696_131/ai_101497549/ . Also read, "Rewrite Before Writing" (Murray, p.1).

Week 2: Diagnostic Essay over White due; In-class writing over Reeves; Discussion;  Reading: "The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman" (Alexie in Cohen, p. 11); "Me Talk Pretty One Day" (Sedaris in Cohen, p. 378).
Discussion of essays; Six-word autobiography exercise--

Reading: "Learning to Read and Write" (Douglass in Cohen, p. 144); "Learning to Read" (X in Cohen, p. 281).

Week 3: Understanding your Audience activity; Assign Paper 1 and Topic Due Date; P1 TOPIC DUE; Assign Groups Chapter Activity--Language (Lunsford, p.138-150); Focus (Murray, p. 44); Organization--Structure (Murray, p. 119); Development (Murray, p. 166)
Group Presentations over Material; Discuss Workshop Etiquette

Week 4Group Presentations due.  In-class poetry activity--read narrative poems and write; assign conference times Reading: Selections from Claudia Rankine

Week 5: Workshop Paper 1-Draft, Readings: "Death of a Moth" (Dillard in Cohen, p. 139); "The Death of the Moth" (Woolf in Cohen, p. 467). Short response to both essays.

Paper 1 Due via email Thursday the 10th at midnight.

Week 6: Reflection on Paper 1 DueIndividual Conferences--all week--no class.

Reading: "The Fourth State of Matter" (JoAnn Beard, essay available at http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1996/06/24/1996_06_24_080_TNY_CARDS_000376447.

Week 7: Explain Paper 2 topic and format. Discuss examples from student essays; in-class writing over Beard. Tone Activity; Discussion;  

Readings: "Rewrite with Genre" (Murray, 75); "Rewrite by Ear" (Murray, p.194) "Shooting Dad" (Vowell in Cohen, p. 433); "The Process of Portfolio Keeping" (Reynolds and Rice, p. 8-31).

Week 8: In-class pre-write paper 2; Workshop paper 2 Mar.13

Readings: "Rewrite with Clarity" (Murray, p. 216)         

Week 9: March8-10 NO CLASS! Spring Break! Readings: “”The Ways We Lie” Stephanie Ericsson (174 in Cohen).

Week 10: Final Revised Paper 2 Due via email; Discuss Ericsson In-class writing; Off the Boat! Readings: NPR listening activity.

Week 11:  Individual Conferences—No Class; Paper 2 reflection due
; Reading: Buckley, “Why Don’t We Complain?” (97 in Cohen).

Week 12: Discuss Buckley and Paper 3. Topic Selection Paper 3 due Thurs. Reading: Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant” (302). Assign student ethical issue article search.

Week 13: Ethical issue article discussion. Readings: "From Process to Product--Preparing for Assessment" (Reynolds and Rich, p.32-58). Selected Rankine. Discuss and assign final portfolio.

Week 14: Workshop Paper 3

Week 15: Paper 3 Due via email.
Compose centos.

Week 16: April 26-28; Party and Portfolios due

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

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:1/8/2011 1:01:45 PM