Guide to Writing

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University of Minnesota—Twin Cities

Writing Studies 1301—University Writing

Sample Syllabus #1
Instructor: John Doe

Office: English 11

Office Hours: 2:20-3:20 and by appointment

Texts: Axelrod, Rise B. and Charles R. Cooper. The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing. 9th Ed.

Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.

Rackham, Jeff and Olivia Bertagnolli. From Sight to Insight: The Writing Process. 7th Ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth,Cengage learning, 2003.
Course Description

Writ 1301: University Writing is taught in the high school and carries high school English credit, but it is not a high school class. It is a four-credit college course offered through the University of Minnesota’s College in the Schools program, and as such it is governed by the rules and expectations of the University of Minnesota. Students in the top 20 percent of their high school class may earn these college credits, thereby fulfilling the University’s freshman composition requirement. The focus of this course is on the process of writing: forming strategies for inventing, focusing, drafting, conferencing, revising and editing. Active participation in the writing community of this class is essential.

Course Outcomes

At the successful conclusion of WRIT 1301, students will be able to do the following:

Develop a process of writing

• control prewriting and planning strategies to arrive at a focused topic

• produce an outline or prospectus for a researched paper

• craft thesis statements that indicate a clear position on a topic and tie the paper


• develop a topic through clearly structured paragraphs and the whole paper so that

ideas are fully explained, assertions are backed up, supporting evidence is

sufficient and claims are credible

• through the sequence of assignments, develop a body of knowledge and growing

perspective on a topic

Explore diverse contexts and styles of reading and writing

• communicate their ideas and those of others to specific audiences

• write in appropriate academic genres and computer media to communicate with

different audiences

• make choices in their own writing and articulate other options

Practice disciplines of research and study
•identify an author’s audience, purpose, argument, and assumptions (i.e., critical

reading) in an analysis paper or class discussion

•locate and evaluate relevant scholarly and popular sources on a research topic

using library resources

•properly and ethically use MLA or APA documentation format for in-text and

external bibliographic citations of scholarly, popular, and electronic sources

consistently follow standards of written, edited English

Attendance: Attendance is expected. A writing course is a workshop and every member must be present to make it work. The University of Minnesota excuses no absences. More than five absences will mean loss of your U of M credit. Peer conference days count as double absences.
Each absence is your responsibility. You should contact another student for notes and speak with me if you have further questions. Always contact someone before you come to the next class session so you can complete any assignments given the day you were gone. It is your responsibility to be an active participant at all times.
Tardies are unacceptable. Be in your seat when the bell rings. Three tardies count as one absence.
Participation: Your active involvement in class discussions and small group conferences is crucial to the success of the class and to your growth as a writer.
Preparation and Responsibility: You must come prepared to all class meetings. All assignments must be on time.
Honesty: Students are responsible for maintaining scholastic honesty in their work at all times. Students engaged in scholastic dishonesty will be penalized. Your name may also be reported to University of Minnesota’s Office for Student Condeuct and Academic Integrity.

The University’s Borad of Regents Student Conduct Code defines scholastic dishonesty as "The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents Student Conduct Code’s¹ definition of Scholastic Dishonesty is:  
”Plagiarizing; cheating on assignments or examinations; engaging in unauthorized collaboration on academic work; taking, acquiring, or using test materials without faculty permission; submitting false or incomplete records of academic achievement; acting alone or in cooperation with another to falsify records or to obtain dishonestly grades, honors, awards, or professional endorsements; or altering, forging, or misusing a University academic record; or fabricating or falsifying of data, research procedures, or data analysis."

Plagiarism, representing someone else's intellectual work as your own, can result in a grade of F for the assignment, and may result in a grade of F for the course. Plagiarism can include submitting a paper:
-written by means of inappropriate collaboration;

-written by you for another course, submitted without the permission of both instructors;

-purchased, downloaded, or cut and pasted from the Internet;

-or that fails to properly acknowledge its sources through standard citations.

Manuscript Form: All final copies of papers must be word-processed, double-spaced. Preliminary drafts and journals must also be word-processed. Follow MLA guidelines.

  • Participation (20%)

This is a “workshop” class, dependent upon “peer group” work. Your active involvement in the class is crucial for the success of class discussion and conference groups. This portion of your grade will be based on your attendance, your active and energetic contributions in class, your conference performance, your drafts of appropriate length, handed in on time, and on your oral and written comments on others’ drafts.

  • Journal (About 15%)

Your journal is a separate type of writing. Its goal is developing fluency in writing. You will write a page or two at least three times a week. Date each entry. In these journals you will reflect on the assigned readings and your own writing process. Your journal should be kept in a three-ring binder for ease of organization and collection.

  • Final Papers (65%)

At least four major papers will be written during the course. All preliminary work for the paper (notes, drafts, conference material, revisions, etc.) must be turned in with each paper. All major compositions must be completed for credit in the course, and they must be turned in at the beginning of class on the day they are due.
Late assignments will be accepted, but a deduction of one letter grade will be made for each day the assignment is late. No allowances for absence will be made.

  1. Personal Experience Narrative: recreate an experience; tell about a personal risk; explain a case of dissonance; write a memoir of an important person or event.

Emphasis: invention strategies, voice, tone, and concrete detail.

Suggested length: 3-5 typed pages.

  1. Ethnography: observe and analyze a foreign culture and write about it. You must observe this culture first hand. Consider the meaning of “foreign.” What is foreign to you? If you are on the football team, this subculture is not foreign to you, but to someone who has no interest or expertise in athletics, it may very well be. Likewise, the punk subculture may or may not be foreign to you. Select an observable group, but foreign to you. This may be a collaborative writing.

Emphasis: careful and conscious observation, interviewing, discovery, conveying that sense of discovery and scene to your reader through concrete detail, use of primary sources, and organization.

Suggested length: 8-10 typed pages.

  1. Problem/Trend Analysis: analyze a trend in our society. Evaluate how it began or where it may lead. Of what significance is the problem/trend? You must consider the concept in relation to fads or movements. Define the topic carefully. You must cite at least five outside sources, plus at least one electronic source.

Emphasis: use of multiple sources with correct citations, incorporating factual information into a smooth and interesting piece, concrete detail, analysis, and accuracy.

Suggested length: 8-10 typed pages.

  1. Review/Evaluation: establish criteria and use it to analyze a work of art.

Emphasis: audience, making critical judgments, description, style, and tone.

Suggested length: 3-5 typed pages.

  • Final Exam

You must turn in a portfolio of your work at the end of the course. Save your journal, folders, and final drafts. A one- to two-page cover letter describing the contents of your portfolio must accompany it. Do not throw anything away! This total package, with particular emphasis on the cover letter, will be the final determining factor for your course grade. In other words, your course grade can be raised or lowered based on this final performance.
Grading Standards

Grading for this course will be in accordance with University guidelines:

A Achievement that is outstanding relative to the level necessary to meet course requirements.

B Achievement significantly above the level necessary to meet course requirements.

C Achievement that meets the basic course requirements in every respect.

D Achievement worthy of credit even though it does not fully meet the basic course requirements in every respect.

F Performance that fails to meet the basic course requirements.

I Incompletes should not be necessary in this course.

Class Procedures

During the first weeks of class we will meet daily. Near the sixth week of class we will begin meeting as a whole group on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be reserved for one-on-one conferences with me and informal group work. You are expected to use these Tuesdays and Thursdays to read, research, draft, and revise. Together we will construct a calendar, rescheduling our Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays as needed to facilitate special high school activities. We will periodically update this calendar. You are responsible for keeping track of your calendar and keeping it up-to-date.

Required Supplies

  • Three-ring binder with dividers

  • Loose-leaf paper—wide-ruled recommended

  • Five pocket folders without fasteners

  • Computer disks and paper

  • Post-it Notes

  • 3x5 and 4x6 note cards

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