Friday, August 26, 2005


Syllabus (subject to change)

College Writing
Fall 2005
Eng. 101

Instructor: Mark Mills
Office: 529 LA
Office Hours: After class and by appointment
Phone: 572-5244 (NKU office)
572-5416 (Lit. and Lang. Department office)

Course Description

The first year writing course helps students make the transition to college by guiding them from writing that is based in personal experience and presented to familiar audiences, toward writing that is informed by research and targeted to wider public audiences. The primary goal is to teach students to communicate clearly and effectively in a university setting, through students are encouraged to transfer the skills they learn to writing situations in other communities. Incorporating critical reading, the course instructs students to observe style as well as content when they read, and to become aware of the choices they can make as writers. Sections will differ according to the instructor's individual approach. However, students in all sections will receive feedback on their writing through workshops, instructor comments, and/or conferences.


This course will provide students with practice in the following skills:

Identifying and responding to the basic elements in the social context of writing: audience, purpose, and self-presentation.

Approaching writing as a recursive process that requires collaboration with others and multiple revised drafts.

Exploring strategies for generating and organizing ideas, reviewing and revising drafts, and editing and proofreading for a polished product.

Reading print and electronic sources critically to identify an author's audience

Locating popular secondary sources

Citing sources appropriately; defining, identifying, and avoiding plagiarism.

Being attentive to the basic conventions of Standard Written American English grammar, usage, punctuation, and mechanics.

Axelrod and Cooper. The St. Martin's Guide to Writing. 7th edition.
A Writer's Reference. Diane Hacker.
College dictionary and grammar text (recommended)

Writing Instruction Program
Additional information about this class is available at The university pays for this web site with your money so please take advantage of it.

Tentative Schedule

Aug. 27: Introduction to class
Sep. 3: Writing about events; read "100 Miles per Hour, Upside Down and Sideways," p. 39 (read before class)

Sep. 10: Rough draft of Significant Event paper
Sep. 17: Significant Event paper due; Introduction to Concept paper
Sep. 24: Rough draft of Concept paper; "Cannibalism: It Still Exists," p. 223
Oct. 1: Concept paper due; Introduction to Position paper
Oct. 8: Argument exercises; handouts
Oct. 15: Rough draft of Position paper
Oct. 22: Position paper due; Introduction to Evaluation paper
Oct. 29: Preparation for Evaluation paper; handout
Nov. 5: Evaluation paper in class
Nov. 12: Introduction to Profile paper
Nov. 19: Methods of research; sources
Nov. 26: Thanksgiving Breakā€”No Class
Dec. 3: Rough draft of Profile paper; Grammar test
Dec. 10: Profile paper deadline

If you are unable to attend a particular class, let me know. You will not be granted extra time for assignments if you are absent. If know you will miss a class when a paper is due, turn it in early.
Class Policies

1. In-class work cannot be made up. To pass, all major out-of-class assignments must be completed.

2. Class participation consists of both participation and attendance. Students are expected to contribute to class discussions or read in-class work as part of class participation. Contributing to small group discussion and work is also part of class participation. Since you cannot participate without being here, absences will impact this grade.

I do not want this class to turn into a sort of propaganda session with only one view point being represented (mine). Therefore, it is essential that each member of the class have the courage to speak. I will not ridicule anyone's point of view so please let the rest of the class know how you feel.

3. Major out of class papers must be typed, double spaced, in a standard font size (Times New Roman or Courier, 11 or 12 point). Do not print in script or all caps. I will not accept the excuse of "my printer broke." (If you want to play it safe, you can turn in any assignment early.) Do not place papers in a plastic sleeve. Folders are not needed either. Put your name at the top of the first page and last name and page number on following pages. Staple or paper clip it together.

4. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and will result in failure of the course.

5. Class conduct: Show respect when other people are speaking. No one should whisper or talk while someone else is trying to make a point during class discussions. Everyone who wants to speak will be given an opportunity (provided we have time).

Also reading newspapers, listening to radios, sleeping or acting rude in general is not appreciated. If you can't be enthusiastic about the material, at least be polite.

I don't mind if students eat and drink during class, PROVIDED other students are not bothered or distracted. The university forbids smoking, drug or alcohol use during classes.

6. Attendance: Students are expected to attend every class. One absence will not directly affect grades (but it might affect class participation points). Two absences will automatically drop class participation points by half. Three absences will result in a loss of all class participation points. Each additional absence results in a loss of half a letter grade from your overall grade.

7. Late policy: Students are not directly penalized for arriving late but because many of the in-class writing projects and quizzes start at the beginning of class, being chronically late will probably lower your grade. I am sympathetic to bad weather and other obvious reasons, but please do your best to be on time.

Any assignment turned in late will be dropped one letter grade for each class day after the due date. This refers to all graded work-- essays, research paper, etc. Absence is not an excuse--it is your responsibility to get your work in on time. If you know that you will be absent on a day that an assignment is due, TURN IT IN EARLY. You can arrange to meet me, give it to me a week early, or drop it off in my mailbox in 529 (HINT: the mailbox is virtually always the best way).

8. Visitors: If your babysitter cancels and you have no one to watch your child (or elderly parent or other dependent), feel free to come him/her/them to class provided you can maintain control of any behavior problems. Also, some of the class content may be unsettling for children (consider what work will discuss for the night).

9. In cases of heavy snow, floods, etc., classes can be canceled. Closures are announced on local television and radio stations. The university judges whether or not classes should be closed (not me).

Grading Policies

Essays and papers will be graded on various criteria. First, the assignments must follow directions. Second, I will look at the strength of your arguments and how well they are supported; I will also look at organization and grammar and mechanics. I will stop reading when I reach ten sentence level errors (comma splices, fragments) and/or proofreading errors.

Essays -- 40% of final grade (each is worth 10%)
In-class work-- 20%
Profile paper -- 20%
Quizzes -- 10%
Grammar test -- 10%

A -- 100% - 90% B -- 89% - 80% C -- 79% - 70% D -- 69% - 60% F -- 59% or less
*Attendance can significantly affect final grades

"A" papers will have convincing arguments that are based on appropriate criteria. These will not just be a regurgitation of class notes, but a synthesis of ideas. They will have, a clear thesis and organization and will be well supported from the text. Grammar, proofreading, and mechanical errors will be scarce if not nonexistent.

"B" papers will have organization and an argument but are more a repetition of class notes. They may have more errors as well and support is present but not used as effectively.

"C" papers will have errors in criteria and definitions and weak arguments. Organization and support will be weak. These papers will probably contain more errors. Summaries of class notes will also fall into this category.

"D" papers will not follow the directions. Plot summaries will fall into this category. There will be no clear thesis and minimal organization. Errors will be frequent.

"F" papers will have completely ignored instructions and show no organization, support, or writing skills.

Quizzes: The number of quizzes I give depends on the class. If there is strong class participation, I will give very few. If there isn't, I will give many.

I don't particularly enjoy grading quizzes. I doubt if you enjoy taking them. Do us all a favor and participate.

Midterm grades: This semester the university will provide mid-term grades for first year students. If you have completed less than 30 credit hours, this might apply to you. Mid-term grades are not permanent (they will not be a part of your transcript later in life) and they do not guarantee a grade (if you get an "A" in the mid-term you could still get an "F").

Writing Center: In addition to what we do in class, you can visit the Writing Center in BEP 230 for further help.

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