Rose, Mike. The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the
American Worker. Viking Press, 2004.
Kolln, Martha. Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices,
Rhetorical Effects. 5th edition. Longman, 2006.
1 three-ring binder (keep your papers here, as it will later serve
as your Final Portfolio).
A notebook (your choice) that will serve as your
The student will (1) understand that
literacy is context-dependent, (2) investigate one or more familiar
communities of practice, (3) articulate the unwritten rules
participants must obey in that community of practice if they want to
remain/become accepted as members, (4) investigate new literacies in
order to articulate the unwritten rules participants must likewise
obey (or at least acknowledge), (5) locate and articulate the points
of contact between familiar literacies and school-based ones, (6)
examine and—where possible--articulate the points of dissonance
between different communities of practice, and (7) put rhetorical
dexterity to use in a variety of contexts for a variety of purposes.
We (your instructor, your English 100 "Writing
Group” tutor, the other members of your writing group, and the
members of this class) are here to help you through all this. In
class, we will discuss our readings, explore our writing assignments
within the context of our readings, and develop strategies for
revision and active reading. Additional assistance will come from
your English 100 Writing Group tutor. For 100 minutes a week, you
will meet with your tutor and about five to ten other English 100
students. The purpose of this Writing Group is to provide you with
further guidance and feedback regarding your reading and writing
assignments. Your classmates will review each major writing
assignment you prepare for this class at least once, and they will
also offer feedback and guidance via class and group discussions.
Final Course Grade
Your final course grade will be determined by several,
deeply-inter-related projects and activities.
15%--Reflections (both for your
official “Writing Group” and class--click link for more information)
10%--Critical Reflections (The
culminating essay in this class, describing your growth as a writer
15%--Writing Workshops. The
majority of this score will come from your official
Writing Group and the class. If
you fail to come to class with a draft ready on the day you are
scheduled to have a draft reviewed—either by your partner in class
or the rest of your official Writing Group—you will lose points
(five points for each and every time). If you fail to provide
thoughtful, constructive, and rigorous feedback on your peer’s
drafts, you will lose points here too. Take this seriously. Your
classmates are depending on you!
20%--Presentations. You will be
offering three presentations this semester, one with a partner
(comparing and contrasting two different disciplines), one with a
group of your peers (on Mike Rose’s The Mind at Work) and one by
yourself or with a partner (a comparison of the points of contact
found between school literacies and those beyond the school—much
more on this below).
40%--Final Portfolio (more on
this below and much more throughout the term)
Writing Workshops are feedback
sessions in which you share a draft with another reader and they
offer their responses to it as readers. We will engage in many peer
review sessions, and you will be expected to engage deeply with each
and every one of those as both a writer and a reader. You should
also expect to contribute as enthusiastically, knowledgeably,
diplomatically, and productively as possible to any and all class,
pair, and writing group discussions. In order to do so, you must
also be prepared for each and every meeting of both class and your
official writing group. In short, all interactive activities
assigned and carried out in class and in your writing group will be
considered “participation.” Please do not be fooled into thinking
that this is a “gimme” grade. It is possible for a student to be
here every day and still do very poorly in this category. Keep up
with your readings, your writing assignments, and everything else
necessary to be a trusted and reliable member of each writing
community of which you are a part this term (certainly those related
to English 100).
Reflections emphasize thinking about
thinking and writing about writing. We will discuss much more about
this requirement later, but for now let me just say that you will be
expected to document regular, engaged, and productive habits of
reflection in (a) your “Dialogue Journal,” (b) the exercises you
complete in response to Kolln’s Rhetorical Grammar, (c) your
Dialogue Journal conference.
Final Reflections. You will be
developing this culminating project in your Writing Group that will
set the context for your Final Portfolio.
Final Portfolio. The ultimate
goal of English 100 is twofold: to develop (1) an understanding of
the importance of using multiple drafts to manage the complexities
of writing and (2) strategies for effective revision. Because of
this, I will respond extensively to each writing assignment you hand
in with an eye to what you may do to strengthen it, but you will not
receive a final grade on any writing assignment until I see it in
your Final Portfolio. At Midterm, you will receive your first grades
for these major writing assignments, but you will have some time to
revise these essays to earn a higher grade. Your Final Portfolio
should include everything you produced this semester, and I will
expect to see evidence of deep, effective revision on all major
Your Final Portfolio will be reviewed by a panel of experienced
English 100 instructors. This panel will be looking for things like
this: How evident is your growth as a writer in this portfolio? Is
there evidence here that you understand the importance of deep
revision? Is there evidence of your ability to effectively rework
these writing assignments to meet (or exceed) specified criteria?
Are you ready for the demands of English 101?
Rhetorical Constraints for
Formal Essays and Other Assignments--
When you hand in your major writing assignments, I need you to (1)
underline one statement that you think is your best and really seems
to get at the heart of what you want to say, (2) highlight any
changes you have made since the previous draft (in most cases,
revisions you have made since your peer or I reviewed it last), and
(3) include ALL drafts, notes, revisions (EVERYTHING) you used to
prepare this major writing assignment, leaving the most recent draft
of this writing assignment on top. You will be required to turn in
the reflections required to set the context for the reader. We will
discuss this in much more detail soon.
Also, make sure you type and double-space all major writing
assignments. We will discuss MLA guidelines for heading, citations,
and other formatting concerns soon.
The syllabus you hold in your hand supplies due dates for each
assignment, so I don't expect these due dates to come as a surprise.
If you have to miss a class when something is due, get it to me
beforehand. If you know you will not be able to meet a particular
due date before it comes up, let me know before it comes up. We may
be able to negotiate something--once. After that one reworked
deadline, I can't help you.
But if you don't turn in something when it is due and you haven't
discussed it with me beforehand, you may receive a zero for that
writing assignment and place your ability to pass this class in
serious jeopardy. Do the math: it is better to hand in SOMETHING and
receive some feedback so you can rework it than it is to hand in
nothing and receive a zero. Give me something when it is due, you
get a chance to revise it. Give me nothing when it is due, you may
get a zero and no chance to make it up.
Inform your computer and printer about this policy. Often during the
semester, students come to me saying that they do not have the
assignment because there was a glitch in the computer and/or printer
or the cartridge broke or wore out or the computer ate the file
and/or disk or a virus destroyed the entire system or their
roommate/former boyfriend/former girlfriend locked the dorm room
door which housed the computer on which the paper was being written
. . . For goodness sake, avoid this! Work in the Writing Center or
bring your disk and plan on printing your paper in the Writing
Center. Take some precautions. Don't be a statistic!
“Rules” for Establishing and
Maintaining a Productive Writing Community--
BE HERE. If you miss class more than once or twice in a given term,
you make it difficult for the class to establish the trusting
relationships necessary to maintain a productive writing community.
We must be able to depend on you to do what you say you will do and
to be here to do it on a regular basis. This is not a lecture
course. This is a course that demands intense participation. If you
are not here, you cannot participate. If you cannot participate, you
cannot do well. If you cannot do well, the class suffers as a
community. So BE HERE. If you absolutely must miss, let me know asap
by sending an email before class begins. Get the phone number and/or
other contact information from someone else in class so you do not
fall too far behind. Do not ask me if you “missed anything” while
you were out. Of course you did. We work hard and we work every day.
Look at your calendar to find out what you “missed,” call a friend
to hear more about the context of the assignments and activities you
missed, and contact me with specific questions about the missed
assignments and activities if you have them (after you have
consulted the syllabus and discussed it with a classmate).
BE ON TIME. If you come in late more than once or twice in a
given term, you make it difficult for the class to establish
productive relationships for the reasons stated above. When you walk
in late, you disrupt the class. Don’t do this. I consider it a sign
of disrespect—to everyone who understands our meetings to be
important enough to arrive on time. Be here on time. I will consider
you late if you walk in even one minute after our class begins. If
you are more than ten minutes late, you will be marked absent. If
you are tardy twice, I will treat this as an absence. I know
sometimes things come up that are simply unavoidable, but I want you
to understand how important your punctuality is to the group as a
whole. If you come in late more than once or twice, our learning
community suffers—the reason for your late arrival can’t really
reduce the negative impact your disruption may have on the group.
All of this goes double for your attendance: when you are absent, it
doesn’t really matter why you aren’t here; the reason for your
absence can’t reduce the difficulties it causes your group.
BE PREPARED. Assignments are always due at the beginning of
class. You will have one or two assignments due each week, and the
work is cumulative—that is, the work on one assignment builds from
the work on the previous assignments. For this reason, once a
student falls behind in this course it’s difficult to catch up;
therefore, if you get too far behind we won’t hesitate to drop you
from the roster. Since we all depend on one another to contribute to
class discussions and engage with one other in meaningful ways about
the subject at hand, it is imperative that all of us always come to
class prepared. That means keep up with your dialogue journal, keep
up with your readings, mark in your book so you can refer to
passages and evidence quickly and readily. In short, be prepared so
you can pull your weight in this class. We will talk more about this
quite regularly throughout the term.
BE HERE, BE ON TIME, AND BE PREPARED for each meeting with your
writing group and your group tutor in these same ways and for these
If you need a more tangible breakdown of the ways failure to be
here, be on time, and be prepared can affect your overall grade,
here it is:
Regarding excessive absences: If a student misses class or
her regularly scheduled Writing Group meeting (or lab”) more than
two times, her grade will be affected indirectly in a number of
ways, not the least of which is the fact that she will fall behind.
However, excessive absences will affect a students final grade more
directly, as well, in that a third absence will cost a student 2
points on her final course grade (with the fourth absence, a
student’s final grade will drop 4 points, fifth absence the score
will drop 6 points, and so forth).
Exactly the same policies and penalties apply in your Writing Group
Regarding excessive tardiness: A student will be considered
late if she arrives even one minute after class or her Writing Group
begins. If she is more than ten minutes late, she may be marked
absent. If she is late twice, this will be treated as an absence.
The same rules for calculating the cost of excessive absences then
apply when calculating the direct cost of excessive tardiness. If
you have any questions bout this at all, let me know.
Other important info on Attendance Policy: A couple times
during the semester, we may cancel classes and/or Writing Group
meetings so we can hold individual conferences with you. If you miss
a conference, you will be counted absent for the same number of
classes that were canceled in order to hold conferences. For
instance, if we cancel class for two days to hold conferences and
you miss your conference, that "counts" as TWO ABSENCES.
Exactly the same policies and penalties apply when a
regularly-scheduled meeting of your Writing Group is cancelled so
your group tutor can meet with his or her students individually.
On University-Sanctioned Activities: To accommodate students who
participate in university-sanctioned activities, the Basic Writing
Program offers sections of this course at various times of the day
and week. If you think that this course may conflict with a
university-sanctioned activity in which you are involved--athletics,
etc.--please see me after class today.
In Transition to College Writing (2001), Keith Hjortshoj
explains plagiarism this way: “Derived from the Latin word for
kidnapping, plagiarism is the theft of someone else’s
‘brainchild’—that person’s language, ideas, or research—and the
origin of the word conveys the seriousness of such offenses in the
view of college teachers and administrators. The reason is that
words, ideas, and research are the main forms of currency in
academic life. Because they represent the ‘intellectual property’
with which scholars have built their careers, using that property
without permission or credit is a form of larceny. Teachers also
assume that the writing and other work students turn in is the
product of their own effort, and because grades (another form of
academic currency) are based on that work, ‘borrowing’ language and
ideas from someone else constitutes cheating” (172).
Pretty harsh stuff, I know. Even worse, sometimes plagiarism is
unintentional because students are not completely sure what actually
constitutes plagiarism. Most know that they can’t submit papers they
have purchased from a commercial service or another student; many
know that writing a paper for someone else is unacceptable behavior,
as well. Others know that they can’t turn in work written for
another class without the direct permission of both instructors
involved. In fact, plagiarism includes all these things, but
students may also be charged with plagiarism in less clear-cut
circumstances. Sometimes you may not mean to plagiarize, but you use
misuse sources in ways that some may consider plagiarism anyway. In
their official statement “Defining
and Avoiding Plagiarism,” the
Council of Writing Program
Administrators makes a distinction between
1. “submitting someone else’s text as one’s own or attempting to
blur the line between one’s own ideas or words and those borrowed
from another source, and
2. carelessly or inadequately citing words borrowed from another
Thus, the WPA defines plagiarism as “occur[ing] in an instructional
setting when a writer deliberately uses someone else’s language,
ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without
acknowledging its source.” It is very hard to tell what may be
considered common-knowledge and what may not, though. So the
“deliberate” use may be difficult for teachers and administrators to
discern. It is for this reason that even when plagiarism is
unintentional, you may still be held accountable. If you have any
questions at all about how to handle a source to avoid crossing that
line (“kidnapping” or stealing “someone else’s ‘brainchild’”), even
if you or only working with portions of sources written by others,
talk to me about it. Better yet, ask questions in class. I feel that
one of our jobs in English 100 is to help you determine the best
ways to avoid any suspicious acts that may be read as “plagiarism.”
One of my dad’s many life lessons applies here, I think: “It is not
enough to be innocent. You must also look innocent.” I never really
thought that was fair, but I have always found that lesson to
The official departmental policy: “Instructors in the Department of
Literature and Languages do not tolerate plagiarism and other forms
of academic dishonestly. Instructors uphold and support the highest
academic standards, and students are expected to do likewise.
Penalties for students guilty of academic dishonesty include
disciplinary probation, suspension, and expulsion. (Texas A&M
University-Commerce Code of Student Conduct 5.b [1,2,3])
If you ever have any questions about a particular use of a source,
always ask your instructor. They want you to avoid plagiarism, too,
so they will help you do so whenever and wherever they can. Do what
you can to take advantage of this support—to look innocent in
addition to being innocent when it comes to charges of plagiarism.
Student Conduct: All students enrolled at the University
shall follow the tenets of common decency and acceptable behavior
conducive to a positive learning environment. In addition, you are
requested to turn off your cell phones before entering the
classroom. Common courtesy says you do not receive or answer calls
during class. If there is an emergency that requires you to leave
your phone on, talk to me about it beforehand and switch the phone
to vibrate so you don't surprise me when you leave class to take a
call and you don't interrupt class when the call comes in. Also,
Instant/Text Messaging is off limits.
Americans with Disabilities Act Statement: Students
requesting accommodations for disabilities must go through the
Academic Support Committee. For more information, please contact the
Director of Disability Resources and Services, Halladay Student
Services Building, Room 303D, 903.886.5835.
The Writing Assignments--
Writing Assignment 1: Literacy Narrative. What
does literacy mean to you? What makes the current contexts in which
you are most literate relevant to you? How can you help someone else
understand the significance that literacy has to your own life? This
first essay asks you to reconstruct key moments in your literacy
history in order to help your reader understand what literacy means
to you (and for you) in your life thus far.
Writing Assignment 2 Literacies at School.
What are the “rules” and/or expectations writers should follow when
writing for school? How do we learn these rules? Who made the rules
and who determines whether nor not writers are following them? How
do you feel about these rules and/or expectations? How have they
shaped you and your approach as a writer and/or reader? This essay
asks you to reconstruct key moments in your literacy history by
identifying “rules” that have shaped your experiences with literacy
at school. This is your chance to deeply revise WA1 by “re-seeing”
it through the productive lens of “rules.” You should also use the
interview as fodder for this project.
Writing Assignment 3: Literacies Beyond the
School. What are the “rules” and expectations governing
“literate” practices in a discourse community other than those
involved with school? How did you learn those rules? Who made the
rules and who determines whether or not members are following them?
This essay asks you to examine the expectations governing what may
be considered literate practice in a discourse community with which
you have quite a bit of familiarity but actually extends beyond the
“school” literacies you examined in WA2. Again, use your interviews
and previous writing assignments as fodder for this project.
Writing Assignment 4: Literacies at Work. What
are the “rules” and expectations governing “literate” practice in
specific occupations with which you have some familiarity? How did
you learn these rules? Who made them and who determines whether or
not employees are following them? This essay asks you to examine the
expectations governing what may be considered literate practice in a
discourse community associated with the workplace. Here again, use
your interviews and previous writing assignments as fodder for this
Writing Assignment 5: Literacies at Play. What
are the “rules” and expectations governing “literate” practice in
one or more discourse communities associated with leisure activities
with which you have some familiarity? How did you learn these rules?
Who made them and who determines whether or not participants are
following them? This essay asks you to examine the expectations
governing what may be considered literate practice in a discourse
community associated with play. Just as with WA2-4, use your
interviews and previous writing assignments as fodder for this
Writing Assignment 6 What Alternative Literacies
Have to Teach Us about Academic Ones.. This essay is your chance
to revisit the idea of “rules” in school literacies (see WA2). Now
that you’ve had a chance to explore the rules and expectations
shaping literate practice in areas beyond the school (and you’ve
been writing for college for some time), can you list new rules? Why
or why not? Next, you will compare these school literacies with one
or more of the out-of-school literacies you articulated in
WA3/WA4/WA5. What are some of the similarities between what it
takes to be considered literate at school and what it takes to be
considered literate in the discourse community you illustrated in
WA7? What are some of the differences? This essay asks you to
compare and contrast unfamiliar communities of practice with more
familiar ones in order to reveal what literacies beyond the school
may have to teach us about writing for school.
Critical Reflections. This last
assignment asks you to look back over the reading, writing, and
thinking you’ve done this term so you can tell your reader
(specifically) how your Final Portfolio should be read. You want
your reviewer to understand exactly how this portfolio works as
evidence of your growth as a reader, writer, and critic this term.
What have been the key moments in your work this term? How are you
writing differently now than you were at the beginning of the term?
What new things have you learned about yourself as a writer and
reader? I also want you to examine each of the pieces you have
written: think about the story each assignment tells, from your
earliest invention, to your peer, tutor, and instructor responses,
to your final choices for revision. How did your writing change
within and across these different assignments? What did you learn
about writing? Play a “movie of your mind” for us so we may learn
what you were thinking and feeling when you pulled your portfolio
together and/or developed these final revisions. What is your
reaction to the collection of work that your portfolio represents?
If you see this process as important to your development or growth
as a thinker (or something else), why do you see it this way, and
what have you gained from the process? This is your chance to wow
us! To complete this assignment successfully, you must reflect on
and quote from selected writing you’ve done this term, as well as
from the readings. You choose what you want to quote and use,
determine how to best use it, and make sure your reader understands
how everything you quote works as evidence in support of your growth
as a writer. Think of this as your final exam. Show us what you
As you do so, consider the objectives course objectives listed at
the beginning of this syllabus.
NOTE: You will be completing the majority of this project in your
official Writing Group (your “lab”). Thus I only offer the
description of this important writing assignment here. Later in the
term, your tutors and I will be offering the actual strategies you
may use to develop this.
[i] Points of Contact: In “The Organization and Development of
Discursive Practices for ‘Having a Theory,” Roger Halls uses this
term to refer to the points of similarity between two different
activities. I am using the term here to mean those points of
similarity between two different discourse communities
[ii] Points of Dissonance: Those points of difference between two
different discourse community that confuse or disorient literacy
[iii] Rhetorical Dexterity: the ability to effectively read,
understand, manipulate, and negotiate the cultural and linguistic
codes of a new discourse community based on a relatively accurate
assessment of another, more familiar one.