Freshman Composition is an introductory course in expository writing designed to develop your ability to write clearly, logically and effectively in order to prepare you for writing at the college, and ultimately, professional levels. This is a writing course and you will be writing every week. Our goal will be to engage with the ideas of others to produce “inquiry” papers, not persuasive or argument essays exactly, but rather papers that focus on exploration and analysis. We will be working directly on incorporating, in appropriate and sophisticated ways, references to a variety of types of texts as evidence for your analysis. The key word this semester is analysis.
Because this section is also part of the First-Year Experience program, we will be using a combination of texts and your own observations to investigate the question of what it means to be a college-level writer. You will be reflecting on your journey from high school student to college writer. While there are many more aspects to your identity as a writer than just your particular standing here at CCSU, your role as a first-year college student is a critical one when it comes to determining the types of writing situations you will encounter. That is why we’ll be spending the semester investigating it.
Draft Option: For the first two essays of the semester, students have the option of submitting, on the due date, either a FINAL version to be graded or a DRAFT version to be reviewed for revision. For those who choose this option, the submitted draft does not receive a grade, nor a complete evaluation. Instead, I provide my impressions of the paper’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as some advice for revision via an MP3 file. Once students receive the file back, they have at least five days to revise and submit the paper as a “Final.”
Unit One: Writing as Identity
Discussion Board Entry: Using the student profiles in Misunderstanding the Assignment as a model, introduce yourself to the class and tell us a little about your experience with and perceptions of writing for school.
Discussion Board Entry: Draft two brief (3 to 4 sentences) summaries of the “Millenials” article: one “Good” that follows the advice from chapter 2 of They Say/I Say and one “Bad” that violates that advice in some obvious (maybe even humorous) way.
Blog 1: For your first blog assignment, think back on what you were told to expect from college-level writing. Describe that understanding with specific detail (where you developed it, what it looks like, etc). Then, compare it to the They Say/I Say description. How do the two definitions similar? How are they different? What are your initial responses and reactions to Graff and Birkenstein’s ideas? You should begin to practice incorporating the templates from They Say/I Say into your writing with this assignment. After you have published your entry, be sure to come back and read your classmates’. We will be discussing these in class on Wednesday, September 15.
Discussion Board Entry: Using two different “I Say” response modes (Agree, Disagree, Agree/Disagree Simultaneously), craft two short (2 to 3 sentence) responses to one of the texts we’ve encountered in this unit so far. A template directly taken from They Say/I Say should be included somewhere in each response.
Blog 2: For this second blog entry, provide an anecdote (a story, told in narrative form) of a previous writing experience that feels significant to you. Then analyze how that experience is likely to influence how you approach writing now. Be sure to publish this entry after you have submitted it.
Essay 1 (1500 words)
How would you describe your identity as a writer at this point in time? Thinking back on the texts we’ve read (both published and classmate-generated), how would you define yourself as a writer? Be sure to structure your analysis around an identifiable They Say/I Say “pair.”
Unit Two: Writing as Process
Discussion Board Entry: Now that you have completed your first major college essay, how well do you think it went? What would you do differently for the next round? What do you want to make sure you do again?
Discussion Board Entry: Draft two brief (3 to 4 sentences) summaries of the Rose’s article: one “Good” that follows the advice from chapter 2 of They Say/I Say and one “Bad” that violates that advice in some obvious (maybe even humorous) way.
Blog 3: For this entry, capture the actual, not planned or idealized, process you used to complete the first essay. What did you actually do? When? Where? What tools did you use? After you have described the physical process, reflect on how well it went. What would you do differently if you could? What can you learn from the experience for future essays, not just in this course but also in your other classes now and in the future? You can reference ideas from the readings in this unit regarding writing but most of this entry should be your own reflection on the experience of Essay 1. Don’t forget to publish this entry for the rest of the class to read.
Discussion Board Entry: Using two different “I Say” response modes (Agree, Disagree, Agree/Disagree Simultaneously), craft two short (2 to 3 sentence) responses (that include both “They Say” and “I Say” components) to the texts we’ve encountered in this unit so far. These are possible They Say/I Say pairs for your second essay. A template directly taken from They Say/I Say should be included somewhere in each response.
Optional Blog: Now that you have completed the Collegiate Learning Assessment, reflect on that experience. What types of questions were asked and what might they indicate about what you can expect to learn in the next four years? What surprised you? What seemed difficult? The goal is not just to describe the assessment but also to analyze what it might mean for your college career.
Discussion Board Entry: Provide feedback to at least two classmates on their post from October 15. What advice can you offer for ways to develop their They Say/I Say pairs into an effective second essay?
Blog 4: In this entry, summarize the feedback you received on your first essay—without mentioning the grade—and analyze how elements of your process affected the final product that led to that feedback. In other words, work backwards from the result (your reader’s reaction) to the actions you took that led to that result. Publishing the post is entirely optional.
Essay 2 (1500 words)
Present and analyze your own individual “theory of writing” by choosing a They Say/I Say pair to respond to the texts we’ve encountered in this unit.
Unit Three: School as Process
Discussion Board Entry: Now that you have completed the first half of your first semester in college essay, how well do you think things are going? What are you planning on doing differently over the next month and a half? What do you want to make sure you keep doing?
Discussion Board Entry: Draft two brief (3 to 4 sentences) summaries of Howard’s article: one “Good” that follows the advice from chapter 2 of They Say/I Say and one “Bad” that violates that advice in some obvious (maybe even humorous) way.
Blog 5: This blog entry has two parts: 1) A Schoolwork Journal; and 2) A portrait summarizing the workload managing habits of college students in 2010 based on that journal, and only on that journal. Think of yourself as an anthropologist (or reporter) and your Schoolwork Journal as the notes you took during an interview with your key source.
Discussion Board Entry: What do you expect to be the writing required in your major field, both as a college student and as a professional? Where did these expectations come from?
Blog 6:By this point in the semester, you have met with a CACE advisor and have planned out a preliminary outline for your future semesters here at CCSU. Using that plan as a guide, contact a professor for one of the courses you will be taking in the spring semester and ask him or her what writing you will be expected to produce in that class. In addition, look down the line to your senior year. Contact a professor you are likely to have in one of your final semesters and ask the same question. Report the results of this primary research in your final blog entry and reflect on how the ideas and discussions we’ve had this semester might prove useful in those upcoming courses.
Essay 3 (1500 words)
Analyze the cliché of “time management” using the ideas we’ve encountered in this unit and the evidence provided by your classmates. Be sure to structure your analysis around an identifiable They Say/I Say pair.
Unit Four: Reflection and Research
Discussion Board Entry: Using two different “I Say” response modes (Agree, Disagree, Agree/Disagree Simultaneously), craft two short (2 to 3 sentence) responses to the article from Sommers and Saltz. A template directly taken from They Say/I Say should be included somewhere in each response.
Essay 4 (1800 words)
Looking back on the entire semester, reflect on your journey as a writer from your First-Day Essay through now and also looking ahead to your future classes here at CCSU. This essay will require you to incorporate a response to outside research. In other words, you will be responsible for finding another “They Say” text to add to the mix for your “I Say” response.