Assignments: English 401

Class Participation (includes assigned answers to textbook questions)   10%

Writing Group Participation (5% per paper; Essays 1-3)                             15%

Response papers (short writing assignments; on grading contract)         20%

Essay 1                                                                                                                     10%

Essay 2                                                                                                                    15%

Essay 3                                                                                                                    15%

Essay 4 (collaborative paper)                                                                             15%

Unit One: Construct-ion of Meaning

Response 1: What is “good writing”? How do you know? Where did you develop this idea?

Response 2: Which of the “red pills” (34) surprised you the most? Which of Williams’s conclusions surprised you the most? In other words, what beliefs about writing that you hold have been challenged over the first two weeks of the semester? Where does your thinking currently stand on those beliefs?

Response 3: What is the difference between facts, opinion, and argument/analysis? Use both Kantz’s distinctions as well as your own specific experiences as a student to define each of these terms in relation to the others.

Response 4: Define the term “rhetorical situation” and then apply that definition to a recent writing task you’ve encountered.

Essay 1 (1500 words)

Thinking back on the texts we’ve read this unit, your previous experience as a writer, and the ideas shared by your classmates, analyze the concept of “good writing” as a construct of writing.

Unit Two: Process as Action

Response 5: Post your writing log from Essay 1 and 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?

Response 6: How did your understanding of Berkenkotter’s study change after reading Murray’s reflection? How has your understanding of your own process changed?

Response 7: Define the terms algorithm, heuristic, set, and plan, using Rose’s article. How do these concepts help you understand your own writing process?

Essay 2 (1500 words)

Analyze how you and your classmates produce writing, using the actual Essay 1 processes captured during this unit, as well as the concepts from our readings in this unit.

Unit Three: Writing in the Disciplines

Response 8: Compare the process you used to produce Essay 2 with that you followed for the first. Explain the differences and similarities using terminology and concepts we encountered in the second unit. Reflect on the success of any changes you made and on how useful you expect them to be in the future, both in this class and in later courses.

Response 9: Identify the six characteristics (defined by Swales) of a discourse community you belong to.

Response 10: What “rules” always give you trouble? Which do you suspect may be “breakable”? Which would you like to break? How would your experience with writing be different if you did?

Response 11: List your courses this semester and identify which discourse community each belongs to. How has this mix of communities affected your experiences this semester?

Essay 3 (1500 words)

Choose a discourse community that you have direct connection with and find a preliminary answer to this research question: “What are the goals and characteristics of this discourse community?” This essay will require you to gather your own primary and secondary materials.

Essay 4 (3000-5000 words)

Collaborate with your writing group to combine your research collected in Essay 3 into a comparative analysis that demonstrates and then examines the concept of “discourse community.”


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