Reading/Writing Proficiency

1. The course consists entirely of reading and writing. Students must complete 15-20 pages of formal writing during the semester. These pages may be divided into anywhere from THREE to FIVE papers (FOUR to FIVE for TAs and TFs), according to the discretion of the instructor. At least ONE of these papers be lengthy and more substantial than the others (6-7 pages). Students also typically read at least two to four essays from the reader per week. “During their freshman year at college students have to learn how to read nonfiction critically, that is, to read texts, essays, scientific reports, historical materials, etc., very closely: to find the central argument in a text, to identify the author’s assumptions, to consider his/her purpose and audience, to evaluate the evidence” (from the 1201 website).

2. All essay assignments emphasize ideas as central to good writing. Students are required to learn about five patterns of organization throughout the semester in their formal essay assignments (Definition, Process Analysis, Cause and Effect, Division and Classification, Comparison and Contrast) to use as tools, as appropriate, in their assignments, thereby acquiring a variety of techniques for developing their ideas and arguments. Normally, we would not assign a “comparison/contrast” essay, for example, but would teach that rhetorical strategy as a tool to use in an essay devoted, overall, to a larger purpose. Students may also be required to learn and use other writing concepts (Audience, Tone and Stance, Logical Fallacies, Logic and Metaphor, Bias in Language) incrementally throughout the semester. Students will be evaluated by how well they learn these techniques in the context of their writing. Students’ reading skills are evaluated through their “ability to discuss texts in class, in online and other informal writing, and in the formal papers. Students are expected to know critical reading strategies, as well as metacognitive reading strategies, in other words, being aware of how you read and being in control of how you read and being able change how you read depending on the type of text and assignment” (from the 1201 website).

3.. All essays will be evaluated, along with grading for class participation, journal writing, and tests. All students take a final exam, which may be a take-home or in-class writing. Many instructors also use quizzes. See attachment from the 1201 website on specific strategies for Critical Reading.

4. The course will meet criteria in the Core website, as outlined below:
The Little Seagull Handbook (Norton), required in all 1201 sections.
They Say, I Say (Norton), required in all 1201 sections.
Selections from one of two readers, either Norton’s Reading the World (the default) or The Norton Reader (the alternative).

Writing Requirements
1. All 1201 sections assign three to five formal (graded) writing assignments equaling a total of at least 15 – 20 pages, following the guidelines below:

a. Drafting process takes place for all formal, graded writing assignments. All assignments are handed in as rough drafts and then revised into a final draft. Students also are taught pre-writing techniques, outlining, and peer review. Two sessions (minimum) at the Writing Center are required.

b. The final formal writing assignment (the Research Essay) involves research, referencing, use of outside sources, and/or citations. MLA citation practices are taught in connection with this essay. Students have a library orientation as well to help them in their research strategies.

2. At least 50% of course grade is based on formal writing (including graded essays, essay exams, quizzes, writing for traditional and multimedia presentations).

3. Regular, informal (nongraded) writing assignments – possibly weekly – take place both in and out of class. Informal writing should be used in the course as appropriate and could include a variety of journal formats (free writing, double-entry, writing prompts), blogs, discussion board, quick-writes, question responses, and collaborative writing.

4. Some time is spent in class every week, teaching and/or discussing the processes of writing.

Reading requirements
1. Besides textbook reading, supplementary materials are used by most instructors through their Blackboard courses.

2. Normally, two to four essays from the reader are assigned each week. Reading for the research paper and other supplementary readings would go beyond this. Students also must read each other’s papers in peer review.

3. Reading are regularly linked to writing assignments, for example, journals, double-entry journals, reflections, in-class writing, formal papers, and/or essay exams. The formal papers normally require referencing or analysis of the readings.

4. Some time is spent in class teaching and/or discussing the processes, strategies, and modes of analysis of reading in the discipline. The Little Seagull Handbook has a section on critical reading. The class discussions of the essays also model and encourage critical reading of texts.