West Chester University

Fall 2004and
Spring 2005

West Chester University

Spring 2003

Fall 2002

Spring 2002

Fall 2001






Course Information
  LIT 165 Syllabus
  LIT 165 Announcements
  LIT 165 Assignments
  WRT 120 Syllabus
  WRT 120 Announcements
  WRT 120 Assigmments

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Spring 2005)
  Adieu to Imaginary Worlds
  One Last Look at Imaginary Worlds
  Notes on 'Before the Law'
  Samuel Beckett Links
  Notes on 'Waiting for Godot'
  Approaching 'Waiting for Godot'
  Notes on 'Axolotl' by Julio Cortazar
  Notes on 'EPICAC' by Kurt Vonnegut
  DIRECTIONS: Independent Project
  Suggested Readings: Independent Project
  Utopia/Dystopia Links
  Character Analysis: Brave New World
  Analyzing the Brave New World
  Defining Utopia
  Embarking on the Brave New World
  A Critique of BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Dante Links
  Inferno: Final Destinations, Cantos XXXII-XXXIV
  Inferno: Malebolge, Cantos XVIII-XXXI
  Inferno: Questions/Analysis, Cantos XII - XVII
  Structure in the Inferno: Analysis, Cantos V - XI
  Inferno: Questions for Analysis, Cantos I - V
  Introducing Canto I
  Approaching the Divine Comedy
  Relating to Dante's Inferno
  Our Goals for Studying the Inferno
  Assignment Sheet: PAPER #1
  The Birthmark
  Leaf By Niggle
  Responses to Leaf By Niggle
  'On Fairy Stories' by J.R.R. Tolkien
  Notes on Ovid and 'Metamorphoses'
  Analyzing the Mythic Tales
  The Four Functions of Myth
  Myth and Metaphor
  Myth - Links
  Filtering the Introduction to 'Fantastic Worlds'
  'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' and 'The Zebra Storyteller
  Introducing the 'Imaginary Worlds' Theme
  Alice In Wonderland
  The Metamorphosis

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Spring 2004)
  Conference Schedule: 4/21 and 4/26
  Commentary: Following Up Your Response
  Critical Thinking and Commentary
  Casebook: Evaluating Sources
  What is Argument?
  Parts of an Argument
  Casebook Assignment Sheet
  Rubric for Evaluation of Writing
  Assignment Sheet: Essay#1
  Expressive Writing
  Short Stories About Identity
  Thoughts on Stories About Identity
  Poems About Identity
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'
  Mind-map: Identity

ENG Q20: Basic Writing (Fall 2004)
  ENG Q20 Syllabus
  Frederick Douglass Excerpt
  Propaganda Analysis
  How to Detect Propaganda
  George Orwell's Politics and the English Language
  Propaganda Analysis Exercise

Go Exploring
  Weblog for WRT 120
  Writing Assistance on the Web
  Blackboard at WCU
  WCU Homepage
  WCU's Francis Harvey Green Library

~~ BASIC WRITING / Syllabus / Fall 2004 ~~


OFFICE: Main Hall, 312
OFFICE HOURS: Mon.11am-1:30pm; Wed. 11am-1:30pm

PHONE: 610-436-2481
PAPER MAIL: Main Hall, 527 (English Dept. mailroom)
WEB: (use lowercase letters)


ENG 020 is a course about both writers and writing. It provides an opportunity for writers to learn about and practice the process of writing and to gain confidence in themselves as individuals able to express significant ideas in their writing. A goal of the course is for writers to feel more empowered in their abilities, but also to be able to recognize the areas that they want and need to improve on, including but not limited to grammar and syntax conventions in Academic Written English (AWE). To arrive at that awareness students will receive feedback on a variety of writing tasks throughout the semester. Writing tasks may be long or short, but will include complete pieces of writing in a variety of genres (narrative, analysis, commentary) and for a variety of purposes (expressive, expository, persuasive). You'll learn to use multiple drafts and revision as essential parts of the writing process. You'll engage with your classmates in collaborative peer reviews and editing sessions. You'll have the opportunity, frequently, to meet with your professor and with tutors (if you choose to) for one-on-one, individualized instruction.

Along with the idea that writing is a process, we'll consider how writing can be a received "final" product which can have an impact on the world. We'll explore the rhetorical situation of the university as an institution with its own conventions, and our potential contributions to it. We'll explore the ways in which our "home discourses" (our individual habits, values, ways of speaking) all add enormous value to the university culture, and discuss the possibility of enacting a "critical bilingualism" in order to get those ideas across to academic audiences with firm expectations. By the same token, we'll want to explore how the habits, beliefs, values and language of "university discourse" can enrich your own goals and lives. We'll make these explorations through a variety of methods: the study of model texts through reading, analysis and discussion; the teaching of rhetorical concepts (audience, purpose, style, focus, development, structure, etc.); practice in logic and reasoning; studying the "voice" of the university-especially the most prominent conventions of academic discourse-and comparing it to other voices, other conventions-especially those that, if used in an academic context, may earn students the label of "outsider." In short, a major outcome of the course will be the students' growing awareness of the tide of academic discourse, and their ability to confidently navigate those waters.


Gosgarian, Gary. Exploring Language. 10th ed. New York: Longman, 2004.

Troyka, Lynn Quitman. Quick Access. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ, Prentice-Hall, 2004.

A college-level dictionary.
A folder to maintain your portfolio (this will be checked around midterm and collected at the end of the semester).
Access to your WCU student email account, or a reliable alternative account.


Writing: Students will be expected to produce approximately three out-of-class essays (approx. 3-4 pages / 1500-2000 words) and two in-class essays (the midterm and final exams). Each essay will be evaluated according to how well you focus, organize, develop, stylize, and edit your work. A rubric that will be used for evaluation will be distributed for each paper at the workshop prior to the due date.

Classwork: Students will be expected to voice opinions in classwork exercises, which may include independent seatwork sessions, cooperative learning groups, writing workshops, and class-wide forums, and which call for discussion and/or written response. Written classwork and homework exercises will be graded on a 1, 2, 3 scale, with 3 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. Missed classwork or homework, unless the student makes it up, is recorded as a "0."

Portfolio: Students will be expected to collect and maintain all graded essays in a standard file folder (portfolio) to be handed in at the end of the course. In order to pass ENG Q20, students must achieve a semester average of no less than C- (a grade of D+ requires students to repeat the course.


Attendance: I take attendance each class period. Students are expected to attend every class having read assigned material or prepared assigned homework. Any student who misses more than three classes may receive a lowered grade. (Absences necessitated by a student's participation in a University-sanctioned event are not penalized if the student follows the "excused absence" policy stated in the University catalog.) After three absences your final grade may be lowered according to the severity of your absenteeism. Students with extended medical problems or personal emergencies should notify the Dean of Students, who will contact me about allowing for necessary adjustments. Athletes, student teachers, band members, etc., should provide me with a note from the appropriate professor or coach documenting your need to be away from class. Chronic or extended absence throughout the semester without consultation or permission from the Dean of Students will be grounds for failure. These penalties may be waived only in the case of extreme extenuating circumstances. It is up to the student to provide official verification from the Dean's office of extenuating circumstances, and preferably to discuss these issues with me directly via office visit, phone, or email.

Late Work: All essays and other assignments are due on the date assigned. If a serious injury, illness, or other emergency prevents you or seems likely to prevent you from meeting a deadline, make arrangements with me before the assignment is due, or the day it was due. If no specific arrangement has been made, late penalties will ensue, one letter grade for up to two days late (weekends count). You cannot turn in an assignment for full credit more than one week after its due date. After one week, your work can only work earn a "D" (numerically 65) or lower.

Revision: Students are encouraged to keep revising essays to achieve the highest mark possible, but students must revise essays receiving a mark of "IP," which is roughly equivalent to a "D" grade. (Remember a "D" is not a passing grade for ENG 020.) Read "More on Evaluation," which is attached to this syllabus, for more information. I encourage students to meet with me or with a professional tutor in the Writing Center (see below for more information about the Writing Center) to discuss your revision strategy. You must hand in the original (graded) essay with any revision. I will not accept any revised paper unless the original, along with the rubric, is returned along with it.

Conferences: Several times during the semester, I will meet with you individually. Most of these conferences will take place during class time, but students are encouraged to drop in at any time during my regularly scheduled office hours to seek extra help or discuss progress.

Writing Workshops: Before out-of-class essays are due, we'll set aside time in class for writing workshops. Students are expected to prepare a complete typed draft of the essay and bring 3 copies to class on the assigned date. The essay will be critiqued in small peer groups according to directions given in class. The purpose of the writing workshop is to encourage critical evaluation of your own and others' drafts and to promote productive revision. Seeing your classmates' works in progress can be both interesting and instructive.


Writing Center: If you are having trouble with a writing assignment, do not hesitate to bring your problem to my attention or bring your essay to the Writing Center in Main 203. The Writing Center offers free professional tutoring to any student who is writing a paper for any course offered by the college. The staff will assist students at all stages of the writing process: developing ideas, organizing drafts, revising, and editing. Tutors will not serve as your proofreaders, however; their aim is to help you develop your own skills. You may need to call ahead for an appointment as the center becomes fairly busy once the semester is under way. (436-2121) HOURS: M (10-4), Tu (9-5), W (9:30-7:30), Th (10-7:30), F (10-2).

Office of Services for Students with Disabilities: I will make every accommodation for students with disabilities. If you have a disability, please make your needs known to me and contact the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities at 436-3217 for further support or information.


All essays, classwork, and in-class writing exams are graded on a point scale which at the end of the semester will be totaled, averaged, weighted, and then converted to a final letter grade based on the following percentage distribution:

50% Major Essays (average of four, or the average of your best three if all four were completed on time)
15% Participation (classwork, homework, attendance)
10% Midterm Exam (in-class essay)
10% Workshops (preparation and participation)
10% Final Exam (in-class essay)
5% Final Portfolio with Self-Assessment

Your final percentage will be converted to a letter grade as follows:
97 - 100 = A+
93 - 96 = A
89 - 92 = A-
87 - 88 = B+
82 - 86 = B
79 - 81 = B-
77 - 78 = C+
72-76 = C
70 - 71 = C-
68 - 69 = D+
62-67 = D
60 - 61 = D-
59 and below = F

Please note that the assignments and/or dates on this schedule are subject to change during the course of the semester. Changes will always be announced in class and on the course website: note that EL is used in the following outline to refer to your textbook, Exploring Language, 10th ed. Assignments in Quick Access will be on an individual basis.

Week 1
Syllabus, introductions. Topics: Rhetorical situation; holistic evaluation; writing process. Readings: Frederick Douglas (handout); also, at the end of the week, students will be individually assigned a specific reading from EL Chapter 2: Writers Writing (114-145). Writing: Students will produce an informal paper on the topic of "freedom."

Week 2
Topics: writing strategies; expressive writing; generating topics; developmental strategies. Readings: EL "Homemade Education" (p. 61); handouts TBD. Writing: Students will brainstorm, freewrite, and/or mind-map possible topics relating to the general theme of freedom, identity, success, or the "pursuit of happiness" to compose an expressive essay. (Essay #1)

Week 3
Writing and collaborative activities relating to the expressive essay. Writing Workshop for the expressive essay (Essay #1): Bring 3 copies of your typed draft to class for peer and instructor review.*

Week 4
Expressive essay due approx. 9/21 or 9/22. Reflection paper and informal writing in class. New topics: objective/expository writing; interactive reading strategies. Readings: In EL, read "With These Words, I Can Sell You Anything" (393), "The Language of Advertising" (407), "Language Abuse" (417), "Selling America" (426). Assignment: Collect several slick ads from popular magazines (or TV if you can make a VHS tape or DVD) to distribute and discuss in collaborative groups. Writing: Using strategies discussed in class, compose an analytical essay that dissects the form and function of one or more advertisements (Essay #2).

Week 5
Writing and collaborative activities relating to the analytical essay. Screening: "Merchants of Cool" and "Killing Us Softly 3: Advertising's Image of Women"

Week 6
Writing Workshop for the analysis essay (Essay #2): Bring 3 copies of your typed draft to class for peer and instructor review.

Week 7
Analytical essay due approx. 10/13 or 10/14. Reflection paper and informal writing in class.
New topic: Impromptu writing; persuasion. Readings: EL "How To Detect Propaganda" (156); "Politics and the English Language" (163); "The Pep Talk" (174); "Doubts About Doublespeak" (184).

Week 8
Midterm Portfolio check (in class). Distribute self-assessment exercise.
In-class writing to produce impromptu essay (Essay #3) (Midterm Exam). 2 classes.

Week 9
Out-of-class conferences; come at your scheduled time to Main 312. Bring your completed self-assessment exercise and your portfolio to your conference.

Week 10
New topics: summarizing; commentating; critical reading strategies. Readings: Selections from Chapter 4 TBD. Writing: Write a position paper to explain why you agree or disagree with one (or more) of the assigned readings in Chapter 4: The Art of Conversation. (Essay #4)

Week 11
Writing and collaborative activities relating to the position essay.

Week 12
Writing Workshop for the position essay (Essay #2): Bring 3 copies of your typed draft to class for peer and instructor review.

Week 13
Position essay due approx. 11/22 or 11/23. Reflection paper and informal writing in class.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! Have a nice break!!!

Week 14, 15 New topic: Practice for the final exam. Reading: TBD. Writing: Students will write an impromptu essay in class in response to the reading distributed as practice for the final exam. Reading for the common final exam will be distributed and discussed. Also, a Portfolio checklist and self-assessment assignment will be distributed.

Finals Week
Make sure you report to the right classroom during our scheduled final exam period (it may not be in our normal location). You will write an impromptu essay on the reading distributed the previous week (Essay #5). All sections of ENGQ20 will take the same exam at the same time. Also: hand in your Portfolio at (or before) the Final Exam. Place all completed work in your two pocket Portfolio folder, along with the Portfolio Checklist and the self-assessment exercise.


Each of your essays will be read and evaluated holistically with marks of HP, P or IP, that will be converted to numerical percentages (see below).

HP = High Pass (falls within the "A" range, numerically 95)

P / P+ = Pass (falls within the "C" to "B" range, numerically 75 or 85)

IP = In Progress (falls within the "D" range, numerically 65)

NOTE: Missing assignments are recorded as an "F" (numerically 50), a score extremely damaging to your overall average. It's therefore to your advantage to complete an assignment you may find difficult and receive an IP (and then revise) than to neglect to hand in an assignment completely. Keep in mind, however, that late papers, unless specific arrangements are made, can only receive a 65 after one week.

A holistic reading of your essay involves applying the following criteria towards the overall assessment. Rubrics will be distributed with each essay that reflect these basic criteria.


Focus refers to an essay's central idea, expressed as an effective thesis in the introduction, conclusion, or in different wording throughout the essay. An essay is well-focused when the thesis is carefully worded and presented prominently. The thesis is a sentence in the essay which tells the reader both the subject of the essay and the writer's particular assertion about that subject in general but explicit terms. An unfocused essay may be too broad or general-the writer hasn't considered carefully his/her specific assertion about a general subject. An unfocused essay may be one that does not contain an effective thesis.


Development refers to the amount of explanation and detail you use to get your points across to your readers. Development is the "content" of your essay. Throughout the course you'll learn several rhetorical strategies for developing your papers effectively based on your overall purpose (expressive, expository, or persuasive) and your analysis of audience. A well developed essay is one that uses sufficient explanation and detail to effectively communicate its message. After a general point is made, the writer takes the time to explain and support it with specific detail. A well developed essay is one that uses rhetorical strategies such as narration, description, illustration, comparison/contrast, cause/effect analysis, process analysis, classification/division, and definition when appropriate to the writer's purpose. A poorly developed essay is one that does not develop ideas specifically, in detail, but instead makes general or vague assertions without explaining or supporting them. A poorly developed essay may not take advantage of any or enough rhetorical strategies at the writer's disposal.


Organization can refer to (1) the essay's overall structure-the presence and quality of its introduction, body, and conclusion; (2) the essay's overall unity and coherence; and (3) individual paragraph unity and coherence. The structure of an essay requires that it have an introduction to focus the reader's attention, a body to develop the essay's thesis, and a conclusion to explain what the essay has accomplished and why its ideas are significant. Unity and coherence are basic, but essential writing principles. A unified essay is one that "sticks to the point." All statements, explanations, specific detail-everything, in other words-relates back to the essay's central idea, its thesis. No unrelated tangents distract the reader's attention from the main idea. An essay without unity may make several interesting points but they do not add up to support for your thesis. A coherent essay is one that "makes sense." Coherence refers to the order of sentences and paragraphs in your essay. In a coherent essay, ideas follow one another smoothly and logically. The writer uses transitional statements or phrases when necessary so that no gaping holes open up between ideas. An incoherent essay is difficult to follow because the writer seems to ramble from idea to idea without showing any connection.


Mechanics is a catch-all term that I use to refer to the correctness of a paper's grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Errors can be classified as solitary (only one instance), "occasional" (more than one instance), or "frequent" (more than, say, three instances). Solitary and occasional errors may be brought to your attention but will only result in a deduction if there are several different kinds. Frequent errors can lower your overall grade.


Although style can be defined several ways, in the sense that I am using it style refers to a writer's ability to distinguish him or herself through fluent, creative use of the language. If your use of language is provocative, colorful, attention-grabbing, then you have style. Your readers will find it pleasurable reading your essay. If your use of language is effective but predictable, clear but non-evocative, then you may lack an engaging style, but you've communicated the necessary information. Lastly, you may have poor style if you (1) overuse the passive voice; (2) write too many windy, wordy sentences with excessive clauses or conjunctions; (3) write too many short, choppy sentences; (4) frequently use inflated, unnecessarily formal language; (5) frequently use slang, jargon, or colloquial language; (6) fail to vary your sentence structure sufficiently.

Note: Remember that any essay receiving a mark of IP may be revised, provided it was not handed in late and is not severely short of the required length. Revised essays are due one week from the date they are returned, or with the final portfolio. I advise you to discuss your revision strategy with me before you start so that you optimize your chances for raising your grade. The original essay and the rubric must be submitted along with the revised version-I will not accept revisions without the original and rubric attached.






Questions? Contact me.

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