West Chester University

Spring 2006 and Fall 2005

West Chester University

Fall 2004and
Spring 2005

Spring 2003

Fall 2002

Spring 2002

Fall 2001






Course Syllabi and Announcements
  LIT 165 Syllabus
  LIT 165 Announcements and Assignments
  WRT 120 Syllabus
  WRT 120 Announcements and Assignments

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Spring 2008)
  A Reading of THE TEMPEST

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Rites of Passage (Spring 2006)
  Goals of the Course
  Fundamental Questions about Literature
  Valuing Literature
  Critical Thinking and Reading Literature
  Critical Approaches to Literature
  Literature as ART
  Approaching the Art of Fiction
  Defining the Short Story
  Evaluating Short Fiction
  Craft of Fiction: PLOT
  Craft of Fiction: CHARACTER
  Small Group Exercise
  ARABY by James Joyce
  A note about GIRL
  POE and the art of STORY OF A HOUR
  Notes on Innovative Fiction
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #1
  Fiction and Ambiguity - Your Questions
  Writing Workshop - Short Fiction
  Poetry Journal Project Assignment Sheet
  Defining Poetry
  Reading Poetry
  The Craft of Poetry
  Drama and Tragedy
  Study Questions: DEATH OF A SALESMAN

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Spring 2006)
  Paper #4 Assignment Sheet
  Critical Thinking and Commentary
  Casebook: Evaluating Sources Worksheet
  Selecting Information
  Evaluating Arguments
  CASEBOOK PROJECT Assignment Sheet
  Approaching Persuasive Writing
  Topic Development - Profile Essay
  Generating Ideas for the Profile Essay
  Paper #2 Assignment Sheet
  Profile Exercise
  Objective Writing: Selected Readings
  Writing Workshop: Paper #1
  Expressive Writing in the NYTimes
  Writing Effective Introductions and Conclusions
  Paper #1: IDENTITY
  Expressive Writing
  Open Letter Exercise and Examples
  EMERSON on Individuality vs. Conformity
  Literature related to IDENTITY
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'

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

Notebook for Topics in Literature: Imaginary Worlds (Fall 2005)
  One Last Look at Imaginary Worlds
  Franz Kafka's BEFORE THE LAW
  Paper #3: Assignment Sheet
  Paper #4: Independent Project
  The Problem of Stability in BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Analyzing Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD
  Defining Utopia
  Embarking on Huxley's BRAVE NEW WORLD
  A Reading of Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST
  From today's news (11/3/05)
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #2
  Goodbye to Dante's Imaginary World
  Stepping Through Dante's Inferno: Cantos 10-34
  Stepping Through Dante's Inferno: Cantos 1-10
  INFERNO: Questions/Analysis: Cantos 32-34
  INFERNO: Questions/Analysis: Cantos 18-31
  INFERNO: Questions for Analysis: Cantos 12-17
  INFERNO: Structure
  INFERNO: Questions for Analysis: Cantos 1-5
  INFERNO: Analyzing Canto 1
  Relating to Dante's Inferno
  Approaching Dante's DIVINE COMEDY
  A Little Help with Dante's INFERNO
  Assignment Sheet for Paper #1
  Responses to LEAF BY NIGGLE
  ON FAIRY STORIES: An Essay by Tolkien
  Notes on Axolotl
  Reading Ovid's Tales
  From Myth to Literature: Approaching Ovid's Tales
  Functions of the Genesis Tales
  Analyzing Mythic Tales
  Defining Mythology
  Filtering the Introduction to FANTASTIC WORLDS
  Commentary on LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI by Keats
  Commentary on DARKNESS by Byron
  Handout: Imagination Poems Set
  What is Imagination?
  Our Course Theme: Imaginary Worlds
  LIT 165 Assignments: Fall 2005
  LIT 165 Announcements: Fall 2005
  Imaginary Worlds: Course Syllabus

Notebook for Effective Writing I (Fall 2005)
  Paper #4: Independent Thinking/Reading/Writing
  Casebook Preparation Checklist
  Casebook Assignment Schedule
  Evaluating Sources for the Casebook
  Casebook Project Assignment Sheet
  Notes on Rational Argument
  Assignment Sheet: Objective Writing
  Reviewing Elements of the Profile Essay
  Writing the Profile Essay
  Readings: Objective Writing
  Assignment Sheet: Expressive Writing
  Rubric for Evaluation of Writing
  Emerson on Individuality vs. Conformity
  Mind-map: Identity
  Understanding the 'Rhetorical Situation'
  Assignments Page
  Announcements Page
  WRT 120 Course Syllabus for Fall 2005

ENG Q20: Basic Writing

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

Paper #3: Argumentative Casebook
Effective Writing I: Fall 2005


At the heart of our free, democratic society is the notion of informed choice.  Our “information age” seemingly provides all the necessary information we need to make informed choices about the complex issues that confront us. Fortunately, the Internet seems to make that information more readily available than it ever was.  Unfortunately, however, the picture becomes less rosy when we consider that despite the wealth of information at our fingertips, we also live, undeniably, in an age of mass media “spin,” an age in which we are fed on a diet of opinions rather than facts.  It’s been observed by countless critics how many of our traditionally “objective” sources of information have turned wildly sensationalistic, unabashedly profit-driven, or blatantly politically biased.  When the top-rated cable news network is exposed for engaging in paid propaganda, when documentary filmmakers abandon standards of “objectivity” to produce films intended to swing presidential elections, we may feel we’re living in an age when “objective truth” has receded into virtual nothingness.  Never has it been more difficult, and therefore more important, to gain the skill of separating fact from opinion. Only by doing so can we hope to arrive at an informed choice that is rational as well as “informed.”

Objectives: This collaborative exercise (1) helps students to learn methods for gathering and selecting information; (2) helps students become knowledgeable about a controversial or debatable issue by exploring and analyzing more than one side of that arguable issue; (3) provides an opportunity for students to practice critical thinking skills such as questioning, analyzing, and synthesizing; (4) helps students learn to identify and evaluate a writer’s use of argumentation by identifying claims, examining reasoning, and analyzing evidence; (5) asks students to collaboratively produce editorial writing that questions, analyzes, and evaluates; and (6) provides an opportunity for students to develop teamwork skills.
Directions:  As a collaborative group, assemble a casebook composed of no less than four articles which demonstrate the range of positions that are possible on a debatable issue of your choice.  The following steps are all necessary components of this assignment:
  1. Select four articles that explore and help demonstrate the range of positions that people take on this issue.  Aim to select articles that you feel are especially credible, that argue their position effectively or persuasively.  You may also wish to explore pieces that you feel are especially not-credible to provide an instructive contrast.  You may also wish to include articles which you feel are especially informative, though not persuasive one way or the other.  These are the articles you will feature in your casebook, though you can include others in an Appendix.
  2. Write ONE Overall Introduction to your casebook (1-2 pages) which (1) presents the topic, and the controversy surrounding the topic, to your readers in an engaging way; and (2) explains the range of positions you discovered; and (3) introduces the four articles you will feature by placing them into the context of the range of positions you’ve described.
  3. Write FOUR SEPARATE Headnotes (1-2 paragraphs each) for each of the four articles you will highlight in the casebook. The Headnote appears before each article on a separate sheet of paper.  Its purpose is to introduce your source by providing a general orientation to its author and content and by firmly establishing its credibility or lack of credibility.  First, state the title and the author, as well as a short sentence or two to indicate the author’s credentials; second, state where you found the article—in print (where?) on the Internet (where? describe the site).  Remember, your aim in presenting information about the author and the publication is to help establish the source’s credibility or lack of credibility.  By this kind of careful examination, your readers will be more likely to be  able to determine whether the article will be more likely to be biased, and how, and so your headnote will help guide a fruitful first reading. Thirdly, the Headnote should contain a brief summary of the article and a reminder of how it fits into the overall context of the casebook as a whole.  Fourthly and finally, as a further guide for readers, finish your headnote by leaving readers with a question you think this article makes an attempt to answer.
  4. Write FOUR SEPARATE Endnotes (1-2 paragraphs) for each of your four articles.  At the end of each article, evaluate the article’s persuasiveness, using criteria based on the “Guide to Rational Argument” distributed in class.  Explain whether you think the article is based on fact, opinion, or some combination of the two, or whether you noticed any weakness in reasoning or logical fallacies.  Explain whether you think opinions are presented persuasively or not and why.
  5. Write ONE Argumentative Conclusion (2-3 pages) to your casebook which presents your group’s assessment of the stronger position in a carefully worded claim.  Ads fully as you can, support your claim with a line of logical reasoning and supporting evidence (you can use the information in your casebook sources for supporting evidence).  Make your conclusion persuasive by acknowledging at least one opposing view and then either negotiating common ground or providing a refutation of that view.  To refute the opposing view, you can evaluate the reasoning and evidence behind it.  Is the reasoning weak or invalid?  Is there limited, weak, or missing evidence? A successful argument proves that your position is stronger than your opponent’s on these grounds of reasoning and evidence.  In the event that there’s dissent in your group, make sure everyone’s views are expressed in the conclusion.  

Special Instructions
  • For all the writing you do in the casebook (Introduction, Headnotes, Endnotes, and Conclusion) the point of view should be first person plural (we, our) to reflect the fact that your group is the collective author for each piece, even though you may work on pieces separately.
  • Make sure your finished casebook is assembled adequately.  You can use a folder, a report cover, or a (very small) three-ring binder.  The pages should be easy to flip through when assembled and they shouldn’t fall apart.  
  • Please include a cover page that gives a title to your chosen topic and states the name of everyone in your group.  
  • OPTIONAL:  Use creative graphics and/or layout to communicate visually as well as verbally.






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