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Honors English 2  Spring 2003

ENGL 125C  10410      12:30 - 1:45  T and Th    EH228

Instructor:  Dean Hall            Office:  Eisenhower 05        Office Phone:  532-0389

E-mail:           Office Hours:  T and Th 1:45 to 3:00  and by appt.

Course Requirements | Revision Policy | Tentative Schedule

CONTACT:  You can make an appointment with me before or after class, by telephone (voice mail is available when I am not in the office), by email, by leaving a note in my mail box in Denison Hall, or by leaving a message with the departmental secretary at 532-6716.  Be sure to leave a name and number (or email address) so I can get back to you.

GENERAL COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Jefferson's "Declaration of Independence" assumed (held to be "self evident") that everyone was endowed with "inalienable rights."  What did he mean by that?  Where did the idea come from?  Do rights really exist?  What do we mean by "civil" rights?  This course will interrogate  the concept of rights and explore concepts of freedom and conscience.  We will read, discuss, and respond in writing to some of the important historical issues of political freedom and discuss their applicability to civil rights issues.   The course will include a brief history of  the concept of rights including discussions of current issues of human rights around the world and in the United States.  We will spend some time looking at current US foreign and domestic policies in the light of rights issues.  Many other related documents archived on the WorldWideWeb. and contemporary discussions of related issues in periodicals such as the Washington Post and NY Times.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS--WRITING:   Course Requirements:   Four papers ranging from 800 to 1200 words in length and one final paper of perhaps 1500 words (though many students' final papers end up much longer).  Participation in discussion and workshops as well as the maturity to realize that revision is integral to improving writing are expected . Expect to have one complete finished essay due about every three weeks or about every 6th time we meet. That gives us four class days per paper for discussion and development and one workshop day in class for each assignment. Some discussion for the course, including feedback to each other, will be done via a ListServ and Bulletin Board for the course. 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS--TEXTBOOKS and READING:  Critical Thinking Reading and Writing:  A Brief Guide to Argument by Sylvan Barnet and Hugo Bedau. Other reading will also be required.  As we progress through the semester, we will all read together documents found on the web (or provided as handouts) which update or comment upon the current rights situations around the world.  Also, a major reading responsibility will be the workshopping of your colleagues' work for the course.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS--ATTENDANCE POLICY:  University policy requires that students attend all scheduled classes in which they are enrolled.  However, my experience tells me that there will be times when your coming to class is just not possible.  Therefore, you can miss two classes without any penalty whatsoever.  Reserve these "free" absence for when you really cannot come to class because you are too ill or absolutely have to be somewhere else.  You are responsible for finding out what happens on the days you are absent.  If you know ahead of time that you must be gone when an assignment is due, let me know so perhaps we can make other arrangements.  Because this class depends very much upon discussion and workshopping your classmates' work, you need to attend every day.  I will take attendance every day we meet as well as at scheduled conferences.  Your absence on a day work is due is NOT an automatic extension of the due date for that work.

Attendance counts for 10% of your course grade and is weighted as follows:  0-2 absence = A, 3 = B, 4 = C, 5 = D, 6 = F.  With your sixth absence you will receive an F for the attendance part of the course, and you will receive an F FOR THE COURSE. This is a standard policy across all expository writing sections that meet twice times a week.  I have no choice in this; keep track of your absences and please don't mess up your grade for this course simply because you didn't come to class.  Attendance is expected from you every day that the course meets, and attendance is an important factor in doing well in this class.  Look at attendance this way:  you get 10% towards an A if this class if you do nothing else but come everyday.  What easier way is there to accumulate course credit and good favor with your professor than simply showing up?

SUBMITTING YOUR WORK:  Place your essay, all notes, all drafts, all peer feedback in a manila folder with your name written on the tab.  Supply a title for your essay but do not use title pages.  Do not submit your work in a report folder.  Include your name, date, assignment number and page number in the upper left-hand corner of each page.  Paper clip your pages together (no staples, no creative folding of corners).

     Essays: must be typed on 8 1/2" by 11" white regular bond paper (no erasable bond  because it smears and your work will simply disappear with multiple handlings). If you use a word processor attached to a dot-matirx printer, use the "letter quality" setting for printing final drafts;  the "draft quality" setting on dot-matrix printers makes a copy too difficult to read.

LATE WORK POLICY:  All out-of-class writing assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date.  Late work will lose one letter grade for each calendar day late meaning that a paper or draft that is late one calendar day (24 elapsed hours) can receive no more than a B; if it is two calendar days late, it can receive no more than a C.  This includes drafts as well as final versions.   If a draft of an essay is due for a workshop and you do not have a complete draft ready for that workshop, the final grade for the paper is reduced one grade.

ESSAY GRADES AND COMMENTS:  Because this is an Honors course, I assume you are already excellent writers.  I also assume each of you will turn in your best work for each essay.  My expectation is, then, that each one of you will write excellent essays deserving of A's.  Notice that you do not have to prove to me you are deserving of an A on an essay.  In those cases where the essay is not deserving of an A, my job is to show you why it does not deserve an A.  My comments to you on your written work will, then, by necessity stress what is wrong or missing in the essay as well as provide advice and direction on how to address what is wrong or missing in the essay.   Do not take offense if my comments stress the negatives in your writing; I'm just trying to make you better writers.  If all I did was praise your writing, you probably wouldn't learn much at all.       

COURSE GRADING:  My expectation is that you are all capable of getting an A in this course.  Grading in this course in NOT curved which means that each of you can, indeed, get an A.  Grades for the course will be determined as follows:

Attendance = 10%,

Participation (both in class, bulletin board, and on listserv) = 15%,

Written Work = 75%.

This is not necessarily the average of the grades for the five essays.   Your final grade for this portion of the course will be my determination of how good you are as a writer at the end of the term.

REVISION RATIONALE:  Revision, real revision, is perhaps the most important aspect of becoming a better writer.  I want you to become the best writer you can given the constraints you are under during the semester.  To improve as a writer, you must be willing to write in ways you have not written before, be willing to try new things, to take risks.  Successful writers revise their work several times before they are comfortable that what they have written is the best work they can produce.  I know this from having watched hundreds of students struggle to write better and from my own experiences as a professional writer.  Remember the goal is to achieve the best possible written work you are capable of producing.

REVISION POLICY:  The revision policy is related to the late work policy above so make sure you know how these constraints/opportunities are tied together.  Due dates for revision will be determined as the essays become due and are returned.  You must turn in any revisions no more than one week after I return an essay to you.   You are allowed to revise an essay ONCE.  The grade on the revised essay is the final grade for that essay; in other words, the two grades are not averaged.    Revision is an opportunity you should take advantage of if at all possible.  This is how non-A papers become A papers.

         Revision defined:  To be a revision, an essay must demonstrate significant change in global issues such as focus (what the paper is trying to accomplish), arrangement (how the paper is organized), or development (amount and relevance of detail and/or support for generalizations).  If you haven't actually changed the original essay, I will simply hand it back to without other comments.  Note:  Simply correcting errors in spelling, punctuation, usage or grammar (though expected in a revision) does not count as revision because such corrections do not meet the above criteria.

         Revision processes:  To receive credit for revising an essay, you must do all of the following:

         • you must mark and explain why you deleted anything in the previous version.

         • you must highlight and explain any additions you included in the new version

         • you must write a separate summary on a separate page(s) explaining how and why you revised; for example, you need to explain why and how you changed the essay's focus or why you rearranged or added more information and so on.

         • you must include with your newly typed revision all the original materials turned in along with the previous version(s) in a manila folder. 

LISTSERV and BULLETIN BOARD:  A listserv allows all of us to initiate and continue discussions in that any mail sent to one person via listserv is also received by everyone else on the list (ie., every other student taking this class).  I periodically download a log of discussions that accumulate so I can quite accurately assess who is participating and how much in this part of the course.  We can share essays or parts of essays with each other, get feedback from each other, share resources you have discovered with each other, and so on.  I am also establishing a password-protected class bulletin board access to which is limited to members of this class; we can post the results of our communal research about which we are writing.

TENTATIVE SCHEDULE:  So early in the semester I can only guess about what we will be doing day to day in class.  The schedule below is my best guess at the moment and should indicate to you at least a vision of what we need to accomplish this semester.  But, because we know already that some changes may need to be made, we all have to agree to "go with the flow" when necessary.  Therefore, you are responsible for knowing any modifications to the schedule below; pay attention in class when we agree to modify an assignment or due date.  Also check the listserv regularly; I will also post any changes there as well.



Hello, Introduction to Course, Getting to know Each Other, Go over the Syllabus and Policies.  Getting Contact Information.   Fill out Initial Questionnaire.  Listserv Intro Assignment Given Out.  Intro to Textbook-Related Website.  Bulletin Boards.



Required Plagiarism Discussion.  Read Chapter One in Barnet/Bedau.  Discussion of various topics at end of Chapter One.         First Assignment Sheet Handed Out.  General Discussion of Freedom of Speech.



Chapter 5 in Barnet, pp. 187-210.  Analysis of Jacoby essay and Brownmiller essay.



Discussion of Lawrence essay and Bok essay.



Workshop Guidelines for both Reviewers and Writers Handed Out.  Discussion of Brennan and Rehnquist essay, pp 387 ff.  Topics discussed in class; you need to know what your topic is, your subject, your main arguments, and your audiences' positions.



Workshop in Class.  Draft of First Essay Due for Workshop.  Complete draft necessary;          incomplete drafts make the entire finished essay late!



FIRST ESSAY DUE!  Class time spent discussing the assignment, responses.  Discuss what  we as a class can do better next time in preparing for the essay. 



Read Chapter 4 in Barnet.  Apply Analyses in Chapter 4.    Essay  Assignment  2 handed out. Do preliminary research--find out what the Patriot Act is.  What is Homeland Security all about?



Read Barnet pp 463-490. Discuss Individual Rights in context of Society/State.  Discuss of Rights protected in United States of America



Discussion of Individual Rights in context of Patriot Act and Homeland Security.



Draft of First Essay Due for Workshop.  Complete draft necessary; incomplete drafts make the entire finished essay late! 



In-class Workshop on Essay 2.  Discuss various points of view re subject of essays. Second portion of syllabus handed out.



SECOND STUDENT ESSAY ASSIGNMENT DUE!  Class time spent discussing the assignment, responses.  Discuss what  we as a class can do better next time in preparing for the essay. 




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