Course Policies

Learning Objectives 

In learning to compose academic arguments about literary works over the duration of this course, students will: 

  • Obtain overall fluency in the elements of academic writing: including thesis, evidence, analysis, format, critical reading, quoting, and revision. 
  • Develop analytical theses about literary texts that can be supported through close reading. 
  • Make use of prewriting and invention techniques: including freewriting, notetaking, brainstorming, developing ideas and language through a process of planning, drafting, revising, and editing.  
  • Engage with primary and secondary sources for textual analysis. 
  • Utilize critical terminology effectively and appropriately to support textual analysis.  
  • Find, cite, and evaluate sources using appropriate research tools. 
  • Employ standard usage of English grammar and mechanics: including spelling, capitalization, sentence structure, and punctuation. 

Required Course Texts 

The required text for this course is:  

  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Published by Vintage in 1991.
    ISBN: 978-0679734772 

All other course texts and readings will be uploaded to the class blog under the “Calendar and Readings” heading.  

Course Policies 

Student Expectations:
To receive a passing grade in this course, students must at minimum: 

  • Submit a final draft for each of the assigned essays, each accompanied by at least one formal draft. Students must submit all essays in order to pass the class. 
  • Attend and participate in all classes. 
  • Prepare reading and writing exercises as assigned.

Since this course is as much about thinking as it is about writing, participation is crucial to the successful completion of the course. You must strive to be actively and intellectually engaged, not simply present. Hence, “participation” in this course includes but is not limited to: 

  • completing all homework i.e. reading and writing activities 
  • volunteering to respond when questions are posed to the class 
  • responding thoughtfully and respectfully to classmates’ ideas 
  • asking questions that advance and contribute to the discussion at hand 
  • volunteering to read when text is to be read aloud 
  • contributing meaningfully during small group activities 
  • engaging in focused work and dialogue during peer workshops 
  • freewriting diligently when required 
  • using gender-inclusive pronouns e.g. “he or she” instead of the typical “he” when referring to a general, non-specific situation 
  • sharing your point of view, feedback, perspective while respecting the diversity of opinions, ethnic backgrounds, gender expressions and sexual orientations, social classes, religious beliefs, and ethnicities within the class and larger society  
  • presenting research to the class professionally in the spirit of increasing collective knowledge and understanding
  • seeking out, carefully considering, and incorporating feedback during your revision process

Attendance & Lateness
The discussion and workshop elements that are at the center of this course cannot be made up, so attendance is vital. Lateness is disruptive to the entire class. If you have to miss class, please write me a brief, formal email to notify me; you do not need to explain the reason for your absence. It is your responsibility to catch yourself up with the learning you missed; I suggest contacting peers and reviewing posted materials as a first step. If you want to further discuss class materials or topics covered, you are welcome to visit me during office hours. Please do not write me requesting that I summarize a missed class for you over email. 

If you miss more than 3 classes by the middle of the semester, I will ask you to meet with me to discuss your capacity to successfully complete the course.  

I am open to all contact and I encourage you to send me an email if you have any questions or concerns that are not already answered by the syllabus or class blog. I only ask that your emails are respectful; in other words, please don’t email me in the same way that you would text a friend. Please understand that I may not be able to respond right away, so if your question is very important, do not wait until it is too late to ask it. Additionally, if you have a question or concern about an assignment, please do not contact me about it five minutes before the assignment is due.  

Eating and Drinking
I have no problem with eating and drinking in class as long as you are being courteous to those around you and careful to not make a mess. In other words, quietly eating a candy bar is fine, but loudly opening up a large container with a whole meal inside of it can be disruptive. 

Use of Electronic Devices
Writing will be required during every class. For this, you should use a dedicated writing notebook or an electronic device with word processing software like Microsoft Word. Laptops, tablets, and other similar electronic devices can also be used in class during freewriting or revision activities. However, electronic devices should not be open or in use if not required for the current class activity as your usage can be distracting to both me and your classmates. Lastly, practice professionalism and do not text during class.

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