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Modernist Composition (English 120: Expository Writing, Fall 2012)

Modernist Composition: English 120-127: Expository Writing, Fall 2012

Hunter College, The City University of New York

Elizabeth Goetz,

Classroom: HN C112, Tuesdays and Fridays, 12:45 – 2 p.m.

Office hours: HW 1436, Tue. 11:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.

3 hours per week plus conferences, 3 credits

Course Description: English 120, Hunter’s required introductory expository writing course, has four related purposes: Through reading, discussions, writing, and rewriting, it teaches students to generate, explore, and refine their own ideas; to analyze and evaluate intellectual arguments; to take positions, develop thesis statements, and support them persuasively; and to write with standard acceptable grammar, varied sentence structure, logical organization, and coherence.

Course Goals: English 120 promotes students ability to do the following:

  • Write essays and develop presentations that express a clear thesis, reflect clear thinking, and signal orderly progression of thought with smooth and logical transitions.
  • Develop analytic reading and research skills.
  • Make effective use of instructor and peer critiques. Revise and edit early drafts in light of critiques. Proofread written work.
  • Write in standard English prose, observing the conventions of grammar and spelling. Employ diction appropriate to the audience and free of jargon and clichés.
  • Produce papers that incorporate and integrate ideas from others and that use substantiating evidence effectively. Identify all sources with proper attribution.
  • Create a final documented research paper employing an acceptable format for citation and documentation and that meets standard academic and specific course requirements.

Required texts are generally available via Blackboard (essay readings). You must also purchase the following, available at Shakespeare and Company, 930 Lexington Avenue:

Bullock, Richard and Francine Weinberg. The Little Seagull Handbook. New York, Norton: 2011. ISBN 978-0393911510. Price: $21.38.

Any college-level dictionary with at least 70,000 entries, e.g., The Merriam-Webster Dictionary. ISBN 978-0-877-79930-6. Price: $6.50.

Recommended texts include:

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say: The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing, 2nd ed. NY: Norton, 2010. ISBN 978-0-393-93361-1. Price: $12.50

(Editions and prices are subject to change.)

Other required materials: pens or pencils, two bound notebooks, a daily calendar/planner (necessary to keep track of assignments and due dates once they have been announced), and 8 ½ x 11” lined paper.

Writing Requirements: Students write two unrevised in-class essays (diagnostic and midterm examination), two 2-5 page essays with drafts, and a documented research paper of approximately 5-8 double-spaced pages with a Works Cited page and annotated bibliography. Students are also responsible for smaller in-class and at-home reading and writing exercises.

Save hard copies and digital versions of ALL essays and drafts (diagnostic, take-home, midterm, and final) for inclusion in your final portfolio, due the last week of classes. You will need to preface your final portfolio with a cover letter to the reader. In this letter, refer to your diagnostic essay and reflect on what you have written and learned over the course of the semester.

Papers must be submitted according to correct MLA style: one-inch margins, size-12, Times New Roman font, double-spaced lines, etc.

Final Examination: All students are required to take a two-hour final examination culminating on Thursday, December 13. For this exam, you will write an essay in which you connect, compare, and/or analyze two articles you have already read—one of which has been discussed in class and one you have read on your own. You should bring the articles to the final examination. You may also use an English-language dictionary in book (not electronic) form during the exam.

Both the portfolio and the final examination must be satisfactory in order to pass the course. Passing essays will substantially respond to both readings and connect the readings with a coherent argument or thesis, provide either personal or objective evidence including appropriate citation style, interpret material accurately and logically and make logical and supported connections and conclusions based on that material, organize the argument effectively, write using generally correct standard grammar, mechanics, and word choice appropriate to content and tone.

Grading: Students may receive A, B, C, D, or F grades or, if requested, CR and NC grades. Students who withdraw without notice receive WU grades. Students who never attend class receive WN grades. In rare emergency situations, students may receive a grade of IN which should be made up the following semester. Any student who is awarded an incomplete should sign a contract with the course instructor agreeing to complete coursework within the first few weeks of the following semester.

Participation, group work, homework (including discussion questions on Blackboard and conferences), attendance, and in-class writing count for 30% of your grade.

Midterm and take-home essays count for 30% of your grade.

Your research paper and annotated bibliography count for 40% of your grade.

Your final exam and portfolio are pass/fail.

Attendance: Your final grade will be substantially reduced if you miss more than three days of class (excused or otherwise). If you miss six or more classes, you will receive an F. If you do not attend the first week of the semester, I will drop you from the class according to college policy. I will take attendance at the beginning of each class; if you are late, you will be required to speak with me after class to obtain half credit for attendance. If you are more than ten minutes late, you will be marked absent. There are no excused absences. Because I don’t accept late work, you may not make up missed assignments, but you are responsible for ascertaining (from a classmate—exchange contact information accordingly) what material was covered in any missed class time.

Essays and other at-home assignments must be submitted via Blackboard (Discussion Boards and SafeAssign) by the beginning of that class session.

The work in this course is intensive, and it will be difficult to catch up if you fall behind. Students must come to class prepared to participate. Thus, the reading and assignments must be done on time before each class session. Unless students have been granted prior permission from the instructor, assignments turned in via e-mail or hard copy will not be accepted. Students unable to participate in class discussions because they haven’t done the reading will find their class participation grade will suffer.

Cellular telephones and other electronic devices may not be used in class for any purpose, including texting. Leave them at home or keep them concealed and silent in your bag. If I hear or see you using one, I will mark you absent and you will receive no participation credit for the day. If you want to check the time, wear a watch.

Communication: I am available to meet with you during my office hours and by appointment. Feel free to contact me via e-mail with questions or concerns regarding your coursework or to set up an appointment. I will usually respond to e-mails within one business day, but don’t wait until the last minute to ask questions this way. When you e-mail me, provide a relevant subject line and your full name. Students must be able to respond to e-mails within one business day. Students may use laptops in class only for assignments for which they are explicitly permitted.

Other resources: Free tutoring in the Reading/Writing Center (located in Thomas Hunter, Room 416; for hours, go to If you have any questions about the course, reading, assignments, or grading, ask me.

Plagiarism and Academic Integrity: Hunter College regards acts of academic dishonesty (e.g. plagiarism, cheating on examinations, obtaining unfair advantage, and falsification of records and official documents) as serious offenses against the values of intellectual honesty. The college is committed to enforcing the CUNY Policy on Academic Integrity and will pursue cases of academic dishonesty according to the Hunter College Integrity Procedures.

Accessibility and Academic Accommodation: In compliance with the American Disability Act of 1990 (ADA) and with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Hunter College is committed to ensuring educational parity and accommodations for all students with documented disabilities and/or medical conditions. It is recommended that all students with disabilities (emotional, medical, physical, and/or learning) consult the Office of Accessibility located in Room 1124 East to secure necessary academic accommodations. For further information and assistance please call (212) 772-4875 / TTY (212) 650-3230.

Tentative course outline:

(Please note that we will attempt to adhere to this schedule, but I may adjust it as necessary to meet the needs of our particular group. You are responsible for any changes made in the schedule. I will usually announce changes at the beginning of class, so if you are late, you might not learn the updated deadlines, but you are still responsible for them regardless.)

Tue, Aug 28         Course introduction, student record sheet, essay-scoring rubric. Homework: Read, annotate and take notes on Woolf, Ch. 1 of A Room of Ones Room for next class. Come to class with two prepared open-ended discussion questions on the reading (bring both a hard copy of these AND post them to Blackboard). E-mail me from your Hunter e-mail address. Introduce yourself on Blackboard when the site goes live.

Fri, Aug 31      In-class diagnostic. Introductions.

Tue, Sep 4 In class: Paraphrase and summary; discussion of Essay-Writing Guidelines and essay #1 assignment. Begin taking notes for and outlining your essay for homework. Woolf, Ch. 1-2 of A Room of Ones Own.

Fri, Sep 7        Woolf, Ch. 2-3 of AROO and “Modern Fiction.” LSH 2-26.

Tue, Sep 11          Woolf, “Modern Fiction.” LSH 80-135. Quotations and citation; MLA style. Homework: Continue your essay. Bring an outline and complete rough draft to class on Friday.

Fri, Sep 14      (Last day to drop classes.) Essay #1 (analysis) due in THREE hard (paper) copies. LSH 32-53. Peer review. Discuss paraphrase and summary.

Tue, Sep 18          No classes scheduled. BUT read LSH 63-79.

Fri, Sep 21     Final draft of essay #1 due via Blackboard. First collection of journals. In class: Reflective letters on essay #1 (writing process and experience). Discuss research paper topic proposals. Writing Fellow Sara Rutkowski on essay organization and thesis statements in class. (Time permitting, discuss Essay #2 and documented research paper prompts.)

Tue, Sep 25          No classes scheduled. BUT do VOILA and MLA tutorials at home.

Fri, Sep 28      Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” In class: Discuss Essay #2 and documented research paper prompts. MLA style, annotated bibliographies.

Tue, Oct 2 VOILA and MLA online tutorials due. Research paper prospectuses (topic proposals and questions) are due via Blackboard. Read LSH 54-62. Library Lab–meet in library, Room E114, with Stephanie Margolin. Homework: Work on Essay #2 and your annotated bibliography. Read LSH 230-256. Read, annotate, journal on, and post discussion questions on Benjamin.

Fri, Oct 5        LSH 230-256. Eliot, continued. Homework reminder: Work on Essay #2 and your annotated bibliography. Read Benjamin.

Tue, Oct 9 Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” Writing Fellow in-class workshop on research methods.

Fri, Oct 12      Essay #2 (comparison/contrast) due in 3 hard copies. Peer review. Annotated bibliographies due via e-mail with photocopies of reference materials to be submitted in hard copy in class. LSH 262-281.

Tue, Oct 16          Final draft of essay #2 due on Blackboard. Second collection of journals (through Benjamin). In class: Dennis Paoli from the Reading Writing Center on Documented Research Papers. Research Prospectus In-Class Workshop.

Fri, Oct 19      LSH 2-26, 32-53, 63-65. Research Prospectus In-Class Workshop continued

Tue, Oct 23   Library Lab: Meet in library, Room 609, with Stephanie Margolin.

Fri, Oct 26      Formulated thesis paragraph due on Blackboard. In-Class Midterm: Persuasion.

Tue, Oct 30        Benjamin, continued. James, “The Art of Fiction.”

Fri, Nov 2      First draft of research paper due in 3 hard copies. Peer review.

Tue, Nov 6          Sign up for research paper draft conferences. Mallarme, “Crisis of Verse.”

Fri, Nov 9      Last day to get an INC. DuBois, “Criteria of Negro Art.”

Tue, Nov 13        Second draft of research paper due on Blackboard. Hurston, “How It Feels to Be Colored Me.”

Fri, Nov 16   Conferences in HW 1436.

Tue, Nov 20        Conferences in HW 1436.

Fri, Nov 23   No classes scheduled.

Tue, Nov 27        Conferences in HW 1436.

Fri, Nov 30   Conferences in HW 1436.

Tue, Dec 4         Final draft of documented research paper due on Blackboard via SafeAssign.

Fri, Dec 7        Final portfolio (including the cover letter; diagnostic essay; in-class midterm; two take-home essays with multiple drafts; and the documented research paper along with drafts and an annotated bibliography) due in hard copy. Final, complete journals due. Discuss final exam materials.

Tue, Dec 11 Last day of class. First part of final exam in class. (Students can use a dictionary or thesaurus in book [but not electronic] form. Students will know source texts but not topics in advance and may bring annotated copies of these source texts top class. )

Thu, Dec 13   (time TBA)    Final examination continued.

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