If you’re enrolled in this course, you’ve obviously had quite a few writing classes–and many past experiences writing both inside and outside of the classroom. For better or worse, you’ve passed all your required English courses in high school, written through English 1100 and probably updated your status on Facebook a time or two. To this end, I prefer to think of you not so much as “students” but as “writers” in a “community of writers”–myself included.
So what does it mean to be a writer, you ask? Well, first and foremost, it means that we write– a lot. We’ll write in a variety of mediums for different purposes and diverse audiences. We’ll write formally and/or informally before, during, and after every class meeting. We’ll write sometimes for ourselves, exploring ideas and extending our thinking and sometimes for others–real audiences with real needs, thinking about and employing the most effective rhetorical strategies to meet those needs.
And what do communities of writers do? We bear witness to the struggle to make meaning. We help each other out along the way and celebrate our successes as we web together thoughts, ideas, words, images, videos to say something–something that matters. We engage each other in our writing processes by sharing ideas, works-in-progress, and polished pieces, thinking and responding carefully to each others’ work–providing useful feedback that pushes us to think and write more effectively.
Make no mistake, it is an act of courage to give and receive criticism! Therefore, we’ll do our best to create a supportive atmosphere, a classroom community that is based on trust, mutual respect, and a collaborative spirit. Negative, belittling, condescending, or harassing comments or actions are unacceptable, and I do not tolerate them.
And not only do we write together, but we also read together, bringing other writers, those who aren’t physically present, into our classroom community. To that end, we will be reading and researching in a variety of texts in a variety of mediums, including print and digital sources authored by scholars, journalists, community partners, and other students. We will conduct both primary and secondary research on the Internet, in Joyner library, and in “the field” as we seek to document, contextualize, analyze, and synthesize the phenomenon of desegregation in Pitt County Schools. We’ll think about ourselves, others, and the world–as it was, is, and might be–as we engage with these sources. We’ll investigate these issues together and share information and insights that make us better readers and writers. And because this course’s focus, educational equity, is quite expansive, you’ll be able to specialize and develop exciting projects and products on a multiplicity of topics under this topic umbrella.
While every instructor takes a different approach to teaching English 1200, all students are expected to command the knowledge, skills, and attitudes described by the Writing Program Administrator’s Outcome Statements for First-Year Composition. This semester, I have chosen the broad theme of educational equity as a means of focusing our research, reading, and writing. According to the Educational Equity Project, a national advocacy group whose mission is to close the achievement gap in education,
Fifty-six years after Brown vs. Board of Education, forty-two years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and twenty-seven years after the publication of a Nation at Risk, we must confront a shameful national reality: If you are an African American or Latino child in this country, the probability is high that our public education system will fail you, that you will not graduate from high school, that your ability to function successfully in the twenty-first century economy will be limited, and that you will have no real prospect of achieving the American dream.
As students, teachers, researchers, scholars, and citizens, we will consider these claims, working to understand our own perspectives as we situate self among other to explore the legacy of segregation on our current educational landscape.
Goals of English 1200 SL
Building on the knowledges gained from previous writing experiences, students in English 1200 will develop develop two major projects of their own choosing and complete a host of more informal discovery writings. As this course is a service-learning section, one of your two major projects will benefit your community-partner, the Greenville-metro community at-large. This product will be published on our Black Schools website that celebrates local black schools and alumni to promote interracial understanding, educational equity, and peaceful dialogues a about race, culture and ethnicity. It will include, among other things, your audio interview recordings, and your digital products that trace the history of African American Schools prior to desegregation in Pitt County.
You are guaranteed a B* in this class if you:
1. attend class regularly—not missing more than a week’s worth of classes;
2. participate in all exercises and activities both in and out-side of class, including instructor conferences
3. meet daily & weekly due dates and writing criteria for the formal and informal writing assignments (e.g., Discovery Writing, Drafts, Reflections, Peer Reviews);
4. engage in ambitious, thoughtful, mature projects that demonstrate a complexity of thought and sustain effort and investment on each draft of all assignments;
5. locate, evaluate, and synthesize primary, print, and electronic bibliographic sources that contribute significantly to those projects and that demonstrate the writer’s ability to use research in different ways and for different purposes;
6. convey the results of writing and research to a particular audience that will learn from and potentially act on those findings;
7. make substantive revisions when the assignment is to revise—extending or changing the thinking or organization—not just editing or touching up;
8. copyedit final revisions of major projects until they conform to the conventions of edited, revised English;
9. give thoughtful and substantial peer feedback during class workshops, both face-to-face & on other student’s blogs;
10. submit your final, organized and prefaced e-portfolio on deadline.
*Higher grades are awarded to students who produce exemplary portfolios.
* Sunstein, B. & Chiseri-Strater, E. (2007). Fieldworking: Reading and Writing Research (3rd ed.). Boston: Bedford/ St. Martin’s.
* Internet-based websites/articles as listed on the course schedule
* Handbook of Your Choice or use the online handbooks available here
Other Required Materials
Digital Audio Recording Device for Interviews
I expect writers to arrive on time for class, every class period with completed homework (posted to your blog), your textbook, and your laptop. I expect you to devote a minimum of six (6) hours per week outside of class to course-related work and not to wait until the end of the semester to try to do/revise all of your work. I expect writers to bring a positive attitude about about writing and research and enjoy the act of learning as well as the projects we will work on this semester. And I expect writers to feel that they can talk to me about their work, their concerns about their writing, and their goals for this course. To that end, I invite you to visit me often during my office hours. No appointment is necessary. Just stop by and bring emerging ideas, multiple drafts, questions and concerns. If my office hours do not work for you, we can find other times, locations, or virtual meeting places that do.
Writers in this course choose your topics for major projects, as long as those topics somehow intersect with the course theme and the readings we’re doing as a group. However, all writers are expected to complete:
• seventeen (17) Discovery Writings from Textbook Prompts (300-500 word minimums)
• one (1) ethnographic essay of 2500 words (MP#2, min. 3 drafts) that documents and explores cultural diversity and educational equity in a subculture on ECU’s campus
•one (1) digital product that significantly contributes to the Pitt County Black Schools website (MP #1, min. 3 drafts)
• one (1) recorded interviews (including questions/transcriptions) with a student or teacher attending/working in PCS before integration
• (10) ten annotated bibliography entries written from sources accessed through GC, NCC & Archives @ Joyner Library
• analytical introduction to your writing e-portfolios
• an E-portfolio that consists of all project drafts (rough drafts, middle drafts, workshop drafts, finished drafts), peer responses (both to and from classmates and teacher), discovery writings, annotated bibliography entries, interviews, digital product for Black Schools Website
Computers in the Classroom
As stated, you are required to have your own laptop for use during class time. We will work in both virtual and physical spaces during class time; however, certain computer-related behaviors will not be tolerated. You may check your email or free-surf the web as you please before and after class, but after I announce the beginning of class by starting the roll, any student still using email, chat programs, or web browsers for non-class-related activities will loose points for participation or may even be considered absent from class for the day. Likewise, students retain sole responsibility for keeping electronic copies of all their work. Lost or stolen disks/passwords, erased disks, home/laptop computer crashes, etc. do NOT excuse you from submitting writings and your e-portfolio on time. If you use the blog as instructed, all your work will be backed up on the blog server, alleviating this concern.
Academic integrity is a fundamental value of higher education and East Carolina University; therefore, I will not tolerate acts of cheating, plagiarism, falsification or attempts to cheat, plagiarize or falsify. Should I determine that an academic integrity violation has taken place, I reserve the right either to assign a grade penalty or to refer the case to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities for an Academic Integrity Board hearing. I will assign a grade penalty up to an F for the assignment or course. Should it come to my attention that you have had a prior academic integrity violation, or if there are other aggravating circumstances, I will refer the case directly to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Should the Academic Integrity Board determine that you committed an academic integrity violation, you may be assigned a grade penalty and/or any other sanction allowed in the student Code of Conduct, up to and including suspension from the University. The Student Handbook can be accessed here.
Accommodations for Students with Special Needs
East Carolina University seeks to comply fully with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Students requesting accommodations based on a covered disability must go to the Department for Disability Services, located in Brewster A-114, to verify the disability before any accommodations can occur. The telephone number is 252-328-6799.