Writing Nonfiction: Research Writing
I. Required materials:
1. Writing journal
2. Writing folder
3. Access to MLA style materials (this may be a book or
To become appreciators and producers of creative writing
III. Objectives: By the end of this class, each student
will be able to
1. Express personal thoughts in a well-written essay.
2. Conduct primary research.
3. Use invention techniques, peer critiques, group critiques,
collaborative pre-writing, multiple draft writing, and free
4. Know generative techniques to tap "flow".
5. Acquire a personal repertoire of writing techniques to
organize discrete data into a unified whole, even when this
data is initially uncontexualized.
6. Write an extended paper for a public audience.
7. Conduct public readings of writings produced this semester.
8. Have worked toward mastery of grammar and usage.
9. Become a part of a community of writers.
Undergraduate, student performance will be evaluated on
an A-U scale using the following criteria:
1. Four, hundred-point papers, 400 points.*
2. One major research paper (on a topic pre-approved by
the instructor), which may or may not incorporate the information
from some of the earlier papers. This paper will be of "publishable"
quality, 300 points.*
3. Two, formal author readings of major paper with printed
copies of each of these drafts for every member of the class,
20 points each, 40 points.
4. Abstract, 25 points.*
5. Daily grades, 60 points.
Graduate, student performance will be evaluated on an A-U
scale using the following criteria (Please see me after
the first class meeting):
1-5. Same as undergraduate students (825 points)
Plus, one additional essay, this will be a press release
on some aspect of this project, will be required. It will be worth 100 points; therefore, your
grades will be determined by being divided by 925 points.
Because this will be a workshop-style class with pieces
of writings actually being partially written during class
and because this class meets only once a week, attendance
and participation are vital. Therefore, after two absences,
each absence will lower the over-all course grade by one
letter grade per absence (Exceptions to this rule will be
extremely rare, so save your absences!!).
VI. Evaluation and Grading:
Basically, I would happier if we could have a mentorship
arrangement and I didn't have to assign grades, but until
that happens, I will try to demystify how I determine grades.
If you attend all but two classes and do all of your work
in a timely fashion, you will probably not have to be too
concerned about grades (A = outstanding; B = strong; C =
acceptable; D = just barely met standards; U = not acceptable.
See numerical grades listed within this syllabus).** A number
of safety nets have been built-in to the course to reinforce
basic writing and editing concepts. This course is designed
to give you a solidly paced experience in generating and
editing creative non-fiction. Caveat: try not to get behind
in your work; my previous students have said this is the
only grade-danger in my classes.
* Late work will lose one letter grade per day late.
** Something-I-shouldn't-have-to-say: Plagiarism has no
place in any institution of learning; therefore, any plagiarism
in this class, either in part or entirety, of any work will
result in an U (failing) grade for the course plus the material
will be submitted to the appropriate university disciplinary
individuals(s) and/or committees for institutional action.