Community Matters

February 1, 2001

The most important experience that could happen in our classroom was that students would learn to think critically and analytically, not just about the required books, but about the world that they live in. – Bell Hooks

As the course title indicates, the focus of this writing 2105 course is community. In order to refine the skills expected of a university student – reading, writing, thinking, collaborating and communicating – you will be doing a lot of writing … and rewriting in this class. Since the more you write, the better you will write, you will compile three portfolios based upon a careful, critical and committed investigation of issues of community.

In your earlier work in writing courses, you may have focused on reflection or understanding what you have come to know through experience and observation. Indeed the questions of voice and of fashioning knowledge remain important and lifelong concerns for writers. The primary aim of this course is to help you become more adept at meeting the writing demands of the university by developing a heightened understanding of Low language functions to persuade in various social contexts, and an ability to effectively generate persuasive texts. Thus, through reading and writing texts, you will be working in this course to enhance your skills in these two areas. You will, in short, be doing rhetoric. Although an assumption operative in this course is that exposure to written models — created by born professionals and students — combined with discussion and analysis of those models, win help you produce the writing desired, the stress is, in fact, on producing writing.

Course Collaboration
This course will collaborate and share a syllabus with Wrt 12-05, Section 226 taught by Tracy Hamler Carrick. During the semester we will host joint activities like guest lectures, peer workshops and a community conference. We will also correspond with each other regularly over a collaborative listserv.

Community Service
I read and I forget; I see and I remember: I do and I understand. – Confucious
As we begin exploring the rhetoric of community, you will work with the Center for Public and Community Service (CPCS) where you will volunteer for at least 20 hours over the course of the semester. Instead of thinking of the classroom as the limit to our learning, we will attempt to use our real world experiences as tools for learning in the classroom. Your service will take place primarily in weeks 4 – 12, giving you plenty of time to complete the required hours as well as lots of time to observe, gather artifacts, analyze site activity and interactions, etc. as you learn about and become part of a new community.
You are required to activate your email account in order to communicate with your classmates our sister class, Wrt 205, and me Section 226, on the topics raised in class. You will be required to read and post a weekly response to our community listserv beginning around week 4.

Texts and Materials
Gary Layne Hatch’s Arguing in Communities, 1st edition*
Diane Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual, 4th edition*
Denison-Avery SmartFolio*
Post-it! Notes Various articles available at the reserve desk in Bird Library

* Available at both the University Bookstore and Orange Student Bookstore
Be prepared to provide xerox copies of your work at various times during the semester. CNY Printing and Copy Services (Marshall Square Mall), Electronic Publishing Center (Sims Hall), and Bird Library offer low cost, self-service copying. Plan on spending about $15 for copies required in Wrt 205.

Lateness is not acceptable, for it disrupts the class. We all have the right to be up to five minutes late, but if you cannot make it by then, I will mark you tardy. I will overlook 2 tardies, but once you have accrued 3, your final Class Participation grade will be lowered a full grade for each additional tardy.

Since our goal of achieving rich, diverse, multi-layered discussions about communities and writing depends on energetic, consistent, and committed participants, regular attendance is crucial if you wish to do well in this class. Your absences win affect your classmates’ work as well as your own. Your perspectives are valued and respected here, and we will sadly miss them if you are not present, In addition, our syllabus is only a projection. We may shift assignments around or change direction occasionally as it seems appropriate, necessary, or just interesting. If you chose not to be here, you will be responsible for ALL of the work done in class and what is to be handed in. In case you must be absent, I expect you to call or email me before the next class meeting so you can get the homework assignments. All work is due on the designated due date unless alternative arrangements have been made with me in advance. Plan to see me if you miss more than 3 classes.

Grading Criteria
Class Participation 10%
Service Journal 10%
Presentations 10%
?Portfolios 70%

?Portfolios 70%
Class Participation 10%
Engaging in the workshops and group projects in Wrt 205 will help you see how the making of meaning and knowledge are collaborative as well as individual, personal activities. For example, responding to each other’s writing gives you practice in assessing what effective writing is. You·ll also come to understand how effective writing is composed within the genres and conventions of particular communities and disciplines. This knowledge will not only enable you to learn the expectations of formal academic writing, but it will also help you to apply what you team in Wrt 205 to the intellectual work you do in other classes. For these reasons and others, this course follows a workshop rather than a lecture format, so therefore, class participation are extremely important. Each week, I will assign a class participation grade based on what you have contributed to class discussions and small group activities. Unexcused absences will, of course, result in a grade of F for that day.

Service Journal 10%
Like most experienced writers, you will maintain a weekly journal in which you reflect genuinely and honestly upon your service experiences. You will chronicle your daily activities and your feelings about them and the people with whom you are working. This Service Journal will not only help you develop your writing skills (The more you write the better you will write!), but also provide you with material for later papers.

For every one-hour of service you complete, you will write a one-page typed or two-page handwritten journal entry. On some occasions, I will supplement this ongoing assignment with additional journal prompts. You will bring these journal assignments to class with you on the specified due dates and exchange them with classmates. They will read and comment on the thoughts, ideas, and questions you reflected on in your journal entries. Thus, Service Journals are a forum for us to have a written conversation about out service experiences and responses. I will collect and respond to your journals on March 11th and April 14th.

Presentations 10%
You will give three oral presentations this semester. During Unit 1, you will showcase your first portfolio project at a Community Gallery Exhibition that will be held with Wrt 205, Section 226on February 23rd. During Unit 2, you will join group of 4 classmates and select a chapter in our text to read and present to the class. These presentations will be held on March 30th. Finally, at the end of Unit 3 (during Week 14), we will hold a Community Conference together with Wrt 205, Section 226. You will prepare a 5 minute presentation on your final advocacy paper project and field audience questions. I will provide class and conference time for you to prepare for these presentations. We will discuss the format and requirements of the presentations at a later date.

Portfolios 70%
Because in Wrt 205 you are asked to envision and reflect on writing as a process, you will compose multiple pieces of informal writing with an eye towards final papers or major writing projects at the end of each unit. These papers will go through several drafting phases, including a written peer review and conferences with me. Each draft will go into a portfolio that will be handed in at the end of each unit. The portfolio will be evaluated as a whole with an emphasis placed on the formal paper or project.

Portfolio 1: Locating Community (4-5 pages)-20% due February 23rd
Portfolio 2: Profile of a Community Organization (5-7 pages)-25% due April 13th
Portfolio 3: Advocacy Paper (5-7 pages)-25% due may 10th

Peer Review
One kind of assignment will always precede portfolio due dates – rough drafts. For each unit, we will hold at least one in-class peer response session. On this day, you will bring 3 copies of your rough draft to class with you to share with your classmates. If you fail to bring your drafts with you on the required day, you will receive an F for class participation, and your final portfolio grade will be lowered one full grade, i.e., an A portfolio automatically becomes a B portfolio.

The more experience you have writing, the more writing will shape your experiences.—Dave Kemper

Conferences are a great way for us to get to know each other better, and for me to give you specific, personal feedback on your writing. I expect to meet with each of you individually at least two times throughout the course of the semester. Please see me to sign up for a conference anytime; I welcome the opportunity to see as often as you like.

Revision is a significant, normal part of the writing process about which we will learn more this semester. You may be asked at some point to rewrite an essay, in whole or in part, so that you can improve your writing and revision skills. Or, you may opt, at any time, to revisit and revise your Unit I or Unit 2 portfolios on your own to improve your grade. In either case, you must schedule an appointment with me so that we can plan your revision strategy AND you must write a one-page, single spaced cover letter to accompany your revision which explains how and why it is a more effective piece of written work.

Proofreading is a critical, yet arguably tedious, part of the writing process, one that the university and I take very seriously. All formal papers or projects must be carefully and meticulously proofread in order to cam a passing grade. If you do not take your work seriously enough to proofread it, then I will not take it seriously enough to read or comment on it. If your work has excessive proofreading errors (more than 3 per page), I will return it without a grade, and you will have no more than one week to correct the errors and resubmit it. You may schedule an appointment with me to discuss proofreading techniques.

-All assignments must be submitted on or before the specified due date (unless previous arrangements have been discussed with me). Work received late will not be graded. I will correct it and discuss it with you, but you will receive a grade of F if it is not received on time. Absence does not excuse you from this policy.

Below, you will find one LATE ASSIGNMENT COUPON. Since I do realize that sometimes extenuating circumstances can get in the way of school — writer’s block, family emergencies, illness, friends, in need, etc., this late coupon entitles you to submit one portfolio up to one week late; no questions asked.

“Students who need special consideration because of any sort of disability should make an appointment to see me.
WRT 205 (222)
Late Assignment Coupon Jacobi


I am submitting this assignment no more than one week later than the specified due date.

Jacobi Valid only Spring 1999 WRT 205 (222)

School: Syracuse University
Professor: Tobi Jacobi and Tracy Hamler Carrick
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