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Spring 2014 Course Descriptions

English 3001  Advanced Composition (5 Sections)

English 3001 Section 001   CRN 31592
Advanced Composition    0900-0950 MWF

We will practice the art of the sentence, the paragraph, and the essay, with as much room for improvement as a semester allows. Some writing will be on assigned topics; some, on topics of your devising. Some writing will be for a specific audience; some, for an imagined general reader. Some writing will be practical; some will involve the mind at play. All work in the course will emphasize revision as a necessary practice in writing. (I’ve made fifteen small revisions in writing this description.) The possibilities for our writing will come from reading: about culture, education, and technology.

In the world beyond college, you’ll be the one responsible for the shape your writing skills are in. This course offers you an opportunity to get those skills in better shape now. (Group 1)

Requirements: The course will require dedicated daily work (reading and talking) and considerable writing.


English 3001 Section 002     CRN 31593
Advanced Composition    1000-1050 MWF
Advanced Composition centers on advanced applications of the principles of writing analyses and arguments. This course offers opportunities to explore a variety of research sources and genres of writing. Attention will be given to analyzing writing situations, including the purpose for writing, assumed audiences, and appropriate styles and tones. This course also offers opportunities to practice drafting, evaluating, and revising written texts. Active participation in class activities, including group work, is required. Students will share writing and give/receive feedback with classmates to gain experience in reading carefully and critically, both their writing and the writing of others. (Group 1)


English 3001 Sections 003 & 006          CRN 31594 & CRN 31595
Jad Smith
Advanced Composition    1100-1215 TR & 1400-1515 TR
This advanced course covers a range of academic and professional writing and requires the development of skills in the following areas: analysis and critical thinking; review of scholarly literature in a discipline; collaboration and peer review; oral and visual communication; résumé and letter writing; and portfolio construction. Students will be expected to complete a variety of writing tasks; to give oral presentations; to read and discuss challenging academic texts, as well as take mid-term and final exams.  (Group 1)


English 3001 Section 005   CRN 31596
Advanced Composition    1500-1615 MW
This course in advanced expository writing will begin with a set of short writing assignments designed by the instructor, but we will quickly move to projects designed by each student to meet individual needs and interests. For at least part of the course, we will operate as a regular writer's workshop, with drafts of student-designed projects being circulated to the entire class.  Students will be encouraged to design projects that will serve specific needs or desires in their professional and intellectual development. (Group 1)


English 3001 Sections 004 & 007     CRN 31597 & 31598
Advanced Composition    0930-1045 TR & 1530-1645 TR
This course investigates our relationships to technology, and especially the historical uses of writing and reading with different media. In the course, we will read a number of key arguments on media ecology--that is, the technological environment in which we are steeped, and the concomitant perils and pleasures of what Marshall McLuhan called “the media extensions of man.” We will ask why, as does Sherry Turkle in her book Alone Together, texting appears to offer “just the right amount of access, just the right amount of control.” Turkle describes texters as “modern Goldilockses”: “texting puts people not too close, not too far, but at just the right distance.” 

We will emphasize practice in two things: 1) the clear exposition of ideas through the grammatical and stylistic command of writing and 2) the thoughtful reading of challenging texts that invite serious reflection on one’s own technologically driven habits.  Readings will come from a variety of sources, ranging from Michel Foucault on panoptic societies to Nicholas Carr on the death of “deep reading,” from Aldous Huxley on the coming age of distraction to Thich Nhat Hanh on “mindfulness,” and from the epistolary novel (wildly popular in the eighteenth century) to the psychological novel from Jane Austen onward.

As in all writing classes, the written word rules here. We will examine how good writing looks (grammar), how it sounds (style), and where it goes (audience-oriented rhetoric).Over the course of the semester, you will produce essays through stages of brainstorming, drafting, and fleshing out theses. You will not do this alone, of course. This is a workshop course, which means that, much as in the world outside the university, you will be writing for an audience larger than your professor. You will receive and offer feedback on fellow students’ work. In these feedback loops, you will be encouraged to keep an eye on your own growth as a writer of clear, effective, persuasive, and citation-savvy arguments.  (Group 1)