Dr. Dan Kulmala Spring 2009
Office: Rarick Hall 365 Class: Rarick 348
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org English 602
Office Hours: MWF, 10:30-11:30, Phone:
TTh, 1:30-3:00, and 785-365-6308
by appointment 785-628-5817
Topics in Writing: Personal Essay
This course intends to introduce students to the genre of the personal essay as well as engage them in the practices of writing creative non-fiction. Largely a workshop-directed course, students will write essays and share their work as part of the revision process. A primary goal of the course is to produce one publishable essay.
By the end of the course, students should be able to
1. understand the conventions and expectations of the personal essay genre;
2. write personal essays;
3. engage in the key academic skills that help to produce effective prose;
4. research and pursue publication avenues;
5. use computer-assisted programs as part of the process approach in writing (i.e., word-processing, diagnosing, revising, and editing);
Textbooks & Digital Books
Epsilen, The New York Times Knowledge Network.
Giffels, David. All the Way Home. New York: Harper/Collins, 2008.
Lopate, Phillip, The Art of the Personal Essay. New York: Anchor Books, 1995.
The Personal Essay is essentially a semester-long workshop. Lectures, if given at all, will take up a minimal portion of class time. Students will analyze assigned readings through classroom discussion, consult regularly with the instructor (perhaps at one-on-one conferences that may be scheduled in addition to or in place of regular class meetings), and critique one another’s essays and research papers in classroom editing groups. Active participation in such groups is mandatory and may, at the instructor’s discretion, be evaluated and counted toward the final grade.
Regular attendance at class meetings and scheduled conferences is required; unexcused absences may result in a lowered final grade. Students must complete all the essays outlined in the two options above or they automatically fail the course. Late work will be accepted only at my discretion.
See also the Academic Dishonesty policies and definitions outlined in the FHSU Student Handbook. Plagiarism is cheating that consists of using the work of others without adequate acknowledgement. Any idea, fact, or language borrowed from a source must be documented formally or informally.
Some examples of plagiarism include the following:
1. copying another student’s work and submitting it as one’s own;
2. copying or paraphrasing passages, sentences, phrases, words, data, statistics, and visual aids without proper acknowledgment;
3. using someone else’s ideas without giving credit to that person;
4. buying and submitting an essay produced by a professional paper-writing service;
5. submitting assignments which are the products of inappropriate collaboration (see below).
In regard to plagiarism, students are urged to remember the following policies:
a) All input, whether in the form of suggestions or corrections, on all writing assignments should come from three sources and three sources only-- the instructor, an editing group (as directed and overseen by the instructor), and (if desired) an FHSU Writing Center Consultant. All other input is cheating. Students should not have parents, siblings, friends, roommates, or former teachers “go over” their work. Papers that are products of this kind of inappropriate collaboration will receive a failing grade.
b) All instructors are required to employ sound methods of plagiarism
prevention and detection.
In the event of proven plagiarism of any kind, the plagiarist will fail the assignment in question or event the course. Disagreements between instructors and students over plagiarism, or any other form of academic misconduct, should be referred directly to the Chair of English.
Because in most of the classes during the semester we will be work-shopping your essays, a great deal of the work for the semester will be done in class. As a result, excessive absences will hurt your grade in two ways: attendance and class participation. Depending on the amount you miss, you could end up with a grade that will be at least one letter grade lower than the average of your essay grades. Point value for attendance will be determined by the number of classes for which we meet by the end of the semester as well as one mandatory meeting for each essay you write this semester.
Students who represent the university in some capacity (such as athletes) and who must miss class are excused but must make up all assigned work. Students who suffer from a documented chronic illness or family emergency will also be excused provided they notify me in writing. But again, all assigned work must be made up. If I do not receive an official notice of the problem as soon as it arises, then I will count the absences, regardless of the legitimacy of the absences. Be aware that even excused absences in excessive amounts can affect your grade. Contact me as soon as possible should a problem arise.
I will assign work for in-class and out-of-class with the intention of helping develop your essays, your writing abilities, and your key academic skills. These types of assignments vary in length and in purpose. But you are required to do them. I give points for class participation based on a combination of doing in-class work (2 points), getting homework and essays completed by the date due (5 points), and completing at least one revision of your three essays (5 points).
Below I provide the basic point values and percentage value for the semester:
Essay One—MyTurn 100 (20%)
Essay Two—Noun Essay 100 (20%)
Essay Three—Personal Essay 100 (20%)
Class Participation Varies (10%)
Homework Varies (25%)
Attendance Varies (5%)
During our conferences over your essay drafts, we will go over the point value of your essay. However, since I emphasize revision in this class, final point value will not be assigned until after you hand in the final draft of the essay. Your class participation, attendance, and homework grades will vary depending on what we do for the semester. So I do not have a fixed point value for those grades at this time. Grade percentage breakdown:
A 90 to 100%
B 80 to 89%
C 70 to 79%
D 60 to 69%
U 59% and below
Graduate Work: Graduate students must perform at the expected graduate level. Therefore, not only will a higher quality of work be expected but additional work is required in order to engage graduate students in the type of research and academic writing that goes beyond undergraduate educational practices. Graduate students will give a presentation on a major contemporary essayist and discuss that writer’s impact on the essay, providing a brief annotated bibliography of scholarship and works by that author.
Any student in this course who has a disability that prevents the fullest expression of abilities should contact me as soon as possible so that we can discuss class requirements. See the University Catalog for FHSU’s policy on non-discrimination.
Syllabus: This plan for this semester will likely change and does not reflect all the assignments for the semester.
W 1/14: Introduction to course and Epsilen.
M 1/19: No Class. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
W 1/21: Introduction to course and Epsilen. MyTurn in Newsweek
Essay One Assigned—MyTurn Essay
M 1/26: Inquiry and Analysis Day
W 1/28: Critical Thinking Day
M 2/2: Problem Solving and Reflection Day
W 2/4: Drafting Day—Play with words.
M 2/9: Submit drafts to work groups in Epsilen.
W 2/11: Essay One Due. Submit drafts in Epsilen. Assign Noun Essay.
M 2/16: Inquiry and Analysis Day
W 2/18: Critical Thinking Day
M 2/23: Portland Conference—Absent. Reflection Day
W 2/25: Submit drafts to work groups in Epsilen.
M 3/2: Fine-Tuning Day
W 3/4: Essay Two Due. Assign Personal Essay
M 3/9: Inquiry and Analysis Day
W 3/11: Critical Thinking Day. Submit Rationale to Epsilen
M 3/16: Spring Break—No Class.
W 3/18: Spring Break—No Class.
M 3/23: Problem-Solving Day
W 3/25: Reflection Day
M 3/30: Submit draft to workgroups.
W 4/1: First draft of Essay Three due
M 4/6: Readings and publication research
W 4/8: Readings and publication research
M 4/13: Readings and publication research
W 4/15: Readings and publication research
M 4/20: Editing Day—Get your essays in shape!
W 4/22: Editing Day—Get your essays in shape!
M 4/27: Readings and publication research. Graduate student presentations.
W 4/29: Readings and publication research. Graduate student presentations.
M 5/4: In-class readings of work
W 5/6: In-class readings of work
Final e-Portfolio Material due Wednesday, May 13 by 5:00 pm