|English Department Student Learning Outcome Statements (SLO) for EWRT 2|
|1. Apply critical thinking skills to writing and complex readings.|
|2. Demonstrate academic (analytical, argumentative) writing based on reading of complex texts.|
|3. Demonstrate analysis, comparison, synthesis, and documentation of independent research.|
The purpose of this course is to help you cultivate the critical thinking skills and habits of mind you’ll need for academic and career success.
Pandemic, civic unrest, unprecedented political polarization, and a momentous November election whose outcome the validity of which is already being questioned or dismissed—how did it come to this? In this course we’ll seek to sharpen our lines of inquiry. We’ll begin far afield, by reading two imaginary narratives (fictions), the first a graphic novel set during a historical civil war in early 20th century China, the second a recently published dystopian novel whose setting is the near-future U.S. Our third text, Michael Lewis’s journalistic The Fifth Risk, zeroes in on some long-term trends behind the degradation of life in these United States—and offers encourgaging counter-examples of enduring excellence among career professionals in public-sector institutions. What’s at stake is our gaining a deepening knowledge of human nature, of the social psychology of ideas, of how, for instance, rival sides may not understand each other, or sometimes even themselves. And we’ll encounter how too-simple answers to complicated questions often lead to bad outcomes.
As we proceed, you’ll see that beneath the dystopian storylines or ‘enlightened skepticism’ of our authors lies a spirit of hope, a sense that in seeing things accurately, we can better know both ourselves and the world we live in, and take appropriate action. Ultimately what we’ll be writing about is values, your values, your sense of the good, the right, and the true. And by course’s end, you should have a better understanding of, and fluency about, the world in which we live, and thus be better equipped to find your own place in it.
TEXTS AND READINGS
Gene Luen Yang, Saints
Louise Erdrich, Future Home of the Living God
Michael Lewis, The Fifth Risk
Cooper and Patton, Writing Logically, Thinking Critically (4th or 5th edition, 6th ok too) )
And occasional Web-readings
GRADES “The 1000 Point Quarter”
|Essay #1 (850 – 950 words)||100 points|
|Essay #2 (1,100 – 1,250)||150 points|
|Research Paper (paper #3) (1,750 words minimum)||250 points|
|Essay #4 (1,200 – 1,600)||150 points|
|Journals & other homework||150 points|
|Peer-Edit & other Groupwork||100 points|
Grades: Notes“Discussion” refers mainly to your Wednesday Reading Response postings to your group.
“Discussion” as well as “Peer Edit & other Groupwork” are tabulated by me off line at quarter’s end.
Points for papers will be awarded on traditional lines: 90 or better for an “A” (pro-rated for total points per paper as above), 80 or better for a “B”, and so on. I’ll also give you specific guidelines for each essay assignment as I make the assignments available over the course of the quarter, and will also share my criteria for evaluating assignments. Be advised that plusses and minuses will appended if necessary to your final letter grade.
Please know that in order to receive an “A-” overall course grade or better for this class, one or more of your major four papers must receive such a grade. This is to say, in a writing course, you can’t break the “A” barrier by points alone–points accumulated from your non-essay work.
Please also know that I assign points off line at quarter’s end for “Discussion” and “Peer Edit and other Groupwork” (200 total); these points do not show up in Canvas.
Passing this course means being responsible for all aspects of your work over the quarter–the conceptual work of reading, thinking, and writing; the cooperative work of participating in a writing community; and the procedural work of completing reading and writing assignments, and meeting deadlines. Your not logging on for any extended period of time may be cause for me to drop you from the class.
Also, you must submit all your major assignments (essays) in order to complete the course requirements.
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