1. Informal Assignments

In addition to the informal assignments you do in class, you will write regularly on the main page of the course site, which will serve as a course blog.  We’ll use that page to gather our responses to the week’s readings before we come to class and prepare for our discussion.  With that goal in mind, each person in the practicum is responsible for posting three informal reading responses on the blog over the course of the semester.  Each of those responses should present an analysis or question about the day’s reading in about 500 words. (Feel free to include links, images, or video if they help you develop your ideas.)

In your response, you should identify an idea that merits further discussion in class.  You might locate a theory or idea that puzzles you, or you might raise an objection to one or more of the readings; you might propose a way that another reading ; you might also reflect on the way that one of the readings resonates with—or contradicts—your experience as a teacher or as a student.

One way or another, your post should provide a serious analysis of the text, and it must be up on the blog no later than 11:59 on Thursday night to ensure that your colleagues will have time to read it and respond.  Also, note that each response should open up a new line of inquiry about the readings, so you should either post early or coordinate your responses to ensure that you won’t have to invent a new post to avoid repeating a point that has already been made.

On the weeks that you do not post, you will respond less formally to somebody else’s post.  (So, in other words, you post every week, either in your own post or in your response to a colleague’s.)  When you respond, you might identify a theme that you see running through several posts, or suggest the ways that your analysis of the reading resonates with—or doesn’t—one or more of the other posts. Your responses to your colleagues’ posts must be up on the blog no later than 5 pm on Sunday so that we can read them before class on Monday.

Once every semester, each of you will take responsibility for presenting the blog posts and responses to the rest of us in class. Your job on that day is to highlight the key themes and discussions that arose on the blog so that we can start our class discussion with your responses to the reading in mind.  Those presentations should be about ten minutes long, and they should refer to specific passages from the blog that we should make sure to discuss.

In order to blog, you will need to sign up for a qwriting account at

So, in sum, you will do three things with the blog:

  • Post three semi-formal response papers, each about 300-600 words;
  • Post nine shorter responses to the response papers;
  • Make one presentation on the blog in class.

In addition to the blog, you will be asked to write occasional papers, which are essays written in response to an occasion. They are short papers that will be read aloud. You will need to write two occasional papers this semester. We will be using these open topic papers to practice our own writing and use the experience to talk about the composing process.

2.  Formal Assignments

You will choose the one of your three blog posts that interests you the most and revise it into a response paper that makes a more sustained (about ten pages) contribution to a scholarly conversation that interested you in the readings. You might put several of the readings in conversation with each other, or you might write a longer analysis of a reading with reference to your experience. The response paper should follow the usual conventions of academic writing (MLA format, etc.). You will also write a draft of your response paper, which is due on November 28, although you may submit it earlier if you prefer.

Over the course of the semester, you should keep detailed notes about the ways that your syllabus works for you and doesn’t so that you can revise your syllabus or create a new one and include a cover letter to explain your thinking. Reflect on the ways the assignments fit together and also on features of your class that may not appear in the syllabus explicitly. The primary goal of this assignment is to think through what worked and what didn’t. What would you like to do differently the next time you teach this course, and what would you like to make sure to do this way again?

  1. Participation and attendance

This course requires your attendance, punctuality, and full participation. I expect that you’ll all be here on time and ready to engage in the day’s activities. This means you should come to class before it starts, be prepared for the class meeting, have with you any necessary materials (readings, drafts, notebooks, etc.) and stay for the entirety of the class meeting. Students who are late should not come to class. While I will not set a specific attendance policy, please know that participation is part of your grade so your presence in the class is necessary. Also, there will be assignments and collaborative activities in class that will not only be part of your participation grade, but will play an important role in achieving the course goals. You will not be able to make these up. If an absence is unavoidable, it is your responsibility to get any materials and find out what you missed from one of your classmates. If possible, please try to notify me prior to the absence.

Participation will be assessed according to the quality of your contributions to discussions and exercises, your preparation for daily class meetings, and the feedback you give in writing workshops and small groups (written and verbal). Also, I will be considering factors such as attendance and punctuality.

I grade participation according to the following scale:

A=daily, thoughtful participation in class discussion, all in-class writing

B=Frequent to occasional participation in class discussion, all in-class assignments

C=Participation only when called on or prompted, some attendance problems, most in-class assignments

D=Refusal to participate even when called on, attendance problems, some in-class assignments

F=Consistent lack of preparation for class, severe attendance problems

You will also be expected to attend the monthly faculty development workshops run by First Year Writing. The dates are August 29/30, October 4/5, November 1/2, and December 6/7 (attend one per month).

Grades will be based on the elements listed here:
Blogging: 20%

Occasional papers: 10%

Formal Writing Assignments

  • Response paper: 25%
  • Annotated Revision of Syllabus: 25%

Participation (including peer review): 20%

Due dates for formal writing assignments
Response essay
Peer workshop: 11/28/16
Graded draft due: 12/19/16

Annotated Syllabus and reflection
Peer review draft due: 12/5/16
Graded draft due: 12/19/16

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