First Day

Welcome to your English 1101 course! I hope this semester will be both fun and challenging for you! Your professor's name is Dr. Matthew Horton (that's me!), but you can call him Dr. H. I have high hopes that this semester will help you improve your skills as a college-level writer!

Click on these icons and see what you can do! This course is about writing, sure, but it is also about using technology to help you discover new possibilities with writing. Writing's not all just about typing papers and turning them in. In fact, this course strives to be as PAPERLESS as possible! This might be a little scary for some of you, but I assure you, the skills you'll learn will be just as important as effective writing!



Also, go ahead and look through some of the most important resources on this course website:

How to do well in this course
Read the syllabus
Check the calendar
Learn how to use Google Drive
Resources on Google Drive

Additional resources are available by clicking the tabs across the top and various links in the right-hand margin. As much as you can, familiarize yourself with this course website. My contact info is in the right-hand margin at well, towards the top.

Check out these articles related to college and writing:

Death to High School English
Office Hours
The Ivy League, Mental Illness, and the Meaning of Life
Spirit Guides
The Rise of the Helicopter Teacher
Why Teach English?
Inescapably, You're Judged By Your Language
The Perfect Essay
In College, Nurturing Matters
My Little Bag of Writing Tricks
Young Minds in Critical Condition
The Streamlined Life
The Value of College: It's Not Just Correlation
College, the Great Unleveler
Class, Cost and College

How to Do Well

First things first. I want everyone in this class to make an "A" or "B"--it would not be a miracle. It has happened before, and there is no reason it cannot happen every time. Yet the possibility that some of you might make a "C" (or even less) is real. This class is designed to help you succeed through effort. The only way you will make a "C" or lower in this class is to ignore instructions, miss class, fail to turn in work on time, and refuse to give serious effort to fixing your work.

If you follow instructions, do all of your assignments on time, fix assignments to earn back points, and come to all class meetings, you are basically guaranteed at least a "B" in this course. I am not big on grades themselves, but students tend to judge a class on how likely they are to make a good grade in it, so you can relax in here. You've got your "B," as long as you don't let anything slide. Are you one to let things slide? You should think about that carefully . . .

Now, if you want an "A," you've got to start thinking about what it will take to earn one. Start thinking right now. How much time do you have to give to this course? Is becoming a better writer important to you? If there were no grades at all, would you strive to become a better writer in this class? I like to give "A's," but they are reserved for those students who not only do not let anything slide but also steadily improve as the semester unfolds and put together a stellar Revision Portfolio at the end the course. If you are the kind of student that works hard just to make an "A," and not to become a better writer for its own sake, you probably won't make an "A" in this course because you'll be too busy worrying about your grades to improve as a writer.

Here are some actions that will get in the way of your success in this course, and what I define as success will translate into an "A" or a "B" on your transcript:
  1. Missing class or habitually being late for class
  2. Looking at your phone while you are in the classroom
  3. Taking a full load of classes (2 or more in the summer) AND working more than 20 hours a week
  4. Rushing through instructions before doing an assignment
  5. Obsessing about grades and points
  6. Putting off fixing assignments that have not earned full points
  7. Tinkering with assignments instead of revising, hoping that "it will be good enough"
  8. Basing your approach to this course on past English courses
  9. Refusing to ask me for help with your assignments
  10. Relying on your current writing skills to get you through

If you are an average writer, you can still make an "A" in this course. And if you are a talented writer, you could still end up with a "C" because this course does not just measure your skill level. It measures your grit and your willingness to raise your skill level.

Syllabus - Fall 2016

Description of Course
English 1101 is English Composition I, a 3-credit hour course offered by the English Department in the College of Arts and Letters that fulfills one of two Area A "Communication Skills" requirements. You must earn a "C" in English 1101 in order to move on to English 1102.

Writing for Teacher, Writing for School, Writing for What?

Students entering First-Year Writing courses often feel intimidated by the composition tasks thrown their way, in part because the writing methods they practiced prior to college keep them trapped in a routine of “school writing” and uninspired thinking. Based on this idea and others from The Transition to College Writing, we will explore how writing can be learned, how writing might be taught, and the barriers to learning and teaching such a complex skill. Topics of discussion will include the overthrow of grading, some cures for self-censorship, the myth of “practice makes perfect,” and the unexpected benefits of messing up. To aid in our reflection on ways to learn and teach writing, students will use Google Drive to compose, and to share what they compose, in the paperless freedom of the cloud.

In this course, you can achieve the following goals:
  • Approach writing as a process of improvement
  • Discuss your thoughts about current issues that interest you
  • Develop a helpful writing process for yourself
  • Learn the parts of an essay to compose smart, lively papers
  • Gain confidence in communicating with an audience
  • Use Google Drive to produce, share, revise, and respond to digital documents, including your own.
  • Evaluate secondary sources on a recent issue of personal importance to you

Calendar

Each item on the agenda can be clicked to reveal a description, if any. All assignments are due on their deadline days, but the times will vary depending on the assignment.

Readings

In addition to the book we are reading, The Transition to College Writing, your reading material will consist of various magazine articles about a wide variety of social issues. Please choose your readings according to your interest so that when you develop your Paper Topics and write your Assigned Reading Responses, you will be engaged and excited.