What do I want?

More free time in a day.  More naps.  More chocolate chip cookies.
Oh, you mean, “What do I want from your work in this class?”

The most frequently asked student question is, “What if I do it wrong?”
To that I reply, “The only way to do any writing ‘wrong’ is not to do it at all.”

There are different levels of expectations for specific types of writing assignments:  Informal Writing, which includes Reaction Responses, Rough Drafts and Peer Feedback; Blog Posts; and Formal Projects.

You may earn 150 for attendance, prepared in-class participation, Virtual Classroom activities on Friday, and out-of-class Reaction Responses. All your Informal Writing, Reaction Responses, timely Rough Drafts, and Peer Comments are included in this score. To earn your full 150 points each day: show up, speak up, and write on time. You cannot get back points for classes you did not attend, drafts you posted after the due date, and missing peer feedback. Expectation of depth and engagement in Virtual Classroom activities is higher than in-class discussion. 

Informal Writing:
Informal Writing, that done on your blog or shared document, is a low risk, high reward endeavor.  Use this gift of writing prompts, drafting, or brainstorm time to explore your thoughts. You’re expected to cite quotes and hyperlink, when possible, from source material, give examples of points you’re making, and edit for sentence-level errors. Frequently this informal writing becomes the rough draft for another project. Sometimes you’ll share this writing in small groups or read excerpts aloud.

Reaction Responses:
These will take the form of discourse within a small group shared document. This is your opportunity to practice informal written inquiry to think through assigned reading/viewing/listening. Assume an audience unfamiliar with the title and creator of the piece. Pick out specific passages or quotes to include in your reaction. Compare the piece to something else you’ve encountered that you like, or to a film or book, a song or game, a current event, a river or mountain or dish of food. Bring in the outside world to your reaction.  Remember your audience.

Rough Drafts and Peer Draft Workshop Comments.
I read all your rough drafts and offer comments as necessary to guide you. Points earned here are purely based on effort not content.   If you don’t do the rough drafts, I can’t guide you before the Formal Project is due and you miss points for the week.   Peer Draft Workshop Comments are between you and your small group. If you’re not receiving rough drafts or feedback from your Writing Group, e-mail the community member asking for feedback, and cc me. These Rough Draft and Peer Draft Workshop points are folded into your Participation score.

Blog Posts
These are formally graded with 25 points possible for each post.  The expectation here is higher than Informal Writing, but lower than a Formal Project.  Specifically address all aspects of the prompt, be aware of your target audience, bring in outside facts. Be precise and descriptive. Allow each sentence to say something new. 

To receive full credit, after you write your post, ask yourself:
-Do I specifically address all aspects of the prompt?
-Do I show depth and development by bringing in facts and insights from the required texts, and also from other disciplines I’m studying or current events?
– Is my post presented as inquiry, that is to say, is it rhetorical and analytical using critical thinking skills?
– Does it make use of multimodal and hyperlink elements to enhance your position?
-Do I engage the reader with my unique voice?
-Do I include terms, concepts, and writing techniques we talk about in class?
-Do I display a distinctive opening and closing?
-Have I checked for grammar, punctuation, or spelling errors?

Posts published after the due date will be treated as late. Why?  Writing, like eating, sleeping, or laughing, is best when pursued regularly.  Train yourself to write when you think you’re not inspired, to compose when you believe you have nothing to say, to fill space when all you want to do is be silent.  Sometimes that’s hard. But humans usually choose the lesser of two difficulties.  And getting a point ding may be harder. For full late policy, read the course syllabus. 

Formal Writing Projects:
If the Blog Posts are clean jeans and a new pair of shoes, the Formal Writing Projects are Hot Date Night attire.  Be sharp!  The Blog Post grading criterion apply, plus when each Formal Project is posted, it will have its own specific assessment guidelines and rubric delivered in question form.  This allows you, and your Writing Group, to query yourself about how well you are fulfilling each aspect of the Project.   Many of the Blog Posts are prewriting exercises and opportunities for you to begin drafts of your Formal Writing Projects so by the time you turn in the final drafts you will have had multiple opportunities for feedback, editing and revision.

I’m always available for appointments on MW. If you have questions, or are unclear about expectations, let’s talk it through. E-mail me for an appointment:  keefe@chapman.edu

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