Because I believe that growth as a reader and writer stems from consistent practice, I have designed this course to reward both the quality of your finished writing and thoughtful and steady work over the course of the semester.
You will earn a letter grade for the final version of each of your two main essays. Each of these grades will count for one-third of your semester grade. The remaining third of your grade will be based on the 12 brief exercises you turn in over the course of the term.
Since the revisions you’ll do for this course can take many different forms, I can’t offer a single template for assigning them grades. However, what I can say is that, whatever sort of piece you write, I’ll look for:
- An interesting idea driving your own writing
- An informed and innovative use of other texts
- Clear and imaginative prose
- Careful editing and document design
- A thoughtful comment on your work in revising
I will grade your Xs with a system of checks:
√ 2 points Good
√- 1 point Hurried or incomplete
0 0 Missing or late
And I will use this scale to determine the cumulative grade for all 12:.
Work in Seminar
I expect you to participate as an active member of this seminar: to meet deadlines as a writer, to respond thoughtfully to the work of the other writers in the class, to be ready to discuss assigned readings, and to make your voice heard in useful ways in our talk in seminar. I will ask you to do some informal writing in preparation for or during many of our class meetings and will expect you to share that work from time to time. I will also often ask you to work in pairs or small groups and will expect you to take that work seriously. I reserve the right to raise or lower your semester grade by one step (for instance, from a B to a B+ or a B-) to reflect the consistency and quality of your work in seminar.
Work Out of Class
The usual calculus is that you should work two hours out of class for each hour in class. That would mean about five hours of work out of class per week. I advise you to set aside some regular blocks of time to do the reading and writing assigned each week.
Missed work or plagiarism
I expect you to complete all work assigned for this course. Missing assignments will count as a zero or F. And I of course expect that all the work you do will be your own. I will ask you to reaffirm your commitment to the Duke Community Standard when you turn in the final version of your two main essays. If you plagiarize any of your work for this course, the penalty will be an F for the semester, and I will report the incident to the Office of Student Conduct.