ENGL 4030 Syllabus

Dr. E.D. Woodworth, Honors Assoc. Professor, Director of Composition

AUM/College of Arts & Sciences/Dept of English & Philosophy

  • Course: ENGL 4030, Pedagogy of Basic Writing (mistakenly listed as 4100)
  • Term: Spring 2017
  • Meetings: Wednesdays 5-7:30 is Lib Arts 144 (the seminar room); however, this is coupled with a graduate online course, so we’ll be approaching the course in a more hybrid fashion. The first night we’ll be in this room and this time, then after that, we’ll set days/times that work for us.
  • Email: ewoodwor@aum.edu
  • Office hours: Online and f2f: M-TH 8-10:30 am

Ahoy! and Objectives

Welcome to Pedagogy of Basic Writing! This course is about teaching writing to those students who may not have all the college-ready writing skills and strategies they might like to have in order to be successful in post-secondary writing scenarios, such as college. We’ll learn a bit about basic writing history, what’s in the name, and what may be coming in the future.

We’ll be exploring the theories of basic writing, reading scholarly articles on this topic, looking at the usefulness of open education resources for basic writing, how to confer with basic writers, why pirates have a good system of guidelines for college education–in general–but terrific for basic writing, and what you can do in the world with any and all writers you may encounter whether you teach college writing, coach writers who are friends, consult with writers in Writing or Learning Centers, or plan to teach other subjects requiring students to write. P.S. that was a long sentence.

Our objectives are to 1) acquire knowledge of basic writing pedagogy and learn multiple ways of applying that knowledge to learning environments; 2) learn about open education resources across the internet which allow all socioeconomic levels to access quality materials for learning about writing; 3) investigate basic writing programs across the US to inform our general understanding of the components of basic writing programs; 4) create materials which can be used to empower basic/beginning/striving writers in post-secondary writing environments (college, work, life); 5) redefine and revise what it is to be a “basic” writer (because we all are in every new discourse community we enter–in some ways–basic); learn to communicate and write in online environments, such as Facebook and WordPress, then apply to teaching or coaching situations.


You must have Jr. or higher standing to take this class and have passed ENGL 1010 and ENGL 1020 with a grade of C or better (or the equivalents).

Required online presence

These are the places you’ll need to work:

  • WordPress with a site name that does not include your ACTUAL name, but a name you create for this class as the site name. These blogs will be public.
  • Facebook–you may friend me or not, use your real name or not, but you must be part of our secret group (no one will have access to this except us). If you’re not on Facebook, get on with a fake name and then delete your profile when you’re finished with the course.
  • Blackboard–this is the university sanctioned and supported learning management system. All materials for this class will be located there: links to the class reading materials, the syllabus, assignment sheets, links to web sites you need, etc. (However, with the exception of the one book you need to purchase, everything you need will be linked in this WordPress place, too).

Texts with price tag

  • Errors & Expectations by Mina Shaughnessy (this can be purchased online for less than $10 used–including shipping). This is the only text that will cost anything.

Texts that are open

  • Journal of Basic Writing–all articles can be downloaded for free from the JBW link on the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) Clearinghouse website.
  • Any additional books required will be listed on the WAC books link on the same site–readings from the books will be listed on the schedule.
  • Articles from Writing Spaces.
  • Articles from Writing Commons.
  • The film, A Remix Manifesto, on Vimeo (and other places, such as this, the National Film Board of Canada, go Canada, where you can download it for free or for however much you want to contribute).
  • Everything is a Remix by Kirby Ferguson (Parts 1-4, or the Remastered version–all on this page.

Reading/Writing Schedule

Here’s a detailed schedule for reading/writing–this page has directions and details for assignments. The page is called Reading/Writing.

Here’s a check list so you can see exactly what’s due–this is to keep you apprised of exactly what you have to do and when you have to do it. The page is called Check List.

All the Details for Policies/Procedures

  • Connecting: get the email addresses of the people in this class and their phone numbers. My email is ewoodwor@ aum.edu.
  • Office Hours: I have f2f office hours but they will be my online office hours, too. Please, please, please email me anytime to ask questions, talk, review materials, anything. To answer some questions, I may refer you back to these pages. Lots of answers are here.
  • Kindness: Be a generous reader and a kind responder. If an idea seems wrong or crazy to you, ask questions to understand a person’s perspective first, then engage in conversation to learn more. Learn more before you comment when that’s warranted. Facebook is perfect for this sort of kind back-and-forth-learning discussion. Build on what others say, then offer your thinking and ask for feedback. Do not be afraid to share–because everyone should be kind. Outright rudeness, or even lack of kindness, is grounds for being asked to betake oneself from the “class” or any online environment we occupy. FYI: besides showing off your massive thinking skills online, there’s nothing I like more than a learning environment that just smacks of kindness, openness, generosity.
  • So… be kind, be patient, be responsive to others. Whenever we do happen to meet, if you have a cell phone with picture-taking capabilities, bring it with you, same with a tablet or laptop. Or if you have a camera, bring that. You’ll need to take pictures. If you go wild with the social media that has nothing to do with our class, I’ll ask you to stop, but taking notes on your phone or other electronic devices is permitted as long as it doesn’t make noise and irritate the rest of us. NO vibrating phones, please. If you forget and leave your phone ringer on, everyone may take your picture and post it online. Don’t be that person. Or be prepared to have your picture taken and smile!
  • Attendance: There’s not really an in-person attendance policy for this course. I’ll schedule a variety of times and dates that you should attend. And we’ll try to meet every week when it works for us, but most important, is that you do need to attend to your work online that is collaborative and interactive–it’s the guts of your learning. Without your thoughtful work on Facebook and on your blog, exchanging ideas with your colleagues, this class ain’t nothing. The way to succeed in this class is to read all the assigned books, read all the details about the schedule, do all the work required, participate fully, and make a commitment to regular interaction with your colleagues.
  • Late work: Don’t do it. It messes everyone up. We depend on each other for thinking and learning in an online class–get your work done before the last minute. Just do that. If you’re consistently late posting, your grade will be negatively impacted. (Ouch–BTW, I’m sorry to use impacted as verb.) Each time you are late posting, your overall grade will drop by a half letter grade.
  • All assignments are due on Sunday night at 8 pm of the coming week. Unless you arrange for an extension prior to the due date, you are responsible for “turning in your assignment” (posting online) in a timely way so that others can work with you and respond to what you’ve written. This is a collaborative learning environment–you don’t just do your work and move on. You must interact with others in order to earn your grade.
  • If you have a good reason for being unable to complete your work on time, you need to ask for an extension as far ahead as possible before the due date. Except for emergency situations, requests for extensions submitted after the due date will be denied. If an emergency does occur, you should inform me as soon as you can. All emergency situations must be appropriately documented. I know these happen, so try to stay in touch with me throughout so I can be helpful. If I don’t know what’s happening, I can’t offer learning solutions.
  • Plagiarism hurts everyone: Don’t cut corners. Don’t cheat. It cheapens your experience and makes everyone involved feel awful. Read about all the ways plagiarism can happen in the student handbook: AUM Student Academic Honesty Code. It’s never okay to do it, even accidentally. Know what plagiarism is and just say no. All the rules that apply to print-based writing apply to digital writing: note your sources, when you use text or images word-for-word, attribute the artist/writer with a caption or parenthetical citation or WordPress allows you to block a whole chunk of text with ” ” so do that, then add in a [  ] note where you got the text. If you need me to explain in detail, I will, because if you commit plagiarism, you may fail a project or you might fail this class and receive an * on your transcript next to the F you earned. If you plagiarize, I will alert the department chair, the dean, and the associate provost of academic affairs after I assign you an F. Just no.
  • Making Up Missed Class Things: You can’t really “miss” class, but you can fall behind, so here I quote the university’s policy on make-up work:

Official university events with excuses provided in advance by the head of the university unit involved;

  1. Illness/medical emergency or medical emergency for a member of student’s immediate family;
  2. Death of a member of student’s immediate family;
  3. Military orders (notification should occur prior to the absence);
  4. Jury duty or court subpoena (notification should occur prior to the absence);
  5. Religious holiday (notification should occur prior to the absence);
  6. Weather emergencies or perilous driving conditions (with notification if feasible).

Again, please let me know what’s going on with you. I can’t help if I don’t know your situation ahead of time. I will likely be able to help you, if you give me the chance.

Actual % of assignments

  • 20%    Blogs posts: 11 posts/1 per week required with a response to your blog partner each week (partners will change regularly)
  • 20%    Facebook interaction: 11 posts/1 per week. In addition, 3 posts focused on visual rhetoric (details for these TBA)
  • 20%    Reflective response, due on Blackboard (this will generate grading for the blogs, the FB posts, and this writing)
  • 20%    Book review of a text TBD (we have several choices–all of which are free to download)
  • 20%    Case Study

Making sense of a grade*

  • “A” grades are earned by doing all the work in spectacular fashion and going above and beyond the assignment, adding links, embedding images with captions and sources, ensuring that all documentation/citation is correct. Adhere to the assignment, of course—but blow up the box in a brilliant way; communicate ideas clearly, concisely, and with wit; show utmost respect for English language conventions; engage in the class regularly through discussion and writing; do more than is expected and do it very, very, very well; be a great in-class online citizen.
  • “B” grades are earned by doing all the work and doing it in a way that displays more than the expected—more than just getting by doing the average—a “B” grade effort is all that an “A” grade effort is, just not done quite as well, not as much over the top, and perhaps with some minor error. “B” grades may also be earned by those who do remarkable work but interact infrequently (as in there are some missing pieces of the pie or consistently late posts) and less visual rhetorical awareness and commitment (don’t count on missing assignments but occasional brilliance as a path to grade happiness). “B” grades also indicate a commitment to engagement with others, but if the interaction is only sporadic or ho-hum sometimes, then that’s not working at an “A” level.
  • “C” grades are earned by doing all the work as expected and doing it in a respectable, upper-division college manner—mostly error free but just what is expected. “C” grades may also be earned by doing spectacular work sometimes–but there’s very little regularity to it. Posts may be consistently or regularly late, and are too short. There’s less than stellar interaction with peers. There must be some understanding of the content and ability to do the minimum synthesis, but “C” work just does what is asked. It’s average.
  • “D” grades are earned for doing all the work poorly or not doing all the work. “D” grades are hard to come by—one must make a conscious decision to do less than expected, only occasionally interact with others, and do that in a lackadaisical manner.
  • “F” grades are earned by not doing work, or rarely doing work. One must be determined to earn an “F” grade and truly commit to doing a horrible job and missing a majority of assignments. An “F” grade may also be earned by committing plagiarism. (Please don’t do that.)

* Don’t suffer in silence. Students who are earning a D or F may be eligible for an incomplete grade. Students who experience catastrophic illness or family emergencies may be eligible for an incomplete grade if they are passing the course at the time of the event–but they might also be able to withdraw from the class due to that event. Please let me know if and when you are unable to carry on with the course, and I can adivse you as to the best course of action. An F grade messes with your GPA in ugly ways, as I said elsewhere, and you may be able to get grade forgiveness, but still, why suffer in silence? Talk to me.

Need Help? AUM has Help

  • If you need help writing, or just a shoulder to cry on about writing, visit the Learning Center—they are located on the second floor of the library, but do check their web site as they also offer consultation times in other locations on campus, and check their hours, too. They are not just for undergrads: http://www.aum.edu/academics/academic-support/learning-center-ISL

Auburn University at Montgomery attempts to make reasonable accommodations to meet the special needs of its students with disabilities. Students requiring special services should notify me as soon as possible. To set up a meeting, please contact me by email or via Facebook message. Bring a copy of your Accommodation Memo and a Faculty/Student Accommodation Memo to  the meeting. If you do not have accommodation paperwork but need accommodations, contact the Center for Disability Services located in Taylor Center, Room 101 (334) 244-3631 or (334) 244-3754 (TDD) or email at cds@aum.edu. You must have an Accommodation Memo from CDS to receive any accommodations.

  • When you need help finding a GREAT article or two or three, for your work in this class, see the Library: http://aumnicat.aum.edu/

Academic Calendar

Pay attention to the Academic Calendar. Knowing how the semester runs may save you a lot of heartache later.

For instance, the last day to drop a class and receive a “W” is March 22. If you decide to stop working in the class after that date, your only option will be to take the grade you earn—very likely an F. One F can mess up your GPA in ugly ways. Yeah, sure, there’s grade forgiveness, but do you really want to deal with all of that? And what if your failure has a negative impact on your financial aid? What then? Don’t wonder what’s going on–be aware. Check the calendar, know what’s coming up, don’t fall behind.

  • How about the last day to drop with a 100% refund? March 2.
  • You’ll also want to know when mid-term grades are due, don’t you? March 3.
  • For instance, you’ll want to know when Spring Break happens, right? March 13-17.
  • Last day of class? Who needs to know that? You do! April 25.
  • When are final examinations? You want to know, yes? April 27, May 1-3.