Eng. 383 Writer's Journal

Writer's Journal

Be sure to purchase a sewn-in-binding "Composition Book." Spiral notebooks will fall apart as we trade our journals with classmates.

Rationale:

During the course of the semester you will read various theories by practitioners of composition.  You will investigate and consider these theories by searching out experiences of your own.   A handwritten journal shows me that you are doing your reading and, more importantly, that you apply it in your life as a writer and apprentice tutor.

For years I had the class make online reading responses. Too often, students "parroted" each other's ideas and passages. Lately, I have been experimenting with how the old technologies of paper and pen shape writing and thinking. So all journals (and your class notes--not keeping good class notes will really hurt your journal grades!) will be kept in a notebook rather than as a computer file. Thoughts--good, bad, ugly--about writing this way may also enter your reflections.

Writing by hand actually teaches compositional skills not easily encouraged online. The converse situation is true, of course; I love having a reference library (and I do not mean Google) available through my Web browser.

Content:

Always bring the journal to class. I'll randomly collect several journals each week and give them letter grades.

In addition to your class notes (date them), that I will grade, at least once per week you must write reflections about the assigned readings, your observations of other tutors, your own work as a tutor, and your experiences here and elsewhere as student writer. Your journal is public. Every Monday, bring it to class discussion because I will call on you to read from your journals about various ideas and authors we encounter.

I also expect you to share the journal with classmates. If they wish to add notes to your journal, that's fine--but they should sign their names so they'll get some "reading credit" for helping you.

Assessment:

Don't get too far behind with the journal; it counts as much as the final project toward your course grade. When I pick them up, I will return them to you with a short typed comment sheet and some "sticky-notes" in the journal to ask you questions.

Keep in mind that quantity is not quality in a journal. In particular, I am looking for a nuanced understanding of the theory behind what we do and how it bubbles up in your real-life experiences as writer and tutor. That means more than name-dropping of our authors: I want you to give me detailed information about how aspects of their thinking has (or not) influenced your work.

I have lousy penmanship when I write fast, but my sympathy can only extend so far. If I cannot read your writing, you get no credit for inscrutable brilliance. Be careful to print or buy a good pen (fine-point Gel pens are especially good for the crab-scripted writer).

Main Page | Information | Resources | Communication | Class Journal | Schedule | Apprenticeships