Dr. William Archibald's Engl 311 Advanced Composition
An Introduction to the Course
[top]A. Course Basics
Taking an online writing course. The first thing you should do when the ENGL311 online course begins is to login to Desire2Learn and take the online survey under “What to do first”. This gives you a chance to see what an online course is all about and what ENGL 311 online will require of you.
Your participation. Please participate freely in the discussions. Your participation in the class will make this course a rich and fulfilling experience for everyone.
Getting around the course: Use Desire2Learn as your starting point for the daily activities in the course. On the Announcements page of Desire2Learn there is a Course Schedule link. The course schedule is where you should go to find what is due for a particular day. In the schedule I will place important links to assignments and other course materials.
Reading and writing, discussion and collaboration. The course is made up of readings, discussions, and opportunities to collaborate as well as the course papers. The first three items above have a direct impact on the last item, the course papers. You need to carefully read and discuss the essays in the course so that you can more ably write the papers. The course readings provide various models for the writing we will do. They also provide techniques for writing the papers. When discussing the readings you should approach them from a writer’s point of view and not as literature to be appreciated. They are excellent as pieces of writing no doubt, but your work with them is to glean the methods these writers employ in order to write your essays. You will be asked to imitate these methods while using them to create your own voice as a writer. Most of all, you must think like a writer if you want to be a writer and the course readings will help you do that.
Contacting me. There are multiple ways of contacting me. My emails and phone numbers are in the syllabus. When you email me make sure that you take the time to
B. Papers and Readings
#2paper: Reflection/Imitation (2ri)
#3paper: Familiar Essay1: Personal voice (3fam1)
#4paper: Familiar Essay2: People, places & things (4fam2)
We will be writing four paper in the course. The mode of writing will be loosely based in Creative NonFiction:
Any writer worth his/her salt reads voraciously in order to know how the words work. And you need to know how the writing works for your reader, too, so that you can employ writerly techniques to reach your reader. The 1Reader's Analysis paper has you analyze a piece of writing from a reader's perspective. It's a chance to look at the techniques of a particular writer (Hofstadter) to see what effects his text has on a reader. It is also an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and appreciate a somewhat radical approach to written communication. The trick to reading this essay is not to evaluate Hofstadter's methods as much as experience his methods, understand them as a reader, so that you can borrow something of how he writes to use in your writing. This is what I call “reading-to-write”.
In the second 2Reflection/Imitation paper, we will read a short selection from an interview with the English writer, Graham Greene. It is a story of how he became a writer, a creation myth as it were. There are two parts to this assignment. You first have to thoroughly understand Greene's piece; and secondly, you are asked to write your own creation story that imagines the person you have become. This is not an exercise in recollection as much as a deliberate artistic act. In other words, you take the skills you learned as a reader in the first assignment, you put them into effect to understand a particular piece of writing so that you can imitate it, and this imitation creates a version of yourself that never existed before. This act of creation is essentially what Greene does in his brief excerpt.
In microcosm this process of reflection and imitation you will perform in paper two is what the last two course essays are all about, except that now you want to take the techniques of the writers we will read and use them with your own material. And this material will be focus by and through the world of sport.
These last two essays are Familiar essays: at their core this form positions the writer as an observer and chronicler of the way his/her mind works around some personal aspect and object of interest--a person, place, or thing. The 3Familiar1 essay paper examines the self as it deals with some issue or problem whereas the 4Familiar2 essay examines some person, place or thing.
These essays are in the tradition of essayists since Montaigne. The writer of these essays takes some aspect of his/her life and observation in-hand and looks at it from every imaginable angle, using research and personal experience, personal and family history. We (the reader) are taken on a journey of exploration and reflection when we read/write these essays.
Each essay builds off the one before to integrate reading into the writing process and to cull writerly techniques from the course texts to enable creative non-fiction writing that approaches fiction in its complexity and resonance.
1. Desire2Learn (D2L)
D2L will be your everyday entry point for the course. On the Home Page you will see these links in Course Links:
Other D2L features we will be using are linked in the D2L ribbon across the top of every D2L page:
D2L Discussion Boards
2. Gmail / Google Account & Skype