Policies & Procedures

Have you heard that song by Doris Day, “Que Sera Sera“? It’s one of those iconic, mid-20th century standards that I seem to have known all my life.

It means, “whatever will be, will be”–I like that. I teach like that, too. I sort of point in a direction and y’all have to go that way. I know where we’re going, but I’m never sure how we’ll get there. That’s mostly up to you… In an honors class, students have to forge their own path over the mountain range the teacher says they must cross. I’m going on the trip over the mountain range, too–hence, my own blogging, my own path–meant to serve as a guide, for sure, but no means it is a template for what you can do.

It is on this page, then, that whatever will be, will be. This a place of ultimate accountability as well as a map for our journey this spring. The “Reading & Writing” page is where you’ll go for weekly assignments related to the below. For the information on the big projects–check out the “Big Projects” page.

Details about this particular course:

  • Course: ENGL 1027, Mind Mapping
  • Semester: Spring 2012
  • Meeting Times: MW, 10:50 am-12:05 pm
  • Meeting Room: 311 Tech Wing, Liberal Arts
  • Professor: Dr. E.D. Woodworth
  • Office: Liberal Arts, 334
  • Office Hours: MW 9:30-10:30 am, W 4-5 pm, and by appt.
  • Email: ewoodwor@aum.edu
  • Blog: writingallyear.wordpress.com
  • Twitter: ED_Woodworth

The specifics:

We’ll be focusing this term, Spring 2012, on the way we use visual rhetoric to make memory, argue, persuade, inform and misinform–especially the way we “map” memory and what sort of persuasion we think that means. One of our focusing sub-themes will be the Civil Rights movement memorials in and around the Montgomery area. Another sub-theme will be mapping of our thinking, our physical locations, and “what does geography have to do with writing anyway?”

You’ll have three big projects this term that specifically deal with principles and application of persuasion/argumentation. There will be many smaller projects that lead into each of the bigger projects. You’ll also have regular blog posts (and Tweets) and comments that are required.

It will all look something like the below:

Projects/Blog Pages

Projects A-C are the big projects and they make up 60% of the course grade–these are blog pages (like the play list/research projects from fall term).

  • Project A, includes Projects 1-3: 10%
  • Project B, includes Projects 4-6: 15%
  • Project C, includes Projects 7-9: 25%

Projects 1-9 are the smaller projects that make up the whole of each project A-B. In order to earn a grade for the overall project, all parts much have been completed–otherwise: zero. It’s a progression, like in a game, you can’t win without succeeding through various levels.

Blog Posts/Tweets

Each week you’ll have at least two blog posts about a reading or activity which you’ll need to complete well before our class meeting time–at least by 10 pm the day before class, so that others can comment on your work.

We will also Tweet and link that to our blog pages. If you have had the fall portion of this class and know how to get this widget in your sidebar, go ahead and do it.  If you need help–ask for it.

  • 40% of your overall grade are Posts and Tweets

Comments/Being IN the Class

You must comment on several posts each week in order to earn this part of your grade.

  • 10% of your overall grade–Comments

Each week, you’ll have a different configuration of folks whose writing you must comment upon–so that you’ll work your way through the class many times. We will also comment upon the work of the students from OCU when their blogs are up and running.

These requirements are pretty set for the class. How each will grow to meet our needs as a class, well, that’s the adventure, isn’t it?

All Together, It’s Like This

  • 10%:   Project A, includes Projects 1-3
  • 15%:   Project B, includes Projects 4-6
  • 25%:  Project C, includes Projects 7-9
  • 40%:  Posts and Tweets
  • 10%:  Comments

Getting the Grade You Want

  • For an A–you do everything and do it so well that people talk about you throughout the semester… you’re a leader in the class in terms of ideas and mentoring… you work all angles and write like the wind.  And it’s breathtaking.
  • For a B–you do everything and do it so well that everybody wants to read your blog and gasps over your witty tweets.
  • For a C–you do everything and on time and it all generally follows the spirit of the law if not the letter.
  • For a D–you do most of everything and on time and it follows the criteria… some.
  • For an F–you do a lousy job of most everything and not on time and even forget to do some work, miss a lot of classes, never respond to anyone’s writing, and decide that you really want to fail.

Write your own work, or practice good attribution:

All your writing must be your own composition–you may certainly be inspired by the giants who have come before you, but if you use their words, you need to attribute those words in some way: use the quote function (see what I did at the beginning) or provide a link or somehow indicate you are using verbatim language from someone else.

AUM has a policy on academic dishonesty for both undergraduate and graduates that is worth checking out if you are unsure of what constitutes plagiarism, or academic dishonesty, as it applies to writing. I can direct you to the exact pages of the catalogs that explain this concept. Please be careful of how you incorporate the words of others into your own writing. Your thinking is what matters, your writing, so you should work on making sure your writing is yours entirely AND adopt good attribution practices.

We’ll review some of this in class as we begin to post and, especially, as we begin to think of writing the three big projects.

Love what you do and it will love you back–read the blogs and tweets and comment:

You’ll be required to do this, but you might as well invest early and get on the band wagon because you’ll be so much happier when you have. You’ll get to know everyone, their thinking, their styles of knowledge acquisition, and you’ll learn a WHOLE lot more than you ever dreamed.

Just like in any situation, you need to be kind and generous to everyone, all the time–even when you vehemently disagree. Disagreement is fantastic, but it needs to be based on logical argumentation, not derision. Always practice the best of communication in class and online, please. (If you ever find typos on this blog or any handouts of my making, be the first to let me know via email and you will then find yourself the recipient of one free writing response pass–as in: take a night off. I will also entertain suggestions for rewording, here and there, if you are of a mind to share. Might work. Couldn’t hurt.)

If anyone really gets weird online or in class, you’ll be hearing from me, and it won’t be the casual-always-happy-sometimes-amusing Dr. Woodworth who shows up for that meeting.

Talk to me:

Now having said the above, I come up with a section called “Talk to me”–that’s a bit of academic irony for you.

But really. I mean it. Tell me what’s going on or I can’t help. Talk to me before or after class. Email me and write about what’s up. I rarely use the phone, so email is best. Office hours can be… ahem… unpredictable, so just email to say you’ll be there or make an appointment for another day/time. I’m  happy to chat about the course or grad school or writing. But don’t wait until the last minute to tell me you are having some difficulties–I can help, but I’m not made of miracles, I’m just the professor and can only exert control over my very small world. Talk to me–though–it’s better than not talking to me.

Late work:

I don’t like late work, especially not if there’s a familiarity to the lateness (like “you are consistently late meeting deadlines”). Regular lateness indicates a distance from the work, a limit to being IN the class. But I’m not a nightmare about it. I know life happens while we’re reading/writing.

Attendance:

You have to be in class as much as I am, so you may miss class the days I’m traveling and over spring break, but other than that, drag yourself in, because if you miss a lot, your grade will suffer–it just will. There’s no way to make up missed class time.

If you miss more than one week total, you’re really missing too much. If you’ve had a class with me before, you know class time is not predictable, and no one can take notes for you. If you haven’t had a class with me before–ask those who have. “Be in class and be IN class” is the best policy.

But again, like with lateness, I’m not a villain about it–but you do yourself a disservice when you are not IN class or in class because, like skipping parts of a long novel because you’ve not planned your time well, you will miss the nuance. A lot of the time, in many aspects of life, the best parts are the nuances that come with complex learning, the nuance of text really dug into and digested, gloriously rich and special. Like the oysters in a perfectly roasted chicken, nuance is precious–please, please treat it that way.

If you’re grossly sick or contagious, stay away–but email me so I can give you something to do when you feel better that could help you keep up. NEVER just don’t show up–that’s awful for everyone. We worry, we stress, we can hardly concentrate. I’m serious. Tweet about what’s up, call someone, let someone know.

If you need to arrive late to class or leave early–just let me know. I’d rather have you be part of the class in any way you can rather than miss it altogether. Tweet or email.

Help when you need it–right on campus:

The Learning Center is wonderful. They will read whatever you write and give you great advice. Just because you aren’t writing traditional ink-on-paper papers, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit for a writing consultation. Visit and visit often–they transform writing lives.

The Center for Disability Services is also an incredible help if you need it. Please visit their home page to find out their mission. This class adheres to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.

And if you are panicking about everything at once, or just one thing, please contact the Counseling Center. They are fantastic about sharing strategies for coping with the stress of higher education and all the stuff that makes life so wonderful and complicated. You are not alone.

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