Department of Writing, Linguistics and Creative Process
WRT 465 – Fall 2009
White Hall 324
Meets Thursdays 2-4:30 p.m.
Prof. John Briggs
Instructor Contact Information
Office phone: 203-837-9043
Office hours in 214 Berkshire: T 5-6 p.m., W 11 a.m.-2 p.m., R 9-10 a.m. and by appointment.
Course Description: This is the “capstone” course for all students on all tracks of the Professional Writing Major. In this course students design and complete a substantive writing project. Required for graduation in the writing major.
Course Outline: Each student will propose, write and polish a thesis project, and submit the project for archive. The class will meet in workshop mode weekly during the semester. Students will also meet periodically with the instructor during office hours.
Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones, Shambhala.
Charles Lipson, Cite Right, A Quick Guide to Citation Styles, U of Chicago Press.
The On-line Piece, Vista
The most difficult part of this class is staying on task—doing the work week-in and week-out so you can arrive at a finished product. To help you stay on task, I'm requiring that you post at least 2 new pages of work every week on the board, and that you read AND PRINT OUT the new pages posted by other class members so that we can discuss them in the next class period. SAMPLE PAGES SHOULD BE POSTED BY WEDNESDAY MORNING OF THE CLASS WEEK.
During most classes, we will spend at least an hour to an hour and a half in discussion the postings on the web board. We will also discuss chapters of Writing Down the Bones, and any technical or general writing issues that have come up for class members. It's important that you attend our weekly meetings. You cannot expect to pass this course (needed for graduation) unless you fully commit to the process we're embarked upon.
3—Introduction, project review, brainstorming, review of Vista.
10— Proposal for Senior Thesis Project due for approval. THIS WEEK begin submitting sample pages to Vista. Bones 1-26.
17—Upload your approved project proposal to Vista site. Bones 26-50.
24— Bones 50-70.
1— Bones 70-96 AND 162-168.
8—First project deadline.
15— Midterm evaluation of status of project.
19—Second project deadline. Thesis should be in complete first draft at this point
26—No Class. Thanksgiving
3—Submit thesis abstract for approval.
10—Completed, polished project due.
17—Review of completed project. Uploading to Library Dspace archive. Must be in pdf. form.
Requirement for the Class
The sole requirement for this course is the completion to a polished state of a substantive and extended writing project of at least 30-50 pages. The project must be in the area of your option, Business Writing, Creative Writing, Public Relations, Teaching of Writing. The project must be coherent. For example, if it’s a collection of poems or stories the poems or stories must be linked in some way. Same with a collection of journalism articles. If you are working on a longer project, which you would not be able to finish in its entirety by the end of the course, then you must find a way to extract a coherent segment of the project to make as your thesis.
For students in the Teaching of Writing Option: You may do a writing project of your own work, but there must be a "teaching" component to your thesis. For example, a series of actual lesson plans related to the writing genre you are writing in, a detailed essay describing how you would teach writing, or a discussion of the theories and strategies for teaching writing in this genre to either elementary or secondary students. You could conduct a series of interviews with teachers to compose this teaching of writing section. You can do library research. You can draw on works and knowledge you have from your education classes and teaching of writing classes.
You may use projects begun for other courses as the basis for your thesis project. However, you may not simply resubmit previous material. The thesis project must be a substantially new or extensively revised/expanded piece. Everything that needs to be documented must be documented, including showing me drafts of the work in progress. Be aware that if you plagiarize material, you will fail the course.
Feedback for the project as it progresses will come from the workshop and from the instructor for the course. You must post your work in advance on a web board along with a weekly progress report to facilitate this process.
Note: you will not be able to pass or complete this course until your project is finished and approved by the instructor. On Oct. 16 we will evaluate whether that is likely to happen in the semester time frame.
Plan to have the project in its complete form by December 10. To accomplish that you will have to work steadily on the project THROUGHOUT the semester.
Final Form of Thesis
The final thesis project must be in the approved form described in a handout you will receive. It must be uploaded to the Library Archive D-space before a final grade can be issued. To see previous theses submitted to the Writing Department go to http://library.wcsu.edu/dspace/community-list at on the library webpage under West-Collections.
The grade will be based 40 percent on your engagement of the process throughout the semester and 60 percent on the final project itself. However, you cannot pass this course unless the completed project meets minimum standard.
Plagiarism and Attribution
In this class we will be imitating and appropriating the work of others as part of the normal process by which new work evolves. However, an attempt to pass another's work off as your own is a different matter. It's deceptive, lazy and illegal. Plagiarism is presenting the work of others as your own, from whatever source, whether student or published work. Be sure that if you are using someone else's words or ideas you indicate such by either a formal or informal citation. Complicity in another's act of plagiarism is itself an act of plagiarism.
From the WCSU Student Handbook:
A) Any person who is found guilty of any of the following acts committed while a student on a University campus or on property controlled by a University or University affiliates or in connection with off-campus University activities shall be subjected to the maximum penalty of expulsion or any other penalty authorized herein.
1. Academic misconduct including all forms of cheating and plagiarism.
Violations are subject to disciplinary proceedings, as explained in the section on "Student/University Relations" in the WCSU Student Handbook.
Simple ways to avoid charges of plagiarism:
Make a note of every idea, quote or information that you get from another writer or speaker. Put that information at the end of the passage, either in the form of a citation or at the end or beginning in the form of an attribution. In journalism, every "fact" or quote needs an attribution, stated or implied. The reader should know where the information comes from—from you or from somewhere else. In scholarship, the principle is the same, though the method of citation is more detailed.