College Writing and Research ENGLISH 1005 (620:005) Syllabus

Dr. Bill Koch, Instructor Department of Languages and Literatures

I am originally from Waterloo, Iowa, and have a BA in Social Work from UNI and a Ph.D. in American Studies from St. Louis University. I have been a writing instructor since 1990, at Upper Iowa University, Hawkeye Community College as well as here at the University of Northern Iowa. I have published several academic papers, most of them on aspects of the writings of Thomas Merton. My most recent publication on the influence of Northrop Frye in my scholarship appeared in June in English Studies in Canada. This article outlines what I think any college student should be aware as they engage with a college level education, so I hope you read my essay. You can find it in the START HERE! area in our course as a web link. Click on the link, then click on the “PDF Full Text button” located to the left of the main window to access the essay.

When I am not giving my attention to writing, I am practicing classical guitar, which I have played for various social functions. In addition, I have developed a one man show called “Walt Whitman Live!!” which I have presented at numerous locations in Iowa over the past 9 years. It is a 50 minute show in which I dress as Whitman and discuss his life and times. This show is on the Humanities Iowa Speakers Bureau.

Even with all my activities, I seem to always return to writing, not so much as a source of pleasure but as a source of intellectual empowerment. Now certainly writing can help you get a job, or express a thought you’ve wanted to share, and that makes writing quite useful. But beyond that, writing can produce thinking, and can create knowledge, knowledge that helps you in your struggles to understand things, the world, yourself. As such, writing is a power that shapes your life, your understanding of yourself, and can even shape the world and its self-understanding. I’ve designed this course — and my textbook on college level writing — so you can have such an experience, too.

VIDEO – Click on the “Syllabus Intro” video link included in START HERE! to view a short introduction.


Course Description:

College Writing and Research introduces students to the assumptions, attitudes and practices that underlie verbal thinking and verbal expression at the liberal education level. This course strives to make students aware of assumptions about clarity that they have applied UNCONSCIOUSLY to texts they read. These assumptions are then applied to their own writing. In addition, the stages of writing and activities and attitudes appropriate to each stage are reinforced. Concerns with audience, purpose and rhetoric are addressed at the appropriate times. In addition, the course asks students to research a topic that has continually been seen by American culture as central to societal and personal well-being. The research will be the basis of essays that demonstrate the student’s skills in reading and writing introduced earlier in the course.

Student Outcomes:

I hope to see Student Outcomes in these areas: Reading: The student will

· know the Principles of Reader Expectations and demonstrate their use in analyzing a text. 

· know the importance of metaphorical analysis in creating knowledge and in understanding a text. 

· know how to read a text for structure and for metaphorical implications as well as for literal content. 
Writing: The student will 

· know and utilize assumptions about writing that increase one’s chances of PRODUCING a competent college level document, 

· demonstrate knowledge and use of the attitudes appropriate for the stage of writing one is in and doing the right activities at the right stage, 

· know that the important stages of writing are Invention/draft and Revision. For Invention/draft the key activity is quantity production and attitude is play and discovery. 

· For Revision, the key activity is re-thinking and re-seeing the quantity via reader’s eyes and then examining a text developed for content for its quality of structure and metaphor. 
Research: The student will

· demonstrate wide reading in a topic and presentation of one’s findings in a coherent research document. 

· demonstrate advanced research techniques using the paper resources at the university library 
Required Textbook: 
Koch, Bill. Writing and Research for College: The Structures of an Imaginative Literacy. 2nd Ed. Dubuque: Kendall-Hunt, 2014. 
This course will be delivered over the World Wide Web, utilizing web pages and a learning management system (eLearning). All written assignments will be submitted via eLearning. 
This course has fifteen assignments, which might seem like a lot, but the early assignments can be done fairly quickly. The exercises in them call for you to write quickly, to not ponder your first thoughts, but just write them. AT THE SAME TIME, I hope you don’t rush through the exercises, either, but step back on occasion from your work on the activities to reflect on the wider implications of this work that you are doing with words, often with words you’ve known since childhood. 

Three major papers are assigned: two of them will involve sending in first drafts for my comments and then you present a final draft. For the last essay, I assume you know how to revise for content and organization, so I will not provide input (unless asked). The other large project is the Annotated Bibliography. See Assignment 9 and also read Chapter 9 in the textbook for details on this assignment. It is likely very different from what have done with research and so I think you should know NOW what you will be getting yourself into.

Written Assignments:

Type all assignments using a word processing program and save as a file. If you are using a word processing program other than Microsoft Word, then please save the file as Rich Text Format. Submit your assignment by clicking on the Assignment folder, then the Assignment Submission link in the Course Content menu on the left and uploading your assignment. Need help? See the eLearning Tutorials included as a web link in START HERE! for instructions on how to submit an assignment.

Please use a plain, legible font, and 12 point type. Format with double space and 1″ to 1.5″ margins.

NOTE: the research project, as explained in Chapter 9, requires that you can only use

books from a college library. PLEASE be aware of this aspect.

You must have access to college level sources to conduct college level research. You can use the Rod Library at UNI as well as your local public library. Most libraries now have access to databases that can provide you with substantial sources. And don’t hesitate to ask a librarian to help you find databases, or to help you find research keywords and strategies. You can reach the UNI library through the 800 number for correspondence study, and your call will be transferred. Also you may electronically access Rod Library via the web link located in START HERE! in the course.

Academic Ethics:

All work in this course must be done by you and must be done specifically for this course. I encourage you to seek the advice of others, just as professional writers do, but you must do your own researching, writing, editing, etc. All ethics violations, intentional or unintentional, will result in a grade of F for this course.

UNI has a strict academic ethics policy that you should read; it is possible that a policy violation will result in suspension from the university.

Contacting Me:

I look forward to working with you while you take this course. Please feel free to contact me when you have any concern or question. I can be reached most easily at (319) 273-6231 or you may phone the UNI Continuing Education office toll-free 800-772-1746 and ask to be transferred to my office. If I’m not in my office, you may leave a message. Or you can e- mail at

Time Investment:

Allow yourself plenty of time to read, think, write, critique and revise your work. The introduction from Continuing Education urges you to begin the course immediately, and I second that suggestion. As you read your assignments, jot down initial ideas, and don’t stay stuck on any one exercise. In some crucial ways, the writing controls you as much as you control it.

For that matter, don’t wait for inspiration to start writing. Try to write whether you are in the mood or not. Often the writing will lead to inspiration. Submit only one assignment at a time, unless you have contacted me to make other arrangements.

About the Online Explanations and Videos:

An issue with online courses is that 1) you don’t get immediate feedback from instructors as occurs in the classroom and 2) much of what is said in the classroom is now printed in “Instructor Comments” and elsewhere. So there is reading on top of reading. I tried to alleviate some of that by producing many short videos, so watch them as much as possible. I would especially want you to watch the videos on Letter Linkage and Flush Left Diagramming.

Please note that UNI Guided Independent Study requires that you complete all

assignments to receive a grade in the course.
Point System – A total of 1000 points are distributed in the following manner:

Assignment 1 College-level Attitudes and Assumptions About Words and Education      

Assignment 8 More of FLD

Assignment 9 Introduction to Research Project Explanation of Annotate Bibliography

Assignment 10 Final Annotated Bibliography Assignment 11 First Draft of Research Paper

Assignment 12 Final Draft of Final Research Paper Assignment 13 First Draft of Summary Paper

Assignment 14 Final Draft Summary Essay

Note: the final grade is not necessarily determined by the point total. I do award improvement shown during the course; in fact, I expect each student to have improved his or her writing abilities by the end of the course. The breakdown of points to produce a final grade is as follows:

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